Archives for November 2011

Waffle Irons and Black Friday Ninja Skills

“That’s my mama,” says Kolby, pointing to me as I drive while talking to her sister.  My toddler’s burgeoning vocabulary makes me chuckle and I glance at them in the rearview mirror.

Faith smiles at Kolby.  “Yes, that is Kolby’s mama,” she agrees.  “But its Faith’s mama too.”

Kolby narrows her gaze into a territorial sneer, “No Faith.  That’s Kolby’s mama.  Not Faith’s mama.”

And so Faith volleys back and the next thing I know the car is filled with the wails of an almost two year old and her ten year-old sibling bickering over who has claims to me.

“Mine.”

“Ours.”

“No Faith, mine mama.”

It was funny at first –this cuteness of a toddler ensconced in a world where everything belongs to her; where sharing is optional and highly overrated (in Kolby’s opinion). 

But as we move into the holiday season and I reflect on our culture, I don’t know if the world operates much differently than an entitled baby fighting over her mama.

Last week’s Black Friday headlines have left me scratching my head and wondering what the hell is wrong with our country?

And even though I love Target and Wal-Mart, (as much as the next women out there who can pick up power tools and Goldfish all in one store) I have to wonder what kind of ideology I am buying into when the Target add on TV depicts a woman training for the super athletic event of shopping. 

After this year, maybe next year’s ad could show the woman training with weapons, like the lady in Walmart who pepper sprayed a group of shoppers to get to an X-Box? 

Or they could show her at the gun range learning how to protect her loot, maybe jousting with a waffle iron, or learning ninja smart phone skills to take down those pesky people who get their grubby hands on your goods.

Mine. Mine. Mine,

How about practicing the art of the trample?  There’s a nice pastime to usher in the Christmas spirit (and yes this is pure sarcasm because I know I will get a comment or another blogger posting Samantha Keller advocates trampling.  I do not nor have I ever trampled…just to be clear!)

But I am appalled at the greed and inhumanity Black Friday reveals about the state of our hearts.  Clearly, some Americans feel so entitled to a get a good holiday deal they will even kill for it. Really? 

We now have two holidays that have mutated. What are we going to lose next?

Halloween –dress like a slut day and Black Friday –act like an animal at the mall day.  (Use violence if necessary)

I’m taking a stand and reclaiming this Christmas. 

It’s not about Santa or the “Christmas Spirit”, the lights (though they are fun), the presents (which are grand) or the food (even though I sure love pie). 

Christmas is about a baby, born in a manger and a big God who made himself small to be with us.

And this Jesus is mine. And yours. And ours. 

Buy less stuff!  Instead of “Go Big or Go Home,” how about “Go Small and Go Home (and be with your loved ones.)

 

The Awful Ornament and the Charlie Brown Hussy

I shudder when I think about last year’s Christmas ornament exchange.  Some experiences scar you for a lifetime.  Now ornaments make me cry.

What (you ask) could possibly go so wrong at a lovely soiree with women, eggnog, and high heels?  Apparently everything when you bring the white elephant gift of the century to a serious glamazon shindig.

It would have been easier if I had gotten tipsy or barfed on Keri’s new custom sofa, but my inadvertent lapse of civility, an errant blip of nonchalance, and truthfully, an all too honest snapshot of my too busy life played out in front of an audience of serious homemakers sent me into a puddle of self-imposed ostracism and shame.

It started with the first big “no no” of guest etiquette –I didn’t read the invitation well.  In my usual rush of holiday crazed intensity, I pinned the delicate invitation up on the jumbled board of Christmas cards, baby’s scribbles and pending items with a cursory glance.  When the actual night of the event was upon me, I picked up the card and realized in horror, that:

  1. I had to dress up
  2. I needed to bring a wrapped Christmas ornament to share
  3. I needed to bring an appetizer

All essential details I might wanted to have considered before the twenty minutes I had left to pull my crap together.  In a panic, I sent my husband to the store to pick up an ornament and gift bag while I scavenged through the pantry for some crackers and cheese to put on a platter.

