I Can’t Write About That Because I am Not Ready toTalk About it Yet

“How are you doing today?”

I smile and return the polite gesture, “just fine thank you.”  Hold it in Caroline. Hold it in. I slide on my sunglasses a little early just incase a tear escapes. 

I collect my bags and exit the store. The sun is finally shining. It has rained for so many days now. But even the sun can not hide the Fall season and the wind blows to remind me. 

Almost desperately, I dig through one of the bags that I am holding and from the bottom locate what I am searching for. 

Two simple bead bracelets. Black beads in the shape of bats. I made her costume this year. Being new to sewing, this is my biggest project yet. It took me a while but I finished it just in time for her to wear it to the Fall Festival. I will never forget her smiling proudly when she told her friend that her Mom sewed it. One bracelet for me and one for her. 

I finally reach the car and grab my phone. I have to write. A tear finally escapes and I do my best to push it away before the whole damn dam breaks loose. But I can’t write about this because I am not ready to talk about it yet. Please don’t ask. 

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I Want New Shoes and She Has Her Daddy’s Smile

As a mom, as a woman, as a human being, I always have a million billion, a hundred things running through my head at one time.

We are out of milk. Go to Publix. We also need turkey, apples, and new shoes.

My head is a constant check list. I check my calendar and add those events to my dry erase board. Make the beds. The laundry had babies. Triplets. Practice piano. Homework. That is not for me. It is for her. She has her Daddy’s smile.

My phone chirps and I don’t have time to check it. I still need to put on mascara and brush my teeth. I want another cup of coffee but brushing my teeth says no to another cup.

She is growing so quickly. Eight!  Eight is almost nine. Dear Lord, I pray for her husband. I pray for the father of a little boy that will one day be her husband. Dear Lord, make him a man that will be a godly model for the boy that will grow to be her husband.

I want new shoes. I saw a pair in the mall. Super cute, no cute is not the right word, hot. They were hot shoes! ¬†But I’m saving for piano lessons.

I’m a mom. It’s not about me. Yes, I want to be one sexy Momma for my husband. But he wants me to stay in budget. I’m on my way to the grocery store. I think I’ll bake a little treat for them. The hot man I call my husband and the little girl that I love more than new shoes.

may I suggest http://freeditorial.com/en/books/spiritual-flesh-and-blood

The Two Rules of Parenting

Toddler Madison and I were waiting in a loooong return line at Target after a long day of shopping. Madison had reached her max and I knew it, although I watched her patiently roaming around and still staying close to Momma. 

And then she took me by surprise, I watched with confused eyes while Madison laid down on the floor and began to kick her legs and pound her fists on the floor of Target. I could hear the judgemental inhales and the eyes of those around me almost burned through me.  I walked over, scooped up my little girl and returned to the line. She sat on my hip, waiting…again…patiently. 

When the stares had turned away from us, I whispered to Madison, “What was that about?”

She smiled and whispered back to me, “I saw that on Tom and Jerry.”

“Oh.  OK.” And we continued on with our day. It was no tantrum at all, it was simply child’s play. 

I know my girl makes mistakes, some days more than others, but I wish that I could wear a sign that states, “I discipline my child for HER good, NOT FOR YOUR’S.”

I see children crushed when they are scolded and they don’t understand why, I see parents fold under the expectations of others, and I see judgemental eyes of those that think they know everything…well, ya don’t.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” – which is the first commandment with a promise – “so that it may go well with you…”  Ephesians 6:1

“Children obey your parents…so that it may go well with you.”  Children are to obey for the benefit of the child!  Not so life will be easier on mom and dad, not so mom won’t get embarrassed at Target, not so others will think well of us, FOR OUR CHILD!  Obeying is the best thing for the child!

I believe children need to constantly, I mean every minute, need to hear:

1.  I LOVE YOU.

2.  YOU CAN NOT DO WHATEVER YOU WANT.

Generations/Personalities of parents tend to swing toward one or the other.  “I love my child too much to discipline them.” vs. the “because I said so” shouters. 

No!  A child needs someone to listen, someone to care, someone to explain, someone to buy them presents on a Tuesday just because they love them.  AND just as much, they need someone to love them enough to say, “you can not treat your friend like that because I love you,” “You can not have that because I love you.”

Being a mother may have taught me more than I have taught my daughter.  I have learned in almost every situation, if not every situation, I can turn the lesson back on myself and I see, “oh, that makes things make a little more sense.”

God says to me:  

1.  I love you.

2.  You can not have whatever you want.

I Am Wrong

Somewhere around five years ago, James and I set our minds on buying a leather couch. I had a little bitty budget that I wanted to spend and unrealistic expectations on what I could get. Routinely, I scanned Craigslist and was discovering that I had set the bar a little too high.  Perhaps, our old couch would have to do for a while longer. 

And then it happened, like the ad was shining and glittery and playing angelic music, I found it. The couch. It was exactly what I wanted for exactly my budget. It had to be a typo or a scam, it was a little too good to be true.  But I am a sucker for these kind of things, so I gave the number a call.

