Monday, February 10, 2014

The Nurseries of our Bodies...

We met up with Mom, Dad, Grandma, my sister Kasey and her husband Alex this past Sunday for dinner.  We had not seen them since Christmas (for shame!) and so it was just precious to see their faces and hug their necks.  Anyway, as our food was delivered, Emma was asked to say the blessing.  She protested at first but then reluctantly delved right into a rendition of a blessing that she's heard Richard say many times.  However, her version went a little bit differently.

"God, thanks for this food and bless it to the nurseries of our bodies."

Pretty sure she meant nourishment.

Either that or she was being very deep and introspective and only praying for all of the females at the table.  Because, come on, we really do have nurseries in our bodies, right? ;)

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Motherhood without the self help articles...

I've been reading a lot of parenting articles lately.  I don't know why but it might be because they are posted all over Facebook.  I can't help myself.  I see a posted article, I see that 39 people "like" it and so I just can't keep myself from clicking on the link, reading and then loathing myself for not creating a vegetable garden and feeding my children a completely organic vegan diet or teaching them scriptural lessons the way that people think that I should.

I love my girls.  I love my girls with the kind of love that only someone who has children can understand.  I love their Dad.  Sometimes though, I just want to be alone.  Sometimes, I can't wait until bedtime.  CAN NOT WAIT.  I literally just want them to go to bed so I can be alone.  All of them.

I kind of love myself sometimes but I'm pretty good at disappointing myself too.  I'm far from the perfect Mom.

I can be really lazy, like the kind of lazy where I have to rewash the laundry that's been sitting in the washer for three days.  That's pretty lazy.

I get mad.  Sometimes I curse IN FRONT OF MY CHILDREN.  I know, that's really very unladylike but it happens and I usually apologize right away but never the less, those nasty little words sometimes make it out there, especially when I'm driving.  Which speaking of driving, sometimes I text while driving.   I know that's really, really unacceptable behavior and I don't do it often but my kids have seen that happen.

I get frustrated over really silly mundane things.  "You forgot to give me a letter from your teacher about bringing a snack for the class today???  How dare you!"

I cook foods that are not really nutritionally beneficial.  Sometimes we eat fast food.  Gasp.  It's terrible for us and I know it.  My kids know that I know it and we do it anyway.  We eat those fries and chicken nuggets and we enjoy them.  Enjoy being the most important word in that sentence.

Occasionally, I forget to help my kids with their homework.  I know.  It's awful. Last year, Morgan got her first "B" because I did a terrible job on her science fair project, which is another post for another day.  I will never be a fan of projects where children get graded on work that their parents were forced to complete.

I dislike my body sometimes.  That's absolutely awful.  I have daughters for goodness sakes!  But, I do it.  Sometimes, out loud, I say that I dislike something about myself.  Shame.

I lie.  I lied about Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.  Once Emma wanted to go get ice cream after school and I didn't want to tell her no so I told her that the ice cream store was closed.  Now, that's rude.  Another time, Morgan fixed her hair and it looked horrendous but when she asked how it looked, I told her it was awesome.  It wasn't.

I don't tell my kids not to bully other kids because it is wrong.  I tell my kids not to bully other kids because it makes them look ugly and little girls are not supposed to look ugly.  Pretty is as pretty does.  And, I can't even take credit for that because it's what my Grandma said to me when I was little.

Last night, Emma told me that she hadn't showered in three days.  Three days.  I didn't even know.  I'm hoping that she was at least changing her underwear but I can't be sure of that either.

So, am I doing anything right at all?

Well, I am a little lazy but everyone gets fed, clothes get washed and occasionally, the house looks great.

I do get mad but I think that's just part of being human.  We get mad.  We're passionate creatures. I tell my girls that they are allowed to be mad or disappointed about things but that they should never project those feelings toward someone or something else.  Be mad.  Go to your room and scream it out.  Then, get over it.  The cursing is a little over the top but at least I'm apologizing about it.

I get really frustrated but usually everything works out alright.  I'm getting much better about taking my frustration and using it in a productive way.  "Your school needs snacks today?  Well, I will make the best daggone cookies with all these ingredients and I WILL BRING THEM LATER!"

We eat terrible but just some of the days.  Other days, we eat awesome.  And we talk about our choices.  "These chicken nuggets are delicious but they are not for everyday use."

