I spotted the ponds on accident.  I wasn’t looking for rippling bodies of water, I was looking for vending machines.  My daughter’s dance competition was an hour behind schedule and I was hungry.  But as I passed through a glass hallway in search of food I saw the ponds.  They were obviously man-made, but I didn’t care.  They were the perfect spot to take some pictures of Hoob in her African dance costume before we left the campus for home.

Once Hoob had performed and had collected her trophy I asked her if she wanted to take pictures by the ponds.  She readily agreed.  The weather was gorgeous and the sun was just beginning to lower in the sky.  It was perfect for taking pictures.  I hadn’t brought my camera but we did have Hoob’s Flip video recorder.  She is more tech savvy than I am.  She knows how to upload the videos to the computer and then capture still pictures from them.  Hoob showed me how to work the Flip and we began filming.

Hoob did some dance moves and jumps and then she spotted the ducks.  My original intent was to film quickly and then leave so I could get Hoob back to her father (his weekend to have the kids).  But when Hoob spotted the duck families and the two little ducklings who had been separated from their families, I decided to relax and enjoy the moment with my daughter. 

The extra time I seized with my daughter included:

*The two of us following the ducklings and trying to coax them out of the water so that we could grab them and put them with their families.  The ducklings wouldn’t hear of it.  (Did you know that a duckling trying to get away from someone trying to grab it looks exactly like it is running on the water?)  

*Me filming Hoob as she tried to get close to the ugliest off-white goose we’ve ever seen (at least we think it was a goose, it was hanging out with a bunch of Canadian Geese).  The goose didn’t want Hoob too close so it kept running away.  Our film shows Hoob chasing the goose all over the lawn while it is making a funny honking noise.  It finally escaped by jumping into one of the ponds.

*Visiting some man-made waterfalls that were a short distance from the ponds.  I filmed Hoob doing some of her dance moves in front of the waterfalls and then I dared her to run across the cement “stepping stones” in front of one of the waterfalls.  There was some lady watching everything we were doing and I think Hoob thought she would get in trouble, but she finally took me up on my dare and ran across.  I think that is the fastest I have ever seen my daughter move.

*Hoob filming me strike different poses on a bench in front of one of the waterfalls.  My favorite pose is when I am hanging upside down off the back of the bench.

*Me filming Hoob posing with some bronze statues that we found near the waterfalls.  She pretended to dance with two men statues and did a silly pose pushing a girl statue away from a guy statue while covering the guy statue’s eyes.  Is this a sign that my daughter is going to be the jealous type?

*Stopping to enjoy swallows flying to and from their nests on one of the buildings on campus.  The upper deck where the birds have chosen to nest has been roped off and signs stating “Swallow Nesting Area-Please Do Not Disturb” have been placed in various locations.  We laughed at all the bird droppings on the railings and windows of the building.  It must be a treat to have class in that classroom.  Hoob tried filming the swallows as they flew out in a group, but they were too fast and quickly flew too far away to film.

As I drove home after our little adventure on campus I enjoyed hearing Hoob giggle as she watched what we’d filmed.  We both agreed that it had been fun.

When I got home after dropping Hoob off at her father’s house Hub had dinner (courtesy of Olive Garden) waiting by the lit fire pit on the patio.  (He is so awesome!)   As we ate, I told him of our adventure with geese, ducklings, and statues.  I mentioned that it is important to seize moments like that when they come so that memories can be made.  He agreed and told me of a time when his kids were younger and wanted to explore a cave near their house.  He took his kids and some of their friends to the cave and went exploring.  As they neared the back of the cave they could see something moving and then it ran at them.  They all ran screaming from the cave, the frightened squirrel beating them to the exit.

Creating memories is an important part of family life and building relationships.  Many times the moments aren’t planned but we need to be prepared to seize them and make the most of them.  “Take the time to smell the roses” is quoted often.  Yes, take the time to smell the roses, or chase a goose, or rescue some ducklings, or explore a cave, or have dinner by the fire with your honey.  The memories created will last a lifetime.   

Mom,

Random thoughts to say thanks…

Thank you for teaching me to pray.  Your advice to “just say a little prayer” whenever I was seeking answers, going through a difficult time, or simply taking a tough test taught me faith and trust in the Lord.

Thank you for teaching the importance of family.  Our monthly dinners, holiday gatherings, and other family traditions have helped our family remain close.  Silly videos, halloween parties, goofy games, “dollar” gifts and all the rest have added to my kids’ childhood memories.  They value the relationships they have with their extended family members and have learned many things from their aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins. 

Thank you for showing support.  Whether it is encouraging me or my kids in our interests, sending cards of congratulations or showing up for sports events and dance recitals, your support has always been there.   

Thank you for listening and understanding when I call you with a problem.  Thank you for calmly giving advice.  Thanks for encouraging me when I cry and saying things that build my self-esteem.

Thank you for giving me life.  After experiencing morning sickness and labor four times I am amazed and in awe that you did it eight times.  And, even though I really wanted a pony ;-), thank you for giving me siblings instead.  The friendships developed with my sisters and brothers are some I value the most.

Thank you for being there when I went through my divorce.  Calling up and checking on me meant alot.  Finding help when I was having car problems, sending food our way, talking to others who had been through a divorce and passing along their advice all helped and was appreciated.

Thank you for exhibiting patience.  Thank you for not condemning me whenever I was acting less than lovable.  Thank you for exemplifying what the words “unconditional love” really mean.  Thank you for always forgiving.

Thank you for trying to teach me how to cook and how to sew.  Thank you for not pushing me when I showed no interest in such domestic activities.  Thank you for willingly sharing recipes now that I am finally interested in spending some time in the kitchen. 

Thank you for putting up with all the teasing sent your way as you try to learn the mystery of computers and how to navigate the family website.  It teaches my kids a willingness to learn new things and the ability to laugh at themselves.  Thank you for not taking yourself too seriously–something I need to work on.

Thank you for all the handmade gifts sent our way.  The afghans, especially, will become treasured family heirlooms in the homes of my children.  Thank you for all the random “just because” gifts.

Thank you for the past “cousin days” that allowed the kids to get together with their cousins and us moms to have a break.  Thank you for all the times you babysat when the kids were younger.

Thank you for all your prayers in our behalf. 

Thank you for showing me that the job of “Mom” doesnt end.  Ever.

Thank you for loving me.  Thank you for being my mom.

I love you.