Thursday, April 30, 2015

Funny Girl

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who discovered that if you make a person laugh, they tend to like you more. (Flattery didn't hurt either, but laughter was truly infectious.) She made a lot of sweet little friends and pretended that boys were icky. Later on that girl grew into an awkward, knobby-kneed teenager. And while her sweet little friends began to blossom around her, she realized that if she wanted any attention from those icky boys, she'd better keep them laughing.

Spoiler alert: that girl was me.
[insert surprised gasps from the audience.]

I was able to catch a man with my hilariousness, thank goodness. (Hope for knobby-knees everywhere!)
I've grown to care less about care a lot less about the way I did or did not fully blossom, but I'm still a goof. You see, I've been training since youth, and old habits die hard.

I'm pretty unapologetic about my silliness. I yam what I yam, I guess. I'm a happy person by nature, and I genuinely love to see other people respond in happiness around me--Because joyfulness is what brings me peace. Because joyfulness is what gives me strength--it energizes me.

The trick to being a funny girl is that you need to know when to turn the humor off, and this is the area where I struggle. I often tell my children "there is a time to play and a time to be serious." Oh, how I wish it was always play time. For reals. Because sometimes life gets really hard, y'all.
And in those serious moments, I tend to use my humor as a defense mechanism, which more often than not leaves me with my foot in my mouth. Honestly, if I had a nickel for every time I've made a "joke" and then immediately wanted to suck the words back in...let's just say I'd have a lot nickels.
And I don't want nickels. I want people to live joyfully.

And with that, it's time to be serious.

I saw a post from a sweet momma who was voicing her irritation at a certain "joke" that has become pretty commonplace among the parenting circles. There's all kinds of variations, but they all come back to "if your kids are alive, then you did your job."

It pains my heart so deeply that I know several women who have lost their babies. It's unimaginable to me. I literally can't find the words...
And yet I use my words so hastily sometimes.

I think one of my toughest challenges I face in motherhood is that I seriously don't know what I'm doing. Straight up. I feel no shame at all in admitting it.
Sometimes, the kid has a problem with a friend from school and I'm answerless.
Sometimes, the kid gets sick in the middle of the night, and I'm checking Dr. Google and giving myself a heart attack because I don't know how to help them.
Sometimes, a child blatantly disobeys me and I don't know how to discipline them, because despite my own ignorance, I have birthed children who are super smart and outwit me all the time.
Sometimes, I walk outside and my super smart children are literally wallowing in the mud with their good clothes on and I don't know why or how it happened.
Sometimes, they get themselves into predicaments where I am utterly useless and I can do nothing more than fall on my knees and cry out to God to help me.

But oh, do I love them.

I'm sure I've shared this multiple times on this blog, but after I had my first child my mother-in-law gave me the best advice I've ever gotten. She said, "Just love them, and you'll do fine."
There's the answer, by the way. Right there:

At the end of the day, if your kids are ALL LOVED, then you did your job.

(Man, I wish I knew how to work graphics. Somebody please make that into a poster.)

We cannot completely control our babies--even the Creator gives his children free will. And no matter how hard we fight it, we cannot keep life from happening to them.
But we can love them. We can love the snot out of them.

Not in a coddling way, but in a way that shows them how grow-ups ought to act and ought to love.

To love people enough to give them grace when they use their words hastily--in the kind of "forgive them Father, for they know not what they do" way.
To love people enough to be humble, to admit wrong-doing, and to make an effort to correct your actions.
To love in a way that puts others first--before your pride, before your comfort, before your needs, before your "habits."

And maybe way at the bottom of the list: to love people enough to laugh at their corny jokes, even if they're not super funny.

Because if we loved people like this, the world would be a lot more joyful.

(Ephesians 4:29 ESV)
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Here's hoping your words "fit the occasion," friends, and that you are able to live joyfully today.

