Halloween was this past weekend and I didn't get a single picture of all four kids in their costumes. Although I'd asked them to please not leave the house without me taking a picture of them, do they listen? (Usually yes ... on Halloween night when everyone is desperate to get outside ... no.)
For the record, William was a werewolf, Elizabeth was Frankenstein's daughter, Henry was a dinosaur trainer (Owen, to be exact), and Carolyn was a zombie colonial girl. It brings me great joy that Carolyn still wears her costume from Colonial Williamsburg that I purchased two years ago, after one too many ales, when I thought it would be a superb idea to spend the equivalent of a mortgage on handmade colonial garb for the whole family. It's good to know that at least one of my children is getting our money's worth out of the costume.
Here's Elizabeth with her haul ... she lost count at 420 pieces of candy.
Charlie and I were dressed up, too ... as Colonial people, of course. When we arrived at the neighborhood block party and we were the only adults dressed up, Charlie said aloud to everyone, "So ... it would appear that WE were the only ones that received the memo?!"
After the neighborhood shindig, we retreated back to our house, dragged out our fire pit, and hosted several friends at the base of our driveway. And so it is, our tradition of Halloween 'smores has successfully migrated and taken root in Texas.
Last week, I was away on a business trip in Puerto Rico, and after our very productive meetings during the day, I had the privilege of kayaking with one of our senior managers (my boss' boss) through a bioluminescent lagoon in twilight. It was so awesome ... one of the coolest things I've ever done in my life. We paddled through a twilight harbor, and entered this lagoon where the pitch black sky was drenched in stars. We put our hands in to the water and splashed around to see the phytoplankton light up, and over head, there was a huge shooting star. A fiery meteor so large, I could make out the shape and texture of its rocky surface as it flew through the atmosphere.
It was a truly spiritual experience and I felt the most amazing sense of peace in my soul.
On our paddle back to the loading zone, we navigated a canal that was draped in mangroves. Our guide shined a light up in to the trees and pointed out the 4-foot iguana that was perched on the limbs above us and told us how these huge reptiles, with their huge claws, will often teeter off the branches and fall in to the boats. In that moment, we heard a loud "SPLASH!" and both my senior manager and I let out a scream and startled so hard, we almost capsized. We then started rowing so fast, our previously synchronized paddles were clanking off each other.
(Good feeling GONE.)
While I was away, Charlie received this letter from our insurance company. I'm not sure why this cracks me up ... it's really not very funny, but it is nice to know that my insurance has approved me for brain surgery.
As word travels that I'll be going in for surgery in the next few weeks, so many people have expressed that they are amazed how "composed" I seem to be during all of this. To which I've replied, "What is the other option?"
As my sister Janet says, ours minds can be like a bad neighborhood, so she prefers not to go in there, alone. You've got to roll up the windows, lock the doors, turn on some happy music, and keep your eyes on the road.
Perspective is important. Consider, if not for modern medicine, I would have checked out of this world 40 years ago, when I had a ruptured gangrenous appendix at the age of 5. Charlie would have checked out at 18-years old when he had a ruptured gangrenous appendix. When I look at things that way, I clearly see that each day has been nothing if not a gift.
Between me and the kids, this week I've been at the doctor's office almost every day. I've been going through a lot of tests, and the triplets have been going in for their 11-year-old check ups.
What I didn't realize is that ELEVEN is a big age for shots. In addition to the flu shot, they get their tetanus vaccination, and a host of other things (at least three that I could count). To say that Elizabeth turned inside out at the prospect of a shot is an understatement. Yesterday, she received her flu vaccination, and the only way she could get it, is if she was cradled in my lap with her head on my shoulder. When she overheard me talking to her father that she would be going back in two weeks for more shots, she imploded.
So I told her exactly what I've been telling myself the past few weeks.
"Why worry about something that hasn't happened? Why distress ourselves with dark imaginings for what may or may not occur? It's not in the here. It's not in the now. So let it go and just be present in THIS moment." Then I showed her a picture of the 38 shots I had to have when I had my allergy testing last month.
At the sight of this, she screamed like a 4-foot lizard had fallen in to her boat.
And agreed, yes ... it could always be worse.