For most of this last year, my niece Lindsay Moore’s life has been a whirlwind of excitement and activity. With the birth of her little girl, Mackenzie Rose, Lindsay and her husband, Shannon have been enjoying every new experience that comes with parenthood. Mackenzie is a happy, and sometimes goofy girl, who keeps them on their toes. Mackenzie is starting to walk these days, and getting into anything within reach, so her parents have to keep a close eye on her now. Lindsay has been a work-from-home wife for some time, employed remotely by South Dakota State University, and now she is also a stay-at-home mom to little Mackenzie. For Lindsay, life doesn’t get any better. she is just living the dream that she has had for a long time. Lindsay is a health and exercise advocate and always keeps herself in excellent shape. Of course, these days that exercise is easier, because Mackenzie keeps her mommy running.
Lindsay’s husband is the tight ends coach at Eastern Carolina University, and so during the football season, Lindsay and Mackenzie spend Saturdays at the games cheering on Daddy’s team, and hanging out with friends at the game. Lindsay has always been a football fan, especially if it’s Shannon’s team playing. When Shannon married Lindsay, he married his biggest fan, and now they have added another member to the fan club. If you ask me, Shannon has the cutest cheerleaders ever. Lindsay is a very social person, so they are always joined by friends at the games, while they are cheering the team on. It’s a good thing that she makes friends so easily,since they have moved around every so often. It is a common thing with coaching.
Lindsay and Shannon were in Wyoming visiting family this summer, which is a fairly common occurrence for them. His job and her work-from-home job make it easier for them to come home in the summertime, so the family gets to see them more than the average kids who live far away. They family went to the Black Hills, where we joined them for the 4th of July festivities in Custer, South Dakota. Then they went on to the Big Horns. It’s a blessing for my sister, Allyn Hadlock and her husband, Chris, and the rest of the family. It’s hard to have a grandchild who lives far away, and having them visit often makes it a little bit easier. Today is Lindsay’s birthday. Happy birthday Lindsay!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
With each passing year, I find myself looking forward more and more to the Byer Family Christmas Party. Sadly, I think that part of the reason is that as time passes, we seem to lose more and more of my aunts and uncles. This year found us with only four aunts and only one uncle at the party. There are other uncles who are still alive, but that aren’t really able to come out for these events any more. It makes each time we get together that much more precious. I always feel sorry for those who didn’t make it to the party, because we always have such a nice time, and we are a family of excellent cooks, so the food is fabulous. And it is a way to keep those who have gone to Heaven just a little closer to the family. Nevertheless, the sadness over missing those who have left us persists, and grows with each new passing.
I think one reason that our grandparents wanted their children to continue the annual Christmas party and annual picnic was so that we would all get to know each other better. As the new generations come along. It would be so easy to lose touch with each other. That would be so sad, because little kids are usually instant friends, and that makes it extra special to watch. The kids had a sparkle in their eyes, and smiles on their faces. They were so excited to have new friends to play with and lots of room to run around, with no one to get upset at them. For kids, Christmas is always a special time of year, and it’s really hard to hold back the excitement. I love watching them bounce around the room. I could say that they ran around the room, but that wouldn’t be right exactly, because they really did bounce with excitement, and after all, it’s all about the kids right.
My grandparents were wise people. They had a vision for their kids and grandkids…for all of the generations that would follow them. They knew how easy it is to get busy in life, and to lose touch with family. It happens in so many families, and they didn’t want that for their family. Very wise people indeed. They wanted their kids not only to know their nieces and nephews, but also their grand nieces and nephews, and great grand nieces and nephews, for as long as they lived. What a precious gift that request turned out to be. It was not a burden to be carried or work to be done…it was a gift, and one I am thankful for every single year. It’s a time for family and reconnecting. While we miss all those who are gone now, I know that they would be proud of us for continuing this tradition. We love you all.
As little girls, my sisters and I would get very excited when our different grown cousins, aunts, or uncles would come over. Like all little kids, we would want to hang out with the adults, and tell them about everything we knew…or could dream up. I think this is as common among kids, as breathing is. Maybe it is about someone new to listen to your stories or maybe it’s that everyone in the household has already heard them, so they don’t want to listen again…or maybe it’s just that you like the person who has showed up. Whatever the reason, you just can’t seem to hold yourself back…or at least that was how it was when I was a kid.
Now, fast forward about 50 years. A couple of days ago, I had to take some groceries to my nieces house for my grandson’s graduation party, which she is graciously holding at her home for my daughter. I had called to let them know I was coming, and they were on a walk, so when I got there, I just waited in my car. Pretty quickly, two of my grand nephews, Xander and Isaac came running up to my car. They had run ahead, obviously excited that I was there. Xander is twelve now, and so was a little better able to contain his excitement, but Isaac being only eight, was not able to do so as easily. While Xander ran back to let his parents know I was there, Isaac decided that he could bring everything up to the porch. He proudly carried five bags at once, and the bags were up on the porch in no time.
