before the moment passes-

Often I have the proverbial “light bulb” moment, always over the most obvious things. These are moments where the awareness of the thought is always there, just occasionally appears or feels differently. I find these attention grabbers occur more, when I am being still & my mind is quiet. If you know me, you know that doing either of those is a small miracle, as my mind & life are at about 150 mph. Since those moments are so genuine & touching, I prefer to look at them more as divine interruptions vs the “light bulb” going off. 

I honestly thought my next blog post would be about something else. As I said my Earthly goodbye to a friend yesterday, a person I cared & appreciated far more than I think I realized. Her death has thrown me into an emotional hurricane this week. It has been quite the ride of self evaluation & those, don’t blink moments. I often wonder how many times in my life I will have to rebuild & re-evaluate myself. I imagine that my grandchildren & my greats, if I am blessed with a life that long, will have one very old, wise woman, with lots of life wisdom on their hands. At almost 39 years old I feel I have lived 5 lifetimes.

In my reflecting today, I remembered something shared in the DVD portion from our Life Group Bible study a few weeks ago. It was regarding a dad & his teen daughter. He was at the mall & he was observing an interaction between a dad & his much younger age girl. She wanted dad to carry her. He watched as this dad picked her up for a piggyback/shoulder carry & in that moment it hit him dead on, “I will NEVER have a moment to pick my little girl up like that again” & it broke his heart. It hurt him mainly he explained, because not only did he not remember the last time he carried her, but he didn’t treasure those normal moments as he should have; they were overlooked. Had he only known that was THE day for the last piggyback, he would’ve embraced it more.

I’ve had far more blessed moments with my teen son than anyone cares to hear. I have always prided myself on how much time, how many memories & the fact that I have utterly sopped up his 15 yrs with me, with a mental buttermilk biscuit. Not many things have I felt I have not absorbed. Until I heard the above story. I never realized the very last time I would cut up his food. The last time we’d lay on the couch & snuggle. The last time he’d need a band aid, a boo boo kissed & for me to tickle him. The last time I would bathe him. The last time we’d read Wheels on the Bus. I mean, I am almost overwhelmed even typing it or taking my mind back there. How did I miss this?

Flash forward today. After cleaning & dressing my 2 yr old, it was nap time. I was feeling a little rushed, chores were awaiting, plus I really wanted a little me time, especially just getting over a flu bug. My daughter still enjoys being rocked to sleep, with a book read 1st & we do this twice a day, ironically just like my son did. I was somewhat inconvenienced by this, as I mentioned above & in the midst of my internal complaining, I was flooded with the DVD story. I was flooded with a feeling I could be in the home stretch to the final bedtime story, the last time I could hold her like a baby & love her to sleep. I was “that close” to allowing a beautiful moment to pass into a memory before I could even grasp it for its value.

I get criticized for a lot, not sure if people are joking or really mean it, but I do often times get unnecessarily judged for things, often times in my parenting life. I talk about my kids too often, I take too many pics, I have always had “too mature” conversations with my son, I have raised my son to be too outspoken. I am too cautious with my daughters sensory issues & I condition them too carefully, rather than just throw out onto a playground or in a room of strangers & let her “deal with it”  She stays up too late or I can’t believe you still do your son’s laundry. You know what I mean. (just for reference those parents missed my last blog) anyway, I’ve been left to feel bad about loving & nurturing & being proud of the beautiful gifts that God has entrusted me with. All I can say is that I am doing my best & I suggest everyone else do that too. I have some lovely moments because I tuned out the background noise of the persecutors. When you’re busy worrying about what everyone else is doing/saying/feeling, you miss your chance. No sadder day could it be to realize time has passed & you never enjoyed your sweet babies the way you could have & now they’re off on their own.

 I type this out, on my cell phone, one handed & my left arm numb because she’s been asleep on it for about a half hour now. I realize choosing to sit here & stare at her face & allow my mind to imprint how she looks right now, at this age, with this little nose & mouth shape, was a correct choice. Every “thing” chores included, aren’t going anywhere, these things won’t change, but she will. My son will. Life will. My prayer for you reading this is that you would learn to be still too. Allow yourself to be divinely interrupted. 

Psalm 127:3-5 The Message, “Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift?
    the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows
    are the children of a vigorous youth.
Oh, how blessed are you parents,
    with your quivers full of children!

