Monday, September 24, 2012

Thelma and Louise Theology

We had quite a little situation at our house this weekend.  Saturday night, the back gate was left open in the yard, and our two dogs ran loose, like Thelma and Louise with fur.  Me, being somewhat fickle in my parenting of animals, didn’t sweat the escape, because I figured they would return when they were finished with their frolicking.   Their pattern had been established.  They would get out, run around the neighborhood a couple of times and flex their muscles to all the dogs still imprisoned behind their gates, and then show up in the driveway, thirsty and ready for bed.  I knew the drill, and didn’t have the energy to resist their rebellion.  The geese were panicked, but I assured them that when we woke up in the morning, Abby and Sugar would be present and accounted for.  Looking back, I see that I should have been more concerned, but I had more important things to worry about that night…like whether or not Kansas State was going to beat the OU Sooners. You gotta have priorities, people.

The sun came up on Sunday morning, and as I stumbled to the Keurig (speaking of priorities) I noticed the lack of two nose prints on the glass window of our back door.  20 minutes and 5 different “oh no…they didn’t come home last night” statements later, Captain Obvious left the premises and I began to feel annoyed.  Where could those little jailbirds have gone?  And then it happened…annoyance gave way to panic…panic gave way to guilt (it was me, after all, that opened the back door after hubs had specifically put them in the house while he worked in the yard) and then guilt gave way to tears.  Tears are the official place that hubs figures out that any given situation is serious.  After some reassuring hugs and some “we can look for them after church” salve applied to my guilty wounds, I got dressed and the five of us headed out the door. 

My sweet friend, Heidi, made the mistake of asking, “How are you?” and you would have thought that Armageddon was near due to the high-pitched, unintelligible squawking that came from my mouth.  I think I sputtered out something about my dogs being missing and that it was all my fault, and anything else neurotic you can think of.  I made the decision to spare the souls sitting around me of this mess and go look for my animals.  My kind-hearted son overheard this conversation and offered to come along to “help and keep you company, Mama”.  (I kid you not that some days I fantasize about smearing my children on crackers and eating them up because their sweetness overwhelms me)  So off we went to search for the dynamic duo.   

When I say that my little and I drove through the trenches SEARCHING AIMLESSLY for those animals, it would not be an exaggeration.  We hollered their names, we whistled until we were hoarse, and we brainstormed on their direction of departure.  We prayed out loud, we prayed silently, and we may or may not have stopped once for refreshing beverages to fuel our journey.  About half-way through our pilgrimage, I received something from the Lord that took my breath away.  I received the words from God that said, “This is the kind of searching I do for my children every single day. You search for your dogs with great fervor, and I search for my children.  I will drive up and down the streets, I will holler their name, I will go to ends of the Earth to call every single one of them Home. “   Leave it to the God I adore, to go with me, as I left the church building.  Leave it to Him to quiet my heart in my moments of panic and anxiety, and understand that while this may seem small to some, it was a really big deal to me.  He knew to go with me because He knew that this was more than just my dogs being missing. He knew to go with me because He knows that when I screw up and make mistakes (aka ALL THE TIME) I hear another little voice in my head that blames, accuses, and slaps on the guilt.  A voice that is undoubtedly, not His.  “You are so irresponsible…you let your kids’ dogs run away…what kind of mother are you?” OR “you know that Abby is Meredith’s best friend, right? Are you just the cruelest parent ever to dismiss your kid when she cried last night for her dog to be found?”  The voice of an enemy that wants to see me wallow in shame and guilt for something as simple as letting my dogs out; but he uses the simplest of things to destroy the most convoluted of people. How many times do we as mamas hear that voice instead of the One that proclaims Life abundantly? How many times do we spend our days beating ourselves up for the mistakes we make with our children instead of celebrating the One that redeems them all?