After his parents got back to the house, we were inside talking, and the kids, including Zack and Aleesia, all wanted to tell me or show me things. They were so excited to have me there. I was suddenly taken back those 50 plus years, to my own childhood, and I could so completely relate to how they were feeling. I could tell that their parents, Jenny and Steve Spethman, were thinking that they should stop the kids from chattering, but for me, it was really cute. I guess that it gave me a picture of what my sisters and I had looked like to our family members all those years ago. I don’t think they were ever irritated with us. They just knew that we loved them very much. As I recall, they always listened to our stories and made us feel like we belonged…never acting like we should just go play. I thought that now, I was that aunt that all the little ones were so excited to see and talk to. It made me smile, because it was such a special place to be.
When my nephew, Barry was a little boy, I used to get such a kick out of watching him open presents. Whether it was his birthday or Christmas made no difference, because Barry got excited!! I know, most kids do, but the looks on Barry’s face were just classic, and when his eyes lit up with pure excitement, it was impossible not to smile. For Barry, the best gifts were always trucks, but that didn’t mean that all the rest weren’t super cool too. I suppose that he initially thought that gifts were going to happen every couple of weeks, since his birthday is just two weeks before Christmas. For a little kid, that second dose of presents in such a short time could make it seem like this was going to be the new normal.
Of course, as time went by, Barry understood how it all worked, but he still got as excited as any other kid when his special day came along, or when Christmas finally arrived. The one thing he decided that he didn’t like too much was having that birthday so close to Christmas. That put all the excitement of receiving gifts in one short little time frame and then left a whole year until he got gifts again. In a way, that was a disappointment to the rest of us too, because we didn’t get to see how excited he got for a whole year either.
I can’t say that Barry still gets so excited about gifts on his birthday or Christmas, after all, he is a grown man now. Maybe he just holds that excitement inside…like we all do at one time or another. And he doesn’t have that little baby face anymore or his little boys ways, and in many ways, I miss both of those things sometimes, because like all kids, Barry grew up too fast. He has grown into a wonderful man, who is always there to lend a helping hand. He is someone you can always count on when you need something done. He still likes his trucks and other toys, but these days they are just bigger and more expensive. Today is Barry’s birthday. Happy birthday Barry!! Have a great day, and try to contain your excitement, ok!! We love you!!
Remember the last time you went to the movies? There might have been a line as you went in, but with the ability to get movies right at home on the television, the lines were probably not like they used to be. I remember going to the movies when we stood in line, outside…for over an hour to get inside. In the wintertime, that was brutal, but you did it, because you really wanted to see the movie. Of course, when I was a kid, and we went to the movies, the theater was packed with kids, planning to see the latest Disney film, and the minute the lights went out, the crowd could no longer contain their excitement, so they broke out in loud screaming. It was simply the excitement that could no longer be contained inside, coming out in the form of a scream.
Now, take a trip back in time with me to a time when movies were very new. The novelty had not worn off, as it has today. Not everyone had seen a moving picture show. Even as kids, filled with excitement at the latest movie, we would never have been able to understand the level of excitement that came from seeing those first moving picture shows. I suppose there were people that felt like this new form of entertainment was not a good thing, but most felt like it was something exciting that they wanted to be a part of. I seriously doubt that they could have had any idea what an enormous impact those first moving picture shows would have on mankind.
Today, we have much more than moving picture shows, and television…which exist in almost every home in America, brings us much more than entertainment. We can turn on our TV and we are instantly connected to weather warnings, breaking news, politics, and yes, even entertainment. We can tune into learning channels that teach us about everything from animals to languages to space, and we can even watch programs from our favorite religious leaders and in my case, even our church, which broadcasts its Sunday morning service all over Wyoming, for people who can’t get to church, or don’t have a church in their small town.
So much has changed in our world since that first moving picture show, and while, we still go to the movies, the lines are rarely that long. That is quite possibly because the show is often shown at several theaters, with several showings a day, including afternoon showings. Many people don’t even go to the movies at all, choosing instead to wait for the movie to come out on television or DVD. And these days, we have the even further choice of watching television or movies on our PC, laptop, tablet, or even our cell phone. Whatever way we choose to enjoy this type of entertainment, it all started with the moving picture show.