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for the mothers of the year…. and some diva dads too!

i mother a 15yr old son & a 2yr old daughter. i birthed them from my body. one in the middle of AL August humidity/heat, the other in the middle of FL July humidity/heat. i gained about 5 thousand lbs of fluid & retained more water than a buffalo with both. each of them about killed me. i am not a big person to begin with & God did not equip me with a carrying & birthing children bod. it was some work & lots of digging deep. i was the equivalent of cramming a watermelon into a ziploc bag & carrying it around front heavy for a few months. 

i did not like pregnancy. i loved the feeling of my children’s movements & thought the process of how the body accommodates to a growing child was awesome & cool. i loved ultrasounds & listening to heartbeats; cool technological advancements that my parents didn’t have. but pregnancy as a whole, not so much. i was sick as a dog with both, exhausted, swollen, emotional, a lunatic of hormones, & since i birthed my daughter after the age of 35, i had something wrong every stinking week. like i said, i just do not have a pregnancy body & birthing 2 mammoth sized kids didn’t help. it was no fun. 

now, “society” will tell you that i am a terrible person to say the above things. pregnancy is a beautiful, lovely experience. they would be pregnant constantly if money, time & sanity allowed. that’s all good & i give those women a giant high five, however we’re not all alike in our pregnancies, nor are we alike in our child raising. you cannot expect a world full of different personalities to birth a home full kids & agree that all strategies, all ideas, all discipline will work for ALL. this is what frustrates me to no end about women, mothers & the “i have perfect kids & all the answers” syndrome.

as soon as the pee stick turns to positive, so turns on the switch of unsolicited advice women start handing out. and it NEVER stops. EVER. somebody PLEASE make it stop. PLEASE.

women spend WAY TOO MUCH TIME telling other women the best way to do everything, yet become resentful & judgmental once the favor is returned. here’s some familiars for you- “you must never birth at a hospital, must use the calming waters of the bathtub, whirlpool, swimming pool, jordan river” “real & tough women are primarily those who birth with NO pain med/epidural” “you must breastfeed & only eat organic foods & drink wheat grass smoothies while doing so” “you must only, home school, magnet school, christian school, charter school, mime school” “you must NEVER tell your children no, spat/spank them, raise voices to them, release negative energy around them, listen to anything other than praise music around them” and of course there are millions more to add & i am certain you’ve either been bombarded by this or you’ve been a ring leader of it. i would like any pregnant or new mom or wanting to be a new mom or any association to mommying at all, to please know, your way & your convictions are the BEST way. not mine, not theirs. only yours.

it may shock you to know a few things about the 15yr old son i am raising. and i always love the look on particular mother’s faces when they ask advice regarding how i did this or did that or handled situations in his life, to end up with such a wonderful kid. here’s a few things i hope will comfort you. he was a formula fed baby, started rice cereal & baby/table food too soon. he was immunized like clock work. yr 2 of my son’s life he survived off milk (the normal, bad kind), mott’s apple juice, pringles, spaghetti o’s, cheeze it’s & mc d’s fries. the ENTIRE year + a few months of yr 3, no lie. i spanked him HARD maybe 4 or 5 times in his life & once in 5th grade i popped him in the mouth for speaking to me very disrespectfully. i rocked him until he was 3, where we then transferred to co-bedding until he was 5 & up. we read harry potter books as bedtime stories when he was 6+. i occasionally said & did some really unJesusy things around him when i didn’t & did know he could see/hear me. i think you get the point. i did just about everything the world warns you not to do today. but, what i DID do is also what the world forgets to do to condition our kids & their hearts common day.

please note: he was rarely sick & holds no allergies, despite not being breast fed & these poisonous dietary habits i inflicted on him, he learned to read & write at 3, entered kindergarten on a grade 2 reading level, always respected by teachers & peers for his calm demeanor & respectful nature……and get this, at FIFTEEN, he’s a sophomore at PUBLIC SCHOOL in the international baccalaureate program, earning college credit with a current 4.3 GPA. he plays guitar, he plays football, he works out daily & takes care of his body, he’s active in church, he volunteers in the community, he’s traveled to a 3rd world place to install water systems & share his testimony, he plays video games, reads books & movies that often are the accusation behind other kids bad choices, he prays, he’s goal oriented……. guess what? not everything equals the success you think is necessary to their growth & not everything in their lives will bring them dysfunction, doom & devil worship. this instructional gloom & doom & judgement needs to chill the freak out ladies (& diva dads)

you wanna home school? rock on with that. you wanna give away your tv because it will brainwash? cool. you wanna make all your home cleaners & detergents & sew your kids clothes? okie dokie, but we ALL don’t have to do these things to raise healthy, functional, loving, productive, future citizens. and we sure shouldn’t make other moms feel lowly for not doing what works for our households & children.

