Monday, September 1, 2014

“You're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So... get on your way!” 

They whined and pleaded, "Can't we just ride the bus?" on this, their first day of kindergarten.  "NO."  I hmphed, crossing my arms and pouting.  I did not want to share and found myself having my own little Kindergarten temper tantrum to illustrate this.  I wanted those last few moments with them all to myself; those final moments to hold hands and pray quietly with them before they opened the doors, stepped out of the car, and ventured into the echoing gymnasium, loudly reverberating with the excitement of a new school year.

I think these little twins who were busy rallying against me would be just a little more understanding if they realized what I really wanted wasn't just to drive them, but to disguise myself and follow them around their new school from a safe distance, guarding them from the bad kids, drug pushers, and playground pedophiles.  But once at school, the knowing principal kindly ushered the left-over lingering parents out of the gymnasium as the students made their way, wide-eyed to their classrooms.  Standing in line with their classmates, my children broke form and ran across the gym to give me one last kiss, then ran back to their places and the line trickled out of my sight.

To be fair, I'm not usually such a helicopter parent.  I mean, I check in every few days to make sure their teeth have been brushed.  And I do ask plenty of questions about their bowel movements, just because it makes me feel like an attentive mom and a little doctor-y all in one.  I really do see the value in their strides towards becoming independent little people.  So, I was a little surprised to feel my eyes burning with tears as I was sure they would most definitely not do when this day eventually arrived.  But, I was quick to realize that they weren't just sentimental first day of school tears.  They were tears for the end of this season, the season of the three of us.   It's hard to explain, this feeling that I've held for the past few years.  A feeling of exhaustion and anxiety, yes- but also a very deep regard for the sacredness of this time.   I've held very close this awareness that however difficult these past years may have been at times, they were not to be rushed.   Five brief years to quietly lay the foundation before the world stepped in and bombarded them with all that it wants to teach them-both good and bad.  Through the challenges and the chaos of the past five years, a quiet intensity has tied us together and now I have to prepare myself for its slow unraveling as they venture out slowly on their own.   Good thing they allow for room moms.  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

And a Match Ain't One.-My Messy Beautiful

I'm in the upstairs bathroom trying out some new dance moves in front of the mirror that hangs from the bathroom door.  I'll be honest.  I'm trying to twerk.  In mom jeans.  I'll be honest again.  I don't actually know what twerking is.  But, I figure if I just practice a little I ought to get decent enough to try it out on the dance floor at the next wedding I attend.

"Mom", an annoyed voice calls from the bathtub.  My five-year-old son, who is in the middle of acting out a water war with his Power Ranger figurines rather than cleaning behind his ears as he takes a bath.

"What are you doing?" he asks, seemingly irritated by this interruption in his bath time.

"Oh., dancing."

"That's not dancing."  He's right of course.  I'd more liken it to the wretching movements of a cat heaving up a hair ball.  I hitch my mom jeans back up to my belly button and venture downstairs to the clean laundry pile still spread across the living room floor; still unfolded; still waiting for me.  Laundry.  My arch nemesis of household chores.  The Newman to my Seinfeld.   Laundry is just one of those chores than can be put off, so usually I do.  I mean, the kids have to eat every day.  The chickens have to be let out of their coop in the morning.  The toilet has to be scrubbed (only because my kids won't go if it looks too gross inside).  Reports have to be completed for work the next day.  But laundry can be tucked away in its nice little closet for days on end.  Okay, weeks.

What results from this procrastination is that we have no matching socks.  Like, ever.  Thankfully, my kids are not yet in school and think nothing of this.  They don't know socks are even supposed to match.  I just recently found my daughter on her way out the door with two different shoes on her feet. She just overgeneralized the little sock rule to all things that go on her feet.  Silly kids.

Although we're getting by just fine in our mismatched footwear of a home, guilt plagues me about this sock stuff.  What kind of a mom can't find A match to a sock?

We opened our home to a little baby last fall (hence the looong neglected blog).  Beautiful little K was two days old and still in the hospital when DCFS called and asked if I could take her.  Crazy, right?  It's an amazing story of being led that I will love to share once a coherent thought enters my head and I can put together the right words to tell it.  But, I did want to mention this little baby's socks.  K came into our home with a full garbage bag of little baby socks.  Teeny tiny matching socks!

I found myself hard pressed to find a reason that a mom with all of those matching baby socks would be unfit to care for her baby.  Of course, these thoughts were just my own maternal insecurities shining through as many times I'm hard pressed to come up with a reason that I am a fit mother.  I can't fold a load of laundry in a timely fashion to save my life.  I accidentally kind of twerked in front of my child.  And on some days, I am overwhelmed by the responsibility that parenting carries to the point that I can't breathe.  In her article, "There's more to Life than Happiness", Emily Esfahani Smith elaborates on the differences between living a happy life, living a meaningful life and which category parenting falls into (I'm sure you can quite easily guess). She cites Victor Frankl, author of Man's Search for Meaning as saying, "Being human always points, and is directed, to something or someone, other than oneself--be it a meaning to fulfill or another human being to encounter.  The more one forgets himself--by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love--the more human he is."  Reading her article serves as a both a wonderful deterrent from any time that I could be spending folding laundry as well as a reminder to trust, to know that despite the stresses of the mountain of laundry and all the rest, through the one who is greater than me, I am able to teach these little people the important lessons that will, in turn, give them the confidence to trust God's work in their life and choose the sometimes more challenging and meaningful road.  

Little baby K has been with us for five months now.  And as you might guess that ginormous bag of matching socks has dwindled down.  She has exactly one matching pair left in her drawer.  Like the last dollar bill in my wallet that I don't want to spend,  I'm saving that precious pair of matched socks in her drawer not to be worn.  It gives me this weird sense of undeserved pride each time I get her dressed in the morning.