Friday, August 29, 2014

Appointments, Drag Racing, and Football

I had a doctor's appointment today.  You know the one, ladies.....that one we affectionately refer to as our "yearly".

I got there and, right off the bat, couldn't help but notice the most prime spaces were marked "Reserved for Mothers with Babies"  Yeah, ok.  I remember those days.....the stroller, the big car seat, the diaper bag that housed everything you received at your baby showers.  I'm not cold hearted and I haven't forgotten what it's like to have an infant, but I did start to ponder......."Where is the parking space for the perimenopausal mother of teenagers, who doles out money like a PEZ dispenser, whose wardrobe has experienced no discernible changes since Bush was in office, whose bank account is suffering from a continuous hemorrhage, and whose hormones could snap at any moment turning this normally precious woman into a raving, sweating lunatic?"  Yeah, can't you spare a space for her somewhere near the front?  We're a worn down and forgotten people. 

My hurt feelings and I went on inside, signed in, and received the 14 forms that I needed to fill out even though not one, single piece of information had changed since my last visit.....but I didn't ask any questions.  I sat in the chair with my pen and clipboard and looked over at a young mother holding the cutest, little baby boy.  Oh, my goodness.....he was adorable......looked to be a month old or so.  He was sleeping like an angel......probably worn out from screaming all night.  His bleary eyed mother was holding him on her shoulder and smiled as I complimented his adorableness......and then I noticed his daddy.  He was sound asleep, even snoring a little, leaned over on the mother's other shoulder.  Oh, I remembered the exhaustion that I saw in their faces and started to feel a twinge of guilt about the parking space envy that I struggled with out in the parking lot.

Finally, they called my name and I was taken back to the scale.  Doctor's scales......they are from Satan.  I weighed in 4 lbs. heavier than I did when I left home just twenty minutes before......and it's a special bonus when the nurse yells it out just in case you didn't see how she kept having to move the little thingy farther and farther over to the right.  Where's HIPAA when you need it?

The nurse left me alone in the room with my standard issue sheet and assured me that the doctor would be right in to see me and by right in, she apparently meant just after he delivers a couple of sets of twins, performs a hysterectomy, and has his lunch break.  So, there I was.....alone with my sheet to count the ceiling tiles, study the woman's reproductive anatomy charts adorning the wall, contemplate how I now needed to go to the restroom, and estimate how much longer I'd be by judging the distance of his voice.       

Anyway, I got that over with for another year.  Oh, ladies, you know how good it feels to get that appointment behind you.  The receptionist handed me that appointment card for September 4, 2015.  I snatched that joker and skipped out of there like a school girl......aaalllll the way out to the perimenopausal parking area at the back of the lot.  

On my way home, I got next to this old man at a red light.  Yes, he was quite old......I'm not just saying that.  He was on one of those three wheel motorcycles.  I noticed as we sat there that he glanced over and was revving his engine as if to taunt me.  "Nah", I thought, "surely not.....he's just a little, old man.....probably on his way to volunteer at a hospital or work at his church" .....but then the light turned green and it was on.  He was racing me!  Changing gears as fast as his little, old hands could and looking over at me.  Well, racing isn't something I'm usually interested in, but something about his challenging "tude" awakened the competitor in me.  Maybe I was feeling unusually peppy and free from having "the yearly" behind me for another year.  Maybe my waning hormones were on the down swing.  Or maybe it was a mid-life type crisis I was having there at the red light as I longed to feel youthful again.  Whatever the reason, I couldn't let this old man beat me on his tricycle, so I gave the ol' Highlander the gas.  Oh, he stayed with me for a minute, but soon......the fuel efficient, sensible, middle class mom mobile with third row seating was too much for him to handle and he was looking at my license plate.  I laughed and may or may not have mumbled some smack talk into the rearview mirror.  What's wrong with me?!?!!      

And finally!!!  Tomorrow is the beginning of the Mississippi State football season!  I'm so excited about the season and our new stadium addition.  I use the possessive pronoun, our, because I feel that with the large tuition checks we're mailing in up there combined with ALL the ones my parents and Davis' parents have written through the years, the campus is......well, mostly ours. 

I'm not excited about the game day forecast of 80% chance of rain though.  Dreading the heat, I've been trying to decide all week just how little clothing I could wear without violating any laws, but now the heat threat has been replaced with more of a drowning risk.  Between the two school colors, I thought white might be cooler earlier in the week, but now I'm thinking maroon will probably be the safer bet in a torrential downpour.

