Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Sunday Reflection

Crossroads are a natural part of life's journey. Fairly predictable at the end of education endeavors, decision on marriage and bearing children. But, I think the ones that are the most difficult involve less on the factual statuses of life and more on matters of the heart.

I have spent two years at a crossroad. Written all throughout this blog are posts littered with depression, questioning, with a sprinkling of some epiphanies, yet no action has really been taken. It is much easier for me to write about being at the crossroads and what I think I should do than actually stepping forth, making a move, getting off of the "x marks the spot" and journeying on.

Last night I found myself at the foot of my beautiful Sadie's bed while she slept. My purpose in being there was to pray for her, to petition to God for wisdom and understanding into a beautiful mind that has become an enigma to me.

You see, this school year has brought to the surface the struggles that each individual member of my family has, but in no one more obvious that Sadie. I noticed a decline in her behavior over the summer. Little acts of disobedience. Little manipulations. Little lies. Little aggravations. I was not the proactive mother. Our summer schedule left little time to enforce discipline measures. Jay traveled much of the time. Honestly, I was just tired of being a mom. Tired of being, actually.

As the school year has progressed, so has Sadie's transgressions. A little bit of talking in class has become a lot of talking in class which has become talking while the teacher is instructing which has become impulsive loud acts, which has become hitting another child with a book, chasing around a hair in the air while class is being conducted...etc., etc., etc. This only parallels her behavior at home causing me to be consumed with anger and for me to attempt warp drive in the control department. If I just clamp down hard enough, rant and yell enough, I can squash her into this box that I think she should fit in. I searched the internet - ADHD, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Boredom, Highly Intellectual, Differentiation in the Classroom - looking for answers, solutions, problem-solving on my own. Do you hear the problems already?

The height of these acts occurred this week, resulting in an explosion or rather a possible implosion of our family. As typical with the workings of God, desperate times draw you close to Him and you reach a new heightened sense of awareness of Him and His love. Monday was just one of those days...

So, there I was, sitting beside my sleeping angel desperate to hear from Him. As I prayed for my child's heart, the light began to shine into my own heart. I wasn't just praying fervently for her, I was praying desperately, soul-searchingly for me. I needed my God. The tears became sobs. I was broken, yet again.

How could I have gotten to this place? Admittedly, by my own two feet. Walking away from Him. On my own.

Easily, I cried out to God to draw us both close to Him. He comforted my heart. He soothed my soul. The next day, God continued speaking to my heart in my bible study. This is what I learned:

1) God is not asking me to problem solve this situation. He asks that I just love her, turn her to Him, apply necessary discipline. Ultimately, I must have faith that He who does a good work, will be faithful to complete it. I should never be desperate or exacerbated.

2) I must shore myself up with the word. My life's history clearly shows how being the word is hugely impacting to me in every single part of my day. The highest of highs, the joy of of joys comes from being with my Savior. My entire countenance changes, a supernatural change that I can not create myself. I am able to transcend the struggles of this world to live with a peace that truly passes all understanding.

3) I must role model self-control which can not come from me, but from the Holy Spirit. If I am flying off the handle, having my little adult fits, rages, etc., how in the world can I expect Sadie not to?

4) I must not let how this world defines a "good" child be my guide for Sadie, nor can I let the rolling eyes and judgements of other parents, teachers, etc. to shame me, doubt my parenting, or define success for me. This is between me, Sadie and God.

I would like to say that all of this changed the remaining days of the week, like a miracle was performed and Sadie showed marked improvement. No. That was not the case. However, there was a miracle in my ability to handle it, to administer appropriate punishment, to turn her heart to the Lord. We have had some very sweet prayers and discussions as well as some very tough discipline measures. For example, her room contains only with her bed and clothing.

Therefore, I wait. I pray and I wait expectantly. It is nice to have the crossroads to my back. You know, I might be walking a very long time, but I have faith that somewhere along that path, the trees will bear much fruit.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Who do YOU belong to?

