Gotcha What?

At what age do we become aware that we belong to someone? How old is an orphan when s/he learns that most children belong to people who claim them, provide for them, delight in them, plan for their futures, are proud of them — but they don’t have that. They live on a compound with other orphans and watch some go to families, but some don’t.  Why?

Imagine the courage to wait and watch and become a big kid. Imagine praying for a forever family for more than half your life.  Imagine watching other children meet their families. Some of those kids kind and courageous and you might think, “Yeah, s/he is awesome. I wish I were cool like them, so I could be loved .” Some of those kids you’re probably glad to see the back of, but you might wonder why that little meanie gets a family, and not you, and you might wonder, “If s/he gets love and a family, and I can’t, what must be wrong with me?” Imagine carers in your orphanage, for whom this might be just a job, who might make careless comments about families from other countries, orphans, and the value of belonging.  What if they tell you foreigners are monsters and will eat you?

What if there sometimes isn’t enough food? What if the food is not always fresh, but sometimes rotten? What if you aren’t always kept clean? What if you cannot leave your bed at night to use the restroom? What if other kids’ insomnia is your problem? What if, in waiting for workers to care for ‘all ’em kids‘, the individual goes days and days between one-on-one, face-to-face, sustained eye contact with an adult who says their name and asks about their day?

Congenital Hepatitis B, complete bi-lateral cleft lip and palate, orphaned at 14 months, into foster care at 4,  At 5, he met another in a procession of short term visitors to the family educational center that employed his foster parent.  The visitor had no plans to expand a family, no bent towards intercountry adoption, and less funds than she knew, when she saw his face.

Moved to America at 6, has been in 3 churches, had 5 surgeries, and just wants a golden retriever (I’m willing to negotiate for a basset hound mix, after the dogs we have, have crossed the rainbow bridge).

This man is brave. Real brave. Not “you-spoke-in-front-of-a-group brave”. “Pack your bags, believe a bunch of adults (who, let’s face it, up to that point, hadn’t done a lot to make themselves credible), take on a new continent, nation, culture, climate, language, cuisine (hated beans when he came here)” kind of brave.

He had no idea.

Yet.

He loves about everyone.  He serves quickly and wordlessly.  He is generous with the smile, he’s endured so much to own.  He cares about his family in a real way.  He rarely complains.  He works diligently on school work. He, plain out, reveres his sisters and their men.  His faith and trust in Christ, lived out daily, challenges me.

At 15, he’s not perfect.  His heart hopes for things not-yet-seen (golden retrievers and such).

Today is Marc’s Gotcha Day. It’s the day I met him  at the Civil Affairs office in Xi’An, Shaanxi, China, and took him into my care and our family. Nine years into knowing his big, giant heart, we are the lucky ones, we are the blessed.

We had no idea.

Inconvenient and Embarrassing AF

~My husband will take issue with the use of the term AF in the title of this post.~

It’s World Suicide Prevention Day. Several friends have posted devotional thoughts or statistics to raise awareness. I thought I would take another tack.

This past Sunday, a pastor and a few friends prayed for me. In the last couple of years, we’ve barely had a chance to process one change, than another came. Like a proper SAHM/homemaker, I’m the shock-absorber.  I’ve asked for help.  I’ve called the church, talked to family, gone to therapy and spoken with friends.

Finally, like an electrical cord that gets hot when too much current blazes through it, in May, I had to step away and spend some time alone for a few days. You unplug for a minute, but not nearly long enough. Then, when it’s mostly cooled down, you plug right back in under the same load as before.

In June, I asked to check into the hospital. I was unable to do my job and unable to communicate (how serious a person must be to ask this). It didn’t happen and was swept away, in the midst of birthdays, holidays, life transitions, physical illness, and injuries. July passed in a blur.

In, early August, I was back in that place again. I spent three days at a friend’s house. I rested and prayed and sought out the people who would hold me accountable, and they did. As I poured out my heart, each of three trusted friends had similar insights. Not the least of which, was my neglect of my physical health. Following Thyroid cancer last year, my tiny synthroid tablet was the only daily acknowledgement that I occupied a physical vessel, at all.

