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


2/20/14

The Ultimate Parent Equation

I can't tell you how many times I have heard people say, "Wow!  Four kids!  I don't know how you do it!"

When I had 3 children, I would often hear, "Whew!  Three?!  I only have two kids, and I'm struggling.  How do you manage?"

When I had 2 children, the parents of only children would smile and shake their heads.  "I can't even keep up with one," they'd say.

You get the idea.  I have thought and thought about this phenomenon.  Finally, I discovered the ultimate parenting equation.  The one that makes life make sense again…Wait for it….

X- 1= easy life

X is the number of children you have.  X must be greater than 0 (i.e. you must be a parent of at least one child) for this equation to make any sense.

You see, when you have your first child, no matter how much you love said child, you will likely reminisce about the days when you were child-free, free to park your car at the gas station and "run in" for some coffee or gum, free to pee by yourself, free to sleep through the night or stay up all night and sleep in the next day.

Then you went and had another baby.  Sure it was precious, but oh how much easier it was with only one baby!  No juggling the car seat on one arm and the toddler in the other.  One grocery cart was big enough for groceries and children.  It didn't feel like you were inconveniencing people too much when you asked them to watch your one child, but now that there are two, well…might want to get a sitter.

And on and on and on…I can't tell you how easy it feels to take three kids around with me at a time.  Add the fourth, and whoa Nelly!  It's another story.  So I hate to break it to you, parent readers, I guess this equation means that if you have had one child, you've had one too many.

Just kidding, of course.  But it does make you think!

2/19/14

Going to Miss This

You know, for someone who claims not to be a country music fan, I certainly reference country music quite a lot…

There is one country song I particularly detest.  It is sung by a father, directed toward his adult daughter.  One of her children is is crying, another is screaming, and she's dealing with a repairman.  Just then the singer has the audacity to say [condescendingly, I might add], "You're gonna miss this."

Really?  Really??  Might want to work on your timing there, grandpa.  Better yet, why don't you hold the baby, entertain the toddler, deal with the repairman, and send mom out for a latte.  Wait?  What was that?  You don't want to?  Why ever not?  I thought these moments were soooo precious that she would miss every single one!

I understand the intentions.  Enjoy the kids while they're young, et cetera, et cetera.  I get it.  However, there are some moments no momma in her right mind would wish to relive.  Like gripping your child in a full body lock while the doctor attempts to draw blood for testing.  Like the 12 hour van ride with the toddler who has a sudden case of explosive diarrhea.  Like mopping up the baby food on the floor, table, highchair, blinds, wall…again and again and again.  Like the supermarket meltdowns.  You get the picture.  No one misses the tantrums, chaos, whining.

What we parents of very young children will miss are the mundane moments.  The every day quiet moments that often slip by unnoticed.  The brief sigh of relief between book bags dropping in the hall and dinner on the table.   Somehow these moments are forgotten the second someone screams that So-and-so locked me out the bathroom!  It's no fair!  I have to pee, too!!

Last night I was able to catch one of those rare moments.  Those quiet moments.  Then that stupid country song came to mind, and I shook my head.  For once the song rang true.  I was going to miss this.  I decided then and there that I would blog about our beautifully mundane evening.  Because I don't want to forget...

I was standing at the stove, a baby balanced on my hip, as I stirred the vegetables.  "Vroom!  Vroom!" a two year old gripping a monster truck made his way down the hall.  I wandered into the playroom to observe a sweet five year old girl, her head bent low as she put the finishing touches on her painting masterpiece.  Behind a bedroom door I could hear grunts and high-pitched voices, all produced by one kindergartener in the midst of his intense Lego war.   This, I thought to myself, this is a slice of heaven on earth.  I am gonna miss this.  My heart and arms were completely full.

Thank you, Lord, allowing me to see the extraordinary in the ordinary.


2/17/14

NEVER a dull moment

Today was Presidents Day.  Parker was out of school, and we decided to join some friends for play and a picnic lunch at a park.  We had never been to this particular park and were very excited to explore a new place.  As it turns out, all of Collin County had the exact same idea.  While the park was awesome, it was also so crowded, I frequently found myself fighting off a panic attack as I constantly lost sight of the kids.

We decided to leave the main play area and walk down a winding path past lovely low hills to a paved area near the pond.  It was glorious!  The sun was shining, white clouds streaking across the bright blue sky.  A beautiful swan paddled around the lake.  After a yummy lunch, the kids raced around the pond, squeezing out every last bit of energy and fun.

We began our journey back toward the van.  Everything was just perfect…

The kids began running up the hills and rolling down.  What fun!  "I want to!" I shouted and began up the hill, leaving Caleb in the stroller, in the care of my friends.  Just as I reached the top of the hill, Parker began shrieking and waving his arms madly.  "ANTS!"

Turns out he had rolled right through a fire ant hill and was covered head to toe.  As he howled, I began stripping his clothes off of his flailing body.  He was fighting me, and I realized he didn't want his friends to see him in his underwear.  "TURN AROUND!" I roared at the crowd of frightened onlookers below.  Instantly our group of friends turned their backs, and Parker and I managed to strip him to his skivvies.  "MADDIE!  Bring me Caleb's blanket NOW!"  She rushed up the hill, and I wrapped Parker in the blanket, brushing fire ants from his hair.

I carried that huge, heavy, sobbing, embarrassed, darling little big boy all the way back to our van.  It felt like miles.  My heart broke with him every step of the way.  "This is the worst day ever!" he moaned between sobs.  "I know, I know, honey," I said soothingly.  Because I do.  I know what it's like to be embarrassed in front of friends and strangers.  I know what it's like to get hurt, to cry, to feel like a fool.

What he doesn't know is that we all know (or will know) what that's like.  What he missed was the beauty of the people in the background.  The friends who quietly picked up his clothes and shoes, shaking off the ants.  The moms who pushed the stroller carrying his baby brother.  The friends who held his sister's hand as she crossed the parking lot.

Parker wasn't ready to hear it yet, but he is richly blessed.  His friends care about him, about our family.  There are there to love us and support us.  And one day, he will return the favor, I'm sure.

There is never a dull moment in this crazy beautiful life, and for that I am truly grateful!