I saw this on a DVD today during my bible study. I nearly jumped up and shouted AMEN! I am HIS! I am CHOSEN! I am ANOINTED! Therefore, I have HIM residing in me, giving me the strength, wisdom and power when I do not! So, I ask you today, just as Priscilla Shirer did to me...Who do YOU belong to?

Soliloquy by Priscilla Shirer

Who do you belong to?

He is the first and the last, the beginning and the end. He’s the keeper of creation and the creator of all. He’s the architect of the universe and the manager of all time. He always was, always is, always will be unmoved, unchanged, undefeated and never undone.

He was bruised but brought healing, He was pierced but eased pain, He was persecuted but brought freedom, He was dead and brings life. He is risen to bring power and He reigns to bring peace.

The world can’t understand Him, armies can’t defeat Him, schools can’t explain Him and leaders they can’t ignore Him. Herrod couldn’t kill Him, Nero couldn’t crush Him, the new age cannot replace Him and Oprah cannot explain Him away.

You remind yourself, that He is light, He is love, He is longevity and He is the Lord. He is goodness and kindness and faithfulness and He is God. He is holy and righteousness and powerful and pure.

His ways are right, His word eternal, His will unchanging and His mind is on us. He’s our Savior, our guide, our peace, our joy, our comfort, our Lord and He rules our lives.

I serve Him because….His bond is love, His yoke is easy, His burden is light and His goal for us is abundant life. I follow Him because He’s the wisdom of the wise, the power of the powerful, the ancient of days, the ruler of rulers, the leader of all leaders. His goal is a relationship with me.

He’ll never leave you, never forsake you, never mislead you, never forget you, never overlook you, and never cancel your appointment in his appointment book.

When you fall He’ll lift you up. When you fail, he’ll forgive you. When you’re weak, He’s strong. When you’re lost, He’s your way. When you’re afraid, He’s your courage.

When you stumble, he will steady you. When you’re hurt He’s gonna heal you. When you’re broken, He will mend you. When you’re blind, He will lead you. When you’re hungry, He will feed you. When you face trials, He’s with you. When I face persecution, He shields me. When I face problems, He will comfort me. When I face loss, He will provide for me. And when we face death, He will carry us all home to meet Him.

He is everything, for everybody, everywhere, every time and in every way. He is your God. And that sisters, is who you belong to.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Low, Again

The last two weeks have swirled by with the fury of a blizzard. I use the word blizzard because much of it felt as if I were stranded in blackout conditions. It really wasn't so much the circumstances, but my inability to handle them.

For the past 14 days, someone in my house has been sick. They have been so painfully sick that we have had numerous trips to the doctors, hospitals and finally a three-day stint at Brenner's Children's Hospital. My sad, pitifully merciless heart has grown a bit as I have held my two oldest while they have writhed, cried and screamed their way through the massive cramping and stabbing war going on in their bellies. What is must be like for parents who must experience this daily with their chronically ill spawn. That is a journey I beg God not to send me through.

My own inability to soothe my children, bring them comfort, find a solution has sent me spiraling. It is that battle of control, once again. The urge to focus, become obsessive, on matters completely not eternal, has wound me tighter than a tick. Ranting has, unfortunately, become the norm and it only takes a tiny blip in my scheduling to send me careening over the edge of the tightrope I walk as a mother. I am gone before I can even attempt to grab at that rope and salvage some bit of the show. My husband, my children, my extended family, even the dog -no one has been immune.

I could list everything on my mind at this very minute, but none of them really matter. What I do recognize is that I am in a very bad place. I do not have the skills to make sense of it all. This is not how I want to live as I have lived better. I am not enjoying this season of life and I should. Sometimes, you just have to know when to raise the white flag of surrender...again.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Do You Need a Nanny?

I found these questions on another website:

Take the Nanny Deprived Quiz :

1) Have you ever eaten a random cheerio, puff, or pretzel just because you had no where else to put it? My Answer: more times than I care to admit!

2) Have you ever vowed to never again wear white due to constant grime, bodily fluids, and dirt showing minutes after you've gotten dressed? I don't think I own anything white except for one t-shirt.

