Friends and Family

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img_6003-2I grew up surrounded by family. When I was young and my parents still married, I remember visiting my Dad’s side of the family a few hours away. From what I remember, I had a plethora of cousins. Now that I’m older and can actually count how many I have, it’s not as many as I remember, but still a lot. My mom’s side of the family was smaller, but closer in distance with my grandparents in the same town. We got together often and I have memories and pictures galore of the fun we had.

Now that we’re grown with families and kids of our own, the closest member of my family lives 5 states away. Thankfully I married into a family who lives only one state away with an aunt and uncle in the same town as us!

But I’m used to so much more, and I miss it. I miss them. I miss family that I see on a monthly basis. I miss the playing, the laughing, the holiday meals, the kids playing while the adults talked.

And yet I am blessed with an extended family, a family I call friends. People who have brought meals after my kids were born, people who have prayed for us and with us. People who we have shared meals with. People who my kids love to play with.

Tonight, Halloween, I was reminded of some of these wonderful extended family I have surrounding me. We ate dinner together, the kids at one table with the babies in high chairs and adults scattered amongst the table and couch. We kept an eye on each others’ kids as they ran from room to room playing with the toys (sometimes sharing, sometimes not), encouraged them to say “please” before getting a cracker to tide them over before dinner, mopped up messes made by whichever kid made it, whether our own or not, laughed and took pictures as the kids got into their costumes (and some adults too), and then went out trick or treating. Another mom held my little girl’s hand while I pushed my youngest in the stroller. When my camera ran out of room for pictures, my friends jumped in with theirs to capture the precious moments. As the kids ran around the front yard, getting lost between the cars and going inside and out, we all managed to keep track of them.

They may not be family by blood, but they are family none the less and I am blessed to have them near!

 

 

 

My heart can’t breathe

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Have you ever read or heard something, maybe saw something, and it made your heart hurt? A deep, raw aching that almost feels like your heart has stopped breathing and there’s this wild desperation for something to change? No? Just me? Okay, well, let me tell you, it sucks. It makes me feel so helpless, hopeless.7

This is what the book, “7” by Jen Hatmaker does to me, every time I read it. Every. Single Time. I’m on my third read through right now and why I continue to put myself through the mess that becomes my heart, I’m not sure why exactly. Probably because it combines my passion for helping those in need and the words of Jesus to help those in need. The breathless heart that comes with it is just a casual side affect. Lucky me.

Basically Jen takes 7 different areas of her life (which also includes her family because as a wife and mom, it’s impossible to separate the two) and reduces them for one month each. Cuts out the crap. Gets rid of the excess. In fact the subtitle of the book is “an experimental mutiny against excess”. We’re talking clothes, spending, waste, food, possessions, media, and stress. The end result? A simpler life. Less stuff. More money. More time as a family. Less stress and more peace. The reason behind it all? Starving children. Homeless people. An earth that is disappearing. Landfills that are taking over. Sick and tired of living a life of consumption while the vast majority of people around the world, even in our own country, have nothing, eat nothing, and die with nothing.

Before talking numbers, let me point out this book was published in 2012 so the following numbers have changed and I’m 100% sure they have not changed in a positive direction. It is only getting worse.

Each month’s area tugs at my heart, but the two that leave it breathless are ‘Waste’ and ‘Spending’.

We are a wasteful nation. I am a wasteful person. I’ve been purging our house slowly but surely the past few months (imagine trying to sort through the closets while trying to keep track of two little people who are also cleaning out everything else. and by cleaning, I mean take everything out of and make a mess, then quickly move on to the next drawer, box, container, cupboard, etc.). I normally feel very victorious doing this. We are simplifying our lives people! We have too much stuff and other people could use it. So I take it to the thrift store that’s closest to me and my burden is lightened.

Except.

