Sunday, May 5, 2013

Learning to Leave your Kids Behind

The title sounds terrifying, even wrong, somehow.  Didn't I just spend the last seven years of my life learning how to embrace every aspect of motherhood?  How many poopy diapers have I joyfully rinsed in the toilet? How many ENDLESS loads of laundry and dishes have I washed and put away?  How many pointlessly goofy questions have I fielded over the past seven years?  It's really impossible to say.  Really.  But one thing is for certain-

It is now very hard to say goodbye to my kids.
Which is ok.  Normal, even.  I really truly enjoy my kids.  I love to learn with them, play with them, set aside daily chores just to be with them.  It's true.  I don't like to say to say goodbye to them even if it is just so I can get to the gym 3 evenings a week or go to work to help support our family a few nights out of the week.  The problem isn't them.  It's good for them, and for us.

Will they know the real me when they're grown and gone?
For me this is the biggest point of parenting:  teaching your kids how to be make that awkward transition from innocence to knowledge; from childhood to adulthood; from living in the moment to living in the "now" and all it's busyness.  Do I want them to see the perfect me that never slips up and always keeps the house tidy?  Or do I want them to see my true fallen nature with the "insert-Grace-here" that makes it all possible?  Believe me, I'm not saying my kids should know all the shadows of my life.  Yet.  But they should have glimpses so that they can better understand their own shadows.  They need to know they are not alone in this crazy life.

And who exactly am I supposed to be?
If we forget how to say hello to ourselves, Mothers, we've lost something that may never return.  What is it that I truly need?  I'm not talking pedicures and play-dates, here, people (though they have a fun importance of their own).  What I truly need is adventure.  I need a reason to exist beyond my kids and my husband.  I need divine appointments and silence and the hopefulness that springs out of NOT BEING IN MY HOUSE SURROUNDED BY PILES OF STUFF.  Yes, I shouted that.  I really did.  And it's ok because I'm in my car blasting Ani DiFranco on my way to the gym.  Or to work.  Or somewhere that is not in the presence of my children or even my husband.  Speaking of which...

Can He even see me, anymore?
I need to be the woman my husband fell in love with; not the one he married, but the teeny-tiny "me" that he saw growing inside that was full of hopes and dreams and promises.  I cannot fail her and I will not fail him.  That's right.  It's old fashioned.  But it's true.  We made a covenant almost ten years ago that we would love, honor, cherish and protect each other which means that we will FIGHT for each other and for this marriage every day.  Most days it's truly not difficult.  But it will be if I forget who I am or if he forgets who he is.

Can He see them the way I do?
Of course not.  He's a creature driven by his own needs and desires and he has his own fight.  He has to say good-bye every day to these beautiful kids so he can go to work. He's the expert on good-byes.  I'm just the novice.  But I want him to see them with the same lens of passion and diligence by which I view them.  If only for one evening.  And he does when I am able to back out and go take care of myself.

SO- when the kids ask why I have to go to the gym or why I have to go to work I just tell them- "Because it makes me a better mommy.  And it's good for you to have some special time with Daddy."  And that really is an easy answer because it's true.

For more resources about how to help your kids with this difficult transition, check out my other blog and the post about Saying Goodbye to Mommy...


Wednesday, April 3, 2013


We are not the sort of homeschool-hippie-suburban-homesteading-wannabe parents who shelter our kids from the greater reality of the world beyond our doorstep.  We don't have cable, either.  Or a t.v. for that matter.  But we do watch a lot of movies and some t.v. shows.  My husband and I recently previewed "Rise of the Guardians" after hearing a lot about this movie.  It did absolutely live up to the hype- Alec Baldwin is one of my favorite and by far one of the funniest people in entertainment, today.  And the naughty/nice tattoos only help his cause.  Jude Law, Hugh Jackman... awesome.

The meta-theme?  Not so awesome.

