Monday, January 28, 2013

I am a 5 year old girl

Addilyn was being a butt-head today.

This might not be so surprising to those of you who don't know Addilyn well, she is after all a five year old girl and we all know five year olds are prone to butt-headed-ness. She isn't a butt-head  At least, not usually. She is my happy, go lucky, roll with the punches kind of kid. Until shes not. Then she is a pain in the butt. Moody. Grumpy. A pest to her sisters. General butt-headish behavior.

And that is when I know I have messed up.

We could call this an Addilyn problem, and, on some level, that wouldn't be entirely inaccurate. I believe we are in charge of how we deal with our emotions. But she is 5. And I am her mom. And I know adults who don't do that whole "emotion" thing well so it is a tall order for a short person.

Addressing the need behind the behavior is the quickest way to root it out. So even though I want to thump her and tell her to pull herself together, I don't. Instead of correcting the crappy attitude, we snuggle. I make time to read her a book or 3. I have her sit on the counter while I make lunch. I help her put her jammies on and brush the tangles from her hair even though she is more than capable of doing both herself.

By bed time I have a different kid.

She is sweet natured and silly, helpful and kind, she is back to being the Addilyn she really is instead of the one being driven from the inside by the need for a bit more attention.

As we snuggle in bed we talk about her day. I tell her the way she was acting ugly was not ok, she is contrite and apologetic  I know she is sorry to her core. She would not have been if I had confronted her and our relationship wasn't up to par. If she was feeling disconnected and I corrected her behavior  she would have pushed further away, deeper into her funk, resentful and feeling picked on.

I am such a five year old girl some times.

There are times when I know God is speaking to me and I just feel irritated. I feel put-upon by His will, like His best for me is just ruining my fun. Like doing what I know is right just isn't going to work in this world. It is times like this, if pressed, I would say it is I who has once again been negligent. I have gotten busy with the things of life and forgotten the things of the spirit.

So I stop. I pick up a book written by someone who prioritizes soul care. I have a conversation about things of the spirit with a friend. I talk to God. I listen. It doesn't always happen by bed time, but my attitude gets adjusted.

Each day I live with the knowledge that how I treat my children and respond to my God will forever be impressed in their little brains. Oh, how I fail. But maybe there is redemption in the picking up of the pieces, the adjustment of the heart, the upward turn of the eyes. Maybe, despite my failings, my children will glimpse in me real relationship, real love lived out. Maybe I won't screw them up beyond His ability to repair.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

First World Problems

My kids think they have chores.

Ok, so they kind of do. I hate free loaders and I won't be raising any so I do put my kids to work in all sorts of ways. We don't really call them chores, just kind of "hey, you live in this house so you are expected to help keep it up, it takes a team". Except for J, but he is really cute and bald and toothless and that really gets you a long way.

No, the chores my kids truly kevetch about are referred to as their "5 things". Each day, some time after they have consumed the breakfast lovingly prepared for them by one of their parents (who are we kidding, we all know Matt is the breakfast guy around these parts) my children are expected to do the following: get dressed, brush hair, wash face, brush teeth and make bed.

Whoa. Am I a mean mother or what.

Here is the catch; there is no screen time of any sort until they are all done. High stakes, my friends, high stakes.

Each day when I take a shower, I leave Eliana in charge of baby J. She is required to give him her attention in as much that he doesn't eat anything nasty off the floor, choke on a toy or get into general mischief  My shower is taken and I am back on duty in under 15 minutes  Be impressed, I am the mother of 4 who showers, shaves and does her (very short for a reason) hair and puts on make-up (ok, so mascara and chapstick) in about a quarter of an hour.

I think of this as "life skills" training for my girls.

I think of it as "survival skills" for Jamison.

Valuable lessons are learned by all parties. Many times I hear someone hollering, children arguing, a neglected baby grumping or other various noises that would make a less tenured mother sweat. I figure they will all be fine.

Eliana acts so put upon. She has to get dressed AND mind the baby each day after all.