Then I ran upstairs and with no time to shower, pulled on a pair of black pants, a nice sweater with only a few baby stains, high heels and smoothed my stringy hair into a ponytail.  I swiped on some lipstick, a hefty dose of perfume, a lot of deodorant and brushed my teeth. 

At least I wouldn’t offend anyone; I was mostly presentable as long as you didn’t get too close to smell the remnants of baby barf or poo.  I was sort of like a Monet –one of those images that look good from far away as long as you don’t get too close up and then it gets sort of fuzzy.

Tim returned as I hustled downstairs and I scooped up his purchase and stopped in my tracks.  It was a pale blue Charlie Brown ornament that read “Baby’s First Christmas.”  The cheap plastic trinket featuring the Peanut’s Gang was in a CVS box proudly displaying its bargain basement price of $4.99 in bold black letters that could not be hidden.   And if that wasn’t bad enough, the bag he brought back to wrap it in was a deep burgundy, slightly crinkled with green tissue paper and no ribbon.  AWESOME!

Dragging my heels, I walked across the street to the party with my cheeks flaming red.  My sweet neighbor Keri opened the door and I was greeted with a warm hug and ensconced into a winter wonderland of painstakingly applied graciousness.  Her home was beautifully decorated, spotlessly clean, and every toy from her two small children put away.  There were glorious garlands, petit appetizers and warm cider brewing; clearly Keri had gone all out to make this an upscale event.

Trying to be as blasé as possible, I casually put down my ornament in the pile, but I saw Keri glance at the ugly wrapping paper out of the corner of my eye and winced as her eyebrows raised in surprise.

I mingled around with the guests, all lovely stay-at-home mothers who brought divine home-made appetizers, had carefully coiffed hair, and matching stain-free ensembles.  The secret arsenal that takes down all working mothers is the feeling of domestic inadequacy which mommy’s at home generally excel at.  Their subtle ploy worked.  As each moment went by, my crackers felt more inadequate, my hair greasier, and I just prayed no one got close enough to smell me.

Then it was time for the exchange.  All the ladies gathered around a large pile of ornaments and one by one, either picked a gift or stole an open ornament.  I watched in terror as extravagant ornaments were carefully unearthed from frothy designer tissue paper.  These were the Nordstrom’s of ornaments –glass and feather concoctions with jewels and sparkles.  I reached for my wine and took a big gulp as tremors reverberated from my toes to my teeth.

My number came up and I sheepishly grabbed a bag, opened an ornament worth ten times the value of the piece of Charlie Brown awfulness I had brought and slumped back into the sofa.  Around and around we went until all of the ornaments had been claimed but one.

There sat my sad little burgundy bag.  It looked forlorn and trashy amidst all the glitz and glamour.  Finally the last lady, forced out of the prize offerings by an exchange thief gingerly picked it up and with her nose crinkled in disgust opened the gift.

A hush went around the room with a few titters and whispered cries of disbelief.  What kind of insincere, thoughtless woman would bring a white elephant gift to a serious exchange of this magnitude?  Clearly there was some prankster in the midst?

Keri quickly moved into caring hostess mode and claimed she just had to steal the baby’s first Christmas, even though her own baby was a girl child and we all knew the tacky ornament would never grace the branch of her lovely tree. 

I wanted to crawl in a hole and die.  I could hear the ladies whispering around me at the audaciousness of the horrible ornament.  I smiled and laughed and agreed that this brazen Charlie Brown hussy must be removed from the guest list.

About a week later I confessed to Keri that it me who was the perpetrator and the destroyer of the prestigious ornament exchange.  And we laughed and laughed and cried at the awfulness of it all.

Strangely enough, I haven’t gotten an invitation this year?  I can’t understand why?

 

 

Parked Cars, Flying Pilgrim Hats and Perspective

I heard the crunch of metal before it registered to my thick skull that I had just hit a parked truck.  As if on cue –the waterworks turned on and then I had to navigate un-sticking my car from the truck I was now glued to.  Blinded through tears, I inched my car forward as metal screeched against metal. 

“Oh nooooo, let’s try backward,” I whispered to baby Kolby as she whimpered and looked around eyes wide with uncertainty.