I began planning better meals and taking my vitamins. In a few days, my energy and outlook did a 180, but if I had to speak to my burned out emotional state, tears and snot poured. I was focused on the present moment, but ignoring the stress monster that brought me to the point of strange thoughts– where certain situations caused me to have mental pictures of dangerous things. (Just pictures. I immediately reported these visualizations to my husband and they dissipated.)

If we’ve just met, you should know, three years ago, I dropped out of a Graduate program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.  I know a little about the lay of the land. There are no perfect plans. Every plan is fraught with statistical probability that you survive, disabled, to be cared for by those you want to leave; an actual daily challenge, rather than the one I think I am now.

I feel better than I have since months/years before they found the mass on my Thyroid. But this prayer thing, with the church on Sunday, made me feel like Charisse in the movie, Kingdom Come. When she had to keep on going in her stress, she behaved badly. Another family member said, “Don’t pay her any mind, she just likes attention.”

No one said that, but it was inconvenient. I was aware of afternoon activities that I was delaying. It’s reeeeeeally embarrassing to ask for years and have

ev. er. y. one.,

act like you didn’t say anything or you’re being selfish, immature. To ask to unplug. To ask someone else to plug in. I was in a place where I was fantasizing about strange, inappropriate, non-suicidal things, just so someone would look in my direction, and possibly say, “Are you OK?” It feels like, a classic illustration of how difficult it is to make changes because those whose situations rely on your pattern might resist. Did I stigmatize myself, because I had to tell the truth? Absolutely. There are a lot of people who can’t deal with someone being transparent and vulnerable and not a freaking superhero.

It’s common to hear when someone commits suicide, “They never said anything. I didn’t know.” They might not have said it to you, but they did. They are saying it now. Listen. Look for the trail of crumbs. Don’t make it incumbent upon them to behave in an undignified way. To be deliberately bizarre. They don’t just, “like attention.”

On the worst days when despair dogged my steps. I could still see the kindness of God and the bounty of my blessings. I just couldn’t feel like I was allowed a place at the table to share in the feast with my beautiful cloud of witnesses. For a time, I lost my grip on hope to live through the day I was on. But Hope didn’t lose His grip on me.

If you are burning out. If you are falling fast. If you are cruising the internet today to add fuel to the burning pain, stop. Call your safest person, even if it’s that nice gal at the bank (I’m looking at you, Amanda).  Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255.  Call me. You have a place at the table.  Don’t believe the lie that no one knows how it feels.  It feels embarrassing and inconvenient.  Yes, and crazy.  But it’s OK.  Hope is trying to get to you.

Friday Slay

Slay.

To kill in a violent fashion.

Or.

To greatly impress or amuse someone.

Like when a knight kills a dragon.

Something’s been bothering me.

We give ourselves a lot of credit, these days. We say you’ve slain, when you’ve showered, applied make-up, your clothes fit well, and you show up.

Nope.

Good hygiene, isn’t a dragon.

Showing up on time, prepared for the task at hand, is not a dragon.

Putting in a full day’s work? Not a dragon.

Doing your best whether your peers do, or not.   Not. A. Dragon.

Dragons breathe fire and destroy everything in their mythical paths.

So…

…destruction along mythical lines, looks a little more complex.

But let’s say this:

Dragons are not a thing that can be handled without swords and armor.

You are not safe from a Dragon. Even if it is asleep.

Many, if not most, are invisible.

Dragons are, for most people, something to hide from.

But not for you, Beloved.

 

You are better than good eyebrows.  You are faithful.

You are more than your resume.  You are fact.

You are stronger than your story.  You are fireproof*.

The myth is that it renders you powerless.

The myth is that it defines you.

The myth is that you have to live with the dragon, and train it, hang out with it, invite it to every party in your honor, and wear it on your t-shirt everyday.

 

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
    we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:35-39 (ESV)

 

Slay.

