When your daily activities are in concert with your highest priorities, you have a credible claim to inner peace. – Hyrum Smith


5/24/12

Dang, my sister is hot!

Aaron likes to listen to country music.  I've never been a big fan of it myself, but some of the tunes are quite catchy.  The kids love it when daddy drives [the van] because it means they will get to listen to "daddy's music" and get a break from the typical kids' tunes and worship music. 

There is a currently a popular country song in which the artist sings, "You're looking so d@*& hot!"  Aaron and I have an agreement that the kids can listen to the music as long as he turns the sound down completely during any curse words.  We thought it was working.  Wrong.

The other day I was driving the van and surfing the radio stations when the kids recognized Aaron's station.  "PLEASE can we listen to daddy's music?"  Fine.  When the popular song came on, Parker was belting it out from the 3rd row.  I was giggling (because it's just plain funny to hear him sing in his twangy little country voice).  I anticipated the curse word, and dutifully cut the sound, only to hear Parker sing at the top of his lungs: "You're looking so d@^& hot!"

[Cue the screeching tires.]  My head whipped around.  "What?!" I shrieked.  Parker looked at me innocently.  "What?"

I focused back on the road and took a deep breath.  Surely my ears were mistaken.  Maybe he sang dang.  Smiling with clenched teeth I asked, "What did you just sing, sweetie?"

"You're looking so [expletive deleted] hot." [matter-of-factly]

"Honey, we don't use that word.  That's a bad word, and we don't say it." 
Please, for once in your five year old life, don't utilize your elephant-like super-memory and contradict me with embarrassing examples of how we have, in fact, used that very word - like when the tool shelf fell on daddy and his car in the garage.

Parker:  Oh, okay.  Maybe I'll just say you're looking so good hot.  Would that be okay? 

Me: [relieved] Sure, whatever.  Let's just listen to a CD, k?

I didn't think much more about incident until a few days later.  Parker and Maddie were on the back porch, getting ready for some fun in the sun (in our luxurious, plastic kiddie pool).  Parker was obviously feeling benevolent and was being uncharacteristically generous and complimentary toward his sister.  Sure, Maddie, you can have the water gun.  Wanna hold the hose?  Wow, Maddie!  You're looking hot!

Whoa!  Say what?!  I mean, I know we live in Kentucky and all, but I felt the need to draw the line here. 

I explained to Parker that while I understood he was trying to be nice and let his sister know her bathing suit was pretty, there was a better way to express his approval.  At first he looked at me as if I were from another planet.  Then he shook his head as if he understood completely and gave me a sympathetic smile.  "Oh don't worry, mom, you're looking hot, too."

Parenting fail.

5/15/12

Grandparents

If someone would have said that something beautiful would come from my parents' divorce when it was happening [when I was in my 20's], I probably would have punched him/her in the face.  It was awful and painful, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

That said, something beautiful did come from that painful event.  (Just another one of God's promises coming true: "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Rom 8:28)

What was the blessing?  Grandparents.  Lots of them. 

Aaron's parents were divorced when he was very young.  Thanks to remarriages, our children are reaping tremendous benefits.  They have 2 grandmothers and 4 grandfathers.  That's 6 grandparents.  Six!

It is uh-mazing.  One of the biggest joys in my life has been watching my children interact with these wonderful adults who love them simply because of who they are.  It's a perfectly symbiotic relationship.  They adore each other.

That is why I am writing this post.  Not to brag, but because my heart is heavy and troubled, and I feel compelled to put in my two cents.  I know so many folks who have such issues surrounding these relationships.  If you are friend and have confided in me about your own problems in this arena, don't freak out.  I am not throwing you under the bus.  There are just so many of you.  (So don't assume this post is about you!)

I know grandparents who walk on eggshells because their children severely limit their interaction with their cherished grandchildren (for seemingly unknown reasons).  I know so many parents, frustrated or concerned about their own parents' behaviors, they have all but written the grandparents off.

May I humbly suggest we find some middle ground?  I beg you to read this and consider changing your mind or your approach.  I just know how incredibly important my children's grandparents are in their lives, and I strongly desire that blessing in your lives and your children's lives as well...

For the parents who are limiting the grandparent interaction, please consider:

Why are you hindering this relationship?  Certainly there are good reasons to keep your children from certain people (abuse, drugs, etc.).  However, short of those serious reasons, please examine your heart and motives.

Do your parents have different religious or world views [you are afraid your children might adopt]?  Guess what?  They are going to encounter those in school pretty soon or, if you home school, in college one day.  Want them to adopt your views?  Then discuss alternate views in a respectful way.  If it really bothers you, discuss your concerns with the grandparents in private and ask them to refrain to talking to your child about such matters. 

Do your parents have bad habits (smoking, cursing, etc.)?  Talk to your parents about it!  Don't just not ever visit or allow them to visit.  Invite them over and let them know the rules of your house (not in the kids' presence).  Get over your embarrassment or the awkwardness of it, and don't sacrifice a lifelong relationship based on the small stuff.

Do your parents annoy you to pieces?  Get. Over. It.  Guess what?  Your kids are watching.  They can tell whether or not you respect your parents based on what you say to (or about) them.  Want them to respect you one day?  Then set a good example.

Do your parents hurt your feelings and you are worried they might hurt your child's feelings?  This is a tough one.  There is such a thing as emotional abuse, and of course you don't want to subject your child to this.  However, if you are getting your toes stepped on by someone who is seemingly clueless (versus malicious), for goodness sake, talk to them!  If they say something hurtful to your child, confront them in an appropriate manner and reevalutate the relationship. 

