Tis the Season


It’s football and volleyball season.  That means volleyball practices at 6am and football practices until 6pm.  That means rushing to and from work to fit in games and practices.  It means trying to enjoy all the accomplishments my children make while trying to encourage them to improve and grow.  It means dinner is cooked between 7 and 8 at night.

This year I’m coaching my daughter’s volleyball team.  It’s been so fun.  The girls are excited to be there and most are beginners so they haven’t created bad habits yet! The team is made up of 6th and 7th grade girls.  As my husband says – the best part of our game so far is our cheering and our warm up.  But, these girls are coming along and will all make excellent volleyball players very soon.

team

(Yeah, that’s me on the right – shorter than half the players.  I’ve had a few people ask me if it bothers me that I’m shorter than these girls.  Um, NO!  I honestly don’t think about it much and didn’t even notice until I saw this picture.)

Here is my favorite picture so far this season – the formation gets me every time.  (Yes, I’m special).

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I’m more calm this year with the football thing.  Well, I volunteer to run the spirit wear table so I miss 1/2 the game. And, I try not to look when my son is getting hit or hitting people…but I am more calm. HAHA  He still is loving it and it’s been a true joy to watch him improve over the past couple years.  My favorite part is the comradery that is built in to football.  The boys love and protect each other.  There is no instance where that doesn’t happen on the team.  It’s pretty amazing to watch these boys come together like that.  All but six are new – it speaks volumes about their coaches that they enforce that.

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(My boy is #30)

So, with coaching and watching and selling spirit wear the subject of how much time it takes to be a parent for an athlete (or a child in drama or band or whatever) has come up.  It IS time consuming.  It takes hours and hours and hours of our lives to be there to drive, pick up, coach, practice at home, cheer, and just BE there at games.  But, you know what?  How much time is “too much” to invest in our children?  The time they are with us is short.  A mere 18 years before they move on to things that will take them away from us.  My oldest is a junior.  In a year and a half he will be off to college.  How could I ever choose to miss these few passing moments?  I couldn’t.  I can’t imagine not being there for him or experiencing his joys, his letdowns and just his life with him.  The same is true for the twins.  I want to see them growing and learning.  I want to cheer for them when they do well.  I want to cheer for them when they need some encouragement!

 

These are the blessings the Lord has entrusted us with.  All too soon they will be grown.  Enjoy these fleeting moments.  Cheer as loud as you can.  Lose your voice by the end of each game.  Try to attend every performance, every game – we all know none of us will make every single thing – but do your best!  Your kids see you trying and they love you for your efforts.

Motherhood, my friends – embrace it!

 

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Logical Conversations


When I was in about 4th grade at a small town public school a girl showed up and she was very ‘cool’.  She had cool clothes.  She was mouthy & disrespectful.  And, when I hung out with her on the playground she told me that she was allowed to cuss and swear at home.  Being raised in a Christian home the idea was shocking.  All of my friends had Christian parents.  But, it was also tantalizing.  She was from a different world.  I had to learn more. So, I hung out with her for about a week.  She shared her favorite curse words.  I said “Yes, I use those too.”  She said “I cussed my sister out.”  I said “Oh, I do that.”  She looked at me with a raised eyebrow and said “Really?  Tell me what you said.” I thought quickly.  There were only a few cuss words I even knew existed.  Finally, I settled on just repeating the few I knew.  I finished my made up tirade and looked at her.  She was smirking. She was not convinced and I was embarrassed.  I did not hang out with her again.  The whole experience was short lived, but I still remember it to this day.  As the years went by I realized the importance of friend choices.  I’ve always had amazing friends. *blessed*

Probably in the 5th grade the word ‘weird’ caught on.  Everyone was saying it.  I decided I’d say it too.  A girl has to constantly work on keeping her coolness up.  I started using it at home the first day I decided to introduce it into my vocabulary.  My father said, ‘What does weird mean? What is the definition?’  My sisters and I looked at each other.  Um.  “It means strange”.  My dad said ‘Go get the dictionary and look it up.  You shouldn’t say words you don’t know the definition of.’.  I still remember looking it up and reading the short definition. ‘Weird – magical or unearthly.’ I have even told my kids that definition without looking it up.  Funny how that stuff just sticks with me even years later.

Not long after that, maybe a year or so, I decided that ‘sucks’ was a word I should include in my vocabulary.  Other kids at school were saying it.  And, I heard it often enough that I could make it sound normal in conversation.  I started small.  I used it in group settings of friends.  No one batted an eye.  Excellent. I’d pulled it off!  My ascension to coolness was on its way!  I continued to use it out of my parents earshot.  It became engrained in my speech.  One day my sister and my friends were at my house.  I was probably in 6th grade by then.  My sister said something and I replied loudly “That sucks!”.  My dad looked at me.  I instantly got red.  I was in for it.  I knew it.  My dad sat down and said “Do you know what sucks means?”  We said “yes, it means like awful, or stupid or something.”  He said, “no.  It comes from a sexual reference” and he went on to explain.  My sister, my friends, and I just stared at him. What was he even talking about?  It may have that meaning to some people, but it certainly didn’t to us.  In fact, why was he trying to be so logical about the whole thing?  We were simply being cool and using the common lingo.  I remember staring at him and thinking ‘this conversation is really bizarre.  I am never going to remember this and it’s not a big deal if my friends & I are saying cool things. I can’t wait to be a parent so I can just let my kids do whatever and never correct them about stupid stuff.’

Now, I’m a mother.  I have three amazing children.  And, every once in awhile they say something or do something that brings out the logical conversation moment.  Just the other day they all three downloaded a fun new app all their friends are playing.  It’s called “Make it rain”.  They asked me.  I looked at it.  It seemed harmless enough.  It’s actually pretty lame.  They constantly have to ‘fling’ money on their screen.  Each of them was trying to outdo the others and their friends. Whatever. No biggie.  It’s not like they are sending inappropriate photos or anything.  My husband was in the kitchen while they were talking about it and he said ‘wait, it’s called what?’  My oldest said (slowly for his poor OLD dad to hear and understand) ‘Make it rain’.  My husband said ‘Do you know the what the phrase make it rain means?’ and he began to explain that gang bangers use that term in how they spread money to strippers.

And, immediately I left the room to go in my own room and have a chuckle at this full circle my life has had.  From the pre-teen to teen who was positive logical conversations would have no bearing on my life (and yet I remember them decades later) to the parent who explains things logically in hopes that it will make a difference somewhere in the kids’ brains.  Sometimes yelling is the go-to, but sometimes I try to sit down and be calm and logical so the kids might listen.  We will see.  They just might…

Another Back to School


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!

Beautiful Creatures


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.
Cora

Back to School


School started this week.  Let’s not discuss the fact that it’s only mid August.  What really matters now is that it’s in session.  I officially have a high school student and two fourth grade students.  This is just bizarre.

My high school student is taking classes like Biology, Graphic Design, Geometry, Geography…you know, classes that basically help shape the rest of your life and your career path.  It is mind blowing how quickly that happened.  I remember his first day of Pre-K like it was just last week.

My fourth grade students are in separate classes this year.  They are excited to be separate.  I am not a fan.  However, I am going to let it go and focus on the good that can happen with the separation instead of the annoying stuff that it brings for me.

With school starting we also have swim team, flag football, and basketball happening.  You know – we do that just to keep ourselves running crazy. 😀

Every school year brings mild refusal to accept the fact that my children are growing up and won’t need me much longer.  That fact makes me sad.  The up side is that I get chance to watch my kids do amazing things, learn about life, and become awesome humans.  I try to keep that in the front of my thoughts.  The other stuff is just too sad.