March 30, 2015

A letter to my daughter

Jubilee, my girl, hear me say this: being a girl isn't easy.

Your daddy says females are like moths (deal with us too roughly and we turn to powder). He's right, you know. And yet, he knows there is strength beyond measure inside of us. He has seen it when I birthed your brothers, and again when I battled depression.

And he watched you and I, as we painstakingly crafted a mother-daughter relationship from the ashes of your abandonment.

We are strong.

But still, being a girl isn't easy. Every 28 days you'll be reminded of that. And in the long hours of the night, when you are nursing your baby while your husband slumbers beside you in your bed, you'll know that yours is a life of self giving. Your body is not your own; it will be stretched and scarred, enjoyed, fed from, and clung to for years and years. Your heart is not your own; it will hopelessly belong to your loved ones, in a way that only a woman can know.

But girl, you will always be an individual. Don't lose sight of that, either. When you get the chance to voice your thoughts, do it. Oh please do it. If you can throw a perfect spiral, throw it. Don't let the fact that you are a girl hold you back. If you find yourself at a rock face in China, and you are conveniently wearing leggings under your sundress, climb it. Why the heck not?
After all, moths can fly.

March 24, 2015

The "one"

For years now I've preached against dating, claiming that when you find "The One" you'll know, right off the bat, and that'll be that.

Because that's how it went for Daniel and me.

But what I'm learning in my old(er) age is that what is true for one person is not necessarily true for someone else. In fact, believing in the myth of "The One" might actually be detrimental to the sacrament of marriage. When things go amuck in the marriage (as things most certainly will from time to time), the believer in said-myth might be tempted to think, 'She must not be the one,' or 'He must not be the one,' and then be tempted to head off in search of this fabled "one."

I'm starting to think that I had the order wrong. First you marry someone, and that makes him or her the one. He or she is, after all, "the one" you married. Could there be anyone else out there for you? Who cares, because you'll never be single again to find out.

And you wouldn't want to be.

The point isn't marrying the perfect person, because perfect people don't exist. The point is marrying the person you love, and then working together toward a marriage that can never be perfect, but can be utterly amazing none-the-less.

And it is on that note that I would like to introduce to you Mr. and Mrs. Jack Rademaker. Lovely couple, don't you think?

Here's to your lifetime together, my dear brother and his dear wife. I love you both.

March 18, 2015


Over lunch today, Gene said:

"Life goes like this. First we are zippy-zappy kids. Then we are confused tweens. Then crazy teens.  Then we become calmer adults, who stay up late watching movies, doing their finances, and making sure nobody eats sweets. After that we turn into really nice old people who tell stories. Then it's time to strap on our jetpacks and go to Heaven."

Alrighty then.

Here is the little philosopher now, wearing his new socks from Grammy, hand-knit with love. These socks are a product of Gene mentioning over Facetime recently that good socks are hard to come by. Now, what knitting-needle-wielding grandmother can resist such a cry for help? I measured his feet and Grammy set to work (from her RV in Arizona, of course). The package was shipped, the package arrived, and now Gene declares these the best socks ever worn by two feet.

Gene also told me I should pick up knitting, since I, "Get all my skills from Grandma anyway." I guess almost-ten-year-olds have it all figured out.

March 16, 2015

Big White

Going to the movies.

I remember the first movie Eugene ever saw on the big screen. Wall-E. It would be the last movie Sue-Sue ever saw on the big screen. She wouldn't have gone at all had her love for her great-grandson not been greater than the pain in her knees. Every step was an effort as she hobbled from the concessions to the ticket-collector, but Gene's little legs were so small he never noticed; their paces matched.

All through the movie - which many other kids found boring - Gene and Sue-Sue cuddled and pointed, smiling wide-eyed together at the beautiful animation. I may as well not have been there. They were in their own little world.

He was a late-two/early-three. She was in her 80s. His fascination with G0D's world was fresh, hers was renewed. Their hearts matched.

Gene has seen more movies on the big screen since that day, but not too many more. Living in East Asia, we don't get the opportunity as often as other kids might. This month, however, we had the chance to see Big Hero 6 at the theater and we jumped at it. All 6 of us headed to the mall, along with carloads of our friends. It was a good show! Because the movie was in English, there were Chinese subtitles along the bottom of the screen. Baymax's name was translated for Chinese viewers into the name, "Big White." We loved that.

Brave and Jubilee cried (they aren't used to seeing villains come to life on such a large scale!) and the popcorn we bought for each kid as a special treat was hardly touched (waste of money there), but it was probably the first movie our five-year-olds will remember seeing on the big screen. And that is something.

March 08, 2015

Comings and goings

Good people come into our lives all the time. That's the good news. The bad news? Good people go out of our lives all the time.


We say it waaayyy more than anyone should have to. And we said it again this week, to our dear friends who are moving to his homeland, where she doesn't speak the language and doesn't quite fit in (boy, do we know what that's like). The least we can do at these tearful partings is throw a party, complete with a sponge cake torte. Heck, if we plan to boo-hoo all evening, we may as well do it over food.

And yet, good people come into our lives, too, as I've already said. Prime example: this week Daniel and I are gaining a sister-in-law and the kids are gaining an aunt! My brother Jack will marry Melissa in the presence of his kids while on a cruise ship! I got a text message from him this morning saying that they had landed safely in Florida and were preparing to set sail. Welcome to the family, Melissa!

Another welcome is in order, too, though on a smaller scale:) We now have two bunnies! Our three-year-old lop, George Fuzzy, has been paired with a gorgeous caramel-colored European cottontail (purely for companionship, as George is neutered). The female, to whom the kids have given the name Winifred, is what you might call "big boned" (she outweighs George by quite a bit) but she is the SWEETEST thing. We think George is crazy to be so standoffish. Daniel tried having a talk with George, man-to-man, telling George that Winnie is the best thing that has ever happened to him, that he'll never do any better than her, that he's not getting any younger, yada yada yada, but so far George hasn't listened. Oh well, the internet says it will take a couple of weeks for the bonding to be complete, and then they'll be inseparable. We hope so! We will be away from home for six months starting in June and we didn't want George to be lonely.
George after his prenupual grooming (I trimmed his dread locks and toe nails, and wiped out his eyes with a warm cloth). 

Daniel bringing Winnie up the stairs.

A little meet-n-greet.

Daniel and Gene turning our veranda into a bunny enclosure.

The pair in their new home.