Friday, June 9, 2017

Face your fears or drive them to Mississippi

It was tick. It was so small, but it took me down.

Do you guys have irrational fears? Sure you do. Everyone has them. I guess the bigger question is Can you push through your fear when you need to? Yesterday I had a humbling experienced that proved to me that I. Can. Not.

I don't do bugs. Let me clarify that. I don't do gross bugs. This is an important distinction.
I am not afraid of wasps or bees or spiders. I can kill those without thinking. But the sight of a roach will take me all the way down to the fetal position. A few friends have seen this happen, because sadly I have seen my fair share of roaches in my home. Did you know that roaches love pine trees? Did you also know that I live on a street called Pine Valley. So I guess it's my fault. I chose to move into their sanctuary, but whatever, they all deserve to die. (I digress) (Also, I feel like I need to go take a shower with all this roach talk.)

So anyway, yesterday I discovered that I feel the same way about ticks that I do about roaches. (ok that's the last time I'm typing the R-word.)

I'm not an out-doors girl. I don't care to get dirty and therefore haven't had to deal with many (or any) ticks. Until yesterday.

It is church camp week for us. Amelia and Walt left for camp on Monday. The younger kids (Walt's age group) only camp for 2 days as a way to sort of ease them into the whole "Sleep Away Camp" thing. So he returned after 2 glorious days in the great outdoors and can't wait to do it again. I'm glad he loved it. I hope he will still love it after all of this.

Camping in the south means checking for ticks is regularly. For reasons already stated, checking for these pests is Steve's job. I'm just going to let that hang out there for a bit. I'm not blaming anyone...I am not petty or bitter.... I'm just stating the facts.

I sat on the couch yesterday morning reading my Bible listening to the kids play when I heard "Ew Gross!!! There is a bug on me that won't come off!!!" Awesome.  I know what that means and my fight or flight instinct immediately kicks in. Spoiler Alert: My body always chooses flight. Always.

Then it hits me. I am the only responsible adult in the house. I have to deal with it. This is so not ideal.

I went to work and tried all the "home remedies" that I could find online.
Burn it with a match.
Smother it in Peppermint oil.
Pour Hand Sanitizer on it.
Cover it with clear finger nail polish.

Nothing worked. I texted at least 8 people asking for help. All of them said the only solution was to pull it out with tweezers. I wish I could say that I pulled myself together for the sake of my son and handled it all with grace and dignity. Um... That is not exactly how it went down. Let's just say, my son will probably be permanently scarred from this event and will always know that his mom could not get over her fear to help him in his time of need.

So I cried. He cried. It was a whole dumb tearful scene. Over a bug.

My friends were cheering me on texting things like "You can do this!" "We've all done it countless times." "It's no big deal." But it was a big deal to me. That's the thing about irrational fears. They are completely...well... irrational. I've been on the other side of this, telling a friend who is afraid of heights to "Just don't look down" or a friend afraid of being on stage to "Just picture them in their underwear." But clearly, logic doesn't doesn't work.

/ /

I have been thinking about this constantly and just feeling very weak and convicted on one hand and weak and closer to God on the other.

On the one, I hate that my child saw me in this light. I felt like such a failure as a parent. Completely helpless. My brain knew that this was not a big deal and all I had to do was suck it up and grab the tweezers, but my heart (and more importantly my body) failed me. The voices in my head were really letting me have it.

How many times have you encouraged your children to face their fears and be brave? 

And now you are gonna just stand there looking like the biggest hypocrite? 

Your kids will never trust you again, because you can't even touch a bug for them.

Just go ahead an buy yourself that t-shirt that says "Worst Mom Ever."

I mean, it's actually a pretty cute shirt.

But on the other hand, feeling so completely helpless as a parent brought a nice helping of much needed humility. I have to let my children see that sometimes even parents are scared. That we are powerless to our fears without God. Sure, I would rather my kids think I can do anything, but maybe it is better for them to see that I can't. Only God is THAT good.

All I have been able to think about since this "event" is how we are in such a similarly helpless parenting place with Walt at bedtime.