Homework gets done most of the time.  If it doesn't...whatever.  I am a strong defender of homework being completely outlawed. If you can't get done in 8 hours what you need to get done in 8 hours, do some of it in school tomorrow.  Enough said.

My body.  Well, I'm doing better on that one.  It's pretty awesome.  It housed three babies and it's still functioning.  I want the girls to love their bodies, to love being women.  When I had that "dreaded" talk with Savannah a couple of years ago, it wasn't awful at all.  It was actually pretty amazing.  I want these girls to be proud of the phenomenal thing that God made when He took one of Adam's ribs and worked His miracle.  I do tell them to be modest but not in a way where they feel they have to wear a swim suit that is essentially a short sleeved dress to the swimming pool.  Be modest but be proud of your body.  Let mystery be your friend.  You're a beautiful creature.

Lying sucks and I'm not proud of it.  However, what would I have gained by telling my children that there is no Santa?  A kid that goes to school and tells every other kid that there's no Santa, that's what.  When the mystery of Santa was finally revealed, I told the girls that they never saw Santa and yet they believed.  They've never seen Christ but yet they believe.  I tried to make that association. Whether or not it was the right thing to do, I'm not sure.  But, I do know that those years of Santa magic were so much fun.  And, had I told Morgan that her hair was ugly, well...that would not have gone over well at all.  I'm not lying to my children about the big stuff.  I'm honest.  Life is hard.  People die.  It's not fair.  You won't always be right.  God will always be good.  Those are truths.

Bullying sucks.  End of story.  I tell my girls that if they wouldn't say it to me, then don't say it someone else.  I teach them that compassion is such an important concept.  I think it's working.  I see Morgan get teary-eyed when she watches sappy commercials.  She cries sometimes over heart-felt lyrics to a song.  Savannah takes care of others.  She sometimes comes to me and shares very intimate secrets about classmates feelings and actions and we talk about the repercussions of those.  Emma told me last week that one day she's going to feed the poor. SCORE.  I think that this compassion thing is catching on.

Emma not showering for three days.  I got nothing on that one.  No excuse.  Honestly, I didn't know that I needed to institute a shower schedule around here but that's probably my next project.  Bless her heart.  Also, it's winter!  Battling dry skin is nothing to joke about.  Perhaps she was simply not showering because she didn't want to deplete her body of much needed oils.  I'm going with that one.

Message to my girls:  I'm not an expert but I think I've got this parenting thing figured out.  Here's the lesson:  LOVE people.  Love ALL people.  You don't have to love their actions but love them.  Love like Jesus.  Love Jesus.  Take care of each other.  One day, take care of me.  :)

In any event, I think I'm not going to read any more parenting articles.  And, I've got a good feeling that nobody is going to be asking me to write any either.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

2nd Shift Blessings

There’s a precious soul that is a resident at the Alzheimer’s facility where I am employed.  She’s a tiny little lady, 101 years young and she’s always fussin’ about how her hair looks or that she’s not got a thing to wear.  “Closet full of clothes,” she will say, “…and not a thing that looks good.”  She’s got a bible in her room with the smallest print I’ve ever seen and it’s worn like an old shoe.  It’s marked, weathered and faded and scripture is underlined nearly every other page.  Someone has taken care to study quite a bit out of that word of God.  I’ve admired it several times when I’ve been in her room.  It makes me feel ashamed of my own bible, which looks a lot like it did the day that I received it, still fresh pages.  But, that bible of hers has got some character. 

She was a Sunday school teacher and she’s proud of it.  She tells me all the time about the church she once attended.  “I taught Sunday school, you know?  Lots of years I taught little children.”  She makes me smile because she reminds me of my own grandmother. 

She’s a fairly new resident to our facility and deals with anxiety quite a bit.  On the evenings that I work, it’s no surprise to go to her room and find a chair against the door or to find her standing right there anticipating that someone is going to come into her room uninvited.  I spend quite a bit of my shift reassuring her that she’s going to be “looked after” and that nobody will be able to access her apartment because I will be watching vigilantly.  I try to explain to her that it is my job to make sure that she’s safe and secure.  It’s not an easy sell most evenings.  She tells me about how she’s alone now and she’s never been alone and it just makes her feel afraid.  She tells me that she’s a “scaredy-cat.”  That’s her favorite phrase.  And, it breaks my heart to pieces. 