At this point, my hubs had called and left word that upon his arrival home, he discovered that there were two exhausted, thirsty little mutts in our backyard, waiting by the door, nose prints in-tact. I cried again, this time out of sheer thankfulness that I didn’t have to watch my daughter’s heart physically break when I broke the news to her that Abby and Sugar were gone.  Selfishly, I had decided that I would rather have had my spleen removed with a bread knife than have had that conversation.  I came home, grabbed those stinkers (the dogs, not the children) and hugged them in-between scolding’s.  Abby got a bath, complete with the adorning of her Halloween dress, and a snausage.  I honestly kept looking at her and thinking about the Prodigal Son story. How melodramatic is that?   How could this little being with fur tug at my heart in such a powerful way?  Is it because of what she represents…ultimately my kids laughter and joy at the end of a long day? Probably.  But deep down I know it’s more than that. It’s the way that God uses everything around us…everything… to teach us about His love.  If I will drive down a weed-infested alley to look for a little animal that smiles with an under-bite and smells other dog’s backsides to say hello…what in the world would my God do to find me? That, my friends, is theology at its finest.


So…where is God revealing Himself to you today?    

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Procrastination Pedigree

As I have become a somewhat seasoned mommy, I find myself saying things I swore I would never say…for the simple fact that they first came from the lips of my own parents.  What is it about the innate fear that we all carry that we will one day become duplications of the ones who raised us?  Is it because we are so much smarter than them? NO.  Is it because they didn’t do a wonderful job? Absolutely not.  I believe it is because deep down, part of being part of a family, is seeing the good, the bad, and the ugly in the souls we love the most.  And at the end of the day, our fear of becoming exactly like our parents must be rooted in the fact that we are all too familiar with those traits…especially the bad and ugly ones.  I wish I had a pair of shoes for every time I muttered the words, “when I have kids, I am never going to...” only to actually have kids and eat those words, complete with hummus and a healthy dose of humility. So all of this to say, I have come to an alarming conclusion. 

Procrastination is hereditary, three generations deep.

I practically break out in hives to simply type that sentence, but I honestly can’t deny the reality another day.  My (sweet, precious, wonderful) mama is a rock-star procrastinator.  Why do something today that you can put off until tomorrow?  Life is full of enough things…why add to your plate by being ahead of schedule?  I honestly wish I could tell you that I did not inherit this characteristic…that I grasped all of the other amazing things about my adorable mom. She’s the kindest, gentlest, most precious human on earth.  But the truth is, I did. I didn’t just inherit it, I have embraced it.  I have paraded it on the porch and handed it a cocktail.  Granted, all of this embracing was done against my better judgment, but sometimes you just can’t avoid genetics.  So here I am, a second generational procrastinator, watching my offspring carry on the family tradition. 

And it completely stresses me out. 

My middle goose informed me this morning at 15 minutes until time to leave the house that he “forgot to read his story”.  So I did what any self-respecting procrastinator would do…I told him to grab it and read it to me while I curled his sister’s hair.  The non-procrastinating mom would have used this as a “teachable moment” and told him that homework is to be done in the afternoon/evening, and that he needed to accept the consequences of not finishing his homework and this would teach him not to postpone his responsibilities.  Obviously, this was not the time for “teachable moments”…we had a story to read. 

It goes without saying that the hubs has adapted to my genetic mutation as best as possible.  But it also goes without saying that he is doing everything in his power to fight the overwhelming force that is called DNA.  Procrastination is not a defect that he is familiar with, and I’m confident that he would prefer our geese inherit other characteristics from their mother.  When I was pregnant with our oldest, I remember precious moments when we would lie in bed, his hands placed firmly on my ever-growing bump, and talk about our dreams for this beloved child.  He would say super sweet things like, “I just pray our daughter looks just like you, honey.”  And I would respond by saying, “and I pray our daughter acts just like you, sweetheart.”  For those of you that know our Claire, it’s obvious that God got those prayers mixed up. He’s funny that way.

I recently lost my beloved father to cancer, and it has gutted me like a fish.  But I will say, that one of the most amazing things about losing someone you love so dearly is that you can begin to feel them living inside of you when they are gone.  So many of things that I adored about my dad are finding ways to manifest themselves in my life.  His zest for life, his playfulness, his JOY…they are contagious.   What a blessing to have been his only daughter!

