Oh friends, you are in for a treat today. Not only do you get to see her 5th grade Dorothy Hammill bowl-cut self, but you get the opportunity to know and learn and grow from one of my newly-favorite people, Marlene. So, buckle up and take a deep breath as you enter into our friend’s story of a little thing today.
I’ll never forget those words my Mom spoke to me on that crisp afternoon in the Spring of my tenth year of life. I was standing outside of Ordway Elementary School with the rest of my fifth grade classmates as our teacher gave a demonstration. I was oblivious to my Mom being escorted by a school administrator as she quickly approached me.
I was, of course, shocked to see my Mom. But more than any emotion I may have felt at the time, all I remember is her saying to me, “We’re going on an adventure,” and then being quickly pulled away from my classmates as we briskly walked to her car. “Are we going to Disneyland,” I thought? What kind of adventure were we going on? I got giddy at the thought of it.
As soon as I opened the car door, I saw the solemn look on my Dad’s face. And then his words felt like a kick to the stomach as he said, “We had a house fire.” No fanfare. Just the few words needed to get straight to the point.
An adventure? This was the adventure? My deflated self slumped into the backseat next to my older brother as we drove home, digesting the news of how a small kitchen fire turned our house ablaze. I remember the kitchen looking like an episode from the Twilight Zone. Even my plastic horses in my bedroom had melted into a blob. Over the next eight months, my family lived in a condo while we replaced and hoped to recover what was lost.
I think back to that time and I’m amazed at my Mom’s words during that pivotal moment for our family. She could have been shrieking and crying, throwing me into anxiety as she picked me up from school. Instead, she chose to see this fire as an adventure, knowing and believing that what was most valuable – our family – was not lost and that we would get through this ordeal together, adventure-style. Her positive and upbeat spirit helped turn something tragic into an invaluable lesson on gratitude and choosing to see things in a different light.
My Dad also modeled something small in a huge way during that season. He never pointed a finger, spoke an accusing word, or blamed my Mom for the fire. His actions spoke love and grace and commitment to my Mom, modeling God’s forgiveness in such a tangible way for me as a young girl.
The small things truly are the big things: my mom’s choice of words; my dad’s actions. Each modeled God’s character and truth that I pray I can emulate to my husband and son, friends, and neighbors. Life truly is an adventure.
Marlene vows to never again revert to her 10-year-old Dorothy Hammill bowl haircut or to leave a hot pan of oil unattended on the kitchen stove. She’s an editor, occasional writer, and little boy-chaser who lives in the Bay Area with her husband, 3-year-old boy, and crazy chocolate lab. Read more on her blog by clicking here – otherwise, leave a comment and encourage Marlene today! (And if you’re new here, spread the love by cheering on be, mama. be today!)0