For the grandparents who are feeling slighted:

So you only see your grandchild(ren) once in a blue moon...
You have a few options.  You could:

A) Write your child a letter outlining your feelings and desires (to see your grandchild more often).  This is a good option if you tend to get emotional and say things in the heat of the moment you might later regret.

B) Talk to your child.  Let them know your grandchild means the world to you.  Let them know you desire to play a bigger role in his/her life.  Ask them what it is that you could do/change that would make the relationship easier.  I can only imagine how difficult and humbling it might be, but ask them if they have any concerns about your grandchild being around you. 

C)  Use the back door (in a respectful way).  Send your grandchild letters or care packages.  It is one coldhearted parent who doesn't appreciate it when someone is kind to her baby.  Melt mom and dad's heart by showing how invested you really are.  (Helpful hint:  Don't send lots of candy, and don't send money; it's the thought that counts!)


D)  Offer to help.  Could you pick a child up from school once a week?  Could you have the family over for dinner once a month?  Families with young children are busy and could use a helping hand.

___________________________________________

Children and grandparents are like peanut butter and jelly.  They are just meant to be together.  Think about it.  There are so few people in this world who will love a child simply because the child exisits.  The child doesn't have to do a thing to earn this love.  Why would you ever risk throwing that away?  Maybe you think your child isn't cherished by his/her grandparents, so you limit contact, but the grandparents shy away from your family because you are throwing up barriers.  It is a ridiculous, which-came-first-the-chicken-or-the-egg routine.  Just stop it!

Step outside your comfort zone.  Both parents and grandparents need to humble themselves for the sake of the grandparent-grandchild relationship.  There is a very small window in which a parent can tell a child that someone is good and lovable and the child will believe them, no questions asked.  Don't let that window close!  Nurture that relationship before it's too late.  Believe me, it is soooo worth it!

Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged;
parents are the pride of their children.      -Proverbs 17:6 NLT

Note:  I know there are a plethora of issues I am missing here on both sides.  I'm just asking you to read the post, and if it applies to your situation or speaks to your heart, and it's in your power to do something about it, well then, get to gettin'.

 





5/11/12

Everything I do...

Jack has been sick for a few days.  It's not fun.  I am tired.  He is up several times each night, requiring Pedialyte (to rehydrate him), diaper changes, clothing changes, sometimes sheet changes.  Come morning time, I am exhausted, and Parker and Maddie are raring to go. 

Today as I was preparing breakfast, I leaned my head against the fridge and prayed aloud that God would grant me strength to make it through the day.  Parker and Maddie chimed in, "Mommy, we love you even when you are tired and grumpy."  That warmed my heart and made me sad at the same time.  They knew what was coming today based on the bags under my eyes.

This afternoon, I caught sight of the black bottoms of the kids' feet as I was pushing them on the swings.  We spend a lot of time outside, and they had been going "barefooting" [as Maddie likes to call it] for a few days now.  Parker's face bore a dried milk moustache, and Maddie's arms and hands were still blue from yesterday's craft time.  When was the last time those two had a bath?  What kind of mother am I?  The tired kind, I decided.

Bath time!

It was fun.  I piled the three of them in the tub.  Wish I had taken a picture, but it's just not safe to even turn my back when they are all in there together.  They create quite a ruckus, and most times Jack can't decide whether he should laugh or cry.  He sits in his bath seat, with eyes wide as saucers, while Maddie "helps" me bathe him.  Poor guy. 

After the bath it was quiet time for Parker and Maddie.  I closed their doors, breathed a sigh of relief, and took my time diapering Jack and placing him in a fresh sleeper.  As I carted him about the house on my hip I began to smell that familiar smell.  Oh boy. 

Stripping off his now-soiled clothes, I was tempted to wallow.  Didn't I just give this kid a bath?  Why bother?  Then I remembered the words of my very wise friend, Phyllis:


"Everything you do is to be undone." 


She was referring to motherhood.  And she was right.  I cook a meal so it can be eaten.  I wipe the table so it can be utilized for a different mess.  I wash the clothes, fold them, and put them away so they can be worn again.

It seems counterintuitive that my friend's statement would give me such peace, but it did.  There is a purpose for everything I do as a mom.  At the same time, I must realize that all of those mundane tasks will be undone almost immediately.  They are meant to be undone.  The fact that my work will be destroyed does not negate the importance of the work.  I can choose to be angry and bitter and resentful that there are crumbs on my floor after every meal, or I can just sweep them up and go on about my day. 

So, as I wriggled Jack's squishy arms out of his tiny sleeves, I kissed his soft head, and tried to embrace the madness of motherhood, messes and all.

5/1/12

Dear Big, Huge 5 Year Old Boy

It's that time of year again; birthday time.  Parker's birthday is the first one of the year in our family (besides mine, which doesn't really count so much anymore).  I've stopped asking, "How does this happen?  How could this be?  When did he get so big?"  I just shake my head and smile in wonder.  He is a wonder - with a personality that can fill a room, a memory that rivals an elephant, a huge heart...He's stolen mine.

This has been a magical year, full of superheroes, preschool friends, bugs, camping adventures, doting grandparents, worms, garden hoses, big-boy bikes, tree-climbing, an adoring baby brother, exploring, cartoons, Legos, books, nightlights, swinging, cookies, candy, sugar in general, soccer, gardening, transformers, even some sweet moments with little sister.

I hope that one day you will read these words and know how much I absolutely adore you.  You filled a hole in our lives we didn't even know was there, and now it overflows with joy, zaniness, and love.  I can't wait to see what the good Lord has in store for you, little man.  I'm so glad to be along for the wild ride!