So I guess there’s hope.  There’s hope that my baby geese will grow up to be functioning, contributing members of society. And there’s hope that growing up to be just like our parents is not the worst thing in the world that can happen.  This is one tidbit of knowledge that I will not procrastinate in passing on. 


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hidden Rules

This is the darling new sign I scored at an adorable little shop in a town about 10 miles over from Small Town America….it could feasibly be called SmallER Town America.  Isn’t it cute? 

 It is strategically placed in our kitchen to remind our darling geese of the way that a group of people that live together and share a bathroom and holidays should treat one another.  Another word for this group is called FAMILY, and we most certainly have days when we do a better job of “rule following” than others.  Upon glancing at this list of “family rules” one might agree that it covers all of your basics…being respectful, putting others first, etc etc. But if you look closer, you will notice that it does not leave room for all of the “hidden rules” that families seem to acquire over the years.  You know…those things that are unspoken amongst the residents, yet understood to be gospel. Things that make the family tick…understandings and agreements that keep the peace.   Every family has them. Some are more unspoken than others; some more sacred than most.  All important, nonetheless, to the ever-changing, ever-developing dynamic that exists in each of our homes.  Here are ours in no particular order:


1.      All arachnids, rodents, insects, or reptiles are to die upon discovery. 

I don’t do bugs, mice, lizards, or spiders in ANY capacity.  The geese know not to bring these creatures home in a shoebox, and if one of these critters makes the daunting mistake of appearing in this house…all motion comes to a screeching halt until the creature has met it’s Maker. When the hubs and I first moved to Small Town America, I called him home from work to kill a spider that I swear was the size of my head.   Last month, there was a cockroach that found its way into the kitchen upon the geese and I returning from the pool.  I hollered for my son to come rescue this damsel in distress, much to his chagrin, because honestly the roach was the size of a submarine.  After flushing it down the commode, my 7 year old prince looks at me simply and said, “You know you’re the only one in the world that I would ever be that brave for.” To which I replied, “Yes…and that is why you are going to live with me until you are 85.”  His daddy has raised him to be a mighty warrior…especially when it matters.


2.      All words spoken amongst sleep-deprived adults between the hours of 11pm and 6am are to never, ever be repeated or held against one another in a court of law or the bathroom the next morning. 

When the hubs and I had our oldest goose almost 9 years ago (!!!!!), we discovered what true sleep-deprivation was all about.  He was wonderful about helping me get up with our newborn baby…often doing diaper duty and bringing her to me to nurse for our middle of the night feedings.  And on those rare occasions that she would not return to sleep quickly after filling her tummy, her father would take her into the other room sometimes and rock her to sleep or watch infomercials until the wee hours of the night so that I could be a functioning parent the next day.  Super sweet, right?? Yes…it was.  But sometimes the sweetness would give way to resentment and the hours of sleep-deprivation would creep up and cause both of us to say crazy, hurtful, resentful things to each other between the hours of 11pm and 6am.  It was like Satan himself would come into our home, take up residence, and see what kind of havoc he could reap on our otherwise peaceful home.  Comparisons of who had been up with the baby more; snide comments about who had the harder job-the one who left the home and went to work with adults, or the one that stayed home with a newborn…the list goes on and on.  And then miraculously, we would wake the next morning, and after we had both showered and had our first cups of coffee…it was like Satan had left the building, and we went right back to being sweet and cooperative with one another.  Bizarre.  So here we are…9 years and 2 more geese later…the rule still stands.  And even better, the babies have grown accustomed to this “hidden rule” and do a pretty good job of just not speaking to me before my first sip of coffee is consumed.  I’m convinced God made the Keurig coffee maker on Day 8 of creation.

3.       When asked the question, “where do you want to eat?”  suggestions are simply that….suggestions.  Mama picks.

I can’t explain why I’m the moodiest food consumer EVER, I just am.  Funny thing is, my besties have taken on this “hidden rule” even in our own relationship.  Jen just smiles and waits for me to “suggest” where we eat just to save time.  Some call this bossy pants. I call it having an opinion. 

