Tying Us All Together

Some people like consistency, with everything in its place, and they like to know exactly what will happen and when. But that’s not me. I happen to like change. I love to watch the seasons changing – I love summer’s heat, winter’s cold, spring’s daily surprises, and the slow dying of fall. I like hosting dinner parties, and cleaning up afterward in peace and quiet. I like challenging projects that take a long time to complete.

But perhaps most of all, I love surprises. I am empowered by the joy I feel when I happen to see a spectacular sunrise or sunset (which happens frequently in Kansas. You should come and see!). I feel so very loved, and humbled, when someone does something special for me, or just takes the time to notice me. Today I share two surprises with you – one was a project of mine, the other, many people coming together to affirm their familyness.

In 1925 my husband’s grandmother purchased an upright piano and had it shipped via train from Kansas City to a western Kansas farm. Many children learned to play piano on that instrument, and when all the kids were grown and gone, the piano was loaned to various friends and neighbors. In 1979 I married into this family. I needed a piano to teach piano lessons, so the piano moved to our house. But five houses (moves) later, the piano just would not hold a tune anymore. We acquired my mom’s piano instead, but what to do with Grandma’s piano? It was part of the family. Over the course of at least 2 years, perhaps 3, I stripped off the finish and rubbed three coats of tung oil into the walnut wood, took out everything but the cast iron frame and the pedals, and turned it into a computer desk. I’m grateful for a husband who spent most of a day helping me to put it all back together and get it into the house. Every time I walk by this completed project, my stomach does a little flip flop, not just because it is finally finished, and because it turned out so well, but because it reaffirms family ties that began long before I came on the scene.

In an earlier blog, I wrote about our entire family gathering in Kansas City to surprise me for our anniversary. What I didn’t share was the part the children had in the event. Whenever we hosted family get togethers as our children were growing up, I always tried to make sure our kids were in on the preparations. I’m delighted to know that our children feel the same way. Our grandkids were ages 8, 5, and 5 months at the time, but our daughters made sure they had a part in our anniversary celebration. With the help of their moms and aunt, the kids created a painting using their hands and feet that represents their part in our family.

(It was probably a good idea that the 5-year-old was stripped down to underwear. I am told that she had as much paint on her as on the canvas by the time they were finished. You can see the 5-month old’s footprints in the upper right corner of the completed painting.)

I love surprises, especially those that tie us together.

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