In the movie, THE BIG CHILL, family and friends gather at one person’s home to attend a funeral and reminisce about a friend who just passed away. Well, no one in my family has passed away, but in the last few weeks, we’ve gathered by the bunches, both here and in Texas, to share the burdens of some of the troubled times of our family and friends.
Due to some unfortunate circumstances, a local family with 8 children were without power at their home for a WEEK. Their children’s ages range from 5 months to 17 years old. They are good friends of ours; both my children have “best friends” in their family. Of course, we invited them to stay with us until their power was back on. Although OUR house was extremely busy, it was joyfully busy. My children were busy with their friends creating new activities and playing with the things they normally ignore. My friend and I were able to really talk with each other in ways we hadn’t since the baby was born. She and I worked side by side in the kitchen (I am usually by myself), and the company and help was a nice change. And at one point in time, most all of the children (including the two 4 year olds) were dust, dust, dusting my entire house. (I just love the effect of the DUST, DUST, DUST song). We had a nice pile of dirty rags for the washing machine – it felt like a real life version of a Milk & Cookies class.
At the same time, Hurricaine Ike was hitting Galveston and traveling through the parts of Texas where ALL of my extended family live, my aunts, uncles, cousins… my mom is part of a LARGE family. One of my relatives has a beach house on Galveston where we meet each December for a Christmas Party. It’s been a tradition since I was a young child. My mother and I were all on pins and needles waiting to hear from our relatives, while they moved inward from the coast and stayed with other family a bit farther away. Fortunately, most of the news has been good so far; no one was hurt, and other than a bit of flooding damage, the properties are alright. We still haven’t heard about the beach house. Although, I did have to chuckle about one scene on the news with a truck sloshing through deep waters on Galveston Island with a huge sheet of plywood attached that read, “Go away Ike, Tina’s not here.”
Power was out for several days, even in the mid-Texas homes where several of our families had gathered. But thanks to CELL phones, calling a houseful of relatives allowed me the chance to talk to a variety of people, one after the other, with whom I haven’t chatted with in awhile. It was good to talk with them and hear their very Texas accents, and how they explain a story in such a different way than the person I just spoke to before. Hearing multiple perspectives of the same situation is very interesting.
It somehow reflects some of the scenes in the movie, “Big Chill”. That movie really shows how troubled times can truly bring people together – all staying together in the same house. Plus, the music is awesome! I love the kitchen scene, all dancing and working together. WOW! I just found that scene on YouTube. So cool!
Troubled times bring families and friends together, to talk, work, and just BE alongside each other. It’s amazing how a lack of electricity, or an abundance of people, will get us all outside a bit more, talking in more depth while working side by side, watching the children be more creative than usual, and just being there to support each other.
I SAY, WHY WAIT ? Getting together with other family or friends for an extended visit is a wonderful way to spend a weekend. I enjoy visiting my friend in Zephyrhills for a full day, letting the children play for an extended time, and helping her complete some craft she started, or pulling off a gigantic project for her job as a elementary school librarian – she likes to do things BIG. We put on some fun music in the background and just enjoy singing along with the music together, as we are fixing up a meal for everyone. Although it has been since mid-summer that we enjoyed such a day.
Real life CAN be that way sometimes! In troubled times, OR with extended family or friends, OR even just with your own family. Put on some music and dance around the kitchen, working together side by side.
Mind you, it is very difficult to get much Kindermusik work done when there is a houseful of people for which to cook and clean; when there is a certain 5 month old to keep happily entertained (it is a combined effort, but she is such a cutie that it is a joy); AND when needing to play referee within the waning good and challenging times that occur when several children (esp. 4 year olds) are around each other for extended periods of time (sometimes that even includes grown ups).
And it has been hard to concentrate on WORK when my mind is occupied with worries for my family in Texas. And for the 3 weeks before that, my mom went through heart surgery and two week long stays in the hospital. Although she needed a lot of hand holding then, she is much better now and regaining her strength – now that her heart is getting a lot more blood running through it!
So I apologize for not blogging, for not being as ready as usual for the beginning of the semester, and for not making as many phone calls and emails. I appreciate your patience. I’ll be getting back into the swing of things now. Matter of fact, I think I’ll put on some swinging music from the Milk & Cookies CD, and get ready for this next week !
Maybe I will just copy this “Big Chill” article and use it for my Christmas letter. You can make the Worst of Times seem like the Best of Times.