i am always met with disturbed looks of confusion when i mention my 2 yr old daughter has never had ….. wait for it….. JUICE….. OR…… wait…..wait…. SWEETS! GASP!  i mean why would i? is their a rule i don’t know about that says after you get tired of yacking about how awesome breast fed, organic babies are, then you start cramming them full of sugary juices & cupcakes or happy meals & candy? i made her food until she was over a year, i still steam her fruits & veggies & she gets those daily. she drinks organic milk & water- i have NO reason or idea why i do this. i just do. never even considered it for my son, still don’t. but i don’t think it’s everyone’s best bet, nor do i think juice & sweets eliminated from her diet should be such a shock. who gives a crap? i am just glad she’s alive & functioning. even as i type this she’s taking off her clothes & running in circles. i LOVE this part! moms need to stop ruining this part. these parts you never get back, but these parts are hard sometimes & we should be lifting one another, not picking one another to pieces. or allowing our own self talk to consume us because our 4yr old isn’t speaking mandarin chinese & we’ve failed somehow.

i do think being a mom who raised a child successfully, in her early 20s & beyond, primarily alone, without a flippen clue, has conditioned me for not sweating the small stuff with the daughter. some days i feel the balance of the teen/toddler is overwhelming, but in those moments i realize it’s not them who’s overwhelming me, it’s my own junk i mixed in the pot with their day. take out my junk, press into God for assistance & voila, new way to focus. there is never one correct way to do this parenting, because we all have a different idea of what “success & happiness” is & what you have to do to obtain it. I myself have even separated from those ideals based on my growth in God’s word & the desire of my heart changing. I realized that as awesome as my children becoming a world renowned surgeon or talented musician may be, that their becoming missionaries or starting a soup kitchen is just as awesome, if their heart is full & content. i can only do so much as the mother & i am helpless without God’s assistance. i hope they too learn that the things of joy & balance & peace are never found in “things” or in status. some of the most miserable people i know have enough “stuff” to supply a village in africa with a lifetime of things. but at the end of the day, there is no peace in them. there is no substance. there is no meaning. it’s all just stuff to replace more stuff.

i think we should be proud of one another, humble ourselves to assist one another in this mom journey. no one should be stung with jealousy or inferiority when your 3yr old isn’t doing something this person’s 3yr old is doing. or maybe your 10yr old can’t sing like her 10yr old. or the 14yr old on the sports team is way more advanced that yours…… again who cares? why is this so bothersome? can grown adults not be proud of others CHILDREN? we put ourselves in the place of other moms when tragedy strikes, but why not rejoice with moms when blessings show up? why has the world become the one thing they say they cannot stand?

do you know how many children have no loving mother? millions of kids are neglected daily. millions went to bed last night & woke up this morning hungry & thirsty. those girls we didn’t want to have abortions because there is a better life for their babies, how are we as a community helping to encourage & support them now that they’re young moms or single moms? we have forgotten in our very own zip codes there are children & women who need us, but we can’t see them through the plank in our eye. or the schedule that we’ve overwhelmed our kids with so they will be the “next big thing”.

my Bible study today shared an impactful paragraph that went right along with this blog & i must share. “please fight the temptation to place others lives under a microscope. simply let God’s word become a mirror of what you want reflected in your life. you may hear other people share things that are completely foreign to you. let’s resist judgement & gossip at all costs. many people have been badly injured by life. let’s have mercy for one another & avoid analyzing other’s problems”  i believe this reminder applied to every facet of life would change our view & our hearts. and would absolutely change our children into the future community we claim to desire for them. 

i almost have to laugh at the timing, but as i wrapped this blog up i was thinking of something to close with. at almost the exact moment i was drifting off my daughter came up to me gagging, with a blue mouth & about 1/4 of play doh missing from the can. i did at least take a break to take some pics, go flush out her mouth & text my friends to reassure myself she wasn’t poisoned. those pics are below….enjoy! and press on mothers of the year & diva dads. 

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