February 22, 2010

So Much For Superwoman

As a mom, you have to deal with all kinds of gross things. It just comes with the territory. Some of us deal better than others. I have no problem with sick children. I can handle vomit better than many adults. I don't freak out over blood. (That's how I got volunteered to pick the gravel out of my friend's elbow when he wiped out on a motorcycle.) Runny noses? Got it covered. Split your head open? Slap some ice on it and you'll be fine.

But it seems that even us moms, superheroes though we may be, have our weaknesses. I have just discovered my kryptonite. It's a simple loose tooth.

My kids' teeth are as stubborn as they are. They do not come out until they absolutely have to. When a tooth finally does fall out, the new tooth is usually already poking through. So when a tooth is just hanging there as Sassy's was this afternoon, you know it's ready to come out.

Her tooth was literally hanging by a thread, making it next to impossible to eat lunch. I knew all it would take was a simple tug to free it, but I couldn't do it. It made me nauseous just to look at it. So instead, I tried to encourage her to take care of it herself. She wiggled and twisted and tugged but nothing happened. The only thing it accomplished was making my stomach turn. I really thought my insides were staging a revolt for awhile. Just thinking about it makes me want to throw up. But she finally did it. She pulled her own tooth out. It took a little harder tug than she'd been doing but it came out. The only thing I had to do was wash the offending tooth.

Let me just say that I'm grateful that all this occurred before I'd eaten lunch. Is it wrong to wish the whole thing had been as simple as the stomach flu?

A Friend By Any Other Name...

I've just spent the last few days hanging out with my sisters. It's something we only get to do a few times a year because of distance and work schedules. A few days spent with my sisters is a few days of having fun, acting stupid, making a fool of myself and laughing until every muscle aches. Who could ask for more?

It got me thinking about the role they play in my life as not just my sisters, but as friends. Think about the friends you have in your life. I don't mean how many friends or even specific names. I'm talking about what KIND of friends you have. You see, God gives us all kinds of friends to fill all kinds of needs that we may have. I got to thinking about these different types of friends and the role they play in my life.

My sisters fall into one of my favorite friend categories. They belong to the group of friends that I can be loud, rude and completely obnoxious with, as well as inappropriate and embarrassing. This is actually a need that I have to have filled in my life and they are there to help me fill it. This is a great group for me because I can make a complete idiot of myself and they will still hang out with me.

But what other kind of friends do I need? What other types of friends has God provided me?

I have "mom" friends. These are the friends that totally get it when I say that I'm ready to beat my children or shoot my husband. They understand the feeling of loving your child's smile while at the same time wishing you could cover it up with duct tape to prevent hearing the words "mom" or "why" come out of that mouth. We can share our struggles with discipline, bills, housework, meals and marriage and know that we have a sympathetic shoulder to lean on.

I have "young" friends. These are the friends that I love hanging out with because they make me forget that I'm older. We all have kids so we're emotionally the same age, right? If you're a mom with young children, you instantly have something in common with other moms, even those that are younger. We can talk kids, babies and the desire to have more or to shut down that factory forever. We exchange ideas, recipes and hand-me-downs whenever we see each other.

I have "single" friends. These friends are some of the most fun. For me, I see them mostly at church functions but I look forward to them being in attendance. When I'm with them, I feel like I'm in my twenties again. We're silly, goofy, and always funny. Life isn't quite so serious when you don't have a mortgage or dependents.

I have "lifelong" friends. Lifelong friends are few and far between. These rare individuals are some of my closest friends. I may only talk to them once a year or once every few years, but at any time I can call them up and we can pick up our conversation as if no time has passed. There's no need for long explanations because they just get it. They know me.

I also have "peripheral" friends. I think for most of us, this is the category that most of our friends fall under. These friends are always there at the edges of my vision but it's only when I change my focus that I really benefit from that friendship. These are women such as other homeschool moms. I only see them at co-op but they make the day enjoyable and I value their suggestions and support. Most of the women I attend church with fall under this category. Church, bible class, retreats and gatherings just wouldn't be the same without them. I look forward to these events just so I can spend some more time with them. I may not see them often outside of the usual meeting places, but I know I can call on them in the event of an emergency and they will be there, as some of them have already proven.

Friendship is a very flexible thing that changes with the seasons, our situations in life and sometimes even our moods. God puts people in our lives to satisfy all the different needs we may have for companionship, mentoring, acceptance, entertainment and assistance. Some people may fall into different categories at different times. Others may just fill a role for a short period in our life and then be gone forever. Whatever their particular role or purpose in my life, and no matter how much I may neglect them or take them for granted, I am so very grateful that God has placed all these women in my life.

February 16, 2010

A Matter of Genetics

I had to talk myself into blogging today. I'm feeling rather lazy as usual. The funny thing is, I usually blog as a way to avoid all the other work I'm supposed to be doing. So how bad am I if I'm getting too lazy to sink into denial and procrastination? I would hate to think I've really sunk that low so...I'm blogging.

Today was a beautiful, sunshiney day. A little on the cool side, perhaps, but just right with a small jacket on. And my children (being that they are, in fact, MY children) had to be forced to go outside and play. They could not be convinced to go outside and enjoy the weather until we threatened them. We told them they couldn't play on the video games until they'd spent some time outside. For every 10 minutes they played outside, they earned 5 minutes of video game time. Even that was only enough to keep Howdy outside for about 10 minutes. It was only after Daddy suggested they play "trampoline dodgeball" that Howdy reluctantly went back out. Nothing will change his mind faster than the thought of inflicting pain on his siblings.

