When summer starts it seems like we have so wonderfully long until school starts again. Then, as the days and weeks slip by the new school year gets closer and closer until finally we’re in the spot we’re in now – the night before the first day of the school year.
No matter how much my kids complain or how many times my kids say they don’t want to go to school – the night before the first day is always exciting and frenzied. Tonight was no different.
Two days ago my youngest son informed me he didn’t care about what he would wear to the first day of school because that wasn’t until Thursday (two days is a long time when you’re 11). Today, at 9:30pm he informed me he was completely ready, but he needed jelly because we are out. Apparently, telling me that when we were actually in town didn’t seem necessary.
My daughter has spent the entire summer planning and re-planning her wardrobe. She’s done fashion show after fashion show as she tried to make new outfits with different pieces. This fashionista will probably be the death of me. Tonight she said “Mom, I need to start being beautiful all the time so the next time you get paid we need to go get a makeover, okay?” Uh, hello – you’re 11 not 16.
For my oldest, this is old hat. But, there is still that flutter of excitement and the picking out the clothes, shoes, things for the locker. He wants mechanical pencils only and tabs in his binders.
For me – I think “How did my children get to be so grown up? Why did we sign up for a 7am class? Why do the kids count how many food items they have in their lunches? Will the socks they need to wear show or can I get away with mismatched socks?” and so much more.
There are so many things I want for this school year – and the least of them is academic success for my children:
- I want them to grow in Christ daily. More than anything I want to see the Word of God in my children’s lives. I want them to have complete faith and to witness to others with their actions each day.
- I want them to be a true friend. I want them to be the person who sits with the new kid. I want them to forget about who is wearing what and just hang out with someone who might need someone right now. I want that to be sincere and not because their mom told them to. And, I want it to happen without me needing to say it.
- I want them to experience all aspects of school. School isn’t only academics. People can learn at home on their own and be the smartest person in the world. There’s a lot more to the school experience. I don’t want them to just play sports, but also be in band. I want them to play different sports each year just to see if they like them. I want them to remember that ‘hanging out’ on the grass to be cool isn’t as fun as taking pictures for yearbook or volunteering for charity projects.
- I want them to stand up for themselves. I hate to see the struggle between letting someone ‘cool’ be unkind to them because they are afraid saying something will make them even less cool. I want them to understand they are strong and they can be cool all on your own. People will buy into it if you believe it. Not to mention, most of the people who thought they were cool when I was in high school, have learned that life doesn’t care if they are cool. Life cares a lot more about kindness and hard work.
- I want them to remember SCHOOL IS FUN. I want them to enjoy their days at school. At the risk of sounding old – there are people in other countries who don’t have a chance to get an education. I want them to enjoy the learning, enjoy studying how the body works and what cells do, enjoy learning how to write poetry and build bulletin boards. Enjoy this life you’ve been blessed with!
It’s been three days and my oldest son is still alive. This week is Hell Week for football. Football is a new experience in our house. I’ve always sworn my kids wouldn’t be allowed to play because I value their limbs and their brains too much. But, Dad gave permission and so here we go.
I have been praying hard all summer that my oldest son would change his mind about this sport I fear. I overheard his little brother telling him “Look, if you play and you don’t get hurt or killed – Mom will probably let me play. So, just play really great, okay?” Yes, do not get hurt or killed. In fact, neither would be just fine by me.
But, here we are. I went to the parent meeting. I signed the form that had all sorts of possible injuries (including DEATH). My best friend said to our boys “Go get your football costumes and then let’s go!” Costumes – do we sound like newbs? Of course, when my son informed me he needed to buy a chin guard I said “do you need a cup?” He shrugged. Being ME I went and asked the coach. He and his son chuckled at me. Um, it seems to me that MOST boys would think that was the most important gear. Apparently, I’m wrong. And, also apparently, that is embarassing…
Bright and early Monday morning I drove my boy out to the field and watched him walk to a group of very large and very rowdy boys. Some of them look like full grown men. I wanted to stay and watch, but I didn’t want to embarrass him so I pulled away and went to work. I drove back to pick him up in time to see some hitting drills. I still don’t understand how it’s fun, but I also am not a boy so I suppose that makes sense.