3) Have you ever used your garden hose to wash down a high chair, stroller or child? Yes to these three and throw in booster and car seats, too. I have hosed them down, only later to find the dog napping in it, leaving dog hair all over it, forcing you to repeat the wash down again.

4) Have you ever walked around with a half eaten cookie in your pocket? Yes, and other little tidbits around the house. These days it ends up being a lego piece or hair clips that I find and mean to deposit in their rightful place. They end up on my dresser at the end of the night when I empty my pockets.

5) Do you look forward to going to the doctor or dentist just so you can sit in the waiting room and read a magazine by yourself? I can remember this being the highlight of my mother of preschoolers day. Looking back, that is so sad. We should be helping each other out more in this area. However, I know that when I did have a break from the kids, I had to spend it wisely - doing the errands that were insanity-inducing with them, like Costco.

6) Have you ever used a public restroom while holding a child on your lap because there was no where else to put them? No, actually, I don't think so. I think it is because I always crammed the stroller into the stall with me.

7) Have you watched Yo Gabba Gabba? I'm so sorry if you have! Yes. I think this show is just bizarre. Some of the songs are catchy, but in general I just don't get it. I would add to this, What is the most annoying chidren's show on tv? I vote Yo Gabba Gabba.

8) Have you ever found marshmallows in your slippers? No. But, I have found legos. Ouch!

9) Have you ever counted down the hours until bedtime? Yes. Who hasn't???? Now that they can manage this on their own, I enjoy those few moments of "catch-up" time we have when I tuck them in. Who hasn't looked at the clock and said, "Oh, it is time for bed!" The clock said 6:45 pm, but it didn't really matter because the kids didn't know how to read the clock, yet!

10) Have you perfected the fine art of changing pee soaked sheets while still mostly asleep? Yes.

11) Have you been forced to discuss or explain the plot of a Disney movie while trying to merge onto an interstate in rush hour traffic? Yes. The focus tends to be on Star Wars or SpongeBob as my kids are a little older. However, with the school year in full swing, we are detoxing from tv. There really isn't much time for it. Our conversations about shows is decreasing. Imagine that.

12) Have you ever had to use preschool safety scissors to cut a major package because that was all you could find? I did this today.

13) Have you ever cleaned grilled cheese off of your sunglasses? This one is a little tough. I can't say grilled cheese, but I can say that I have cleaned off unknown food gunk that attached to my glasses while they were stuffed into the bottom of my pocketbook. Does that count?

14) Have you ever answered the door wearing "princess jewelry"? Yes.

15) Have you ever run out of batteries on PURPOSE? Run out of batteries? I have just taken them out!

16) Have you named your dust buster and consider it part of your family? Fred.

17) Can you tell what time it is based on what show is on Noggin or Nick Jr? Yes. During her preschool years, I knew that when Wow Wow Wubzie ended, it was time for Lily's nap.

Gratefully, many of these are no longer applicable since my children are of school age. How many did you get? Can you add some of your own?

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

A low day in the life of mothering

Today was not a stellar day in the life of my children. Relationally, this impacts me, their mother. Oh, I am sure it will pale in comparison to what lies ahead as we enter the wildly hormonal teenage years. However, in the life of elementary students, well, this ranks pretty low on the success rung for me, the mom.

This morning, it was all Lily. Three years of preschool and only a handful of days did she ever cry at leaving me. Now, in kindergarten, she cries every morning, asking, rather begging to stay with me. One of the deciding factors to send her on to 'big school' this year was that she has always loved school and has never exhibited separation anxiety. In fact, none of my children have had any bouts of such for more than a couple of days. Not only does this delay us in getting ready in the mornings, it frustrates me because I have no real idea how to handle it. She is fine in the classroom which makes me believe this is a power thing?? See? I have no idea.

Fastforward to pick-up time at the school. My first hit was when my eyes landed on Sadie's teacher. She promptly walked towards me and as her eyes flitted everywhere but into mine, I could tell that bad news was eminent.