 

 

*The world and all its passionate desires will one day disappear. But the man who is following God’s will is part of the permanent and cannot die. I John 2:17(Phillips)

 

Protected: Romance for Beginners, Part Two: Understanding the Opposite Sex

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Refugee Status

Warning: Compulsive Grammarians will be offended by the following:

Let’s just get this straight.  Politically, I am too lazy to be properly informed and don’t offer opinions, as I’m afraid of being “fullonfacebookignorant”. I don’t have time to read the news comprehensively, so I’m afraid of getting ahold of the wrong end of the stick.  My default state is pretending I don’t have my head in the sand.

Last November, I chose to write-in my vote.  Not throwing it away, but hoping that there were enough of us to bring both candidates down to percentages that didn’t represent a majority, so that neither could become president. (Yes.  That is a real thing.)  Mickey and I were not enough.

America elected a president who invited the Statue of Liberty to take a seat.

The Statue of Liberty*

The Statue of Liberty*

Millions of refugees had roamed the earth while we had plenty of space and a lame duck president.  When something could, finally, get done, it was a knee-jerk, face-slap.  Hundreds or  possibly even thousands with legitimate sponsorship and professional credentials, were locked out.  Families were separated; their loved ones left without legal status in any countries.

God brought me face to face with my own #refugeestatus

The Bible calls me a sojourner.  A refugee.

I walked away from my home, my status, my community, my history, my heritage. Choosing life over clinging to these things (Phil 3).  Choosing to roam, knowing I’m loved somewhere and will be reunited with my brothers and sisters, someday; rather than, dying in my own kingdom.

I don’t know what a day may bring.  I have to sleep with my shoes on.  Periodically, I have contact with far-flung brothers and sisters.  Joy and pain, and broken bread.

I’m on my way home.  I’ll fling my bag on the entry floor.  Eat my fill and change my robe.  And crawl up in Daddy’s lap.  To rest.

In the meantime, it’s not about me.  It’s about the heart of the God who sees.  He saw Hagar and Ishmael laying their heads on stones for pillows.  And he sees her grandchildren. (Genesis 16:9-15; 21:8-21).  It’s about a cup of cool water for the least of these (Matt 25:35-40).

See you back at the house.  (1 Peter 2:9-12)

 

*Inset: Emma Lazarus, whose poem, “The New Colossus” was immortalized at the foot of the Statue**, in which she refers to as ‘The Mother of Exiles’.

**“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Emma Lazarus (November 2, 1883)

 

 

 

Romance for Beginners: Part 1

Warning: This post may contain: Run-on Sentences

Romance.

There’s a lot of confusion.

  • Is it simply sweetness?  As in a romantic comedy film?  Or a dozen flowers on Valentine’s Day?
  • Is it sex?  As in falling into the arms of someone, whose arms you’ve dreamed about.  Subsequently, finding out the arms you’ve fallen into are attached to a mind and a spirit, and all that’s implied by behaving as if you’re only a body…
  • Is it a man thinking and behaving in feminine ways? Like when a man submits to a day of feminine behavior to please his significant other.  ~Gag~  I hope not.  Don’t make your man go for brunch, shopping and pedicures.  [He should be sending you out to do this on your own, not rolling his eyes, while you’re in the fitting room. And sighing.). Complain that this is sexist.  My blog.  My observations. {No, he doesn’t either, ‘love it because you do’.  He loves you, so he tolerates it.}]
  • Is it a man soliciting for his girlfriend to be more masculine?  Like arranging to propose to her on the jumbotron at the MLB game? *
  • Is it looking cute together?   Uh.  Nur.
  • Is it him liking your pic on {social media platform}?  OHDEARJESUSNO!!!  I don’t care how young you are.  Romance is, categorically, NOT, him liking your social media posts.  If it has to happen in front of a group, real or virtual, that is not romance, it is you (or him) seeking attention and courting the culture, not one another.