In the last few months he has been dealing with a ton of anxiety and fear about falling asleep at night. We pray about it, we talk about it, we sing about it, and we negotiate the heck out of it, but nothing seems to work. He will say..."I don't know why I'm scared, Mom. But I just can't stop worrying that I won't fall asleep." My husband and I just get angry and bothered by such a weird (and irrational...yep there it is) problem.

Is the nasty tick God's way of helping me extend grace to my worried little boy? 

Did I need to be reminded of my own fear and weakness in order to be patient with his?

I know God works in mysterious ways, but really, God? This is not just mysterious, it's gross. Thanks for meeting me right where I am. Curled up on the floor in the fetal position crying about a bug.

/ /

I wish I could say that the end of the story was me conquering my fear and pulling that thing out like a boss. That would make for a good story. But actually, I stuck a band-aid on that thing and drove to my mom for help.

Yep, I loaded my kids in the van and drove 50 miles to Mississippi to someone I knew, without a doubt, was not afraid of silly little tick. Because my mom CAN do just about anything. Plus she grew up in the country and has seen her share of ticks. I can't help it if I'm a city girl who knows the beauty of delegation. Find an expert and out source the problem. There's a lesson in there too.

At the end of the day, the tick "event" was not my proudest parenting moment, but I learned a great lesson in humility and vulnerability. Hopefully my children learned something too, and not just that they can't trust their mom with their life. I would like to think if it were a life or death emergency, I could summon the courage. Let's just hope that isn't anytime soon.

And maybe, just maybe, I will one day thank God for that nasty blood sucking bug and for using it to teach me to be a more understanding mother. But let's be honest, that definitely won't be anytime soon.


FACEBOOK FROM THE PAST
June 2013
My mom is letting the kids win in a game of chutes and ladders. Further proof that she is a nicer person than I am. 



Friday, June 2, 2017

The Summer we have been waiting for

It's June 2nd which means I missed May completely.

It's fine. Whatever. We don't have to talk about it. Everyone has already said it. May is crazy. May is busy. There are birthdays and Mother's Day and field trips and field days and graduations and we got it May, just stop already.

And then there is the light at the end of the tunnel. It is called Memorial Day and suddenly the pools open and school is out and all is right with the world!



Summer is here and we have started it off with a bang. At this moment I am lying in my bed looking at the suitcases that need to be unpacked from our big Summy family vacation. We left the day before Memorial Day and headed to Chattanooga and then on to Gatlinburg to meet up with the rest of the Summys. We had a blast hiking and picnicking and site seeing and Dollywooding. It was one of those wonderfully fun and exhausting trips that leave you needing another vacation to recover from your vacation.

As we were driving home today I was thinking how "easy" it is to travel now. I don't want to sound cocky or anything, but it just struck me, this trip was relatively painless and (dare I say) fun for all of us.

All moms of young children know what I am talking about, I have always loved the thought of vacation, but sometimes over the years I have wondered if it was really worth it. All the whining and planning and stopping and feeding and changing and crying.... and that's just the first 5 minutes of any trip. It's exhausting and it sucks the fun out of any occasion.

But this time was different. I think we have reached a sweet spot. Everyone is potty trained. Everyone is fairly easily entertained with books and movies. Everyone can dress themselves and sleep through the night. Eating is pretty drama free with minimal spillage. Everyone plays well together. (well for the most part. We still argue over which movie to watch and which game to play and what snack to eat.)  It's brand new parenting territory and I can't believe I have finally made it!

I've been parenting for 11 years and I've heard this day would come. I've dreamed about it. I've seen glimpses of it over the years, but now I believe we have officially arrived. This is the pay off to all the hard work. This is the plus side to them losing their precious baby fat. They become completely delightful human beings who (if you brainwashed appropriately) have the same taste in entertainment and food as you do.

Y'all, Im giddy. It's not just great for travel, this will affect our whole life. Here it is June 2nd, the beginning of the summer, and I can't wait to enjoy the next 2 months. I realized the other day that my husband and I can go on walks alone and the kids are able to stay in the house... by themselves... for 30min....(Freedom!!!) and then I thought.... I may actually be able to sit in a chair and relax at the pool this summer and just watch my kids swim. Just the way God intended!

