Thursday, August 30, 2018

Those Days

Keyra sympathizes 

Ever have one of those days? The kind that makes you wonder if there is a reason for the dark cloud hovering over you; words you don’t usually say out loud dive out in center. “What the?” might slip out, disguised in a cloud of pity. 

Yesterday was my turn. After battling with my heavy duty bike lock for five minutes in front of the Doctor’s office, I finally gave up and parked it inside the building under the stairs. (See past blog about bike getting stolen.) Now I regret not listening to my ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat) doctor and having my earwax cleaned out every few months. I let a year go by until they got so clogged I couldn’t hear, like my head was stuffed with a pillow. You might be thinking, “So what? Get the gook suctioned out.” That’s what I thought. The problem was I used eardrops which melted the wax and let it harden again onto my eardrum and ear canal. The pain of ripping it off was worse than going to the dentist and feeling the drill. Doc had to give up before getting it all out or he would rip it off my eardrum which he informed me would hurt more than what I already experienced. Okay, I’m good. I can hear a little better. Get me outta here. 

My bike ride to work was fine. Work was fine—I’m happy as long as I can write during my lunch break and drink coffee—until I experienced the job hazard of working in medical records. I dropped two chart binders on my toes. Wearing comfy thin fabric unfashionable sketchers didn’t help. The more I walked around the building, the more my toes swelled and hurt to touch and bend until I was limping my way home. I could still pedal with my heel, but I needed to walk. We had tickets to a Broadway show the next day. We only do this once a year. Why now? 

Now the guilt. I realize how small my problems are. My sister suffers with chronic back pain, never complains, and I’m whining over a few sausage toes that will heal in less than a week. I should be thankful it’s just “one” of those days and not a month or years. The pain also changed my focus. Before smashing my toes, I was concerned about what to wear to the show. Did I have time to shop for a new outfit and get a haircut? And I really needed new shoes…but all that didn’t matter when I felt pain. My puffy slipper boots felt the best. Style…who cares? I was able to walk ten city blocks and see the show.  

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. God wants us to have joy no matter what kind of day we are having. So let us not be tempted to say “What the?” Every day should be one of those “good” days if we know God loves us and watches over us. 

Please share how you overcome distractions and stay focused on God.

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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Onward Team Mom



When asked if I have kids, I answer yes. They are still my kids even if three of them are in their twenties, and two are teenagers. The Mom feelings haven’t changed much since I felt the first fluttering in my belly and began to worry about their wellbeing. Now that they have survived chewing on Legos, climbing monkey bars, and running around the block playing manhunt (teenage tag / hide and seek,) without too many broken bones, I have new worries as they venture out into young adult life. How will they pay their college loans? Will they drive safely? Will they still have faith in God? I have this gnawing feeling that everything is out of my control now. Probably because it is.

When they were young, I could fool myself into thinking I had some control. I shopped for their food, cooked the meals I wanted them to have, and dressed them in the non-designer, hand-me-down outfits I liked. Even at a young age they began wiggling out of my clutches. In my obsessive health food stage, when I wouldn’t give them any sugar or processed food, they wouldn’t eat half of what I prepared for their nutritious meals. Slowly, I started allowing a few cereals that came with a toy in the box. Skippy peanut butter replaced the natural stuff—no one wants to stir the unfortunate layer of oil every day. White bread showed up in our kitchen again. I don’t remember if there was a single day I said, “I give up. You win,” but somehow my little ducklings took the lead in the food department. Dinner always included Trader Joe’s chicken nuggets for the pickiest eaters. “Peanut butter on crackers for lunch?” Okay. “Granola bar for breakfast?” Sure, At least you’re eating. Don’t judge until you’ve tried cooking for five kids who inherited different taste buds.

Back to the control issue…I should have realized this was the beginning of loosening the cords I held wrapped around my knuckles. Actually, I would never loosen them voluntarily—it was more of a tug-of-war battle. I need more faith to see God was helping to pull their side across into the mommy-free zone. Not fair at all, but who am I to argue with the Creator of the world? He will remind me that they are his children who I prayed for and was blessed with the opportunity to raise.  But I’m a mom, the one who applies Band-Aids and instinctively wants to prevent the booboos. Time to let them make their own decisions and learn from their own mistakes.

When the nurse first handed me my eight pound squirming, screaming, perfect baby, she should have warned me the little peanut would grow up and slip out of my arms. So I’m thankful for the days of homeschooling, the days of playing street soccer and stickball, the countless hours of driving kids to sports and sitting on cold benches, and summer days of applying layers of sunblock, smelling like coconuts mixed with cherry ices, and walking home from the beach with a cup of sand stuck to our legs. And nothing compared to snuggling with my freshly bathed, Ivory Soap kids and reading stacks of picture books. Our house was never as clean or quiet as I’d like, but it was never boring, and I went to bed knowing all my kids were safe.

If I worry about all the things that could possibly happen to my kids as they leave for college and travel and commute to jobs and become adults, I won’t be able to think. I’m better off remembering how God encouraged Joshua: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Maybe when they officially move out and live on their own, or at least pick up their dirty socks, I’ll stop calling them kids, but I’ll still be Mom who needs a hug now and then.

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