I came away from this movie feeling a little dirty.  The children of our world today are longing to believe in something "real."  So what do we give them?  A revamped Santa, a kick-ass Easter Bunny, and a trickster ice-man.  Oh- and throw in a fairy for the girls (ooooh, aaaahhh).  The more we teach them that this is what magic is, the less they will be able to believe in REAL magic.  They'll come to believe that everything we taught them is imaginary, merely a child's dream.

I was as surprised by my reaction to this movie as I was by my reaction to Tangled when I saw it for the first time.  For me, that movie reflected REAL magic.  The magic of love and grace.  The struggle with our sin selves and the need to believe in a dream, a vision, that will ultimately lead us to truth.  Guardians only teaches us to believe in ... what?  Nature spirits?  Fairytales?  Ourselves?

The Rise of the Guardians is supposed to reflect an ancient story of how God assists heroes on their journeys, and this is a hero's journey.  But...

The Man in the Moon is the God figure in this movie.  He is distant, closed-off, non-verbal.  Not at all like the God I know.  The One who knows every hair on my head, and yours.  The God who sings over me and never sleeps is NOT distant though He has definitely given us each a special job: to be a guardian.  We must each be guardians of truth and of the dreams of the children in our lives and guardians of the Magic that Is.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Sloppy Wet Kiss

I LOVE this song.  I love it in the way that I love the sun on a winter day or I love the smell of the ocean.   I picked this version because I particularly love Jesus Culture in the same way.  And the thing I love best about this song is the sloppy-wet-kiss line ("Heaven meets Earth like a sloppy wet kiss...).

Unfortunately some Christians (and others) have found this line to be offensive.  Seriously, people?  Are we in preschool?  How can we not understand the messy interface between our weak human selves and the creator of the universe?  Of course it's sloppy.  It's about the craziest thing I can imagine.  All my sin, all my junk, laid out before the ONE who made me.  The ONE who knows me best.

The guy who wrote the song, John Mark, wrote this on his blog:

The idea behind the lyric is that the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of earth converge in a way that is both beautiful and awkwardly messy. Think about the birth of a child, or even the death of Jesus himself. These miracles are both incredibly beautiful and incredibly sloppy ("gory" may be more realistic, but “Heaven meets earth like a gory mess” didn’t seem to have the same ring). Why does the church have such a problem with things being sloppy? Do we really think we’re fooling anyone on Sunday morning, especially God? Are we going to offend him? I mean, he’s seen us naked in the shower all week and knows our worst thoughts, and still thinks we’re awesome.What if we took all the energy we spent faking and used that energy to enjoy the Lord instead? That could be revolutionary!

I hope you can be encouraged by the idea, today, that God LOVES YOU.  Not in spite of the sloppiness of your life, but, in a way, because of it.  Because He already knows you.  He loved you before you ever knew Him.  

Oh, How He Loves Us...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dropping Down to Normal

I'm nervous, writing about this.  It's hard to talk about because I'm afraid of failure.  I'm afraid I'll be proud and strong and able and willing and then it will crumble and I'll just be me.  But I've been hearing the call for so long...and I hope my words can encourage another.

It was easy to revel in intellectual pursuit, geeky fun, music and games... and it still is.  But being athletic?  Being "strong?"  That seemed impossible.  Like some weird pipe dream.  But in the midst of reinventing myself into the image of God I became weary of pretending I didn't care about this vessel.  I was tired.  Tired of being tired.  Tired of feeling like I was losing the fight.  Tired of thinking there was no way to win.

It took me awhile to see what God sees: this body is part of the total package.  What I eat, how I treat myself, can affect who I am.  He gave me the verse (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) when I was pregnant with my eldest daughter and it has lived on my dresser for seven years and through 3 moves (and 3 dressers).  How could I have missed it?  This body is mine on loan.  It's a reminder of what I will have in eternity and how I care for myself now just might have an impact on who I become.  For eternity.  

Girl-chosen-last-on-the-kickball-team just lost 30 pounds.  Truth.  And she goes to the gym 3 days a week to tear it up next to the best of them.  Strong, powerful and beautiful.  And she loves it.