Oh what first world problems my children suffer from. The clothing (of which they have a plethora of choices) and face washing is so time consuming. Clean water to drink and wash with. I love that my children get to call this "work".

I also hate it.

How do I teach world view to a bunch of children who think it is a bad day when they don't get desert because mama didn't bake anything fresh that day? How do I help them understand true hardship when the only thing that causes them discomfort is having to share a large, well heated room with a sister? How do the comprehend hunger and starvation when the only time they have empty bellies is when they turn up their noses at the dinner mama made?

They are young. I know this. I want compassion to come from the core of who they are, not out of pity for what they see. I want them to cry over the children who go hungry from a place of understanding that the are insurmountable blessed. I want them to know the only thing different between you and the child scavenging at the dump is where you were born. I want them to understand that other cultures are not failed attempts at being you.

And then I complain about lack of outlets for all our electronics at our house. I get irritated having to fold all the clothes our family own and washes. I grip about figuring out what in our vast freezer I should prepare for dinner that my children will choose not to eat. I whine about the traffic while sitting in my paid off van.

I suck.

Some days I feel like I have so far to go, surly I shouldn't be raising children.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


I am an introvert.

OK. Maybe that is a misrepresentation. I am PART introvert. I live in a weird tension between being someone who loves people but needs space. I have been out of my space, my home, my life rhythm for the last month as I spent time with my family and friends in Colorado.

I loved it.

I loved having coffee with people I usually am forced to only enjoy over the phone. I love hugging my niece and harassing my nephew. I shopped with my sister. I went out with my dad. I spent lazy mornings with my mom.  I hugged on my friends kids, slept in their beds, and spent hours of quality time with people who matter to me.

And now I am grumpy.

I am home, or at least where my possessions happen to reside, and I feel like I need to curl up with a book and lock myself in a room to "recharge". I have lost my balance, I spent too much time OUT and not enough IN. I don't really have good words for it, for the feeling of wanting to hide from the world.

So now we start the drum beat of normal life and it feels good. I miss, oh how I miss, being close enough to hug those I love.

So life is lived in the tension.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sacrifices of Motherhood

Sleep deprivation. Loosing the "pre-baby" body. Less "me" time. No time alone with hubby. These are all the sacrifices people talk about when you have a baby. These are things you are expecting, anticipating, freedoms you know you are giving up.

The there is the other stuff, the "second string" sacrifices you may have only heard when eves dropping on mommy friends. Things like never getting to pee by yourself or getting puked on or children running off with important things like cell phone or key or wallets.

Then there is the dark side. Things mothers don't often talk about because you just can't bring yourself to discuss it over a cocktail or even at a playgroup. Things you can't say out loud least your children repeat them. Things that sacrifice our very pride.

It goes beyond the humility of our children looking like booger crusted hooligans at church on those mornings you just can't seem to get your shizit together. It goes further than the embarrassment of your adorable new baby farting like a frat boy in the grocery store and leaving a green cloud behind you and everyone assuming it was you. The crimson moment when your toddler hands the nice man who just brought you dinner a soaked nursing pad.

I have fished toddlers out of airplane toilets. I have used my shirt to wipe off snot. I have fed my lunch to hungry kids because theirs just wasn't enough. I have eaten things baked in an easy bake oven by my 7 year old and if you don't think that is a sacrifice I invite you over to try her newest baked good.

As mothers, we sacrifice our clothing to blow-out poopy diapers, our hair to sticky fingers of curious babies. My glasses are always smudged from a toddler who trying them on. Half the time I find my bra and underwear somewhere unusual because someone was wearing them as a hat. Mothers sacrifice the ability to enjoy our coffee while it is hot, our cereal before it is soggy and the ability to change clothing without a running commentary about our naked form.