Except my newly cleaned out closets don’t really stay cleaned out for long. Life continues and we just replace all that stuff we no longer used with more stuff. Stuff that we wanted. Stuff that we would use, at least for now. And eventually I’ll get to the point of purging the house again. And then we’ll replace it all. Perhaps….perhaps the problem isn’t that our house is too small or that we have too much stuff…perhaps the problem is that we’re continuing to buy more and more stuff in the first place. We are a society that says “if you want it, buy it” and “if it breaks, throw it out and buy a new one”. Heck, just about every week I’m guilty of buying too much produce and throwing some out because it goes bad before I can chop it up and eat it (not to mention those plastic bags in the produce section that we’re supposed to use-waste!). No problem, I’ll just go buy more. Kids didn’t like what I made for dinner? Throw it out and make them a grilled cheese. Meanwhile, 25,000 people EVERY SINGLE DAY (again, these numbers are from 4 years ago) are dying from starvation.

Heck, we buy cereal that comes in two packages-a plastic bag and a box to put around it. Throw the bag away and recycle the box. But do we really need two packages? All in the name of advertising (and don’t tell me advertising doesn’t work. it does, we’re all guilty of being lured to something simply because of advertising)? More waste.

More numbers:

Annual U.S. spending on cosmetics: $8 BILLION (yes, with a B)

Basic education for all global children: $6 BILLION

So we could educate the entire world’s children and still have $2 billion left to spend on cosmetics. Kind of makes that 10th color of eye shadow not seem so important, doesn’t it?

burkina-girls-cirAnnual U.S. and European spending on perfume: $12 billion (my heart…it’s losing breath)

Clean water for all global citizens: $9 billion

I. can’t. breath. We could give clean water to the ENTIRE WORLD and still have $3 billion left to spend on perfume. Jesus, please forgive me. I’m actually not a perfume wearer, but I am guilty. I am guilty of being selfish. I put my need for stuff (seriously, we don’t even NEED perfume) above the very LIFE of someone who needs clean water. Jesus says “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31.

How much do I love myself? Well, enough to make sure I have clean water. Heck, we even have enough water that I let my littles play in a sink with water just to make them happy. I love myself enough that I don’t just wear clothes, but I wear clothes that I like, are comfortable, and don’t have stains or holes in them. I love myself enough that I have a bed to sleep in at night (and the occasional nap I sometimes get). I love myself enough that I buy healthy food, lots of produce (again, that I often let go bad because I don’t feel like chopping or peeling) and eat more food than I need. I love myself enough that I drive my own vehicle while my husband has his own. Our children have enough clothes that I don’t have to do their laundry for almost 2 weeks. Our house not only provides a roof over our head, but we have the luxery of running the AC low enough to keep us cool, have TWO living areas, a kitchen that is stocked full, two bedrooms and two bathrooms. We currently have 4 lap tops. That’s right-FOUR! Not only do we have walls around us, but we have decorations on those walls. Not only is the floor covered in toys, but there are more in the other living area, the kids’ bedroom, and up on the shelf out of the way.

I’m losing my breath again.

So what do I do with this book? What do I do after reading it? Do I recycle more, donate more stuff, stop buying so much, make sure we eat all the fruits and veggies I buy (okay, let’s me honest, it’s always the veggies that go bad)? Do I give all our stuff away, sell our house and move into a one room apartment with my entire family? The above verse doesn’t say to stop loving yourself, it simply says “love your neighbor as yourself“. Okay, so what does that mean?

That’s what I’m doing this time around. I’m finding out how to love my neighbor. Maybe instead of just donating some extra stuff to a random thrift store, I find someonespecific or some organization that really needs it. A single mom who works 3 jobs just to afford a small apartment for her and her children, but the apartment is bare; a homeless couple who need a tent that doesn’t leak when it rains. Maybe instead of just giving money to a homeless resource center, I cook a meal and serve the men, women and children who come through there. Maybe instead of trying to entertain my kids with their toys that they are so bored with, we gather some up and bring it to some kids who don’t have any (It’s never too young to teach my little people about Jesus’ command to love our neighbor!). Maybe instead of letting the extra produce go bad, I put together healthy meals and donate them to an organization that provides food for low income families on the weekends, when their kids don’t get fed at school.

