#funny, #God's redemption, High School Seniors, momfails, motherhood, parenting, Parenting boys, parents love, Perseverance, Survival

To Moms of 231-Month Olds

The Holidays are over and so is the temporary reunion with my college freshman. What a joy to have him in the nest, to greet first thing in the morning at noon when he awakens and to see little love notes in the form of Taco Bell wrappers regurgitated from our dogs. I am struck now as I mail off the forgotten items today how similar my 231-month-old is to his former 12-month-old self.

1. First: Food

His palette is ever-changing. Remember how she wolfed down carrots and got an orange nose one day and hated tubers the next?  This scenario repeats itself 18 years later after you spent $200 on food craved a mere semester ago. Cue whispers of overheard cell phone comments like, “Yea, there’s nothing to eat in the house.”  This Summer I’ll just buy $3,000 in Whataburger Cards. Family food selectors are left to read the non-verbal indicators such as rotting bananas and a half-eaten dunkin’ stick left for dead in the pantry. Look sharp because gnawed-on treats in cellophane sleeping bags are the only clue comin’ your way,  Little Debbie.

2. Second: Shared Space

Surprise!!! Your house is no longer your own. I remember wondering how my home became a yard sale of Little Tykes molded plastic gardens and work benches.  Overnight. Now the living room is all “Call of Duty” couch-compounds and ghosts of Mountain Dew benders past. So, besides extra trips to the grocery and that little commitment called your job, you have to keep the house photo-ready so your kid’s Snapchat background doesn’t look like Syria.  Sure, it has been liberating cleaning house in a jog bra and fat pants since August but, trust me, you’ll want to cover  up lest your girthy mid-section headline in her own hellish Snap Chat Story.

3. Bad ideas are still contagious.

Even before little ones verbally communicate, you know that two unsupervised toddlers together spell trouble. Just a few:

“Let’s climb the refrigerator!”

“Let’s play beauty shop with real scissors”

“The fish wanted to live in the potty”

Now that young adults are eh hemm..self-supervising, it goes something like this: (and oh so very much worse)
“I bet you can’t jump that refrigerator”

“I cut hair all the time!”

“This is a crazy You Tube- Goldie’s new bowl”
4. And most of all: They still require prayer

I remember praying constantly for my two. Jack’s delivery was too quick to squeeze the fluid from his lungs so he began life in the NICU. Once home, sister tried to feed him a cookie. Then in a few weeks he was hospitalized for RSV. Those were super fun prayer prompters.

I prayed so earnestly for my children before they were born and certainly after. Even now my favorite time of the day remains the wee hours of the morning when I meditate on God’s Word. I love to just breathe, be and pray-lax in His love.

I pray for his continued work ethic and personal safety. Of course I still pray that he will “Make good decisions!” As I used to yell as he walked down the driveway and took off into his 2002 Ford F-250.

I am incredibly grateful that a college education was important to my parents and that they found a way through hard work and sacrifice to send the three of us away to school. It proved a key season for becoming my grown-up self. What a uniquely precious experience of going away and becoming your own person by making all those decisions- good and bad- yourself.

It was a blast to have Jack home and scream-sing certain original ear worms which John has forbidden. (deleted Zimbabwe praise song, you know who you are.) I even watched my son play video games just to hang out. What a blessed few weeks for him to check in, recalibrate and remember why home is such a safe place to fall. As exciting as the launch is, it certainly is nice when they return home. If only for a visit.

#holyspirit, Christian Faith, God, Hope, Overcoming, Perseverance, Survival, Uncategorized, wisdom

You Do Get Points for Surviving

I don’t know much at all but as I hugged my friend who lost her daughter 18 months ago, I relayed those words: You do get points for surviving. I did not tell her to cheer up. I did not tell her that her Grandson’s graduation would be a snap and I did not tell her that I knew how she felt even though I have buried a daughter.

That simple statement has echoed in my mind so many times. God knows how it feels to be in the weeds, devastated and angry. Jesus felt these emotions. And it is not just my opinion that we get survival points,  the Bible flat out tells me we do. This verse in James celebrates the fact that if we can simply stand we get everything. Psst…here’s the thing- He HELPS us to stand. When we have nothing left, He pours into our spirit with His Spirit and enables us to stand.

Whatever the test, whatever the devastation, disappointment or dismal diagnosis- you can stand! Persevere because you do, after all,  get points for surviving.

