In our family...

In our family....we do second chances...we do grace...we do real...we do mistakes...we do I'm sorry (and I forgive you)...we do loud really well...we do hugs...we do family...we do love.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fresh Eye's

Today is my day off from work and I have errands to run and shopping to do but due to the heavy snow falling and very limited visibility, we will not be going anywhere. As you know, I am sick and tired of this snow and cold, as most people that live here are. Spring can not come soon enough and here in Minnesota, spring will not be here for awhile and we have been known to have winter until the end of May.

Mother nature can sure have a sense of humor as in bringing nice warm weather and allowing us to think that spring is here…as in the middle of May in 1983, when I left for the hospital to give birth to my middle daughter, girls were in their bikini’s laying out in the sun(Just what I want to see when I am big and pregnant!) and while in the hospital, we had record high temperatures. A week after coming home from the hospital, it started raining and eventually turned into snow and pretty soon we were in the middle of a blizzard. Talk about depressing.

So here we are having another snowfall, with below 0 temperatures to follow…ugh. At the beginning of the winter, my little people, welcomed the snow with shrieks of glee. Today, not so much. Janie, from Midlife Slices who is having to suffer with 85 degree temperatures, happens to like this cold and snow, so I invited her to come here and enjoy it with me and be the entertainment director for the little people. She is lucky that it’s too cold for the snow to stick or I would be throwing a snowball (or two or three or four) at her. Anyone up for a snowball fight?

Now if Thistle, from Thistles and Maple Leaves, didn’t live so far away, I would be trying to get snowed in with her, since she has been getting hit with this lovely white stuff too. I have dreams of getting snowed in with her and drinking wine with her to pass the time. Oh what fun! Of course Janie would be here entertaining the little people, so I would have no worries whatsoever. None.

Early this morning, as the snow was starting to fall, I was remembering a winter we had back in the 90’s. A rural church in our area, sponsored a man and his 3 children that had escaped from Sudan. It was a sad story, as this man’s wife was not so lucky. They came right smack in the middle of winter and one in which we had many below 0 days. I am sure they had no idea what they were getting into by coming to Minnesota in the middle of winter but I am sure that when you are running for your life and the lives of your children, it didn’t matter.

They rented a small house, just down the street from us. I knew many of the people from the church that brought them here, so they hooked them up with us, since we lived down the street. They spent many of their day’s at our home, either with me caring for his children while he tried to get on his feet, or eating with us and our helping him with his culture shock. It was a big culture shock for them to come to our small rural, all white, community. They spoke very little and understood very little English but somehow we found a way to communicate. Immediately cold weather clothing and outdoor wear were given to them.

This man had a very hard time with the cold weather although the snow fascinated him. I remember one of the first days that I watched his children, I offered to give him a ride to where he needed to go but he declined my offer, only to return 5 minutes later asking for a ride. From then on, he was not shy about asking for rides. He and I shared many laughs over his attempts to learn how to cook, do laundry, care for his children and deal with our weather…I think there were a couple of snowballs thrown a time or two.

What I love about smiles and laughter, is that they are universal. In spite of our communication gap, we shared laughter…and hearing him laugh was like music to my soul because I knew the horror that he came from. The other thing that stands out, is how thankful and appreciative he was towards my family and I. The constant tears in his eye’s spoke volumes and I know that often times the smiles on his face were to keep the tears from falling.

What got me reminiscing about this winter and this family, was remembering, how his children loved the snow. They played outside as much as they were allowed. They could not get enough of it. Their screams of delight each time it snowed brought tears to my eyes. They were completely fascinated by this beautiful white stuff that fell from the sky. Their delight was infectious and caused my children and I to see the snow(among many other things as well) through fresh eyes. These children were so sweet and I came to love the constant hugs I received from them over something as simple as giving them hot chocolate with marshmallows or building a snowman with them. I remember how the oldest boy loved to shovel the snow and would beg to go outside and shovel with me or my oldest son. I remember how their awe and wonder over most everything brought shouts of glee and giggles from them.