Nope, it hadn’t sold yet. Yep, he was available that afternoon. So, a few hours later, I loaded up toddler Madison and dragged along husband James (poor guy with a logical brain that falls in love with a dreamer like me.)

On the short drive, Madison fell asleep, so we were the kind of dorks that do things like this:  James “went in” first to scope out the safety situation and returned to watch the baby. Next, I knocked on the door to give the fashion approval.  James would return to break the deal. That is pretty much how we operate. 

Well, approximately two minutes later, I return to the car decorated in a huge silly grin, “I bought it.”

“Huh?”  I had overstepped boundaries, James is the final deal maker.

So I explained the situation:  the couch was perfect. In fact, it was a practically brand new $1,500 couch and the guy was asking $400.  Yes, I was going to buy it. I was already thrilled about the situation. But just because I am American and good enough is never good enough, I just have to ask, “Will you take anything less?”  And I waited for the guy to tell me to leave for being rude, insulting, and ungrateful of a good deal when I see one.

But he pauses and smiles at me like I am his daughter that he can’t tell no, “Sure, I’ll take $300.”  If I had the strength, I would have grabbed the couch and ran at that point, but the man is not done yet, “No…” And damnit, I should have grabbed the thing and ran while I could, sure he was changing his mind, but he continues, “No…I’ll take $250.” (!!!)

At that point, I felt a little obligated to explain Math to him, “Dude, you just dealt in the wrong direction.”

I smiled, offered my many thanks and walked away with the furniture I wanted and a little extra cash. 

I love the story, but I am just like that man, almost every single day. There is something that comes with proclaiming the truth, people want to debate. But it goes a little like this with me:

Person:  You call yourself a Christian?  Well, You are a sinner!  Me: oh yes!  The very worst!

Person:  Well, Jesus said to give all your stuff to the poor!  Me:  I know.  I should do that. I really suck!

Person:  Yeah?  Well, the church is a bunch of hypocrites!  Me:  oh, much worse!  They are liars, cheats, murderers….much worse than hypocrites!

Person:  I am my own god. Nobody tells me what to do.  Me:  I suck as a god!  Glad you have it all figured out because I am really screwed up!

Ya see, being a Christian is not about winning the debate or having a clean house or a new car or well behaved children or going to a Wednesday morning Bible study. It looks more like the outcast guy scraping the bloody man up off the pavement and taking him to the hospital, it looks more like the Mommy sitting with her eight year old for the tenth time in one day and apologizing that Mommy is a sinner, it is more like the woman dragged into the streets and having her tongue cut out by her brother because she rejected the family faith and gave her life to Jesus. 

So, in this debate, before you even say it, I confess I AM WRONG but the only hope is JESUS IS RIGHT. 

Old Sticky Love

I believe in goals.  I believe in knowing what race you are in and running toward that finish line.  I believe in knowing what road you are on and what the destination is.

Love.  I want my love to be sticky.

Newlywed James and Caroline were magnificently in love with love.  We promised and we dreamed but we were only tying on our tennis shoes and the gun had not even yet been shot.  Counseled, researched, planned, and eager, we set out in the race of marriage and a life together.  But we had not yet gotten shin splints, holes in our tennis shoes, and the weather was a perfect sixty-five degree sunny day.

Newlywed James and Caroline sat in the food court of the shopping mall, planning where the day and our life would take us.  And then we got some of the best advice new love can be given.

Their age was old.  The kind of old that can barely move and the movements are slow and thought through.  She sat with white hair and a shriveled body in a wheelchair pushed by a white haired man, leaning over using her wheelchair as a cane.  Her hand was held across her body and her fingers were gnarled.  Their short walk from the door was an exercise in and of itself.

They sat.  Sat at the table right beside us.  He slowly and patiently moved the chair at the table and replaced it with her wheelchair.  There was no talking, just slow movements.  And then, she was left, left waiting.  He, the more mobile one, departed and began a slow shuffle just a few feet away but each step was a goal accomplished.  He achieved what he had set out for and slowly returned to her side.

He dipped the spoon into the cold, creamy vanilla.  Their eyes met and they lovingly smiled at each other.  He lifted the spoon to her lips, his hands were shaking with a tremor and uncontrolled movements.  She opened her mouth as the spoon fluttered forward.

Love.  Love fed her ice cream.  Love was sticky all over her face.  Their painstaking and exhausting mission was to set out and share an ice cream.  After a couple of bites, she had it all over her face, sitting smiling, smiling at her love.

The cup was emptied.  With great labor, he threw away the cup.  With great pains, he returned the chair to the table.  And they began their slow march to the exit.

James took my hand in his.  We smiled at each other.  We each had the same goal.

Now, the gun has been shot.  We have gone through a few pairs of tennis shoes.  We have helped each other up a few times.  We run and run.  Quitting is not an option.  One day we will sit and have our celebratory ice cream and then we will pick ourselves up and soar one last time right through the finish line.

We never talked to them, but their actions spoke louder:  Love can be sticky.