Mean Mom

 

xavier1

 

“Xavier, take your dishes to the kitchen.”
“Xavier, take your dishes to the kitchen.”
“Xavier, take your dishes to the kitchen.”
“Xavier, take your dishes to the kitchen.”
“Xavier, take your dishes to the kitchen.”
“Xavier, take your dishes to the kitchen.”
“Xavier, take your dishes to the kitchen.”
“XAVIER!!! TAKE YOUR DISHES TO THE KITCHEN!!!”

Xavier: “Why do you always yell at me?!”

I’ll be There Cheering for You Louder Than Anyone Who Might Be Booing

 cheering

What?! A profound quote from a silly Disney kids’ show? And from one of the more obnoxious characters as well. My kids watch the same episodes over and over and it took me about the fourth time before this quote grabbed a hold of me. “I’ll be there cheering for you louder than anyone who might be booing.”

Sure, our real-life circumstances might be a tad more serious than the one presented in the show, and ours won’t be resolved in 23 minutes before the credits roll.

I’ll be cheering loudly when the bullies at school tell you that you’re stupid or fat or ugly. I’ll be urging you to take the shot instead of passing the ball when you’re just too scared to try. I will be there to tell you it’s OK that you failed your math test and help you get prepared to do better on the next one.

I’ll help you keep your sense of humor when you lose your swimming trunks as you’re climbing out of the pool. I’ll tell those pointing, giggly little girls to hush and leave you be. And when you don’t get asked to prom, you’d better believe I’m going to tell you the truth: that they must be blind and, hey, it’s their loss. You go in there. You hold your head up high.

You keep in mind that the most beautiful, perfect, wise person there is created you, and HE doesn’t make mistakes.

And while we’re on the subject, HE really is perfect and he was rejected, too. No, He is rejected, too. Every single day.

Think about that!

I want you to know that people behave the way they do because of what’s inside them, not because of who YOU are. I know I say that all the time, but it bears repeating. They decide to look for and criticize your flaws (or they invent them) or they DECIDE to see what’s so amazing about you, and how they decide is based on what’s going on with THEM. If you want to survive intact, you have to respond with everything you’ve learned about you.

You’re respectfully and wonderfully made. You are the only you there has ever been or ever will be. You were made on purpose and placed into this particular time and space for a reason. God thought about you before he ever made the Earth and WANTED you to be. He made you to be loved and to spread love around.

Yeah, I’m here to cheer you on. But you know what’s going to happen if you don’t be careful? My voice is going to get drowned out by attacks on your character, your looks, your personality… How do I know that? Because even what God himself has to say is quickly supplanted by negative thoughts if I don’t fight it.

Why is that, I wonder? Why do the mean things have such a loud voice and all the true, lovely, kind things get pushed out? It happens to many of us.

Someone says you look nice today. Someone else makes fun of your clothes. You spend the whole rest of the day feeling bad. WHY!?!

Maybe, just maybe, you need to learn to cheer yourself on, too. Tell yourself what you’d tell a friend. ‘Cause, as much as I want to be there applauding, encouraging, soothing, helping you get back up when you fall, I can’t always be there.

Don’t waste time allowing miserable, lost, hateful people keep you down. Forgive. God will deal with them.  You pick yourself up, fix your eyes on your goal, ask God for help and healing, and GO.

Xavier and the Deadly Oatmeal

 killer oatmeal

Xavier, my almost 9 year old grandson(with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder): “I want oatmeal for breakfast.” Later: “What are those things in my oatmeal?”

“Peaches. Pick them out if you don’t like them. No complaints. No whining. No crying. We go through this every morning. And I want you to be aware that, because of the FASD, you have had a problem with textures. But you can overcome that. You just have to work a little harder at things sometimes. Also, grumbling and complaining is a sin. God doesn’t like it, so work on that, too.”

“But I hate those things! They just don’t taste good to me.”

“You used to LOVE that kind of oatmeal. You just hate the texture.”

“Well,” he continues with tears in his voice, “I have grown and my taste buds have changed.”

