Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Saturday in the Life

My girlfriends come to pick me up for a baby shower. On the way out the door I sense I need to remind my husband that when he runs errands with the kids, he needs to take them inside whatever store he goes into. He does not need to leave them in the car, even for two minutes. "But it's not even hot outside!" Suspicions confirmed. I tell my children it is illegal for them to stay in the car and they may need to remind their father. 

The tissue paper in my shower gift is immediately crumpled upon entering my friend's vehicle and "My Brest Friend" peeks out the top. I say "piece of crap" in front of my friend's little girl. I may need a spanking with the wooden spoon we find in her car. I later thank the gift recipient for allowing me to buy something called "My Brest Friend."

After the shower I horrify my children with a date to get our flu shots. The Walgreens clinic is closed but CVS has a "free flu shot" sign. The pharmacists don't seem real excited when we show up. After waiting 15 minutes, I find out the shots won't be free because of our insurance. I say I don't care at this point; I just want to get all three done in the same place. I pay. My daughter begins weeping uncontrollably. An older lady smiles at my daughter's misery and thinks I don't see her. I want to punch her. I do not.

The pharmacist comes out and gives me the first shot. I see someone I know but I don't know if she sees me. I smile like it tickled so my girl will be brave. It did not tickle. My daughter immediately runs screaming through the aisles and I have to chase her down. I have a strange sense that we might be on the news later. Or YouTube. My daughter gets her shot. The screaming is horrible. The promised toys are not picked out because I am shaking from embarrassment and need to leave as soon as possible. I tell the children that now we will have to change pharmacies because they have humiliated me and I can never go back there. They don't really know what that means.

Mom is mad. Kids are mad and sad. 

I cool off and we make our way to a grocery store where we all pick out a treat. Toy is downgraded to candy. Annabeth gets Reese's Pieces, Jackson gets the Hershey Kisses with the caramel center, and I get Dots. Annabeth opens up her big bag of Reese's in the car and 60% of them spill out immediately. I open the window and tell the kids to throw those candies out so they don't later melt and make a mess. I realize the children are pelting the car next to us. 

We go, as planned, to Studio Movie Grill to see Dolphin Tale 2. Fifteen minutes into the movie Jackson thinks he's going to throw up. We all run out and he goes into the mens room. Annabeth and I wait for him. He comes out and says he's okay. We go back in the theater. I hear a woman behind us complain to a server that we have disrupted her peace. I ask for the check and pay for our food in case we have to leave quickly. The woman is still grumbling. A kid behind us spills her drink and it splashes on us. Jackson is still acting weird so we leave. I cannot take another embarrassing scene today. Annabeth does not follow us out and I stand on the side trying to coax her without disrupting the whole theater. She comes. The grumpy lady with no mercy gets up and tells her daughter they are moving. How have we managed to draw so much attention today?

When my son goes to bed he says he's hungry. I want his stomach to rest and I don't want him to eat. I tell him I won't eat again either. (That lasts until 11 PM when I retrieve my Dots from the car.) He's hungry enough to cry about it. He cries harder than I've seen him cry in a very long time. When Beckham died he'd held it all in. I rub his back and I know he's not just crying about food. The stress of going back to school is exiting his body. My happy boy who has been so mopey about third grade. Hot, salty tears are pouring out. It's hard to grow up. When your sister loves kindergarten but third grade is a lot of work and you don't have anything exciting to say about it. It's crappy when you get a flu shot and then have to leave a movie early and then mess up your Lego creation and have to go to bed on an empty stomach because who knows if you have a stomach bug. 

I pray over my boy and knead his shoulders his body rests. 

New mercies will be here soon. 

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Would You Change Your Journey?

Have you ever heard a person who experienced something terrible in their past say they wouldn't go back and change it? I have come across this statement a handful of times and I've never understood it.  It seems like the power to be able to change the decisions you now regret, or prevent the losses and traumas that pulverized your heart would be an incredible asset.

I wince at every remembrance of our first steps on the adoption path. The footprints on that path don't even look normal because I wasn't walking - I was skipping like a naive child. I wish we had never made that first phone call to the agency or filled out the first stack of forms. It's hard to imagine ever being that glad that we did what we did.

Even so, if God gave me the power to erase it I would experience loss all over again. I would lose the tools I have been awarded on this path. To be honest with you, I don't even know what these tools are called or what exactly their function is. But my instinct tells me they're really valuable. They're shiny and heavy and they cost a lot. Somehow my muscles are even conditioned to be able to carry them without getting tired. I sense they have a lot of potential.

I don't want to give them back.

So maybe that's what it means when people say they wouldn't change their journey. 

Would you change yours? 

Friday, September 05, 2014

Crossing Thresholds

The first two days we had Sailor home, she planted herself on our living room couch and hardly left it. She had decided that would be her home base and she would only venture from it with persuasion. When she did walk around, we noticed she was hesitant to cross thresholds. Getting her to proceed through doorways took us getting down on the floor and calling her name excitedly. We acted like fools, but that is what happens to people when they come into contact with puppies. It's part of their charm.

We have three types of flooring in our downstairs - carpet in our bedroom; laminate wood in our living room, dining room and office; and slate tile in our entryway and kitchen. Sailor hated crossing thresholds so much that she didn't even like to walk from one type of flooring onto the other. She was probably glad when we rolled up all our rugs and put them away to save them from puppy destruction. One less surface change!

It took Sailor about a week to explore the whole downstairs and move through it without hesitation. Now if she needs a change of scenery she leaps from the couch like a deer and runs across the slick surfaces like Scooby Doo. She (almost) owns the downstairs now. We have the upstairs gated off because she's not ready to be trusted there yet, but we've carefully prepared the downstairs so that she can go anywhere and be safe and thrive.

I, too, am a reluctant threshold crosser. I fought tooth and nail for our season with littles at home not to end yet. But whether I liked it or not, the time came to cross the threshold. I have felt the Lord near to me in the last two weeks, as if He were crouching down and calling my name, willing me to walk into the next room. "This room is yours too. Come and see it! Look at the things I have for you in here."

Our whole lives we cross thresholds. We never stop doing it until we cross the last and most important one of them all.* I want to get better at this. I think I will always be the kind of person who has to process big changes deeply, but I want to do it without fear and dread. Hopefully I'm making progress.

God, the Lord, is my strength;

he makes my feet like the deer's;

    he makes me tread on my high places.

Habakkuk 3:19                                        _______________________________________

Reading "Twas the Night Before Kindergarten" with Annabeth before she went to sleep. 

The first day of kindergarten and third grade. 

Here they are walking into school. I shed a couple of quiet tears when we walked out. Then I had breakfast tacos with two of my closest friends who also have kindergartners and we celebrated, mourned, and did everything in between. 

Curtis told Sailor this was the very day for which she was born. She is such a love.

The end of a successful first day! 

*A wonderful book that has recently helped me through loss and  crossing thresholds of unwanted change is A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sittser. I highly recommend it.