A Year of Journaling / Week 7
Emma and Evie visit us in the morning. Emma has baked, and her banana cupcakes are delicious. So much so that I manage to consume three without much effort at all. We put on Play School for Lewis and Evie, while we sit and chat at the dining table. Evie, however, wants to be with mummy, so we all move into the sunny play room instead. We get out the Duplo and continue chatting, while Lewis and Evie potter about to their heart's content. Later, I serve up two soft-boiled eggs (mashed up in a bowl with a dash of butter) and a glass of milk for Lewis' lunch, before putting him down for a lovely long nap. In the afternoon, my parents come over. I invite them to the Mid-Autumn Festival dinner, and they say that they'll come. My heart does a little dance...
In the morning, we head up to church with the boys. With almost 140 people coming to the Mid-Autumn Festival event, we need to figure out the layout of the hall and the foyer to optimise 'people flow' and to maximise the number of people we can seat at tables. Rick and I spend over an hour moving stuff around while the boys play. We sketch the final layout onto my reMarkable and, afterwards, I feel much less anxious.
In the evening, we return to church for the ESL dinner. It is lots of fun meeting the ESL students, and I get to practise my Mandarin.
Despite telling me that he is full from dinner, Jamie decides to sample everything from the dessert table and ends up with terrible tummy pains. ‘Mum, remind me not to eat so much dessert next time,’ he says to me at bedtime.
Church feels full in the morning. I sit up the back during the sermon, scribbling notes onto my reMarkable. Mitchell preaches from Ecclesiastes 6. His message is both challenging and encouraging: Wealth is a transient thing, and whoever loves money can never be satisfied. At the same time, our riches are God's gift to us. So if you have wealth, enjoy it, thank God for it, and share it with a generous heart.
Meilin, Florence, and Lily’s families come over for lunch. They all arrive bearing food and, just like that, our lunch becomes a feast. I am particularly enamoured by Meilin’s beef brisket dish—a childhood favourite of mine. We have a wonderful time together, discussing ministry, sharing food, and sharing our stories.
After night church, Rick and I join Carla and her family at The Brewery. By the time we return home, it's almost nine o'clock. Gus, Pete, and Jamie are still awake, waiting for us to say goodnight…
I long to paint today, but I cannot.
Instead, I spend the day catching up on emails, text messages, journaling, photo tagging, and Instagram posts.
This is life, I tell myself.
Just go with it.
As I attempt to rework my calendar and schedule, I resign myself to not being able to paint at all this week.
In the evening, I manage to carve out some downtime, and Rick and I finally watch the first hour of A Star is Born…
After Bible study today, Carla shows me her precious photos of Heidi.
There is a photo of Heidi days after her open heart surgery as a one-week-old. A photo of Heidi before she died (in fact, it is the last photo they ever took of her). Another photo of Carla and her sister-in-law on the evening of Heidi's funeral—they are both about 36–weeks pregnant.
And there is a photo of Heidi's funeral. Her casket is white, and it is small. Corey carries all by himself. His dad stands to his left, and Carla walks behind in a brown paisley dress. Even though no-one is looking at the camera, I can see the sadness and the pain in all their faces.
In the evening, I try to write my next dialogue with Cameron, but the words do not come...
In the morning, I spend almost two hours at church with Carla, planning and preparing for SNAP+CHAT. Back at home, I heat up leftovers for lunch, then begin work yet again on my imaginary dialogue. One by one, the words trickle through until, at long last, they rush forth and come pouring out of me.
In the afternoon, I pick up Gus and take him to a Christian college for his enrolment assessment. I get a little lost, and we arrive about five minutes late. Thankfully, we bump into a teacher on the school grounds, and she immediately takes Gus straight to the assessment venue.
I walk back to the car and take out my laptop. While I wait, I finish writing my dialogue with Cameron. I read it over once, and then twice, and am ever so thankful.
I never expected writing to bring such joy.
Thank you, God, for the gift of words.
I walk to the common room, where all the other parents are waiting. Gus appears shortly afterwards.
‘How was it?’ I ask.
‘Good,’ he replies in his soft-spoken way.
On a whim, I decide to show him my first dialogue with Cameron. I have been wanting to share it with him for so long now, but the moment was never right. Finally, we are alone (albeit in a room full of strangers), so I do.
He reads it in silence. Like Rick, he doesn't give away much, but I can see the spark in his eye.
‘What do you think?’ I ask.
‘It's really good,’ he says with a smile.
A teacher comes over to introduce himself. It turns out that he is the Head of the Middle School. We chat briefly before departing.
Even though he is silent, I can tell he looks really pleased.
‘Were you really about to tell a funny story?’ he asks. I love how perceptive his question is.
‘Well, I didn't have a funny story in mind. But it seemed like the right moment for Cameron to go quiet and ask about you boys...’
‘And did you really count all the holes in the shell?’
‘More or less. You could work out the exact number for me, if you want!’
We pull into our driveway. I turn off the car and look over at my beautiful son.
I lean over and kiss him on the cheek.
‘Love you, Gus. You are so precious to me, and I'm so glad that you like what I've written...’
I come home at seven o'clock, after spending the afternoon at Meze Me. Rick has just finished his goodnights with the younger boys, and it is my turn.
I lie down on the bean bag. I start singing Broken Vessels. Lewis interrupts and asks for Rock of Ages instead. So I sing Rock of Ages.
Afterwards, the four of us chat about how Lewis vomited on our bed after dinnertime because he was jumping around so much.
‘But it just came out, mum!’ he says in an indignant voice.
I sing another song, during which Lewis falls asleep.
I am so tired that I cannot get up, so I continue to lie there.
Within minutes, I fall asleep myself.
Half an hour later, I am jolted awake.
I can hear Gus and Pete mucking around in the other room, so I go in to them. Just as I'm about to walk over and kiss them, they start giggling, and I realise that they have played a good trick on me.
‘Get back into your beds!’ I say in my best mock-angry tone.
They both laugh and jump back into their own beds.
‘You cheeky things! Go to sleep. Love you boys. Goodnight...’
You can read the other posts in this series here.