Treasures big and small found on spring break

Categorized as 04/19/10 Goshen News column

There may have been about three families in the school district that never left Olive Township over spring break. That may be stretching it a bit, but the point is, it was a working spring break for the Schrocks. Which isn’t to say it was bad.

It’s good, actually, to be able to shred the schedule and burn it for 10 days. It’s very good to let sleeping boys lie (when they’re sleeping, they’re not slugging each other or eating stuff) for a change. And it’s good to get some extra work accomplished using their arms and legs.

Feeling ambitious with a week of free “slave labor (their notion)” available to me, I set out an enterprising agenda that involved going where no man had ever gone before – well, not in a really, really long time – their rooms.

You’d have thought I was asking them to lug boulders straight up hill. One handed.

They groaned. They moaned. They dialed up the Labor Commission to lodge a complaint. It wasn’t until I yanked the privilege of attending a certain function and said, “Okay, now. Earn this back,” that they finally got down to business.

Their father, I noted, was conspicuously absent, fleeing to the office where he happily sequestered himself in a sterile environment (no one, after all, was tracking mud in over there). He even had the nerve to appear downright relaxed upon returning home every evening.

To his everlasting credit, when he heard about my plans to haul them up to Shipshewana for the day, he hung a sign in his window and took the day off. Thus, Friday morning found us swinging by to pick up an extra boy (I’m a glutton for punishment) and heading east.

The objective was to snag some fresh, hot pretzels. The other objective was to participate in the treasure hunt that the merchants in the Davis Mercantile had put together for area spring-breakers.

It was while we were scrounging for clues that we encountered treasures of a different kind. Three, to be exact.

The first one walked in while we were loitering in a toy store on the fourth floor, just getting ready to start our search. In came a young mother and two small children. It had been years since I’d seen her, but thanks to Facebook, we’d reconnected again, and I recognized her immediately.

Our husbands used to work for the same company. When we met them, they were a young-married couple with no children. We had three. I remember that they came over one night and sat around our campfire, eating homemade pizza.

Now, they have three of their own, and we’ve upped our count to four. She’s still running (which we now have in common), and she uses my pizza crust recipe nearly every week.

It was a blessing to see her face and to catch up on their lives.

We were over by the carousel when another woman walked by. “Susan!” I exclaimed.

For the next five minutes, I chatted with someone who was a very important part of my life nearly 12 years ago when preterm labor sent me to bed for 10-1/2 weeks. Susan was one of the home health care nurses that came by weekly to check on me. Being totally housebound, their visits were a highlight.

I remember telling my husband, “You know, I’m seeing that God has His people in every corner of the world, just doing their thing and making a difference.” Susan was one of those.

She got to meet our now-11-year-old boy who was the baby I was ‘cooking’ back then. He’s healthy and wonderful and a living testament to their excellent care and to answered prayer. It made her happy to see what their work had accomplished. Treasure number two.

Then, as I was heading downstairs to join the rest for pretzels, a woman stopped at the bottom of the stairs, looked at my face, and said, “I know you.”

As her two little ones scampered around her feet, we figured out that nearly four years ago, our paths crossed at the Ronald McDonald room in Memorial Hospital. We were there eating dinner one night, two tired mamas with infants in the NICU.

Both of our babies were 35-weekers, and both had little lungs that just weren’t ready for life outside the womb. Hers was a girl, and mine was a boy.

Now, there they were, hers and mine, the picture of health at three years of age. Hers was running on ahead of her up the stairs. Mine had just spent several hours running the halls of the mercantile.

What a blessing – healthy toddlers and that connection with another mama from years ago. Treasure number three.

We drove home with full tummies, full hearts (well, mine was), four still-lively boys, and a brand-new kite. On that windy afternoon, they flew a kite and bounced to their hearts’ content on the trampoline.

Now that I think about it, that’s a pretty good way to spend a spring break – treasure hunting, flying kites, and jumping outdoors with the sun and the wind on your face.

Treasures, indeed.

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