Tomorrow morning I will meet with a group of moms who I have been hanging out with since Jamison was a tiny babe. I love these girls. I am so excited for them, most who are just venturing out into motherhood for the first time.There is a bonding that happens between moms, a mutual understanding of sleep deprivation to the point of delirium, choosing outfits by what is easiest to nurse in, and having to make hard choices for people who don't yet have voices of their own.

Like so many things in my life, that which cost me most is most precious to me. On crappy days when I want to hand in my resignation  I will remember that my children are only little for a while and will dig deep to find that last little bit of patience. I will remind the new mama's how fast the little ones grow, the days are long but the years are short.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Perspective- Part 2

The accident was on my mind all night. In my dreams I was trying to save them or I was crashing my car or....

This morning I woke up feeling anything but rested. I spent a nice morning at a friends house while our kids played. We talked about the accident. I am still trying to find the right "box" in my head to put it in. Death? Things you never hope to see again? Pain? Car safety?

Through the wonders of technology and firmly filed under the heading "small friggin' world" I saw a friends post on Facebook. RIP. My stomach sank. I got that cold feeling. The one you get when watching a horror movie and the stupid blond girl is about to go for a walk. At night. In the graveyard. By herself. Stomach in my feet, I started to put together pieces.

I knew him.

The man who died while we waited for help to come. The man who I talked to, who I told everything was going to be all right. The man who I couldn't help. That man was Ryan. Ryan who graduated the same year I did at the same High School. The girl was Terra, his girlfriend.

Does it change things? I am not sure. In some ways it helps to know their names, it gives words to mourning. In other ways it makes it so much more real. I knew these people had lives before I knew there names. But now I know the names of those mourning their passing, I see pictures of there life, I read the expressions of love they wrote on each others facebook walls. I know Ryan's sister. It is so raw.

It is so tempting to pack this away. To find a box, neatly label it and put it far back in the recesses of my mind. To pour a glass of wine (or 4) and take a nap and wake up and choose to move on with my life like nothing ever happened.

But I won't.

I can't.

In my heart of hearts I know that avoiding and pretending isn't my path. For some reason, God had me there last night. It obviously wasn't because I had anything to give, I couldn't do anything to help them. So it must have been to give me something. Ryan, though he will never know it, gave me the opportunity to have a life defining moment. His last breaths, his gift to me, was a chance to hold up what I say is important and see if I have aligned my life accordingly. Do the choices I make today create who I want to be tomorrow? If tomorrow isn't a chance I am given, do the people in my life know how much I care? Have I spent my time and my money in a way that I am proud of? Can I greet my creator God with a smile and a "Thank you, I did my very best"?

So I won't pack away the hurt, the fear, the sadness and the helplessness of last night. I won't dishonor the gift that Ryan gave me. I will mourn. I will cry and feel angry that I couldn't do more. I will pray peace and hope for those who loved him. I chose to live today with my character shaped by an experience I wouldn't wish on anyone.

I pray peace and love to those who are mourning. I pray comfort on their hearts. I pray because there is nothing else I can do.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


Ok, so I suck as a blogger. I am long over due for a post. I am sorry, friends, that I have done a crappy job staying on top of this.

It seems wrong to have the first post of a year be a sad one. I feel like I should be talking about all the hope I have for a new year, a clean slate and blah blah blah

That would have been my post, but life doesn't always go the way you think it is going to.

We watched the Broncos game today. I am not a fan of football...or really any sports. I didn't grow up in a household that's pulse beat to whatever sports season it happen to be. And I pretty much suck at sports. The game was a good one though we lost and our season is now over. The devastation of Broncos fans sent ripples through Facebook.

The creeping crud has been making its way around our family, today it was Jamison who was feeling sickly and we were all out of Ibuprofen.  Despite the single digit weather, I was off to Target for drugs. My husband chivalrously offered to go, but I said it was fine as long as I could wear mom's warm pea coat opposed to my thinner jacket.

I drove about 2 blocks before my windshield was so iced over I had to pull over and fix it. After scraping and waiting for the car to warm a bit more I was on my way. I was headed east down Colfax just about to pass under the interstate when a truck in front of me swerved suddenly. They careened across several lanes at full speed. With an ear shattering shriek of metal the truck crashed head on into the stop light post.