Regardless, we're not letting the rain dampen our school spirit and plan on enjoying a relaxing Labor Day weekend with the family.  Hope yours is restful, too!

See y'all next week!       


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

What a Mess!

Yesterday, I watched as a little boy threw up all over the floor of a waiting area.  I don't mean just a little vomit.  No, it looked like horror movie special effects worthy of an Emmy.......a chunky tsunami of epic proportion.  Like everyone else who was around, I winced and moved as far away from the contaminated zone as possible.....each mother grabbing her children and pulling them close.  As we all sat in uneasiness, the mother ran over to the poor child and started wiping his face off with her bare hands and grabbed some paper towels from the nearby bathroom and started trying to soak up the gastric spill with their insufficient absorbency while we all just stood back and grimaced.
Vomiting could possibly be the only scenario in which women don't just rush in to help their fellow mother.  If the child had fallen, was lost, bleeding, or choking, there's no doubt that we'd all hurry to lend assistance, but when stomach contents start spewing out as from an oscillating lawn sprinkler, you're on your own, sister.  It's just a sad fact.  It's a lonely place....the shoes of the puking child's mother.

Today, while standing in a checkout line behind a young woman, I saw her baby do one of those simultaneous cough/sneeze/spit up things that babies do.  Without even thinking about it, she just reached down and used her fingers to wipe off all of the resulting fluids oozing from the child's orifices. 

It's your legal obligation.  It's all spelled out in the fine print of those triplicate forms they give you when you leave the hospital with them.       

I stood there in line thinking about us, mothers.  We have no qualms about getting in there and helping our children....even when it involves bodily fluids.  I've been spit up on, bled on, slobbered on, sweated on, vomited on, sneezed on, tee-teed on, and pooped on by my offspring and, on a daily basis, even voluntarily sink my nose into articles of clothing to see if I can detect any offensive odors and determine if they're clean or not.  Who else would do that for you??  None of it bothers me.....but let anyone else on God's green earth come towards me with any of that and I'll vanish faster than Houdini.   

Even though a little crude and silly, I think that's how God is with us.  There we are......crying and stunned... standing in the middle of a big mess that has erupted from the ugliness inside of us and while everyone else winces and runs away, He comes in, wipes us clean, and takes care of us.  The mess is still there and it's still repulsive, but He sees someone He loves very much standing in the middle of it and He refuses to leave us alone there.
You most likely won't find this analogy in any of the leather bound devotional books sitting on the shelves of your local Lifeway bookstore but it's the best I've got today.  Sometimes, you just have to work with the material you're given.
Happy Hump Day, y'all!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Nonverbal Parenting from the Choir

I had one of those mother moments in church this morning.

There I was in the choir loft nestled among the altos with Carson sitting in the very center of my line of vision.  He was seated with his buddies among all of the youth down front and by the second verse of the first hymn, I had identified an unsettling problem. 

Carson was smacking on a piece of gum.

From where I was sitting, it didn't look like a dainty piece of gum either.  No, this was no Dentyne or looked like he'd gotten his hands on a big, ol' gumball and he was working it hard over there on the front row.  Where did he get such a gigantic piece of gum at church?!?  It had me wondering if perhaps the church had recently banked the vestibule with candy machines and a claw game for fundraising.  Maybe I was just unaware.     

Now, I don't know about y'all, but I was always taught that you don't chew gum at certain places and on certain being among the very top of the list followed closely by weddings, recitals, and funerals.  It's a matter of respect.  This teaching stuck with me and I've tried to instill this into my children also but, for whatever reason, Carson had decided that this was the Sunday that he would forget all of that and begin chewing on some cud during "Brethren, We Have Met to Worship".  It was so large and obtrusive that I could even tell what color it was from the choir loft.....the most lovely shade of blue. 

Well, I did what any mother worth her salt would do.........I began trying to send messages to him with my eyes.  You know what I mean.  When wanting to correct a child in public without drawing attention to herself, a mother's first tool of choice is her eyes.  You know that look.........kind of a stern look with the eyes halfway squinted and lips pursed.  The mother's look sends out warning signals of displeasure to her young.  I used to get this look from my mother when I would write notes in church and if the lights were dim enough, I thought I could even see rays shooting out from her pupils....rays that were red in color.  A Godzilla type of superpower.  You knew you were in trouble when Mama's eyes emitted light rays from the choir.  It would be a long ride home and Casey Kasem would be turned all the way down until she'd had her say.

