Archives for November 2014

Three Thought Thursday


I keep trying to write three posts and I think the ideas are conjoined .  Because this blogging thing is like giving birth.  In five years, this post won’t vomit on the couch, but otherwise….  I digress.

In no particular order, I’ve been thinking this:

The poetry is there.  It’s there in the sh*t days.  It’s there in the drudgery.  It’s there in the “WHEN YOU HAVE A NOSEBLEED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, GET ME!!! DON’T LEAVE THE BATHROOM LOOKING LIKE SOMEONE WAS KILLED IN THERE!!!”

It’s there when you are fried from stress and worrying about your kids.  Roaming the house with your insomnia for companionship, you look out the window at your ugly little neighborhood robed in peace and, at long last, quiet.

When you fight back.

When you surrender.

When your love looks like hate.

And you love something you should hate.

Life is simply lyric.

Whether we think so or not.

The next thing is this:

There is a trend in our area to make your homeschoolers take a 5th year of high school if the parent and the Independent Study Program administrator agree it would be a good idea.  To me this is like flunking your senior year.  A few months ago, a couple of moms tried to get me to hold my daughters back.

NO FREAKING WAY.  They will turn 18 a week after graduation which makes them among the youngest of their class, but it isn’t as if they are a whole year ahead.  Their credits will be completed.  I couldn’t, in my right mind, come up with an excuse to make them stay longer.

THEY’VE GOT TO GET OUT.

Sure.  I want them to stay.  I’m a mom and I’m supposed to feel nostalgic and resistant at the same time.  But that isn’t a sign something is wrong.  It is a sign something is very, very right.  They are designed, like the birds and fish and bears and stuff, to mature.  Grow-up.  Launch out on their own.

They need to find work they love. They need to fall in love and get married  and finish the last of that box of wine during a power outage and 9 months later give me a grandbaby.  I’ve earned her.

And last:

Chatting with the therapist, I bemoaned that I was opposite of someone who is the “my kids speak four languages, play the musical instruments of dead cultures, and the governor calls them for advice” homeschool mom.  She pointed out that could be a way of keeping busy so you don’t have to think about relationships.    It could be true, because girls our age were taught to build a resume (Look out!!! French Club President, coming through!!!), so colleges and our peers could rank us.

Boom.

It healed my lonely soul.  I’m still growing in who I always have been, which really never was that.  I can stop measuring myself by the unit used to measure another kind of creation.  I can stop comparing apples with asparagus.

God has given me the desires of my heart.

For these three things, I am deeply grateful.

 

 

 

And the Trees of the ‘Hood Shall Clap Their Hands

This is the tree…

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This photo doesn’t capture the fullness of its beauty.

Throughout the year, I forget to be grateful for my home.  Because I’m wretched, that way.  I could be more specific, but I don’t need to rehearse my ingratitude.

So throughout the year, the tree is insulted by the neighbors’ dogs.

Then comes Autumn.

The tree rejoices profoundly.  In reverence and honor and worship, it puts on the most radiant complex colors.   I can’t even describe it and it seems my camera is a bit stumped, as well.

My tree makes the little troubles with the house worth it.  We all agree.

Gratitude is a color.

 

 

 

“You will indeed go out with joy and be peacefully guided; the mountains and the hills will break into singing before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”

It’s Not the Shoes

They say you never miss things until they’re gone.

My professors said,”You’ve got to do something about this anxiety.”  And, “Let something go.”

I chose to let the laundry go.

Friday morning, I had no clean underwear.

On Tuesdays, the girls are supposed to do laundry.  They did.  Theirs.  They left it in all stages of the process.  I backtracked through the mashed in the basket to wrinkle., the left in the dryer to wrinkle, and the mildewing in the washer.  I found not more than a half dozen items belonging to other family members in three loads of laundry.  The mildewing washer load had a single pair of my underwear but I didn’t have time to re-wash and dry them.

There are two options, as it was 8:03 and I had to be out the door by 8:10:

1) Re-wear the dirty ones.

2) Go “Commando”.

I will not burden your imagination with my decision.  Suffice to say, I find these alternatives difficult to rank in order of relative psychological comfort.

