This week several things have stood out to me…
Lighning Bugs! hotaru! On Monday and again tonight we walked down to the rice fields below our home with some neighbor friends and celebrating summer starting by looking for fire flies. Hotaru are a summer icon in Japan, but more and more rare in the suburbs. They only last a week or so, and it has felt fairly magical to walk among them twice this week.
YESTERDAY was a very full day with a very full house. Kindergarten gets out before lunch on Wednesdays, so I had over the three moms from our camping trip and their kids for lasagna crockpot lunch and a play date. When Owen came home from school later, we had 4 moms and 7 kids. Then, two of the moms older kids came over to play since it was raining and they couldn’t go to the park. Then the mom of a friend in Owen’s class called and said Owen had invited her son over to play- was that OK? And then another mom called with the same question… So there were a LOT of kids here!
And during those six and a half hours I realized: I was really really enjoying my time with these three friends, and I felt like I could totally be me without worries.
And that led to…
Me telling them about Annie’s recent comment. Last Sunday I pulled out the iron and ironing board to iron Owen’s school lunch apron and hat (he brings it home every other weekend for me to wash and iron). Annie came over and with a quizzical look pointed to the iron and said, “What is that, Mommy?” She didn’t know what an iron was. Busted Mom!
So, I’m telling my three friends this story, we are laughing, and then one of them asked, “So, do you iron their lunch mats after the kids are in bed?” The lunch mats? (Lunch mats: Square, bandana-like handkerchiefs that they put their school lunches on. They each take one every day to school). Me: “The lunch mats? Do you — do you all iron your kids’ lunch mats?” Three cautious nods yes. And then one of them asks: “What about Annie’s smock?” (Smock: She takes this every Monday, laundered, to wear all week long. Thin cotton; easily wrinkled). Me: “So, do you all iron your kids’ smocks every week too?” Affirmative.
We laughed, and laughed, and laughed. You know what? they laughed with me; they laughed at me. It was great! It was very funny. Two and a half years I have been a Japanese yochien mom. It never OCCURRED to me that I should be ironing their daily lunch mats and smocks. But what I loved was — my Japanese friends laughed at me. That sounds cold- but it was a huge compliment. Normally our Japanese friends would be worried to laugh too much — there would be sort of that awkwardness. But around our table we greatly enjoyed the moment.
Tonight — I’ve been ironing. Imagine that. I have to start storing it on a lower shelf. As I calculate it, even having missed out on the last two and a half years of ironing, I am going to get pretty good. And once I’ve got the thing out, I might as well keep going. I ironed our dish towels, too. And thanked God with a smile for His continued grace and work in my life. It’s been a fun week.