It happened so fast. It felt so unreal, like I was watching a movie or a crime scene reenactment. I quickly pulled over behind the smoking truck. I turned on the emergency flashers and jumped out of my car. I ran up to the truck. I asked if anyone could hear me. A man who had also seen the accident was standing there with his phone calling 911.

I walked closer to the car. I could smell the destruction. I couldn't see anything but deployed air bags. I went to the passengers side door. Several other cars had stopped by this point and there were several men standing around, cussing mostly. I walked up to the door and tried to open it to see if there was someone in there. I asked for some one bigger than me to come help, not sure I would be able to move the shattered door, but everyone just stood around with faces looking shocked and appalled. I opened the door and bits of plastic and metal came pouring out. Glass was everywhere.

I saw a pair of boots, work type, but couldn't see what they were attached to, the air bags filled the truck and the front engine compartment was now in the cab. I walked around to the drivers side and pushed the airbag off the drivers face so she could breath. She was breathing but had a huge gash on her forehead. People were gathered around, but only one or two came close enough to see anything. I saw she had the owner of the boots laying in her lap.

I knew enough to not move anyone, not that I could have or that it would have done any good. The girl, maybe in her early 20's, was breathing raggedly. I gently touched her face and let her know she wasn't alone. I asked if she could hear me, if she could tell me her name. I told her help was on the way, I lied and said she would be ok. I told her that her friend was in the car with her and we would make sure to help him to. I told her to just stay real still, they would be there soon. She never responded.

The guys (I was the only woman on the scene) parked a big truck behind us so that no one would hit the wreck. I just stood, talking to the girl. I heard her friend moan. I told him help was on the way. I felt so helpless. I couldn't do anything or help anyone.

The firetruck was there first. The fire man said he would take over. He asked how many were in the car, if she was the only one. I told him there was a man in the car too, he was in her lap and was hard to see. I stepped back as they cut off the door. I talked to the police  trying to take guesses to why she swerved and how fast she might have been going.After much cutting of metal, they laid her on the stretcher. I moved my car. A police officer handed me a clip board and told me to take it to my car and write a statement.

I sat in the car, shaking. I had been in the single digits in a dress for the last 30 minutes but was just realizing how cold I was. I had to warm my hands by the heater so I could feel them enough to hold the pen. I wrote what I knew, which only took up 3 sad little lines. I got out of the car and waited for the officer.

They fire department continued with the cutting but with less urgency. When they pulled the man out of the truck, they gathered around then covered him with a sheet. I knew what that meant.

The officer came over and thanked me for my time, told me to travel safely and that they would be in touch.

I got back into my car, the radio was on and the dj's were ranting about the outcome of the game. It seemed so trivial. Who cares about a stupid football game, I just watched a man die and held a woman who was bleeding to death and struggling for each breath in my arms.

I came home. Matt made me tea, my mom gave me hugs. I told them about the crash. Jamison woke up.

I sat and rocked and nursed my baby and though what a strange thing life was. I could go from watching a life end to holding one that was just beginning in a mater of moments. I thought what might have happened if Matt had gone to get the drugs for the baby. I wondered why God worked it so I was there. Why not someone more helpful, who could have done something other than lie to a woman who laid with her friend dying in her lap?

My heart hurts for the family of the man who didn't get to go home tonight. My heart breaks for the young woman who may not see the sunrise tomorrow and if she does, will live the rest of her days with the blood of  someone else on her hands.

There is so much pain. I am not sure how to process it. How is life so harsh and so beautiful at the same time? Why do some get to walk away?

I know there are no answers this side of heaven. So my prayer is, Lord, let me walk gently through this world. Let my life leave echos of peace and love and truth. Help me spread more joy than pain, more wisdom than grief. Let me live a life of Grace because there is no guarantee for tomorrow.