"Sadie, had a bad day today. She had several warnings and went on yellow. We had two specials today and both teachers mentioned Sadie's behavior, too. She had a very hard time controlling herself today. I have moved the children around and I have partnered Sadie with a very quiet girl, so we will see if that helps."

As she finished talking, another teacher brought Sadie outside. I was a bit confused, because Sadie was supposed to be in the holding area and evidently this other teacher thought she wasn't supposed to be there. This other teacher announced quite loudly, "I found Sadie hanging out in the holding room." It made for a quite a confusing and slightly embarrassing moment as all other parental eyes seemed drawn toward my direction.

As I found out, Sadie had also taken it upon herself to help another student, who had a cast on his foot, down the elevator. Elevators are not allowed to be used by students unless instructed by the teacher. Sadie had not been instructed to do so. Yay to Sadie for being helpful, right? But, I know she only did it to ride the elevator.

Then, Lily came outside only to announce to me that she had had, "a very bad day, Mommy." Sigh. I tracked down her teacher only to be told that she had some trouble listening and focusing today. She acted very tired throughout the day.

Next comes Ethan. I barely glanced at his teacher, afraid of what might come next. I did get a nugget of encouragement in that the teacher said there was a, "bit of hope." This comment comes after last week's statement from the teacher, "I could stand for Ethan to be a bit more 'present' in the classroom." I thought that was a diplomatic way to state what really translates to: he needs to get his act together. As we walk away, one of Ethan's friends comes running after him carrying something in his hand. He shouts to my always forgetful son, "Ethan, you forgot your lunchbox!"

We traipse off to the car, all pretty dejected and low. As we left school to head to Ethan's guitar lessons, I tried to be positive. "Did you all get my notes in your lunch today?" Coincidently, they all said, "(Child's Name), you are the best! I love you! Mom,". No one clearly answered me, adding to my feelings of resignation.

While continuing on to our afternoon activities, Ethan decided to change into swim gear in the car before his guitar lesson. I emphasized to him to make sure he got everything back into his swim bag. Ethan responded with, "Oh, Mah-um." He scampered out the car door. Soon after, I picked him up from guitar and deposited him and Sadie at the pool for swim team.

Imagine my shock when I arrived to pick them up from swim team, Ethan announced to me, quite audibly I might add, that I forgot to pack his swim suit and he had to swim in his exercise shorts. Apologizing, I scurried to the car, only to check the back seat and find, viola! his swim shorts.

I announced that we were meeting my own father for dinner. Sadie collapsed in a heap because there was no brush to help her pool head. Ethan started to cry, yes cry, because he did not have dry underwear to put on. The thought of going commando sent him into a tailspin. But wait...he could don his still dry swim suit. Solution! And, my step mom might have a brush. Life could move on.

During dinner, Sadie fell asleep and Lily burped twice so loudly that patrons of the restaurant turned their heads in dismay. Lily could also not sit still which meant constantly kicking her nearest neighbor, me, with her feet. Upon arriving home, the car stayed parked halfway down the driveway as we have had our driveway resurfaced. Therefore it took three, long trips from the car to carry in all that accumulated in that day alone. Lily stumbled up the driveway, wearing only one shoe, carrying the other one as dejectedly as I felt.

As I walked to the car on the last trip, I picked up Ethan's underwear and a pair of his socks that had fallen out of his bag which laid quite pathetically on the wet driveway... oblivious to him, of course. In the laundry room, while unpacking swim bags, I pulled out a t-shirt from Ethan's swim bag. I held it up and showed it to him. I already knew the answer before I asked.
"I think that is Coach Rob's t-shirt. How did that get in my bag?" Seriously, Ethan? Seriously?

Tonight, I ask myself, "Can I hold this all together for an entire school year?" I really should get paid more for this job on days like today. I think this will definitely be the year of repetition -repetition in what comes out of my mouth. "Focus, Self-control, You are OK, FOCUS!" There has to be an easier way, right?