A whole new world has opened up for me and I just want to encourage all of my mom friends who are coming up a few years behind me. Your day is coming. I know you can't believe it now, but it will be here before you know it. Just about the time you are crying about that preschool graduation, you will realize that your precious little one isn't the only one who moving on to bigger and better things. You too have graduated, my friend! You survived the toddler years! Congrats! Hats off to us all!!

Here's to Summer 2017! It's going to be Epic!


FACEBOOK FROM THE PAST
May 2013
Just saw a list that someone posted about "Things that make you a good mom." I think I would rather read a list titled "Things that make you a bad mom" and just avoid those things.... it sounds much less intimidating. Hmmm... do you think my bar is set a little too low?


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

That Time I Wrote a Post and Forgot to Actually Post It... Which Sums Up Me as a Person

It's Sunday night and I'm just sitting here recapping my weekend and Im pretty content.

We had a full weekend, but not so full that I feel overly tired from it. I realize that makes me sound like a 90 year old women, rating my weekend based on how tired I feel. But it is what it is and let's not forget I'll be 39 this year which is basically 90 anyway.

The weekend began with the Mother/Son Olympics Friday afternoon immediately after school. Ahhh, Elementary School Olympics, doesn't that just sound right up my alley? No, no it does not. I am not the least bit athletic, and between you and me, neither are the rest of my family. (Sorry guys. Mommy loves you!) Anyway, my son was SUPER pumped about this event, and being the loving and doting mom that I am (I just laughed at myself) I signed us up and we were given our spot on the purple team.

Purple. The color of fierce competitors.

We dominated at things like tug of war (thanks stubborn holiday weight) and the 3 legged race, but things got ugly when we made it to the dreaded hippity hop race. No mother of 3 has any business being on a hippity hop. That is the moral of this story. My husband videoed me at this, my lowest point in months, and for this reason he is currently dead to me.

Even though it took 3 ibuprofen to get over the experience, my son's smile and complete happiness was kind of worth it. So I'm gonna chalk that up to a Mom win.

Y'all. I just noticed that my team sticker was upside
down the whole time.Gah. That is classic.

Team Summy ready to kick tail in the 3 legged race

Saturday morning started early with Amelia's Association Bible Drill. I was not a bible driller and so I am super impressed, by these kids and their ability to memorize scripture, and in the King James Version, no less. Amazing. She passed and will be heading to the State Drill so pretty soon she will be the considered the most spiritually educated member of our family.

After a quick lunch out (thanks to another Lent Loophole gift card) we headed to Amelia's violin recital. It was pretty much the day for Amelia spread joy with all of her talents and our family's version of T-ball games and Soccer tournaments.



We came home after the recital feeling accomplished and enjoying a breather before hanging out and having dinner with our small group when I decided to check out what was going on in Instagram world. That's when I saw that several people were posting pics of this awesome birthday party. And by several people, pretty much everyone we know. And then I remembered why we had a few minutes to chill between activities.... we were supposed to be at that birthday party. Classic. Just when I think I'm juggling everything pretty well... a forgotten party, a forgotten field trip form, a forgotten child (just kidding. I almost never forget my children.)

Today was great. A wonderful Palm Sunday with our church family made complete thanks to Louisa shouting "Hosanna!" repeatedly all the way home. It was a beautiful day and we did what we do best which was be lazy. The kids played in the yard and I watched Netflix.

I ventured out only to shop for an Easter dress which was a dismal experience at best. I tried on 25 dresses and walked away with pants and a shirt that I am certain my grandmother would wear. But like I said, I am turning 39 this year so I guess that's to be expected.


FACEBOOK FROM THE PAST
April 2014
I seriously just picked up my plate and licked it. I really hope my kids didn't see that.


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

When Searching for More Makes You Satisfied with Less

Last year I decided to do something that scared me and submit and essay to a magazine. It was sort of a bucket list item of mine and there happened to be a contest in one of my favorite publications so I figured, why not?!?

