My Life, The Movie: Bikers, Baptists and Babies

I don’t have to tell you about the power of peer pressure. In the past week I’ve felt more than usual. In the cries of “try this diet’, ‘relax and love them’, ‘stricter schedule’, ‘apply four times daily’, ‘sterilize the pump pieces with a Q-tip’, and ‘are the shirts clean for the school theme days?’ came a new cry that caught my attention: “GO SEE ‘Mom’s NIGHT OUT’ ASAP!”

Why? Not simply because it was a good movie. Apparently because this movie reminded some of my friends of me. Hm. Clearly this is because art imitates life, right?

It finally happened; I banded together with three great girls to laugh ourselves silly at what our lives look like to others. Although I had no popcorn, I had a bit of a chip on my shoulder. I’d see myself, huh? I sat back in my comfy seat and prepared to be impressed.
The movie opened with a voice. “Okay. Time to blog. I am a mommy blogger…pearls of wisdom comin’ atcha.” Okay, well I’m not a mommy blogger. I’m not trying to be anyway. I just love sharing the humor of my life with others because apparently it is ridiculous and my life isn’t normal. I thought everyone got flashed in the grocery store by veterans eager to display scars. Apparently not.

A few scenes later the desperate redhead is trying to wrangle the children into a state of being ready for church. As she leads the stray cats into church and sits nothing goes well. As she sits alone in the pew while her husband is away (check) she quickly gets paged back to the nursery to retrieve her son whose head is in something it shouldn’t be. “I’m supposed to remind you to take your number. I know you didn’t want to get paged today but you need to take it.”

I glanced down the aisle. Everyone was smiling at me.
As the movie’s night out spirals out of control I found myself laughing at the truth of it all.

About halfway in I realized I couldn’t deny the similarities.
A church friend mentioned that the scene in the restaurant where the redhead looses it and something ‘ugly is happening to her face’ reminded her of me. Ouch. Then again, I am the murderess of auras everywhere. That’s the real reason I no longer reside in Austin, Texas.
It couldn’t all possibly apply to me, right? I mean, who has ever had a biker gang involved in a baby search-and-rescue?
That would be me.

When my firstborn son was a mere 5 weeks old the Army sent us from Georgia to Arizona. With my mother, a 16 year old black lab, an injured and nursing mother and a new baby still struggling with breathing, we drove across the nation only to find out our new home was in an area being evacuated due to uncontrolled forest fires.
Our moving van was literally forced out by emergency vehicles. By that Sunday we had been in a new state for 48 hours. We had been evacuated twice. My mother and I spent the night in a motel with the shower running half the night so my newborn could breathe while my husband was in another motel that took dogs. That Sunday morning we dug out our nice clothes out of suitcases and headed to church. We needed Jesus in a big way.
We visited a church and had a fairly disheartening experience. It was the first time (and not the last) my baby was asked to leave church. He was 6 weeks old and silent, but you know. We didn’t return to that one.
Afterward we went to get groceries in 109 degree ‘dry heat’ only to have the car overheat and die on the side of the road. No one stopped for us because dozens of cars were pulled over to take pictures of the fire. We realized the baby was overheating so we stripped him ‘nekked’ and gave him a Presbyterian baptism with what remained in our water bottles and tried to figure out how to get help. The lines were all busy; everyone authorized to save the day was in use.

When we realized no one was going to stop for a family with a new baby and melting groceries, my mother (God bless her), being ‘moved by the Spirit’ felt it necessary to run out in front of a police car driving down the road. “They’ll stop for an old woman!” she declared. My husband called, “You’re not old!” and muttered to me “They stop for crazy people too, thank goodness.”
“How is no one stopping for a stranded family with a baby? Does no one think about the good Samaritan? Goodness people! Well, this Baptist is going to help!”
Soon an ambulance on its way up the mountain did a quick diagnostic and allowed my son to stay with me as long as I got him home. There was nothing to do but to get a ride back to the house with the policeman, but I had to go with only the baby. I was to feed the dog and baby and then gather emergency bags for every family member until they could come get me. Little known fact: a car seat does not fit in the back of a police vehicle.
sunglassesJJ