As far as spending and waste, do we really need a brand spankin’ new shirt? Could we shop second hand? Do we really need to buy that wall art or nick knack? Couldn’t we find a more noble cause for that money? Do we really have to use plastic bags for all our produce? What about ziplock bags for our kids’ school lunch food? Perhaps we invest in some reusable plastic containers, even if we have to hand wash them each day to fill for the next day?

I can feel my breath coming back. Slowly. I can do something. I can make a change, not just in my life, but in someone else’s. I can be the change that people need.

Because I said so!!

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This morning’s sermon at church was about Authority. Specifically the difference between Power and Authority and Jesus’ Authority (I’ll leave the explanation of Jesus’ Authority to Pastor Don, who taught this morning. You can view it here http://www.fcog.com/sermons/sermons1/)

What he taught on the differences between Power and Authority was astounding to me, specifically as a mom because, well, because I am a mom and it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done and am doing in my life. So I pretty much relate everything to being a mom and hold tightly to the concepts that help me.

Power. It’s intoxicating. Everyone wants Power. To be in charge. To not just be listened to, but obeyed. To have people even a little bit afraid of us. Power often equals money, fame, success, the ability to do what we want when we want, to have people do what we want when we want, not necessarily because THEY want to, but because WE want them to. Power says “obey me or else” and makes people afraid of not obeying.

And yet.

And yet Jesus was none of those things. First of all, he came from nothing and according to the world, he became nothing. He was not rich, nor was he famous. He constantly had people plotting to kill him so I would argue that he wasn’t successful either, nor did he have everybody doing what he wanted. And when he did have people doing what he wanted (laying down their life to follow and glorify God), it was by their own choice, because THEY wanted to, and it didn’t result in fame, money or success. Many of them were killed for following Jesus.

And yet.

And yet they did. Why? Because he was One who had Authority (Matthew 7:28-29). Authority is who a person is. Not what they have. Not the position they are in. Not how loud they talk. Not what they can do to you if you don’t obey them. It is simply who they are. Authority simply says “obey me because I said so” and here’s the kicker, makes people WANT to obey.

Now, on to the parenting aspect.

As a mom, I hold a position of power, at least up to a limit depending on the age of my child. I can “force” them into obedience by making their life miserable (that may simply mean time out for a young child or taking a teenager’s car away) and starting out with young kids, that’s how we often teach them, with physical means of discipline (by physical I don’t just mean spanking, I mean the time outs, taking objects or privileges away, etc.). But the physical act of discipline isn’t always going to work simply because I can’t always be there with the eyes in the back of my head, seeing everything they do.

This is where I pray my position of power (as ‘Mom’) has turned into one of authority. Perhaps my disciplining my children when they disobey now, while they are young, will grow into them choosing to obey my rules not because they don’t want to be grounded or have their car keys taken away, but because they want to. Not because they’re afraid I’ll see them or find out and discipline them. Not because they’re afraid of my power, but because they, dare I say it, respect me as one in authority? They choose to obey my rules simply because…..I said so. Gasp! The reason all of us hated to hear from our parents when we were kids. And yet it’s so true.

Submitting to authority is something we all deal with in all phases of our lives. As kids, as college students, as grown ups in the real world. We submit to our parents, to our teachers, to the government, to our bosses, to our spouses. My job as a parent is to teach them how to function in life, not just at the ages of 2 and 11 months, but as adults. It’s my job to teach them how to respect authority, to submit to it, to obey it. On the flip side, it’s also my job to teach them how to function when THEY are the ones who are in authority. When they are the bosses, the teachers, the parents.

The best way to do this is leading by example. Making sure I’m the type of authority figure that deserves respect, deserves obedience, deserves to have them want to follow in my footsteps. It takes love, it takes humbleness, it takes servanthood. It takes Jesus, the perfect example.