My entry was not selected, but I am still pretty proud of myself for trying and putting myself out there to be judged. It is so unlike me to do so.

So here it is, my story of how a small decision changed my life dramatically.




When Searching for More Makes You Satisfied with Less
By Annah Mary Summy

Sometimes the most dramatic change in your life doesn’t feel like the most dramatic at the time. It can take years before you can see its effect and how that road led you in such a different trajectory than you had planned. 

I grew up as the oldest child of a typical middle class family. My mom worked outside of the home for most of my life. I watched my mom through the years and it was clear that she never loved her job. No, she didn’t openly dislike what she did every day, and I am sure she always had a smile on her face around her coworkers. But when she came home at night she was always tired and defeated and I believe she wished she could just be at home doing the things that made her happy. Seeing her struggle with this made a significant impression on me. I decided, early in life, that I would do whatever it would take to find a job I loved, be successful, and enjoy going to work every day. That was the plan. Everything else would be gravy.

Luckily, while in college I met a man who completely supported my plan. He loved me and my big ideas for the future. I thought of myself a feminist back then, although this was based on nothing more than a desire to work out side the home, achieve my career goals, and earn as much respect (if not money) as my husband. Part of that deal meant sharing the household workload 50/50, which seemed to be a solid home economics plan. We split the laundry down the middle and took turns making dinner. But everything in your first year of marriage was more fun and romantic when you did it together, even the household chores. So we did it all together. We cooked together, exercised together, grocery shopped together, did laundry together, and dreamed big dreams together.  It was a simple way to approach marriage and it worked beautifully.

After grad school we moved to Memphis eager to begin our lives as official grown ups. Steve began his work in the medical device industry, while I began making my mark in the advertising community. I job-hopped for a few years before finally landing as an in-house designer in the corporate world of finance. I loved the unusual combo of creative design plus the corporate perks of a nice salary, decent benefits, and a fancy cubicle I pretended was “my office”.  My career was on track, but I couldn’t shake the feeling of wanting more.

More was on the way. Less than 9 months later, our first daughter was born. And just like that, I was a mom. She was beautiful and healthy and I was terrified of her. How was I going to be a mother and manage everything else? After spending a life altering six weeks on maternity leave, I returned to work a sleep deprived, weepy mess. My new reality of juggling work and motherhood was the hardest thing I had ever done. 

Work became my personal oasis. It was a welcomed break from the constant crying, the spit up, and the dirty diapers. I felt guilty being away from her; but worse, I felt guilty for enjoying being away from her. I eventually got over the guilt and savored being back in a quiet office, wearing “real” clothes (albeit covered in spit up), and engaging in adult conversations, while Amelia spent her days with more qualified caregivers.

We found the holy grail of daycare centers. It was close to home and the hours were wonderful. The fact that they adored my chubby faced angel was just icing on the cake. People say that parenting “takes a village” and my village was First Baptist Day School. By the time she was 6 months old, we had settled comfortably into our new life. Our daily schedule began to run like a well-oiled machine again.

I have since learned that parents should never get too comfortable, because that is the moment things start unraveling. The next year was filled with ear infections, stomach viruses, and random childhood illnesses like Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease. (Not to be confused with Hoof and Mouth disease. I learned that one the hard way.) I was quickly introduced to the daycare’s “24 hour fever free rule” that states “A child must be fever for 24 hours before returning to school.” While I appreciated the need for this rule, I also found it terribly inconvenient.

Amelia had close to ten ear infections during her first 2 years and ran significant fever with each one. As you can imagine, my sick/personal day bank was depleted very quickly. We were constantly shuffling around trying to find people to watch her until she passed the fever free test. Our well-oiled machine was breaking down and that’s when some serious discussions started taking place in the Summy household.

Our tidy arrangement was being challenged. He talked about his expectations for our family, and I realized they were completely different than my own. He liked the idea of our children growing up with their mom always around. I desperately wanted to do the work I loved AND be a mother. We had reached our first major marital roadblock. It was clear that compromises needed to be made; yet neither party was willing to sacrifice. After many loud debates, we finally agreed that I would continue to work; however, the responsibility of finding childcare would fall completely on me. He was washing his hands of this particular task, and  it was a trade-off I was willing to accept in order to succeed in my career. 

