Cool like that

Cool like that

“Mom! Do we have to keep your bra on the kitchen counter?”

“Yes.” Where would Princess like it to be? Too bad. 

Do not give me ammo, child. Have you learned nothing as my disciple? Never give me ammo.

Filing this away…

_______________________
I teach fitness dance classes. I love jamming out to cool new songs and making up dances. 

My older three girls used to stare at me during class and try to dance just like me. 

And now…I turn on “Wild Things” by Alessia Cara, and why the heck do I ask for their input…

Me–Does this move look cool for the chorus?

<me dancing, dancing>

Audrey–Ummm…it looks like you think you’re cool…

Close enough. 

And I will get you back. 

_____________________

I see Audrey sitting on the couch Facetiming her friend. My eyes narrow, joyous mischief ignites my soul. 

“AUDREY ARE YOU DONE POOPING YET?!! AUDREY!!”

She fumbles around almost dropping her phone and “accidentally” hangs up on her friend.

Maybe you should ask Santa for a new mom. 

Now who’s cool? Right. 

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Grip

Grip

I hold a tight grip around what I think should happen. The kind of grip that has to be ripped off, where you have to hammer each finger repeatedly and pry and attempt to uncurl them. 

I don’t want this. 

I don’t want my oldest three daughters living their summer days a block away from my house with their stepmom while their dad works. 

Should I seat myself gingerly on a settee, spread my skirt folds around me properly and smile silently? Sit up straight with grace and poise and fan myself every so gently as I wave to my daughters  through my window?

But…I’m their mom. Should I pull out photos of myself with a weird mushroom haircut and toasted almond lipstick, pregnant at 21? A tent t-shirt, a layer of net maternity panties, a layer of cotton panel maternity jeans…with stylish boot cut openings barely skimming the top of my shoes because I never did find long length…is that what we all need to see to remember I’m the mom?

Should I highlight the “right of first refusal” clause and text it to Norman? I might have done that. And he says–that doesn’t apply anymore; they’re old enough that they don’t need a babysitter. 

Should I cry about it to my own mom? I might have. Should I create an analogy where Norman is at his house, I’m working 40 hours, and the girls are sitting at my house with their stepdad? I might have done that too. 

Should I think about our summer days of years past…dying their hair with punky colors, watching them play softball, giving each other manicures, taking them to swim, signing them up for the summer reading program, taking them to my gym where I ran the kids’ summer fitness program, teaching them how to crochet, helping them set up an eBay business to sell their outgrown clothes, tie-dying tank tops and tshirts, watching them learn to swim like champions with Tideriders, driving them to church camp…

Should I throw my phone at the bed and leave the room? Should I call my lawyer? Should I argue and debate and push my side of things down his throat? Should I say that she doesn’t have a right to play house with my daughters?

Maybe I did do all that.

Should I pray?

Should I feel my grip relax in a calm, peaceful way that no hammer could produce? Should I see his side? Should I let go?

I’m not saying I’m some shy, agreeable fairy by nature. I’m not. I’m not. I’m not full of gracious wisdom on my own. 

People don’t tell you this part of a divorce. And you don’t know it until you live it. And if you haven’t lived it, God love you, but you cannot relate. You literally cannot empathize. You can imagine as a friend or you can scoff as a non-friend, but that’s it. 

Sitting on the back deck with your two youngest daughters, close enough to hear your oldest three squealing and laughing in a yard just over the hump in the road. 

Maybe I should’ve just been a perfect person then? And not gotten two divorces…

Oh yeah, let me just get right on that. 

I wanted to be right. You know? I wanted things to go my way. I wanted to keep my grip locked tight, tight, tight. But I thought, and I prayed. And I texted back that we can do what he wants. I’m not saying I didn’t fight first, but…

It’s not always about being right. 

It’s about doing right.









Ten

Ten

Go away. I need some space. 

Ten minutes. I need ten minutes. It’s a rule I came up with. Just leave me alone for ten minutes. And I will write 10 things you do right or 10 things I love about you. 

And I will write 10 things I do wrong, 10 of my faults and weaknesses that I know I need to work on. 

I promise I’ll be a different person in 10 minutes.  And if you will just do it too. I promise you will be different too. Thankful and humble, we can both remember how.

Sure, we know how to be mean. How to be independent. How to do it all alone. How to be selfish. How to stab love in the face. We know how. We know how to knock each other to the ground. How to grind faces in dirt. 

Do we know how to help each other back up? How to clean each other off? Dress wounds?

You want to name off all my faults? It won’t be hard. I have a lot of them. Think I don’t know them? But if you can just remember that I get a lot of important things right too, and I know you do too. If you can just give me 10 minutes to myself…I just might remember that you are my dream guy. 

…or close enough. 

I’ve never been good about being the first one to apologize. Go ask all my exes. But guess what? I love proving everyone wrong, in true eff-you fashion. Watch me do things you all think I can’t do. 

