Well…. I’m so glad that I had such a great perspective on parenting a few days ago. Put me on the struggle bus. My husband is gone for nine days, three states away, with limited phone service. So there’s that.
Let me brag a minute about how fantastic my 8 year old son has been. He helped unload the dishwasher, cleaned up our frozen and sagging pumpkins in the yard, and did his homework with absolutely no complaints or second guessing. I’m genuinely enjoying his company.
Nugget – age 6- was put to bed sobbing last night after being downright nasty and without remorse for it. Following prayers, she had the option of continuing to sob in her bed or reading books. She did them both, respectively. She lost her chance at getting to invite a friend over to play after school today because she launched a marker at her brother’s head as hard as she could yesterday. Again, without remorse. The previous day, she accused me of never making any food- EVER- that she wants to eat. Well honey, we don’t all want to survive on bologna and mac’n’cheese… Then my precious girl followed her refusal to eat the chicken, stuffing, corn, and fruit with an epic meltdown where she was unable to make nice words come out of her mouth. “Mom, I just CAN’T make those words come out of my mouth.” *sob* These are all just samples of the overall behavior and attitude.
I’d say this is related to her dad being gone, but we’ve been on this ride for well over five weeks.
Where is Mary Poppins when you need her? Super Nanny Jo? Bueller? Anybody?
Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open.
This is what writing is to me. It’s happiness. I love to write with paper and pencil. The feel of the pencil gliding over the paper soothes my busy mind. Every two weeks, I try to utilize 30 minutes of early morning devotional time to write. Words flow freely from my mind through my hand. Pieces of my soul marked in my handwriting. My middle of the night insomnia sessions are where my best thoughts flow. Will I ever write that book I’ve been dreaming of authoring since elementary school?
The journey is never ending. There’s always gonna be growth, improvement, adversity; you just gotta take it all in and do what’s right, continue to grow, continue to live in the moment.
Marriage – When I took my wedding vows, full of excitement and passion, I vowed to love him until death do us part in good and bad. I still do. I’m still promising that. It’s deeper and stronger than I could have ever imagined. What I don’t think either of us realized at that point is that we vowed to love – deeply, strongly, confidently, and with covenant – is that we might not always like each other. It is completely unreasonable to vow to like someone all the time. Sometimes, we don’t even like ourselves. The majority of the time, the real issue is with yourself. Your partner’s job, promise, and covenant is to love you thru that. Those valleys are where you grow. Look up. Valleys only happen between mountains. Start climbing.
Loving a child doesn’t mean giving in to all his whims; to love him is to bring out the best in him, to teach him to love what is difficult.
Parenting – “My child is having a hard time. She is not giving me a hard time.” These words were on repeat this morning in my head starting at 4:32am. Our 6yr old woke up and needed to use the bathroom. Sleep did not find her again… and after two hours of cuddling, it was time to get dressed for school. Cue the sobs. Cue the stomps, whines, pointing, and tantrum. Deep breaths. She is not non-verbal. Her biggest character downfall is her inability to use her words to ask for help or admit when she is incorrect. It’s easier to stomp and sob. Going the tough route with her doesn’t help. She is stubborn and has to make the decision herself. When she threw her twisted sweatshirt at my feet, I refused to help her pull the sleeves out until she verbally asked for help. Her father did the same thing when she furiously swung her brush at him instead of just asking him to help her brush her hair. It was a doozy of a morning. 90% of them are nothing like this. I set a timer and told her she needed to have her fit turned off by the time it went off or she was destined for bed immediately when she arrived home with me this evening. Miraculously (tongue-in-cheek) her tantrum was over about 10 seconds before the timer dinged. Hugs all around before she ran out the door to the bus. Then her father and I considered Mimosas or Bloody Mary’s for breakfast… not really, but we both had to take our own frazzled nerves and anxiety down a couple notches before we came to work. Parenting is not for the weak-willed or faint of heart.
“I always loved running…it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.”
I’m signed up for a spring 2019 half marathon. I didn’t run one in 2018, although I did take on a hill-filled 10K (actually 6.7miles). Half Marathon Number Five. I ran my first 13.1mi organized race a couple of months before my MS diagnosis. Now I need a goal to get my consistency back. After swearing I wouldn’t run another unless I was trained well enough to knock 10 minutes off my previous finish time, my focus has shifted. Many months of just drifting along… I’m ready to get back in the current and head for something. What it is, I’m not sure. The steady beat of my feet and breathing in and out assist my brain in sorting thoughts. We shall see… we shall see.
As you attempt to make big differences, remember to appreciate the small differences. And remember that you don’t always have to reach the goal you set in order to make a difference.
