Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Fatal Flaw

"That has been our biggest mistake as parents," Clay exclaimed.
"Yep, we should never have let them know that they are hilarious," I replied.

We had just been discussing "the chicken nugget incident".
Evan was about two years old. Still old enough to know better.
He was in his little car seat on a four hour trip to Grandma and Grandpa's house.
We had stopped to grab some fast food.
Clay was driving, and I was actually looking at him when it happened. We were having a conversation when a chicken nugget suddenly bounced off the side of Clay's head.

We turned around to see our Evan, straight-faced and serious as can be, announcing to the car, "I'm done."
It hit our funny bones so hard that we couldn't stop laughing to discipline the child.
"I should have pulled the car over right then and there to punish him...but we made that fatal flaw."
Yep. Clay has a point, it is a fatal flaw in many ways. They learned about levity in the face of frustration at a very young age; but if he had been "properly punished", the memory might have been tainted. I'm not sure that "good parenting" is worth losing that piece of our family lore.

That fatal flaw has been our undoing.
Our boys push when the tension rises. They keep talking, pressing buttons, making clever comments...hoping to pick the right remark that will lighten their consequences, change our perspective, or simply remind us that they are so very lovable.

I don't blame them. It tends to work.
What is a fatal flaw for a parent, is quite the "gift" for a child.
(It also tends to give me some funny facebook statuses.)

We are praying that they learn to read their audience (and pay attention to the veins popping out of the authority figure's neck)...maybe that will keep them from someday getting fired for insubordination.

This picture was taken when our boys did NOT manage to make us laugh.
They got sent to the corner for "time out".
This mama still got her "perspective/mood lightening" moment when they chose to go to the SAME corner.
Dang, I love those boys. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Before Kids

I recently read the book What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty.
(Actually, I listened to it. It is set in Australia, so the accents probably made the book better than it actually was.)
In the book, a 39 year old mother of three (in the middle of divorce) hits her head and wakes up thinking she is 29 again. She has no recollection of the last 10 years.
29 was when she was newly married, madly in love, and pregant with her first child.

This book KICKED. MY. BUTT.
In it, "29 year old" Alice was shocked by the way her husband spoke to 39 year old Alice.
She was confused by the seriousness of her current life. Everything always seemed so urgent and important. Didn't they have fun anymore?
Alice read some emails she had written to her husband leading up to the divorce and she COULD NOT BELIEVE that she could have ever written such things to the love of her life. So bitter. So harsh.

It got me thinking about Clay and I - before kids.
I would watch Nascar races (I joined a Nascar Fantasy League and CARED ABOUT MY TEAM.)
We would spend hours playing video games with each other. (It can be therapeutic to blow up your spouse.)
We almost got kicked out of birthing classes. (We were so busy flirting and giggling with each other than the coach got a bit irritated.)
There was a lot of grace to be had in our home. That "was" is almost painful to read.

Since that stage of life, things have gotten much more serious.
His career, our children, homeschooling, ministries, responsibilities, blah, blah, blah.
It has all added up to stress.
Our fuses have shortened. We don't have TIME for video games.
We too often forget to play. We forget to be best friends...like we used to be.
It's messed up.
Clay may have less hair than when we were younger and starry-eyed, but he is still the love of my life. The goal is to stop and remember that. Daily.
We need to look into each other's eyes and SEE the young, playful souls that remain...and coax them back out. We need to CHOOSE not to be old, grumpy, married people.
I need to choose to be the flirty wife.

No more "remembering back when"...
We need to ENJOY (and properly prioritize) the now.
Lord, remind me what it was like when we were twenty-five.
Bring back the love and grace in a POWERFUL way. Give us YOUR love and grace.
I want to be starry-eyed (toward Clay) forever.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

I Have More To Say

So I had a conversation with my friend Renee (who once told me that my blog kind of inspired her to start her own blog). The convo went something like this:

Renee: "Are you done blogging?"
Me: "I don't THINK so. I mean, I have more to say. I know God has used it to make people laugh or to help them know that they aren't alone. He also uses it to speak to ME while I write. Even my son reads it. Voluntarily!"
Renee: "So what is stopping you?"
Me: "It takes so much time. I think of blog topics ALL THE TIME. I have even started writing out a few...but by the time I write them and edit them, I decide they are no longer relevant, or that they are not funny enough, or that they pretty much suck."
Renee: "So... you are too critical. You are expecting perfection. No wonder you never blog!"
Me: "...."
Renee: "Just write it, read it once, and POST. That's what I do."

Inside my head, I may have laughed at her. No way I could publish something that rough. NO ONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT! Out loud I replied something more like this: "I...well...Maybe I could set apart 30 minutes a day or so."

This was three weeks ago. 
30 minutes a day has NOT happened, but I have been chewing on her idea of "just writing, reading it once, and posting". 
I really have been paralyzed by my own expectations. So in an effort to free myself from this bondage, I am going to try it out. Starting today. 
I am REALLY not sure that my thoughts which have been only semi-filtered should actually be shared with the universe. (Let alone my son. Oh dear, my GRANDMA reads this blog too. Hi Grandma!)

Be afraid. Be very afraid. That way, I don't have to experience all this fear alone.
Bless you for coming along on the journey.
I'm going to TRY not to care too much about what you witness.
This is Renee and her husband, Johan.
(Well his name is Eric; but my family pretty much refuses to call him Eric.)
I've heard that it's good to add photos to a blog, so I added this without their permission.