They deserve my best

 

 

Mom failure

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Moms love to brag on themselves. I’m not saying it’s wrong (heck, I sometimes feel like I do so many things wrong that when I finally get it right, I want the world to know), but when that’s ALL a mom does, it makes those of us hearing about it feel like crap, because, let’s face it, this whole “mom” thing is tough. We all mess up, some more than others. Some laugh about it and some cry about it (I’ve done both). Some share their mistakes and failures with others and some hide it like they’re running for office and burying all their dirty little secrets.

(these are the good moments. you know, the ones you share with others)

So, to make all you other moms feel good about yourself, let me share with you my mistakes. My failures. My “oh my gosh, you did what??” dirty, little secrets.

  1. I’ve yelled at my kids, which include a young toddler and baby right now. That’s right, I have yelled (not just raised my voice, but screamed at the top of my lungs) at my baby. I would love to say this is was a one time occurrence, but it isn’t. I would love to blame it on lack of sleep (which I do have), but I can’t. It is a heart problem. It is a “I need to get on my knees and give it to God and pray for His patience and tender heart to love my kids no matter how tired I am or how much they cry” problem.
  2. I’m not a baby person…and I’ve had two. When I pictured myself all grown up and with a family, I always pictured kids. Lots of kids, but toddler age. If I could give birth to toddlers (and have pleasant pregnancies, but that’s a different subject), I’d have a whole gaggle of them. But I can’t, and this baby age lasts for far too long, so after two, I’m done. They are miracles and I delight in watching them grow up, but that’s just it, I want them to grow up. On the other hand, I want to throw myself on the ground and moan and wail when I think about my toddler growing up. In spite of her fun two year old tantrums she likes to throw every, oh, 5 minutes, she is the perfect age. I want her to stay just like this.
  3. I once bribed my toddler to eat her lunch with a cookie. For every bite of lunch she ate (I believe it was some rice concoction) she got a bite of an M&M cookie. Needless to say, she ate all of her lunch. It only took one and a half cookies. Side note-my mother-in-law once tried feeding my daughter lunch and was not have success. She asked me for ways to get her to eat her lunch. I told her bribe her with a  cookie. She looked at me like I had lost it. After an awkward pause she asked if I had any healthier ways to get my daughter to eat her lunch. Ummmm, starve her until she eats??
  4. When Georgia was a baby, she wore an outfit that had poop on it to church. I didn’t have the energy to change her.
  5. I’ve let my son cry in his crib for an hour. He eventually fell back asleep, not sure exactly how long it took because I had put in an ear plug and went back to sleep myself. I won’t tell you that in my defense it was simply cries of protest, not screaming bloody murder. Oh wait, I guess I did just tell you that.
  6. I’ve let my son sit in a dirty diaper for an hour, knowing full well he had pooped. Part of me kept forgetting to change it and part of me just kept putting it off. Finally my husband stepped in and changed it. Thank goodness for husbands.
  7. Some moms patiently try to reason with their toddler in a friendly voice about how it’s time to leave the gym (or store, friend’s house, etc.). I just pick her up and carry her under my arm, horizontal to the ground kicking and screaming. All though, as a mom brag-I did this while also wearing my son in a carrier on me. This is why I go to the gym, so that I’m strong enough to carry 2 kids at once even if one is flailing around like a flag on a windy day.
  8. I throw my toddler’s art projects away (gasp!!!). I’m proud of them for, oh, 2 days, then they’re just in the way. So, I keep them on the fridge for a bit, then in to the recycling bin they go. Goodbye cherishable keepsakes.
  9. I had a really long span of not reading to my kids. At all. I get the whole “read to your kids 20 minutes a day” and I do firmly believe it is super important. But…..I didn’t for a long time. I think it was about the time my second child came into the picture. Now that my toddler is old enough where she will actually sit and listen to me read, engage with me and even start to “read” herself, I enjoy our reading times together (though it rarely gets to 20 minutes a day. some days, we’re lucky to get one book in). Reading to my 9 month old son on the other hand…..well, let’s just say I have room for improvement. As in maybe I should start doing that.
  10. My husband accidently lifted our daughter up into a ceiling fan that was on (when she was a baby no less) and I had the hardest time not laughing out loud, hysterically. I would also like to mention he did too. And she was not hurt.
  11. Some moms shield their young kids from death. I use road kill as an example of why it’s not a good idea to play in the road. It seems to be making an impact on her! Whether or not it is a good impact remains to be determined.
  12. I have let my daughter sleep in her vomit so I didn’t have to get out of bed. The first time it happened, I heard her cough and whimper in the middle of the night. Just enough to be concerned over, but since she quieted down quickly, I didn’t get up. In the morning, I realized she had thrown up. Second time it happened (the next night I think), she did the same thing-cough and whimper-I didn’t get up again. I assumed she had thrown up, but I didn’t go to her. Wow, that sounds really bad just reading that to myself. But, I’m in love with sleep and if she was upset over it, she would have started to cry. She didn’t, so in bed I stayed. She slept the rest of the night….as did I.
  13. Sometimes, I wish I didn’t have to be a mom. Sometimes, I wish I could put my kids in daycare and go to work. Have a life outside of being a mom. Horrible, right? I should be cherishing every moment with these two bundles of joy. Except they’re not always bundles of joy and when my day starts with one kid crying and ends with the other one having her “it’s time for bed” tantrum (along with waking 2-3 times a night to the baby crying), these moments aren’t always joyful. Is it worth it? Deep down, yes I know it is. I am blessed to be able to stay home and be the one to raise our kids. Better me than someone else. But sometimes…..sometimes I’m just over it.

