I woke up sick Saturday morning, after a week of trying to avoid catching whatever it was that had my son, Gideon, down for 7 days and counting.
Extremely sore throat.
Not to mention the tossy and turny night of sleep the entire family had, what with a thunderstorm, and a crying Gideon (who couldn’t breathe or sleep and refused to take the red cough syrup we offered him), and a teething Betsie, and, not to be outdone, a scared Rebekah who fled from her upstairs room at the first flash of lightning.
The night was so dramatic, Mr. Gore reportedly slept in the sunroom floor beside Gideon (who had finally fallen asleep on the glider), and I woke up sometime that morning with Rebekah on my face, my head pounding and my throat raging in discomfort. I was so groggy and felt so sick that, rather than shuffle around the house to find my husband, I felt around for the cordless phone and called him.
I’m so glad I did, because I discovered that he wasn’t even in the house, but in the shed, putting together the chalkboard he is making for our homeschool room. He could come in and take care of me, he said, followed by a gentle reminder that this was one of his only days to work on the chalkboard before our first day of school on September 4th.
I’ve gotta have that chalkboard.
And so the next 3 or 4 hours were spent just trying to make it until naptime.
Coffee helped a little.
Especially the 2nd cup.
And then I gave in and took a couple of extra-strength Tylenol.
And then, after I finally managed to feed them breakfast, Gid and Rebekah joined Papa in the shed, and it was just me and Betsie.
The day was much easier with just one child to watch, but time still went tick-tockingly slow, and I was hard-pressed to get much of anything done, my primary goal being to maintain a good attitude and to allow Betsie to roam around a bit rather than be locked up in her playpen where I was sorely tempted to put her.
But time marches on, and water has a way of boiling even when we’re watching the pot; before too long, I heard a little knock on the door. Looking out the peephole, I saw that my visitor was very short with a thick crop of red/blonde/brown hair. Gideon was back. And extremely dirty. It was straight to the shower for him, and I wondered how much longer it would be before Mr. Gore would return with our sure-to-be-dirty daughter. We were so very close to lunchtime now, with naptime just around the corner.
Somehow…someway…I had almost made it through this painfully slow Saturday morning…
However, when Gideon was finished showering, something extraordinary happened. Leading his baby sister to follow him up the stairs, he shut the nursery door and “baby-sat” her for me so I could rest. As I heard their laughter floating down the stairs, my heart immediately relaxed within me, and I sank down into a chair and waited for the rest of my family to come back home.
And that’s really when my day sort of turned magical…
I heard them before I saw them. Hopping up and opening the front door, I met them on the porch, both of them wet from the rain they had to run through to get back to the house. Rebekah was howling and Mr. Gore was smiling as he held her close. “She heard thunder about halfway across the yard and got scared.” he explained.
Setting her down on a towel right inside the front door, he asked for a couple of more minutes to tidy up the shed before lunch. Nodding, I began to “clean” Rebekah with wet wipes (or “wipe wipes” as she calls them), even as the tears continued to flow down her soft cheeks. There was a nice breeze blowing through our open door as I knelt there before her, and a steady rain continued to fall, leaving puddles on our sidewalk for the first time in months. The grass here in Oklahoma is so sun-scorched and rain-thirsty it has turned to the color of straw, and numerous tree limbs lay scattered across our acreage from trees that just seem to have given up and let go of their extra weight in the rec0rd-breaking temperatures.
Thus, the beckoning to go out-of-doors became irresistable. Turning my ear toward the stairs, I listened to make sure no one was crying before asking Miss Sunday if she might like to join me on the front porch.
“But I’m scared…” she cried. “The thunder might get us…”
“No it won’t…” I called, as I made my way to my rocking chair outside. “Come sit with me! I’ll keep you safe.”
Seconds later, I heard the creak of the screen door and her swift but heavy footsteps upon our concrete porch. Reaching me, she held up her ams, and I plunked her down safely in my lap.
She cuddled up against me and laid her head on my chest before wrapping her soft little arm around me. I covered the both of us with my favorite lightweight blanket and we methodically and calmly rocked, the wind blowing our hair back while light drops of rain periodically splattered us, even from our cozy perch under the shelter of the porch.
Sitting there with my 3-year old girl in my lap, my longing for naptime shifted, and I was left with one desire: to sit there forever, rocking, loving, holding, singing, and talking, with lots of kisses atop her head in-between.
“Isn’t God good to us, Rebekah?” I asked her.
She nodded her head, and pulled the blanket tightly under her chin. Her damp hair was turning wavy on my arm, and the wind was blowing wisps of those perfect golden strands all around her face.
“We are enjoying some of the best things that there are in life right this minute: family…and love…and rain…and God’s creation…see the trees blowing in the wind?” I said, hoping that she might pick up on a few of the many words I was saying, and that the truth would begin to take root in her heart that life was best enjoyed in simple and pure moments like we were sharing on our front porch, surrounded by the things God had made rather than the destructible treasures of man.
We sat quietly for a time, her blue eyes looking unblinkingly up at me in her signature gaze.
Finally she piped up. “I’m so gwad that God sent some wain to help gwow my fwowers.”
For just moments before, she had been picking and then replanting wildflowers by the shed where Papa was working. “Yes!” I exclaimed. “God is SO good to send some rain on your flowers.” I thought of the handful of farmers I know who had been desperately needing this rain, and trusting in the sovereignty of God to care for their crops and for their livelihood. My heart was happy to consider the gratitude they must be feeling at that very moment, echoed in the high-pitched voice of a 3-year old girl who was also worried about her plants…
It took Papa longer than he expected to tidy up the shed, and Gideon and Betsie were having a grand time upstairs, giving me and this treasure of a daughter plenty of time to commune with one another as we rocked and rocked and rocked. Before I knew it, lunchtime was upon us; Mr. Gore, seeing that I was in Mama heaven, offered to make the children some sandwiches, and allowing us to rock and sing songs until it was time to eat.
We soon moved on to the next part of our day – naptime! – but I was very glad this misty Saturday morning to have found the cure for the common cold, a surefire distraction to all that ails you…
Love. Family. Gratitude.
And for sure, a good rocking chair on the front porch.
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