April might have been full of Birthday fun but May is the icing on the cake. Here are just some of the events we’ve been celebrating the past few weeks.
Our neighbor, Linda, hosted one more piano recital for the boys before heading back to the mainland for the summer. She had Nate and Titus play their own original compositions and then gave us a beautiful rendition of Joel’s piece, “The People of the Lord.”
May meant it was time to go up to the local coffee shop that had been displaying Titus’s artwork for a month and bring his masterpieces back home. He sold quite a few but here are some of my favorite florals that have found a place on our own walls.
May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii and one of my new favorite holidays. All the schools have special programs where the children dress up in their Aloha wear and sing songs about Hawaii. At Tom’s school everyone brings leis to put on the cross. We had our own little program with music and a special lunch of Spam Musubi.
That night was Tom’s school play which was probably the funniest one he’s ever done but Gideon looked quite bored already waiting for it to start and then slept through most of it. Must not be a big theater guy.
Saturday was the Kentucky Derby which calls for it’s own little celebration. We started listening to the Triple Crown races years ago on the radio and this was only the second time we actually got to watch one on television and I have to say, the radio broadcast is much more exciting. Anyway, I donned my fancy hat and we read over all the entries in the newspaper and then picked horses to put a quarter on. Nate’s horse actually won and I don’t know who had the bigger smile, he or the jockey. We all ate like horses (apples, carrots, and oatmeal cookies). Next time we’ve gotta add “Haystacks” to the menu.
5/5 is Boys Day which is a Japanese holiday that the Hawaiians have adopted. This year was especially fun because we got to hang 5 carp fish out on the lanai (1 for each boy in the family). Last year we turned it into a very multi-cultural affair but this year we kept it Japanese. Sei’s mom gave us all a sushi lesson and we got to make our own rolls. Mine ended up looking like a big Japanese burrito which I thought was the perfect nod to a certain Mexican holiday of the same day. Boys Day + Cinco de Mayo = Cinco de Macho! We also had a Kendama contest which earned them a nickel a trick (in keeping with our 5 theme). Then they all dove into the pool to search for the $5.55 I had scattered along the bottom. Finders keepers! We finished with some blue Mochi and gummi fish for dessert and thanked the Lord for the gift of boys!
Mother’s Day Eve we had a family over that we had never met before for a picnic dinner on the beach. Nothing like the bond of Christ for making instant friendships. While the grown-ups talked ministry, homeschooling, and life away from family in a far-off-land, the kids set stuff on fire.
And finally, it was Mother’s Day. Nothing like throwing half-a-dozen parties right before The Big Day to show your boys how to do it right! And boy, did they! I woke up to roses and waffles (apparently we now have a waffle iron!) and coffee in my bed. And the baby miraculously NOT in my bed! We took Shirley, one of our dear, older neighbors, to church with us and she won the prizes for most children (8), most grandchildren (22), and oldest mother (89). I got the prize for youngest mother. Now that says something about the age dynamic of a congregation when the YOUNGEST mother is in her late 30’s and the next runner up was in her 50’s!
A delicious lunch followed and then it was off to the nursing home for our monthly service with the residents there. Oh my friends, there were a whole lot of lonely mamas in that room. I have to tell you about one in particular who never used to come to the services but was always slumped in her wheelchair near the entrance. Her eyes would be closed but she would mumble like she was awake and we would always greet her and hold her hand but there would never be a response until one of us would say “Loretta, we’ve brought the baby for you to see” and then she would look up and smile and start speaking clearly. Praise God, the last two times we have been there Loretta has been at the service and we just park the baby in his stroller right next to her and she strokes his hands and feet as she sings the old, familiar hymns with us and reads along with the scripture reading and participates in every way. It’s amazing what just the presence of a little one can do. More than any words we can offer or gifts we can bring, a child can bring comfort and hope and healing to a lonely soul. Seeing God use my children in that way is the best Mother’s Day gift I could ask for.
This week we are in the middle of Hawaii State standardized testing. There’s nothing like pages of little bubbles and #2 pencils to bring us all back down to earth.