There’s a lot more to this list, but my brain seems to want to block them all out right now. My kids do too, I’m sure. Also, my kids are only 9 months and 2.5 years. They have a lot more years left in my house and I have a lot more failures and mistakes to make. So, chin up, you’re not the only one who messes up. When you’re feeling down about yourself, just come read this post again. Surely you can’t be THIS bad, right?

The same, and yet so different (William’s birth story)

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was 3:30 in the morning and I had just peed myself. Okay, not really, but that was my first thought and really the only one that made even remote sense to me. After all, I was just over 8 months pregnant and going to the bathroom a couple dozen times a day was the norm. So when I awoke at that sunshiny time of 3:30 am and got up to go to the bathroom even though I actually didn’t really feel like I had to go (after all, I was just awake an hour earlier and had emptied my bladder then) and then proceeded to feel and hear something dripping down my leg onto the floor, it only made sense that I had peed myself. I thought, “oh great, not only do I have to pee every 10 minutes, but now I can’t even control my bladder”. It never occurred to me that my water had just broken….and that I would be giving birth to my second child, my son, later that day….3 weeks and 1 day before his due date.

Fast forward to 10:00 am. Georgia and I waltzed into my 37 (minus a day) week check up and told the doctor what had happened. By this time I had read a bit online and figured out that no, I did not in fact pee my pants that morning but that my water had broken. However, since I was induced and had my water broken for me by my doctor in my first birthing experience, I didn’t really know what it felt like or what it meant. So naïve little me thought my doctor could just make things stop and I could finish my last 3 weeks of pregnancy in peace. Maybe have to go on bed rest, but no problem, right? Well my doctor listened to my story, checked me out and then looked at me and basically said, run, don’t walk to the hospital, you are in labor.

Our county hospital is right across the street from my doctor so pretty easy to get here. Except I had my toddler with me. Except I had just started to pack my hospital bag that morning (since I couldn’t sleep after “peeing myself” and thus continuing to pee myself a little bit every hour or so) and it was still at home. Except the hospital was closed. Wait, I’m sorry, what did the doctor just say? The hospital was closed? Yep, shut down due to air conditioning problems, so I would need to go to the next closest hospital, 30 minutes away. Awesome, perfect timing.

