Thursday, March 26, 2015

Those Four Little Words... TBT (poem originally posted on 11/21/10)

I wrote this a while back after the first time Daniel sass-mouthed me.  

A Mother's Love...

He looks at me with those gorgeous blue eyes
The ones I fell in love with
As I held him, newly born and smelling sweet
And he says to me disgustedly,
“Why should I clean my room?”

My eyes roll back into my head so far I fear I will be blinded by the nerve of this precious child.

Why should you clean your room?
You should clean your room because I carried you INSIDE my body for 9 long months
Vomiting DAILY for 6 of those.
Before laboring without drugs for 24 hours fearing that an epidural would do harm to your dear brain..
After which you screamed for 6 weeks straight.
And spit up for 30

You should clean your room because I wiped up YOUR s*@#, YOUR vomit, YOUR snot….
I cleaned the messes you made every day, whether I liked it or not…

I did your laundry,
Cut your fingernails
Held you when you were scared
Told you I loved you when no one else cared.
I sang to you and stroked your hair.
told you I would always always be there…
And I meant it.  Still do.

I read to you every night.
Held you very very tight…

Taught you how to make friends
And how to keep them
Cried when you cried from pain
Kept you going again and again….

I quit my job, which I loved because I loved you more
Held my head high when you threw a temper tantrum in the department store…
Even though I have never ever been more embarrassed
in my entire life.

I did my best to teach you courage, honesty, truth
Forgiveness and kindness and wisdom in youth…

You should clean your room because
I have tried to do what’s best for you every single day of your life.
So when I say, “It’s time to clean your room.”
It’s time to clean your effing room.

And you’ll do it because I said so.

Then I thought about it when I was pray/whine/grumbling to God while trying to get out of the door on time this morning... Whhhhhhhyyyyyy does it have to be so stinkin difficult to leave the stinkin house?!  Whhhhhyyyy can't they just listen to me?!  Whhhhhhhyyy is there so much stuff and so many delays?  Why is everything about being a parent so hard?  Why do I have to do all of the things?  Why do I have to do the laundrying, dishing, cleaning, cooking, poop-cleaning, vomit-catching, and the pick-things-up-a-million-times-ing...?

And I wonder if maybe God's up there feeling the same thing I do when one of my kids whines about not getting enough ipad time or throws a fit about eating broccoli or doing homework or cleaning his room...

And maybe I should be spending more time focusing on the fact that I have clothes to clean and fold.  I have food to make the dishes dirty.  I have kids who poop and vomit because their immune systems are working properly.  Our family has things that need to be picked up a million times...

And maybe God, like my mother, has four little words for me in times like these: because I said so.

Being a parent is hard because God says so.  And maybe I should trust the fact that He, you know, made the universe and aligned everything just so I could be a mom and live that dream... among other things.  Cause, you know, getting 4 sets of socks and shoes on and lunches packed and kids pottied, etc. is sooo much harder than like running the whole universe and stuff.

Guess I was wrong when I told myself I would "never tell my kids 'because I said so.'"

It's actually a really good reason to do something when the one saying it is someone who really really loves you and wants what's best for you.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Wait. What am I Doing?

So about a week ago, Jen Hatmaker tweeted, "Join My For the Love  Launch Team!" So I applied. Then I had an emergency appendectomy.  Then while I was hopped up on pain meds, trying not to laugh or cough, I got an email that said, "You are on Jen Hatmaker's Launch Team!"  And I said, "cool. wow.  that's exciting.  I don't know what this says I should be doing now, but I'll do that when I...zzzzzzzzzz..."

I went back to that email a couple of days later.  It said, "Join the Launch Team Facebook Page."  So I did.  And then I looked at the posts.  And they, well, resembled the first half of Jessie Spano's infamous freakout on Saved by the Bell. "I'm so excited! I'm so excited!!!"  While my thoughts were more representing the latter half, "I'm so... scared!"

And Mean Voice in my head said, "What the what have you gotten yourself into?!  And you're already behind!  These girls sound like they all know each other, and you missed two days because of this freak surgery, and they probably know why they are on the launch team and what a launch team does and is supposed to do and you don't know any of that.  You just thought, "cool.  free early copy of book from super cool author whose words I love."  And you applied.  You don't belong here.  Why did you do this?  You don't belong here.  All of these people are smarter than you, thinner than you, prettier than you, better moms than you are, have more money, cuter clothes, bigger houses, more writing/blogging/tweeting experience than you have... Quit!  Quit Now!  You will never be good enough to be on Jen Hatmaker's Launch Team!  Why in the world did you think you should even apply?

And then Nice Voice in my head said, "Emma, these other girls did the same thing you did.  They applied.  Jen said she wanted, "her people,"  people who read her books, and know how to use facebook, pinterest, and twitter.  You do those things.  You are just like these other women. You are excited too. You are the same.  You are the same."

So Mean Voice said, "Noooo!  You're behind!  These other people have read the whole thing already! Plus, you want to be different!  You want to stand out!  You want to be unique and lovable!"

And Nice Voice said, "Will you read the whole thing?  Remember that whole 10 page talk you wrote about not measuring yourself against other people?  Remember that whole Bible thing about letting a hand be a hand and a foot be a foot?  This launch team is like that.  Be what God made you.  Let the other ladies be what God made them."

