The last 2 days

There are so many things I can add to my Gratitude Journal! These past two days have been full, full days of joy. So many things I want to hold onto forever. Such sweetness. Such joy. I am thankful for much. These blessings I want to cherish for a long, long time.

11. The 4 of us devouring a mint chocolate chip ice cream sundae sitting in the middle of Main Street waiting for the fireworks show to begin. Right there smack dab in the middle of the street, sitting on Natalie’s fuzzy purple blanket. Four black spoons digging in. Ice cream melting fast and moving around with the invading spoons coming in from all angles. Hot fudge sauce pure delight. Each of us breaking off pieces of the waffle bowl, chomping on the chocolatey sweetness of the waffle part that was deep in the bowl. Were we rushing because the fireworks show was about to begin in 7 minutes when Daddy arrived with the sundae in hand? Or were we all rushing because we all wanted our fill and there was no time to savor our bites; otherwise it would all be gone. Jacob and Natalie both giggling and chomping and expressing “look how fast we are all devouring this!” Pure joy in the middle of a Christmasy scene at Disneyland.

12. As soon as the music began, heralding the start of the fireworks show, daddies everywhere on Main Street hoisted children up on their shoulders or up into their arms. Including our Daddy. Though Natalie is 5 and Jacob is 7, Daddy is strong. There he stood holding 100 pounds of long, lanky arms and legs of his two children. Two children in pure delight of being held by the strong arms of their Daddy. His back, I’m sure, shooting some  pain here and there, but two content children enough to mask that backache I’m sure.

13. Mama Bear equally happy that at one point Jacob wanted to climb down from Daddy’s embrace and come up into my arms. Jacob’s face snuggled up against mine. The softness of his cheek against my sun-blotched, more wrinkled cheek. His turning to plant a sweet kiss on my cheek. Standing there holding my 7-year old son so that he can see above the heads and through the shoulders of all the other hundreds of people standing on Main St. there to watch the fireworks. Sweetness. I want to hold onto this forever. He won’t forever fit in my arms. He barely does. Thanks for those sweet kisses he gingerly gave my cheek, interspersed by viewing and commenting on the music of the fireworks. “I recognize that song Mama. What is it?” “That’s from the Nutcracker” “Oh yeah!!”.

14. “Mama, mama, I saw a fireworks that looks like Saturn!!!” Such cool fireworks. I love the one that looks like a shooting star that perfectly arches over the castle. My heart grapples with the cost of these fireworks and how much money just goes down the drain. I think of the little girl from Afghanistan who fell victim to a bomb raining down on her home and burning her body horrifically. What would she think of the sounds and sights of these “bombs of color”? My mind and heart are conflicted and grapple with the joy and beauty of this spectacular nighttime display. I am thankful that in this moment I can look at the wide-eyed merriment and awe on my children’s faces and look at their  joy to distract me from these other thoughts. The innocence of not knowing about other things in the world is the look of sheer wonder on their faces. Thankful for that innocence.

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“All who come here to visit, welcome.” being tapped in dots and dashes at the New Orleans Train Station. Jacob and Natalie excited at the sound of Morse Code being tapped for them to hear as we walk up the ramp to the train station. We have been to Disneyland so many times in the past several years. More times than I even know. And yet in all the times we rode to the train around the perimeter of the park, they never understood what they were hearing. But now they do. We’ve begun studying Morse Code for homeschool. And now their ears are tuned in. Now they get it. We ask the train conductor what is being tapped out. He tells us “All who come here to visit, welcome.” The joy of discovery and the joy of learning all wrapped up here in audible dots and dashes. I love it!!!

16. Jacob saying “Mama, I wonder why they just leave that there where people could steal it.” Natalie inquiring “Steal what?” Jacob: “The ham.” Natalie responding with an air of incredulity, “Jaaaaaaacob, that’s just a recording.” Jacob quiet for a few moments. Then him expressing that he indeed remained convinced that someone was inside the Telegraph Office tapping away the message. “Look Mama, see! There’s a walkway across the tracks! That’s there for someone to walk across and go work in that office! See!” Oh on so many fronts my mama heart melts. Just this afternoon on the car trip over here I shared with the kiddos for the first time what a Ham Radio is. And now here Jacob’s brain is making the connection to what he hears being tapped out in Morse Code. But also hearing Natalie- how smart she is in worldly things as well- that it doesn’t have to be ‘real’. It’s all part of the decoration and facade of the entertainment. How does she know that? Why isn’t she also as convinced as Jacob that it is real? How does this not get passed her?

17. For the two guys at the Palos Verdes Amateur Ham Radio Club who responded to my email inquiring if I could have them show my children the use of morse code. I love it! I love the internet! I love that I can do a search and find a local radio club and send them an email inquiring if we can get to know them. I love it that they were so quick to respond and so welcoming of our interest. How awesome that in this day and age there are still people who are willing to trust the general public. The man invited us to his home in Rolling Hills Estates to come watch, listen and try out his ham radio. How cool is that?!? So awesome. I picture a gray-haired man, huddled over his radio, sending out a morse code to some strange far off place…..and us there catching a glimpse of this old technology in use. This kind of stuff makes my heart happy.

18. I am thankful for technology that allows me to sit here and type this. For technology that the ham radio operator explained to me, that their club meeting tonight is going to be about bouncing radio signals off the surface of the moon. Wow. Crazy. There is so much technology; all so awesome! The technology used in “Soaring Over California” that moves all of the benches up vertically to watch a huge, giant screen. The technology used to videotape the majestic sights of places in California like Yosemite.

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