I swiveled the wheel and backed up, heard a loud pop and then watched in awe as a piece of my bumper flew high into the air.  Thankfully my car released from the truck and I pulled forward and parked.  I took the baby out of her car seat, calmed her down and walked back to assess the damage. 

In one careless second, I had successfully scraped and dented the chrome bumper of a random stranger’s truck. 

So I did what I always do in these scenarios.  I called my husband/hero and choked out my predicament between wails.  He promised to come quickly to my rescue.

Meekly, I walked up to the door of Kolby’s pre-school “Maggie’s House” and Mr. Mark, the owner of the school, opened the door with a smile and a spirit of laid back ease.  “Hey Mark. Do you know whose truck that is?” I painfully inquired.

“Yep, it’s mine.  Why?”

This was the moment of terrible. The tears started raining again like the synchronized fountain at the Bellagio. “I’m so sorry, I was rushing and the wheel slipped and I’m so sorry and I hit your (sob, sob, hiccup) truck.”

A concerned look crossed his face. “Sam, it’s ok, it’s just a truck.  Let’s go check it out.”

His niceness only made me feel worse.  I didn’t know what to do with his grace.  I honestly think I expected to be yelled at or have pre-school pilgrim hats thrown at me.  This care for my heart and the safety of baby Kolby was relatively foreign in a world of angry litigious people who scream and sue you for neck injuries in a parked empty car.

My husband pulled up just about then and the three of us walked out to the street.  Tim picked up the rubber bumper pad off the ground, the one that flew through the air, and went back around and snapped it in.  The damage wasn’t too bad, but there was some. Both cars were scraped and dented.

Mark gently smiled and shook his head.  “Please don’t worry about it.  You don’t have to pay for it.  It’s a truck and trucks get dinged up.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  I pleaded with him to call our insurance, make us pay, anything to give him restitution. But he wouldn’t hear of it.

I left my husband to talk with him and I drove off to work, now late, in a self-condemning fog. 

I wanted Tim to make Mark understand that I deserved to pay the penalty.  I was careless in my haste to get to work on time and I screwed up.  

As I headed up the hill to the toll road, I sensed God nudging me to stop berating myself and draw close.  So, I confessed my frustration and pleaded with God to help me feel content and thankful, even in this difficult moment.

Just then, I glanced over to my right and saw a family –a mom, dad and three children with shovels, flowers and a cross by the side of the road.  I could only assume that a car accident had taken the life of their loved one.

And I felt God’s grace wash over me –this lavish and unrelenting love for a silly rushing mother. 

His protection.  His mercy.  His Favor.

And so I cried even more.

But these tears were for a hurting family on the side of the road.

In light of God’s perspective my screw-ups didn’t seem so big anymore. 

(Of course my son wasn’t too thrilled, because this is the car he gets in a few years to drive.  I told him I was breaking it in for him)

 

 

Lifts, Neighbors and a lot of Christmas Lights

Tim flying high in the sky

It’s the weekend before Thanksgiving and my neighborhood is teeming with elvish activity. All day long neighbors have gathered together in giggles, gossip, and good old-fashioned razzing, to join forces and create a spectacular winter wonderland.

Tim and I started early (at first light) with some strong coffee and a crap-load of lights I picked up earlier in the week at Big Lots.  We were on a mission to get our house ridiculously ILLUMINATED. Last year’s paltry showing was less than desirable.

But this year the Keller’s decided to bring it!

We were first out of the gate on the neighborhood schedule for the lift rental, but it took about thirty minutes and five male egos to actually turn the darn thing on. Then we realized they had delivered the wrong model and it wouldn’t reach the tall peaks of our house.  This necessitated planning another day of stringing lights for the four corner houses (of which we are one). No biggie–certainly not enough to deter our hearty holiday spirits.

And so Tim in all his manly glory began to string lights on our roof while driving around a vehicle that looks like a mechanical Brontosaurus. He was in heaven maneuvering and finagling lights like a ninja master thirty feet above ground.