Be kind today friends. Find a way to lift someone else up. Even if you are dwelling in the valley right now, reach up and out. Be gracious.
Wear the fancy dress. Tell the joke and laugh at it. Do that cannon ball into the pool. Dance in your kitchen.
As we drove to Parent-Teacher conferences this morning, I gave my husband the run-down of activities and meetings for the next two days. If you remember my post from earlier this fall, you’ll recall that we took a “not at this time” stance to almost ALL extracurricular activities so we could regroup as a family – no flag football, no dance classes, no tumbling…
The list isn’t long – Parent Teacher Conferences 8:20-9am, an orthodontist appointment at noon, customers who scheduled ahead, and an awards ceremony Friday evening that should last only an hour.
I was struck by irony when he looks at me and says “Ugh… could we have anything else on the schedule!”
Backstory: A couple times a month since July, I’ve reminded my husband gently clearly that I need his emotional support and leadership as a parent and as a spouse to make all-the-little-things work in our family. One of his love languages is to love us by providing at which he is amazing. *Take the time to do that study (5 Love Languages) if you are in a relationship!*
As a woman with only two hands and 24 hours in the day, I am incapable of doing it all without feeling completely depleted, beat down, and depressed. There – I said it – depressed. Out of routine and unable to juggle everybody’s everything, I’ve entertained the idea of simply running away. I know, it’s a super grown-up, mature thought (sarcasm).
Fortunately, I know I’m loved and love myself too much to do this. We have to work together to balance both of us working full-time, two full-of-life children, a marriage relationship, and minimal hobbies that keep us sane. On top of that, we both need alone time to recharge.
Last week, we hit these topics with force. (Read that as “the ship was going down…”) Since that meltdown conversation, we’ve been quite in-sync and actually offering to help each other with daily tasks that make life easier.
I can’t help think that his reaction to my short list for the next two days is somewhat attached to that previous conversation. He’s been putting in so much effort that he’s seeing the other side of the coin. Marriage and kids take both sides of the coin to function. 13 years of marriage… still learning!
Tonight I led our women’s Bible study. It was an impromptu step-in. Come to think of it, both roles I helped with Sunday were also spontaneous.
Could these situations be a lesson for me? Our adult Sunday school lesson was from the Old Testament. The message focused in on obedience and stepping out of our comfort zones to go where we are being led or called to.
Ya’ll… I am an introvert. I struggle to leave my bubble. Spontaneity is not usually my jam.
Besides that, I’ve always viewed people who lead in the church to be willing and able to throw all their personal stuff out on the public table- and own it with grace. Putting my personal baggage (of which there are heaps) out in the air makes me anxious.
Following close behind the anxiety is a solid couple hours of second guessing my choice of words. Then worrying that I might have said too much or omitted something important sets in.
The past two days of spontaneous ministry… whew! What words to describe? Uplifting. Honest. Humbling. Spirit led. The grace extended to me by the adult Sunday school class, children’s church group, and women’s study was above and beyond what I could have hoped for.
None of this ministry was about me. I am just a tool. It’s all about a relationship with God.
Nothing prolific or astounding to report here today. Rather, just a couple of observations from the weekend and a Monday at work.
One – My home is not a staging area for a HGTV show. It likely never will be. I’m good with that. We don’t just exist here. We LIVE here. Work here. Play here. Life happens here. My home isn’t dirty – it’s lived in. Instead of apologizing to people or not inviting them over, I’ve decided to adopt the motto “Clean or Chaos – You are welcome here.”
Two- Today is Day #4 of rain and cold, damp, dreary weather. Coming from the sunny Midwest USA, this weather makes me want to eat-all-the-things. I’ve already broken out the hot vanilla chai tea. I’m trying to tell myself that it isn’t really time to hibernate yet, but the meteorologist is forecasting our first freeze this weekend.
Three – The absolute worst part of owning a business has to be the phone calls to local customers who haven’t paid. There are very, very few of these. We have FANTASTIC customers. Even though facts are facts and the fact is that “item _____ was rented from ____ to ____” or “part _____ was ordered and shipped,” it doesn’t mean that people will pay in a timely manner. We mail the invoice, then go the phone route, then the letter route, then the phone reminder about the letter route…. and this last week we took someone to court for the first time in 10 years. These customers are few and far between. Life happens. I totally understand that. How do you balance grace and empathy with business?
Four – When I woke my six year old daughter up this morning, I swear I had a flashback. For just a brief moment, she looked just like she did as an infant. It made my heart swell and sink at the same time. The hours and minutes leading up to this might have been long, stressful, and trying. Fast and fleeting are the years that passed to this moment.