As I rode away with my baby in the back of a police car into a neighborhood on fire, my mother and husband are left standing on the side of the road. Momma still laughs about the look on my face. The tow truck pulled up, looked at the two of them and drawled, “I don’t take passengers.” He must have looked down at my gorgeous mother in her church dress and heels and my man is Sunday attire holding wilted grocery bags and taken pity. “Well, just this once. I’ll take you to the tow place and call you a cab. That’s the best I can do.”
He opened the door to the greasiest tow truck in Christendom. My husband, ever the gentleman, scooted in between this man and my mother. They set 6 bags of groceries on top of the tools on the floorboards. As they arrived at the tow area a minivan pulled up. The woman who greeted them probably spent a lot of time on the back of a motorcycle in younger years. Her hair was wild and frequently dyed and her skin was leathery tanned from years in the sun. She smiled constantly which displayed a few more holes than teeth. In the thickest Alabama accent Momma has heard outside of Georgia she asked, “Y’all call a cab?” “Yes, Ma’am, we did.” For ten minutes they drove, chatting about the woman’s girls and life in Arizona. She was a wonderfully friendly woman who was by far the friendliest person we had met that day. She is the kind of woman everyone should know; she had lived enough life to have the best stories and tell you what really matters.

As they pulled onto the street that leads to our neighborhood, the smoke was billowing overhead. A policeman was closing the street and telling the cab to turn away. She radioed back to ‘home base’ and was told that everything was closed; there was no way for my husband and mother to reach me, even on foot.
“Drop them off as close as possible and get outta there!”
She pulled up to the policeman who was turning away. My husband leaned over to the police officer and said, “Sir, my wife and newborn son are in that neighborhood. I need to get to them.” Reluctantly, the officer allowed them to go past provided that they be back out in three minutes.
The van radio came back on asking if the driver had turned around. With a flip of her hair and resolve crossing her face, tan and bony fingers swooped to grab the radio.
“Earl, NOT going to happen. There’s a BAY-BEE IN-VOLVED!” She slammed that radio down and said, “Let’s go get them.”
Take that, Earl.
Soon after they pulled up to the house and we all evacuated together for another day of a grand adventure. Yes, I too have required bikers and Baptists to help me in a situation with my baby.
MNObones

While my mom handed me a clean shirt and told me this was a part of motherhood, I remember looking at her totally exasperated saying, “My newborn son just got kicked out of church and rode in a police vehicle in the same day and it isn’t even noon!”

Honestly, I struggle with the same issues that the movie clearly displays; I am never enough. I am not doing it right. My kids are messes. I hide in closets and eat chocolate. Perhaps I need a pep-talk with Trace Atkins in a police station… or a good tazing.
Friends, we all need a night out and to hear this: This mom thing is HARD. You are doing a great job.
MNO
Call me soon for another night out. What’s the worst that can happen?

Advertisements

Long-Weekend Warriors: When Animals Attack

I’ve heard that animals know when a natural disaster or major event is coming. Some scientists study when stray cats leave a city to know if earthquakes are coming.
I have learned to heed these warnings. I am used to the natives in my house getting restless but this long weekend my eyes are glued to the windows, doors and vulnerable parts of my home. I have a long, proud history of surviving natural disasters, disease, snow-storm induced famine and fire. Life is exciting. However, if someone were to make a chart depicting when the majority of disasters and ‘exciting times’, the spikes would suddenly spike steeply at the holiday weekends, particularly 4-day weekends.

I repeat, it is a LONG weekend. In a military town. This year I am VERY fortunate to have my soldier home to honor the fallen on Memorial Day. (Please take a moment to honor the fallen and teach the children in your life the importance of that sacrifice.)
Case in point: The BAT that came for Thanksgiving.<a
clampits

Catch up on that story here:
https://laughmoreabundant.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1937&action=edit&message=6&postpost=v2
Holiday weekends spent with family are an excellent time for reflection and evaluation. One of the many things I have decided is that I would benefit from befriending an exterminator. It may be that my Disney Princess complex went awry at some point but when the animals start flocking around my house I know it is not to help me with my house chores. Extraordinary things occur when uninvited animals come for the holidays.
I’ve had my great story-telling moments of the spongeroller squirrels and the Thanksgiving Eve Bat attacks, but so far my sister wins the animal intruder holiday contest. Once Christmas an opossum got her Lasik eye surgery.