Today we had some work to do at the school. My husband took all three kids to help. When I showed up my oldest said “Mom, I’m tired. I don’t want to scrub.” I said “I understand you’re tired, but you have to finish.” I looked over a few minutes later and this is what I saw:
This kid scrubbing, but on his back and laughing so hard because he finds himself amusing.
So, we’ve made it three days. Everyone is still alive. I’m sure it will all be fine. But, we’re newbs. It’s yet another adventure in our crazy lives. I wonder what’s next?
I come from a family of 7 children. That’s right – 7! If you’ve ever seen the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding you’ve had a small taste of what how I view our family in my mind. I love the loudness and the crazy the majority of the time. I love how we all have different talents and we have such a wide variety of things to talk about.
One of the things that I hide from the family (and I’m sure they will read this and say I don’t hide it well) is my inability to do DIY projects well. I’m terrible. I want to be good at them. But, the truth is – I stink. Things that normal people (as I view them from my own life) do easily I find myself flubbing up. On the opposite end of that spectrum is my siblings. They do wonderful home improvement projects and they turn out beautifully. They see nice things on DIY shows, in books, or on the web and they create them in their homes.
I love a good paint job in my house. But, every time I paint the ceiling I managed to get that color on the walls I’m trying to offset or I somehow get the ONLY primer that doesn’t really cover the color I had before or the painting tape I bought is the only roll ever manufactured to stick so tight it pulls the paint off the walls.
This weekend I decided I was sick of the mold in the caulking of our tub. We had a handy man do it previously and it never looked right and the d the mold started growing immediately after having it done. I googled how to remove it and I did a great job removing it (this goes with my ability to cause great destruction and does not count as a DIY ability). Then, I went to the hated home improvement store. One reason I hate these stores because my husband has the ability to spend hours and hours there without finding a single thing to purchase. But, even more than that I hate them because as I walk around DIY project ideas taunt me and make me feel bad about myself (the same reason I avoid pintrest) for my lack of skill. Anyway, I went and asked the man in the paint/caulking department what I needed to get. He informed me there is a new tape style of caulking for tubs that is easy to use. I was excited about it. I threw it in the cart and checked out – excited to use my new purchase when I got home.
Once I got home my husband took pity on me and said he’d help me. He took the roll of stuff I bought (he was skeptical and did not seem as overjoyed and trusting as I was of the sales man) and put it on the tub. First, it wouldn’t round the corners of the tub. So, he spliced it and tried to fill in the gaps that were left. After we waited the required 3 hours to let it set we went to look at the finished product. The tape was bubbling up and peeling off already. My husband gave me the look that said “I knew this wouldn’t work.” So, he went to the store and bought actual caulking. When we got home he re-caulked the tub. But, it didn’t turn out smooth and nice like it did in the videos we googled. Even the tool we purchased didn’t work to fill it in properly. And, by the time we got it smoothed and tried to fix the parts that weren’t it was already drying and started to get even more lumpy. So, we left it.
Annoyed and frustrated I googled how much it would cost to hire a professional to caulk a tub. I ended up finding several scoffing comments about how caulking a tub is the easiest DIY project ever and basically only the mentally handicapped are unable to do such a project.
I’m done for awhile – at least until I forget how frustrated I am at the moment.
Today I was driving my 11 year old daughter to meet up with a friend. They were going to the mall and she was SO excited. My daughter has always been very good at being girly and I delight in her happiness. It’s contagious.
She has recently been trying to ‘be more healthy’. She informed me she is growing up and needs to pay more attention. I agreed. What a great objective. She cut out soda. She’s been exercising daily. She’s been working on making healthy food choices and eating appropriate portions. It’s been amazing to watch her and her steadfastness in this effort.