There are people out there, and we all know them, who simply love the mud. They have a bit of an obsession with the thought of conquering it…usually with their truck. And if we didn’t all like the idea, there wouldn’t be anything like the mud races, but we do and that is why there are mud races. We pay good money to go out and see if someone can run their truck through a mud pit, secretly hoping that most of them get stuck, because we want our favorite to win. For a while, my favorite was my son-in-law, Kevin. He got into mud racing, and bought a special truck for it, and competed in quite a few races. It was fun watching his races.
Now, getting down and dirty in the mud isn’t my thing, but I don’t mind watching other people do it. And many people don’t mind doing it. Maybe it’s the adrenalin rush or the screaming crowd, but whatever it is, people flock to see the next guy do his best to conquer the mud pit. And the adrenalin rush isn’t limited to the racers. Everyone in the crowd is filled with excitement and anticipation as each truck begins his run. Then, mud flying, they are off. Sometimes the mud is tough, and very few racers get through. Then it is a matter of who got the farthest. Other times it’s a little easier, and then it is a matter of who got through the fastest. Either way, it is always a challenge, and a definite crowd pleaser.
During the time that Kevin was mud racing, his boys, Chris and Josh had a chance to feel special too. They could tell people that this truck was their dad’s and that racer was their dad. It was a wonderful way for them to share a guy thing together. And of course, Corrie didn’t mind the whole thing either. Each race is unique, with it’s own set of problems. From trucks breaking down, to being damaged in the race, it was a work in progress, and not a cheap one. But in the end, it was a family thing that brought them closer together.
Kevin decided that mud racing was a little to much money to continue with a few years ago, and the truck was sold. They have since moved on to other interests, such as the boys’ sports, but they will always have the memory of the nights spent door deep in the mud, and the days spent washing that same mud off of the truck to prepare for the next event. I’m sure Kevin misses those days a little bit now and then, but the memory lives on and the pictures will always tell the tale of those days…in the mud.
Kids are so full of life. They haven’t lived long enough to become jaded or weary, so they still feel excitement over the simple things, like a camping or fishing trip. Josh and his whole family love to go camping in the mountains, and fishing at the lake. The boys get really excited about fishing. They compete for the most catches…and just about everything else. The funny thing is that their competitions are usually friendly, not angry…thankfully.
But competition aside, what impresses me the most with kids is that they don’t look at life the way we do. They have so many hopes and dreams for the future. Nothing seems impossible to them. Optimism…that is what it is…that and wonder. They are still in wonder of what the world is all about, and most of it is exciting to them. Especially the littlest ones. It is all so new.
Even the teenagers though, feel excitement about what life is about to show them around the very next corner. And when they are doing their favorite things, all kids have a tendency to just simply get high on life. So when it comes to camping or fishing, swimming or sports, they have a way of getting so excited that they jump for joy.
Why can’t we adults keep that childlike wonder? As adults, we seem to allow ourselves to get…tired maybe, but mostly we just lose that sense of wonder…that wide eyed wonder that looks at the world and says…”Wow, look at that.” It’s that feeling that there is something new and exciting left in the world.
Josh is one of those kids who still has that sense of wonder. He still sees things as exciting and fun. Like leaping off of a rock into the air…just because it looked like it might be fun. When was the last time any of us took a moment to look around us to see if their might be something that would fill us with wonder, and get us high on life?
Little kids are so much fun, and your grandkids would have to rank right up there at the top. They have such an innocence and wonder over life. Everything is new and exciting to them. It is so fun to watch.
When Christopher and Shai were little, they were going through all the new experiences together, since they were only 1 day apart in age, Christopher being born on February 28th, and Shai being born on February 29th. We had such a great time with them. Every new thing, every excitement, every experience, we had times two. What a cool blessing to have both my daughters become mothers one day apart. Even though one was a boy and one a girl, they went through all the same experiences at the same time. Slightly different in the things of boys and girls, but many were identical too. It was wonderful.
It was great playing the little games with them that I had played with their mothers. People who aren’t grandparents don’t know how cool it is to get to watch two generations of their children go through all the newness and excitement of those toddler years. That wonder of learning and playing. And with your grandchildren, you just feel differently about it. You don’t feel like you should be somewhere else, doing something else. You aren’t the parent. You are free to simply enjoy. No responsibilities to make sure they grow up right, not that you don’t want that too, but the responsibility belongs to your children now. You have earned the right to simply play with the kids. It is a very liberating feeling.
This particular picture looks like two kids just playing in a hallway, but if you look very closely at what Shai, my granddaughter, is looking at, you will see the real reason for the looks on their faces. There in the corner of the picture is their grandmother…me. We were playing “I’m gonna get you” and they were doing everything they could to get away, only to put themselves in a position of nowhere else to go. The next few seconds included delighted screams and giggles. I had caught them, and it was quite a moment.