Happy toes!! My toes are happy, OH-SO happy. They may not look happy but they are.
It is possible to be both happy and ugly. Just look at my toes.
To be truly happy, toes need sunlight. They sit, more or less comfortably, in the dark but, truth be known, they long for light and for the fresh, free air that generally accompanies their exposure to sunlight. And, I’ve found, my toes are much happier when their exposure to sunlight is not accompanied by an exposure to snow.
Side story: I hiked a mountain once in sandals in snow. My toes, though happy to be free, were not so happy to be frozen. Graciously, God (well actually, probably not God himself, more likely, one of His children) left a pair of dry socks sitting on a rock at the top of the mountain. My toes were very happy to complete the hike covered.
Back to main story: For the first time in months, there is no snow on the ground here. My toes have been freed from months of confinement their dark, often smelly, and quite cramped quarters and are now free to wiggle at will. Naked toes are happy toes.
Toes are not the only happy things in the Roy.
Miles was very happy when I took the lamb (still living, thanks for asking) to his classroom. He taught his peers about the lamb’s diet, wool, tail and teeth and then opened the forum for questions. “How do you know if it is a girl or a boy or do you know?” a girl asked. Miles looked at me. I looked at the teacher. Seeing no look of consternation on her face, I let everyone look at the lamb. Holding him up, legs spreadand underside showing, I said, “See this? It is his scrotum. Boys have scrotums so we know he is a boy.”
I am SO happy to have Chick in the house; so happy, in fact, that I am thinking about postponing his mission until the girls
are gone. He is THE answer to teenage girls.
Tanah hates math. It does NOT make her happy. And, when she is doing math, no one around her is happy either. Because she hates it so much, she slams the doors of her mind shut when dealing with math; the light of understanding hano chance of entering. However, because she is determined to get good grades, she feels compelled to ask for help with math. It is a no win situation. Lance and I have invested hours of instruction and googols of patience trying to help her with her math. It is NOT happy.
Enter Chick. Tuesday Tanah asked Chick for math help and then the doors of her mind slammed shut. I watched it happen and then braced myself for the worse. But the worse never came. I watched in stunned silence as Chick gently opened those slammed-shut-mind-doors of hers. It was truly miraculous. He patiently taught and re-taught, gave examples and non-examples, simplified and then extrapolated, until she got it. Oh Chick, please do not leave me alone with her during her last two years of high school.
That same night Grace was not feeling well. Instead of going to bed, she lounged around the house. Mean
Mom—I insisted that she do her dishes. WEEP! WAIL!!!! WEEP, WEEP and WAIL, WAIL!!! (Did you
hear her? Think about what you were doing Tuesday night and you will probably remember an atmospheric disturbance about 8:30 p.m. Mountain Savings Time; it was Grace.)
Enter Chick. “Go to bed,” he told Grace. “I will do your dishes.” Chick is the answer to teen-age girls. And NO—he is not available for loan. If he is helping your teen-age daughters then he will not be here helping mine. No, no, NO.
Naked, happy toes are also vulnerable toes. I was standing innocently in my kitchen when I felt a sharp pain in my toe.
Tanah’s bird, Bab, bit me. I was not happy. (When I was done, Babs was not so happy either.)
Booted toes are not so vulnerable. The rooster attacked me this week. He gave me the bird (an angry bird, hurling at me, neck feathers cocked, spurs outstretched) and I gave him the boot—five times. When I was done, he was not so happy either. Now he avoids me, which makes me happy.
Tired of reminding and reminding and re-reminding children to do their animal chores, we implemented a new “do or dock”
policy. “From henceforth and forever,” we declared, “let it be known that you will be paid only for the work that is done.”
[It really is NOT a novel concept, just a new application.] If they do the chore DAILY, then they will get their full share of the
egg money profits. For each day they do NOT do the chore, their pay will be docked $2. Simple really. And effective, which makes Lance and I very happy.
It is also making Chick happy. Thursday night Miles was bathed and almost in bed when he realized he still needed to gather the eggs. Chick offered to gather the eggs for a $1. Deal done. Miles was out only $1, instead of the $2 he would lose if the eggs were not gathered, and Chick was up $1.
Tanah went to a junior high dance Thursday evening and came home happy. She was only asked to dance once, and that by a boy about whom she is definitely not excited, but she had a great time with her friends (YEA!!). “I feel pretty,” she told
me. YEA and YEA!! It is possible to be both happy and ugly but it is much easier to be happy when one feels pretty.
Friday Grace’s basketball team had a scrimmage against their parents. Longing to play but lacking confidence in my abilities, I vacillated for a long time before “throwing my hat in the pot” so to speak. [I am not quite old enough to completely disregard what others think of me, though I am rapidly getting there.] OH MY LANDS! I had so much fun…..and not just because we, the aged and aging parents, totally creamed the young whipper-snappers. I had forgotten how much I love running and competing. For an hour, in a dimly light junior high gym, the world fell away. Gone were my frets about finances, concerns about kids, worries about work; present only was the game, the passing, the rebounding, the defending, and the running, running, running. Oh how I love to run; it makes me happy.
Teaching also makes me happy, most of the time. I sat down with an 8th grade student, whom I will call Ann, Friday to help her complete her assignment. The state core curriculum mandates that students recognize the way their bodies sensspecific types of energy. It sounds a bit wordy but is really a simple concept: eyes sense light energy, skin senses heat, ears sense sound. My task at that moment was to help Ann identify eyes as the way she senses light energy. The
conversation went something like this:
Me: How do you know if it is light outside?
Ann: I don’t know.
Me: Is it light outside?
Me: How can you tell that it is light outside?
Ann: I don’t know.
Me: Do you stick your big toe out the door to tell if it is light outside?
Ann: (giggle) No.
Me: Then how can you tell?
Ann: I don’t know.
Me: Let’s say that you go to sleep. When you wake up, how do you know if you wake up in day or in the middle
of the night?
Ann: I don’t know.
Me: If you are sleeping and you wake up, can you tell if it is daytime or nighttime?
Me: How can you tell?
Ann: I don’t know.
I worked for five minutes trying to get her to do her own thinking, trying to lead her to tell me that she sees light with her
eyes. Did not happen. Finally I told her what I had tried so hard to get her to say and then had her repeat it several
times. Will she remember it tomorrow? I am not taking bets.
Referring to a totally unrelated incident, I said to Lance, “I think I am an idiot.” He said, “If you are wrong, does that make you smarter or dumber?” Hum………..
Mucking out the chicken coop makes me happy for several reasons (one of which is not that I am an idiot). First, I love the sheer physical, organic-ness of the task; nature at its most basic. Second, when I am pitchforking manure into the wheelbarrow and the children start to complain about whatever job they are doing, I simply ask if they want to trade jobs and
the complaints stop instantly. Instantly.
And thus the letter ends; naked and happy, pretty and happy, crappy and happy.