So, as we were in the car I said to her, “I am so proud of all your hard work. You are doing a great job and I can see you even look healthier.” She said “Thanks! My goal is to look like this girl in my class. She is so small that she looks like she’s wearing doll clothes.” I laughed out loud. I knew exactly who she was talking about and the description was perfect. But, after my immediate laughter I got teary.
This girl. This beautiful wonderful creature created just exactly the way God wants her – would really like to not be at all like God created her. My thought was “How did I fail in this?” I started a discussion about the difference between being healthy and trying to be something you’re not. My daughter will never look like she wears doll clothes. She’s as tall as her mother and she’s 11. She wears women size clothes and women’s shoes. She has long strong legs. She looks like her dad’s side of the family and she is all the things I wanted to be growing up. But, she will not ever look petite. She just isn’t made that way. AND IT IS OKAY.
It breaks my heart to know that despite all our effort to raise her as a confident girl she’s already falling into this ‘teenage’ trap. (Which isn’t really a teenage trap at all. It seems more like a girl trap or a human trap, but whatever). She is confident in so many ways. People comment on it often. It makes me wonder what a ‘self conscious’ girl feels like. I realize there are comments by children at school about her being tall. She’s told me about them and we discuss. There are comments about her having epilepsy. She’s told me and we discuss. But, what about the kids who don’t have parents to discuss? What then? And what about the parents who don’t understand that when they make comments to their children they are generally repeated to the classmate at school? It’s about time for adults to realize that their stereotypes and their ungodly desires to live through their children affect others and corrupt the good work done there.
The interesting thing is that I have always been short. I would have done anything to have her height and her legs! But, at age 37 I’ve realized that I’m probably not going to have a growth spurt anytime soon. I’m happy with me and the life I get to live. I’m blessed in so many other ways than height! I want that for all the people out there who worry about things that don’t really matter. This world is fleeting. Be who God made you to be and leave the rest out of it.
Recently, I have noticed something that I probably noticed before, but somehow it’s more apparent now. Everyone has interests and, for whatever reason, we think our personal interest is more important than anyone else’s interest.
Obviously, that’s a self centered state of mind. I know we all do it. It’s the little things I’ve started noticing more. For example – my sisters love to decorate their homes. They have amazing talent at decorating. They each hint on occasion that perhaps I should do some decorating or painting in my house. They are not wrong. But, my interest isn’t there. I wonder how they can care about something like that. They wonder how I don’t care. Just different interests.
Anyone who knows me knows that we spend a lot of time doing youth sport stuff. We also do lots of other things, but our children play sports year round so people tend to notice that. One thing that is pretty common with coaching youth sports is that we don’t really punish children for having other interests. We are supposed to make exceptions. If a child has some sort of play or church event we don’t tell them they have to skip it. We try to figure out how to work both in because being well rounded is important and most kids don’t really even know what they want to do or where their talent lies.’
It makes me sad that this isn’t the case with everything kids participate in. I totally understand commitment. I understand wanting to have everyone participate in every aspect of whatever interest is being persued. But, truth be told, it’s pretty vain to think that somehow whatever interest we are leading is somehow more important than anything else that is happening around us.
The past couple of months have been pretty crazy. My work has been slow, my husband’s business lost some work and yet all our bills stayed the same. We also added the insanity of basketball season for three kids. We apparently like it when life is adventurous.
Thankfully, we only had two month of lost work for our business. The new year will bring new clients. They’ve already been signed. My work has picked up dramatically which is quite lovely too.
I realize this ebb and flow is normal for adult life. Sometimes, I just wish I could cause it to flow at different times than it does. Like everyone, we have the stress of Christmas. I work to purchase gifts slowly through the year to ease some of that stress. This year was no different. Now, I am close to being done. I have one gift to buy. As usual, my husband and I did not buy each other gifts because we like to use what we have to spoil our kids.