It was the day before the night before Christmas. Most people awaken to the sweet smells of cinnamon rolls and coffee brewing. Not my people.
My sister was sleeping with visions of sugar plums dancing in her head in a moment of holiday-break bliss. She was home from college on break to help while our mother recovered from foot surgery. Rather than awaken to the gentle jingle of our black labrador’s collar moving or the hushed conversations of our parents, her slumber was interrupted by the most terrifying sound in the world; our mother shrieking.
ana

She bolted awake and with the fuel of an adrenaline shot went flying out of her bedroom and down the flight of stairs. About halfway down the stairs she realized all she could see were colorful blobs. My sister and I are BLIND. Legally, illegally…all kinds of blind. She stared down into the open living room and kitchen, realized our family looked like a Picasso painting, a ran back up the stairs to bat around for her glasses.
velma glasses
Now, those with impaired eyesight are often blessed with increased senses of hearing or other senses to compensate. On this particular day, it wasn’t needed. My mother’s battle cry, “Don’t let Bella get it!”, mixed with the chaotic intertwining of a barking dog and a hissing animal wafted up the stairs.
Shoving black frames onto her face and careening down the stairs, my sister beheld a Christmas conversion. My classy and stately mother was now a one-footed rodeo queen. With her bandaged foot still elevated (she was a cheerleader and Mom-high-kick 1999, after all), she was holding a 120 pound black Labrador by the collar, pulling back with all her might. She looked as if she was waster-skiing slalom-style and Bella was the boat. The back door of the kitchen that leads to a wide back patio was standing WIDE open. Dad was shooing something toward the door wielding a large, black shovel.
Finally the hissing amorphous blob could be seen between the legs of chairs and humans.
The opossum was finally cornered into the farthest corner of the kitchen and Bella was barking and lunging under the table.
Oh, we knew this particular opossum. This beast enjoyed creeping up over our back fence in the mornings, knowing Bella would not be able to reach it in time. We’ve lost a few fence panels because a black lab cannot stop on a dime- or an opossum for that matter. This awful thing became so bold as to come up under the deck this year. As Dad came to retrieve Bella, the darn thing bolted into the house.
It was at that moment that Dad managed to shoo the blasted thing out of the door with a swift shovel to the tail. Bella proceeded to bark loudly at the door for the remainder of the morning and clear into the New Year. As my parents stared at each other trying to process how our family had somehow transformed into the Clampetts.
clampits
That was when they saw my sister at the stair railing.

Very calmly and sweetly she said, “You know, Daddy… I would be much more helpful in these situations if I could see. Perhaps you can pay for part of a Lasik surgery in the future?” With an upward sideways glance Dad answered, “Deal.”

An hour later I called to check in with the family. “How is Mom feeling?” “A little tired. She had to wrestle Bella this morning so that Dad could chase an opossum around the kitchen.” WHAT?!
Y’all…we are not those kind of Texans. We are, however, the kind of people with great holiday stories. I have a day left of this weekend and so far the only creepy crawlies in the house have been ones I call sons. If you encounter any Rodents Of Unusual Size this weekend, tell them they have the wrong house. rous

Moving On and Looking Forward To Stars

It’s almost time for the season to start. No, not summer. Not football season, hunting season, etc. No, it’s PCS season. I guarantee you that the military family members that just read that sighed. You did, didn’t you? Admit it.

The average military family moves once ever 1-3 years. I’ve moved 6 times in 7 years.
Add in those pesky things like deployments, births, deaths, the intrusions of rodents, etc. and it is all a big jumble. The verse of the military wife should be “Behold, I am sending you to a land I will show you.” That you WILL show us? As in, we will know when we get there? NO specifics? Sarah’s been there and done that and can be found in the Hebrews hall of faith, so there is incentive to endure.

It is not my year to move and I’m getting twitchy. I have gathered boxes and this year I am sending them onto a friend who will be leaving on Saturday. THIS WEEK.
i'm having a moment
I am thrilled for her to be near family (near family is within 3-6 hours in military speak) and to be with familiar friends.
At least that is my cover. I’m actually not excited at all. She’s already moved from being my down the street neighbor to 10 minutes away. I suppose she was cushioning me for the blow. Today as our sons were at school I invited myself over to help her pack. They are doing a “Ditty move” (DIY civilian friends) so it is all hands on deck in exchange for 50 cent donuts and episodes of Firefly while we pack.

