Friday, August 30, 2013

nothing is safe, especially my potted plants and tupperware cabinet

The new refrain now heard regularly round here: "WHERE IS SHE NOW?!"

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

safe harbor

Thanks to the generosity of a friend, we got to see a movie with Blake last week. The only one all three of us cared anything about was Despicable Me 2, and I have to say, it was not nearly as good as the first. There were charming moments, and there were upsetting moments. A major part of the story is the kidnapping of minions and injecting them with something that turns them indestructible, violent, and purple. As Blake said, repeatedly, "That was creepy. Why would they put that in a movie for kids?"

While Rob and I were getting into bed that night, Blake showed up at our bedroom door, arms full of blankets and his pillow. When he has a nightmare, he has permission to set up a pallet of blankets at the foot of our bed for the rest of the night (he used to wake me up to tell me about his nightmare and ask if he could stay in our room, and then I was often unable to get back to sleep... due to insomnia, not my own fear of the nightmare!). As Blake got situated, Rob quietly voiced his frustration with our son's over-active imagination, and that if purple minions kept him from sleeping in his own bed, then he shouldn't be permitted to watch Star Wars any more either, because Darth Vader was what used to give ROB nightmares! I sometimes agree: Blake will take any excuse to sleep in our room. He loves him a little slumber party!

But that night, God gave me a different perspective. If being near us eases our son's heart, I'll take it. I know that the time when he considers us his shelter is short and quickly coming to an end. A day is coming when he will look elsewhere for comfort or protection. A day is coming when his parents may be the last people he wants to share his fears with. A day is coming when he wouldn't be caught dead sleeping on the floor of our room. A day is coming when he won't believe that we can conquer anything. And as I whispered that to Rob, plus the fact that he's so big already, and he's only getting bigger and braver and moving further from total dependence upon us (as he should), Rob visibly softened, because he is actually a big teddy bear at heart. We held hands, and I thought about my children and my own childhood, of the nights I slept by MY parents' bed after a scary dream, and a tow-headed little boy snuggled into his nest of warmth just a few feet away, content in the knowledge that we were closer than any indestructible purple monster.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

and just like that...

So, this post by Jai was lovely to my heart today, especially with all the dancing she links to. The reminder that her kids are too full of life and joy and happiness to live in sad, cancer-world all the time was a good one. I'd be more respectful by remembering that more often and enjoying this day that's set before me!

And I just had to share the following conversation between Rob and I. We're in the midst of some pretty hard financial times, and our budget is so tight that it squeaks. So tight that it has an ugly muffin top, and I'm like "BUDGET, have some respect, no one wants to see that!"

It sucks. BUT, we're on the same team, and we're approaching this money puzzle with that in mind, and our relationship is thriving, which is wonderful.

R: Our marriage is as strong as ever, and when we're angry at each other...
A: When was the last time we were angry? I can't even remember!
R: Uh... yesterday.
A: What? When- OH. Right. (sheepish pause) But I'm not angry now, and that is what counts.
R: Wow.
A: What?! You are a lucky, lucky man.

And finally, some evidence of other children's joyful exuberance. This is over the Fourth of July, if I remember correctly.

Mason and Sawyer, stacking blocks in a very compact, precise way.

Little faces looking up, full of wonder like a cup...

... until someone set off some Black Cats, at which point they all pretended to get shot.

Ah, boys. (The spare fellow on the end is B's best friend, Gunnar.) This is what summer days are made of.

Capping off the day with a movie. Some are more interested than others.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

all quiet on the western front

I'm sorry for the radio silence - I know it's not my norm. Believe it or not, it's in an effort to be respectful. There is SO MUCH on my heart and in my mind, but getting it out in anything other than face-to-face interactions is really difficult right now. My little friend Allistaire and her mom (my slightly bigger friend) and dad and sister are on the roller-coaster ride of having the specter of cancer breathing down their necks, clutching at their wrists. A young woman I used to babysit recently lost her husband of two months in a tragic accident. Grief is all around me.

Allistaire's bone marrow transplant was successful, in that it's engrafting in her body and appearing to set up shop. They are still in cancer's grip, because there's always the possibility that it's begun to grow again, despite the transplant. Each test is an opportunity to rejoice or mourn, because each test holds the gift of life just for TODAY or the potential for the world to come crashing down... but even good results today are no guarantee of good results tomorrow.

And when my friend is facing the possibility of watching her daughter die, how can I natter on about the minutiae of what I ate, what I cleaned, whether I exercised (answer: no), or what I'm doing today on Facebook?

I'm sure I'll natter about all those things again. But right now, I just can't. Right now, I simply gaze at the highlight reel of my friends' lives and am thankful for the comparative smallness of my own problems, which still keep me up at night and twist my stomach with pangs of concern (not QUITE as sinful as worry, right?). When Blake behaves atrociously at church and makes me want to knock him into next week, I sigh, rebuke him, and hold him close to tell him how much I love him, thinking about my friend who would cut off her right arm for the promise of scolding an eight-year-old Allistaire. I think of the child I used to cuddle who is now alone in an empty marriage bed, wondering what promise her life holds. Now what, Lord?

What a God we serve, big enough to weave painful things into the glory of His plan. I've seen it in my own life. I'm now breathlessly waiting, ever prayerful, watching to see how He is working His wonders into the lives of my friends. What a blessing to have my own life bear witness to His severe mercy, to comfort others with the very comfort I've been given. What an honor to stand in the throng of believers, holding up hope that there is goodness on the other side of grief, there is joy beyond the sorrow. There is life. Abundant life, no matter what today may hold. There is Christ. Thanks be to God, there is always Christ.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

so, this happened

I left town for about five minutes and left my kids with folks (well, with my mom, really). Mom sent a few pics and videos while I was away and missing the small ones, and this came through the magic of the interwebs: (Updated for you, Marcia!)

Naturally, I requested that Mom also potty-train her before we got back.