The fondness of these memories overflow as I think about all the lessons I learned about life, from this man and his children. They taught me the preciousness in the simple things in life and how much I took for granted. They helped me to see my world through fresh eyes. Eventually, this family moved to California because this man could not adjust to the cold. I have never forgotten them nor will I ever forget that winter, when I seen my world, my life, through new eye’s. I needed to remember all of this today.


Busy Bee Suz said...

such a wonderful post...glad you are able to "see" things through fresh eyes today. The story of the family from Sudan is very touching. I wonder how they are doing today?
I wish I could send you some of our warmth and sunshine too...but you will have to trade me your mild summers while I am here melting. deal???

The Incredible Woody said...

With every visit, I am amazed at how giving you are. Your family (and friends and community...) is very lucky to have you!

Sending thoughts of warm, sunny days your way!!

Jan said...

You write such lovely posts, Lori. I can completely sympathize with that poor man - sometimes I wonder if I will ever adjust to the cold.

It's hard for me to realize that it will be March in a couple of days and winter still is not over, and won't be for probably another six weeks. In Texas, Spring is definitely on its way - the daffodils and Bradford pears will be blooming in just the next week or so.

Of course, I can always take comfort that when the daffodils and Bradford pears begin blooming here, they will bloom for much longer, and I'll get to have Fuchsia in a hanging basket on our front porch all summer again, something that would never survive the intense Texas heat.

I take the good where I can find it!

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

I loved how you expressed that. I'm here in Southern California where the temps are probably about 83 degrees right now. I feel very blessed to enjoy the warmth and trust me, I wish I could send you some!

Enjoy the cold by snuggling up with the kiddos.

midlife slices said...

I've been out all day trying to get the heat to move your way. It's not cooperating and it's hot, but it's supposed to cool off tonight. If you can throw that far, feel free to smack me with that snowball. I might make us both feel better. :)

I can't imagine having cold a long as you all do, but HBL was born in Minnesota and lived there until around age 8 so he remembers it well. His parents talk about the bitter cold all the time so it must be something you never forget. I'm praying for you and meanwhile, try to stay warm. ((HUGS))

The Panic Room said...

man. I'm glad I posted the tropical paradise today. You need some SUN :) I really can't imagine how hard it must be to live in all of that cold.

Stepping Thru said...

Every time I think I have seen the best side of you I find that you have so many more. We should all be more open and caring about others and look at the world through new eyes.
I just got back from Chicago and it was cold up there but I think Minnesota might be way too much for me. You have to be tough to live there and I'm just a sissy.

Fragrant Liar said...

It's amazing how some people can enter your life and exist in it for such a short time, yet leave such a lasting impression and heartwarming memories. That's what it's all about.

Anonymous said...

You give me "fresh eyes" every time I read your blog. There are days when I come here and leave completely humbled and renewed. Your blog can be written on your worst days and it still provides the rest of us something to think about. On your better days we are left warmed and enriched. You are "fresh eyes" and I thank you for it.

Smart Mouth Broad said...

It's so beautiful but after living in Indiana I know how it gets really old by this time of year. I'm sending your warm wishes and hugs.

gram said...

it would be fun to introduce someone to snow for the first time. i'm with you tho, i'm real sick of the snow myself!! the sun has such warmth this time of year tho and i think spring is just around the corner!!! stay warm my friend, things will be looking up soon, I HOPE!! have a great weekend!!

thistle said...

I am finally getting round to getting caught up on everyone, altho to do it i've to tell myself it's ok to not write anything on my own blog for a couple of days...and you are absolutely right, we would have fun if we were snowed in together...and if Janie couldn;t make it...i could probably keep those kids busy while you took a nap or two. Despite not having any of my own, kids and i seem to get along pretty well. Think it may be that small things amuse small minds scene.

But better than being snowed in, i wish i could send you some of the milder weather we seem to be receiving these days. Actually had to open the window of the car while driving between appointments yesterday...and no, it wasn't just a hot flash, in case you're wondering ;)