We washed dishes, wrapped kitchen boxes and took calendars off the walls. Our youngest kids played together while she talked about potential houses and reunions with friends. To be resilient and teach our children to be strong through change we MUST seek the good. While she pitched plastic ware and packed the Carmike popcorn tub “because there might be a Carmike! Who knows? Or maybe the next place we live will have one!”
Then the dreaded but necessary question: How was her son doing with it? “He’s acting out a bit but he’s excited.” I nodded. The words are as loaded as a post-sermon diaper. Challenges are opportunities to learn a new way to succeed, after all.
We looked over at our kids. Without the older brother commotion, it was downright peaceful. Close to nap-time peaceful.
IMG_0973
The slick screech of a tape-roll over cardboard finally lulled the kids to sleep—a peaceful island in a sea of boxes.
“Do you know what I am looking forward to aside from friends and family being close? Stars. I haven’t seen a real, clear sunset or stars in years. I can’t wait for that.”

When the sky is an expanse of darkness and the unknown, look forward to the stars.

On to another box. “Leave out a spatula.” “Will ten bibs be enough?” “Go ahead and pack the measuring cups.” “What is she eating?” “Leave out the frying pan. Every journey requires a frying pan.”
frying pans
The glory of helping a friend pack up her life is reliving the fun. You might also uncover some deep dark secret or some glorious nerd puns.
IMG_0968
When you’re too hot to Handel, get Bach in the kitchen. This beautiful friend is a very talented pianist. She has served our church for years and played a spectacular rendition of A Mighty Fortress Is Our God that stunned people silent. As I am beaming and giving a good “Amen!” and the woman next to me was like this:
stunned
That’s a good piece of worship right there. Of course, the church was like that at the instrumental playing of the southern-rock version of “Just A Closer Walk With Thee” a few weeks prior. Elvis would be proud, Girl.
This is one of many goodbyes and “see you at another duty station”; the weeks leading up to the moving van pull-up are full of “I need my Pyrex back”, “Do you need any clothes?”, and the ever popular, “Please take my jars of liquid cleaners, detergents and opened sugar.”
I came home with Karo Syrup and sugar but also sweet memories. Her older son was the first kid to ever play with my son and ask for him by name. During the darkest days of deployment, her son would ask to come play. She moved the day of Thanksgiving this year. As I was recovering from my new hobby of bat extermination I realized she would be eating fast food for the holiday. BLASPHEMY! After Skyping with my deployed Beloved, I packaged up the leftover turkey, potatoes, corn, and pie and sent it with her. A week later when my baby was in the hospital and fighting for every ounce, she came over for dinner and brought brownies.
That holds a friendship together more than packing tape.

The average military child says goodbye to more significant people in 18 years than most adults do in their entire lifetime.

IMG_0971

When the hard times come, I find that people are less likely to ask “Where is God?” when they don’t have to ask “Where is the Church?” This family has been the piano-playing hands and a physical representation of the Body of Christ when our family needed it.
We can pack up a life but we leave behind an imprint. If it is your season to move, Dear Friend, know that you are leaving behind more than you know and taking more than you pack. We are the Body of Christ, the strength of Army Strong and the pioneers on great adventures. Journey well and for Heaven’s Sake pack an extra suitcase with toilet paper, a shower curtain and a frying pan.
There’s no place like home…wherever it may be next.
noplacelikehome

When Tomahawks and Dinners Collide

Everything was going according to plan.
The day had gone smoothly. The baby went down for a much-needed afternoon nap and the toddler was reciting letters along with an educational show. I took the opportunity to start on dinner. Then a mix for chocolate chip cookies magically appeared on top of the stove. The 3-year-old Cookie-Fairy must have left it as a present. As the Benevolent Mom-tator of the house, I even made the cookies. TO show love to the men in my home, I pinched the cookie dough into little hearts. (Okay, some of them were kidney shaped. I decided to write a quick love note: “I love you with both of my kidneys.” In Ancient Israel it was not the heart but the bowels the held the emotions. By comparison the kidneys aren’t so bad.)