And then, as I try to do as much as humanly possible, I agreed with nice voice.  I am the same.  I will read it.  I am a people who reads books, uses facebook, twitter, and pinterest.  I am just like these other women.  I am unique and lovable.  I am excited too. I  belong here.  It is not too late.  I am enough. And they are enough.  They are beautiful eyes and mouths and cheeks and ears and elbows and hands, and I am a beautiful foot.

This true story Mean Voice/Nice Voice conversation in my head had me noticing a connection:  I always think other people know each other and are old friends when I come into a group knowing no one.  Also, I always think people who have fun without me don't like me or think I don't belong with them.  Here's the thing:  It's not true.  None of it is true.

There are always people who feel "on the fringe" of a group, no matter how long the group has known each other.  And people are very good at pretending to fit in. And, I do fun things without all of my friends.  I am not trying to make my other friends feel left out.  I like them.  I want them IN my life, which is why we are friends.    So I must remind Nice Voice to remind me that I am not alone, and that I can do fun things with cool people I like, even if I don't know them or what I'm doing yet.

So here I go.  Remind me to be nice to myself and others, Nice Voice.

Friday, March 6, 2015

I Have an R.O.U.S. and Enough.

So, the boys and I returned from Spring Training to find the van with a flat tire.  It was good times helping a kind stranger change my flat tire in the cold while the boys played on their ipads and the toddler blew out his diaper in the middle of the parking lot at the airport.  I was in for more good times when I carried Mt. Laundry down to the basement and found this:

After playing a quick game of "Critter or Kevin?" A deep swelling Get.Out.Of.The.Basement.Now feeling took hold of me and I bravely ran up the stairs, squirmed very bravely and exclaimed, "Ew. Ew. Ew. Ew. Ew. Ewwwwwwwww!!!"  

And then I called my husband.  And he told me to call an exterminator, but maybe ask our AMAZING AWESOME neighbor who can help with any home problem ever invented first.  So I did, and he said, "I think you have a squirrel.  I've got a live trap I can bring over after work."

And I tell my son, "Honey, we have an animal in our basement.  I don't know what it is, but it is bigger than a mouse."

To which he replies wide-eyed, "Is it a bear?"

Which makes me laugh and that helps.  So I say, "Bigger than a mouse, smaller than a bear."

So after work my neighbor brings over a) my flat tire that he fixed b) a live trap, and c) says, let's see if we can find where the little guy is getting in and out, and we found this in the wall of my basement:

Seeing as at least one of my children could probably fit through that hole, "little guy," doesn't quite describe whatever was in my basement chewing on our pool noodles.  We've got ourselves an old-fashioned R.O.U.S.  (Rodent Of Unusual Size).  So Awesome Neighbor says, get an apple and some peanut butter, and we'll set the trap.  So as I'm cutting the apple, I'm thinking, I've never purposely fed an R.O.U.S before.  Should I put the peanut butter right on the apple?  Should I put it on a plate? How does an R.O.U.S like his apples?  Sliced?  Halved? Whole?  With the peanut butter on the side for dipping?  

Ultimately I decided on spreading the peanut butter on the halved apple.  Then we put it in the live trap like this:

And this is where I am.  Waiting for this bigger-than-a-mouse-smaller-than-a-bear Squircoon thing to come back to a 4 star dining experience and get trapped in this box so he can Get. Out. Of. My. House. And. Stay. Out.  

While I'm waiting, I read the end of Quitter,  a book about working on your dream job without quitting your day job, by Jon Acuff.  He says that in order to find "enough" when attempting to live our dream, we must define enough so that we don't fall victim to what Pat Riley calls the "Disease of More."  Because we "never reach enough when we chase it."  "You only find enough when you tell enough where to be found."  

And he's mostly right.  We don't reach enough when we chase it.  And we do only find enough when we know where enough is found.  I think he left out two things though: 1. God tells us where enough is.  2.  Enough is always exactly where we are.  

Right now, waiting on this rodent, my life is enough.  I have enough.  I am enough.  Is it everything I want?  Nope.  Is it everything I need.  Yep.  Our home is still warm.  There is no eminent danger to anyone in the house.   

And strangely, where I am in this R.O.U.S. experience is a lot like recognizing enough, being content while simultaneously attempting to live out the dreams that God has given me.  

If I focus on what hasn't been done and what is wrong with my current situation, I become crippled with fear and anxiety.  I become paralyzed.  There is no forward motion. I remain stagnant.  My whole life stops.  

If I try to fix everything all at once, patch the holes and create an impenetrable barrier without addressing what has already happened, making sure there are no critters left in my basement, I could wind up with a dead, bloated, stinky carcass in my crawlspace. 

It's interesting, this enough-ness.  If I run after it, it just gets bigger and bigger and bigger.  If I fear that I will never have it, a looming emptiness is behind me, around me, above me.  I believe I have nothing.  I can do nothing.  

I must say, "This is what I have.  This is what I am.  And it is enough.  I am enough.  What I have and who I am are going this way."  And then I must go that way.  And as I go, who I am and what I have will change.  Even though what I have may become more or less, it will always be enough.  And who I am will always be enough, even if what I have and who I am includes an R.O.U.S. in my basement.