Gardening and birthday parties

This weekend was one of our busiest.  I may as well tell you about it.

Friday we worked almost the entire day in our garden.  My job was to weed and neaten the furrows.  Karl and the kids did most of the extra planting, plant-moving, and replanting.  It may seem strange, but I prefer weeding to planting.  Planting just seems boring to me.  Maybe I just don’t like to bend over repeatedly to put something in the dirt.  My back hurts enough as it is.  That’s not to say that weeding doesn’t involve its own share of painful and repeated actions…it’s just different.  With planting, one has to move slowly, be careful with the spacing and number of seeds dropped.  With weeding, however, all you have to do is be able to tell the difference between a weed and a plant — and do it quickly — then pull them up.

Saturday, after I dragged my sore muscles out of bed, we worked in the garden all morning.  Our afternoon, however, was filled with birthday parties.  It didn’t help that we were all so tired from working outside, but we still had a very good time hanging out with our extended family.  One of these days I’m going to record our family singing happy birthday.  It’s pretty amazing, and I want to be able to play it for myself when I’m old and all alone on my birthday.

Not that I believe I’ll be all alone on my birthdays when I’m very old; I’m trying to be funny, but I’m not funny.  No, I like to picture my children, their spouses, and my 20 or more grandchildren coming to see me on my birthday.  They’ll bring a huge cookie (which I won’t be able to eat because of my diabeetiz, but that I’ll enjoy watching all my grandbabies eat on my behalf) and they’ll sing “Happy Birthday” in perfect, 8-part harmonies. It’ll be so awesome that it will make me cry.

You know what’s weird about this daydream?  I hate the song “Happy Birthday.”  It always, always, always makes me cry.  And I hate things that make me cry.  It hurts my head to try to hold back the tears and act normal.  When I was a little girl, my grandparents would call me on my birthday and sing it to me over the phone.  Then they would share something they remembered from the day I was born.  My aunt did the same thing.  I thought that was so sweet.  Now that I’m all grown up, birthday parties really aren’t necessary, but when anyone gets together to celebrate me, well, it just about kills me to realize that people love me for no reason other than being born.

But it doesn’t have to be sung to me to make me cry a little.  I heard it twice Saturday, and both times I teared up.  I bring too many memories to the party, I guess.  At the first party, I remembered how the little boy to whom we were singing spent months in the NICU because he was born at just 26 weeks gestation — he’s perfectly healthy now.  And at the second party, I remembered all that those two children have been through (and will go through)  because of their parents’ divorce, but I had to give thanks to God for giving them a new family: a good man in their lives who loves their mother, two new sisters, and a new set of loving grandparents.  Life can be so hard, but God is good.

That’s why I cry at birthday parties.

Sunday morning (it’s still Sunday at the time of this writing) we worshiped with our church family.  Our pastor is wrapping up our study through John’s Gospel.  I don’t know for sure how long he’s been preaching through John (more than two years, I’m sure), but we are almost finished with it.  I say, “we;” he’s done all of the studying.  One thing is certain, it has been such a blessing to hear the gospel from a different angle, from a different point of need, (almost) every week.

I don’t know about anyone else who listened this morning, but today’s sermon was directed right to me.  As we were getting ourselves ready for church, I asked Karl if he ever felt like a failure.  Being the kind of secure man he is, he rarely feels that way.  I, however, feel it more than I care to.  There is always something that I leave undone.  No matter what I’ve accomplished, the one or two or ten things that I didn’t do will be what I fret over.  Leaving something undone may be alright for a day or two, but it eventually catches up with me.  Well, Karl assured me that there is no cause for me to feel like a failure.  His solution, as usual, is to get more sleep. The encouragement from the sermon, however, was not to get more sleep. Perhaps I’ll share a few notes in another post since this one is already too long.

After church, we ate lunch with our friends.  Then, it was on to the kids’ piano recital.  This year was the first time Hannah gave a vocal recital in addition to her piano recital.  Since we purchased a piano keyboard at Christmastime, the kids have been playing/practicing with headphones.  I didn’t know which songs they were going to play or anything.  Of course, I had heard Hannah sing her solo many times; she didn’t come with a headphone jack.  But I was pleasantly surprised to hear them play this afternoon.

Ben likes to play fast pieces. He especially likes learning to play blues/boogie-woogie songs. Sometimes his fingers can’t quite keep up with the rhythm, but that doesn’t dissuade him from playing that type of song. I apologize in advance for the shaky camera.

You can see the rest of the videos of their performances on my Vimeo page. Hannah sang, “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile.” And, she confessed to me on the way home, that she experienced her first case of nerves before a performance.

I won’t go on about what we did Sunday night. But I will tell you it involved more fellowship with our church, coffee, good conversation, a mouth-watering roast, and Jane Austen.

6 Comments on “Gardening and birthday parties

  1. I cry at birthdays too!!! πŸ™‚ And for very similar reasons, I might add. But, unlike you, I DETEST weeding with absolute passion. My answer to weeds? Throw more mulch down on ’em. Suffocate ’em. Ignore them if all else fails until it takes over the bed and I can’t ignore it any more.


  2. “Get more sleep” sounds like something my husband might say in response to my own fretting (something I do often). Though after so many fretful years he is now mostly silent, having learned I suppose, to let my fretting run its course and the Holy Spirit do His good work.

    I love that you tear up at “Happy Birthday.” Though it’s not your birthday (is it?), I celebrate you and the friendship you have extended to me! πŸ™‚

    Fellowship, coffee, conversation AND dear Jane? Sounds like the perfect evening!


    • Yeah, Karl knows when to listen and when to just let me talk until I’m done.

      No, it’s not my birthday. πŸ™‚

      Sense and Sensibility was on television this weekend, but we never had time to sit and watch it. We only caught the ending twice. So, we watched it last night. I wish you could have seen my sons’ faces when Edward and Eleanor finally get together — they were beaming! Then one male, I think it was Karl, said, “How about some Pride and Prejudice?” And Benjamin jumped up and said, “That one is my favorite!” LOL!! So we watched a little of that one, too. It’s so long we’ll be watching it all week.


  3. Well, I’ve told you before that I think you are funny and “diabeetiz” made me laugh out loud. And man I needed it! I love your recaps and story telling about life … my favorite kind of stories. It will be these posts that you will read some day and remember the sweetness and forget the busyness πŸ˜‰

    More sleep is always Chris’ response to not only my stress but any beef that i have with anyone … like maybe I’m grouchy or something?




  4. Love these kind of updates. Good job, Ben! My kids have a piano teacher for a mother, which, oddly, means that their lessons are very sporadic. I’m always vowing to do better next year. It’s one of those things that doesn’t get done that I fret about, lol.


  5. Oh, good job on that piano recital, Ben!!!! πŸ™‚
    Who is he taking lessons with? I have been attempting to teach piano at home but I think I will give up that job gladly to someone else this upcoming school year.


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