With the corn on the cob and garlic mashed potatoes at the ready, I slid the steaks into the oven and turned my attention to the 35 pounds of boy tugging at my dress. We headed outside to play in the garage just until the steaks were done. That’s when it all went wrong.
While throwing the ball back and forth I heard an unusually loud thud. Then another. Then the familiar and disturbing sound of claws against wood. Something was in the crawl space. Something alive. Something not human.
I commanded my son to get to the door while I searched the tool bench for something handy—at least handier than the plastic shovel my son gave me. God bless that kid.
I was about to defend the home when Son One pointed my attention to a car in the driveway that I didn’t recognize. We walked up the driveway to see the sister of our dear 80 year old neighbor, who was dropping off a darling red rocking chair and farm toy for the boys. Be still my heart. The cuteness of Son One running up to sit in the rocking chair and playing with the new toy took my attention off the imminent danger…for a while.
After that 20 minute detour I headed back down toward the garage with my firstborn hot on my trail.
My husband and I spent the weekend clearing out some of the vines and overgrowth near the garage, so the tools were handy. A tomahawk, to be exact. No, not a shotgun. (Too close and thin drywall.) No, not fireworks. (We’re not totally ridiculous.)
Thankfully, this is the age when my son likes to play with my phone. Thanks to him, you get to witness what happened next.
image(4)
In bedazzled flip flops and a floor-length cotton maxi-dress I wielded an absurd weapon and headed up creaky stairs. Reminder: I’m not totally ridiculous. Also, I’m not blonde, wearing heels or answering the phone. The chances of being the first character to be taken out by an animal were slim.
Yes, going after an animal with an older weapon in a floor-length dress… totally Pioneer Woman meets The Patriot.
thepatiot
Except not. Not at all. My dress may or may not have been tucked up to the knees. The pastor preached on girding the loins this Sunday (1 Peter). This is life application going on here, people!
After giving the crawl space a good going-over, it seemed my rodent friend had escaped. At least for now…
An hour had now passed. I brought firstborn back up to the house (without the tomahawk) and discovered that I had indeed killed something. Dinner.
image(5)

Apparently I need to stick to crock pot dinners. It is now leftover pork chop night.
As I threw out the dead shoe leather I decided it was extremely appropriate to look out at the garage and remind the wildlife of what happened the last time an animal invaded my house.
Just another exciting day in my world. The next time something invades the home I’m calling for help…and Chinese food.

Fashion Police: A case for child labor

***For the sake of good form, the visions being referred to in this post will not be pictured. Your eyes will thank me. Really.***

There comes a time in every mother’s life when she decides she is in favor of child labor. I’ll never forget one friend lamenting that she was one person trying to do the laundry of 5 people and it just wasn’t mathematically possible. (Her husband then tried to make her a color-coded schedule. He forgot that little people who do NOT respect schedules lived there- but I digress.)
I’ve decided there are a few jobs children are uniquely qualified for…my favorite one is to be the fashion police.

Image

Many mothers have felt the shame of a ‘teachable moment’ in public when the children blurt out something observant and embarrassing.
Y’all, I say forget shushing and telling kids gently what isn’t nice to say. There is a time and a place for that and Wal-Mart isn’t it.
I’ve seen it happen. A two year old is minding her own business in a shopping cart when she sees a fashion violation that defies gravity and all reason. Her eyes get big, her cheeks fill with air and like glorious word-spewing comes, “Mommy! I see that man’s butt crack!
Not the time for shushing! This is a life lesson waiting to happen. Don’t deny this poor child! Sweetie, LET IT GO.
let it go
It’s not shaming. It’s not bullying. It isn’t even mean. It’s stating a fact. “That woman’s boobs are hanging out.” “That guy smells really bad.” “You shouldn’t spit in the store.”

These are important social issues being pointed out by future generations. Teaching to soften the blow, whisper, or modify is fine…but someone has to call it like they see it. Your son might be the greatest professional umpire the world has ever known; don’t crush the dream because your kid said out loud what you were keeping to yourself. (Although props for self control.)