There’s something kind of intriguing -sexy even, about watching my man, suspended dangerously high in the air in a small cage armed with nothing but a staple gun. Don’t get me wrong, he was wearing clothes. “Nothing” kind of sounded like he was naked. (That’s actually kind of a fun thought.  Maybe a tool belt and some boots too? But I digress…)

Then we strung a cable from the roof of our house to our neighbor’s roof across the street. On the cable we placed dangling LED snowflakes that in the dark will look like they are floating from heaven in the night sky. I know, right? SO AWESOME!!!! Can we get a parade or something here?

I could go on and on, but some of the highlights were building reindeer (that light up and move their heads) with my four year-old neighbor Braydon, who (oh by the way), told everyone he wanted “Sam to hold him forever.”  His darling mommy Keri brought me a steaming cup of hot chocolate and we hung out on our porch while neighbor children and daddies and dogs cavorted around us.

Braydon driving the lift

And so when I ponder what makes me thankful this season my heart seems to swell and maybe even hiccup a little when I consider how much I love this community –this little slice of heaven in Ladera Ranch that I call my home. 

And it’s not about the lights or competing with the other track to have the brightest and best street on the block (though it would be so stinking cool to take them down this year), it’s about being in relationship with people whom I care about, people who are different from me, and people who sometimes even challenge me.

Putting up Christmas lights was simply an excuse to spend time with the faces I love and treasure –to do life together and to be an expression of the true and authentic community God designed us to live in.

And that is something not to be taken lightly. And so for a brief moment today, I experienced that which is sacred –true neighborhood and I am humbled, blessed and so thankful.

Check out my friend Cheri’s blog: Adventures In The Kitchen for more on Thankfulness!

What are you thankful for?

A Little Boy, a Football, and a Dream

Kyle "Krusher" Adams

Every year ‘bout this time I get a little pouty and sad because Kyle’s football season has come to an end. But this year it’s an extra big deal, because it’s the closure of six years worth of youth football–wow, I blinked and it’s over. It makes me cry to think about it.

The Good Old Days

I was a single mom when I signed my second grade boy up for Jr. All American football. After the first week of hitting he came and sat on my lap and put his little hands on my face and thanked me with all his heart.

Kyle as center

“Mommy, I get to hit people and it’s ok –this is the best thing ever! I am going to play in college and the NFL. Football is my life mommy.”

 

And to Kyle’s credit he has pursued his dream with a vengeance.

 

We’ve been through tough seasons and injuries (a slashed eye, a bum knee, and the swine flu), made tremendous friends (you know who you are Chargers ladies and Titan mammas), and lost our voices on the field of victory and defeat. There have been teams filled with strife, years where the angels sang (2008 Chargers Clinic and 2010 Titans PW ranked 3rd in the nation) and ordinary years that have been just fair to middling.

Faith cheering Kyle on!

I remember suiting Kyle up as a little guy (six years old) and fumbling around trying to strap on the pads. I got so tangled up with the cords sometimes we’d get snapped in the face by an errant strap. Kyle and I would laugh because mommy was so clueless about the gear.

But not anymore…

I’ve washed those football pants thousand of nights with my eyes closed and I can place 20 pads in the right pocket blindfolded.

Titans 3rd Place National Champions

We’ve played in the ‘hood, been smack talked by Southgate and left with police escorts.

Pep talk with Deon Sanders in Florida

I now know what a center is, a full back, a nose guard, a right tackle, and a defensive end –because those are all the positions I’ve watched #70 play.

Kyle and Nate

Faith was always by his side cheering him on and now baby Kolby can lift her tiny hands in the air and yell for her big bro.

Baby Kolby Titan Team Mascot

Thank you to the coaches that volunteered endless hours, to the team moms who slaved away putting together collages, and to the kids who played their hearts out.

Kyle about to Pancake!

And mostly, I thank God for putting a dream in a little boy and directing his every step.

Getting ready for the Big Game

Now we are on to high school football –a new adventure, and while I’m wistful about the past I look forward to this next adventure with my beloved son.

 

All Grown Up

 

Howling Racoons, the Hebrew Alphabet and Jumbo Lego’s

Daddy has an "owie" and he laid on my blocks all day.

