Monday, January 17, 2011

You're leaving me here, dear, alone with all your letters

Dear futureSquid,
                            I have something to tell you. I did not like the talk that you insisted we have last night, about how you wanted myself and the behbez to "keep moving along" when you've left-let the kiddos have their party as scheduled, go to movies,play, fuss, anything- just don't sit home and be sad. I'm excited about our little adventure, but this part, not so much, and you had just HAD to go and bring it up, didn't you? Ok, well maybe you really did, in all fairness. But now you've left me with the unpleasant thought of figuring out just how to do this business of moving along without my best friend, the person who makes mundane tasks fun, the person who I run to with every sadness and happiness. The only one I'd ever want to go through the ups and downs of marriage and parenting with. The one who's great with all of our friends' kids. My sharpie tattoo guinea pig. The one who let me know it's okay to take a nap. The one with all the impressions, the keeper of all the inside jokes. The feeder of the the squirrels, my Cannon Von Sixty. The one who's a terrible sport. Bug's Saturday morning wrestling opponent. The one who can simply raise his eyebrows and remind me to be a little more gentle with my words to others. The big spoon. The one who comes around the car in the rain to open my door for me.  The one that both Bug and Sugarplum Fairy adore completely, in part because of who you are, and in part because you let them eat cookies for breakfast. The one who brings me flowers. The one who "boxes" with my best friends. The funniest person I know, hands down. The one who prays for us before we go to sleep each night. The one who all old ladies are in love with. The one who asked me out across the room in math class three years before we ever got to go on that date. The one who has forgiven many mistakes on my part in the last nine years.The one with the most charming, mischievous smile I've ever laid my eyes on, the one who I think of everytime Bug flashes that identical grin. Sugarplum Fairy's only hair-fixing client. The one who hugged my very intimidating dad in a church full of people and lived to tell about it. The one who stands up for what he believes in, even when others don't like it. The one who is fiercely protective of our little family. The one who gave our kids that indescribable laugh. The one who can fix absolutely anything, the one who is the sweetest uncle a niece could ever want to have.  Now that I think about it, maybe it's not that you're leaving...maybe it's that you've insisted on being so very, very missable. Either way, I promise to continue planning parties, watching movies, loving our babies, and living as normal of a life as possible with you gone, but I cannot promise you that my heart will feel whole until we're all where we belong, and that is wherever you are.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Something is not the same.

This is quite possibly the cheesiest thing I will ever least I hope it doesn't get worse! I'm going to go all livejournal circa 2001 on you and post some lyrics to a song that my mind is constantly bringing forward in this new year. Without further ado, I give you....

Defying Gravity (Shorter version, adapted for Glee...did it just get cheesier? It did. But you really should listen to it sometime. No? Ok.)

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I'm through with playing by the rules
Of someone else's game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes and leap

It's time to try
Defying gravity
I think I'll try
Defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye
I am defying gravity
And you wont bring me down

I'm through accepting limits
''cause someone says they're so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try, I'll never know!
Too long I've been afraid of
Losing love I guess I've lost
Well, if that's love
It comes at much too high a cost

I'd sooner buy
Defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye
I'm defying gravity
I think I'll try
Defying gravity
And you wont bring me down


I love this right now. I'm amazed how much this change, this total shake-up, being removed from my comfort zone, has encouraged me to stop telling myself "I can't", or believing anyone short of God who says anything of the sort. It's not been anything but my own insecurities, my own fears, stopping me from going for the things I want or need to do. FutureSquid setting gears in motion didn't cause any magic- it didn't make me more capable, knowledgeable, or better at time management. It's only let me ask myself one of the most liberating questions: Why can't I? I am going to fail and flounder at more than one endeavor, I'm completely sure, but to quote that fabulous song, "I think I'll try." Our God is mighty, and while I'm not anything without Him, I can open myself up to the beauty that is possibility, and see what He may choose to use me for. Why have I for so long let anyone- myself or others- cause  me to doubt so much? I'm finished with the negativity, and it's an enormous weight lifted. I feel genuine joy and excitement to take on what lies ahead, come what may. Jesus Christ died for me while I was still a sinner- by grace beyond comprehension, I've been adopted by a loving, holy God who is bigger than ALL things- what do I have to fear in stepping up to my shoulda, woulda, coulda's? How could I forget whose hands are holding me? I feel genuine repentance, and some foolishness for not living this way sooner, but hope to move forward always, ALWAYS knowing that:

               I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. -Philippians 4:13        

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

completely and utterly and wonderfully gratuitous.

I just want to take a moment out of Crazy Laundry Wednesday (CLW) to note that Bug's been out of school for over a month, most of which he's has had to be still and calm due to the removal of the tonsils and adenoids, AND we've been snowed in for days without so much as a car ride. I'd like to also note I've been told that they, being Bug and Sugarplum Fairy, should be killing each other by now.