But something had started to change. There was a shift that had taken place in my head and, more importantly, my heart. Suddenly, I was less fulfilled by the daily grind. The view from my cubicle wasn’t quite as picturesque and I had trouble staying focused in meetings. The recognition from by boss that I once so desperately craved was no longer as meaningful. I still enjoyed the creative outlet, but I quickly became resentful of the time it took away from my family. I knew I was not excelling at either job and something had to be done.  

It took me a while to admit my feelings to Steve (or even to myself). When I finally let him in on my struggle, we spent the next several months praying and exhaustively pro/conning all of the options. Being married to an engineer means no significant decision in our life is resolved in less than six months. During this time of limbo, I was impossible to be around. My feelings were worn externally like accessories that could be seen from miles away. I agonized over giving up the career that I had chased since I was a teenager. I was mourning the loss of the “Me” I was striving to be. 

“What if I was bored by being mommy all day? 
“What if I resented my child for this sacrifice?”
“What if I lost my identity?” 
These shame filled questions became my private conversations with God. I had no other option but to pray over and over for God to bless this decision.

In January 2009, with much trepidation, I made the decision to be a stay-at-home mom. I took a leap of faith having no idea what this new reality would look. I definitely didn’t expect it to dramatically change the way I viewed the world.

The days were hard at first. I had no schedule and no way to measure my progress. My boss was a 3 year old and she rarely gave me useful feedback. I ran test studies on how many days in a row I could wear an outfit before someone noticed. I began watching the Food Network religiously, until I was as confident a cook as Ina and Giada. Life soon became a fast paced whirlwind of babies and toddlers, preschool and carpool, and (for the love) potty training. Without realizing it, I developed a spirit of contentment in those everyday tasks of cooking, cleaning, nurturing, and encouraging my family. As a mother of three now, I can’t remember ever taking time to lament over the loss of my career. (Although I do miss the lunches and quiet time at my desk.) Slowly, my priorities and life goals changed. 

I’ve spent everyday of the last seven years trying to find my way as a mom. It has been a difficult and exciting journey. I don’t have the personality to successfully pull off the working mom’s life. Those mothers have such a special, God given gift to perform on a very high level every day. That is not my gift, and I know that now. I also know that this job that I so adamantly opposed is so much more than carpool and feeding hungry mouths. It is an opportunity to be the most prominent voice in my children’s heads. I get to fill them with all my best words, guide them with love, and then sit back and watch them grow. 


This is the “more” for which I had been searching. The decision to walk away from my dream to be at home has affected the way I approach every day of my life. I have found my niche in serving others through serving my kids and telling my story along the way. I get to live the mom life my mother wanted, and I am so proud to honor her in that way.  




Thursday, March 30, 2017

Motherhood: The years are short, but the days are long (unless you are having fun).

These days and and weeks go by fast when life is going good. Do you guys feel that too?

It's spring and the weather is beautiful and all the fabulous blooms are on the trees. The days are longer but seem to go by faster because we can get out and enjoy it.

I find it funny that time passes so quickly when we are happy and practically stands still during the difficult times.

Steve was out of town last weekend. While I couldn't really call it a dark and difficult time in my life as compared to all of the sadness and hurting that many of my friends are experiencing, it was a little bit harder than my usual. And those 3 days felt like a month.

Time just seems to crawl along when you are being stretched. Keeping 3 kids (and myself) alive and fed and chauffeured to all of the places was a stretch for me. I usually have a partner that I can tag when I need a break and that partner was on the beach with his buddies... I'm promise I'm not bitter. Anymore.

So this week has been all about playing catch up. Catching up on the things that I pushed aside during the craziness of last week.

Here is a random fact about me...I live my life with a to do list in my head that never gets smaller. It is always growing and so I never finish it. I am always feeling guilty about what I should be doing at the moment and always always feel behind. It is an exhausting way to live and I need to stop. It goes something like this.