Stumbling down the stairs, blurry eyed and heading straight for the coffee pot, I heard a large howl –sort of like a wounded raccoon. Slightly stunned and now jolted wide awake I scanned the house to search for the suffering animal. 

“Yeeeoowww,” groaned my husband from the sofa. “Uuuuuuggggghhhh, I hurt my back really bad.”

Now realizing I had found the raccoon, I started on the coffee prep. “What happened sweetie?”

“I sneezed and my back went out,” cried my dearest. “I can’t move.”

“Ok, we’ll get you to the doctor today,” I replied and hurried on with my morning activities, stopping every two minutes to cater to my husband’s needs. Fortunately, Tim had the Hebrew alphabet to study for a seminary test so he primarily occupied himself with groaning and singing like a raspy Israeli preschooler.

As I walked in the door after taking the two older kids to school, I was greeted with the screaming raccoon again and a terrified toddler while my husband sprawled on the ground writhing in pain and laying on two buckets worth of jumbo Lego’s. This time, I knew it was serious.

I grabbed the baby and soothed her and tried to comfort my screeching husband who had injured himself further trying to build a Lego skyscraper. After a muscle relaxer and a strong dose of ibuprofen, I was finally able to pull out every last block stabbing him in the back (a process which took well over an hour). I left him on the floor, covered him with a blanket and fed him applesauce and Top Ramen.

When it was time to take him to the doctor, my ten year-old daughter and I loaded him into the back of the Expedition (like a yelping two by four) and I found myself driving for thirty minutes under excessive paranoia of getting into an accident and launching my unseat-belted husband out the hatchback. He was in so much pain he simply rolled around the back and whimpered in Hebrew.

We somehow managed to drag and hobble Tim into the doctor’s office (fortunately directly into a waiting room) and hoisted him up on the table.  The doctor arrived, pronounced it a herniated disk and prescribed some shots, physical therapy, and heavy medication to deal with the spasms and tremendous pain.

As soon as the doc mentioned shots, my husband’s ears perked up. “What? Shots? I don’t like shots!”

The doctor chuckled, “well, that’s what will work the fastest.” It’s not like you can run away.”

So while my daughters closed their eyes, my sweetie got poked in the buttocks with two huge needles by Nurse Ratchet, who seemed to enjoy making my poor exposed sweetie suffer more.

I held Tim’s hand (secretly glanced at his cute butt) and he squeezed my hand back hard in terror. I think it’s adorable that bigstrongbold men are afraid of little shots.

And some little part of me relished caring for my usually very capable and efficient husband.  It’s nice to feel needed.

Later that night, when daddy acted grumpier than usual, I explained to my daughter Faith (who got her feelings hurt while doing math homework) that men are cranky when they are hurt or sick or tired or injured. “It’s just a part of their nature, darling”

Faith sighed, “Boy mom, men are a lot of work.”

I thought about my darling husband and smiled. “Yep, but a good one is worth it all.”

Just then, we heard Tim struggling to make his way up the stairs (despite the excruciating pain) to apologize to Faith and tuck her in.

My heart ached at his effort to love our little girl.  “Yep, Faith, this man is definitely worth it.”

Baby vs. Puppy?

Next month, my husband Tim and I will have a rather important discussion –do we try to get pregnant and go for a fourth child or do we cry “uncle,” say three children is enough and buy a puppy instead?

Decisions, decisions…

My friend Page says if I have to even ask the question I’m not ready to have another child. Which I agree with in theory, but my biological clock is ticking very loudly and at thirty-nine years old I’m terrified of my uterus crashing when I hit forty.

Bong, bong…you’re out if time lady.

In theory, I would love another child but selfishly I would also like to wait a few more years because I have a lot going on right now. 

But life isn’t like that.  Some decisions have an expiration date.

 I know all these Hollywood starlets have babies at sixty, but I’m pretty sure I don’t have the money for Depends and diapers all at the same time. Besides, I really don’t want my poor kid to have to constantly explain that’s I’m not his grandma and make excuses why his daddy drinks prune juice instead of beer after the ball games.