All of these things can be fun, wholesome, and thrilling.  But.  They aren’t romance.  Google helpfully defines romance as: a quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life.  If (and there is) a God in heaven, you will get all of the above someday, but you will not see true romance until things get “remote from daily life”.  Daily life is work and school and church and eating and cleaning.  Remoteness is…  Distant.  Set apart.  Moments when you are in a roomful of people and a million miles away…

Romance will arrive in its time.  It will surprise you.  It might not be a text saying, “Want me to pick you up on my way to the [Pizza] Hut?”  But it could be.  Though that would be landmark.  to-date, unheard of.  surprising.  It might just be pizza.

[OK, everyone turn your heads, I’m about to get personal.]

Girls,

One of these days, you’ll realize, romance isn’t a cinematographic effect, Valentine’s Day compliance, or defined by a love song.  One of these days, a guy will come along, who sees E’s off-the-charts anxiety for what it is, and looks past it to the wildly profound self-awareness buried under there. For reasons that escape the rest of us, he’ll think that stuff’s cute and sexy.

One of these days, M’s exquisite good taste will intersect with her raging good luck.  Someone will (#FINALLY) realize she won’t take his flirting personally, she just thinks he’s a friendly person.   He’ll tell her plain out, she’s hilarious and makes an impressive exit and he’d like to sit across from her at dinner  and see her chew with her mouth open, because she’s the cutest.

While movies are made from just such romantic notions (and let’s face it, sometimes a lot less plot to work with), they’re only halfway there.   Real romance happens when all that beauty and lavish outward expression has been joined by the mysterious glue of real life.

When he holds your hair while you puke up your real guts.

When you fight over trivial things. Hard.

When you don’t wash your hair and you don’t think he’s funny and you’re being a bitch heifer and he laughs at you and tells you to text when you want to act like an adult.

When you are tenderly unfazed by a glimpse of a well-hidden weakness.

When you accidentally revealed more than you meant to about your heart (#ohcrap).

When he talks about Jesus  and his dreams and plans and you think you’re going to have to take a chair.

 

This.

 

This, dear Daughter, is Bible.  We are the bride of Christ.  He plans the grand gestures, the daily surprises and endures with us through our sin-sickness.  He waits while we clue up.  His heart is squeezed to the bursting point with pride and pleasure in who we are before we know He’s even interested in us. He’s captivated by our joy and our way of doing life.  He laughs at our jokes.  He hums our favorite song.  He loves the look on our faces when He shares His plans with us.

His timeline remains excruciatingly beyond our control.  He’s waiting too.

 

He’s waiting, too.

 

But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.  James 1:4 NKJV

 

 

 

*If you’re planning this, stop. Right now. Call me and I’ll explain the finer points, but this will get you started:  1) If she has any grace, she won’t tell you, “no”, in front of thousands of people, even if she should.  2) You aren’t motivated enough to come up with your own plan, but are using an out-of-the-box plan.  Have a little confidence in yourself.  3) This is not neutral turf.  If you aren’t willing to take the risk of coming off your own territory to build this new “we”, she should say, “no,”  but here she is (see point number 1), so she can’t.  Yes, this all applies even if she is the most rabid baseball fan ever, and a raging narcissist. If she’s at the game with you, that’s SO MUCH FUN, but she needs an proposal she can proudly tell her daughters about, and they’ll look at you like a freaking rockstar and not settle for anything less in their own lives.

~end rant~

 

 

Weak Knees

Look out.

There’s a seismic shift.

There’s a thermal lift.

You’ll stumble or you’ll fly.

Worship while you cry*.

 

Humans prefer something to hold on to.  Maybe because we don’t know what to do with our hands.  Maybe because we’re afraid we’ll fall.  Maybe because we always think we’re the driver and need to hold the wheel.  It is the illusion of control, in every case.  You might hold the mic, the wheel, or their hand.  But.  You are never, ever, in control of what happens next.

 

Li’l Girl, Can’t dance.

Quit tryna lead.

Stand still a minute.

Get lost in it.

Let Him worry about the beat.

 

Relinquishing control of the next moment.   Is terrifying.  But like a roller coaster.  Heartracing.  Visceral.  Delightful…  Addictive.