...but they're not. He's still letting her in his room. And they're building tents, and he's "making snacks" (he's taking the wrappers off of popsicles), and I've heard not one irate word from him, or her signature shriek; only lots of giggles and her agreeing to his every idea. They will never, ever know how much this makes my heart feel like it's going to just burst from happiness, to watch them want to be around each other, for my little loves to love each other, too.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

little boxes...

Grandmothers, please don't kill me for this one. You aren't going to like it very much, I'm afraid. I'm sorry!!!

Yesterday, as we were about to go out and play in the snow, Bug couldn't find either pair of his new gloves that he had told me were in his top drawer. Upon searching his room high and low with no gloves in sight, I came to his toy boxes. I thought it was possible he had crammed them in there in an attempt to clean up quickly, so I had a look. There were no gloves, but I was correct to assume he had been cramming to clean quickly. He had crammed, and lots. Mostly garbage. I can't tell you what it was that made me so mad about seeing that, but I can admit that yes, for a minute, I forgot that this child is only seven years old, and I did what I never do, what I make it a point to never do. I yelled at Bug, with bulging eyes and a tone full of frustration. And the completely shocked look on his face when I did would have killed me right then and there, had I not still been rambling to myself and sorting through the mess. He asked if I wanted help and I told him no, to please go sit down. I pouted that I was cleaning garbage out of boxes for toys instead of out in the snow with Sugarplum Fairy and futureSquid and had a "mothering is a thankless job" moment. I was overdramatic and feeling sorry for myself. But the truth is, although the toy boxes stuffed with junk weren't a pretty sight, I was the one putting the stress on myself, and on my son. We could have handled them later, or I could have made him do some of the unpleasant work since he'd made the unpleasant mess.  I was just so consumed with getting it all straightened out that I wasn't thinking clearly. It didn't take long for the outburst to catch up with me, though- it rarely does, especially where my babies are concerned. I came into the living room and apologized to Bug for yelling. I know that may seem controversial to some parents, but futureSquid and I always apologize to the kiddos when we've been wrong. It's never seemed to undermine our authority, and I'd never want to give Bug or Sugarplum Fairy the idea that we think we're always right, or that we don't often need God's grace ourselves. He seemed fine, said he was actually relieved to have his "secret" out, but I still wasn't at ease. Later, with both kiddos tucked in bed, prayed for and kissed, futureSquid pulled out our devotional. I didn't know what the subject would be, but I was certain that it was going to be something that would end up adding to my guilt, and I was right. But the thing about guilt is, sometimes it's founded. Sometimes guilt can work as negative reinforcement, remind you to turn on your heel and go a different path. The devotional was about teaching our children about God's love through the way we show love and tenderness to them. Ouch. I don't recall the last time I'd felt God's wrath due to carelessness, and I'm an adult. And I had been the antithesis of tender. How did Bug deserve such anger? He didn't, of course. Earlier I had apologized for being wrong, but now I was worried about potential damage done to his confidence in how very, very much I love him. Truly, I never get that way with him, so if he felt doubtful, could I blame him? All this swirled around in my head. Poor Bug. Teary-eyed, I stopped FS mid-reading and went to his door. Once I was sure he was still awake, I walked to his bed.

"Yeah Mommy? What's wrong?"
"You know I love you, right?"
"Of course I know that! I always know that."
"Even on a day like today when I yell and seem very angry, you still know?"
"Yeah! *laugh* How would that make me think you didn't love me?"

He amazes me. He had it wide open to make me feel terrible, milk it, or even just be seven and maybe really genuinely feel less loved when I lost my cool with him. Instead, he sat there with giant blue eyes and smiled at me like I was silly for even asking.  If we're being honest here, and since I'm sharing my embarassing and unnecessary yelling episode, I'm apparently into being honest, I don't always grasp that concept myself- I forget in my day to day that "being good" has nothing to do with why God loves me. It's a product of my own negative self-talk, and has nothing to do with the loving, long-suffering God who has proven Himself steadfast time and time again. I get down on myself when I mess up, and not always in the productive way, the "do better next time" way. Twenty-six and I forget, and yet Bug understood that he could make a mistake, and that I could be even angry with him, and it had positively no bearing on my unconditional love for him. He understood better than I do at times that those two things were entirely seperate subjects.

I doubt the day will ever come that I can say I've taught my son more about God's love than he's taught me.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

Friday, January 7, 2011

Nest wishes

A devotion with my futureSquid last night that's kept me thinking, a mom friend questioning these same things over a blog, a challenge from a dear pal, and a lingering frustration all have come to a head to lead to this particular post. Our devotion last night was about whether we do all we can to teach our kids about God throughout our days. And, when we got honest with ourselves, we could most certainly do better. This, with other things listed above, got me thinking about the things I ultimately want us as parents to have given both Bug and Sugarplum Fairy when they head into the world, and out of the nest.

