The Giver


Today is the last day of school. We are all moving in slow motion, because the stakes are low. The kids will be in school for all of 4 hours, and it will mostly be watching movies, not learning. Like a public daycare.

I don’t care, because my goal for the morning is to finish painting the dining room yellow. So long as those precious angels are not in MY hair, you can educate them or not. Your call, have fun.

During morning chores today I was feeding the hens and could barely hear someone calling my name over all the cackling squawks of the feathered beggars. I have my own girls, plus ten extra birds that I am chicken sitting for some missionary friends. We get so many eggs a day, I’m excited to pick which neighbor I’ll share with next. My own flock is too small and rare (not high production layers) to produce enough to give away. But I love ’em just the same.

Anyway, I holler back a few times before Captain Schenanigains intervenes in a deep voice that carries over the noise. Manchild is looking for the fake cactus I brought him back from my Girls Week-end in York, PA this spring. Due to a tantrum he’d thrown after he’d helped me pick out my own decorative cacti (who will never turn brown on me and complain about watering habits), Manchild had exclaimed he thought by helping to pick some out, they belonged to him. I corrected him, thus the tantrum. Then I gave him his very own a week later, when he no longer wanted one or cared.

The minute I saw Manchild carrying around Christmas gift bag in June and asking for the special cactus, I knew. Manchild is a Giver deep inside, way down under the warrior exterior who loves nothing more than poking his sister with his light saber and making her yell. He loves his people deeply, and today was the last day of kindergarten, with his beloved teacher.

Manchild located the cactus, stuffed it in the huge green and red gift bag, then scurried off to complete his mission. I finished feeding and watering the hen, moved on to chirpy chicks, then finish with the ever patient, if not naturally silent, rabbits. They never complain, although the pregnant ones will huff at me, but I totally get that. I did my fair share of huffing when I was full of babies as well.

Back in the house, I get the full report from Manchild. He’s wrapped up the faux cactus, then moved on to the ceramic Irish Setter I’d given him last month from my childhood belongings. I’d saved an assortment of random, very breakable, farm animals for him that I had kept on a shelf in my room as a girl. One he had  given back to me as a Memorial Day gift (yes, my kids give gifts on Memorial Day – I had nothing to do with it), a perfectly detailed Boxer dog. Seeing how his classroom was decked out in canine paraphernalia as the Watchdogs, an Irish Setter with sentimental value seemed entirely appropriate for his teacher.

But as sweet as those two gifts were, it’s this last one that gets me right in the heart. See, we NEVER buy Oreos. That’s what we in the weight loss world call a Bad Decision. But yesterday I had no option but to take the kids grocery shopping with me, and as a celebration of summer, we picked out cookies. Manchild chose Oreos, and I upgraded him to Double Stuf (I hate the way they spell that). It was a BIG deal. So imagine my reaction when Manchild tells me he’s bagged up a Ziplock full of these delectable treats for his favorite teacher. I was floored. He was just so darn generous for being such a stinker much of the time!

While I doubt his teacher knows the value of each selected gift, and it’s a coin toss if you actually eat second hand cookies brought to you in an unlabeled bag by a six year old boy, I am pleased no less. My son has the making of an empathetic, strong, generous man. To a mama struggling against a short fussed boy with quick fists and an even faster temper, this was water to my worried soul. He just may turn out better than I’d dreamed of, and that is all God’s work alone. I take no credit for the inner workings of this boy. I love him to pieces, but I was not the designer of those pieces. Just the mama who keeps them oiled and working, scraping off rough edges when I can and polishing as much as I can reach. Really, it’s the fingerprints of God that are on each part of our children. Don’t you see it when you look at them?

So now as I sit on my back deck at 11:15am on a Friday morning, still typing instead of painting. I am once again reminded how much I love sharing my life with each of you, and writing up these blog entries. I am grateful for each of you who takes the time to read them, and completely understand everyone else in this busy world who doesn’t. After all, I’m just another mam who’s trying…

I’d taken two months off while I published Homemade Schenanigans as a book on Amazon, and that was a nice break. But I’m glad to be back. I hope today’s entry finds each of you well and hopeful, in every section of the world you are tucked in!  Go blessed, my friend, and keep reading!




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