At the same time, each year my office has a raffle. I buy tickets every time, and I have only participated in two raffles where I didn’t win anything in 8 years. Today was the drawing and I won the grand prize. I am soooo excited! Love winning. Love getting things I would never buy myself. I am now the excited owner of a Microsoft Surface.
One of my least favorite games is the one up game. I don’t like it when I try to one up people and I don’t like it when people try to one up me. It’s strange how so many of us are drawn to this behavior. I suppose it’s some weird quirk in our human nature.
If you’re not sure what I mean here’s a couple examples -
Me: I just got a new iPhone. I’m so excited. I’ve been saving for two years to get one.
Other person: I have had an iPhone since they came out. I can’t believe you don’t have one.
Other person: You have twins?
Me: Yes, they are 10.
Other person: Well, my kids are 9 months apart and that is harder than twins.
Seriously, why do we do this? I’m as guilty as the next person, I am sure. I’ve noticed myself doing it and tried to examine my though process once I noticed it was happening. Sometimes, it’s my way of identifying with the person – trying to let them know I’ve done the same thing or I understand what they’re going through to a certain degree. Sometimes, I simply am annoyed that the other person sounds like they think they are somehow better than me. But, it’s the really weird one ups that make me crazy. When I hear them it’s hard not to comment on the strangeness of it all.
Some of the most odd one ups I’ve come across are (aside from the twin one above which I find super weird/funny):
- My labor hurt more than yours
- My kids are better than yours at sports/school/music/thinking/breathing
- Me staying at home with my kids is better/harder than you working and taking care of your kids
- My experiences outweigh your experiences and license me to give you advice on parenting
- My financial donations are better than yours
Ultimately, I feel like this comparison thing gets us nowhere simply because we are all living different lives with different experiences. It’s impossible to prove to someone that their efforts are somehow less simply because they are not the same as our own.
I am just fascinated that once I started noticing it – I now notice it with SO MANY PEOPLE. They don’t even know they are doing it. Listen around you – you’ll notice it too.
Tomorrow is Election day. We get to vote! What a great nation we live in. I am so excited to go tomorrow.
Be involved. I don’t really care which party you are aligned with (though, I prefer those that agree with me outnumber the ones who don’t, but that’s just my selfishness). There are many men and women who have fought for you to have the right to vote. Use it.
I remember the first time I went to vote. My dad went with me. It was a family thing. And, it was exciting. My dad has always pressed us with the responsibility to use our right to vote. So, it was really cool to finally get to be involved in the process.
I hope you make it to the polls tomorrow or have at least mailed in your ballots. If you’re still unsure who to vote for – check this site out: http://www.isidewith.com/presidential-election-quiz It’s pretty cool. You can expand the options by selecting “add more options” and get down to what you really truly believe.
November is considered the month to give thanks. I like to pretend it’s thanks that I was born in November, but as we all know, it’s more about being thankful for our blessings. Recently I’ve been noticing a trend at our house. We say things we don’t mean and it makes us sound like we are not thankful. We have decided to start working on it.
Here is a list of the first three phrases I know we say at our house and I’m so thankful we don’t mean:
- When we say ‘there’s nothing to eat’ at my house – it generally means ‘there is nothing that sounds good or that doesn’t take a lot of effort for me to make’. We have never been close to starving no matter how low our cabinet stock has been.
- When we say ‘I’m freezing’ we really mean ‘My bed was so cozy and warm. I’d rather be there than getting up to get dressed.’ We do not have to wear coats in our house and we have blankets on our beds.
- When we say ‘I don’t have anything to wear’ we mean ‘I wish I’d washed my favorite things to wear today’ or ‘I would rather have something different to wear’. We all have things to put on our bodies, and we even have people who are willing to give us their perfectly good things so we don’t have to always purchase something new.