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    These are the Days

    September 9, 2010 by Brandy Vencel

    Yesterday was one of those days, the kind to savor. It was the sort that reminds me why I live the life I do. I suppose there wasn’t anything specific which made it amazing. It was more a collection of little treasures than anything else.

    Well, that and the weather had been good. My air conditioner has been off for 48 hours and counting. That always puts me in an appreciative mood.

    But still…yesterday was Good.

    There was, for instance, that moment when I first cracked open Jean Henri Fabre’s Insects with A.

    “Have you ever heard of Jean Henri Fabre?”

    “No,” she said, while carefully cutting away at her Kumon project for the day.

    “Well, he decided that he didn’t like living in the city, so he moved to the country, to an old, old house with an old, overgrown yard and he lived with the bugs. Fabre loved bugs.”

    “I love bugs, too,” she said. I knew she did. That is why we are going to read the book over the next few weeks.

    “So Fabre moved in with the wasps and the bees–“

    “I don’t like wasps and bees.”

    “Fabre did.”

    “Oh. Huh.”

    “He moved in with them and the other bugs and he watched what they did, and that is what this book is about.”

    “That’s wonderful!” She oohed and aahed over the few pages we read.

    She already adores this book.

    With E. yesterday, I read a Shakespeare plot for the first time. For various reasons, we did not begin Shakespeare until this year. The most compelling reason was my gut instinct, that I couldn’t do it in good faith. It seemed too mature for him, too much.

    He is so serious.

    But with another year under his belt, it seemed like a good time. So we opened our Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children by Nesbit (whom we adore for her own sake), and we read The Merchant of Venice. E. was on the edge of his seat. And when Bassanio was choosing between the gold coffin and the silver coffin and the lead coffin, with the hope of winning the right to marry Portia, E. was jumping up and down and almost screaming that he knew the right choice!

    To my surprise, he ended up being correct.

    “How did you know the answer?”

    “It is just like the fairy tales! There is always something gold, and something silver, and something lead, and the lead one is always right. But I think if I had to choose, I would want silver. Even though gold is worth more, I just like the way silver looks.”

    “Why do you think lead has to be the right answer?”

    And then we discussed that idea that man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. We talked about what men look for when they seek a wife. We talked about what the most important thing is to look for. We talked about how wonderful it was that Portia was both beautiful and good.

    It was great.

    And then there was screaming. Poor Q. had taken a tumble with her scooter, and O. was at the screen door.

    “Ma! Ma!!” He pointed at her, demanding that I come and help soon. But I could tell she wasn’t really hurt.

    “Oh-we!” He said. I know, being fluent in O-speak the way that I am, that this means I should help her.

    I looked out the door.

    “O., I think you should help her.”

    He puffed out his chest with pride. He is the vowed protector of his sister Q. A. is too big–he expects her to mother and protect him. But Q.’s two or three inches of height over him do not deter–he will take care of her (or at least make sure someone else does). He ran to her. He gave her his hand, and helped her up. He asked her, in his own way, if she was alright.

    I told her he helped her because he loves her so much.

    Usually, when she falls like that, she is so angry. But she ran to him and hugged him tightly.

    He looked embarrassed.

    But I treasured all of these things up in my heart.

    These are the days, are they not?

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  • Reply Kimbrah September 13, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    So not cool to make the poor ginormous pregnant lady cry. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Brandy Afterthoughts September 12, 2010 at 12:54 am


    After you wrote this, I hopped over to PBS to add that book to my wishlist…only to discover it was already on my list! I must have heard of it awhile back and since forgotten. I am number 22 in line.

    I will pray that God has mercy on me…I’d love to have a copy! πŸ˜‰

    And yes: I do want to freeze time. Since my youngest turned two and it really hit home that we aren’t having more, I have felt that urge to freeze it many times daily. I am trying to use that energy to focus on savoring it all while it lasts…

  • Reply Kristine September 11, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Oh, I am so glad to hear she likes the Insect book so far. We finished The Storybook of Science by him recently, and it was fascinating. Fabre is a wonderful storyteller with keen observations.

    I loved your son’s reaction to Shakespeare. Don’t you want to freeze time and savor those moments.

    BTW, Brightest Heaven of Invention is helpful to see the benefits of Shakespeare from a Christian perspective. I was just digging it out, as it includes a commentarty on Julius Caesar, which we are reading now.

  • Reply Brandy Afterthoughts September 10, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    That was the song I was singing in my head! πŸ™‚

  • Reply sara September 10, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Yes. These ARE the days. And now Natalie Merchant is singing in my head. πŸ˜‰

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