Horndon on the Hill

“Let’s get lost today,” a husband said to his wife. They had only been married a few months and he knew how much she loved going for drives. The winding roads, charming houses and green everywhere felt enchanting. Rolling hills with sheep grazing stood by. Fields of farmlands gave beautiful colour and texture to the country. Having lived mostly in the city, the couple thoroughly enjoyed their countryside drive. After listening to the same CD twice, they reckoned their taste for adventure and new scenery had been satisfied and felt ready to go home.

However, on the way home there was an exit that read “Horndon on the Hill” next to a long narrow road that led up a hill. The wife could see a small neighbourhood. Intrigued, she persuaded her husband to get off the exit and maybe they’d find a nice pub for dinner before going home. He agreed, drove up the hill and together they looked for a pub. They passed some terrace houses and a small high street before seeing detached houses, a school and a library. The high street was so small perhaps they drove too fast and didn’t see it. The road dead-ended quite abruptly and they turned around, drove much slower and kept a look-out for somewhere to eat. There was a florist shop, a post office, a chemist, a kiosk, a take-away, a small grocer, a bakery and the pub. The wife noticed a mother with her child staring at her. The husband noticed two men who had been talking, stopped and began to stare at him. Uncomfortably, they continued to drive around the neighbourhood. Many of the the houses were lovely with gardens well tended to.

The husband grew increasingly annoyed with all the dead end streets. He turned around to find the exit. They both changed their minds about eating at a strange pub and decided they would rather go somewhere closer to home. Somehow getting lost no longer seemed as fun. The husband turned the car around towards the exit, but they found themselves on the high street again. An older woman in a flat above the kiosk watered her flowers and shook her head as she watched them drive by for the third time. The wife grew impatient. It was clearly a small town, how could they not find the road that led back to the highway? The sun was beginning to set, yet children were still out with friends. Groups of people gathered to socialise, which would have been nice if the couple didn’t feel like they were the topic of conversation. Finally the husband parked the car at the pub, they would eat and ask for directions. They sat a table near a window, placed their order, but found their conversation dry. An elderly couple watched them, and the wife stared back. The elderly woman held her husbands hand. Their faces were solemn, but not unpleasant. They nodded to the wife, as if to confirm something. Gathering whatever courage she had, the wife walked over to the table and asked, “How do we find the road that leads to the highway?” The elderly woman raised a tender eyebrow and replied, “You don’t. None of us ever found it.”

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Lessons From My Toddler: “Mommy, Help Me!”

I cannot even begin to tell you how many times my toddler cries out for me to help him. He screams like it is an emergency and when I don’t react straight away he absolutely goes nuts. Often, I say to him, ‘please get a grip’ OR ‘stop being silly, it’s not a big deal.’ Most of the time, it will be a toy he just has to have right this second or he might die.

Other times it could be something he wants to eat, or his youtube video he wants to watch suddenly stopped because it’s loading and he wants me to “fix it”. It could be a movie he wants to watch right now, or his tower of blocks fell and I have to rebuild it for him (future manager?) or whatever the case may be, I guiltily seem to always think it is not important. I say guilty, because it is important to him, in his little two year old life, so it should be important to me as well.

The other day as I thought about his temperamental requests, I realised I am not much different.

I am not screaming at my mother, but I am praying to God for things everyday, sometimes throughout the day. And though sometimes the things I pray for may seem unimportant, they are important to me at that time. Tomorrow morning I am attending a special breakfast at my church, and currently I am making sixty muffins for the event. I prayed that each muffin would turn out good. So far, none have burned. It may seem petty in comparison to bigger things in life, but I am grateful that God hears our prayers and answers them. I am not saying answers to prayers are always immediate, some answers may take years. However, I do feel God listens and is aware.

My toddler is teaching me so many lessons about myself. I, too, need to get a grip sometimes. And sometimes, I, too, need to stop being silly because it is not a big deal. And even though I could give him what he wants right away, sometimes I choose not to because he has to learn patience, respect, or do something I have asked him to do first. Perhaps God is also teaching me patience and other lessons.

Thanks Ethan, for making me realise how similar we are. I love you. x

Fun on photo booth

Friday Night is Date Night

2007

Over the past year there have been a handful of friends and family who have gotten married. I am often reminded of the excitement of our own wedding. Last night I thought about the whole process. The excitement of each stage. Realising you found someone special. Finding out he loves you back. The engagement. The wedding. The first positive pregnancy test. Experiencing the first baby.

Now that we have been married four and a half years, and we have two kids, I asked my husband last night, “What’s the next exciting thing for us?” I was not asking because I am unhappy in our marriage, I was just curious in my thought process and who better to ask than my spouse? His response was brilliant.