 

It’s not the sweetness that makes you.

Weak in the knees.

It’s the fighting against the beauty.

Disbelieving that He wants to give you.

The desires of your heart.

 

We don’t drop the reins, because we are more intelligent than the horse.  We don’t take our hands off the wheel, because the car can’t choose a direction for itself.  In relationship with God there is no control instrument.  Much as we’d like that.  We couldn’t handle Him, if we wanted.  When I stop trying to drive, He takes me further, faster.  It’s a thrill ride.

 

 

 

 

 

*many years ago, a worship leader pointed out that sometimes crying could be an expression of worship. (Not that single, sexy tear.  Ugly, snot-smearing crying.) I was so relieved.  Because I often cried through entire worship services when I wasn’t sad or angry and didn’t know why, this explanation liberated me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phenomenon: Eighteen

Several months ago, I overheard a casual comment by a mother of a boy man, who was going to play in a card tournament at the mall that weekend.*

“…But he’s 18 and I can’t tell him what to do anymore.”

Wait, what?

Initially, my thought was, “Is he paying fair market room and board rates to live in your house and eat your food? Does he wash his own clothes and do his fair share of the vacuuming, dusting, mopping and preparation of the aforementioned food?”

I decided he probably was.  He’s a homeschooled boy man, after all.  And almost all homeschool families are vastly superior to ours.

But the thought lingered.

If the parent had objected to public card playing when the child was 17, they could have made a public scene and “punished” the child.  Mall security would have hesitated to become involved.  A call to the police,(when one knows where one’s child is, what they are doing– a legal activity, who they are with, and that they were not being harmed) may have resulted in a stern lecture to the parent.

Now, at 18, the parent can decide no longer to support a child who plays cards publicly.  A respectful child, who knows that their wanton behavior is displeasing to their parents, can pack his personal effects, place a deposit and first & last month’s rent on an apartment, pay deposits on utilities and internet service and have their cell phone removed from their parent’s name and placed in their own with the bill forwarded to their new address.  They can buy their own food.  They are free to purchase their own mode of transportation, be that an automobile and insurance, or a bus pass.

I am assuming this person, who cannot be told what to do, works a job.

Yet.

This dear mama is just one of many mothers of 18 year-olds, I’ve talked to in the last year.  I heard the, “I can’t tell him/her what to do,”

A lot.

The other day, the girls were shopping with a friend who encouraged them to buy swimsuits they, themselves, were not comfortable being seen in, by saying, “You’re 18. You can buy it and your mom can’t tell you what to do.”

It struck me entirely differently.

Most of the people I’ve heard say this, have been homeschool mommies worrying over stuff they don’t realize is benign in the extreme.  Traditional school moms say it, as well, I just don’t have a strong research sample of these.  But this time, it was a homeschooled young lady, telling my kids to throw off the teaching of their parents and their own personal standards to demonstrate their legal prerogative to “flaunt” what they “got”.  Her parents encourage her to flaunt hers and require her to be in by dark.  She is unfailingly obedient, endlessly sweet, and doesn’t turn 18 until later this year.

Suddenly, it became clear.

I know dozens of young adults who have TOTALLY thrown off their home training.  Not just their religion, but their manners and poise (poise is an old-fashioned word for knowing the right behavior for the right situation and applying that knowledge.).  We are informing them, when they turn 18, that we are finished with them.  They can ruin their lives and we have nothing to do with it.  They are informing each other that at 18, it is imperative that the guidance of their upbringing is to be thrown off like a soiled garment (or merely one that completely covers their butt crack).

What could possibly go wrong?

I certainly don’t comment from a holier than anyone position.  I am still waiting for my freaking medal for getting through years 12-15.  I can, and do, tell my about-to-be 19 year-olds some things that they will (and will not) do.  I have offered to take them to the grocery for an Apartment Guide.  I have invited them to chip in for a g@#$%mn maid.