You…

1. You open my door. Even when we are in the middle of a fight. Even when it’s raining. You open it and you stand there, and how am I supposed to stay mad? Should I open the door to the backseat and climb in?

2. You work your ass off. Like…to the point of me worrying you’re going to fall over, and I’m going to panic and rush to you, and you’re going to jump back up, “I’m not dead, back it up…” And then you will go back to sweating and working. 

3. You don’t complain. Life is so often the same monotonous battles…work, messes, obligations. You tackle them with determination and dedication and loyalty that are so admirable. 

4. You are a great dad. Watching you with Rebekah is enough to warm my heart in its coldest states. You adore her. She adores you. 

5. You are a great stepdad. You do things like give my girls money and drive them to go movies for no reason…you don’t make them work for 6 hours first. 

6. You’re a great cook. Bratwursts, spaghetti, burritos, stroganoff… except for that glazed ham that you burnt, you keep coming up roses. Remember it? We scraped the crusty shit off and ate the good parts. Well…yeah. I can scrape the crusty shit off you too. And you can scrape mine off. 

7. You can fix anything…and do. My sink, my van, my landscaping, my dryer vent, my heart…

8. You make me feel beautiful. I’m at my personal low point of physical attractiveness. But no one who talks to you would know that. You think everyone wants me, which is hilarious…and super sweet. 

9. You forgive me. I know how to fight…really well, too well. And you don’t take my crap. Good. And you forgive my mistakes. Thank you. 

10. You kiss me and touch me with loving tenderness. Not every guy loves like that, but it’s what I want. 

Me…

1. I cry about everything. When I’m sad, when I’m happy, when I’m mad, when I’m touched, when I’m nostalgic, when I’m embarrassed…when I watch a dog food commercial. It can’t be easy to deal with someone like that. 

2. I’m stubborn as hell. Sometimes, I will hold onto a grudge even when I know I’m wrong…just because no one can make me let it go. 

3. Sometimes I spend money I don’t have. You know those carnival people who spin plates on sticks? And then they add another one…? Yeah that’s me and my budget sometimes. Spin spin spin. I got this. I can balance a stick on this other foot and…

4. I’m never wrong. I’m not easily convinced of anything. I can and will debate anyone. And I am very good at it, which…can be bad. I can wear a man down. Maybe that’s the same as stubborn…

5. I keep a list of wrongs. I don’t even know I do this until the next fight. And then my mouth will say all kinds of things that I didn’t even realize I had hidden in a dark corner in my heart. 

6. I can be so mean. I can poison a dart and shoot it with sick precision. 

7. I have very little discretion. I hide very little…for better or worse. 

8. I need to lose weight. I’m the heaviest I’ve been in a long time. But I’ll flip a switch and drop it soon. 

9. I can be lazy. How many days do I dump my laundry on the bed, hoping I’ll put it all away? …and then move it all back to the basket at bed time?

10. I can be insensitive. I usually know when you need a kind word, and I don’t always give it. 

Do you think I don’t know? I’m damn lucky to have you. And you’re a damn saint for putting up with me. Think I can’t say I’m sorry first? Well, as usual you’re wrong and I’m right. I can do it.  

I’m sorry, Keith. 

Sister, get my bikini

Sister, get my bikini

Yesssssss!!!! I’ve been selected to receive a free cruise to the Bahamas!!

The lady on the phone couldn’t hear me asking her questions; she almost sounded robotic. 

“Ma’am? Ma’am please…where do I go? What port am I sailing from? Ma’am! Ma’am! Can you hear me?”

Crap! I accidentally hung up?!

Busy tones. Busy tones. My return call isn’t going through here? Maybe I just show up at the port and they let me on the ship? Probably. 

Okay, it’s all Exlax and celery until she calls back. Hell yes.

I knew my ship would come in soon…er…or sail off with me in it, that is.

Bon voyage, suckers! 

Popular

Popular

Dear God,

You are wise and powerful and good. Your ways are not our ways. Who are we that You consider us and our petty problems? But you do. 

Where were we when you laid the foundation of the earth? Did you need our help to place the stars in the sky?

You bless us every day with gifts beyond our needs or wants. We are so humbled and thankful for all the blessings you pour onto our house. 

God, please help my 5 daughters to be courageous. Let them stand up for injustice. Let them be forgiving to anyone who hurts them, whether intentionally or not. Please comfort them when they are lonely. Please flood their souls with your peace. Let them be kind and wise to any friend in need. 

I hope they grow up thankful. I hope they are always loyal to their friends and mates. I hope they are successful. I hope they find love. I hope they travel the world and learn new things. I hope they all have families of their own one day. 

I hope they always love me. I hope we stay close, and they will ask me for guidance through problems as they grow up. I hope they don’t move very far away. I hope one day they look back and truly appreciate all the heart and soul and sacrifice that I put into raising them.

And I hope that today and every day they feel unique and special and worthy. I hope they never compromise their values to fit in. 

