Five Things Thankful

Because good news is good for all of us, welcome to another installation of Five Things Thankful.

1. Trth farey plez gev mezmune

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“Tooth fairy, please give me some money.”

Almost a year ago, we learned that our youngest daughter has severe dyslexia.  She started auditory therapy in December, which was designed to prepare her brain for reading remediation.  We did not begin introducing anything that even resembled normal reading instruction until close to February.

And even then, it really was not normal.  We incorporated occupational therapy, nutritional approaches, and very specific curriculum.  It has been time consuming, sometimes frustrating, and definitely expensive.  Slowly, but surely, it is all paying off.

Nine months ago, our daughter could only successfully identify about one-third of her lower-case letters.  She was somewhat more proficient with her capitals.  She knew about half of her numerals, 0-9.  And phonemic awareness?  That was a great big no.

Recently, our little girl lost both of her top front teeth.  One of the teeth was accidentally eaten.  The other ended up in the trash.  She was very nervous that the tooth fairy would pass her by, seeing as how no teeth would be found under the pillow.  Todd and I suggested a note, saying the tooth fairy would understand.

This was the result.  The spelling may not be perfect, but I was almost brought to tears.  It means that all the time and effort are paying off.  Our little girl is indeed learning how to read and write.

2. Labor Day weekend was wonderful.

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Our family broke in the camper last weekend, and it was a lot of fun.  We spent time with Todd’s family at his sister’s home swimming, fishing, eating, and relaxing.

The trip there was a little nerve-wracking at times.  The wind gusts on the highway were pushing 30 mph, which made towing the camper a little hairy.  Todd did a great job, and once we got into the forested regions of Minnesota the trip went smoothly.

As soon as we arrived, we quickly scarfed down hot dogs before heading out to a musical theater show performance.  It was the last show of the season, and our niece performed the female lead.  She was outstanding, as were the rest of the performers.  While they included music spanning many decades, the songs leaned heavily on the time period 1960-75.  And that made me very, very happy.

The rest of the weekend was spent with Todd fishing with his dad and brother-in-law, the girls having lots of quality time with cousins, Jocelyn learning how to catch bass, and me relaxing in really good conversations with Todd’s mom and sister.

We learned that the camper holds all of us comfortably and does not leak in pouring rain.  Our large dogs like camping.  And our youngest daughter celebrated her birthday by eating dirt cake.  With gummy worms.

3. Our oldest daughter had almost a full week of time with one of her best friends.

One of our nieces is exactly two weeks younger than our oldest daughter.  We have pictures of the two of them sitting side-by-side since infancy.  They never get enough time together, but when it does happen, they make the most of it.

After spending three days at Todd’s sister’s home, we brought our niece back to our place for another three nights.  They did homework.  They shoe shopped.  They watched TV and went for a walk.  The two girls had a lot of fun, and it was great to watch them grow in their friendship together.

4. An afternoon with friends was relaxing and fun.

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Last year, we were invited to the home of some friends so that our girls could pick out Halloween pumpkins.  We came home with pumpkins, and a whole lot more.  Yesterday, we were invited back.

We are grateful for the many fruits and vegetables that were shared with us.  We also enjoyed conversation on their back porch and a fun trailer ride in the “secret tunnel.”  Since we live in an area of the country that has many fewer trees than the northern Minnesota of our childhood, an afternoon at our friends’ home feels comfortable and relaxing.  They have trees!

5. Rally Sunday was a success.

Rally Sunday is our church’s annual kick-off for the Sunday School year.  This is my fourth year as Sunday School Superintendent at our church.  It is also going to be my last.  I enjoy the volunteer position, but the needs of our family make it necessary for me to step back soon.

This summer has been wonderful, but busy, for our family.  I did not pay nearly enough attention to my looming Sunday School responsibilities.  I was not rushed at the end.  I did not forget anything significant.  But I was still a little apprehensive yesterday that something important would go wrong.

But it did not.  God was good.  My church family was gracious.  The teachers and staff who volunteered their time were amazing.  And dozens of children had a wonderful first day of Sunday School.

There were positive moments in the last two weeks and times when I desperately wanted to emotionally eat ice cream.  But in the end, it was all good.