Today, I had the opportunity to attack the laundry problem, and was distressed to find:

–Mickey might have gone to work naked on Friday.  Which might be pushing “Casual Friday” beyond reasonable limits on a regular week, but this week he was supposed to have a meeting with the Bishop of the local diocese.  Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy.

–Marcus took a different approach.  Though I hadn’t done any laundry since last week, there were only three pair of his underwear in the laundry.  I decline to speculate on all that this implies.  I was however able to do an entire load of laundry consisting almost entirely of socks and underwear.

ACCIDENTAL THOUGHTS ON THE POWER OF THE RIGHT PAIR OF DRAWERS:

1) Have you ever searched for your favorite underwear on an important day?  This can either mean a day when you expect great things, like your birthday; or it can refer to anticipated stress, like a big exam.  Of course, you have.  The right underwear make a difference.

2) Do you have special underwear for different purposes? Of course, you do.  The right underwear make a difference.  For example:  When you exercise, there are some underwear that make you feel really sad.   Also, don’t even try to wear those five year-old Hanes Her Way under that prom dress.  And I assume you understand that you aren’t under any circumstances to wear the prom underwear to a meeting with the Bishop.  Of course, you do.  There is a right place and a right time.

3) There are some people who do not wear underwear.  This is a lifestyle choice and in no way my business to judge.  If this describes you, do you know that you aren’t to tell me about it?  Of course, you do.  Again, no judging, but I think “no underwear” people are missing out.

Awhile back, the time came to have a little more in-depth talk with the girls about romance and relationships.  It was sort of strenuous.  Like herding cats.  For those of you young parents who think “the talk” happens once, I wish you all the best.  That has not been my experience. When we were done, we went shopping for cute underwear.  Sound weird?  Of course, it does.  My point to them, then (and I need to remember it myself) was that you feel special for yourself.  Respect yourself and treat yourself well.

When I was about 15, I started shopping for high end underwear.  Mom made no comment. I was in 9th grade; P.E. and I had broken up years before.  It was the eighties, and we all dressed like bankers for high school. I wasn’t buying them to show anyone.  They worked just as well as the ugly  ones. I wasn’t buying them to communicate an identity– grandmother, skank, athlete.  I was buying them to celebrate- “This is not for boys, of which I am not one.  Oh, and by the way, I feel pretty powerful.”

The right underwear is a powerful thing.  Clark Kent knows.

It’s not the shoes.

 

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Emergency Preparedness: An Accidental Guide

God, in His infinite grace hasn’t meant my family to weather a power outage of longer than 1.5 hours duration.  In His mercy, he has understood us in our weakness.  Because He has promised not to send a temptation beyond what we can bear.  An hour and a half seems to be all He’s willing to trust me with.  And that’s fine with me.  I have nothing to prove in this regard.  On the occasions of the extremely short term outages we have experienced, I have found the following to be true:

1) The husband’s first task is to report directly to the refrigerator and open it in search of a snack.  “We can’t go hungry the whole time the power’s out.” (It has been three minutes.  It might be 6 hours.  Either way, YES WE CAN.)

2) The husband/dad’s covering the task of ensuring we lose a refrigerator full of food, frees the girls to run down the battery on any and all mobile devices and electronics.  “There’s nothing else to do.  We can’t watch Netflix.”  Lest you worry that we saddle our kids with all the responsibility.  Dad joins them as soon as he finishes his snack, bleeding the last pulse out of that iPhone battery.

3) When all batteries are run down enough that no charge is lasting to sunrise, that’s the time to change for bed.  It’s important, especially to the girls, to dress attractively.  Eyelet camis and co-ordinating shorts remind us that summer is never too far away, and help us stay in touch with the falling interior temperatures.

4) Meanwhile, someone should find all the candles and light each and every one.  Because we can’t watch TV, but we can read.  Like Abraham Lincoln before us, we are going to destroy our vision and use up all the candles. When bedtime comes we’ll navigate the house in total darkness.  Tripping over the shoes and backpacks will be fun.  Thank God we left them out.  Everywhere.  All the time.

5) It’s important to notify the utility services company.  In our home, this task is delegated to Dad/Hubby. “But I hardly have any charge.” Then in 45 minutes, protocol dictates that he second guess himself and do it again.  Just in case the recorded confirmation that he got the first time was in error.  Then go find the wife/mom and reassure her that they got it the second time.  Even though they got it the first time.