Today I should be outside enjoying the beautiful day. 

I should be exercising. 

I should be mopping the kids bathroom floor because it is sticky and that makes me afraid to go in there without wearing shoes.

I should be folding laundry.

I should be catching up on reading for one of the 4 bible studies in which I am currently a taking part. Why have I committed to 4 bible studies at the same time? Did I subconsciously think that would make me more holy? I don't know why I do these things. 

I should be deleting unread emails because I have such a gigantic amount that it makes some of my friends angry when they see the notifications on my phone. 

I should be returning impulse buys to target and overdue library books. 

Those are the things on my imaginary to do list.

What I actually did today was go to a parent/teacher conference for my 4 year old. It was nice to hear lots of positive feed back and now I feel a little more like a capable parent.

I took that positive thinking and I went to Whole Foods to replace a bottle of eucalyptus oil that I threw away in a one of my random cleaning fits. (Yes my cleaning comes in spastic fits.)

I also bought some of my favorite chicken salad and just ate it on crackers without so much as a plate or napkin. Like a cave person. It was so still delicious. (I know what you are thinking. What about Lent? Well this is a Lent loop hole since technically the rule is no eating at a restaurant, but since WF is a grocery store I think it is legal.)

(Yes I now realize I need to be in serious prayer about the fact that I am searching for "Lent Loopholes". Y'all Lent is long. And thanks to the stretching I mentioned earlier, it seems even longer. Like I feel certain we are on day 81.)



For my next procrastination project I decided to tackle the pile of paper/mail/junk on my kitchen counter. Do you guys have one of these piles? If you don't, I don't know how are you living your life so well, and I need you to come and mentor me....ASAP. The kitchen pile is a thorn in my flesh. It haunts me daily and I can't seem to get rid of it.



Every now and then I go through it and throw away things that have expired or no longer make sense to keep. But just like my email inbox, 20 more will be dropped in their place before the day is over. There has to be some metaphor about my life here, but I can't quite put my finger on it.

I think I will spend the rest of my kid free hours looking up Kids' Summer Camp information and trying to play calendar Tetris to make it work with everyone's schedules. That should take up the last hour before I begin the afternoon carpool shenanigans.

Or maybe I will just sit down and read a book.


FACEBOOK FROM THE PAST
March 2012
Quote from our dinner table discussion: "Walt, you smell like 2000 skunk trash"
The ultimate 6 year old insult.



Saturday, March 11, 2017

Spring break is here and we are finally wearing coats.

Spring break is officially here. It was time. We all needed it. Therefore everyone in the house is doing their best to stay horizontal and in their pjs as much as possible today.

It's been a few weeks and I'm checking in. It's been a good few weeks. Nothing monumental, but busy. I'll try to hit the highlights in reverse order, because that is how my brain is working today.

1. My daughter started a blog today. It's equal parts precious and exciting. Even though I am in no way a successful blogger, I feel a little proud that she has seen me do something and wants to do it too. She is 11. She hasn't tried to be like me since she was 4. So yeah, this is a pretty big deal to me.

It's a food blog. Her goal is to help me cook dinner, photograph our meals, and write about the experience. In the wake of some pretty epic pre-tween arguments in the last few weeks, this feels like the glimmer of hope I needed. I am the blog administrator and editor which, if regularly read this blog, you know is comical. Editors should have grammar and sentence structure skills, which I don't, unless compared to a 5th grader, which I guess makes this the perfect set up.

I'm not sharing the actual blog with the public for safety reasons. I want her to be able to write and not worry about people knowing her identity. Parenting in the information/digital age is so exhausting.

2. Lent. I grew up super Baptist. Born and raised and born again.... So Lent was a foreign concept to me. In college I remember it being a cool thing to "give up things for Lent", but since those sacrificed things were usually Coke or chocolate, it really seemed more like a Catholic based diet plan than a religious experience.