Did I say “his?” Oh right, that’s because Tim wants a boy child too, just to make it more complicated.

I would also like to ensure this pregnancy is free from any debilitating nausea, with no blood disorder (which has plagued me in all my other pregnancies) and no gas (seriously –the elephant farts are the absolute worst part of being preggers) If I could guarantee all of this…I might be open to another munchkin.

More income might be nice too (because babies are expensive) and a nanny would be extremely desirable. We might need to add an extra room over the garage to have somewhere to put the child and the nanny. Cha-Ching!

The obstacles seem insurmountable.

So, we come back to the puppy. I like dogs. I have a yard and a dog run (though I need to fix our fence). But my husband seems very resistant to this canine conversation, which leads me to believe he really wants another child.

And sometimes all the good reasons not to do something fall away in light of love.  

Either way –it should make for an interesting conversation.

Let me know what your vote is.  Baby or puppy?

 

Love, War and Wings

Tim-“I want WINGS with sauce.” Sam-“Oooohh Gross!”

It’s not easy to get in a good argument at church, especially when you’re Mr. and Mrs. Pastor. You snipe when no one’s looking and then smile when someone appears, get in a good dig and then pretend all is happy for the crowd.

“La La La …you peanut butter bone head.”

But yesterday, my husband and I even didn’t have the strength to play the happy Christian poser game.

It’s never a good idea to argue with a sick and hungry man (i.e. BIG CRANKY BABY) but I forget who I was dealing with, possibly because it seems like my husband is sick all the time (thanks to our germy toddler) or maybe because I had zero sympathy for the man who has a perennially runny nose.

Just as my husband was accusing me of never wanting to go his favorite restaurants (which I do all the time even though his idea of a good meal is how many sauces are offered) a darling woman from church approached us.  Normally, I would feign gaiety but this time I turned to her and blatantly confessed, “Excuse us; we’re fighting right now.”

She looked slightly stunned and then laughed. “Well can I interrupt your fight?”

Tim and I looked at each, snarled, and then turned to our friend and nodded our heads in agreement.

“I just wanted to say hi. What are you fighting over?”

“Where to go to lunch,” we said in unison.

“I have an app on my iPhone for that. I just shake it and it gives us the place to go.”

Tim and I looked at each and laughed. Maybe she was on to something.

I just wish there was an app that went further and got to the root of the problem. You could shake it and it would translate Mars to Venetian-like a mini-mobile me counselor.

When Tim says Sam never wants to eat his food he really means “I’m feeling sick, cranky and needy right now. I want to be taken care of and babied. I want you to want to eat wings and sauce, or maybe you could make me Top Ramen like my mom used to and then I would feel really loved.  I’m grumpy because I have a paper for seminary due tomorrow and I’m already exhausted before I even start the darn thing. Waa Waa.”

When Sam says she doesn’t want to go to Wild Wings she means-“I’m feeling overwhelmed and I can’t stand wings because they have 1900 calories before you add the sauce.  I don’t want to go home and make you Top Ramen because you will then turn on the football game and I am so sick of the NFL I can barely breathe. (If the tables were turned and you had to watch ten hours a week of chick stuff you would poke your eyes out too)  I have two huge writing projects I am working on and since you’re already overwhelmed I can’t even ask you for help, but I guarantee you will assume that I will care for the children while you do all your work, and oh, by the way, I still have to get my work done and I guess I will write in my sleep because clearly your crap is more important than mine. Waa Waa.”

It’s never really about “where we are going to lunch?” The fight is always about ten layers deeper than what you are bickering about and it has far more to do with feeling understood, empathized with and cared for.

And the truth is, when our bucket is full and we feel understood, we’d eat just about anything or anywhere (even Wild Wings) and watch endless hours of football for our beloved (remember dating?)

So, where did we go for lunch?

We went to Nordstrom’s Café, (where I wanted to go) and then we came home and I let Tim study. It was a compromise and that’s what we do in marriage.

But it would have been really fun to shake the phone.

