Monday, February 19, 2007

Veggie Tales, Anyone?

It's so wonderful to be living in a house full of young children again. Of course, "wonderful" was not the term I would have thought to use when I was actually an older sister in the house with younger siblings. In my present situation, I definitely have the "out-of-family" advantage of experiencing the celebrity-esque admiration of the youngest darlings!

But all the same, ...

In a house with young children, everyone stops to laugh at the two year-old when, at the dinner table, he drops a piece of meat off of his fork and exclaims in his young baby-accent, "Oh, man!"

In a house with young children, you begin to remember what it was like to hear--but not really hear--the warnings of "stop jumping off the furniture, or somebody's going to get hurt." But now you marvel at the daily routine of after-dinner jumping and rough-housing and getting hurt; you marvel at the patience and love of mothers who daily comfort the hurts that they were just warning against; and you realize that mothers never stop doing this, even after their children have become adults.

In a house with young children, it is magical to see the older siblings play with the younger siblings. Every game can be stretched across the age gaps. These brothers, who are eight years apart, will only become closer as they grow older:

In a house with young children, everything becomes make-believe. It's fun to play a game called "Orphanage," where the "Orphanage Keeper" tells everyone to go to sleep and then uses a broom to bop those on the head who make noise.

In a house with young children, there is plenty of imagination to go around. "Hospital" is a game achieved with a few sisters, a few pieces of wood, a shower cap, and a tissue:

In a house with young children, even the older siblings can come to know and love the innocence of childhood programs. Everyone learns to sing along with Bob and Larry and Junior Asparagus in the car on the way to and from Mass on Sundays. And even when no one's looking, the teenagers cuddle up with Veggie Tales characters...!

And in a house with small children, you never know where you'll find the best graffiti of these powerful role models:

Can you see that? Look closely:

I am going to miss living with this family in a few weeks!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Ahh, the purple flowers of winter!

It finally snowed this past week in Massachusetts!

And boy, did it snow! It took me over an hour to drive to work on Wednesday, which is usually about a 40-minute commute. The second car ahead of me on the highway at one point suddenly spun out and completed a 360+ degree turn, while those of us behind him fishtailed to a stop until he resumed control of his car. He did it again about a half mile down the highway, before we all decided to stay as far behind him as possible, until he pulled off at the next exit, his hazards flashing!

The snow came blowing down all day, and looking out the window, you could see the wind swirling the big flakes in circles around the hospital building.
All of my patients expressed concern about me getting home safely. All the therapists did whatever they could to leave as soon as the day was over. I switched a few patients around in my schedule so that I could leave a little early to go back home that afternoon. As it turned out, the drive home was not nearly as treacherous as the drive in. And the next day, although I left early because of predicted icy conditions, that drive pleasantly required much less wheel-gripping and eye-squinting!

It puzzled me why salt was not pre-emptively laid down on the roads before the snowfall on Wednesday. Or why the plows were not ready to be out as soon as the clouds rolled in. Weather forecasters across the country had been predicting this storm all during the entire previous weekend.
The flower shops were prepared; they made their deliveries for Valentine's Day on Tuesday, just in case they wouldn't be able to make it out on Wednesday. Why didn't the department of transportation act as wisely?

Anyway, because of the snowstorm, I received a lovely purple-themed bouquet upon my return home from work on Tuesday:

And now I appreciate why we celebrate Valentine's Day in the middle of February. A bouquet of fresh flowers in the middle of a winter storm really does a lot to raise mournful spirits and off-set the dread of waking up while it's still dark to go scrape off the car.

And purple flowers, ...well, they're even better!