Friday, April 3, 2015

My Tomorrow Song

Occasionally I write things with absolutely no intention of sharing them, (which is extremely weird for a person with a blog to say, I know) but I came across this poem today in one of my notebooks and thought it was worth putting out there. I am not exactly sure what was going on when I wrote it, but I do think that it pairs nicely with the solemness of today.
Hope it might strike a chord with you too.
Tomorrow comes
With all its worries and its doubts
With things that never will work out
And unanswered questions

Yes, I do know
It will be easy not to care
To drag my feet and hang my head down for a while
But I'd rather smile

Tomorrow comes
With challenges I've yet to face
And all the plans I've yet to chase
And may never realize

And while I know
It will be easier to cave
To guard my heart and tell my foolish dreams goodnight
I'd rather fight

Tomorrow comes
With its own brand new set of foes
With more bad news and bigger woes
That leave me uncertain

I do still know
It's easier to feel afraid
Than to live with abandon and give people a chance
But I'd rather dance

Tomorrow comes
With all new ways to knock me down
To take my light and block it out
And to keep me quiet

And yet I know
It's easy to blend in and hide
And act like tomorrow has nothing good to bring
Oh, I'd rather sing

Tomorrow comes
Just like every day before
With acts of love and cries of war
And this revelation

We have to choose
To take the easy way, or live
Like "bright hope for tomorrow" is something we believe
As for me

I'd rather smile
I'd rather fight
I'd rather dance

I'm gonna sing

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Hundred Second Squeeze

Yesterday my youngest turned five, which is weird, because I'm also pretty sure it was only yesterday that I was walking around El Paso wondering when in the world this baby was going to But I must have blinked and somehow ended up fresh out of babies.

After I gave him the appropriate amount of sugar and toys and fuss (and couldn't figure out for the life of me why he didn't feel like going to bed on time,) I went to my computer and did what I would suppose many other moms do: I drank and a glass of wine and cried as I looked at pictures of my baby.

Oh, what a difference a blink can make.

Now, we can all pretty much agree that my cupcake-making ability hasn't changed as much as the boy, but let's not lose focus here...

When I learned I was going to have a little boy, I remember feeling excited to the point that I wanted to jump up and down. (But decided not to as I remembered that I was pregnant and more likely to pee my pants if I did that--so I'm sure I just smiled a really scary-like Cheshire Cat smile instead.) It's not that I don't love little girls; I absolutely do. But ever since the moment I'd found out that I was pregnant for the second time, I felt in my bones that I was going to have a little boy--and I love to be right almost as much as I love babies. So with the confirmation of my boy, I got my win--and man, did I hit the jackpot with this kid.

He's as boyish as they come. Messy. Loud. Tough. Athletic. Busy...Messy...Loud...

I remember so many nights kissing his soft, squishy cheeks over and over, telling him "I'm stealing all your kisses so there won't be any left for your girlfriends."

(Yes. I absolutely said that. Sorry in advance to all future girlfriends.)

But just like any good boy, he has started to outgrow my kisses. He has informed me that he still really likes hugs, but just like any good boy, he doesn't call them hugs. He calls them "squeezes."

A few days ago, I was running ridiculously late. It was one of those days where you rush around so fast to get ready and fly out of the door that the makeup melts off of your face as you apply it. I asked my son very sweetly to put on his shoes and meet Mommy at the door.
"Yes, Mommy," he answered. "But first, may I have a hundred-second squeeze?"


Regardless of what my Mother's Day cards say, I very seldom feel like the world's most awesome mom. But as I looked at the clock and then back to my sweet boy's outstretched arms, I couldn't help but answer, "Sure, Bubba. Come give me a quick squeeze."
"Not quick," he said. "A hundred seconds."

My mom once told me the story about the day she brought me home from the hospital. Trying to be sweet, my dad told her, "In five years, she'll be starting kindergarten. In another five, she'll be more than halfway through living in our house. In another five, she'll be dating boys. In another five, she could be having babies of her own."

My mom started to cry. In her defense, my dad grew me up in four whole sentences. But to be fair to Dad, I'll bet my mom would say that there were days my childhood seemed that fast. After blazing past five years already, I can't help but feel like thirteen more just won't be enough.

And as my son hugged me tightly and counted to "a hundred" that morning, I couldn't help but wish that 100 seconds was a lot longer than a minute and forty seconds.

Because I tend to blink.