They, in turn, have acknowledged, that they do NOT want me to check-out on them now, when things are getting more difficult BECAUSE they have more freedom.  And the paperwork in adulthood is a bitch lot.

I think the idea that, “They are 18; you can’t tell them what to do,” originated in the idea that people should be allowed to grow up and be adults and accept responsibility for themselves–an idea with which I heartily concur.  However, the term may have been co-opted as an excuse for parent of the young person who hasn’t mastered five languages and four musical instruments and struggled to decide whether to go pre-law at Harvard, pre-med at Cornell, or double major in Jazz Studies and Orchestral Conducting at Julliard.

I really don’t know.

But I do know that a lot of young people feel very “empowered” by what looks very, very much like free fall.  Tune into the TV news, or the news headlines on your phone.

I can tell my about to be 19 year-olds what to do, and they can choose to do it or not.  They have been reporting in with some very poignant, “Mom, you were right,” events.  We have discussed how pleasant life will be around here, when the not-piles-of-money is reduced by having to clean up “mistakes”.

As parents, we are to raise them to adulthood.  Not get them most of the way there and wash our hands of them and their buffoonery.

I hear that parenting is a life span job (not supporting big babies, who won’t pull their own weight, but presence as a reference and an unconditional supporter). The greatest people I know acknowledge their family and their upbringing as vital to their lives, yet the culture-at-large, seems to reflect, “You’re 18; no one can tell you what to do,” as orthodoxy.

 

 

*This mom was stressed out and this young man is going to be ragingly successful (the girls had classes with him and count him as a good friend.  Someone they admire.).  I merely use this as the example, because it was THE day that this phrase stuck with me.  I had probably heard it 100 times before. And card playing is a good neutral example, because it can be positive or negative, unlike some other choices that can only lead to negative outcomes.

 

 

 

After All This Time

The last time I was blogging consistently was more than two years ago.  My everyday activities are completely different today.  The people I spend my time with and the places I go and my daily activities are completely different.  And I’m drowning.

Don’t get me wrong.  All the changes…  ALL the changes, are good.  But they happened fast.  And I’m getting old. Er.

I still blog in my head.  I make commentary on bullet-points of everyday life.  In my head.  No one to tell it to.  I mean, some of it.

But there was a day when I consciously did business with myself.  In order to join this group, there were things about myself I had to hide away.  I knew I was where I belonged, so I entrusted those things to God and moved forward.  No regret.

For nearly two years, I have been studying.  Again, there are some answers that aren’t acceptable.  Even when you’re asked for your opinion.  I’m doing alright.

It’s not easy.

The girls have graduated from this homeschool.  One is trained as a dental assistant and seeking a job.  The other will transfer to a private university in the Fall on academic scholarship.

I read the occasional blog and I still follow my faves.  On Facebook and Instagram.

Now, I just wish I bellyache to my two blog friends again and have them tell me I had a thought worth thinking.

Just words.

Kept inside.

Discouragement.  To spare.

Hope on hold.

IMG_2745

 

 

Something for the Young People

Lately I’ve been pulling punches.  Holding back.  Trying to be some sort of bland hot cereal that appeals to everyone. No one likes that.  Spicy, at least identifies a tribe.

If you are between the ages of 15 and 23, I am going to tell you something that it seems no one else is saying. While I am by no means speaking to every person in that age group, I am addressing a trend.

Here’s the deal.  I think I can say this because I am older than the number on those black balloons at the party store.

I digress.

Here’s the deal.

You can do adulthood.

I apologize for my generation.  We’ve made it look awfully freaking dismal.  Except for, apparently, the alcoholism cocktails.

No wonder so many of you guys put on your snap front, short sleeve cowboy shirts, throw on one of those tiny knapsacks with a string, hop on your scooters and wander off to find yourself.

Some of you look in bars and farmer’s markets and ratty old buildings with chalkboard signs.

Some of you go to school, but have no idea what you want to do, and when you graduate, you aren’t sure you want to work.