I hope Bug knows the grace of God, and the protection His commandments provide in saving us from ourselves. I hope he knows he's never too far away to come home. I hope he knows the contentment of working hard like his dad does. I hope he still holds doors and lets ladies go first, and defends their honor, were the need to arise. Speaking of ladies, I hope he wisely chooses to be around those who love God, who are intelligent and challenge him to think, and who do not need to put a man down to feel like a woman. I hope he remembers not to take himself too seriously, secure a solid group of good friends, and make time to "play". I hope he never lets anyone talk him out of pursuing what his heart loves due to its lack of trendiness. I hope he is able to have a strong sense of self, also like his dad. I hope prayer is his first resort, and not his last. I hope he knows he's capable of whatever he sets his mind to- that he absolutely has what it takes. I hope he calls futureSquid when he's doubting that. I hope he remembers that the world measures success in a different way than God instructs us to, and when he feels like holding a grudge, I hope he remembers what Jesus did for us. I hope he stands up for what he believes in. I hope he knows he is loved by so many people so much, and I hope he believes in himself as much as I believe in him.

I hope SF knows about the grace and protection of God as well. I hope she understands that there is strength in softness and power in true feminity; she doesn't have to model herself after a man to get where she wants to go, that God made her just as He intended to, and He will help her over any hurdles in her path. In that same turn, I hope she knows that being proud of being a woman has nothing to do with the destructive behavior of emasculating men. I hope she knows how truly beautiful she is- both inside and out, and I hope she doesn't let magazines or videos tell her otherwise and cause her to compromise herself, or feel badly. I hope she's able to make that stubbornness work to her advantage, and persevere through times when she may doubt her talents. I hope she knows she is loved unconditionally. I hope she understands how invaluable being a lady is- how it will help her words carry more weight, strange as it may seem. I hope she knows that no man will love her like her daddy, but the one who wants to put a ring on her finger should come as close as possible. I hope she remembers to treat others well, and not use her words like arrows, but like a balm. I hope she is lucky enough to have a handful of close girlfriends, and I hope she is able to find the humor in life. I hope she knows her identity lies in who she is in Christ, and can forgive herself when she inevitably makes mistakes. I hope she remembers to call me most days.

I could write forever, my wishes for my beautiful family could go on and on, but those are some of my biggies. On my own, I could never accomplish anything close to this, but I pray that with God at the helm and me and futureSquid helping every way we can, my birds can leave with some of these things in tow, helping them along.

The child was growing, and was becoming strong in spirit, being filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.- Luke 2:40

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Sugar Sugar

Being her half-birthday and all, I thought it a good time to tell you the things you should know about the Sugarplum Fairy. She came out both beautiful and slightly angry-

             (See that blank, kind of freaked out look on Bug's face? When she gets in a mood, it pops up still)

- with a headful of black hair, 7 lbs 8 oz, seeming positively tiny compared to her sibling, and equipped with an excellent set of lungs. Whereas with Bug coming out so calm, I just got to sit and take him in for a moment, hold him and just be, Sug came out so little and needy, and I got to throw myself straight into mom mode. I wouldn't change either first meeting for all the world- they were both perfect. Two and a half years later, all of the black hair is gone, the itsy bitsy-ness prevails, and most importantly- the pipes remain. She has used them to tell us what she thinks from an exceptionally early age, cry when something is worthy of a cry, and sing her little heart out. She is the girliest girl she could be, but loves to tackle her big brother or play with his dinosaurs. She is obsessed with trains. She's far more shy than Bug, but once you've  broken in to her little circle, you're in. She loves who she loves, but she loves shoes more than anything. She's highly perceptive to be so young, and likewise very sensitive. She is exremely funny, following in Bug's comedic footsteps, and already has a few silly voices in her repertiore. She is the most modest human being I've ever been around, and would like others to follow suit, which has led to some half funny, half embarassing moments. She makes this face when she's mad that is my mom made over, this kind of puckered-lip look full of disapproval, and it causes bad flashbacks of being sent to my room. To watch this girl work her daddy is to watch a pro. To my complete excitement, she's been willing to watch old musicals and reality dance shows with me since before she was a year old- something that I had been greatly missing in a house with two very "male" males. Sugarplum Fairy is all things bouncy and girly and frou frou and sweet and moody, and life with her in it is an absolute blast. During my c-section, the nurses (including a dear friend who I am eternally grateful to) had the radio on, and SF came into the world to Cyndi Lauper declaring that girls just want to have fun. That turned out to be a most accurate assessment of the sweet baby girl that is our Sugarplum Fairy.