So fast forward again to 12:30pm after I had gone home (don’t tell my doctor I didn’t go straight to the hospital) and finished throwing random things in my bag, found a sweet, sweet, precious, I owe you one, dear friend to watch Georgia, called to tell my husband that my peeing myself actually meant I was in labor RIGHT NOW, let the dog out in the back yard one last time, and drove 30 minutes to the hospital praying my labor didn’t actually pick up (I still didn’t believe that I was in labor) and I had to give birth by myself on the side of a road. I couldn’t even find a parking spot when I got there and was too stubborn to take advantage of the valet service, so there I was carrying my bag and purse, waddling across a couple parking lots into the hospital, telling them I was in labor. Adventure in the making.

Side note: I then had to wait over 30 minutes in the Birthing Center waiting room while they got a room ready for me. Apparently I was not the only pregnant woman who had to be diverted from my county hospital to this one. They were booked solid.

Husband arrived, contractions picked up slightly, but not to the point where I thought anything was really happening, and suddenly it had been 12 hours since my water had broken and my labor was not progressing. I was bored out of my mind, frustrated as heck, and yet still slightly hopeful that I was going to give birth on my own, no induction and no epidural like last time. And then another 1 1/2 hours went by with no changes and I was over it. So over it. It was time. Doc, give me the Pitocin, get my labor going. Crank up the pain and let me curse the day my husband and I decided to stop practicing birth control. Just get this baby out of me, I’m ready to be done with it all. So there I was, right smack dab back in the same place I was during birth #1-receiving the dreaded Pitocin.

Lets just say it definitely got my contractions going. It brought the pain and my body responded by shaking uncontrollably. Deja vu-just like birth #1. Only this time, I was mentally prepared. During birth #1 I felt like a failure because I got induced against my deepest desires (but to the advice of my doctor and husband) and then chose to get an epidural after fighting the pain as long as I could. Lo and behold, the epidural actually wore off way before it was supposed to and I remember thinking the whole time “I got a freakin’ epidural for a reason and it’s not even working. What is wrong with this picture?” The room was black and spinning, I couldn’t breathe, and then I ended up tearing really bad, losing half of my blood, and passing out because my blood pressure plummeted. My husband says he remembers thinking that he had gained a daughter, but lost his wife all in a span of an hour.

Anyway, this time, during birth #2, I actively chose to be induced. Not my Plan A, but it was a plan I chose, and so I was okay with it. I also decided that I was going try to hold out and not get an epidural, but if I did, so be it. And so it was. As I was sitting on the edge of the bed, not able to get up and move around because of all the darn wires hooked to me, I remembered how looooooooong I had stayed in labor after starting the Pitocin during Birth #1 and the thought of being in that much pain hour after hour after unending hour once again didn’t exactly make me feel all warm and fuzzy all over. So, we called in the good stuff. I knew it increased my risk of needing a C-section, could affect how long it took for my baby to start breastfeeding, and a list of other complications, but I wanted it. Good Lord, I wanted it!

And so Birth #2 was the same as Birth #1 in that I was induced with Pitocin and got an epidural, and yet the resulting birth was different, so very different. For one, I was actually able to sleep after my epidural and considering at that point I had been awake and technically in labor for over 15 hours, coming off of 8 months of very little sleep, I was in love with the drugs for that fact alone. Two, after getting induced, I gave birth a mere 5 hours later (again, some of which I was able to sleep through) where as my first encounter with induction kept me in labor for another 12 hours before giving birth. One reason I didn’t actually give birth even sooner was that William’s cord was wrapped around his shoulder and neck, preventing him from dropping down on his own. Three, I didn’t tear. At all. Recovery post birth has been completely different thanks to not tearing. Case in point-I was actually riding my bike 1 week after giving birth the second time. One week post birth #1, I still couldn’t even sit on my donut without immense pain and discomfort.

