Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Most Important Lessons

No matter how hard a parent tries to teach their children Life's important lessons, the core values that you hope will stick, and carry them through, it seems like the mundane, repetitive stuff won't even get in there.  "Look both ways!"..."Wash your hands!"... "If it's not a toothbrush or food, DON'T PUT IT IN YOUR MOUTH!"..."Don't yell."... "What do you say? Excuse me. Thank you."

Then, sometimes, without any sort of prompting, they just blow you away with what they know.

My daughter and I went out to do some Back To School shopping. She's going into third grade.  Long ago I learned to just buy the PTA packet, rather than spend many stressful hours running all over town to get the best deals, or find that elusive drawing paper the art teacher wants. Plus our school always pools supplies, so it's just heart breaking for them to pick out special stuff they like, only to have it confiscated and put in the supply closet.  But we always go find a brand new backpack, and lunch box to start the new year. Any special supplies get kept on her homework desk at home.

Well, she picks out a backpack.  Yay! Her favorite was only $10. Matching lunchbox. Check. Cute pencils. Check. Then we spot some pretty pink calculators, and some erasers. Check. Check. We load all this up into the backpack, because we forgot to get a basket.  We go check out. I pay. The cashier puts everything in a sack and hands her the backpack.

She stops me and says, "Mom, this is still in here." The pink calculator. We turn back and I get out some cash to pay for the dollar item.  As we are walking away, she says, "I know that it would have cost us less money not to say anything, but it's worth it, because I want to feel that feeling in my heart, being close to God."

Uh, yeah. What she said. I don't know when or where she learned that, because I don't recall giving her a specific lesson about it, but I know plenty of grownups who don't get that.

I'm also going to sleep a little more soundly, knowing that my girl is going to be okay in her life. She's got "that feeling in her heart", and that can teach her better than I can, any day!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Dad's Home

We took Dad's ashes to New Mexico, to be interred at the Santa Fe National Cemetery. It was a clear day, blue sky, puffy white clouds, and just enough breeze to keep us from noticing the unusually high temperature. In attendance: His wife, two of my Dad's sisters, myself, my husband and two kids. The Honor Guard stood on either side of him and after we had spoken some words, they opened the flag and then folded it again, in a triangle and presented it to his wife. She then gave it to me. I put a photograph of my Dad, in his military uniform, into the box that held his ashes.

We went to lunch to wait for them to finish the burial and then visited the site. My daughter gathered some wildflowers to place on the grave. He would have liked that so much more than a florist arrangement.

Dad wanted to be buried in Santa Fe, because he lived there a long time, and from the moment he arrived there, he'd felt it was the home of his heart. He traveled extensively throughout the world, and lived in many places, but no place did he feel more "at home" than New Mexico.  I love New Mexico too, and will probably visit this gravesite many times, when we travel there. I know he's with God, but am comforted to know that his remains are exactly where he asked for them to be, now.