Wednesday, September 28, 2011

They Keep Me Humble

Never let anyone try to convince you that having children will be a boost to your ego. I mean, they will sometimes--like when they're two and they love you more than anyone else in the world and they tell you that they love you so much they want to marry you. But as they get older, they lose that sense of you being their superhero and what you get are lines like this one, taken from a "rambling autobiography" one of my children wrote for English class:

"I like to be with my family as long as we aren't in public."

Can you feel the love?

I'm thinking of having a t-shirt printed up that says this. I figure between teenagers who feel this way and mothers who have children that act in public as if they were raised by feral goats I could make a mint.

Not that I know anything about children who behave in public as if they were raised by feral goats.


Monday, September 26, 2011

What I Know

Just a random list of things that I know that I thought I'd share with you:

I know that the smell of bacon in the morning not only makes me happy, it causes my children to get out of bed more quickly.

I know that there is nothing--nothing--like a dinner in a small town church basement. The food is all homemade and the pies--the pies--oh my heavenly days the pies! It instantly makes me feel like I am about 9 years old and visiting my grandparents.

I know that seeing an honor guard and hearing taps at a graveside is guaranteed to make me weep.

I know that driving 5 hours one way with my daughter to attend a funeral was a good way to spend some time with her.

I know that it was great to see family I hadn't seen for many years. I'm just sorry that we had to lose someone for it to happen.

I know that taking a detour on our drive and showing my daughter around my old university campus gave me the heebie jeebies because I am certain that I am not ready for that chapter of my life yet.

I know that hearing said daughter say: "Hey! I could pass for a college student. I totally fit in around here!" makes me want to clothe her in a burqa and stash her in a closet for the next 15 years or so.

I also know that that chapter will be here soon enough.

I know that toddlers are good medicine. Especially if they are not mine.

I know that visits with dear friends are also good medicine and do much to improve my disposition and frame of mind.

I know that I will never be ahead of the laundry.

I know that it feels good to be back here, writing and posting.

I know that I am grateful for all of you who stood in the gap for me, sent me notes of encouragement (even those of you who have never met me!), prayed for me, offered me real-life, long distance, and virtual hugs and who just let me know that I was not alone.

I know that even though the boulder is still there, I have people around me who not only offer encouragement in moving it, but they jump in and try to help me move it without asking about the details. And I know that feels pretty awesome.

I know that there is a Father who is near who loves my heart and cares for my soul and hears my prayers even when I don't know what to pray.

It's good to be back.

Monday, September 12, 2011


You know that I enjoy the humorous side of things. I love to share things that make me laugh, things that make me happy in my life--the lighter side of this work of motherhood and helpmate. But I also, from time to time, have to keep things real. Because while laughter is wonderful--and I hope that I have made you laugh--it's not everything. Life is funny, just not all the time. Most of the time, I can see the lighter and brighter side of a situation. I can usually find humor in nearly everything. But sometimes, life isn't funny.

Sometimes little things collect and become big things. And sometimes the big things become the boulder which I find myself trying to scale without ropes or handholds. I am a sucky boulder scaler. I find it's much easier to chip away at the boulder--the individual little things--until the boulder is just a pile of smaller rocks that I can work over and toss aside.

Except sometimes I can't. The boulder is big and immovable and impenetrable. And that's when life seems heavy.

I find myself staring at one of those boulders right now.

Oh, there are a few little things that I've been able to chip off and work on with some success, but mostly there's just a big, giant, sucktastic boulder sitting there. The worst part is, that it's not really my boulder. It came from someone else. But because of the nature of this particular pile of rock, the boulder has also become mine.

My heart hurts.

I can share a few of these heartaches--the little rocks I can work over. Things like:

Mary has been to the nurse several days in a row, all during recess time. When I talked it over with her, I discovered that there's not really anything physically significant wrong with her. Her hurt is on the inside. Recess is a hard place for her. When I asked her some probing questions, I was able to discover that she is feeling left out. When I asked her what she does after she asks to play with people (and they've told her 'we already have enough people in this game') she said "I sit on the bench and wait for recess to just be over." My heart shattered into a million pieces to see my sweet, friendly, smart, fun-loving girl so hurt.

James dropped out of football. I know, right? My football crazy son, after much soul-searching and heart-wrenching discussion with us has given football up this year. I don't know if he'll play next year. That's his call. But it hurts to watch him in all his vacillating resolve and indecision and grief. He tells me he's okay. He tells me he made the right decision. But then I see him after he's spoken with a former teammate. And my heart shatters into a million pieces.

There is something else. But it's not something I can share. Partly because it's not completely my boulder. Just know that I would covet your prayers while I am working on these heavier things.

I promise there will be more funny. There always is in life, isn't there? And thank God for that. And I promise that if it makes me laugh, I will share it. But for now, I need to shelter my heart a bit. I need to gather some strength to figure out how to move the boulder.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Say What?

Last week was "Meet the Teacher Night" at my two youngest kids' elementary school. Mary had come home early from school that day with ear pain from an infection. When I got to her classroom, it was full of parents. Mary's teacher was making her way around the room, visiting with parents before the "official" start of the night. She came over to me to ask how Mary was feeling. We chatted for a bit about several things and then she said: "Mary cracks me up. The other day she came up to me to tell me something and when I asked her what was up, she said: 'Oh. Shoot. I forgot what I was going to say. I was doing computations in my head--you know, like 10+10=20, and 20+10=30.' Computations? It cracked me up. Are you sure she's a first grader?"

"Yep. And remember how you thought she was shy?" I asked. "Bet you don't think that anymore, do you?"


On the same night, I visited Sean's 4th grade classroom. On each desk were letters that the children had written, welcoming their parent(s) to the class and telling a bit about what school was like for them--what they liked and were looking forward to, what wasn't so fun, who their friends were, etc. Sean's letter rolled right along and I was great until I got to this line: The thing that is bad, is that lunch is at twelve forty-five, so that is a hunger issue.

I had a hard time not disturbing the classroom with my laughter.

You can bet your sweet bippy that I'll be using the term 'hunger issue' for many years to come.


My children all share a bathroom. This has become a bit of a hot-button topic around family meal times. The conversation usually goes like this:

Girl child: I want my own bathroom. You all are gross!
Siblings: We are not!
Girl child: Yes you are! The sinks are always covered with toothpaste and you boys need to figure out how to aim better.
Siblings (in unison): It's not me! I always clean up my toothpaste and make sure that my aim is accurate!
Girl child: Yeah, right! Dad, when you finish the basement, would you put a urinal down there? Then the boys could use that bathroom.
Father: Yeah, I'm not really sure that's a viable solution. Gentlemen, do we need to start putting Cheerios in the toilet again like we did when you were potty training?
Boy children (giggling): No! We're fine.
Girl children: Well, we are not cleaning up that toilet. You boys can do that job. Gross!
Father: You will clean up whatever your mom asks you to clean up. Got it? Oh, and boys?
I'm not going to teach anybody how to shoot a gun, if he can't hit a bowl with his own weapon when he's standing right over the top of it.

And then they had to pick me up off the floor because I was laughing so hard.

What? Don't you have such scintillating conversations at your family's dinner table?