Anyway, when a child receives this type of glare from his mother, it should trigger the internal question, "oh, shoot.....what am I doing wrong?"  as he should begin scrolling through the mental checklist in his mind. 

Not Carson.  No, he just squinted back at me and gave me a big smile as if I were being playful with him. 

I'd have to take a different approach. 

I wasn't close enough to him to use a mother's second silent weapon.......the pinch.  The pinch is usually done discretely under a table or in an embrace and is meant to quietly send the message......"Stop what you're doing NOW"......leaving the child to discern what he or she is doing wrong.  The pinch never worked with my children as they, without fail, would scream, "Ouch!!  What!!?!?" .....exposing my underground tactic every time.

With our church service being televised, my hands were tied on how far I could go with my nonverbal cues as I didn't want to be caught on camera behind the preacher mouthing the words, "SPIT THAT GUM OUT, BOY!" while sticking my fingers into my mouth in a charades sort of fashion.   So, I did the next best thing.......I made eye contact again and this time decided to place my hand gently on my chin and ever so subtly point to my mouth with my finger.  Surely, this would do the trick and he would immediately spit his big wad of blue gum into the nearest offering envelope.

"He must get his ability to pick up on subtle hints from his father", I thought as he continued smacking.  He took my finger signal to mean that he must have something on his mouth and started to vigorously wipe it with the back of his hand and then raised his eyebrows as if to ask me if he'd gotten it all.  At this point, I'd decided that I just simply could not parent from the choir loft and he smacked all the way through the invitational hymn,  whose title, ironically enough, described how I longed for him to chew his gum......"Softly and Tenderly".  I mean, you know, if he had to chew gum in church.

Oh well......I did get tickled at the situation as I sat helpless in my choir robe under the big spot lights with the camera scanning back and forth.  He could've been standing on his head while whistling "Dixie" and I couldn't have done one thing about it. 

Parenting is fun.



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Moving Day Meets Birthday

Move in day didn't go quite like I'd planned.  I'm nothing if not organized.....usually......but somewhere between moving Blair's pile from the guest room to her room to the dining room to the cars.....there were some items that were left behind.  While not quite as dramatic as the book series, the "left behind" items did put a kink in the flow of our day. 

I had to make a Wal-Mart run to get a few missing things.  Now I don't know if you've ever been to Wal-Mart on move in day in a college town, but let me just tell's not where you want to find yourself.  It was a three hour excursion.

I was entertained as I looked around at the other shoppers though.  I've never seen quite so many moms clutching long lists as their 19 year old boys followed along about three paces behind them.  Every so often, the mom would stop the cart and turn around and ask him a question......I'm sure something like, "Can you think of anything else you need?  or "Could you use another blanket?"  He'd then shake his head and kind of throw it back in exasperation as she'd turn back around to her list and her red pen. 

And every single shopping cart there, as well as mine, housed the obligatory ironing board.  We all needed those red flags that hang off the end of a log truck's load to signal the potential impaling hazard.  You had to be so careful between the ironing boards and shower curtain rods, but I finally made it out of there.   

As the daughter of an over protective mother, who taught me the art of seeing the potential danger in everything, I'd requested that their apartment not be on the first floor as I'd prefer my daughter and her friends to be behind doors and windows that aren't on the ground level.  It's crazy, I know, but I have my mother to thank....and maybe one too many episodes of CSI.   Davis, God bless him, was not loving my request as he made 500 trips from our cars to the upper floor on one of the hottest Mississippi days of the year so far.  I'm not sure, but I think each time he came in with another load, he removed an article of clothing.  I thought, "I sure hope he's done soon or this could get awkward."

Daddies on moving day.....they're a humorous sight to watch.  Oh, they're invaluable in unloading the cars and for the pile of "some assembly required" items that you lay before them.....oh, and the trips to the dumpster....let's not forget those.....but after they're done with that, it's best to send them on their way......unless you just enjoy hearing heavy sighing and the repeated phrase, "how much longer?"

Meanwhile, as we worked like dogs, Blair was off enjoying being the birthday girl.  As fate would have it, her birthday had fallen on the day that the girls in her sorority were to wear their matching long, pink, flowing, chiffon dresses.  This couldn't have pleased her more as it lent itself to a birthday princess motif. 
We're slated to finally celebrate this weekend when we're all together and the stressors of the last couple of weeks are behind us.  For her celebratory meal, she requested, "I just want your food......home cooking sounds so good right now!"  And so it will be. 