6)  You’ll want to gather everyone around and talk at length about all the things you can’t do.  No TV, computer, coffee, popcorn, showers, or flat ironing hair.  Of course, conversation should also include speculation as to the extent of the outages in terms of both geographic area and number of households affected.  To these imaginary numbers, should be included conjecture as to the cause of the outage.  Downed power lines, squirrel in the transformer, ice, storms, a stoned man stealing an ambulance and running it into the pole on which the transformer is mounted.  The possibilities are endless. Take advantage of this opportunity to fixate on the misery.

7)  It doesn’t require hot water to take a night time pain reliever.  (Contrary to what my kids might say.  Water in this primitive state is still potable.  The absence of ice will not create a health hazard. Neither will the lack of exposure to a tea bag.) Depending on how much is left in the bottle, you might see to it that your pain is relieved by administering the recommended dosage to your spouse and covering them with enough blankets to keep them warm and blissfully unconscious until power is restored.  If there is not enough for both of you and a decision has to be made, take it yourself.  He is on duty managing both the crisis and the emotions surrounding the technological deprivation.  Your children will sleep on their own with nothing to do.  Until the interior temps drop below 72F degrees.  Then you are gonna need to call in an expert.

 

I am participating in Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop and

 

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Table Manners and the Grace of God

Yesterday, I made my confession where table manners is concerned.  It’s shocking.

You raise them up.  Maybe, say, you homeschooled.  All along you thought it was about the way school is done in a world where there are no wrong answers (I wouldn’t let my kid become an astronaut under the circumstances).  Eventually, they get big and recalcitrant and you wonder.

Right now.

I’m just about back in square.  I was a little sideways for awhile.

The table manners.  They don’t play three musical instruments.  They don’t speak three languages.

They can dance.  One can rap.

I wanted a picture perfect.  I got a tear-stained, snot-smeared, spit-fragranced struggle.  And a rapper.  They are probably geniuses, but will openly admit they knew it was two against one.  Their test scores will get them into community college (which is freaking fine with me because it’s free.  Free.).  We get sideways looks because their future plans aren’t pre-med, pre-law, pre-vet, pre-professional.  They aren’t looking at schools that can beat the local university in football.  Never mind the Ivy League or the full ride scholarships in piano, voice, or engineering.

Two weeks ago, their friend told them their mother needed to get with it.

Because I’m trying to get into a better school?  Nope.

I’m about to break it down in terms even a kid who isn’t majoring in bio-medical engineering can understand.

Get in.

Sit down.

Shut up.

Hold on.

I’m gonna tell you this, and I don’t want any arguments.  Well, I probably wouldn’t know how to move forward without arguments.  So.  Whatever.

I’m pretty sure one or more of my daughters was diagnosable with one or more of: ADHD, ODD, or RAD for most of their childhoods.  These people are adopted.  All of those are more prevalent in adopted kids; as are the 7 Core Issues – loss, rejection, grief, identity, guilt/shame, intimacy & relationships, and control/gains.

HELLO.

WE ARE STILL FREAKING ALIVE.

They are probably not diagnosable today.

I’m not claiming credit for anything.  I’m probably more like that person in the movies who plants their feet and ducks their head and lets the firestorm hit them full force.

It has been that ugly.

A year ago, I was rejoicing in the tremendous treasure that our lives are.  We are alive.  Healthy.  Enthusiastic.  Their teachers llurrrve them.  We enjoy each other.  We laugh, pray, shop, and gossip together.  We fight over clothes, chores, and school work.  I felt the full affirmation of God that we are where we are and it was just okay to be us.  On that day in May when Emma came home and told me someone had asked why she didn’t aim higher, I was shattered.  I let it drain away my joy.  Every place I look, there is a kid whose homeschooling family has lifted him or her up to super achievements.  And here we are, just in the middle. There is no way to describe this to anyone that’s going to make much sense.  I’ve experienced God’ pleasure.  Why worry about the opinions of a bunch of people?  Is that anyone’s worry but mine?

They will graduate under the sideways looks of all those close enough to us to wonder why we didn’t aim higher.

Higher than hoping to have a whole healthy family.

And not to see their food when they chew.

By the grace of God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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