After listening to the She Reads Truth gals discuss the meaning behind the lent season with Annie Downs on her podcast "That Sound Fun with Annie F. Downs" I decided to look more seriously at the concept of putting aside a delight for a season in order practice leaning into and finding delight in Christ. So I am following along with the SRT ladies as they go through the book of Isaiah. So far so great.

Also, in the spirit of sacrifice, our family has decided to not eat out during Lent. We will eat all meals at home and stick to strict grocery budget. You might be thinking that doesn't sound like much of a sacrifice, but you obviously under estimate how often we eat out and how haphazardly I grocery shop. I make all food decisions based on my current appetite and therefore regularly hit up Chick Fil A and Starbucks on a whim. All that to say, this experience will be out of my comfort zone which is a good thing for exercising my "find contentment in Christ" muscles.

3. Moms' trip. Last weekend I went to Starkville (cue the angels singing the Hallelujah chorus) for a sorority reunion. A girls trip for moms is already a dream, but when the destination is literally the place where dreams came true, it makes it that much sweeter. I love any chance to visit Mississippi State because almost every single memory I have from there is a good one.

My girls Betsy and Cheryl. We have been friends for 20 years.
I don't even know how that is possible since we are only 19. 

So there I was having a great time reminiscing with great friends when I get a call from my son. You see I had missed W's last basketball game for trip which is sad, but I had arranged for grandparents to be there in my place. Not that it matters, but W's team had not won a game all year. They play hard but always came up short. Also, W had not ever scored in a game because he is actually short. Anyway, when I answer the phone he is on the other end talking so fast with excitement. Not only did they win their game, but he even scored! So happy for him. So sad I missed it. That is always my luck. Thank goodness my mom was there to capture a post game smile.



4. We survived another Dr. Seuss Week. I have made my feelings about dress up weeks pretty clear on this blog. Not much left to say about it except I'm glad it is in the past. But here is a picture of my Star Belly Sneetch and Fox in Socks. Despite my feelings on the subject, they always seem to look cute.



5.  I started a new book. And I love it. Rebekah Lyons is adorable and funny and I fell in love with her story when I heard her speak at the Broken and Free Tour. I got the ticket because I love Christy Nockels and Ann Voskamp, but I left with Rebekah's book. Read it. Enjoy it.



I'm sure more has happened in the last few weeks but those are the things that come to mind at the moment. I feel pretty sure that I will have more thoughts on my lent experience since we are only on day 13 of 47. The CFA withdrawals haven't even kicked in and we still have to make it through Spring Break with no fast food.

As for coffee, I'm already researching ways to make my own homemade version of a Mocha Frappuccino.



FACEBOOK FROM THE PAST
March 2016
It's very humbling when you over sleep and come downstairs to find your 10 year old is better at adulting than you are.






Friday, February 17, 2017

I'm 38 and Still a Little Scared of Teachers

It's only 12:38pm and today has already been a day. An emotional day. A day with lots of feelings.

Ya'll, parenting is kind of, you know, hard. There I said it. And I don't mean it in the sarcastic and  funny "meme about mom's drinking wine out of sippy cups to get by" kind of way, but genuinely difficult.

I spent the morning at a parent/teachers conference. (You read that right, teacherS....with an "S". Because there is nothing more intimidating than a meeting with a teacher...except a meeting with 2 teachers.) There were many feelings after that meeting, but one surprising one was relief. Sometimes it's nice to know that everyone is on the same page and just wants what's best for the kids. All the other feelings were made better by an immediate trip to Starbucks. (Because Priorities.)

I then went to Kroger to gather all the goodies for my daughter's birthday weekend. I walked the aisles struggling with the resentment of buying ingredients and making recipe plans to celebrate the one who made it possible for me to meet with 2 teachers earlier today. Don't get me wrong, all of my kids' teachers are quite friendly and very very good at their job, but I have always been a bit nervous around administrators and I strictly avoid confrontation as a rule. Needless to say, I was a bit out of my comfort zone this AM. Thus the bitterness.

So there I am roaming around Kroger dealing with my feelings with ear buds in my ears when I get an encouraging text from a Godly friend. I had sent a text novella to my core group of friends and they had all responded with wonderful mom encouragement. (side note: all moms need friends like these.) But this one friend said exactly what I was thinking at that moment....

