November 17, 2014

what i learned from my two year old today


Every Monday morning I’m in a state of shock.  I’m shocked that I have to wake up.  Shocked that I have to get out of bed. I’m offended that I have to function at any hour that doesn’t end in pm and it’s alarming that I am expected to take care of another human. Since Matt continues to deny my requests to stay home and help me, I’m forced to stumble around and figure everything out on my own.

Today was cold and rainy and I woke up feverish and that was extra shocking for me.  Mabel tracked mud on my new white rug and that was especially offensive to me.  Mills and I had a rough go at it right from the start.  He was “fixing my hair” with strawberry jelly while I was “pretending” to take a nap.  He kept switching out his Elmo phone for my iphone and hiding mine in the refrigerator.

While trying to get ready, he simply would not accept that he couldn’t brush his teeth with syrup.  Exasperated I said, “Ugh, Mills! Just because!”

And then.  He looked at me with those enormous liquidy brown eyes and said, “Can you just be patient at me, Mama?”

Oh.

“Can you just be patient at me?”

How many times do I want to say that to people in my life?  Can you just be patient at me when I forget to cook dinner? All week? Can you just be patient at me when I don’t call you back over and over and over? When I cut you off in traffic because “Shake it Off” comes on and I start dancing? When I slip back into my old unhealthy habits and it’s really hard to love me?  When I isolate for so long that it seems like I’ve abandoned you? When I forget to remember that God is good? Maybe you can just be patient at me.

Today I’m being patient at people.  And tonight we are brushing our teeth with syrup.

November 4, 2014

train up a child

Dear Matt,

When we decided that Mills wouldn't watch TV until he turned two... We knew EVERYTHING about being parents, didn't we?? And, boy! Having a toddler that wouldn't watch a television show in the dead of winter (because he'd never been exposed to one) was so awesome, wasn't it?

I wouldn't change anything, except the not watching TV part. And I'm glad that you're now intruding him to "the classics" or whatever it is you're calling this list you've compiled. 

BUT, if I have to watch Chitty Chitty Bang Bang one more time, you and I are going to have a problem. It may not be rotting his brain, but it is rotting mine! I couldn't worship at church on Sunday because the tune and lyrics of "TOOT SWEETS" are burned so deeply into my soul. 

Let's move on to another classic. My turn. I pick Scandal. 

xoxo,
Amanda

October 22, 2014

airing my dirty laundry

I know I’ve been away from blogging for a while. It’s because I’ve been REALLY busy having it all together. That’s just the way I do life. I’m calm, I’m organized, I never let our clothes mildew in the washer. I certainly don't let my child eat string cheese for three days in a row before I realize the pack is rotten. In a word, I’m “together”.

This summer we switched Mills to a new school. I’m not going to lie. It’s fancy. When I went to pre-school, they scattered a bag of stale animal crackers on a table, turned on Care Bears, locked us all in a room, and it was kill or be killed. Toddlerhood is all about survival.

You can imagine our shock when, after touring Mills’ new school, we learned that he would be participating in yoga, science classes from a local museum, and eating meals prepared by a nutritionist.  Let’s be honest, as much as this looks exactly like our life at home (except not at all)… I had some concerns that Mills might run away from home. To his new school.

Part of my “together”-ness includes waking up before dawn every day, cooking a hot breakfast from scratch and (especially this!!!) getting completely ready for the day care drop off. Hair, make-up, heels… the whole nine.

Just a few weeks after we’d switched to the new school, I had an off morning. In 7 minutes' time, I was able to wake up the baby, feed him a pop tart (Which clearly just appeared in my pantry! Only organic non-processed food for us.), make his sippy cup of milk, shove him into something not-pajamas, pack his bag, find his shoes and herd him in the general direction of the front door. That left 45 seconds for me.  I grabbed some dirty yoga pants from my bathroom floor, threw on a sweatshirt over my tank top, pulled on my obligatory huge sunglasses and we made a run for it!  (It almost sounds like I’m really good at this. Like I do it every day or something.)

I wasn’t exactly sure about the carpool protocol so I got out, walked around to Mills and carried him to the enormous full-window front of his school. I smiled and nodded at other moms on my way out, hoping they'd notice my friendly self rather than my disheveled state. As I headed home, I made a mental note to never have an “off” day again.  The mamas at this school were of the "beautiful people" variety, and I had embarrassed myself a bit.

Once home, I called my friend Betty in Chicago.  It wasn’t until I plopped down on my couch and propped up my leg that I noticed an awkward bulge.

“Oh no.  Oh, please no. Nononononono NOOOOOOO!” I moaned.
"Ugh! What is the matter with you??” Betty sighed.  I'd obviously woken her up.
“I can’t even talk about it.  I’ll send you a picture.  Mills can’t go back to that school, though. EVER!”
“Huh? I thought you loved that place??” She barely got her words out before I'd hung up on her.

Lodged above the knee of my dirty yoga pants?  A crumpled up pair of dirty underwear.

