Thursday, July 24, 2008

What Did She Mean?

I just had a conversation with another friend.

This is one friend that I think I like. I am never quite sure.

I've been friends with her for several years. She has been in my life even before I had all my kids.

And yet, there are times that I really don't know. I come away from talking with her just a few times and think, "what did she really mean?"

It is unsettling. Maybe it is just because I am insecure. Maybe it is because we are from two different countries and we have slightly different ways of saying things. Maybe...

I just don't know.

I hate the uncertainty that comes in there, longing for stability in my instable world.

Then there is God. Thankfully, He speaks my language, whatever mix of languages and idiosyncrasies that really is. With Him, there is no worrying uncertainty.

Monday, July 21, 2008

You Are Not What I Wanted

Hard words to hear. There is nothing we can do to fix those. We can fix, "You're not doing what I want" or even "You're not acting how I want you to". But "You are not what I wanted" is unfixable.

Especially hard to hear them from a husband.

Because there is no way to say, "oops, sorry then, I guess this was not the place for me. I'll go back and start my life again."

It is not how I am behaving. It is not what I am doing. No. It is who I am. How do you change your very person? Your "who"? And then, the question that follows closely on its heels - if you do change who you are, are you still you? Or are you some sick puppet-like human being constantly saying, "tell me who you want me to be, and I'll be that person."

I'm not sure I'm willing to go there.

I've been there before. Trying to be the best puppet I can be. It is a soulless occupation. Difficult even to retain a relationship with God in an unreal reality. How does this puppet-like person relate to God? "Someone tell me how I should, and I will." But where is the reality in that?

No. I am not a puppet. I want to know God. I want to know people. I want to love people and know they love me. I may not be what he wanted, but this is me. I can learn things, I can change, and I can even grow. But I can not be someone else.

I may not be what he wanted, but this is who I am.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Why did I even ask?

A few days ago, I took my kids on a two hour drive to do something fun. On the way, we began to talk... I think God had a point when He said teach these things to your children as you walk on the way. On the road, they can not get away, there is little to distract them, and for once, they are interested in talking to mommy. Also, my eyes are on the road, so they don't get that "Uh, oh, mommy is watching you" feeling.

So, as we drove, we began to discuss all sorts of topics. Such as - "yes, you do have hair on your arms, and you will get more in the next year or two as you grow" and "no, even if your sister does have more hair on her arms than you do, you will not talk about that. Girls have problems enough with how they see their bodies, and you can begin to practice only saying good things about your sister's body even now when she is very small and doesn't seem to care." We branched out into discussions of teens and peer pressure and drugs and driving and telling the truth, even when your friends might not like it. Many topics came up one leading to another while I got questions and questions thrown at me. The boys are at an age that they want to talk still. I wasn't sure that their sister was listening or not while she sang to herself in the backseat.

Then we began to talk about fighting impulses. I told them that every time you fight your impulses and discipline yourself, you become stronger. Every time you give into your impulses and just do whatever, they begin to control you, and you become weaker. We discussed someone we know whose lack of control over impulses is presently affecting my kids in a negative way. I told them that even the small daily choices that they make now to chose against their impulses and discipline their lives will help them not to give into bigger problems later on.

Here, my daughter who had up to that point just been staring out the window happily singing to herself piped up. "Momma, I disciplined myself to stop doing something. Am I stronger now?"

"That's good; it will make you stronger. What did you discipline yourself to stop doing?"

"I used to eat my boogers, and I disciplined myself to stop, and now I don't do that anymore!"

Why did I even ask?!

Now I am the proud mom of a non-booger eating little girl who is working out her self-disciplining muscles!

May God give all of them the strength they need, and bless their choice to do right - yes, even if it is about not eating boogers.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Boys, boys, boys

Boys. There are times that there is not much more you can say. My middle boy got a new bike for his birthday, so he was out testing it. For some unknown reason, he decided to go as fast as he could and then slam on only the front brake.

Well… you can guess what happened. He went sliding forward and hit an unmentionable part of his body hard against the post for the handlebars. Result – one kid lying moaning on the road, walking funny back to the house, hurting.

Boys. What does this son do next? Of course, tells his brothers who have gathered round to see why he is moaning in pain, “Hey, you ought to try riding real fast and then slamming on your front brake. It’s real sweet!”

Boys. So, of course, son #3 promptly heads off to repeat the experience. Result – another boy lying on the road moaning and then walking funny.

Meanwhile, my middle son comes up to me with a worried whisper, “Mom, do you think I will still be able to have kids?” Ha! Now is the time to worry about that! (This comes from his dad telling him he can’t have a bigger bike until he can reach the ground so he will still be able to have kids.) After a brief reassurance that, yes, I think he can still have kids, but don’t try that again, he goes off to check with boy #3 on how his trip into the handlebars went.

Boys. You would think that two down would be enough, especially since boy #1 is slightly older than boy #3 and should know better. No. He takes off, knowing full well that this will hurt, to do the same thing. Thankfully, maybe, boy #1 has never been half-hearted in anything he does and has no fear or respect of pain. He speeds up much, much faster than his two brothers and slams on the brake so hard that he catapults over the handlebars, thus preserving his child-producing abilities completely, and slams top first into the road. (Thank God for helmets!) Of course, he gets up moaning and groaning, too, but it is only his pinky that is swollen and turning blue.

Well, after two warnings of the basic fact that this event will cause pain, I am only so sympathetic, and tell him to put ice on it for a few minutes before I examine it and conclude that he likely broke the finger, so I tape the pinky to the finger next to it.

After a night of moaning that the finger “really, really hurts mom!”, guilt begins to set in. He is my son, as foolish as he is at times, and he is only eleven. The poor kid will need his fingers. What if I don’t care for him well, and he ends up not able to move his finger and the rest of his life I look at it and think, “I should have taken him to be seen to.”

Guilt wins, and after a nine hour wait in a cold ER with no place to sit, the doctor comes in with the grim news. The finger is broken. We will have to tape it to the next finger for a few weeks for it to heal! ARGH!

At least I don’t feel guilty anymore.