The alarm wakes me at 5:45 a.m. This is a recent development. I have never been much of a morning person, but I’ve discovered that if I want to have any type of quiet time or exercise time, I need to get it all done before the kids are awake! Afterwards I get the kids up, fed, and dressed. Then we’re out the door to walk my sweet kindergartener to school.
As we walk, we watch the airplanes fly to and from the not-so-far-away O’Hare International Airport. But we can’t look up too long, because we have to watch where we step – the geese have been here! We talk with our new neighborhood friends along the way, and it’s cool to listen in on the kids’ conversations. The school yard is a beautiful patchwork of children from different ethnicities and nationalities. So far we’ve met families who immigrated from Poland, India, Syria, Armenia, Pakistan, and the Dominican Republic.
After my little guy and I drop his sister off, we hop in the car and head for the grocery store. In the parking lot we see even more evidence of the incredible cultural diversity in Chicagoland. We see a man wearing a turban, and some women with red bindis on their foreheads. We even see seagulls that have flown out to visit the suburbs from Lake Michigan. Once inside, we hear lots of people speaking Spanish. If we’ve decided to visit the library instead of the store, the number of languages we hear is almost countless. Driving home we may pass by a Polish deli, an Indian market, a Muslim mosque, or an authentic Chicago pizzeria.
As soon as we get home we have to turn right back around and walk to pick up my little girl. For the last few months we’ve been bringing home a few extra kiddos as well, a boy and a girl from R’s kindergarten class. They run ahead of me on the sidewalk, eager to have lunch and play. At the lunch table, my real work begins. The rest of my afternoon is spent trying to get chores done around the house while not drifting too far from the kids. If the weather is nice we try to play outside. And I spend the rest of the afternoon fielding questions and hearing comments like: “Is tricking the same thing as lying?” “So-and-so’s not sharing!” “Can we go outside?” “Don’t step on the lines on the kitchen floor! They’re made of lava!” “Can we have a snack?” “Can we have some gum?” “Come on, let’s play!”
When our friends are all gone, we clean up, tackle homework, and have dinner. Perhaps the menu might include R’s “favorite chicken” (a knock-off chicken cordon bleu) or E’s favorite, “chicken ‘n dumplings.” Lately we’ve spent several nights a week watching our little guy play t-ball. I help out with the kids in the dugout while Jeromy mingles with the parents or helps out on the field.
If we don’t have to go anywhere in the evenings, it’s become a tradition of ours to watch something together as a family. We don’t have cable at the moment, so we usually watch DVD’s we’ve rented from Netflix. Recently we’ve started watching “The Cosby Show.” When bedtime arrives, we try to always have a family devotion together, reading the kids a Bible story and praying and singing together. After the kids are all tucked in, Jeromy and I usually turn into vegetables and either read a good book or watch a movie together. Lights are out by 10 or 11 o’clock.
On my bed I remember you [God]; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.
~ Psalm 63:6-7