 

Patience-what parents have when there are witnesses

 

I think it was Bill Cosby who used to jest (in reference to his children) “I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it.” I never really connected with that statement, joking aside, until one of my own little angels turned into a teenager.

Because the truth is… Sometimes I want to throttle my kids or at least shake them really hard for the emotional trauma they put me through. Like on Tuesday for instance.

I got off work, drove a delightful 50 minute commute home, picked up the baby from daycare and pulled into my driveway. As I walked up to the front door, keys in hand, I stopped dead in my tracks when I heard piercing screams. It sounded like someone was killing my daughter.

Panicking, I put my key in the door and jiggled it, trying to unlock it as quickly as possible to rescue my darling girl. But my key is cranky and it sticks (and I gave the good one to the kids, because I’m a loving mom or possibly a lazy mom for not getting another one made). Of course now, in the most urgent and frightful of all moments the stupid key wouldn’t budge an inch.

The shrieks were growing in volume and the thumping of my heart reverberated in my ears. I started to pound on the door and yell at the top of my lungs for help. Tears were pouring down my face and the baby was bawling at my feet in fear. The thought flashed through my mind of someone violently attacking my baby girl.

Adrenaline was racing through my veins. I looked around and saw the front window as my only option. I furtively glanced around for something to smash the window with, when the door swung open in my face and there stood my ten-year old daughter, red-faced and laughing uproariously with her teenaged brother.

I collapsed on the front door stoop after yelling at my children at the top of my lungs “I thought you were dying. What the BAD WORD(1) were you doing?”

Their faces turned red in shame and they pointed to the playroom where the baby’s blocks were now strewn all over.  There were blocks in the bookcase, on top of pictures and blocks hanging off the potted plants. “We were having a block fight mom.”

I saw an ice bag on the floor. “What’s that for?” I choked out.

“Kyle threw a block at my face,” Faith whimpered.

I sat on the floor and wept and let my kids wallow in the guilt of tormenting their mom.

Then I really let loose. I cried tears of relief that my sweet Faith was alive, tears of frustration for their utter (and very normal) childishness and most of all, I cried big gulpy sobs because the truth is I am not there for them after school to protect them from imaginary intruders.

I am at work and it kills me.

And this burden on my mother’s heart feels like the weight of the world.

My husband walked in amidst the chaos and I finally started to chipper up and then ultimately laugh.

I guess it could have been worse. It could have been a dart fight.


[1] I actually said “hell” but you thought it was the “F word” didn’t you? I’m making real progress here people!

 

Out of Gas

I ran out of gas this morning. I figured it was sign that maybe God wanted to chat about something. I’m guessing it’s the “hey girl, you might want to slow down and take some time to refuel conversation.” (You know the one all I want to do is avoid)

I sat on the side of the road, with the baby in the back yelling, “mama, car broke,” and sighed.

“Ok God,” I thought, “you’ve got my attention.”

And this is what I sensed him saying.

Make the call. Ask for help. Let me love you.

It’s been a repeated theme ringing in my ears for the last few weeks after my husband and I got in an argument and he suggested that though I give love well I am woefully lacking in my “love receiver.”

To which I replied “maybe you’re a suck giver” (OK… I didn’t actually say that even though I wanted to)

But if I’m honest, Tim’s probably on to something.

I hate to ask for help. I struggle to accept gifts and I feel like I have to prove my worth (by working, writing, cleaning, ministry, etc…) before I am allowed anything good-like time with a friend, or a margarita, or a nap.

I run around all week like a chicken with my head cut off yelling (difficult to yell with no chicken head-but play along with me here) “have I earned my keep?”

I guess what I’m really asking is… “Am I valuable? Do I have worth beyond what I do?”

And when I stop (for more than a minute) God whispers “yes.”

So I made the call. I asked for help. I leaned in.

My husband showed up like a knight in preppy armor and rescued his damsel and baby damsel in distress. By the large goofy smile on his face, I realized, he was born for this “hero” job.

Sometimes I think God allows these break-downs so I will be forced to scream “uncle.”

And recognize that my greatest need is to allow Him (and my husband) to simply love me.

 

 

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