Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tales of TMEA... Day 4

We are safely home!  We made it in last night about 9:00 after a stop at the outlet mall in San Marcos.  There are a few stores we frequent when we go there, mostly to stock up on basics, like tights for Maelynn, shoes for the boys, and this time, a sale on Thomas underwear.  Suh-WEET!  You know you're a mommy when, right?  I used to get excited when purses went on sale.  Now it's Thomas underoos.  Ah, such is life!  

Shortly after my last post, I was making a ball of yarn (yes, my life is that exciting, folks) and the kids were watching Cars 2 on the laptop while we waited on Eric to return.  We'd had a nice dinner at the Mexican restaurant we like on the Riverwalk, and I can't for the life of me remember the name.  The kids like it because it gives a great view of the tourist boats and the ducks.  While they watched, I kept hearing a shutter sound, but kinda didn't worry, thinking it was part of the movie.  Eric came back after eight, I think, and we donned our warm stuff and went out to the Hardin-Simmons reunion.  It was in the same smallish "salon" room it's usually in, and was an ice cream social.  Thought surely this would hook my Ryan man.  

Nothing doing.  

I'd love to say he strolled in the room, speaking to everyone I asked him to speak to.  I'd love to say, also, that he sat in a corner, huddled with his headphones and VSmile, playing in his own little world, which is what I had really envisioned for the evening.  In reality, the poor baby froze solid.  I talked him off the wall and into the safety of my lap, with Eric entertaining the two littles, who were being great.  To be perfectly honest, I have to confess that I HATE crowds, I do not know how to small talk, and the idea of such a situation is not terribly fun.  I was the wallflower... always have been.  Would much rather be in charge, cleaning the kitchen, cooking, or refilling drinks than talking about the weather.  And I'm not into bragging and pretending to be who I'm not.  Not into pretense, and I'm growing to be comfortable with that.  So on the rare occasion I go to these things, I plop at the Cowboy Band corner of the world and park.  Round about the time someone remarked in amazement that we're now the old folks at the reunion, as I laughed and agreed, I looked over the scared, stiff little boy in my lap and saw it.  The source of a lot of the fear and anxiety, and it was so darn simple and in my face... and I missed it.  I know better, and I missed it.  

The stupid candle in the stupid middle of the stupid table.  

I quickly interrupted, and not so smoothly, and one of the guys blew it out.  No biggie.  

His shoulders relaxed, ever so gradually, as he realized his tormentor's defeat.  He slowly began to sit up, turn around, and finally decided he'd like to sit in the stroller.  Richie made friends with a tiny little baby boy who was just crawling, sharing his toys and delighting in making his little friend smile.  Maelynn was happy in her part of the "bus" as we lovingly call it.  So there was my Ryan, my big boy, happily in the stroller.  He eventually decided he'd like some ice cream after all.  

As Ryan enjoyed his ice cream, I enjoyed visiting with old friends and professors, and even relaxed a bit and just had fun for a while.  Turns out one of my favorite people in the school of music, whose classes I wish I'd been able to take (he taught church music, I love all things church music) is now the dean of the school of music, and he remembered me!  I was amazed.  And Ryan survived.  He made it.  And so did I!  None of my friends, none of the professors, not even the dean, was at all ruffled by the kids' presence or behavior.  No one cared that we had one less candle.  

Once Maelynn decided that running around like crazy was a great idea, it was time to say goodbye and head back to the hotel.  I stuck Ryan on my shoulders to keep him calm, and we made it back without incident or meltdown. The kids went to bed rather smoothly, with the only bump being that they were loopy-tired.  

Saturday morning, we got to have a nice lunch with a student of ours and now friend/colleague.  Such a treat!  After one more ride on the blue elevator (and making quite a mess with milk while waiting... thanks for being sweet about that, lady who helped me, and guy who worked at the Hyatt), we loaded the kids in the van and took a rather nice trip to the outlet mall, then headed on home.  

People ask if we had a nice trip.  Nice?  Yes, at times.  Frustrating beyond compare at times too.  It was a ton of work and we came back exhausted.  There were several things that were cemented in my mind.  But somewhere in the middle of the reminiscing, visiting, catching up, and the day-to-day of little ones, marriage, and friend and family life, the biggest thing I came back with... the most important thing I took from the week... is that I can't do it.  

I can't remember every little thing.  I can't blow out every "candle" in his life... or in Richie's or Maelynn's, or my own!  I can't respond in peace, humility and respect every time I'm angry with my husband or my kids.  I will continue to do my best.  But more than ever I find myself drawn to... tied to... my faith.  The idea that my inability to just be good is covered, spoken for, forgiven, and that I am made whole through Jesus is more real in me than ever.  The gratitude that I am not in charge of all these things, but the sovereign God is... brings me to my knees today more than ever.  So grateful for my family, friends, church, and especially the opportunity for forgiveness and the renewing of myself every day, every moment, that I sat in our usual place this morning on the back wall, Ryan huddled close, still in his coat and the mohawk fleece ear-flap hat, my heart overflowing with joy and thanks as we worshipped together:

The joy can ne'er be spoken,
Above all joys beside,
When in Thy body broken
I thus with safety hide.
O Lord of life, desiring
Thy glory now to see,
Beside Thy cross expiring,
I'd breathe my soul to Thee.

What language shall I borrow
To thank Thee, dearest Friend,
For this, Thy dying sorrow,
Thy pity without end?
Oh, make me thine forever!
And should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never,
Outlive my love for Thee.

O Sacred Head, Now Wounded
Paul Gerhardt
V. 7-8


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