Sunday, January 27, 2013

Reading the Comics

Do you read the newspaper's comics? We have for years, following certain ones closely that seemed to reflect our lives. It used to be "Baby Blues", then "Foxtrot" and "Zits". Lately "Pickles" covers some very familiar topics. :)

Reading comics in the Orr house is a bit of a tradition. I was reminded of that this morning as Nicole, Joseph and I were reading them in a coffee shop. We separate the comics into single pages (two on weekdays, and three on Sundays when they're in color) and hand one to each person. Then THIS happens . . . . .we read, we snicker, chuckle, and smile . . . then we look up and say "Luann" or "Stone Soup" or whatever name of the comic we just read and appreciated. That is code for "pay special attention to this one because it's extra great today". Then, occasionally, we will read a comic either so funny, so poignant, or so true for us that we will stop the other ones reading and make them read that comic right now.

I love the process. I love how we share and hand back and forth and make comments. Many times, the cartoons will spark memories, thoughts, ideas, and conversations. Now and then it will remind me of when Jasmine was very small and Joseph would pull her up on his lap and, since it was before she could read, he would read each one to her, panel by panel, making different voices for each character. It made her laugh. It was something the two of them shared and it is a sweet memory.

I cut out comics I like best. I send them to friends or put them on the fridge with magnets. I have a few I have had for more than 15 years.  One of my all time favorites was reposted today and I am including it here for your enjoyment. Hope it makes you smile as much as it did when we read it in the coffee shop this morning!
January 27th 2013 - Baby Blues,Rick Kirkman

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Creating Family Memories

When I was a little girl, oh heck, until I was off to college, my parents would take me on our annual "fall drive". We would get in the car, me in the back seat with books and a pillow, and head out of the city to the country roads. We would drive in search of finding a pumpkin farm to get a pumpkin to carve for Halloween, plus some tasty hot chocolate to sip, and we would each keep our eyes darting about to point out the most beautiful leaves on a tree . . . well, until the next one. We would exclaim at the colors and wonder why the trees dropped their traditional green garb in autumn to dress up in oranges, reds, browns, and golds. As a young child, I remember thinking they were dressing up for the upcoming holidays. (I still like that idea better than the scientific chlorophyll explanation.)

Reflecting back on that memory and how strongly it stays in my heart, I wonder what family memories we are creating for our children, and which ones they will most likely remember. Some they will be far too young to recall. When Jasmine was a baby, she would always fall asleep during car rides. On nights when she was just so wide awake at bedtime, we would get in the car and drive back roads for 30 minutes until she fell asleep. Then we would carry her like a fragile egg into the house to make sure she stayed asleep tucked under the covers between us. Those drives in the darkness were precious. Joseph and I had long talks and we sang to Jasmine and I nursed her (yeah, I know . . car seats . . . but now and then . .. ) and it was like we were in this cocoon of darkness with our headlights just showing what was a few feet in front of us. I know she can't remember those days since she was so tiny, but we do. I hope she does remember trips to Camp Singing Hills and countless days of ushering, and movie quotes on the computer screen and staying up late to watch movies.

I think that Nicole, Caspian and Coryn will remember many of the events from our life in Oregon. They will remember midnight runs to VooDoo Donuts. They will remember countless trips to the ocean/coast. They will remember Saturday nights on the couch watching some ridiculously stupid, cheesy scifi movie.They will remember sitting at tables in bookstores with piles of books, and passing them around to share and picking out something to take home.

What I want all of them to remember, more than anything, is that we are a family and that we loved every one of our wonderful children. We weren't infallible (lord, the mistakes we made over the years!), and sometimes our intentions were good but our follow through was flawed. Sometimes we were tired or broke or sick or sad . . . . and that impacted our ability to be mom and dad. But overall, without reservation, we have loved our four kids with every ounce of love we had, and did the best we possibly could.

And when they are grown ups, and we are gone, I desperately hope they will look back and smile. I hope they will realize that family memories are more precious than anything else and that they will, in turn, create precious memories with their own.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Happy New Year/Happy Birthday

Ah, I have been remiss in keeping up--apologies. I could blame it on work, which is partially true, but I have also been battling the dreaded LAZINESS plague. I get up in the morning and want little more than to spend the day on the couch reading, writing letters, watching movies and talking to my wonderful little family.
Alas, I have not found a way for that to earn money to pay bills, so I spend most of it in front of the computer instead. Work Karma has been good to me--I have been hired for a half dozen new jobs just in the first two weeks of the year. I am grateful. Tired, but grateful. :)

In addition to it being a New Year, today is also Joseph's 61st birthday. We are spending it the way he wants--a homemade breakfast with everyone at the table, then a few stops at thrift stores, perhaps a car parts store or two, and, if there's still time leftover, a peaceful layover at a bookstore. We sang to him at midnight and I gave him his traditional, very personal, no way Hallmark could ever compete with this card. We came downstairs to find post-it notes in every room saying, "Happy Birthday" from the kids. Tonight we will all gather in the living room to watch a cheesy monster movie or something along those lines. I also plan to call Joseph's mom and thank her for bringing such an amazing person onto the planet.

Tomorrow a few of the VW guys are heading over to the house to help Joseph rebuild an engine. I will be in the house researching for my next book and bringing out cold beers and hot pizza when the men are ready. Through every minute of this, I will be smiling, and basking in gratitude that I have this life, this man, and this family.