After months of attempts at sucking in those cheeks, Vivienne has finally built up the necessary muscles and mastered the fish face.
Inspired by a “What’s your baby wearing for Halloween?” conversation with my sister, I was tossing and turning in bed at 6 a.m. when I finally remembered what Vivienne wants to be for Halloween this year: a chicken. I knew it was something that I might get arrested for (or at least commented about. I can just hear the hushed whispers, “Poor little thing. We heard that her mother wants to homeschool her, too. We hope she turns out okay.”) This could be bad. Especially in a neighborhood full of Disney Princesses (the little sisters of last year’s Disney Princesses). What’s everyone going to say when they open the door and see Cinderella, a Pumpkin, Spider Man, and…a chicken?
As you can imagine, chicken costumes abound online. My dilemma is that I’m committed to keeping Halloween as benign and unfrightening as possible and these costumes are straight-up SCARY. Even the Baby Rainbow Chickie Costume would cause the goriest ghoul to turn and run back down the sidewalk with his plastic pumpkin in tow.
Vivienne’s inspiration is the Chicken Dance itself. She dances to it every day and is getting pretty good at the flapping thing. So, if you can imagine, the costume would be just the right thing. And would probably bring out her inner-chicken so that she can dance with abandon, finally identifying with shin-high birds that don’t fly. I wouldn’t say that she’s necessarily committed to the idea, though. Last night, when I asked her if she could remember her dream-costume, she said, “I’ll be a bug! a DANCING bug!”
I’m going to Old Navy next weekend and I’m sure I’ll be overwhelmed with the number of Chicken and Dancing Bug costume options, but in case I’m not, pass along your ideas for how I can make this little chicken’s dreams come true. And start sending those feathers! I figure, if worse comes to worst, I’ll just use a glue-gun to attach a bunch of feathers to a cardboard box. Cut out a hole for air, and wah-lah, a chicken. Just wait ’til you see it dance.
After driving 17 hours from Kansas City (“when you go an hour out of the way,” Brandie explained) and around Pennsylvania for several days, Bret and Brandie pulled up in their Neon that was just too easy to personify as being utterly exhausted. They spent a few hours inspiring us; low maintenance, refreshing, “I like how my heart feels around them” types. Both of them spoke with the Word of God flittering in and out of their sentences as we sat on the back patio eating soup, as Vivienne announced that she wanted to be “Nature Girl”, as time ticked by and we loaded the dishwasher at the end of evening. It’s easy to love these types of friendships that seem to pick up so easily and drop off so easily; no one gets hurt, no one demands, “hey, why haven’t you called in a day?!” But I’m beginning to realize that these are the very friendships that I want – need – as a constant part of my life. Otherwise, my relationship with them can be like summercamp: a fabulous high that dies off as soon as the bags are unpacked. And the good things that happen amount to a couple of pages in a photo album instead of a dense, healthy relationship that surrounds us like air.
I think about Paul’s encouragement in Hebrews 12, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses…” and I get hung up on that “seeing we are also” phrase. “Really?” I wonder to myself. Is this an automatic freebie or is Paul insinuating that, if we want to run after – and like – Jesus, we better have pro-actively plunked ourselves down in the middle of this cloud?
Mysteriously, we are surrounded by the saints of Hebrews 11 and others, free to find encouragement in their stories, so that we can be faithful, too. What a luxury it is, too, to be surrounded by living friends who are also witnesses of what life can be like when we obey Jesus Christ. This is far too great a gift to be regarded as Summercamp see-ya-when-I-see-ya relationships. I’ve got a cloud to get into.
As for our friendship with Bret and Brandie, I’ve decided to go back to Kansas City with them. Not in their little Neon, but through prayer, phone calls, their blog and website. Until now, I’ve resisted blogs and web stuff (obnoxiously mocking my sister’s “myface” participation, etc.), but I’m realizing that it is one way to surround myself with friends like Bret and Brandie who are laying aside every weight in order to run towards a worthy goal, even if they’re doing it 17 hours away.