How many children have to be forced to play outside on a sunny day? We just bought the kids a trampoline for Christmas, we have a huge pile of rocks and dirt to dig in and they have little cars and bikes they can ride. Why aren't they begging to go out there and play every day?

Why? Because they are my children. Apparently when they were being knit together in my womb, my DNA got bossy and took over the place, kicking most of MC's peaceful DNA out of the way. The compulsion to remain indoors? They got that from me. The insatiable desire for books? That's all me. The angst, worry and stress? Their therapists can reassure them that also came from me. The picky palates? OK, that one can be blamed on the both of us. But the point is, most of these little quirks and odd personality traits can be traced back to yours truly.

Sometimes I actually feel a little sorry for them. Why couldn't they have their dad's love of sports and the coordination required to be good at them? Where is MC's laid-back, don't-worry-be-happy attitude? Where is the love of the outdoors? And if they had to favor me, why did they have to inherit my hermit nature and my perfectionist tendencies?

I know a little of MC's DNA lurks in each of them, waiting until the Slacker DNA has become lax and unsuspecting. I know it because I see it appear for brief moments before the Slacker DNA beats it back into submission. Knowing my husband's reluctance to rock the boat, I'm not sure his DNA really stands a chance. I can only hope that one day, it will rise up and take over. I'll know that day has come when my children ask me, completely of their own free will, if they can go outside and play in the sun.

February 11, 2010

Tooth Fairy

The Tooth Fairy visited our house last night. Sassy lost her top front tooth in the middle of the night on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. She put it in a special box under her pillow but she was very concerned that the Tooth Fairy might not come...just like last time.

You see, we have a somewhat unreliable Tooth Fairy. Sometimes she shows up when expected, sometimes we have to leave her a note telling her that we do indeed have a tooth for her, sometimes we have to leave the tooth in a different spot so she can find it. If this was a paid position, she would have been fired long ago.

I assured Sassy that the Tooth Fairy would come this time and I even meant to set an alarm so I could remind Miss Fairy but of course, I forgot. Luckily, I check on the kids every night before I go to bed. So last night at midnight as I was heading upstairs, it clicked. I called the Tooth Fairy and sent her into action.

Normally it would be as simple as finding 2 quarters but my dear daughter had a different request this time. She wanted the Tooth Fairy to bring her "some little things instead of money". Not an unreasonable request I thought. That was before the Tooth Fairy found herself scrambling around the house trying to find some little trinkets that not only would Libby like but that she hadn't already seen. She combed through the office and craft room and then moved upstairs to the dreaded craft closet.

This closet holds treasures of all sorts, certainly something suitable could be found in here. The problem? The light in the hallway doesn't work, making it next to impossible to see inside the closet. Although, even if she could've seen inside, she knew it was a near impossible feat to even find anything in there without causing a catastrophic avalanche that would no doubt wake every person in the house.

It was with some stealthy maneuvering and not a few whispered prayers that Miss Fairy finally came up with a few baubles for Sassy. They were placed with care under her pillow and the tooth was taken away. With a sigh of relief, the Tooth Fairy climbed into bed at 12:35am, waiting to hear the excited sounds of Sassy discovering her treasure in the morning.

The best part? It's 10:45 in the morning right now and she hasn't even looked under her pillow. Go figure.

February 7, 2010

Finding the Rhythm

In today's sermon, it was mentioned that life has a rhythm. It's true. Life does have a rhythm. I think everything has it's own rhythm or pattern. It's the pace at which you go through life, it's the routine of how things are done. When I think about the rhythm of my life, I get exhausted. We live in such a fast paced world, everyone hustling and bustling to go there, accomplish that, get this done. When do we get a chance to slow the pace and appreciate what's around us?

A rhythm is steady, it's constant. It brings to mind a metronome. A metronome is a devise used by some musicians. It's purpose, according to Wikipedia, is to set a consistent tempo. This gives the musicians a guide, a lead, a rhythm to hold to. By listening to the steady ticking of the metronome, a musician can stay on beat, match the rhythm and compose a soaring piece of music.

Wouldn't it be great if we had such a thing for our own lives? Something that set the pace for us? Instead, we feel like we're running three beats behind. It's like following someone's footsteps who has a longer stride than you do. At some point, you're going to have to double your steps in order to keep up. That's where we spend most of our life, running double time.

Somewhere along the line, we've stopped listening to our metronome. We can no longer hear the steady, consistent beat that's been set for us. God has set that tempo. He has given us a beat, a pattern to follow, a rhythm to march to. His rhythm isn't rushed, it isn't forced, it never makes us quicken our steps in order to catch up.

It's time to clear out all the background noise, to put away all the other devices we've been setting our rhythm by. Clear the way to make a space for the metronome. The pendulum has never stopped swinging, it's an unending beat, an unwavering rhythm.

Listen for it.

Listen. Find God's voice, His rhythm. Then match your life to it. Fall in line with that tempo until the steady ticking can be heard in every room of your life. Use it, build on it. Compose a masterpiece to that constant, beautiful, rich tempo. Set your life by that holy rhythm.

February 4, 2010

Dress Rehearsal

When I was looking to change my blog page, I came up with a great title--"Dress Rehearsal". Unfortunately it was already taken, but I thought I would share with you what it was going to say.

Someday the lights will dim, the curtains will go up and it will be my turn. I will be on centerstage in front of an audience of one. The One. The only one that really matters. In the meantime, I will make mistakes, I will flub my lines, I will fail to hit my mark. But none of that matters because it's only Dress Rehearsal.