Let me just answer that: you don’t.  Here is the disservice your education has done you.  Starting with the Dora the Explorer panties or the Avengers toothbrush, we made every non-negotiable task seem negotiable.  Until it looks very much like you get to choose the glory tasks and opt-out of the @#$% tasks in whatever path you take.

Sorry.  That’s on us.

Here’s how this should have gone.

Dad:  Now you’re going to brush your teeth like mom and I do.

Kid:  You’re joking!  That’s fantastic.

Dad: Yeah, because also, your teeth won’t rot out.

Kid: Man, this big boy @#$% just keeps getting better and better.

Or…

Mom: You’re too big to wear diapers.  You’re going to wear regular underwear and use the toilet like Dad and your sister and I do.

Kid: I don’t know how to do all that.

Mom: That’s why they call it potty training.

Kid: Wait, what’s ‘potty’ mean?

Mom: That’s a baby word for the commode.

Kid: So no more strangers working me over in the church nursery?

Mom: That’s the deal.  AND, when you poop you won’t have to sit around in it until we get where we’re going in the car or I get the casserole into the oven.

Kid: I’m all in.

I’m mostly not joking.

You were created to grow up.  The culture casts parents as buffoons and the child as the guru on the mountaintop.  “The wisdom of children” is simply more pressure to talk like a poet.  You aren’t supposed to be responsible for deciding Every. Single. Thing. when you are 6 or 7 years old.  When you get up in the morning when you are 7, you should pretty much know that your parents have this @#$% nailed down and all you have to do is step into the template.  There are clean clothes in the dresser and closet.  Put some on and be open to editorial revision by your mother.  Comb your hair.  Present yourself to the breakfast table and eat what magically appears there.  At the bus stop, you should find yet another hardworking adult waiting to deliver you into the classroom where your teacher has a lesson plan and doesn’t require guidance from people who don’t possess the skills she is employed to teach.  At the end of the day, give a nod to the bus driver and chuck your backpack on the entry floor.  Eat your “4 food group” approved dinner and relax for a couple of hours.  Take a bath and get in bed.

You might need a team sport or piano lessons.

But not really.

By the time you are 13, you should be able to follow the above with the exception that you should be able to make dinner.

If you are 15 and you can’t make dinner.  Call me, I will teach you how.

You can do this.  You can grow up.

Adulthood doesn’t suck.  And there is more privilege to adulthood than the beverages.

Work is not a punishment.  It’s what we are made for.

You were made to grow up.  A very wise man wrote a book before you were born that discussed the fact that we were pushing the curriculum down and adultifying kids’ clothing.  So, somehow, we interpreted this as people should be babies as long as they can be.

My generation has not allowed you to grow up.  We might teach you to do some fun skill at a really early age for our own entertainment, but as soon as you start telling us your life plan, we start digging our heels in.

“You don’t want to go to that school.”

“You don’t want to study that, there’s no money in it.”

“You are too young to choose a life partner. You are not ready for marriage.”

Incidentally, I have never heard a parent say, “You aren’t ready to get a job and stop living off me.  Why don’t you go to Europe for six months or a year? My treat.”

Young adult, you are ready to grow up, get an education, enter the workforce, and discern an appropriate mate; in any order that life serves itself up to you.  One caveat: Being young is not an excuse for poor decision-making.  A lot of damage has been done by the expression, “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than to ask permission”.  Yeah, that’s true.  I can repair drywall, but I can’t spackle your soul, Chickie Baby.  Use your head.

People also say, “Don’t let your life pass you by.”  Usually they mean surf and skate and have sex with people you don’t know and drink until you blackout.

No red flags there.

The truth is:  You aren’t ready.  It’s like cliff diving.  You can’t just stand there until you are ready.  You leap and get ready in the air.

There is no perfection. There is only good.  Good takes a lot of work.  People gotta work.  I didn’t say, “Other people gotta work.”

Sometimes, you are ready and too lazy to get on with it.

It isn’t difficult.  There are no secrets.  Choose your path.  Show up for your commitments.  Don’t make excuses.  You might suck.  But.  The sun comes up tomorrow.  With new mercy.

I believe in you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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