I, quite literally, had on some fancy pants!



How did anyone keep a straight face that day?? Can you imagine how proud these people must be to have added us to their prestigious institution?  It’s a wonder they haven’t offered to pay our tuition yet.  Or better yet tried to hire me to work with these beautiful young minds.  Me, and my together self.  Stay tuned.  It’s only a matter of time.

July 27, 2014

all choked up


This Sunday at church, we had a guest speaker preaching.  You may not know much about the south, but you know we live, breathe, die, and make idiots of ourselves over college football.  This preacher is a LEGEND in the football world.  A legend, people.  We are talking, works with national champions, IS a national champion, wears all the rings,  ALL OF THESE THINGS, HERO! (I mean, if I knew sports, I feel I could articulate this better.  He’s famous.  A really big deal.) AND, he brought all of his award-winning, sport playing, ring wearing family members and their beautiful wives WITH HIM.

Ok.  You get it. 

I was so in awe of his message today and overcome by this family.  They, like us, are an interracial family.  But they have generations among them and I was so drawn to the legacy they have created. We are just starting out.  They have paved the way with strength and honor and grace.  This is what we want to be able to build for Mills.  Towards the end of the sermon, I went to the nursery to get him so the family could pray with us at the end.

Mills is a flight risk.  A “runner”, as we like to call him.  So, he hasn’t darkened the doors of “big church”, nor will he until he is 17? Later? Hard to say.  On our way in, I grabbed a handful of peppermints and began shoving them in his mouth in order to keep him quiet and occupied until the end of the service.  It was sort of a beautiful moment to have all three of us sitting together in church, on the front row (I'm that girl now!) for the first time.  The preacher asked us to bow our heads and began to do the altar call.  I noticed that Mills was unusually still and began to smile to myself thinking about what a spiritually sensitive child we obviously have.  Clearly, he was responding to the Holy Spirit.  I opened my eyes to nudge Matt and alert him of our son’s holiness when I saw Mills clawing at his neck.  I began to pat him on his back and noticed his face was quickly turning blood red.  With people all over the floor at our feet asking Jesus into their hearts, the famous athletes and beautiful people just inches behind us, I suddenly began to scream, “he’s choking, he’s choking!”  All I could think was that I'd just killed my child with a breath freshener in order to beat other people to the front of the prayer line.  Talk about a mom fail.  Matt started to do a hybrid Heimlich/karate chop, the preacher kept praying, I kept screaming and the peppermint popped out. 

Sweet Lord.

When Mills was an infant, I was so overwhelmed I didn’t know what to do.  Matt would come home from work (into a filthy house, with a crying baby AND wife), kiss me, swoop the baby into his arms and say, “You did it!  You’re both alive!  Great work today, Mama!”  

I have maintained for the past two years that this is my only goal.  Keep.him.alive. 

We had a close call, but today… I DID IT!  I'm exhausted.  

July 26, 2014

to the waiting ones


Dear Mama who can’t get pregnant,

(You became a Mama the moment you began to dream of that little one in your heart. That is where life actually begins...)

I see you.  And I want to tell you something.  I know exactly how you feel.  I know the unbearable pain you’ve carried for months, years even, waiting for your baby.  My very heart beats with yours.

I know what it is to weep on the cold tile of the bathroom floor month after month; sobs wreaking havoc on your body until you vomit and then mourn some more.  And I also know about the numb feeling that slithers in after the pain is too much to carry.

I have hated my body for forsaking me and not doing the one thing I felt women were created to biologically do.  I have felt that I couldn't face another "tomorrow" more times than I'd like to admit.  I have felt broken more than I've felt whole. 

I’ve cried at baby showers.  To the mom-to-be.  In front of her mother.  While we were supposed to be praying for the baby.  So I really know about avoiding showers.  And maybe tearing up invitations and flushing them down the toilet. 

I've stayed in bed at holidays and "been sick" for babies' birthday parties.  I used to hide from my life which made me feel ashamed, which made me angry at myself, which started a downward spiral to the dark dark place.

I’ve been afraid.  Angry. Disappointed. Hopeless. Lifeless. Weak. Ashamed. Sick. Confused. Belittled. Enraged. Exhausted. Embarrassed.  Utterly, completely alone.

I’ve watched every single friend of mine (even the infertile ones) have a baby.  And then their second.  Now they are on round three.  Somewhere along the way I began to withdraw and life became very lonely and complicated for me.

There is something I want to tell you.  You are not alone.  As long as I am here, understanding you, we are in this together.  You are not being punished.  You are extravagantly loved by the creator of the Universe.  Even if you don’t believe in Him.  That’s ok.  You are still loved and accepted just the way you are.

The only thing you have to do is make it through today.  Me too.  We don’t have to figure out why, or when, or what steps to take. Don't even THINK about tomorrow!  What's tomorrow?  We just need to do today.  One of my favorite parts of the Bible says,
Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.  Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”
Let's hang on to this promise.  

Let’s just do today, friend.  Together.

*Matthew 6:34
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