Sunday, May 23, 2010

I Like Working Together

Once a month during the academic school year our family (the five of us) participates in a dinner and program (a different speaker each month that Paul and I arrange) for young marrieds at the University of Washington Institute of Religion. Paul and I have overall responsibility for the program. We have a committee of seven young married couples who take turns fixing a meal for 50 people, conducting the meeting and introducing the speaker, setting up and cleaning up at the end of the evening. Clark and Phil help set up tables and chairs and then put them away. They are a great help in other ways too.
When Phil thinks he has worked hard enough he plays the organ.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What Will They Do?

Six years ago before grandchildren started coming family members wondered how Clark and Phil would handle newborn babies. Would they be allowed to hold them? Would they want to hold them? What if the baby cried or they got tired of holding them? I wondered too. Well, we soon found out. B & A had the first baby. When we all converged on the new parents in the hospital and the hours-old baby girl we took turns holding her, ooohing and ahhhing and declaring her the cutest grandbaby ever born, and then we heard Clark asking if he could have a turn holding the baby. The time had arrived. “Wash your hands.” “Sit down.” “Don’t stand up and start walking.” “Be careful!!!” And then the baby was handed to him while the parents hovered. That was six babies ago. Now we know how Clark will behave.

This is one of my favorite pictures of Clark. It is one innocent spirit communicating with another.

Here is Clark with #5--so carefully holding this precious baby who entered the world at 4 pounds, 13 ounces. He is the baby that Phil is looking at in the last picture.

Here is Clark with grandbaby #3.

Phil likes to hold them when they are a little bit older. Here he is with grandchild #1.

I love this picture of Phil with our first grandson. He is enjoying watching him. Another picture taken at about the same time shows Phil gently touching his small ear.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

An Unexpected Mother's Day Gift

Mother’s Day this year was wonderful from start to finish. One unique Mother’s Day gift in particular was not even meant to be a gift. The five of us were sitting in church when it was announced that the men would be singing a special musical number. They walked forward to the stand, including Clark and Phil. Phil, however, stood in front of them with his back to the congregation. I could see smiles on many faces. Then the piano introduction began. Phil held his head up high, thrust forward his jaw and lifted both arms out wide. Then on the downbeat, with a baton in his hand, he conducted "Teach Me to Walk in the Light of His Love”. He used both hands, then one, then the other. He would hold his arms still, putting pauses in appropriate places. He was never gooney nor out of control. I was sorry to have it come to an end. That was my son and I admit I was very proud of him—such confidence, such rhythm, such enjoyment! Reading back through journals I’ve been keeping regularly since 1972 I can see the pattern of Phil’s love for music—leading our family in songs before he was three, sitting in his window sill and singing, standing on a stool in the living room and conducting the Tabernacle Choir. Here is an entry from over ten years ago.

“Wednesday, January 13, 1999

Phil and I just had lunch. When we were finished he got out a CD he had gotten for Christmas—songs from 1966. He loves music. I went into the piano room to give him some candy. He was sitting on the floor so I sat down too and read the songs on the CD to him. When he heard ‘When a Man Loves a Woman’ he grabbed the cover to see what number it is. He then started that song. I wish I could capture the feeling I had as I watched him move his head to the music and sing a few words about something he won’t even experience in this phase of his existence. I feel so blessed to have him as a son. He is a wonderful, incredible kid. Even though he is 22 he is still my kid.”

Thursday, May 6, 2010

An Expired Card

Today Clark, Phil and I went to the bank to deposit some checks in Phil’s account. The ATM machine spit his card out immediately, informing us that it had expired. I, obviously, had not noticed. After a yummy lunch at Wendy’s we went home and called about getting a new card.

“Hello. I am calling for Phil about getting a new card. His old one expired.”

“I will need to talk to him.” I knew that, of course.

“Phil, the man needs to talk to you.”

“No. I don’t want to talk.”

“You have to if you want a new card. I will be here.”


I could hear the man on the other end of the line informing Phil that he wanted to ask him a couple of questions.

“What is your birth date and your address?”

Phil shoves the phone back to me laughing and squirming.

I take the phone. “I guess those questions were too hard for him.”

“Okay, I’ll ask him something easier.” I hand the phone back to Phil who still does not want to talk..

“What is your mother’s maiden name?” That was an easier question??? I mouth my maiden name and Phil repeats it.

Phil hands the phone back to me as I hear the man say he has another question.

“Phil just handed me the phone again. I guess he is through.”

“That’s okay. We’ll send him a new card.”

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

"Where is my present?"

When Paul and I go out of town alone for more than a day, with NO kids, Clark and Phil want to know where their presents are, first thing when we return, even before we have unpacked. “You’ll see. Hold your horses.” we have to remind them over and over until the big moment arrives. Here is the array of gifts that we brought back from a four-day trip in March. Each was allowed to pick one.

Clark stood there for many minutes, scratching his head and picking up each one and making a “hmmm” sound. Finally he chose the chocolate M&Ms. Phil, on the other hand, comes in, eyes something he wants, grabs it, says thank you and is gone. Paul snatched the Almond Joy before anyone else took it and I don't know what happened to the Peanut Butter M&Ms.
I just returned from four days in Utah. “Where is my present?” they each asked before I had even taken my suitcase upstairs. Two days and twenty repeats of the same question later they, along with Paul, received their gifts which they all liked and are as satisfied getting a hat or shirt as they are a candy bar.