“Pick the peach parts out!” I say, exasperation raising my voice, “And suck it up! You are tougher than this! You can do this. You have to quit falling apart over everything.”  ugh. Suck it up?  Jeesh. Not my best moment.

“I guess I am a wimp.” Xavier is saying.

“NO! You are tough! And with God’s help, you can do anything. Anyhow, like I said, you used to love those things.”

“Well, now it tastes like I’m eating a rat.”

“We cannot afford to waste food! EAT THE OATMEAL! Get a fork and move all the peach parts to the side.”

“Ooooh,” (more whining), “I really wanted eggs.”

As I scrape the oatmeal into the trash later, I wonder whether to laugh or cry. Maybe a little bit of both.

So Much for Sacrifice

candy

 

There’s no way all those Reese’s Easter Eggs are gone! I have been all through the store and can’t find any. If I could, I’d get a freezer full and have them all year ’round. They have the perfect ratio of peanut butter to chocolate. Well…I’m just being a big baby. I’ll get something else, then maybe next year I can stock up.

Or…wait…the kids know how much I love those things. Maybe someone will get me some for Easter!

Or even just a big Reese’s Cup. Yum. Awesome. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Easter morning.

Yay! My daughter got me a huge Reese’s Cup! Wait. What’s that, Xavier? You wonder if she brought you anything?

Oh, daughter, don’t be embarrassed that you forgot him. We’ll think of something.

We look at each other. We look at the Reese’s Cup. We telegraph the message… She grabs the candy and tosses it to Xavier. He’s only eight, after all, sitting there all wide-eyed with anticipation. Who could resist that? So, here you go, X. “Sorry,” my daughter tells him, “I meant to give this to you and accidentally got it in Mom’s Easter basket!”

I sit there and feel so noble, having made such a sacrifice. I wonder if God sees it and feels proud of me. Then I blush and giggle at myself. It is a SMALL sacrifice, but it really is one of my ways of loving this child, and it feels pretty good.

Xavier rips the candy open and eats half. Then he brings the wrapper up around what’s left and slips the candy into his Easter basket to save it for later. And there it sits till it goes stale and has to be tossed out.

This is going to make me smile for a very long time.

Why Arranged Marriages Might Just Be a Good Thing

chelsea and me

Ok, not really; but I do wish I had the right to “audition” my daughter’s boyfriends sometimes.  Here’s a conversation we had a few years ago that will tell you why I feel that way:

 

“….yeah, yeah, Chels. Next time you choose a boyfriend, can you please pick someone who’s sane?”

“In the mid-Ohio valley? He’s not my boyfriend, anyhow.”

“Well, maybe you should watch where you meet these guys.”

“I met him on Facebook.  Oh, no, I forgot! I met him in the alley by the Locker Room…” (a bar)

“That shoulda been your first clue.”

“…and my friend said to him, ‘How old do you think she is?’  and he said, ‘Old enough.'”

“OK! There was your second clue!”

“MOM! He couldn’t help it! He was drunk!”

“Clue three.  Sounds like a prince among men.”

“Wasn’t that Jesus?”

“NO. Jesus is the KING.”

“Oh, I thought he was the Prince of Tides or something.”

“No…”

“Didn’t he part the sea or something?”

“Well…that was Moses.”

“Aren’t they all the same? The Father, Ghost, and Jesus?”

“Still not getting Moses out of that…”

Does Any of This Matter?

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Housework is not my favorite subject. Let’s face it, as soon as you get it done, it has already started to unravel. So, in fact, it never really is DONE. Ah, the monotony!

I don’t know why I tend to think so much about how temporary THIS all is. I trace it back to the “Near Death Experience” I had as a kid. It makes me less ambitious for material things and more inclined to go after things that will last forever:  my relationships, my character, LOVE… so I get very curious when I think that most of our lives are spent just maintaining our bodies, things that will surely perish anyhow. I mean, what is the point? How much does our everyday-mundane-9-to-5 struggle mean in the long run? How does it affect our spirits?