I still can't believe that I have a 20 year old.  I was thinking about what I'd like to tell her.  Mostly, things I wish I could've learned earlier in life.....some I'm still working on:   
*  The gift of time is more precious than anything that money can buy.  Make time for people.  It is the most valuable gift you can give anyone and the most difficult to give.    

*  No matter how dark a storm may seem, the sun will come out again and no matter how clear today is, clouds will eventually roll back in.  Don't ever think anything is forever. 

*  Don't be afraid!  Go do the things you dream about while you're young and free!  Time goes by faster than you can ever imagine.   

 *  You're your own worst critic.  Don't ever forget that.  None of us will likely ever see the beauty in ourselves that others see.  Cut yourself some slack.  God worked hard on you. 

*  What other flawed people think about your flaws isn't important.  Just be concerned with God's assessment of you.

*  Your tongue has the potential to cause you more regret than anything else.  Use it carefully.

*   If God blesses you with children, you are responsible for nurturing their souls.  Take that responsibility more seriously than you've ever taken anything. 

*   Don't worry about building your image, name, or profile.  It's all just smoke and mirrors and nobody's is as perfect as they want you to think.  Don't compare your life to someone else's spit shined version of theirs.  Just keep your eye on your own paper and be concerned with your character. 

*  You may be the only representation of Jesus that someone ever meets.  Be a good one. 

*  Don't overlook the overlooked, the forgotten, the misfits, the lonely, the poor, the elderly.  Don't be too busy or self absorbed to be compassionate.  God may have sent them your way because He trusts you to do something.  It only takes a minute to make someone feel important.

*  You will make mistakes.  We all do.  The only One who didn't is the very reason you can move forward and not keep looking back at them.   

*  You have your talents for a reason.  Find a way to honor God with them.
What would you tell your 20 year old self? 


Monday, August 18, 2014

Blending in at the Sorority House

Well, I'm back from college.

Oh, I have so many thoughts about my trip that I don't know which direction to go with it, so let me cover the sorority rush week experience today and then we'll have the move in day recap later, so to not have all of our fun at once.
Some of Blair's sweet friends
Can I just start by saying that I'm having a slightly difficult time making the adjustment back to real life after doing the college thing for a couple of days?  The trip also may or may not have sparked some mid-life crisis issues within me.  Spending the night with Blair in my old college town, fetching $5 lattes, and staying out 'til all hours.....I felt nineteen again.  All that was missing was a phone call to my Daddy to tell him I needed more money. 

Anyway, we, moms, were busy, busy back in the sorority house kitchen preparing the food and drinks for their meals, snacks and also for the parties that they were hostessing.  Wasn't quite as glamorous back there in the bowels of the kitchen as it was up front where the girls were all in their little black dresses with their nude Jessica Simpson heels, fabulous eye makeup, and flawless coiffures, putting their best foot forward for the potential new members coming through rush.  They were sure to smile at us as they politely closed the kitchen doors just before the VIP guests arrived as seeing the old mamas back there slinging pots and sweating like pigs certainly wasn't the image they wanted to project.  We were kind of like the dirty clothes in the laundry room......everybody knows you've got 'em, but you don't want your company looking at it.
Kitchen staff, 11 hours into our shift
I made several observations during my stint there.  For one, I've never seen so many cute girls all in one place in my whole life.  Everywhere I looked, there they were......darling girls with shapely legs, voluptuous hair, golden tan skin, and firm muscle tones.  I was especially amazed at their hair.  For 12 hours, they hosted right after another....and at the end of the day, they still looked like a Pantene commercial.  I felt like Olivia Walton who'd been dropped down into an episode of "The Bachelor".  Clearly, I wasn't getting a rose.
The senior girls
I was also fascinated at how they could eat!  They ate and ate and ate.....M&M's, pizza, pasta, chicken strips, ice cream........all hours of the day and night.  Oh, how I remember that heavenly time of life!  I wanted to warn them....."eat like this while you can, girls....the time is coming when your metabolism will be slower than your great-grandmother driving to church in the rain".  And just wait until those hips have a couple of 9 lb, 2 oz missiles come barreling down through the middle of won't be able to get your left leg in that little black eat up, girls!