4.       If something is important to you, it better find a home…clutter is a cuss word. 

I would rather have needles stabbed in my eyes than live in a state of clutter.  I often walk through the house with a large trash bag and just begin chunking things in just to rid ourselves of the stuff.  My kids are often mortified as they discover that I have trashed their latest graded math paper or candy they collected from the Small Town America parade we attended on Friday (Small Town America parades are a blog post in and of themselves…)  This practice seems great to have a kitchen countertop free of junk, but the downside is that the geese’s rooms become spaces devoted to their hoarding practices.  My oldest daughter hoards like nobody’s business.  She has every picture she’s ever drawn for every friend she’s ever made at every birthday party she’s ever attended.  It’s wrong on so many levels.  So their unspoken, hidden rule has become “put it up before Mom throws it out”.  Works for me. 

5.       The geese will never, ever become too big to rock in the laps of their parents.

There is just NOTHING better than lifting one of your babies up into your lap in a rocking chair, and just attaching your lips to their face.  My bigs are becoming quite large and sometimes quite awkward, but I mean it when I say that someone is going to have to sedate me the day by babies become too big or too cool or too busy to sit and rock with me for a few minutes each day.  Time simply stands still in these moments and my heart fills up to the very brim…almost to the point where I fear it will explode.  Good thing that son of mine is going to be here until he’s 85. 

Well, there you have it…The “hidden rules” of this little family of 5. There are days that I honestly worry that my children will grow up and tell stories of their neurotic mother freaking out over a “harmless” spider.  Or their father taking out the trash that included their book report and first lost tooth because the “Tooth Fairy accidentally left it on the kitchen counter”… But when the rubber meets the road, I know that our kids won’t remember the laundry piled up or every time we made a mistake as parents.  But I hope they do remember the security that they were wanted, they were adored, they were cherished, and they were loved. So very loved.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Over-Achievers Unite! Slackers Meet Me at Starbucks!

My youngest has asked me no less than 385 times if Halloween is tomorrow. Seriously?! Can't a mama simply savor the beginning of Fall by sipping my Starbucks Pumpkin latte in peace before facing the avalanche called "the holidays"...? For those of you over-acheivers that have costumes picked out and are now planning the goodie bags for the 287 friends that your children will be handing out candy to, head on over to my dear friend Kristi's blog and snatch up these adorable Halloween *free* printables. The rest of us slackers will be printing them on Halloween eve. Don't judge.
This blog is ridiculous! (that's ginger-code for amazing!)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Here We Go!

In the fall of 1997, a cute college senior found his way into my heart and I was never the same.  I, having not always been known for my stellar relationship choices, recognized ridiculously-close-to-perfection-as-humanly-possible when I saw it, and we were married 2 ½ years later.  After the wedding, this cute boy moved me to Small Town America, and we have lived here ever since.  I might add, I came here slightly kicking and screaming…I think my exact words were, “I will move there as long as you never give me grief for online shopping” or something equally shallow. Twelve years later, I am still online shopping and he is still as ridiculously close to perfect as humanly possible.  The best part? He shared the love and now our home and Small Town America have 3 little people to watch make the world a better place.  In this journey of parenthood, we have tried out many nicknames for these little people that we instantly became enamored with…and some of them stuck.  The most prevalent in our home is “baby goose”.  Just writing it makes me cringe a little at the sheer SOUTHERNESS of it all, but it is what it is.  My three littles have answered to “baby goose” at the end of our sentences since they exited the womb.  I would like to tell you that I do not sound as country as an egg when I say it, but that would be a bold-faced lie. Their daddy, on the other hand, sounds adorable and dignified.  Of course he does. 

The giggling geese…a place where I will share the joys, laughter, and fascination of parenthood.  The place where being a mom is full-time job and there is no sugar-coating our lack of tangible paychecks.  The place where childhood is celebrated, and Small Town America is embraced.  And don’t forget…lots of online shopping!


Thanks for stopping by!