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Tuesday, June 10, 2014


I'm kind of a stickler about seat belts. Ask my friends and they'll tell you I don't bend the rules much when it comes to who sits in the front, which kid is in which forward-facing, lap-belted or latched booster or highback seat with or without headrest.  It matters. It's important. It can save my babies if we're in a terrible accident.

My kiddos and I have spent many, many hours in the car in their young lives between traveling to visit out-of-town family, to and from Granddaddy's doctor appointments and our many fun outings too.  They know the seatbelt drill so well that I sometimes laugh when Brian hops in to drive and asks, "Is everybody buckled?"  Of course they're buckled....they've been buckling since they were born.

So when a lady saw Ava out of her seat belt in our Excursion this morning, she rolled down her window to flail her hands and yell at me "to get those kids in seatbelts!!!!!"  I kind of came unglued.  We were on the highway by then, so I couldn't yell back my side of the story. I find that some of my most anxious, angry or heartbroken times in my life are when I feel like I'm doing the absolute best that I can and it's still not good enough for...fill-in-the-blank....Brian, my kids, myself or the lady in the van behind me.

If I had time to flail my hands and scream back, I would've said something like this:

Thank you for showing concern, but you don't know the rest of the story.  You see, we have a recently adopted son who occasionally gets aggressive while he's in his car seat and will lash out at whoever sits next to him.  After he repeatedly smacked, hit and pulled the ponytail of my 7-year old daughter, I finally told her (while we were at a full stop at a red light,) to climb to the safety of a back row seat. 

That's what the lady saw. But there's so much more to life than what we see. People, sometimes you just need to say, "I'm sure they're doing the best they can." Or, if you must intercede, could you please start with, "Can you tell me the rest of your story?"

So that lady did teach me a lesson today. It just had nothing to do with seat belt safety.

More listening. Less screaming parenting advice from the window at 35 MPH.  Point taken.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Mama's Version of "I Spy"

I just laid little Yobie down for a much needed nap. Though I'm pretty sure I needed it as much as he did. As I begin my usual struggle with ought vs. want, I begin my own version of "I Spy."

I spy the coin jar that's still on the floor from digging out popcorn money for the kids this morning. I ought to put that away.

I want to read my book.

I spy the wrestling t-shirt and medal still laying on the table from this Chase's nightly wrestling camp this week, plus a stack of library books. I ought to put those in his room.

I want to take a nap.

I spy the kitchen floor that's needed a good mopping for a few days now. I ought to sweep and mop it.

I want to take a long, hot bath.

I spy half a dozen miscellaneous toddler toys and books strewn about the foyer, living room and kitchen. I ought to put those away.

I want to have a cup of coffee and some of my Aunt Betty's peanut butter fudge with a friend. ANY friend.

I spy my own stack of books on this end table: a Bible and a devotion book. I ought to spend some time there.

I want to WANT to spend more time there.

I could go on with all the oughts -- dishes in the sink, a pile of mated socks on my bed, five days' worth of mail stacked by the computer, four boxes of Christmas decorations looming just outside the storage room door, piles of other things looming just INSIDE the storage room door blocking the way for previous boxes, garage needs to be swept, and the front walk needs to be shoveled. 

The list of oughts is long, varied and never-ending. My list of wants rotates among the aforementioned items and also is never-ending.

If you're hoping this ends with something profound, you'll be disappointed. 

I COULD say, "Inch by inch, everything's a cinch." Putting a few things away will make a big difference.
I COULD say, "If I spent time with Jesus, then everything else will fall into perspective."
I COULD say, "Nap now while you have the chance."  The rest will still be there when you wake up.

The truth is, I spent some time on Jimmy Fallon facebook page and actually smiled a little to myself and even laughed out loud a time or two. Just keeping it real, people!

And now I hear the baby.