Or the ever popular singing of, “I see London, I see France. I can see your underpants!”
Don’t make that child swallow those words of truth. No. EVERYONE else is thinking it. Saying it might cause an issue and NO ONE wants to confront store security. It’s the perfect out, I tell you. Who is going to get in the face of a toddler who yells, “Mommy! That lady’s skirt is so short I can see her butt crack”?
No one. Let me tell you a few gems I’ve heard:

A toddler once asked a man I love dearly if he was Santa. Upon hearing he was not and realizing his future gift receiving wouldn’t be affected by commentary, he said, “You’re fat.” The mother was embarrassed. ‘Santa’ wasn’t. He smiled and said, “Yep. I am.” When there are songs describing your rotund shape and live at the North Pole, you grow thick skin. He’s fairly self-aware.

Mommy, those boys don’t know how to pull up their pants.
Is that a boy or a girl? (It was a bearded gent wearing a full bra.)
Why is that man wearing pajamas and I can’t?
Can I swim in the pool? (What pool? We’re in a store.) Well, all those girls are wearing bathing suits!
The list goes on.

Now, I’ve been on the receiving end of these comments before. From “Why are those white people here?” to people searching out the common physical traits of Down Syndrome in my child’s face when they see my Buddy Walk shirt, I’m fielded some comments. (Lest we forget the Catwoman costume incident of 2001.)
Then something horrible happened last Friday. I had to go to the 5th Circle of Dante’s Inferno…the “scary Wal-Mart.” It was still daylight thanks to the summer time change, so the chances of being shot were greatly decreased. As my husband pulled the man-van into a spot, I saw a woman in animal-skin spandex that were stretches so thinly that the material became transparent. Next to her was a woman in a bikini and a towel-wrap. It was only 60 degrees.
Imagine my surprise when I was standing in the check-out line and a man leaned over the cart and asked my man, “Is this your wife?” We were startled but he answered in the affirmative.
He glanced at me with a half-smile. “Did you let her out of the house in that shirt on purpose?”

I was wearing a CLEAN, pink shirt with a cute black and white polka-dot print shirt that said, “We are the Aggies, the Aggies are we”… oh. It was an Aggie comment.

Image
We laughed. My man said, “Oh, we planned it!” I asked if he was a longhorn fan or an Alabama fan. He became immediately offended. Texas all the way, apparently. With my sweetest smile I said, “Well, I see your Dallas basketball shirt. I guess we’re both brave around here. Have a good night!”
With that we wheeled our youngin’s out and I reveled in the fact that I was just called out for my attire in a Wal-Mart. ME. In clean jeans and a CUTE Aggie shirt.

Still, I chose to wear it. I can take the heat. I am sure the other “People of Wal-Mart” can do the same.
I say we let the little ones speak their minds. Out of the mouth of babes comes the truth, right?
Give them sirens and bull-horns. Your kid just might be the truth-telling hero that this society needs.

Solidarity, Sisters.

In an age of polished Pinterest impressions that bombard and shake even the most secure of  authentic and honest mothers, it is essential to have friends that we can be real with.

A supportive friend to go through motherhood with is not only worth her weight in gold but also saves millions in therapy costs. Here is a glimpse of text messages today from some of the most Christ-honoring, gorgeous, brave, and courageous mothers there are.At 9:15 am I received this:

Image

 

Time to walk out the door. “Where’s Son #3’s lunch?” you ask…well of course it is there…with the door closed and ‘speed cycle started…because everybody knows you can’t go to school with a dirty turkey and cheese sandwich.”

 

I returned a text that revealed my baby had just been pushed and smacked his head on the wood floor. Oh, how bells get rung in a house with brothers.

 

Then on to the pediatrician for double ear infections where she met a woman and child with an explosive rash and croup…Only to balance 4 boys for the rest of the day. Dad came home and said, “You know what the house looks like? Like we just went into the bank and bought a foreclosure…These people must have left mad.”

Image

I answered back that my standards have fallen from “Clean up before Dad comes home” to “Tidy up before the roaches come” to “Hide the evidence.”

 

Then I needed to confess to someone. I texted my sister in law, Queen of healthy choices with a heaping side of grace:

“I fell off the gluten free/non-processed food wagon. I went to Chick Fil A. I think the closest I will get to granola is eating it for breakfast.”

I received the answer: “I think you have to make the granola from all organic hand milled ingredients with hand harvested hemp and chia seeds.”