Christian Faith, Overcoming, Perseverance

Beauty from Disappointment; What a Difference Icing Makes

wonky yet beautiful
wonky yet beautiful

A Mother and her platinum blond three-year-old walked on the sidewalk in front of me en route to Starbucks this morning. The little one had sparkly sandals, a gingham sundress and wayward ringlets which bounced in stride. The sight reminded me of my curly-haired toddler who wore enough glitter to make Dolly Pardon blush.

Curly girl peeled off the right while her mom continued walking. Noticing she was suddenly alone, the mom turned, scanned the patio and said, “Violet, we have to get our drinks first, remember?”

Violet clearly did not remember. She averted her eyes in embarrassment and exhaled an, “Oh, yea” with a sheepish grin in a slow-motion, “Whaaa-whaaa” sort of way, dragging to the entrance. I held the door for Violet and told her that her sandals were fabulous. Her mom prompted a “thank you,” which Violet dutifully sighed, likely exhausted by having to hear how adorable she is all day every day. Which I totally get. None of.

As mother and daughter approached the counter I could feel the rising heat flush my face and tears fill my eyes. I was glad to have just enough space between the Teavana Oprah Chai Tea Tower and the Kati Kati display to hang back and gather myself with a deep breath. I mean Oprah is certainly known to bring out my ugly cry but I didn’t think the barista would buy that cover story.

With cleared throat, I ordered and beheld through bleary eyes Starbuck’s line of La Boulange pastries. Boulange being the one word I remember from my trip to Paris. It means bakery. Not to be confused with Crap-erie…that’s where they make crepes… I know, right? (insert joke here) As I stood there admiring the cakes, a redemptive seed-thought was planted in my mind. I’ve found God to be a particularly extravagant sower of such these days.

I creamed my coffee, returned to my car and this time held my tears until safely inside. As I missed Maggie Lee, both her toddler years but would be her senior year of high school this year, the phrase “time heals all wounds” crossed my mind. But that was not the seed and frankly experience tells me that this statement is not entirely accurate. Time obviously softens the blow but healing is different matter altogether. What has proven true is the idea of time not healing all wounds but rather time affording one the opportunity to make friends with disappointment.

What those who have been through these tragedies: divorce, cancer, bankruptcy, rejection, abuse, betrayal and downsizing share in common is the disappointment that life will never again be the same as it was. Obviously this takes quite some time to accept.  Our paradigm is blown and we find ourselves in some surreal, overly-dramatic beginning of a bad Hallmark Channel movie. Not even a good one. Loss is jarring to say the least. Honestly, life hands and God allows some shockingly challenging times on earth; for instance the recent beheading of journalist James Foley. What tremendous grace his parents John and Diane have shown in the face of their graphic loss.

But there is always the rest of the story; so now to the seed part. Like a pastry left in La Boulange’s oven too long (nothing is actually baked at Starbucks, mind you) at times life is like a burnt cake. We begin with such great expectations of how our cakes will turn out. The picture in our minds is so pretty and the icing-waves so perfect. We measure, sift and and follow directions perfectly yet the burning occurs. Or maybe someone intentionally adjusts the temperature when we are not looking. Or, perhaps we ignore the directions, set the oven on 450 and get a drive-through daiquiri. (All hail Shreveport!) Through either no fault of our own,  our complete doing or somewhere in-between, we have a burned cake.

Left with what remains, we have choices to make. We can memorialize the cake, shellac it and pipe the words, “This crap cake is not AT ALL what I expected.” That way each time we pass we can be freshly disappointed, our pain vindicated. That’s one way to go. Or, we can throw the cake away and completely disappear because it is just too much to face and no one has ever pulled such a horrible specimen out of their oven. But still there is another way; we can do what people have been doing with their disappointment for centuries: simply make the most of what we have been given. Breathe deeply, trim the edges and gracefully coat it with colossal amounts of icing.

Isn’t it wonderful when a plan comes together perfectly? I love that. When we can bring the fat-laden comfort casseroles to someone else and send rather than receive the sympathy cards. We love our comfort, the beauty of a life following our script and moist cakes browned to perfection. But unfortunately at times life hands us a volcanic doozy in a smouldering bunt pan.

So I proudly share membership with you in the charred cake club. My cajun masterpiece is slathered with icing and leaning with gusto. It looks like something Cindy Lou-Who would whip out for the Christmas feast rather than a $4.00 cupcake you’d pair with your tall coffee of the day.  I have a feeling yours may have crispy edges under the fondant as well if you’ve lived long enough. The great news? We get points for even our wonky cakes. It’s called the life we get to live: one more day with endless possibility. Every day you persevere, trim and slather. It may be a far cry from the picture on the box but its yours and its beautiful.