Unexpected Memories

Last week was unexpected.  As it loomed on the horizon of our calendar, we were anticipating one of the busiest weeks since we moved in July.  

I should have been preparing for a trial that was to start this coming Monday.  My case settled on Tuesday.  

Even still, I should have spent at least three days at work.  My two year old got sick instead.  

My kids should have been in school on Friday.  Their children’s choir should have performed at the Friday Nite Friends Christmas party that evening.  And on Saturday, we should have been at dress rehearsal for their Christmas choir concert at church.  

Instead, we had an ice storm.  Not a snow storm.  Big difference.

The school closed on Friday, and all of our weekend activities were cancelled.  Even church on Sunday.  

That was a first.  

But my husband and a few other staff members from our church braved the roads so that they could bring God’s Word to the community via live stream on the internet.  To view, click the link below, select “Our Church Videos”, and view full service from December 8, 2013:  



Attending church via live stream was pretty cool. I missed my new friends, but it was fun to connect with them via Twitter throughout the event.

Friends up north.  Don’t make fun.  It’s treacherous in these parts with ice on the roads.  Not because we’re pansies.  (Join us for one of our summers, and you’ll agree we’re pretty tough.)  But because we’re unprepared.  

It doesn’t make fiscal sense for our highway department to “man up” with enough equipment to make our roads passable given that we have one, maybe two, ice storms every 24 months.  Our cars aren’t equipped with all the gear that makes driving in a winter storm do-able.  And even if our cars were equipped, we are inexperienced winter-weather drivers.  We just don’t get much practice.  So those of us that can, hunker down and stay inside until warmer temperatures arrive.  We’re still hunkered down this morning, but we expect the kids to be back in school tomorrow, and temps will be in the 50s by the end of the week!

All of this to say, this week, very unexpectedly, instead of serving as the ring master for the three-ring circus that accurately describes the life we lead, I spent the majority of my time through Thursday in my pajamas, holding my sick child, and catering to his every need.  He’s doing much better now (even got out in the snow and ice on Friday), but it was a long week of high fever, fussiness, and discomfort.  

And just about the time he recovered, the storm blew in, and we’ve been at home ever since.  What should have been the busiest week of the fall turned out to be the most unproductive week of 2013.  For real.  

The evening the storm blew in, we had scheduled a babysitter for date night. Thinking it might be our last trip out of the house for days, we made a go for it even though the sleet was already coming down. We caught this pic as we were walking out the front door! Sorry for the creepy eyes!

 We’ve filled our time with Christmas movies, lounging by the fire, a spontaneous dinner with neighbors (the tortilla soup was delicious), baking cookies, and some fun in the ice…at least for the kids and Kory.  I stayed inside!

Gearing up to watch Home Alone

But before the winter weather arrived, on Thursday, I was exchanging emails with a friend who recently moved and whose address I needed to finalize our 2013 Christmas card list.  We were swapping stories as to why we were both a little behind with respect to getting our cards out. Ours should have gone out early this week, but with our little one sick, I didn’t get the cards (or anything else for that matter) done.

My friend, who is 20+ years my senior and has at least that much more wisdom than me, had this to say in response:

“Today happens to be my birthday and I am into the 60’s, which still seems impossible. But I can still remember my mother rocking me and rubbing my chest with some ointment called “Save the Baby”–sort of like Vaseline but with a strong herbal scent, supposed to open up congestion. So don’t think for a minute that sitting and holding isn’t a good use of your time!”

I cried.  

I needed this reminder during a week that, according to the world’s standards, has been completely unproductive.  There is no doubt that amidst these aspects of our life that appear to be so “mundane,” sometimes I worry about whether we’re accomplishing anything at all for our family.  And I wonder.  What will our children look back on and remember?

(My cousin posted a sugar cookie recipe that I’ve been wanting to try.  According to her friend that gave her the recipe, 6 tablespoons of heavy cream is the secret ingredient.  I didn’t have everything on hand to follow her recipe exactly, but I did have 6 tablespoons of cream so I added them to my own recipe, and they were the best sugar cookies we’ve ever baked!)

My grandfather passed away this spring.  At his memorial service, the family asked Kory if he would read some words of remembrance written by his children.  One of the memories Kory shared was from my mom.  During her bout with the chicken pox at a very early age, she recalls my grandfather holding her on his shoulder for hours at a time.  When she would say, “it itches, daddy,” he would gently swab her sores with a cotton ball.  I can almost see that in my mind’s eye.  And I know my mom can.  

Many other memories were shared.  A lifetime of them.  But that was the one that touched me the most.  Because those kinds of opportunities are presented to us in our roles as parents every day.  The ordinary.  The simple.  The not-so-news-worthy mundane events of life.  The kinds of things we don’t typically post on Facebook or Tweet about.  I think these are the things that very unexpectedly result in the sweetest memories for our kids.  And I am so encouraged by my mom and my friend who remember those moments with their parents even now.  

So I’m glad that last week turned out the way it did.  I’m thrilled that our kids have one more day at home before returning to school.  And as I look back on the photos that describe the last four days in pictures, I know what our kids will remember.  And that makes me happy!

Eating in front of the television was a big treat this weekend. We’ll be mopping tonight!

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” 

Ecclesiastes 3:1

How are you spending this season?

9 thoughts on “Unexpected Memories

  1. Sometimes the unexpected days turn out to be the best ones! It looks like you all made the most of Icemagedon too. I’m so happy you tried and like our cookie recipe. It is my favorite one by far.

  2. What a great blog entry! The ice storm came at a perfect time, when we needed to NOT play catch-up from the week, but to sit as close to the fire as humanly possible and just relax. We kept tabs on our Sunday school class friends…thanks to social media we could see who was powerLESS and powerFUL, and make sure everyone was taken care of.

    My kids are old enough that I know what they remember from their younger days. Of course they remember the big efforts, but they talk most about when Mom & Dad acted like kids…like going to the movies and eating popcorn for dinner.

    Squeeze your kids whenever you hear a single sneeze! I miss taking care of sick kids, although it wasn’t that long ago I cuddled my daughter and ‘put her down for a nap’ when she was freaking out about wedding plans!

    Enjoy the thaw and get back out there….and your new house is beautiful!!

    • Susan, I love weather that “gives me permission” to stop the madness! I’m actually sad it’s melting, but I know getting out of the house will be a good thing too. So glad your grown children will still let you take care of them. My mom and dad still do that for me. All this effort so that one day, we’ll be really good friends with our kids!

  3. Beautiful words, Jennifer – and so spot on! While 4 days of house detention has had it’s mind-numbing moments, it was an answer to prayer. Can’t count the number of times I’ve admitted out loud in the last several weeks that I felt my head was about to spin off my body. Guess God decided many of us needed this respite from the everyday hustle and bustle. Just hope those who have continued to serve through these last 4 days get their time to rest soon too!

    • Agreed! We had our “moments” too, but all in all, it felt so good to have all of my family in one place with NOTHING to do! Such an amazing blessing. And I felt the presence of God in a mighty way. Rest is amazing.

  4. It actually sounds like a great, productive week! I was racing around like crazy, and my little girl cut her finger, so I’m sitting holding her–and I’m enjoying this much more! I won’t be able to do this much longer!

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