He spoke happily and excitedly that everyday as parents we should feel excited because our children are constantly growing, learning and doing new things. The exciting thing is knowing we are witnessing their life unravel before our very eyes. I thought about that for a moment and replied that it is most important then that we spend time together as a family so that we, together as husband and wife, are witnessing and watching our children together. I often feel like since I have the kids all day and I see a lot of what they do, so when Shaun has them, I do find myself  ‘running away’ for some quiet “me time” but this is where I need to improve. I should stay and have us all be together more. Balancing life was never easy. He is right, and now I need to snap out of it and enjoy motherhood more fully.

2009

Even after the kids are grown, we have grand kids to look forward to. The rest of our lives is the next exciting thing.

My husband went on to speak about how as a couple we are learning new things about each other as well. In the beginning of the dating phase, didn’t we all spend hours talking to our significant other? Hopefully it doesn’t stop. The other night my husband and I were up late into the night talking and laughing. It was wonderful. I love nights like that.

Back to my original question: After marriage and kids, what’s the next big thing for us? My husband returned it to me. My answer was simple. Spending time ALONE with my husband since it is so rare! When we are alone, we can hold hands. We can talk without interruption. Most importantly, it reminds me of the beginning and I fall in love all over again. Which, for me, makes date night the next big thing.

Love that kiss!

Friday night is set aside as our date night. Most of the time we stay home and have an extra yummy dinner and choose a film but once in a while we get to go out and it is so exciting! Sometimes we both spend hours looking at potential restaurants or entertainment ideas online, we talk about it all week, weigh out pros and cons of different options and then make a decision just before we head out the door. Tonight I am in charge of planning. I’m not telling him where we are going until we are in the car. 🙂

After marriage and a kid or two, Shaun is right, the next exciting thing is looking forward to every new day. And if, like me, one feels things have gotten monotonous, it is time to break the routine, get creative and allow some fun together as a couple.

When I am out with the husband tonight I will wonder if there is anyone else in the world doing that very thing at that very same moment? I hope so. Otherwise, what are we trying to save?

xx

PS Guess that film. 🙂

The House of 44666

My husband and I sat on the couch. He was watching a movie but my head was thinking about where I was ten years before. Living in a white house, on a long road that never seemed to end.

“Did I ever tell you about the time I lived in a haunted house?”

“Yep. Lots of times.”

“Well, pretend it’s the first time. It all started right after I graduated high school. Probably because I was home during the day all the time. The shower was in the basement and I normally waited until the younger ones had left for school and mom left for work. I swear I heard footsteps above me. People just walking around. And not just a few seconds. The whole time I was downstairs. My heart would start racing.”

“Sexy you were in the shower.”

“Hahaha! Glad you are listening! When I did go back upstairs everything would be still and quiet, but knowing I had heard something I did not feel alone. Which was creepy.”

“Are you going to tell me about the knock next?”

“Yes! Okay, mom and everyone else wanted to go to the park in Canal Fulton. I did not feel like going. We had a big suburban and a gravel driveway, so you know it’s loud when mom drives away. You can hear it. And I did. I then went into the bathroom to pee. There was a knock on the door. Immediately out of habit I said- HOLD ON! Then I thought- did mom come back because one of the kids suddenly had to pee? Probably Emma! Strange I did not hear mom’s car on the driveway, and she would not just pull up in front of the house. I thought all that in just a few seconds when someone knocked on the door again. I got irritated and shouted HOLD ON! When I opened the bathroom door, everything was still and completely silent. It was as if someone invisible was standing right in front of me staring me in the face, but I could not see them. I stood there a bit frozen and had to catch my breath. Mom and the kids were not there.”

“Crazy.”

“Did I tell you Emma talked to the ghost? We were all outside on the front porch when we joked about the house ghost taking stuff we could not find. Like a necklace my dad had given me. It was silver with three hearts. I had placed it in front of the mirror next to my make up. I took it off, put it there, went to sleep and in the morning it was gone. I never found it. I was in the same room! Imagine if I had woken to a floating necklace! Anyhow, Emma said the house ghost was a nice boy. Surprised I looked at her and was like what? She says, ‘His name is Cody.’ Or was it? It started with a C.”

“Maybe Casper?”

“Funny. No it was not Casper. I wonder if she would remember. She was only ten years old. But I have heard people say that children can see things us grown ups cannot. And maybe that is true because when we moved months later, we had help from our home teacher who had to bring his little five year old son. We went down into the basement and suddenly he looks around, like this, as if something were circling around his head. He whispered to me, ‘we shouldn’t be here.’ I was already holding his hand and we ran out as fast we could. That was the last time I ever stepped foot in that house. You believe me yes?”

“Of course. Can I finish my film now?”

“Yes I’ll be quiet now. I believe in ghosts. And aliens. Next time I’ll tell you why.”

“I can’t wait.”