Fiona arrived Friday evening for her overnight visit. It was fun. I had made some of her favorite foods for Friday ngihts supper and we all settled around the table to reconnect. Family meals are important to me, especially treasured this year as there are two nights weekly when our dance obligations negate actual family meals. I don't count take out pizza gobbled out of desparation a true meal! LOL At any rate, she settled in and it was a great evening. The kids watched a movie together, she and I chatted in the kitchen while I did housework. It was just easy and free flowing. For the first time in a long time, she slept through the night with no obvious nightmare or disorientation. I am not sure if that is a result of being here more, the change in her meds or a fusion of the two. If it makes my daughter have a more peaceful night I don't really care what it is from!
The next morning I managed to get every one up and us out the door for shopping by 7:15. This is pretty miraculous as Fiona is most definately not a morning person. I had primed her the night before that we have to shop early in the a.m. and she was gracious about it. She fell into a good routine in the store as well; it helps that the other kids really know their shopping duties and she was able to follow their lead. Then it was to the donut shop for the post shopping treat, and then home to unload and grab library books and bank books.
All my kids except Fiona have passbook savings accounts. It is horridly old school but it is visual enough that even the youngest get the concept of putting money in so that it is available for when they need it. Saturday afternoon we were going to our city's fall festival. They would want to buy things--tickets to bouncehouses, food, raffle tickets, whatever. They each took out $25.00 from their accounts and I took $25 from mine for Fi. All money went into small envelopes with their names on it and we talked about how this was their money for the whole event. There was no Bank of Lee. I would not and could not loan money. They could buy what they wished but it was up to them to decide how to best use the money they had.
So after banking, dance classes and going to the library we came home for a quick lunch and then walked downtown to the festival. It was bigger than usual this year with this being the 20th anniversary of this celebration. It has grown from a small event that used one street to a large multicultural event that encompasses the entire downtown and beyond. Many times I privately bemoan how large our city has become. But at that festival, for that small moment in time, it doesn't feel large. I see person after person that I know and we catch up or exclaim over where life's journeys are taking us. I love the melange of foods. From the chili battle between the fire dept and the police department, to the thai, laotian, spanish and brazilian offerings, there is something for everyone.
There are free crafts for kids and a few free games, but there are things to raise money for city sports programs and those cost money. There are a few free food offerings, but mostly they are fundraisers for the agencies that work with and for these populations in our community. There are vendors as well. Many are small local businesses with amazing crafts to choose from.
After looking at everything, Fiona decided on a pretty butterfly ring. It took the lions share of her cash but left her enough for a few small snacks during the rest of the day. KC came home with cash but spent money on some art and bounce house events , a cheap inflatable toy that will likely break in a day, and some food venues. Rob and Chet spent most of theirs on raffles and food. Lissa spent money on lots of food things, lots of bounce house stuff and a dunk tank experience. She tried valiently to dunk a local police officer with no luck! She also made sure that at the outset she had reserved enough money for cotton candy. She is obcessed with cotton candy--absolutely adores the stuff. It is not a festival for her if she doesn't get it.
By the time we walked back home it was supper time and I cooked for the tribe--privately marvelling that they could squeeze anything in! Then staff arrived to bring Fiona back to school and the littles settled into beds.
Today was church. I look forward to spending time in my faith community each week. I need the time spent there in a bit of quiet contemplation--quiet doesn't happen often in my life. I need the music that lifts me up and beyond myself. I need the friendship and support that i find within the friendships that have grown up over the years there. I love watching the kids singing the prelude hymns. The two littles have been going to this church since they were days old and it shows in their level of contentment and security there. After church, we went to an adoption gathering at a local farm. There are play spaces and cool animals to pet and/or help with. There are ponies to ride. The weather cooperated and it was the kind of beautiful day that typlifies an early fall New England day. Such a gift from the goddess. And also a gift to re-connect with the two women who helped negotiate our homestudy and the dreaded Interstate Compact (which is an experience not for the faint of heart) when we went to IL for KC and Lissa.
Now Rob is off at youth group, where they are finalizing plans for their October mission trip to Maine. They travel to Orland Maine and work there for all of Columbus weekend. He gets a lot from these trips and gives freely of himself, both in labor and in building friendships with the people who are served there.
These are the days that are the reason that I do the daily grind of work. The time spent with my family is my most treasured time.