Monday, January 28, 2013

Latham Family Adventures: Library Excursion

    Ah, a day at the library! And I do mean a day! After all, a 45 minute drive to the nearest library, with five children packed in the van, made for a pretty grand outing. As soon as the Little Lathams walked through the doors of the library, they scattered to different corners of the stacks. Some went straight to the fairy tales, another to the chapter books and yet another went in search of non-fiction. He was in need of instructions for something such as how to do magic tricks or how build a live animal trap. The possibilities were endless! There were new authors to look for, the next volume in a beloved series, or some new interest that needed exploring. We always had list in hand.

      Then there was the treasure-hunt aspect of the library trip. This entailed just wandering the rows, stopping to look at illustrations that caught the eye or an exciting title, all the while hoping to come across some new gem. The search was quite time-consuming, as the Little Lathams took the selection of their books very seriously. The children always left with arms full and spirits high in anticipation of what was waiting inside the covers of those beloved volumes.

      The ride home was silent, everyone busily flipping pages and trying to decide which book to read first. That is, unless we happened to find a CD of a wonderful book read aloud. When this was the case, the children sat listening, each with a stack of precious books on his lap, engrossed in a story which made the long drive home seem like seconds.

      Many  pieces of clean laundry remained unfolded and many projects were unfinished during the first few days following a trip to the library. The books had to be explored and at least one of the stories we planned to read aloud together had to be started. And the adventures which resulted from the reading of the books … let’s just say life at our house wouldn’t have been the same without those trips to the library.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Lesson from God

I have trouble sometimes understanding spiritual matters. I pray and read and attend church, but I struggle to grasp some of the loftier ideas. Then once in a while, God shows me something so simple that I smack my head. Of course it would be wonderful to understand the many layers of Christ’s teachings, but perhaps the basics are enough for me to handle right now. And what better way to get something through my thick skull than to use parenting as the example. After all, that’s what I do. That’s what I am… a parent. I can identify.

 My latest lesson came about during the current stage of my life. If you have older kids, you know the stage I mean. Some of the hands-on part of parenting is tapering off and I’m watching our five children begin to live their lives as young adults.  Three are college-age living in different towns and two are still in high school. This year, everyone was home for Thanksgiving, Christmas and several other weekend breaks. We’ve always had great family time. We love the holiday rituals which have been in place since the kids were young. We enjoy talking, eating, and laughing together.  But, for the last year or so I have been anxiously watching my offspring. Specifically, I’m watching their relationships with each other.
I’m wondering about those days and months between the festivities. I can’t help but notice the siblings are moving in very different directions. Will they stay in touch? Will they go out of their way to be interested in each others’ lives? Will they call on one another for help? Will they offer help without being called? I hope…I pray they do all these things. I see them beginning to and it makes me feel so much love for them. It makes me feel happy and proud and so blessed. My husband and I have loved and cherished them, now they are following our example with each other.

Then, it dawned on me. As God’s children, this is exactly what we must do. Love one another. Look out for our brothers and sisters. God has loved us and taught us how to love. He has protected us and blessed us and now it’s our turn to reflect those things by loving one another. As strongly as I want my children to care for each other, how much more does our Father in heaven want His children to do the same?
So let’s collectively smack our heads and start living in a manner that is pleasing to God, our Father. Let’s be good sons and daughters. By staying in touch, being interested in one another, helping out when needed even when our lives take us in different directions. It is so simple and so right.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Latham Family Adventures: The Giant Bride

     The dress-up box started out small. The Little Lathams were young when they began collecting various items to use for costumes. It didn’t take long before the box spilled over with hats, capes, gloves, shoes; just about anything that could be used to transform a kid into someone or something else.

     Many times, the wearing of a costume was impromptu, spur of the moment. Somebody needed to wear wings while he jumped from the top of the swing set, for example. But other times, a very detailed scenario was being acted out. When this was the case, the costume was of upmost importance. A big part of the fun was in the preparation. And many times, the dressing up took longer than the game itself.

     One day, a fancy bridal gown made its way to the dress-up box. Thus began a string of weddings at our house. Whenever the little Latham girls could beg, coax, or bribe their brothers to participate, there would be a wedding. Usually, festivities would include music, flower petals strew all over the living room floor, and a beautiful little bride, her ornate gown trailing six feet behind her. The boys donned their gentleman coats and suffered through a very short wedding.

     Then came a period of time when the bridal gown didn’t show up for a while. I’m guessing the boys had their fill of nuptial fun and were interested in more manly activities. That is why I was slightly surprised one afternoon when I heard that there was to be a wedding. The announcement was preceded by a good 45 minute session of giggling and snorting coming from behind a closed bedroom door. I stepped back to watch the flower girls throw some fluffy white stuff around on the carpet, then turned to see what would happen next. My mouth dropped open when I saw the bride! Coming through the door in the beautiful white dress was the littlest Latham boy! And he was six feet tall! And he was acting a little drunk, stumbling and bumping into things! The entire wedding party was laughing hysterically when the bride crumpled to the floor. The crash revealed another little Latham, under the silk and lace who had been walking blindly with his brother on his shoulders!

     Luckily, I had a camera handy. I was able to snap a photo. I have it to this day. It's tucked away from the hands of anyone who may want to rid the world of evidence of that very funny, giant, boy bride!