Monday October 18, 2010
Yesterday there was rain. Today there was sunshine and no one loved it more than our kids! Children love the sunshine. It beckons them, nourishes them, inspires them. When you're a child, everything seems possible in sunshine. I remember being a little girl, Teddy's age, and running through the beach with my cousin Elsa, thinking that life couldn't get better than being with your best friend, having fun, and being in the sunshine!
Teddy was the last one to get up. He has the hardest time falling asleep but he can also sleep in, like none of the other kids. In fact, all of the other kids, with the exception of Nina, Teddy and Inga :), got up at 6am and went on a sunrise hike with Dan and Joe! Dan is the embodiment of energy! I thought I had a lot of energy but that man surpasses all of my capacity and then some :)
|Helping Dan change Inga|
When Teddy came out of the bedroom in the morning, he crawled up onto the couch next to Silas who was playing on the iPad. He lifted the blanket that was covering Silas and draped it over his scrawny legs :) I watched as Silas looked at him and smiled. Those two love each other so sincerely! They are such little puppies...totally savage and wild one second and then soft and precious the next. Silas is built for bigness. Everything about him is stereotypically masculine, his strong shoulders, loud voice, athletic ability. But his heart is that of a soft poet, tender and loving, a contradiction to his rough and tumble exterior. He is such a blessing for Teddy and you can see in Teddy's eyes that Silas is one of his heroes! I pray that they will always bless each other, like my cousin Elsa and I have for all our lives, no matter how far we are from each other or how long it has been between seeing one another, we bless each other's lives!
The boys played on the iPad and waited for a grown up to be ready to go out to the beach while the girls played with Inga. That little Inga has brought such joy to our family. I love babies! I always have! I am just like my mom; she loves babies! Nina is just like me and my mom! So funny to see those personality traits in different generations. The three of us (my mom, me, and Nina) all get the same smile when we see a baby...we get the "Awww....baby love" smile.
Some people are nervous about the baby phase or get stressed around babies. Not me and my mom. We love, love, love babies. My favorite phase with my kids (okay each phase is my favorite...so precious...but this one is especially a favorite) was the first couple months of life. Many of my friends couldn't wait until their babies got bigger, more solid, more interactive, but me....I loved how preciously pure and angelic they were during those first couple of months. I can still hear their little sounds and even feel their tender fingers on the small of my back as I nursed them in the middle of the night. I clearly remember feeling like I was in a sacred moment...something no one else on earth had the privilege of experiencing! Now....I totally know those moments were sacred....every moment is sacred...we just get wrapped up in nonsense and fail to recognize the miracles right before us!!
|Teddy working away on the latest fort|
|Nina and Adelae helping Inga take tiny steps!|
Mid morning my friend Kristin came for a visit and helped us take photos as we played on the beach. Nina was in her element! She laughed, ran, played, dug in sand, screeched in delight. To the passer-by, nothing was wrong. We were just a large family having a perfect day on the beach! I watched Nina walk with her dada. Todd seemed happy, almost like the weight of his sadness and grief was removed for a bit. He was present in the moment, and I thanked God for it!
Teddy and the boys had dug a fabulous fort. The had spent hours on this vacation digging, searching for shells, poking stuff, just enjoying being together and being boys. As we all searched for the perfect shell, Nina bent down and explained that she had found something. Adelae and I turned to look at what she had found and to our amusement, she said, "It's an egg." Sure enough...it was a chicken egg. No idea how it got buried in the sand but Nina was super proud that she had found it.
|Silas, Teddy & Henry....so determined!|
After finding the egg, Nina and Inga put their little toes in the water. The water here is freezing...but it has never stopped any of our kids from getting in. I remember being a child and being impervious to the freezing temperature of the water. Now, you couldn't pay me enough to get in :) As Nina and Inga played in the water, I noticed how we were all watching Nina. We had all been doing that the entire weekend. We all knew how blessed we were to be together, to have this time to laugh and play, however, there was a constant unspoken dark cloud, looming just over the horizon. No one wanted to say a word about it, we all tried to just be present in each moment. If we were moved by sadness, no one was angry or bothered, we just went with it. But we were also super cognizant about the happiness that we were being given and I think that for every adult present this weekend we can genuinely say it was probably the first time in all of our lives that we literally did not take one second for granted! This in of itself was miraculous too!
|Wow the water is cold!|
|Dada is my Sunshine!|
|How did you like the cold water Inga-pie?|
The beach was a blast but soon it was time for lunch. The kids filed in and we dished up some more yummy grub. Gordy and Sharon are our clean-up crew and we so appreciate their fastidious neatness....the Spycher's would probably never let us return if it weren't for our "tidy" Gordy's clean-up routine is :) As Gordy and Sharon tried to restore the kitchen from the A-bomb that had exploded during the lunch brigade, Brandi, Inga, Nina, Adelae, Sosie and I went on a walk. By now, the weather had turned again and it was cold. We bundled the girls up and went for a nice walk/stroller ride. Nothing brightens Nina up like that little Inga!!
The rest of the afternoon was spent playing Majong on the iPad, playing Xbox, corralling the boys to the beach right in front of the house so we wouldn't have to spend hours walking back and forth from their many distant forts :), and just hanging out. Todd's cousin Shelly and her family joined us for dinner. It was so much fun to see the Jerners. Per, their oldest son, had been a huge part of our lives for the past several years while he lived in Santa Barbara and went to City College. In fact, aside from Kyle, he had been our primary babysitter and Nina adored him. I was relieved that Per came out to visit. Nina used to call him her "Bear" because she couldn't quite get "Per" out. I knew that Per had been avoiding seeing us, that the pain was daunting for him, but I was so thankful that he had come. He is so young and full of life and it overcame me to see the deep sadness in his eyes.
|Nina & Per in April 2010|
The reality is that none of us can avoid the awful tragedies of life. They are all around us but we often blind ourselves to them because they do not intensely impact us. Nina...she is impacting everyone she has ever touched and she is impacting thousands of others whom have never met her. My hope is that through this nightmare, everyone who is walking it with us, praying for us, supporting us, learns that life boils down to two simple things:
Being grateful for the blessings in our lives and,
Figuring out how we can bless those around us!
|Playing Xbox with Teague|
The kids and Dan had spent all day collecting fire wood so we had a wondrous campfire. Of course...we were missing ingredients for smores so off to the store I went again (my 20th trip for the day~). The smores and fire were awesome...Teddy and Silas must have repeated that about 50 times. We said goodbye to the Jerners and then goodbye to the Fliflets. Our vacation was coming to an end. It had been tremendous and had allowed us to create incredible memories! On this vacation, life was good and we were thankful!
|Playing with brother|