"This parenting gig leaves little rest for the weary. Sometimes I wish we were back in the toddler/newborn stage." 

Isn't that just exactly it? I just started crying right there next to the marshmallows. I really never thought I would long for those sleep deprived, spit up covered days. When they were babies, I dreamed of a time when I would get to sleep 7 hours at night and wake up to an alarm clock instead of a crying infant. I looked forward to taking showers and putting on make-up and jeans that buttoned and going to exciting places like Kroger, Target, and (dream of all dreams) Starbucks all by myself.

I just knew that once I made it past this "just keep everyone alive" stage that I will have made it to the easy part of parenthood. (I can hear my mom laughing all the way from Mississippi right now.) I really never thought about what kind of personalities they would have or how that would play out in the future. Well, maybe I did, but I think I just assumed they would be awesome. (because obviously) 

I thought that I would be so great at this parenting thing that they would become perfected little versions of me and Steve. Only our good parts and none of our bad parts. Little people that would light up any room. They would be kind and funny and caring and love God and love people and (even though they constantly fought with each other at home and disobeyed us from time to time) would be model citizens in the world. They would be PERFECT.

How completely naive and unfair of me.

I don't really remember myself in the 5th grade. I mean, I remember 5th grade and my friends and the people around me, but I can't really remember what I was like. I am pretty sure I had an attitude and was (if not already) on my way to being a royal jerk to my mother. (I'm so sorry mom.) I'm pretty sure I tried desperately to fit in by wearing blue eye shadow and getting an extreme Mariah Carey perm (that lasted 5 days until the first time I washed it). But I don't remember what kind of friend I was. Was I a push over or the Regina George of the group? Did I make people feel better or worse about themselves? Was I a motivated student or just barely getting the job done? It's hard to tell, that was so long ago and my memory is fuzzy. (If any you guys knew me back then, feel free to chime in... or maybe not.) 

I tried to find pictures of myself in middle school/Jr. High, but I don't seem to have any pictorial evidence of that glorious time. If my memory serves me well, I believe I looked something like this girl in the movie 13 Going on 30 only less adorable and with poofier bangs. (And I would have never been allowed to wear that off the shoulder number.)


Oh wait... actually a little more like this....


Yep that looks about right. Middle school was a tough time for me.

Anyway, It's unfair of me to put unrealistic expectations on my kids when I struggled with the same issues growing up (and lets face it. I'm still struggling with some of these. Except for the perm. No one is trying to look like Mariah anymore.) I think as parents (and possibly even more as Christian parents) we expect our children to be perfect, because that is how we have always seen them. We don't want to believe that they, too, have been affected by the sinful world.

It is crazy humbling when they don't live up to our perfectionist expectations and other people are present to witness it. (And then have a conference with you about it.) It's embarrassing. It makes me feel like a parenting failure. I wish they could just obey, for the sake of my reputation. It's the least they could do for the one who changed their diapers, right? I say I love them unconditionally, but deep down I make a selfish list of conditions. Then God shows me those prideful conditions get in the way of love and grace.

/ / / / /


Today I planned to sit down to write about the day Amelia was born. Something I have wanted to write about each of my kids for a while. I want to remember every detail of that special day that I became a mom. But when I sat down, this is what came out instead. I guess this was my own personal little therapy session. If you read every word of this, you should charge me some sort of psychiatrist fee. Of course, I would have to pay you in baked good laced with resentment.

I'm going to go now and make sugar cookies in the shape of a lego head (whatever) because I love my almost 11 year old and she is, in fact, awesome in her own way. I love her for who she is today and who she will become. She's growing and the Lord is working in her life (and in all their lives) in ways that I can not understand. That's scary for me, but I trust that He's got this.

Because I am beginning to realize I DO NOT have this and I am thankful that is okay.



FACEBOOK FROM THE PAST
February 2016
"You guys stop fighting! Just pretend each other doesn't exist. You are all only children today!" Excellent parenting skills today.