Lee Hull Moses

writing, etc.

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Parenting

The Bunns

We have two new neighbors. They live in our backyard, they come and go as they please, they’re very quiet, and they have long ears that pop upright whenever they hear us coming. So far, they’ve stayed out of the lettuce in our garden..

IMG_5055We look for them every morning out the den window, and when we see them, Jonathan, who doesn’t do anything subtly, screams, “HI BUNN!” I can’t decide what’s more adorable: his exuberance or their little white tails.



Things that made me happy today

Sunshine. Sweet, sweet sunshine. I walked outside for a block on my way to lunch downtown, and felt better than I have for weeks.

The realization that Rob and I will get to see all four of our parents in the next two weeks, for a variety of reasons. We have very good parents.

Hosting some people from church for dinner at our house. The first time we looked at this house, I knew it would be perfect for entertaining, and since our social life basically revolves around church meetings and meals, this is what we do. I like knowing that every once in a while, all this abundance – more space than we need, more dishes than we can use – serves a greater purpose.

A sermon that practically wrote itself.

Jonathan’s grin. Also, the way he has morphed the sign for “more” into a sign for “please.” He manages to ask very politely for things he wants, without using any words.

Learning that the University of North Carolina at Greensboro has a Quidditch team, and being invited to come watch their tournament.

Watching Harper play by herself in her room, building a bed for her toys and creating some kind of color-coded book. Her creativity has exploded lately, and it’s delightful to watch. For years, I have wished that she would play on her own, and it makes me glad to watch her discover that there’s fun to be had with her own imagination. It’s a life-skill, I think, being able to entertain oneself.

The knowledge that there’s nothing else that really has to get done before I can go to bed.



Miscellany

1. Yesterday, some unexplained forces turned our normally kind, sweet, and funny five-year-old into a moody, eye-rolling, sarcastic teenager with occasional 2-year-old tendencies. It was really fun. Could we just have one age at a time, please?

2.While fixing dinner, I looked down to find Jonathan lying on his stomach on the kitchen floor, smearing something brown and sticky in circles with his hands. Upon smelling it (because what else was I going to do?), I discovered that it was a melted chocolate chip. This was infinitely better than the alternative, but still confusing, because I really can’t remember the last time we had chocolate chips in the house.

3. A friend invited me over last night to look through some old children’s books he was getting rid of, and I came away with a box full of treasures, including several that I’m quite sure were in my collection when I was a kid but which I hadn’t thought of in years and years. I was particularly tickled to find this one, from the Sweet Pickles series.

“‘There’s a lot to worry about,’ sighed Walrus.”
So true, Walrus, so true.

4. In other book news: We were pleased to see that Hopes and Fears was mentioned in the Christian Century’s year-end list of recommended theology and philosophy books. Also, I’m doing a book signing on Saturday at 2:00 as part of the Holiday Open House at Barnhill’s, a wonderful little bookstore over in Winston-Salem. Several other writers and artists with church connections will be there as well. I’m really looking forward to it. If you’re local, join us!

5. Speaking of Christmas parties (were we? not really, I guess), I will be attending four in the next three days. ‘Tis the season!



A Card of Her Own

I am, generally, a very responsible person. I follow rules. I’ve never gotten a speeding ticket. I like deadlines and most of the time, meet them.

With one glaring exception: I cannot, for the life of me, return books to the library on time. While I don’t particularly mind supporting the library through these unintended donations, I’m pretty sure I could have purchased a small library of our own with the money I’ve paid in fines over the years.

So on Monday afternoon, at the library with the kids, it was not all that surprising when the librarian told me I had too many fines to check out any books. I needed to pay at least $3.65 to get my fines low enough to remove the restriction placed on my card. I would have paid it – there’s no arguing that the books were late – but I didn’t have any cash, or the checkbook, and the library isn’t set up to take credit cards.

“Well,” I said to Harper, “We’ll just read a couple of books here and come back another day to check some out.”

This did not go over well. I could sense a full-blown fit coming on and hesitated a moment, wondering if we should just leave now or go on to the children’s room and hope she could pull it together so we could read a book or two. In my moment of hesitation, the librarian jumped in:

“You know, she could get a card,” she said, pointing at Harper, “and you could check out books on her card.” Harper’s eyes lit up and she came back toward the desk.

“Do you have your ID?” the librarian asked me, and before I knew it, Harper was writing her name on the back of the card. “Now, of course, you have to be with her if she checks out books,” the librarian informed me.

This struck me as both completely ridiculous — You understand, I wanted to ask her, that I am the exact same person who already owes $8.65 and therefore I am not allowed to check out any books? I have not in any way proved myself to be worthy of the responsibility of a second card — and also completely charming and representative of everything I love about libraries.

(When I told this story to Rob later, he said I’d been the victim of predatory lending. I couldn’t pay the first loan, so they gave me a second one. Funny. But not true; predatory lending is an actual and terrible problem. Library fines are not.)

So I probably should have said no, but I did not want my daughter to be punished for the sins of her mother. Plus, you should have seen the quiet grin that crept across her face when the librarian handed her her card.

She grabbed some books, mostly at random, but we lucked out: One was about the civil rights movement; we learned about Martin Luther King, Jr., and what a coffin is (Where does the life go that was inside? she asked.) We read about a French sculptor and learned the word “oui.” We heard the story of a first grade class who welcomes a little girl who wears a headscarf. It’s a big world out there.

Good books, all of them. Would somebody please remind me to take them back on October 29?



Show Business

I’m not always entirely clear on how God answers prayers, especially the very specific “please-let-me-find-a-parking-space” variety. But I’m pretty sure there was some kind of divine intervention this afternoon when I said to myself, “If I have to play one more game of Tickle Monster with this five-year-old or dig this baby out of the trash can again, I don’t think any of us are going to make it to dinner.”

God said, “Then have a puppet show.”

Turns out, I’m pretty good at puppet shows. I’m think I was channeling a little bit of Jim Henson and a lot of my dad, who is also pretty good at puppet shows. In fact, one summer at camp, when we were counseling together, we put on a puppet show for the third-graders. The theme was the vine and branches passage from John’s gospel, and when we got to the phrase “you will bear fruit,” one of the puppets said, “Bear Fruit? What’s a Bear Fruit?” We thought it was hilarious. I’m sure the third-graders did too.

Anyway, one of my puppets bore a striking resemblance — in voice inflection, if not in appearance — to Grover, and the other was more of an Eeyore with a British accent. (I’m telling you. Oscar worthy performances.)

Harper played right along, talking back to the puppets and singing along with the songs. She came up on cue to give the puppets kisses and giggled at the jokes. She laughed hysterically when the puppets got attacked by a giant baby.

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After dinner, we had an encore presentation for Rob, who was very supportive of my newfound talents. Maybe if this ministry gig doesn’t work out, I’ll go on the road.

(So, if that was you, God, thanks for the idea.)



Things that happened at our house between 5:30 and 7:30 this evening.

1. I discovered that a stuffed toy caterpillar, which I have no idea how to clean, had fallen into the diaper pail this morning and had been sitting on dirty diapers all day.

2. Harper spilled bubbles all over the porch and then tracked them into the house.

3. Ants took over our kitchen floor. This is not particularly surprising, given the amount of food that falls there lately.

4. Harper had a minor tantrum because I wasn’t letting her clean up as many ants as I was.

5. Jonathan showed us that he can clap on cue.

6. Harper discovered she likes figs.

7. Jonathan got sweet potato in his eye.

8. Harper tried to use silly putty as a band-aid on a scraped knee. Some of it got stuck to her knee and would not come off. The rest of it is missing in the house somewhere.

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