It’s now been 2 weeks since William was born and while we did have to go back into the hospital 2 days after being discharged after birth because he had jaundice, we’ve now been home for a week and he is good to go. His big sister is in love with him and even the dog is coming around slowly but surely (actually, she doesn’t seem to care one iota that there’s another baby in the house).

 

 

Semi Trucks and Blessings

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In today’s quiet morning hours….I am blessed. I woke up today feeling like I’d been run over by a semi truck, sore all over. I mean, this is why people used to get married much younger, so when they would be having kids, their bodies could actually handle it. I realize 33 isn’t old in the realm of having babies, but goodness, today the past 8 1/2 months (especially the past few days) have hit me and I feel OLD.

But I got up anyway, I looked over and saw my new baby fast asleep in his swing. I walked (super quietly) out of the room into the rest of the house without hearing a peep from my toddler. And in the stillness (and the pain), I felt so blessed. One, because both kids are actually sleeping at the same time and a very small sliver of a thought came into my head (“I can do this whole multiple kid thing”…how niave does that sound, hahaha, check back with me in a couple more hours) and two, I have kids, plural, more than one, a family of 4 (and then there are those families that have 4 kids (or more) alone, not counting the parents. That makes my mind reel in fascination and horror at the same time. But I digress.
May this feeling of blessings never go away. May I look around the house and see not just a mess, but a mess made by people I love (just how do people so small make such a big mess?) an am blessed to call MINE. May I always raise my hand to Jesus in gratefulness….though I’m sure there will be many times I’m also reaching out in desperation.

No such thing as a quickie

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I just had to opportunity to get out of the house, by myself. Husband was home resting, daughter was home sleeping, and while I was exhausted and freedom wanting nothing more to do than sleep, I grabbed my purse and ran. All I did was drive to Office Depot to ship out a box, but as I drove away from our house I thought to myself, “freedom!!!!!!!!!!!!”. Let me tell you, it was glorious. Absolutely, positively, tremendously, glorious. The trip itself took less than 15 minutes, but it was exhilarating, freeing and gave me a little pep in my ‘I haven’t gotten a good night’s rest in over 7 months’ step.

While I was in Office Depot, I saw a woman enter with a little girl (could have been her mom, maybe grandma), about 6 years old. I didn’t pay them much attention and went back to browsing the tablets and lap top computers, comparing prices and reading descriptions, having no idea what any of it meant, but trying to draw out my little trip as long as I could. Waiting for a receipt to print out has never been so wonderful.

On the way out to my car (as all good things must come to an end), I saw the woman and girl again. They were walking out to their car and the girl twirlingstopped at a sign post to take a few twirls around and around and around. The woman stopped with her, a little smile on her face and commented on how she (the girl) has so much fun going out on errands with her. And yet……and yet there was also another look on the woman’s face. A look of tiredness. A look of haggardness (are those two real words? I don’t know). I knew that look. I knew it because I have felt that way many times. Many, many, many times.

Going out to run even one errand is no longer a simple, quick trip. No fast in and out and your done. With kids, there are items to make sure you pack before you leave the house, car seat straps to buckle and unbuckle, water and snacks to dole out to keep them quiet, hands to hold in parking lots, instructions to give in stores as they try to grab items off the shelf, bodies to keep an eye on so they don’t run off, and at the very least, extra time to stop and twirl around sign posts.

Kids are good at reminding us to stop and smell the roses, find the joy in life, and I love my girl for that. But it is tiring. To that woman with the little girl at Office Depot, bless you for humoring your girl and allowing her to find the fun in running a simple errand to Office Depot. May I remember to do the same with mine. In the meantime, I’m heading back to my car, alone. No car seat buckles to buckle, no blankies and drinks to dole out, no silly kids songs to play on the CD player. I am FREEEEEE!IMG_3214She may tire me out, but she also melts my heart

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