This evening, I was finishing my medicine pass for my shift.  My mind was just full of things that still needed to be done…papers that should be shredded before I leave, documentation, faxes to be sent.  When I passed the door to her room, my mind was a thousand miles away until I heard her speaking loudly.  “It’s not supposed to be this way,” she said.  I felt a sudden pang of anxiety myself believing that perhaps someone had made his or her way into her apartment.  I knocked on the door and then let myself in to check on her.  She was seated at her little table, nightgown and robe on, talking on the telephone.  I tried to excuse myself so that I wouldn’t interrupt her but she motioned for me to enter even closer and told the person on the other end of the line that she had “company.”  

“Are you okay, “ I said.  “I heard you talking loudly and got worried about you.”

“I’m fine, just a little sad and worried because it wasn’t supposed to be this way, you know?  I wasn’t supposed to be here.” 

“I know.”  I gently patted her on the back.  “Let’s get you into your bed and I will read the bible some.  Would you like that?” 

She stopped and looked at me very carefully.   “I would love that.  But, I won’t lie down.  Instead I’ll sit here at the table with you.  And first, I’ll ask God to bless what we read.”

And then she began to pray.  Her words were precious and sincere.  I found my eyes full of tears and my heart burdened with my own sinful nature.  As she prayed, she asked God to bless us both and to continue to help her to accept His will for her life.  She prayed for strength and understanding for the both of us.  She thanked God for the gift of his sinless Son and His ultimate sacrifice on the cross.  It was one of the most sincere and special prayers I have ever heard and easily one of the most pivotal moments of my Christian life. I could hardly keep my composure.  My eyes were full to the brim with tears.  When she finished, we both reached for the tissues. 

“My eyes are full of tears, “ she said.  “I’ve had a lot of tears lately.”

I reached for the bible and opened it to Psalms.  For the next few minutes, I read.  I read and she listened.  God’ words were so eloquent in that text.  The room was quiet except for the sound of my voice weaving through the scripture verse by verse. 
In those minutes, I  felt like I understood God’s word better than I ever have.   Blessings were being poured out on me and the full understanding of God’s grace overwhelmed me.  In that little room, she and I were no longer nurse and resident but we were SISTERS IN CHRIST.

After about 20 minutes, I told her that I needed to leave because I still had some work that needed to be done.  Truth be told, I could have stayed there with her for hours reading that bible.  It was one of those moments when you feel so very close to God that you don’t want to step away.  I think that God gave me that time with this very special lady.  He knew that I needed to spend some time with Him this evening and he knew that she needed someone to calm her fears. 

As I walked to the door, she followed behind me. 

“You make sure to tell them at church Sunday that you read the bible to me, okay?”
“Okay, I will.”
“Let’s always stay friends,” she said. 
“Friends.  We will stay friends.”

I turned quickly and walked away to find a place where I could weep.  Not out of sadness but out of thankfulness for such an experience.

How wonderful to know the two of us are a part of the family of God.  Sister in Christ separated by 67 years who will spend an eternity together one day.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Things you learn from a Bible Quiz Meet...

This year, Morgan and Emma have been taking part in Bible Quizzing in lieu of Sunday School class on Sunday mornings.  Morgan has just loved the challenge and Emma has just loved the celebratory Jolly Ranchers that are given to the kids @ the end of each class.  Typical.  They have been working through the book of Matthew for the last few months and have been preparing for quiz meets with other churches.  I'll be honest and say that I haven't really had the time to sit down with them outside of their quiz class and help them prepare.  (Just another way that I have lacked in parenting since starting Nursing School.)  I have been really impressed with what they have learned, despite my lack of assistance and was just tickled to death to watch them @ their first quiz meet in February.

Because she's the more serious and studious child, Morgan did extremely well at her first event.  And, true to her nature, she was her own worst critic when she choose the incorrect answer.  Emma, on the other hand, did about as well as I had thought she might.  She averaged answering about 7/15 questions correct.  The best part was that each time she answered a question wrong, she looked @ me, smiled and crossed her eyes.  I literally had to leave the room halfway in to her second set of questions because she was more interested in making me laugh than in answering questions correctly.

When the girls competed in their second Quiz Meet, which also happened to be District Finals,  Morgan studied several times throughout the week in preparation.  Emma did not.  Surprised?  Well, we weren't.  However, we were a little surprised at the biblical knowledge that Emma has attained.

