What is one decision that changed your life?
**To respect myself enough to not be controlled by others.
I did that once in high school. It bordered on emotional and verbal abuse… honestly, it jumped the line… I wasn’t allowed to hang out with my female friends. I wasn’t allowed to have male friends. I was isolated, chastised and degraded. I was disrespectfully treated as an object.
When that relationship ended (thank goodness high school doesn’t last forever!) and I rose thru the fog I’d been living in, I remember telling myself I would never date someone who didn’t let me have friends, talk to other people, or live outside his control. My sisters and best friend from high school still can’t say his name without cursing. It’s been almost 20 years.
What I learned from that experience is too much to fit in a blog entry or even a series of entries. I also prefer most of the details to remain anonymous. I don’t need to relive that. My biggest takeaway though is this:
To forgive myself for my choices, I had to forgive too. To move past despising that section of my life, I had to let my hard feelings go.
Life here is slowly returning to a more normal pace. Lentando.
The kids and I fell asleep on our couch last night. We read Llama Llama Red Pajama. That Llama sounds an awful lot like my 6yr old.
We prayed together. Each of us took turns praising for something we are thankful for and praying for someone who might be sick, sad, hungry or mad. May our eyes be opened and our hands ready to humbly serve those around us.
I woke an hour later and carried my children to their beds. I’m still able to lug my 75 pounder, but I’m not sure how much longer. I’ve got him by about 60 pounds and 12 inches. He’ll outgrow me in the coming 5 years.
Two hours later my husband walked in, finally home from a work trip. Sleepily I told him how nice it was to have him home. I don’t communicate exceptionally well at midnight.
Today will bring about the hustle and bustle of shuttling between swim lessons, basketball camp, a trip to the dentist and work responsibilities. Even this isn’t consistent with our lives 6 weeks ago, but we are getting closer.
Our cadence is slowing from affrettando. Too vigorous. Too chaotic. Like that flurry in the middle of a song, we are over the peak of summer.
We are falling into a new, more comfortable rhythm.
Deep in the tunnel, you can’t understand what’s going on outside. You have no empathy or compassion for anyone outside your tunnel. You don’t have patience for their problems or struggles because you just can’t see them from any perspective other than being garbled noise in your own tunnel.
If you do hear what others around you are saying, you don’t hear it as it is meant. It’s jumbled and ricocheted around like an echo.
Tunnel vision is harmful to you and hurtful to those around you.
Other people must be wrong because you just can’t see their opinion making sense from where you are.
It’s easier to think “just let someone else deal with it.” Push it off on someone who isn’t in your tunnel. That will improve the situation. Just don’t deal with it.
Stress levels are at an all time high. Running consistently there for the past month. It narrows the tunnel.
Tunnel vision. Take those blinders off.
So many things to write, but before I squeeze in my run between devotions this morning and rousing kids for eye appointments…
He grew. My little boy isn’t so little anymore. He turned 8 this spring.
Last night we attended my niece’s softball game. As I sat in my lawn chair, my “little” boy climbed on my lap. All solid, long 75lbs of him. I couldn’t see over him. My forearms and legs from the knees down were all my family could see of me.
He grew. I swear it was just a short while ago he was snuggling all the way up and fitting against my chest.
My goodness that went fast! It’s as if he changes every single day. He still has the heart to climb up on my lap, but how much longer until he won’t fit?
My heart aches a bit. It’s beautiful and bittersweet to observe and be a parent. My, oh my, how fast they grow!
I need to go run my emotions out now. He won’t understand why I’m teary-eyed at his eye exam.
Much love today — Jen
I’m up against a battle of wills, folks. Fairly certain that I’ve already faced what might be the ultimate summer battle of “who’s in charge” with my 5yr old daughter.
It was over one basket of clean, folded laundry. Now don’t let your imagination run away… She isn’t Cinderella.
It wasn’t everyone’s clothes.
She only has three chores a day AND she gets to choose two of them.
Her other choices include things like “pick up the shoes,” “read books for 30 minutes,” and “help clean up after dinner.”
Her task was to take the already folded clothes and sort them into already labeled piles of shirts, dresses, shorts, pants, and undies. The plan was that following her sort, I would be able to pull the winter vs. summer items and the size that she grew out of. Voila! Her drawers would be ready for summer.
20 items – approximately a 10 minute task – that she has done before.
This little spit-fire of mine decided this was officially the hill she was willing to die on.
After offering multiple accommodations, as in putting her bean bag chair in just the right spot, giving words of encouragement and hugs, and even setting a timer to help speed the process up… she sorted two items.
She dug her heels in. Crossing her freckled little arms, she sobbed to me that she wasn’t going to do it. Just WAS NOT going to sort those clothes. I said “Fine, but nothing fun until this is done.”
The timer was set for 30 minutes because that is exactly how long I had before the kids and I headed up to the office. Following an afternoon of work, she was scheduled to have t-ball practice.
30 minutes passed and the project had no progress. Sweet thing lost t-ball practice because this Mama isn’t playing the delay game. At 5:15 that evening, she was still holding out. Sweet thing lost her bike, cartoons, music, and games until the basket was sorted…
Life went on around her. I prepped dinner. Her brother played outside on the patio. 45 more minutes of life.
Approximately six, yes SIX, hours after the request was made, she grumpily sat down and separated her shirts from her pants.
It took eight minutes.