Just before we served dinner, the girls offered to do the routine for us that they'd been performing at all the parties.  Oh. My. Word.  It was so awesome!  All the dancing and flipping and tumbling and gyrating.  I've seen scissors with less of a leg swing.  I couldn't help but think that if I kicked my leg that high up into the air, a dispatcher would have to get involved.  I was duly impressed at their agility.  Again, I wanted to tell them to enjoy the limberness of their youth.  It, too, is fleeting.  Before you bat an eye, your ankles and knees will sound like Pop Rocks when you walk to the medicine cabinet to scarf down Aleve like Tic Tacs.           
The entertainment
Another wonderful observation I made was that you could tell that these young women were taught well by their mamas.  They were true southern ladies.  They always stopped by to tell us how good the food was after each meal.  "Thank you so much...the food was delicious!"  Oh, their parents would've been so proud!  Southern girls, no matter how far from home, always carry their Mama's voices around in their heads.  Shhhhh....listen.  I can hear mine now......"Don't forget to tell them you enjoyed it."    
The main thing that I noticed was how much love there was there.  The girls were so complimentary, encouraging, and loving to each other.  I was never a sorority girl, but I saw the bond they all shared and I have to made my heart happy to see my daughter part of something so special.  I know that they will stand as bridesmaids for each other and, one day, may sit in waiting rooms, anxious to meet one another's firstborn.  I bet they'll send Christmas cards, call on birthdays, and meet up a few times a year.  And when they're my age, they will sit around talking about these days under a tailgate tent and they'll wish that they could go back to that time for just a moment. 

If only for kitchen duty.
Carpe diem, girls!

Y'all are precious!!!



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

An Oxymoron

It's hard to believe that someone, who spent his life making others feel happy, was so incredibly sad.  The news of Robin Williams' suicide sounded like an oxymoron.  How could so much laughter and sorrow coexist?
All the news anchors are asking the could this happen?  Robin Williams was so many friends, fans, a loving family.  I could only think about how easily it could happen.  We're busy, busy, busy.....scurrying around to the next slot on our bloated schedules, texting our greetings, and wishing friends well on social media and we think that's a normal relationship.  After all.....saves time that way......the gift with which we are most selfish. 

I'm guilty.     

With all of our high "tech-ness", we probably have less face to face time with people now than ever before.  We text, Facebook, post, email, and comment.  We like, poke, favorite, tweet, retweet, send E-cards, snap chat, FaceTime, Words with Friends, and instant message, but my generation and the ones that follow us probably spend much less time actually visiting, talking, or in the actual presence of our friends than our parents and grandparents did.  How could we become this advanced and connected with the whole world and yet be so isolated from each other?  Talk about an oxymoron.  There's something quite sad about that.    

I had a brief brush with depression after Carson was born.  I'm no expert and no one would want to fork over a co-pay to see me about matters like this, but I did learn some things during the few weeks that I spent in its presence..... 

It is a dark place.  It can take a vibrant, strong, energetic woman and turn her to stone.  It has a way of making you believe it is here to stay.....that it's not going anywhere and you get anxious considering the possibility that it's telling you the truth.........but it lies.      

It distorts your perspective.  Convinces you that you're the only one feeling this way.  It heaps on guilt and adds a little shame.  It takes away your reason.  Depletes your energy.  Makes everything seem like a chore.  It dulls the senses.  Makes you feel weak.  It tells you that you're alone. 

Depression is not an indication that you lack faith.  It is a sickness that can be treated if necessary.  Get help if you need it.           

It's more common than you think.  I don't go around telling unsuspecting people in elevators about the time I had postpartum depression, but if someone confides in me about a similar problem, I take the opportunity every time to let them know that I've been there, too.  Just knowing you're not the only one is a dose of good medicine and may be just the encouragement that someone else desperately needs.  This life stuff is hard.  We need each other.    

Most importantly, I learned......the sun will shine again.  You will wake up one day and feel joy again and there will be excitement in your voice and a bounce in your steps.  The night will come when you go to bed looking forward to the next day. The light will return in your eyes.  You will sleep soundly.  You will even laugh until your stomach hurts and Coke comes out of your may not feel like it, but Coke will come out of your nose again and you will feel alive once more. 

And when the clouds have lifted, the joy will seem brighter than ever, because we always appreciate the sun more when it's been stormy for a while.

Just hold on.  God has not left you.

