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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Where Apples Fall

Photo Credit:  messa from
Summer is here.  It’s time for vacations, family, swimming pools, friends, making memories, and 100-plus temps if you’re in south Texas.  It’s also that time of year when three little kiddos who I know very well will be together pretty much 24-7 until school starts up again in the Fall.

I got a tiny taste of having all three at home on Memorial Day.  Of course, each of them woke up before the crack of dawn.  As early as it was, all seemed well until they couldn’t come to a consensus as to which cartoon they’d watch on our only TV.  Then, another tiff broke out as they argued about who was going to sit where.  Then one of them crossed the imaginary boundary line and invaded sibling territory.  Finally, someone took someone’s something and the whining and crying commenced.

I was attempting to get a few more minutes of shut-eye during all of this.  Not happenin’.  I marched into the living room and announced, “Alright peeps!  This is going to be a VERY LONG summer if this is the way it’s going to be.  Make good choices and you will enjoy your summer.  Make bad choices and you’ll spend your summer sitting in a corner staring at the wall.   We all need to dig down a little deeper in order to be patient with each other and get along.  We’re going to spend a lot of time together over the next three months.  If you need some space, go read a book in another room.  If you’re frustrated, count to ten.  If you need inspiration, say a prayer.  I’m going back to bed now and I’m going to meditate on the back of my eyelids.”

I was a sleepy girl.  Our whole family was a little tired after a fun Memorial Day weekend.  I guess my short speech got their attention, however, because I managed to mosey back to bed for a few minutes.  It was quiet.  There was peace in the casa.  I was content.  Ahhhhh.

I must have dozed off because the next thing I knew I had three little angels walking into my bedroom with breakfast and a homemade card.  (Am I dreaming?  Is this heaven?)  It sank in.  My words REALLY sank in.  A tear made its way down my cheek.  My breakfast-in-bed was delightful.  I didn’t care if the fruit was washed or not.  They could have brought me cardboard with syrup on it and it would’ve been perfect.  Their card melted my heart.  It said, “We love you Mommy so very much.  We are sorry for fighting.”  (Sniff, sniff - we might survive this summer after allhee hee!)

A fresh start.  We all just needed a new beginning that Monday.  I also realize that apples don’t fall far from the tree.  I recall writing similar “I’m sorry” notes with my brother during our childhood.  And, boy, did my brother and I get into it!  I chased that boy all over the house, slammin’ doors, and getting into trouble.  “He’s looking at me funny!”  “She’s in my room!”  “He took my stuff!”  “She pushed me!”  (Poor Mom and Dad…sigh.)

Not far from the tree – THAT’S where apples fall.

Last Thursday, we wrapped up another school year.  And, crazy enough, my kids were “playing school” not even one week later.  We really do crave routine, don’t we?  My six-year-old made a list of rules for her school:  (1) Do not say bad words.  (2) Do not play without permission.  (3) Do not say fart.  (4) Raise your hand to speak.  (5) Be nice to the teacher.  (Simple enough…)  I can recall “playing school” with my favorite bro quite often as well.  He wasn’t so fond of it, but he amused me every now and then by finishing a worksheet I’d made for him.  (Love you, Aaron!)

Before our summer gets into full swing, I took some time today to reminisce about our school year.  Every day when I picked up the kiddos from school, I would ask, “What did you learn today?”  I always enjoyed hearing what they had to say.

Through one of Aunt Irene’s inspirational e-mails, I was reminded of things I’ve learned myself (or desperately need to) through a few of Andy Rooney’s words:

I've learned that the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.
I've learned that when you're in love, it shows.
I've learned that just one person saying to me, “You've made my day!” really makes my day.
I've learned that having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.
I've learned that being kind is more important than being right.
I've learned that you should never say no to a gift from a child.
I've learned that I can always pray for someone when I don't have the strength to help him in some other way.
I've learned that no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.
I've learned that sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.
I've learned that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.
I've learned that we should be glad God doesn't give us everything we ask for.
I've learned that money doesn't buy class.
I've learned that it's those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.
I've learned that under everyone's hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.
I've learned that to ignore the facts does not change the facts.
I've learned that when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.
I've learned that love, not time, heals all wounds.
I've learned that the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.
I've learned that everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.
I've learned that opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.
I've learned that when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.
I've learned that one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow you may have to eat them.
I've learned that a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.
I've learned that everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it.
I’ve learned that the Lord didn’t do it all in one day.  What makes me think I can?

After a wonderful weekend out of town, enjoying some carefree timelessness with family, I thought of something to share.  We hung out by my sister and brother-in-law’s pool and enjoyed some sunshine and laughter.  The water was ch-ch-chilly to say the least.  After some good rains there, the cold pool water could make a grown man squeal (I’m not saying any names, PoPo). 

Of course, the kids didn’t care.  They just jumped in, let out a shivery screech, and went about their merry way.  I opted for the slow and steady approach.  I inched down the pool ladder slower than a sloth.  It took me thirty minutes to get waist-deep.  But, after an hour, I was in.  All.  The.  Way.  And, while the water took some getting used to, it ended up being so wonderful once I was in.

And, so, just like my pool experience, this first week of summer may be tough at first while the kids get used to being together 24-7.  However, I’m sure it will be amazing once we find our summer groove and the shock factor wears off. 

Until then, I will remember that apples don’t fall far from the tree.  I fought terribly with my brother as a wee one.  (FYI – I love him to pieces today!)  And, I’m sure my parents didn’t always get along with their siblings growing up.  But, as long as we plant seeds of character, faith, perseverance, love, patience, kindness, and forgiveness, I think the apples that fall will turn out okay after all.

Happy Summer to all my little Sunshines!

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