Thursday, July 30, 2009

Catching Up

Mia has been anticipating this day for three weeks. As the last day of swimming lessons, it's a party with all of the classes combined for a picnic and water games. This morning she was ready to head out the door almost before I was awake! We got to the beach over an hour early because Molly has to be to work by 9, and the party didn't start until 10:30, so we planned on sitting in the van, eating our snacky breakfast and maybe reading a little of Bunnicula (our newest chapter book) while we waited.

But when we got there, it was pouring out, and the temp was only 60 degrees. Even in Wisconsin this does not qualify as good swimming weather. We ate our food, read our chapter and ran to the library to pick up some new DVDs before heading back. I couldn't help but ache for Mia; she had to be so heart-broken about the day not going the way she planned. The rain had let up, but the temperature was still a chilly 63, so the other kids and parents huddled under the roof of the pavilion around the picnic benches lined with food.

We weren't there five minutes when she started begging to go into the water. I couldn't stop shivering in my capris and polo; I couldn't imagine how cold the water must be, but there were a few other kids in the water, including her favorite swimming buddy Jaden so I let her go. As I watched her splash and play, I realized that Mia wasn't at all disappointed in the day. She was with friends and playing in the water. She didn't focus on the cold or rain (she said, "but Mommy, I'll be all wet in the water anyway, what does it matter if it rains?"). Those little things were not going to ruin her enjoyment of the party.

I need to learn from my little girl and adopt her flexibility. It rained many of the days we were camping last week, and it was frustrating to me that we weren't able to do the things we had planned. That's how I often respond to kinks in my plans with frustration and surrender. Rather than enjoy life anyway, I throw a temper tantrum and stalk off if I can't have things my way.

What would have happened if Mia had done that today? If she had cried about the rain and cold, I would have gotten angry with her because of things I can't control. She wouldn't have had time with her friends or the joy of receiving her certificate for passing Level 2 swimming class. It would have made both of us miserable. I don't even want to consider how often I make the people around me miserable because plans haven't gone my way, ugh! So despite the cold and rain that makes my joints ache, I am praising God for using this weather and my baby girl for teaching me more about life.

Here are the reviews I promised from last week.

The Enclave by Karen Hancock is a mind-bending twisted novel that will shock readers at every turn. Lacey McHenry took a position at a prestigious science institute with the hope of improving her career, but after a nighttime intruder assaults her and the heads of the institute cover it up, even going so far as to plant rumors among the staff about her mental health, she starts to wonder what's really going on and what kind of research is being done there. Despite danger to both of their positions, she works with researcher Cameron Reinhardt, but neither of them can believe what they discover. An alternate plot involves a young man named Zowan trying to escape a post-apocalyptic society that has become cult-like and fascist. While the characterization is light, the action propels the story keeping the reader hooked. The mix of pseudo-science and religion doesn't always mix, but the supernatural is wonderfully creepy. The antagonists are a bit cliched and one-dimensional, but it's still a fun, escapist read.

Deadly Intent by Camy Tang is another arrow in Tang's quiver of fantastic books. Naomi Grant has had to take over the family business, an elite spa Sonoma, after her father's stroke. It's a chore she quickly comes to hate after a murdered woman is discovered and the evidence points to Naomi as the murderer. At first, she suspects Dr. Devon Knightley, ex-husband of the victim, but as the crime spree grows, they are forced to work together to find the real murderer. In the hands of any less able writer, this story would be cliched and timeworn, but Tang makes the characters and their romance fresh and new. Her dialogue is always zippy and her characters well-rounded. This is the ultimate beach read!

My sis-in-law Krissy showed me how to use the different settings on my camera, so today's pics are a few that I'm proud of from our camping trip.