Tuesday, September 1, 2015

What has become of me?

     Things have been tough lately. I'll spare you the details but give you some key words: Mid life crisis, existential crisis, parenting crisis, child crisis, marriage crisis. Everywhere I look is another crisis.  Today I found myself blindsided once again by yet another... crisis.  

     A short back story... Once upon a time (this morning), it was Levi's first day back to school so I offered to drop him off on the way to Wyatt's orthodontist appointment. Kyle kindly offered to stay home until I got back so I didn't have to drag the two little ones along. Once home, I drove Kyle to work. As we approached his building I declared, "You spend your days in the lap of luxury! Look how amazing and cool all these new buildings are! Can you believe you get to work inside that giant fancy place everyday?" He wasn't impressed.

     As I drove off I admired all these people who leave their houses and walk on streets in the city. They have outfits, and nice shoes, and bags with computers in them. They carry coffee and hold cell phones. They make money and probably feel super important, successful, and productive each and everyday.  (Prepare yourself for the crisis) I then made the terrible mistake of looking at my arm and noticing the lavender sweatshirt I was wearing. My eyes moved down farther to my jeans- old, worn out, holes in the knees. Further down still, black New Balance running shoes.  Then I glanced in the rear view mirror (of my mini van- bumper falling off, scratches and dents all along each side) and saw my hair. I have a Bob.

     What on earth. Jesus come now. This is not real. Tears, gnashing of teeth. 

     What has become of me and my life?

     I am now in the process of growing out my hair, my new favorite pastime is shopping for cloths, and there will be a ceremonious burning of the lavender sweatshirt and ratty jeans. Bentley is getting a blingy-er collar and a hair cut because I can't part with my small dog- I can only make him more stylish.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Socially Awkward

Royal was invited to the neighbors birthday party at a beach and swim club. I told him he could go and THEN I read the invitation.  "If your child is a strong swimmer feel free to drop him off. If not come hang out with the other moms! Due to space please leave siblings at home."

He's a pretty good swimmer so I asked my neighbor if he could go with the them. She said she wasn't comfortable with that (I don't blame her). And then came that sinking dreadful feeling. "I have to go to a place and 'hang out' with a group of moms who are all friends for THREE hours and I can't bring one of my other kids along to hang out with." (The kids at the party go to the local catholic school. The moms are friendly enough, nothing against them, but I don't know them.)

After some deep breaths we were on our way. We arrived at the beautiful beach club and I realized I should have brought my swim suit. Now I was left sitting (awkwardly) on the side of the pool while the other moms swam. I wanted to get my book out the car, find a chair on the other side of the field and pretend I wasn't part of the party. I may have but Royal was also a little awkward not knowing anyone and being younger than the other boys. All he wanted to do was play in the sand, eat all the food, and talk to me.

And here's the other thing.  People who are comfortable in those types of social settings don't understand people who aren't.  They say things like, "Why are you sitting over there alone! Come sit over here!" So we do. Once we sit with the group we have nothing to say and everyone feels uncomfortable.  The outgoing people want to now say, "Why don't you go back to your corner! Then we won't feel weird with you sitting here listening to us!" But people don't say things like that. It isn't polite.

I'm actually quite happy to be by myself but I feel bad about it knowing it makes other people feel uncomfortable. Then I feel uncomfortable. See the loop?

All in all the party was fine. I survived, Royal had fun. I did talk to a couple other mom's one on one, I didn't talk to "the group." It's the group I can't handle.

If you thrive in group settings and see a loner in the corner, don't assume he/she is unfriendly and antisocial. He/she probably just fears the group. And that's okay. It's okay right? Maybe it isn't okay. Maybe I'm not okay. Am I okay?

Friday, June 5, 2015

Hey Harrison


Sorry I didn't stand up to say something about you at Senior Honor Night at church.  I really wanted to, but you know me- I don't prepare in advance, and I'm terrible at winging it (when it comes to public speaking).

Also, what I wanted to say is so complicated. And long.

I decided to write you instead. Here it goes. 

Your high school years have been a nut job. A few months before your Freshman year we entered into the world of crazy.  It wasn't on purpose; we were terribly naive. 

At the time, I expected so much from you. I pretty much said, "This is your school work, do it. All by yourself. No, I can't guide you anymore. Buck up." I underestimated the amount of stress our new life caused you.  I thought you were old enough, mature enough, and able to handle it.  Even though you were not old enough and mature enough, by the grace of God you did (handle it).  While, yes, you struggled with managing your school work, you completely delivered in patience, and NEVER complaining.  You rolled with it.

Sophomore year we sent you to school.  You'd never been to school before- this was never part of the plan.  You were a bit reluctant, but in my mind I thought, "You need to get out of here. You should have space, and teachers who can teach you, and friends to goof off with." Really- it was my way of letting you escape. I'd always been a part of everything you did and suddenly I was practically out of your life. But, by the grace of God, you rocked it. You never complained and in fact you flourished.

During your Junior and Senior years at home the turmoil carried on. Our family was learning what it means to love unconditionally.  We discovered that early childhood trauma is a real thing that can't be fixed with hugs and kisses. Its effects will be a part of us forever. Dad and I could never seem to find the time and energy to connect with your youth leaders, teachers, and friends.  I wanted so much to be involved. Despite our absentee parenting, at school and church you let people in on the funny, smart, intelligent person that we have always known you to be.  You somehow managed to be a slacker who succeeds. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree...

You were in plays, went to camps, served in Mexico- three times, volunteered at day camp, worked with Pop, helped out around the house, babysat your siblings, built a beautiful fence :), helped start a bowling team, made great friends, became an admired oldest brother, got good grades....Mostly on your own. Good Job!

When you were little, my dream was to be the mom who was exuberant about Jesus. I wanted to teach you to love and serve God, to start every day in the word, and to be a passionate follower of Jesus.  I hoped that my example would lead you to know without a doubt that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. 

Instead we brought trauma into our home during your most formative years.  We learned that we don't know much about much and we are not as equipped as we formerly thought. You've watched me go from wanting to die for Jesus, to me just wanting to die (not literally. You know what I mean).  My faith has been tested, I've doubted, I've crumbled, I've cried, I've sworn.  Dad and I have fought more in four years than the fourteen years before all put together. You've seen the ugly, ugly parts that I'd never want anyone to see. 

Your quiet demeanor and your steadfastness has been a great comfort to me. I've loved watching you grow into who you are today, (I cannot wait to know you more are as you grow).  I love just being around you. You don't go along with the crowd just because. You seem to know what you like and you stick with it. You are a rock. You are unruffled. You are deep water.

I hope you know, without a shadow of a doubt that I (and I think I can vouch for that rest of the clan) completely adore you. You are joy. My heart bursts for you.  

My prayer is that Jesus is bigger than my/our failures and that I/we have not planted seeds of doubt in you. It is often pain that brings us to deeper understanding; this seems unjust, but it's true. I hope He pulls you in to Him and you follow and you grow wise beyond your years. No matter where life takes you, I hope you know what it is to love God deeply, to hear His audible voice, and to experience his love and grace.

Love you my sweet, Mom

PS- It truly does take a village to raise a child.  I'm so thankful for grandparents, Aunties, cousins, friends, youth group leaders, and teachers, for filling in the holes that we parents are incapable of filling.  Thank you all for praying and helping our family in practical ways. For that, I am truly thankful.