And when they ever feel left out or forgotten or not cool enough, God, please God…let them hold their heads high and squash that devilish lie. 

You will never hear me pray–dear God, please let my daughters be popular with everyone. Please God, don’t let them ever be left out or forgotten. Never. I will never pray that. 

It’s okay to get disappointed. God, please help them build their relationships with you when they feel lonely. 

Let them be gracious and loving and never envious or vain. Let them see the good in everyone. And especially in themselves. 

In Christ,

Amen 

Tell my Father

Tell my Father

I hold our sleeping daughter in the dim auditorium. I gently trace her perfect little face with a fingertip–over the curve of her forehead, off the tip of her tiny nose. Touch her quivery lips. Lift her up to kiss her soft cheeks. Breathe in her sweet scent. 

It’s been a long week. 

I miss you. I think about you in the field, in the rain, firing your howitzers. Drilling from 4am til 9 or 10pm…then up again. I don’t really know what you do there. Do they have tents and beds? I miss you and I miss you. 

And as I listen to the slow powerful harmony of the junior high Concert Men choir, and feel every word of this song, I can’t hold it together. I just can’t. And I don’t even try to…

Tell My Father

Tell my father that his son
Didn’t run, or surrender
That I bore his name with pride
As I tried to remember

You are judged by what you do
While passing through
As I rest ‘neath fields of green
Let him lean on my shoulder

Tell him how I spent my youth
So the truth could grow older
Tell my father when you can
I was a man

(Verse) (Repeat)

Tell him we will meet again
Where the angels learn to fly
Tell him we will meet as men
For with honor did I die

Tell him how I wore the Blue
Proud and true through the fire
Tell my father so he’ll know
I love him so

(Chorus)

Tell him how we wore the blue
Proud and true like he taught us
Tell my father not to cry
Then say goodbye

Heretic

Heretic

Do not read. Do not think. Do not question the infallibility of “The Church.” How dare you.

I see patterns. My mind correlates and makes analogies. I have a revolutionary soul. 

Heretics were burned for daring to question. There was no separation of church and state. Heresy was a crime against the government, and punished accordingly. Meaning–burn them. 

 

Does that sound ludicrous when we think of freedom and justice? That people were punished by the state, for disagreeing with religious beliefs?

In theory, one might say–“YES! That is insane!” Theoretically that sounds absurd. But what about in actual practice? Do we have a new “The Church” that is infallible? Are heretics punished if they question it or go against it?

Prior to 1436, the idea of everybody having a Bible was out of the question, even if they could read. Printing presses hadn’t been invented. Bibles were only read in Latin or Hebrew or Greek. 

Some people are bred to be elite. They learned Latin. They can read the Bible. But not the rest of us? We couldn’t possibly understand it, best to trust them. 

But we all know almost all the people were stupid back then though. Am I right? And really, most of us are plain dumb now, too.  Just quoting some facts here, right? 

“Most common people of the time, however, could understand neither the language nor the content …and most common people are still clueless about the content of the Bible today…”

“The common people of the middle ages had no intellectual defense with which they could make a reasonable judgment about the Truth.”

“No one was punished for simply believing a heresy. The crime was teaching it, and leading others astray. The Church felt it was their job to protect the souls of the innocent.”

(Quotes from catholicbridge.com)

_______________________

Yeah. I’m not veiling this. I do feel like the conventional medical community is the new “The Church”…or at least, I feel that it’s often viewed as a hierarchy of infallible authority. 

Don’t question it. You couldn’t possibly read or understand anything for yourself. If you go against the grain, you are a heretic, a threat, a menace. 

I will now include a portion of my conversation with the new pediatrician. This is not verbatim, but it’s close. 

Dr–So you went against medical advice of your last pediatrician? Why did you not give your daughter the medicine he prescribed?

Me–I did some research on it, and chose not to.

Dr–That was a very reckless choice. 

Me–Based on what? I can show you the scholarly articles and studies I read to make that choice.

Dr–For this relationship to work, we need to have a certain amount of trust and respect here. 

Me–I agree 100%…I would love to receive both of those from you, as well. Mutual, right?

Dr–Well, I’m not a mechanic, and I don’t claim to be. And you…didn’t go to medical school. 

Me–Right.

Dr–So…you need to defer your judgment to me. 

Me–…I did defer my judgment. That’s exactly what I did. I put the final decision on hold, while I’m gathering more information…

(Huh? Does he mean transfer my judgment?)

Dr–You are not the authority. 

Me–(thinking…I’m not? In my life and my daughter’s life…choices for our care…I’m not? Does he know what these words mean? Is this really being said?)


Dr–I am not the authority. 

Me–okay…?

Dr–GOOGLE (scoff, scoff) is certainly not the authority. The pediatric endocrinologists–THEY. Are. The. Authority. 

Me–Maybe in your world. In mine…God. Is. MY. Authority.