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."  Psalm 34:18

I'll be gone for a couple of days.  Blair's moving day is almost here!  A week ago, I moved her large pile of worldly goods from the guest room to her room.  Yesterday, I moved them from her room to the dining room.  I know this sounds like a lot of senseless moving, but I think it helps my feelings to inch it a little closer to the garage.  It's therapeutic for me.  Tonight, we will, alas, load it into the car and I can breathe a sigh of relief. 

I'm going up there tomorrow, so that I can do some Mom volunteer work in the kitchen at Blair's sorority house.  I certainly hope that I don't blend in too much with the sorority girls.  Perhaps I should wear some type of badge that will help distinguish me from them.  I don't want it to be confusing for anyone.   

After I put in my day in the kitchen, then we'll move her in on Friday which is also her birthday.  She'll be tied up all day and into the night in meetings, so we've scheduled her 20th celebration when she comes home next weekend!

I'm sure I'll have a lot to write about when I get back from this adventure! 





Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Nice Place to Visit

It's been the quietest weekend.

Blair's back in the swing of things....just enjoying being reunited with her college campus after a summer long separation.  I am counting the days until her looming pile of earthly possessions can join her there.....five more just in case you're wondering.  Whenever I get texts from her, she's either having lattes, working out at the gym, or eating dinner with friends.  It's good to be in college. 

At the end of this week, she will leave her teenage years behind and enter her 20's.  Wow!  That would have to make her mother, at least, ........well, never mind about that. 
And Carson.....well, he went deep sea fishing again this weekend.....this time with my two brothers and two nephews.  I'm glad I didn't know about he and his cousin diving into the Gulf, thirty miles offshore, for a little swim until it was all over.  I suppose I shouldn't be surprised though.  When one sends one's child off with one's brothers, one just never knows.  Don't they know it's "Shark Week" on the Discovery Channel?  Surely, the sharks will be out to boost their ratings this week of all weeks!  And haven't they heard of the flesh eating bacteria?  Oh, I hope my mother doesn't read this.  Let's move on. 

He did catch a bonito, one of the fish on his fishing bucket list, so that made him very happy.  He informed us that now he would like to take his college fund and purchase a big fishing boat.  He feels the seas are calling him.  Not sure about that plan, son.    
So, with both kids out of the house, what are the parents, who remain, to do?  Well, for starters.......I cleaned the house on Friday afternoon and it stayed clean ALL weekend long.  I did laundry Thursday night and haven't had the need to run another load ALL weekend.  I made a pot of soup Friday and we ate on that ALL weekend.  Those are just some of the upsides of children being gone, I suppose. 
Davis worked some and I caught up on Carson's scrapbook..... I am now actually in the year, 2014, so that's good.  We listened to the 80's music channel while we worked and not one person complained or sighed about it.    
We did go out to dinner last night and since there wasn't a movie playing that we wanted to see, we ran in a few stores, went for ice cream, and then came home and went for a walk.  I know by now you are all on the edge of your seats.  We're the stuff television series are made of.    
This morning, we were both ready for church ten minutes early and had no one to wait for...... no one for whom Davis had to blow the horn to hurry along.  Being on time for church.....apparently another unexpected perk of children being away. 
Carson's back home now.  He's talked 100 mph about his trip.  That's added some much welcomed noise back to the house. 
It was a nice, relaxing weekend, but I'll just tell y'all right empty nest is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there just yet. 
Hope y'all got some down time, too!
Happy Monday!     

Friday, August 8, 2014

Blessed are They

This weekend, as we head out to the lake, restaurants, ball fields, and movie theaters for our American weekend, I hope we won't forget to take a while to pray for those in our world who are being targeted because of their faith.  Not targeted in the sense that we think of here in America, but targets of some of the most disturbing wickedness that I have ever heard of in my lifetime.
In America, where we're so far removed from the horror, it's easy to get wrapped up in our TV shows, the iPhones, the break neck schedules, the family obligations, and the social media time trap and forget that there are so many people who are living out the worst kind of nightmare today because of their beliefs......something we have only read about happening in other places and other times that are far, far away.
I have seen the most heart wrenching pictures of mothers and fathers walking through the searing heat of the mountainous desert, holding their limp babies and small children who didn't survive the lack of water and food.....little bodies about the size of some of my own nieces and nephews.  Only pure evil beheads children, hangs fathers and rapes mothers in front of their families.  It doesn't take much of those kinds of images to force you to imagine your family in their place. 
Take time out of your weekend to pray for the Christians in Iraq, the people of Israel, the children being used as human shields, and all of the other innocent people who have found themselves caught in the middle of the evil that Hell has unleashed on God's children all over the world.  And as you sit in church this weekend, be especially aware that it is a privilege denied to many.   
      "Blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven."
Matthew 5:10