 

Then onto laments in potty training. In my frustration I lamented to another friend the joys of potty training. You can lead a horse to water and sit him on the potty but you can’t make him pee. Sheesh. I asked for some advice from a friend with similar issues. I received this encouragement.

 

Image

 

Then on to dinner.

“What is the theme for dinner?” “What?” “Italian? Mexican?”  “I’m trying to make my son eat noodles again. The theme is demon possession and exorcism.”

Image

Then finally we get to bedtime and the screaming finally died down.

A beloved cousin chimes in with encouragement and promises that I will survive. She repeats the words our grandmother repeated to us during the days when our little ones made us nuts. As a mother of four boys, she knew what she was talking about.

:You’re doing a good job, mama. I feel CONFIDENT that if Grandma were alive and writing today, you would have gotten a note very similar to mine. You are a woman of valor. Grit those teeth and scream along with JJ if necessary, but you’re going to make it.”

She then passed along the artwork of her son, pictured in a birthday card to his grandmother.

Image

My gene pool is nothing if not artsy-fartsy.

 

Immediately following this buzzed in:

Image

No fear. Not even kids that defy gravity.

9:20 pm from a beloved sister in law:”If there is one more trip to the potty or drink of water…” just as my own beloved said, “Either your son is awake or we have a very loud rat upstairs.” Ah yes, ROUSes. When the kids are confused for animals they are MY sons.

 

Laugh through it, my friends. We all need somebody to lean on and to laugh with. It takes a village not only to raise a child, but to maintain sanity and realize we are not alone in the glories we call motherhood.

May we remember these moments…and if we can’t, may others help us. After all, that is what this technology is meant for, right?

If you wouldn’t say it to a soldier, don’t say it to a mom.

Moms of young children are going through the fight of their lives. Marathons. Exhaustion. Change of identity. The best of times and the worst of times.
The things people say to young mothers are awful. Cliché. Atrocious.
Perhaps the problem is that mothering is so common and familiar that others have a comfort level that there shouldn’t be. Others are quick to offer commentary and correction. Assessment is common. We have phrases like “mommy wars” and “Home/Battleground”.
Over the past three years I’ve watched the difference between the comments I often field and the comments my husband receives. The difference is staggering. Amusing, really. I am fortunate to be married to a man in uniform, which makes me wonder… what if soldiers in battle fielded the same comments that mothers do as they push screaming toddlers around, try to teach manners and sharing, or get caught raising their voice? Hmm…

If you wouldn’t say it on the battlefield, don’t say it to a mom.

For example:
When seeing a dirty soldier carrying a heavy load, would you stand and watch him try to open the door alone while just staring in awe? Tell him what a hard job he has? Critique his skills? Say, “Better you than me” with a chuckle?

Would you look at a man who has been up all night facing noise, liquid, lack of food and all manner of grossness for another and then say, “You look exhausted!” and make a joke about under eye circles or a need to shower?
d day
Would you chastise a leader for yelling or being rough with the troops during a fire fight? Then why the mother who yells when her son is bungee jumping off the roof by a jump rope?

Would you find a soldier neck-deep in a trench and tell him to savor and enjoy these memories, for this will shape him into a better man?
band of brothers

Would you regularly check in to see how much exercise or hang-out time a soldier had this week?
marine rope
Would you watch a soldier face more challenging circumstances than expected and then say, “I’m glad God picked you and not me” or “Watching you makes me not want to go into the military.” (Oh wait…that’s happened to him too. Scratch that one.)

Would you ask a wounded warrior if he would change his circumstances if he had known what would happen even though he knew it was a possibility? (If you would, don’t. Don’t ask it about a kid born with special needs either. It doesn’t matter and it can’t be changed.” )

garysinise8x10-1
Take heart, Mommies who love with fierceness and instruct with the discipline of a Drill Sergeant.
drill sergeant
We are in a war for the hearts, minds, and successes of our children. We have days in the trenches. We go without sleep, food, and water. We pick our battles. We put on our Spiritual Armor. Some of us also do it while our husbands face the things that give us these sayings.

Get some R&R from the Father today, Warriors. Band together and don’t leave each other stranded. Cover each other while we reload.
Be a battle buddy to someone today.
saving private ryan

Fellow moms, thank you for your service.

To the men in uniform who love us and then come home to be our reinforcements, thank you. We love you. You amaze us.