Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Enter Here

We've had a great few days here weather-wise, and have spent hours upon hours in our big backyard. This morning was a little chilly for the little pool we set up for the boys, but that didn't mean playing with water was out of the question. Laurence was using the little watering can to water his new seedling -- the inside of a helicopter he'd just planted. Of course Loic wanted in on the action, and 5 can-fulls later, the boys had created a very nice, messy & fun mud pit. They were delighted to discover they'd flushed out several earthworms in the process, and spent about an hour finding them & watching them wiggle. As lunchtime approached I noticed Laurence had disappeared and we came inside to find him working intently at the counter. "Whatcha doin'?" I asked. "I'm just about done, then you'll see." I went about my business of preparing lunch and a few minutes later he says, "There! Look mom." I turn to see him holding up the tiniest piece of paper with "ENTR" written on it. "It's for the worms, so they know how to get into the pool we made for them."

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In other news, Loic is talking more and more and more and more. My new favorite word(s) of his .... bathing suit. He says "baby dupe." I find myself making him say it over and over, and dreading the day when he learns how to say it correctly.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

This one's for you, JoePa!

Yesterday Laurence says, "Mommy, do you remember that man who broke his foot?"  No one comes to mind, so I say, "What man, Laurence?"  He says, "You know, that old man, with the shrinkly skin."  This is still not ringing a bell with me, but then he adds, "The football man."  OK, got it!  "You mean Joe Paterno?"  "Yesssss!  Joe Paterno.  I hope he doesn't have to still be in the box."  Another very touching moment in our house.  If you don't "get it," read on...

Joe Paterno, affectionately referred to by many as JoePa, is the head football coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions, Laurence's favorite football team (somewhat by coercion, but I'll take it).  JoePa, who is 82 years young, has been coaching at Penn State since 1950, and was named head coach in 1966.  He has coached thru 11 U.S. Presidents, and 4 of my family members' days at Penn State (my dad, my brother, my husband, and me).  With a 3-year contract recently signed, retirement is nowhere in sight.  This guy is a legend, and in my eyes is certainly considered a hero and wonderful example to all humankind.  I don't care how much money he makes & I don't mind the occasional losing season.  His leadership, coaching style, and dedication & generosity to the university and community are inspirational to say the least.  

Four days before the season-opener last fall, Paterno, 81 at the time, injured his leg while attempting an onside kick during practice.  Imagine that!  Laurence remembers hearing about the incident, and during each televised game would watch intently for JoePa's face to appear from the press box, remarking on how sad he looked.  Not that Paterno always appears to be a barrel of laughs during any game, but he certainly seemed rather subdued not being on the sidelines where he belongs.  I'm touched that Laurence picked up on all of this -- clearly he really pays attention -- and that he continues to be concerned this many months later, as the beginning of football season once again approaches.  

I hope Joe Paterno coaches for as many more years as he desires, but certainly long enough for my boys to learn from his example as I have.

Monday, June 1, 2009

O Lilac, My Lilac

I absolutely love lilacs.  I look forward to them all year, and enjoy every moment of their short bloom-span each May.  I grew up with a row of them between our house and the neighbors' and though I took them for granted I do think they laid the foundation for my healthy obsession.  When we moved into this house I was thrilled to discover there was one in our yard.  We'd never planted any at either of our other houses because we tend to move around so much, and lilacs take a long time to become established.  Anyway, this year was an especially good year for our bush.  I could tell early on that it would have plenty of blooms, and when it was finally full I was amazed.  It was gorgeous.  And it lasted two days.  That's right.  Only two days before the torrential rain stripped every last beautiful flower.  I felt robbed.  What a waste, huh?

Anyway, today we were in the yard and the boys were playing in the "woods" next to our yard that I've mentioned before (see "What is that, Velcro?").  Loic kept bringing me leaves, which he calls flowers, and Laurence decided to get in on the action.  He comes walking up, hands behind his back, and says, "I have a very special surprise for you."  He brings one hand up in front of me, and there between his thumb and forefinger are 3 tiny purple wildflowers.  He says, "Here.  These are to remind you of your lilac.  I know how much you miss it."  Ohh!  His thoughtfulness overwhelms.  If not for that rain we would not have shared that very special moment, and I would not be re-telling it here now because I want never to forget it...
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