Thursday, August 17, 2006

Confessions of a Hygiene-Challenged 9-year-old

Personal hygiene is like eating vegetables and room cleaning. It's an acquired taste that kids will eventually grow into, and no matter how hard you try you can never implant the appreciation for it into them. They may wash up to please a parent or to avoid punishment, but in their heads they're still thinking how pointless of a practice it is. I know because I still remember thinking those very thoughts as I ran the water in the sink and rubbed my toothbrush up and down on the grout between the tiles on the bathroom counter for that authentic teeth-brushing sound. It took a while for my parents to catch on, but they did eventually. I had a mouthful of cavities when I was a kid, but that grout was spotless.

After particularly hot days helping my dad in the garage, he would often try to persuade me to take a shower before I went to bed because "you would feel so much better"! But at nine years old, he may as well have been speaking a foreign language. The only thing I felt after a shower was wet. One night I thought I had found a short cut to the shower by simply running the water for 10 minutes and then sticking my head in to get my hair wet. My plans were thwarted, however, when I walked into the kitchen with soaked hair hanging down my back and dry, feathery bangs in front. If you ever try that trick, learn from my mistake and be sure to get your whole head in there.

These days there is nothing better then the feeling of falling into bed after a hot shower, and I often think of how my dad was right all those years. It is also impossible for me to go to sleep now without brushing my teeth, otherwise I can feel the little plaque armies crawling all over my mouth, pillaging my enamel, and I can almost hear the dentist strike up his drill. I may be cleaner than I was 15 years ago, but I still haven't quite grown into vegetables. At least not the dark green ones. I have gained an appreciation for a clean house, albeit just in time to see the possibility of such a phenomenon in my own home vanish for at least the next 10 years.

At this point I am blessed that Bethany asks to have her teeth brushed. I think this is only because she likes to eat the toothpaste, but I'll take what I can get. I don't know how she'll feel about it as she gets older, but with grout-less bathroom counters I guess she'll have to be more creative then her mother.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Down from the Mountain

Well, I'm officially home from the mountains. At 6:00am Sunday morning I boarded the death-shuttle from Estes Park to the Denver airport with 10 other bleary-eyed passengers. I took the shuttle last year, so I knew what was coming, but my companions remained blissfully ignorant until the van came squealing into the parking lot, catching serious air on the speed bumps. After the first few mountain curves taken on two wheels the women in the front row pleaded with the driver to slow down because they had children at home who needed their mommies. He didn't seem particularly sympathetic, but I think he realized that in two hours he'd either have a van full corpses or furiously angry people, neither of which tip very well. He reluctantly obliged and slowed down to a reasonable speed. We arrived at the airport, kissed the ground, and went our separate ways.

It was a pretty uneventful flight home. Had some ginger ale, stashed the peanuts in my purse for Bethany, and spent the flight organizing my thoughts from the week. It was much better than last year it terms of what I blogged about before I left. It seemed like everyone who stood in front of us made a point to hammer in the concept that competitions don't matter, recognition is secondary to simply using your gifts, and the importance of "blooming where you're planted". These mini-sermons, combined with time in the word and prayer, served as refreshing reminders that seemed to keep us all in the right place. There were great concerts, I met some really great people, and even went horseback riding with a new friend at the end of the week. Of course, it doesn't take much to make me happy. I had a blast just being around people who could feed themselves, carry on intelligent conversation, and use the bathroom without my assistance.

I did miss my kiddos, and Matthew of course. It was pretty hard on them, actually. It wasn't easy last year when Bethany was only 10 months old and Harper was still in my tummy, but Matthew said with two kids it was craziness and Bethany was visibly bothered by my absence. Next year, they're all coming with me. Next year… used to seem so far away. These days it’s just around the corner.