While we’re toiling at the factory or putting on a new roof, are we building up our spiritual muscles as well? What is it doing for my soul to dust my furniture and vacuum the carpet? I wonder this about every menial job under the sun.

The Bible tells us to do everything with a glad heart; as if you’re doing it for the Lord. So that makes it seem more valuable to me. Still… hmm…questions arise.

Since I’ve been sick and oh, so tired, I absolutely cannot get up and going without asking God for help.  I guess it helps me to lean on him. Maybe it’s forging a closer relationship.

Plus I see how God is a God of NOW; a God of today. You start fresh every day for a reason. A new day, a new chance, a new ton of laundry and dishes and challenges.

The conclusion I’ve come to about all the wiping down of walls and scrubbing floors is that I’m not only maintaining the house which shelters my body; I’m building character and creating a HOME for my children and me to enjoy our lives and make beautiful memories. It’s the stage we set for our daily interactions and lessons.

This helps me to realize that I don’t have to do something huge to make a real, lasting difference.  I don’t have to work for applause and approval. Let’s face it: no one realizes how hard you work till it all goes undone. No one but God. And he appreciates it. He uses it. It matters.

All the seemingly small, ordinary moments of my life can add up to a glorious hour.  Sooner or later, this is all going to make sense.

It kind of does already.

Now back to doing ignoring the folded laundry that needs put away.

 

Here’s a video that goes along with what I’ve been saying! Very encouraging! Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

Just Stand There

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I had one of those end-of-the-world dreams where the Earth was being ripped apart at the seams. Fire shot up through the dark chasms in the ground. People were running mindlessly, hysterical, trying to escape, trying to find a safe place to be.

I stood there on the top of a hill watching in horror, wondering what to do. My kids were all off in different directions. How could I get to them? How could I protect and comfort them? There was no way to contact them. No way to even tell them I loved them one last time.

For some reason, in my dream, I was most worried about Nathan, my wayward son. I put one foot forward thinking I would at least try to find him. Then got stuck in place. I had to accept that it was impossible. I would never see my son again.

Suddenly there appeared a giant black bird in the sky. My heart started pounding. Terror compelled me to run. But where could I go? No! I thought. God will protect me. So I planted my feet and I stood there on that hill, waiting for God to come to my aid. 

It was then that I realized the huge bird hovering over me was the mother ship, come to take me home. I was overcome with joy and peace! I would make it! I would be saved! But that was soon replaced with grief over leaving my babies behind.

Then a strong, gentle voice came from behind me saying, “If it can find you, it can find them, too.”

Ok. That might not have been “one of those dreams” that came directly from God. ha ha ha  It was a mix of belief system, imagining, desire, fear, and  a whole lot of Sci-Fi.  Yet, God has been able to use that dream on more than one occasion to give me peace and to remind me to stand my ground. He’s in charge. He’ll take care of me AND my babies.

The thing is, the panic I felt standing on that hill is underneath it all, somewhere down in my gut. A soul-tormentor, to be sure.  I suffer so with this anxiety that I often let it drive me in the wrong direction. It takes me to doubt, to bitterness, to sobbing in the shower, to anger and rage towards God…  because the thing is, planting your feet isn’t a one time deal. Once those feet are planted, and you’re trying to be still and wait for God, that doesn’t mean change is on the horizon. Days may pass. Weeks, months, years may go by, and everything is a mess. And you’re a mess. And the pain is too much to bear.

But God is an ever-present help in trouble. While he’s working on the situation, he’s also working on you. He’s creating a warrior. He’s teaching you to trust, to endure. He’s refining you. So you stand there, and you stand there, and you stand there…

And that is where I’m weak. I stand there. I crumble. I try to run away. I stand there. I shake my fists at the sky. I cry. I complain. I fall down. I stand there.

I’m learning who it is who holds me fast. I can see who it is who picks me up and sets me on my feet again. And it ain’t me.

Thank you, God, for your faithfulness. ❤