Monday, October 29, 2012

October Optimism

One of the most endearing traditions of this Small Town America we call home, is our ability to allow our children to enjoy Halloween in all of its glory, in a safe and family-friendly environment. Now I must admit, I am a bit of a Halloween “scrooge” as one of my friends so eloquently named herself…I hate dressing up, I’ve never been a big candy eater, and you already know how I feel about arachnids…so why would I get fired up about a “holiday” that combines these characteristics? It has always been a bit of a conundrum to me why people find this experience to be so enticing.  Once I had babies, my feelings on the subject didn’t change much….UNTIL the first time I laid eyes on THIS: 



I cannot even put into words how much I love this picture.  Seriously.  Somebody needs to get me some crackers so that I can smear these babies on them and Eat.Them.Up.

I digress.

So over the years, I have grown more willing to be more enthusiastic about Halloween and “Fall Festivals” and Trunk or Treats (insert eye roll here…sorry PTO) for the sake of the children.  Because isn’t that what it’s all about anyway?  Isn’t that what spending gobs of money and time and stress are all about…for the children? So we can dress up and eat gigantic amounts of teeth-rotting candy and blah blah blah….? Ok, maybe I’m not more enthusiastic about Halloween…but let me tell you what I AM enthusiastic about.  I’m enthusiastic about relationships.  I’m enthusiastic about my geese forming relationships with people that they might not otherwise have the opportunity to form a bond.  I’m enthusiastic about asking questions and getting to know others and my children learning the important skill of looking people in the eye when they speak to them. Im enthusiastic about my kids knowing that the building that we attend every week called the "church" is not what makes being a Christian's the God we serve and worship that makes it special. Its the people that make up the Body of Christ inside that building that make it special. And I want them to know those people.

Our church has begun somewhat of a tradition over the last few years that has really blessed our family.  The baby geese of the congregation are invited to dress in friendly costumes, and the adults without young children are asked to bring a couple of bags of candy and some lawn chairs and everyone goes out to a Girl Scout Camp outside of town.  We meet for food and fellowship, and before we break for supper, the children are invited to walk around to the adults who have spread out among the camp in their lawn chairs.  The geese are given a list of questions to choose from to ask the adults …instead of saying “trick or treat”…my daughter might ask the widow that sits across the aisle from us every Sunday, “What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?”  or “What is your favorite Bible story?”  And before the child receives a piece of candy from that adult, it is asked of them to listen to the adult’s response and then politely respond to a question that the adult has for the child in return.  A simple exchange between two souls that might not take place otherwise.  It is and was priceless.  I stood there last night and just tried (really hard) to close my mouth. I wanted to soak up the sweetness of the moment. I felt like I was eavesdropping on intimate conversations while I listened to the answers that my babies gave to some of the questions that were asked of them. I was moved to tears more than once as my friends got to know the hearts of my favorite little people on earth (our babies) …as our fellow believers, our church, learned about our babies as people…not as “those P… kids”. I learned that my son’s favorite Bible character is David and that Meredith’s favorite story is about Creation. I would spend a small fortune on a Minnie Mouse costume any day of the week, month, or year to be able to share in the magnitude of those moments.  You can’t put a price on that stuff.
Having said all of that, let me share a little bit of what my babies learned as well….

Meredith learned that Mrs. Hall has one of the most beautiful smiles in Small Town America. Bar None. 
Meredith has been learning from these two since she exited the womb.  Literally.  But lately, she has learned what tenacity and strength and courage look like. She and others are being taught that neither cancer nor any other earthly struggle can separate us from the love of God.





This precious couple teaches my little family about commitment. They teach us about being willing to be uncomfortable for the sake of others. They teach us about humbleness. And I’m not even kidding when I say that their smiles start at the depths of their souls and come forth like a spring…and that is why they smile like that. Like that.   I don’t know anybody that doesn’t need or want some of what they have.


These two stopped long enough to have their picture taken. Lesson learned? The days of having their picture taken (together…voluntarily) are quickly becoming numbered. Sigh.


Mere consistently learns that life is more fun when Gigi is around.
"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." L.M.Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables