The rain is falling hard upon our hilltop abode, and the darkness of the day has caused me to be surprised at the early hour. Surely it is dusk! But, no; it is only 3:30. I have the porch light on in anticipation of my husband's return from work, even though it is only mid-afternoon. He is sick, but he had to teach 176 eighth graders today anyway. I turned on the porch light to remind him of the cheery news that the power is ON. He was the faithful soldier who was without power in our home for seventy-five hours, Friday through Monday. He cooked on the propane stove outside in the cold. He brought my mother over to our house so she could sleep in front of the warm fire. He burned his way through what we thought was a half-year supply of IKEA candles. An award of bravery to that man, please!
And where was I as the oatmeal was being stirred in camping style on the porch? I was away for fifty-eight of those hours, coaching and judging and visiting my way through our first qualifying tournament of the year for speech and debate. I was driving 1,100 miles in our faithful car, Vincent Van Go. I was trying to sort out solvency, topicality, inherency and significance as I sat through debate round after debate round after debate round. I was downing weak coffee from the judge's room before going on to the next round of speeches. I heard speeches on God's grace, Pilgrim's Progress, the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, Wind in the Willows, the primary elections, conspiracy theories, rats, fashion, and bees. And more. And more. The swirl of inspiration, talent, hard work and creativity was awe-inspiring. What great kids. What a terrific week-end.
As colds and viruses finish their dirty work in our throats and lungs and muscles, we are all curling up in different corners, enjoying the freedom that electricity brings. We have warm blankets, a warm fire, candles for ambiance purposes only, and good books and warm lattes. We can turn on lights, have a hot bath, watch a movie or recharge our cell phones. We can see as we do our final rounds of the night and do the piles of laundry that have accumulated over the last week. We can enjoy being together again, and we can acknowledge that we prefer to suffer together rather than apart.
And we can savor the successes of the children, for there are many. Our youngest scored TWO baskets in his first-ever basketball game. Both of our older boys were very successful in debate, and they ended up having to debate each other in an elimination round. The younger knocked out the older...and felt the pain along with the joy. Our middle son got to semi-finals in impromptu and original oratory, while our oldest daughter got to semi-finals in both of her prepared speeches. There were two speeches in the family that did not break to semi-finals, and there are good lessons to learn in that disappointment. But as mother and father, we are so proud and pleased with the diligence and determination of all of our children. My heart overflows with waves of gratitude for this rich life.
It is a great night for a rain storm and the warm and well-lit indoors.