This one set the tone for who was in charge this summer. Goodness help me!!! I’m the mom. I’m in charge of setting boundaries and teaching responsibility. Obedience to her parents and respect for adults is non-negotiable at age 5.
She is welcome to make choices about the smaller things like her wardrobe or which veggie she eats or Candyland instead of Connect4. I don’t care if she puts flowers with polka dots or mixes her favorite red Wonder Woman shirt with pink shorts. I honestly didn’t even flinch when she ate Pizza Combos and mandarin oranges for breakfast last week.
Summer Showdown: MOM-1, M-0
I must not have scarred her too much with the laundry debacle. She painted this picture of us yesterday. Just look at that hair… Ha! Happy summer! Keep your sense of patience and humor! 🙂
Nestled between my early morning devotion time and heading out the door for a run, it hit me.
My husband and I haven’t been out (or in) together without kids since March.
I know…. that is shocking!
Almost two months ago, we flew to Key West for a handful of days. I don’t think we’ve been anywhere without the little people we created, even for groceries and a burrito, since mid-March.
Time to get back on the same page…
Today I scheduled a 36hr getaway for us. We are going to see another couple for a Friday evening and Saturday a couple of weeks from now. What? You thought we’d be able to throw together something for this weekend?! That’s just crazy talk….
Honestly though, it is incredibly important to put that extra time into your relationship. It’s been lacking here. We’ve had a rough patch lately where I truly wanted to get in the car and drive away. Solo. Where? Who knows. Maybe just to go sit in a coffee shop or restaurant and read a book while I sip a chai latte (DF of course) or eat chips and salsa? I might even treat myself to a bowl of guacamole.
But I don’t drive away. I told him I wanted to. Yet I haven’t gotten in the car, removed the car seats, and made a break for it.
Why? A couple of reasons:
- I genuinely like my crew of people – most of the time. Experience has taught me that it is highly unlikely that you will enjoy another human 100% of the time. I’m quite sure I would not enjoy my own clone 100% of the time…
- I’m an introvert. Quiet time is necessary to recharge. Daily running and devotions need to become a priority again instead of snoozing the alarm and then needing space from my family later.
- I love my husband. Even when we aren’t clicking and I’m not even sure we are speaking the same vernacular, we still have almost 18 years invested in our relationship. We’ll celebrate the 13yrs married mark this summer. Sometimes I wonder though… when I say something – what is he hearing???
- I love who I am when we are in sync. Disharmonious as we are right now, we will find our rhythm again soon. We are better together. He lightens me. I focus him.
- I’m flat-out terrible at self-care. When I make a cry for help like “Hey honey, I think I’ll just leave. No I don’t know where I’m going to go…” that’s pretty serious stuff. It needs to be addressed together. Instead of further isolating myself, I need to pull closer to that covenant I have with my husband and family.
What it boils down to is that it is time for a date. A real, fix-your-hair, put on a nice dress, lipstick instead of chapstick type of date. No talk of the kids’ baseball schedules, end-of-school year events, or that we are COMPLETELY out of all ingredients necessary to make breakfast. It is time for actual date talk about interests and plans and that amazing song I heard on the radio last week.
It’s time to reconnect and get back in sync.
Mother’s Day 2018.
Many moms out there were being showered with lavish gifts. Quite a few, I imagine, received no recognition at all for the day. Others were somewhere in between.
I was an ‘in-between-er’ at the low end of the spectrum. No gifts, but they did make construction paper cards. It was another day where my kids bickered, my extremely tired 5yr old melted down and crashed for 3hrs (when is school done?!), and at one point I threatened to get out of the car and let my husband proceed with the kids to our destination without me.
So yeah, basically just another day of motherhood.
Isn’t that what the day is about though? Are we supposed to be put on a pedestal on Mother’s Day or should we move our focus to the little things that are to be appreciated?
I’m not one to worship my children. They aren’t always correct. They aren’t always even pleasant to be around. And yes, I’ve told them to leave me alone or not talk.
However, I am thankful for these little people in my tribe. I love them unconditionally- always and everywhere. I learn new things about them and myself in abundance when we are together. At times, they swell my heart with gladness. While at others, they throw me into the pit and leave me questioning what I did to make this little monster.
At church, our pastor recognized the mothers and made that the focus of his message. He spoke of the need to lift up and support all the moms- the young and old, married, single, widowed, biological, adoptive and foster, those who have lost, and the grandmothers raising their grandchildren.
It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. It’s effective in the little things- offering childcare for any length of time, helping load or unload bags of groceries, passing her your $10 when she’s checking out at the store, welcoming a family with children instead of frowning at their noise.
The church needs to acknowledge the shift of stay-at-home to working mothers. It’s a change that has been decades in the making. The faith community needs to embrace these weary, hard working women.
He spoke about Hagar in Genesis. She didn’t willingly become a mother. Mothers who weren’t excited to become moms need to be cared for. They are treading water. Don’t let them go under.
When Abraham (man) gave her limited water and sent her away, God (the Creator) showed her a well. Think on that comparison for a moment…
He specifically recognized all of us who have locked ourselves in a room and cried- overwhelmed by life and questioning if we are making the right choices.
Motherhood has deepened my faith exponentially. All the trials, tribulations, meltdowns and
months years without solid sleep have given me a glimpse of what love without strings looks like. Love that can’t be earned. Love that just IS.
That love is what I’m celebrating on Mother’s Day.