Kindness to a Daughter (and Granddaughter)

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, August 10, 2014

birdhouse and flowers

Kindness to a Daughter (and Granddaughter)

My youngest daughter is leaving home, for college. Soon. This afternoon, we went for a drive, and ended up at a mall. I bought my daughter some needed clothes. We did a little windowshopping, too.

The wonderful thing about our drive (on such a beautiful day, too!) was that it was unhurried. We took our time, and had no time constraints placed on us. A wonderful feeling, too! We went into Chicago and drove through some areas that I had not visited for some time. We saw some really attractive areas of Chicago, and I went a little out of my way to show my daughter some special houses, and houses from the turn of the 20th century, too. (Fascinating!)

I took the opportunity to relate some vignettes about my mother—dead these past twelve years. My mom was an amazing lady, and her wide and varied interests included art, architecture, real estate, history, and political science. (She had a bachelor’s degree in political science, earned in the 1940’s.)

Traveling down those very familiar—yet not-recently-traveled—city streets sparked some bittersweet memories. My daughter and I continued to talk about her grandma, mentioned some things she used to do and places she liked to frequent. As I went further into Chicago, we also talked about her great-aunt, my mom’s sister. She died a few years ago, over ninety years old. Another dear lady.

My mother loved being a grandma. She loved all her grandchildren dearly. She would have been so excited to see her first grandchild (my niece) get married. Just two weekends ago, that happened in Washington state. I was unable to attend, but Grandma would have loved it. And, it’s another of the grandchildren entering another stage of life.

This is my third daughter going off to school. Yes, it’s bittersweet to have another child leave home. Yet, I am so pleased another of my children is doing so well. She is growing up to be a curious, competent, capable, and interesting young lady.

So, yes. I acted as a mom. I did more mom-things today, by buying my daughter several items for the fall semester. (My daughter really appreciated the clothes, and told me so.) I realize it’s kind-of my job, as a parent, getting my daughter outfitted for college. But, it wasn’t a chore. My daughter and I had a very enjoyable afternoon. It was fun. A good time. And yes, a bittersweet time.

I wish my mother had had the opportunity to see her grandchildren continue to grow, and learn. But I know my children were glad for all the time they did have with their Grandma. My mom was regularly kind and helpful to her grandchildren. And me? I was kind to my daughter today. Thanks, God, for a wonderful afternoon.

@chaplaineliza

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For the Joy of Reading!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, May 6, 2014

children heart illustration

For the Joy of Reading!

I love to read! I love reading out loud, too. (With some books, I have been known to do voices for different characters.) I’ve been told I have an excellent way with the spoken word, as well.

At my new position, I have the great joy and opportunity to read to some young people each Tuesday. Today being Tuesday, today was reading day! I had two excellent books to read to the children. The same two I read last week, except I changed the order in which I read them—so, I read Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema to the four year olds this week, and read Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey to the kindergarten children.

I’ve been reading for almost fifty years In fact, I can vividly remember the moment when I started ‘decoding’ the letters. My mother was reading one of the Oz books to me, by L. Frank Baum. (We had several, in hardcover.) I was barely four years old—it was winter, and cold weather. I remember her reading the words at the bottom of one of the full-page illustrations, and running her finger along as she read each word. Wow! I had the grand feeling of huge puzzle pieces falling into place as she did that. I suddenly understood what reading was all about. I connected those sounds and those letters that my mom was tracing and the words she read . . . and everything fell into place. It was glorious magic!

And after that, it seemed like I never stopped reading.

I read a great deal of fantasy and fairy tales when I was in grade school, although I had fairly eclectic tastes. (I was the youngest child in my family, so we had all the books from my older brothers and sisters around the house. I was free to read whatever I chose.) I started writing my own stories and books when I was a teenager. And I kept right on writing fiction, through my twenties, into my thirties and forties—and took a break when I went to seminary. Or, instead, started to write serious papers and articles. And started to write sermons, too!

Sermons seem to be a great combination of several skill sets. A confluence, if you will, of several streams of interest. I’ve written here about my preaching before, and I’ll say again—I love it! There is something so satisfying, so deeply moving about handling the scriptures. Praying about what to say. Crafting the structure, the arc of the message. And then—the delivery. Excellent!

Reading picture books to children is also excellent, but in a different way. I get up close and personal. I can interact with the children. (I do interact with the congregation, too, except it’s different. Somehow.) I felt this wonderfulness today, as I read the picture books. And I connected with the children. Up close and personal. God, thank You for this awesome opportunity that You’ve given me—to read to children once more! Such an opportunity. So rewarding. Thank You, God.

@chaplaineliza

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