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

That was Then and This is Now

Carson started high school today, so round two of our high school parenting has begun.....only this time.....the boy version.  Surely, the boy version is easier.....and more cost effective than the girl version, but I digress.  When Carson was younger, there were certain things that we used to do to kick off the beginning of school....things that I don't think he would particularly appreciate now.  Since the start of middle school, little by little, there has been a slow progression toward the growing independence of this day.  Being in high school and compounded by the fact that he is a boy, his mother must come to terms with the fact that adjustments have to be made.           

One thing I have a hard time refraining from is buying matching school accessories.  For boys, this is so elementary school.  I ordered Carson's backpack and lunchbox online and I admit.....I had to fight some of the old Mom the urge to order the gray and orange L.L. Bean lunchbox that PERFECTLY matched his new orange Under Armor backpack.  The woman in me thought how nice they would complement each other and how put together he would look.  Matchy matchy is awesome in the third shows the other kids that your mom really loves you when your tennis shoes and backpack coordinate, but, in the 9th grade, it means you have umbilical issues and she needs to back off.  An umbilical cord dragging the floor behind you in the high school hallway is not cool....especially for boys, so I resisted the perfect match and instead ordered the lunchbox that was completely void of color....the steel gray/midnight black.  It's just blah enough to look really manly and mature.   

At about this age, parents must also come to grips with the fact that the pleasure of their company is not requested at the back to school open house like it once was.  With tongue in cheek, I told Carson that his Daddy and I couldn't wait to go with him to pick up his schedule and walk around with him to meet his teachers at the open house.  His eyes grew wide and the color drained from his face as if he'd seen a ghost.  "NO!! NO!!  I got this, Mom...I'm in high school now", he said in a fight or flight tone.  You'd think that Davis wears orthopedic shoes with white knee high socks or that I have a horn growing out of my head and long whiskers on my chin.....oh, wait.....forget that last part.   I know all younger teens go through that time when they're ashamed that they even have parents.  They'd prefer the other kids think that they are a refugee from a foreign land having arrived here by boat on which their parents perished after succumbing to an intestinal illness and, as a result, were forced to survive independently in the wilderness among the forest animals.  I mean, after all, parents are embarrassing.  You never know what they're going to say.  They drive sensible cars, ask your friends dumb questions, and introduce themselves to everybody as your parents.  Death seems like the less painful alternative to walking around with these people at your school.  

First day of school pictures were also always a big event around here.  Oh, I remember lining Blair and Carson up every year on the first day of school.  I'd pose them where you could see their little lunchboxes and backpacks and they'd flash a toothless smile so big that you could see their adenoids.  Granted, picture aversion is more of a teenage boy hang-up as Blair would still be tickled to death to pose for a first day photo shoot if she were here.  Boys....not so much.  " do you always have to take pictures of every little thing?!!"  Oh, don't'll get the picture.  It will just look like an ad for the medicinal treatment of constipation and you should just accept that on the front end.   

I try to remember when I drop him off at school or ball that I shouldn't drive right up to the door where people are gathered.  This goes along with the desire to portray the "I don't have parents" image.  I had a bad case of this when I was about his age.  I started telling my mother, "this is close enough....let me out here" about 4 miles from the school.  The worst thing she could do was drive up to where my friends were gathered outside and let me out right there in the middle of them.  I try to remember the horror and not do that.  It is much cooler to just come sauntering up on foot.....leaving everyone to wonder if maybe you snuck out of the house, hot wired your neighbor's car, and then illegally drove yourself there after an afternoon of joy riding because you're just cool like that. 

High school kids also have little patience with a barrage of first day of school questions.  I can relate to this frustration though.  My mother was the founder of exhaustive parental questioning.  She is pictured on Wikipedia under such.  That woman could think of more questions than....well....I don't even have a simile for that.  You'll just have to take my word for it.  She could ask some questions.  I guess that's where I learned the art of the interrogative sentence.  While 6 year olds can't wait to tell you the details of their day, teenagers have little patience with questions regarding who they sat with at lunch, if they met anyone new, and what their favorite part of the day was.  To be respectful, they'll answer two or three before the heavy sighing starts.  I struggle with refrain in this area, but it's apparently a genetic problem that I can't help.    