First of all, did you know that John the Baptist's clothes were made of camel's hooves and that he ate milk and cookies???  Or that when Jesus was on the mountain, Peter yelled at him "Get off of that mountain!!!"  Bahahaha!  Obviously, Emma missed a few classes, has been reading an incorrect bible or just clearly was not paying attention to her studies.  Maybe the thing is that she DID know the answers but it was funnier to get them wrong and entertain her Mommy because once again wrong answers were met with a  mischievous grin, some crossed eyes and a little giggling.  I think I'm going with that explanation.  It makes me feel better.

The thing is, it was all fun and games until Morgan got a big old red ribbon for team placement while Emma got a smaller yellow ribbon for "Participation."  Ahhh, the dreaded participation ribbon.  Even to a kid that doesn't quite understand competition, intuition tells them that the participation ribbon doesn't mean that they had a "rock star" performance.  So, there was some disappointment but it was quickly cured with celebratory ice cream.  Ice cream is much better than first place anyway, right?  It's the medicine that cures just about anything, especially if it comes with like sprinkles and whipped cream.  :)

Friday, January 06, 2012

You know you're tired when...

This morning, Emma woke up, got dressed and wearily made her way downstairs for breakfast.  As she walked into the kitchen, I noticed that she seemed to be walking a little oddly so I asked her if anything was wrong.

"I don't know.  I think my skirt is too tight or somethin'.  It feels weird."

Upon further inspection, I realized that she had put both of her legs through one leg opening but was completely oblivious to it.

"Emma, you put both legs through one opening."
"You put both of your legs through one opening, sweetie."
"Look @ your skirt.  See, you have both legs through one of the leg openings."
"I have no idea what you are saying."

It took me actually taking the skirt off of her and showing her that it was not on her body appropriately for her to understand why her skirt felt "weird."  I also am under the impression that she thinks that maybe I was just messing with her because even after her skirt was being worn the right way, she kept looking down at it and then looking at me with a little bit of skepticism on her face.

This Friday morning yielded a very tired and confused little girl from a very long first week back to school.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

After School Activities!

Today, they included tracing one another's body on the sidewalk.

(Note the artistic liberties taken by Morgan and the detail in Emma's smiley face.  Young talent, ladies and gentlemen, perhaps a curator should be contacted.)

And then, there was some bike riding...

(How about that deer mount in the garage...makin' our home state PROUD!)

And, lastly, there was this:

Looks like somebody REALLY didn't want to have to come inside and do her homework.  :)


Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Kids and Rhyming Words...Why?

What is it with kids and rhyming?  It's like they reach about four years old and they just can't help themselves.  They have captured the basics of human language and are discovering new words every day.  And then, it happens.  The kids realize that there are words that sound the same, only different.  Yes, they rhyme.  WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And, it is ON like Donkey Kong.  Suddenly they are rhyming all the timing.  Oops.  See.  It's just that easy.

Our little Emma is a rhyming machine.  Should her aspirations to be an animal doctor not come to fruition, she should definitely look in to poetry or at least like "open mic" nights at some coffee houses.

Tonight, rhyming @ the dinner table.  What could make for better conversation while enjoying a meal.  Only, the word that she's decided to rhyme tonight is "Juicy."  Can you see where I'm going with this?  If not, just go down the alphabet and start rhyming the word "juicy" and more than likely you will stop, gasp and cover your mouth in disgust right around the letter "p."  Yes.   She said "that." She intricately rhymed those words and nobody except Richard and myself knew that the word she had just said was inappropriate.  So???  What happened next???  First a hushed silence, a look of disbelief...and then...Laughter, of course.  I know, we are totally teenagers. But, it wasn't full on guffawing, it was like stifled laughter...with tears.

Savannah:  "Mom, are you crying?" 
Me:  "No, it's just this spicy cheese.
Savannah:  "Really?  Mine's not spicy."

Really though, we couldn't laugh out loud.  If we laughed out loud, Emma would know that she said something HILARIOUS!  Then, if she figures out that what she said made her parents laugh, she will say it over and over and over again, not even knowing the meaning of the word that she is saying.  And, really?  Is there a more disgusting word in the English language?  I think not.

So, that's my rhyming story for tonight.  For the record, Richard and I did pull it together and get through the rest of the meal.  We maintained our composure until the kids were done with their food and left the table and then we laughed and laughed and laughed a little more.

Kids.  Rhyming words.  BEST.STORIES.EVER.