A few other things that I've slowly said goodbye to over the last few years include, but are not limited to, little boy haircuts with short bangs, juice boxes, starched school pants, monogramming, Lunchables, sending money to school in sandwich bags, grilling one burger per person, class birthday cupcakes, kid menus, and the cheaper boy shoe sizes.               

I think I've done pretty well giving him space to grow.  Some of it, I could feel him asking for and some...we just backed off on our own.  I love everything about being his mom.  There's nothing like a big, growing boy plopping down on your lap and giving you an unsolicited kiss on the cheek.  Underneath the maturing young man who wants to enjoy a little more independence is a little boy who still needs to lay his head on his Mom's shoulder sometimes while they watch tv together.  I can't hold his hand and walk him to his classroom ever again, but he knows that no matter what........I am always holding it in my mind.......I am always here if he needs me.......and I will always see my little boy in his growing face.





Sunday, August 3, 2014

Well, That's Disconcerting

Ok, so this week, the last full week of summer, has been so hectic and crazy and a little unnerving!  I thought I'd share with you some of its more unsettling moments.   

1) Davis and Carson went to south Louisiana for a couple of days to go deep sea fishing with Davis' cousin.  "Davis, take care of my boy", I reminded him as they left for their destination, which was about 60 miles SOUTHeast of where "Swamp People" is filmed....where the Mississippi River meets the Gulf.  So....just so you have this in your go where Junior and Troy live just on the edge of nowhere and then keep going down for another hour.  All sorts of scenarios can go through a mother's head with her child traveling to that part of the country.  Most involve large reptiles and the death spiral. 

They were in the middle of nowhere, so I didn't hear from them as they had no cell service.  This was a good thing, I suppose.  I have always been a big believer in "ignorance is bliss", but my bliss ended late Thursday afternoon when I started getting spotty, vague messages from Carson.......
"Dad almost died....(30 minute pause) 
..slipped and fell overboard.......170 feet deep........big sharks swimming everywhere..........
lost his expensive glasses.......couldn't see the rest of the day.........I caught a huge shark........almost pulled me in..........feet came way off the deck...........on our way home now........Dad is flooring it."
Yeah.  I got messages like that. 

No pictures of the shark that Carson caught......or of Davis treading the shark infested water.  Clearly, I'll have to go along next time to properly document the event.  Everyone made it home with all their limbs, so all is well that ends well. 

2) Another event that shook me at my very foundation.......I found 12x and 18x magnification mirrors at Stein Mart this week and can I just say that it has been one of the most disturbing things that has ever happened to me in my life!  I really didn't even know those existed except for maybe in the Hubble telescope or somewhere like that.  I've had 8x mirrors and those are bad enough......but I've never magnified myself 18 times.  Let me just tell's not pretty.  Whoa!  I purchased the 12x mirror because I felt it told enough of the story.  The 18x was just the stuff nightmares are made of.   

If you ever feel your ego is getting too puffed up, go get yourself one of those and sit by a window with it for a few minutes.  You can see hair three days before it surfaces.  Each pore looks like a sinkhole, and my fine lines....well, they look like a page from the Rand McNally Atlas.  Oh, and the eyebrows.......they looked like my Daddy's when magnified 18 times.  Now, there are a lot of ways that a girl would like to favor her daddy, but eyebrows are never one of them.

I apprehended the usual suspects on the chin with my tweezers and found one who'd apparently been a fugitive for a while.  I didn't know whether to put the curling iron to it, call Guinness Book, or just pluck it out.  Plucking it almost felt like cutting down an old oak tree that had seen so much in its time and had a story to tell.  Oh, if that hair could talk. 

It was oddly impressive.
3)  And the most recent rumble in my little corner of the earth.......Blair left today.  After being home for three whole months, she headed back to college for all the sorority activities that precede school starting.  The door to her room is closed off again and our house has a little less fancy now.....a little less aerosol, a little less Michael Kors.......a little less happy noise.  We have palled around all summer, eating, exercising, watching movies, talking, and eating (did I say eating?) so, naturally, I'm going to miss her so much.  It's hard to be too sad though when you recognize the excitement in her eyes.......that kind you remember feeling. 

Unfortunately, she can't move into her apartment yet which means that even though Blair left us today, her large, ominous pile of things did not.  Davis and I will move those in a couple of weeks.        
I guess that's all that has rocked my world this past week!

Here's to calmer seas starting tomorrow.

Smooth sailing to y'all!