5 Lessons I Re-Learned About Parenting While Filming a Video

I made a mini-rap video for a sweet group of friends, recently. I needed tech support. And a back-up dancer. I recruited Sweetgirl for the dancing and Sweetboy as my videographer. Seemed legit.

And, it worked well enough.

Until I messed up.

By the seventh “take”, however, my filter started to slip.

Then, I remembered that I was in front of little ears. I was reminded that even the tamest of DADGUMMIT’s could be imitated in all the wrong ways.

When the “filming” wrapped up (after Take 14, by the way), I had re-learned a few precious parenting lessons.

1. Whatever dance moves you are attempting, whether poorly or worse-than-poorly, the six-year-old will emulate.  This is not the time to attempt those fly moves (do people say that anymore?) from J. Lo’s latest music video. And for goodness’ sake, it’s not all about that base!

2. Your reaction to a flub up will be on video. The person filming you will be watching intently as he films you. Therefore, he may start stomping around and screaming “DARNIT DARNIT DARNIT” the next time he makes a mistake. You will think he looks ridiculous, and start to tell him so. Until you remember where he got it.

3. The backup dancer is closest to the under-the-breath mutterings. She will hear them. She will ask questions. Questions you didn’t intend to have to answer for your six-year-old.

4. Making up your own words to a song like, say… Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” is all fun and games. Until one child, or both, asks if they can see “the real song” on The YouTube. That’s a whole lot of behinds. And bad hair. And explaining. They get enough of All The Real with media pushing pictures of champagne corks popping and backsides. You will regret choosing that song. You may also end frantically looking up pictures of puppies, instead, with promises to talk to daddy about getting one. To divert their attention, of course. Possibly.

And…

5. Your videographer and back-up dancer will have enjoyed the experience so much, that they will ask you to show them other rap songs that they can change the words to and make videos of themselves singing. You will realize the scarcity of appropriate songs. You will rue the day.

Oh, yes indeedy.

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*A note to The Nana, Ahab, Gammy and Grampy – I did not let them actually see the “real” video. They were far more interested in the adorable French Bulldog puppy video that I was able to switch over to, oh-so-quickly. If we end up with one, I blame myself.

*Also, a note to Sweetman – we may end up with a French Bulldog. I’m sorry.

Beyond the Twenty-First Time

Six years ago, I was bopping along in my car, oblivious to the need around me. A new song debuted on the radio station I was tuned to. As I listened, I had to put my turn indicator on and pull my car over.

To get my weeping on.

Monk & Neagle’s song, The Twenty-First Time was that powerful, for me. It overtook every excuse I had ever given for not recognizing Need. Grace took that opportunity to reach in, grab a hold of my heart, and gave it a much-needed shake.

I hope you can overlook some of the heavy-handed images that were chosen for this video. I am praying that Grace will reach in and touch your heart, in any way, for the good of the deeper message within the lyrics. And I deeply hope that we will all be willing to keep looking way beyond the twenty-first time.

William Shakespeare famously said that “When words fail, music speaks.”

May it be true here, today.

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This post is day 21 in the Write 31 Days challenge.

Flying in a V Fourmation

Sweetboy, and then, Sweetgirl, fell in love with a children’s album by the Bare Naked Ladies, a few years ago.  On it was one particular song that Sweetman felt he could tolerate.  It quickly became “Daddy’s song”. It was titled, “Here Come the Geese”. 

It has a soothing melody, and for that, Sweetman and I are eternally grateful. As, we had to listen to it on repeat eleventy hundred, plus one, times.  Whenever we’d get to the chorus, the word “flying in a V formation” always harked me back to a particular verse from the Psalms.

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I don’t know you very well. And, I certainly don’t know your heart. But, I think most of us are trying very hard to figure out who, exactly, stands with us.

Whether we’re seeking those willing to stand shoulder-to-shoulder politically, spiritually, emotionally, or any other -ally, we’re searching.

And when I search, I always find Grace sweeping in to my right, or left. In those moments when I’m looking backwards (and nothing good ever seems to come out of that, for me), He’s there. And when I’m more forward thinking, I can just make out the shadow of Grace, watching.

Isn’t that just like Him? Hemming us in, in all of the right ways. Leading us on, into greater and greater love.

Being our Wingman.

“A wingman (or wingmate) is a pilot who supports another in a potentially dangerous flying environment.”

Even, maybe especially, when we didn’t even know we needed one?

Because, I don’t know about you, but I find myself in plenty of “dangerous flying environments”, on account of all the spunk.

And, an Eternal Wingmate is a lovely way to think of Grace.

Don’t you think?

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This is post 4, as part of my contribution toward the #write31days going on over here.

Two for the Road

Driving is a source of great pleasure to me.  I know I’m not alone.

Although I much prefer to be. Alone. In my car.

My thoughts can breath. Aspirations and inspirations and exultation’s stop getting all mixed up. Moments of clarity become stretches.

How many times have you had a conversation with a parent of kids under 21 who exclaimed, “And, I got to drive for twenty whole minutes, ALL BY MYSELF!”?  How many times?  Maybe it was you who uttered that very thing just this week?

One of the most precious get-away moments comes as I press play on a song that mama wants to hear. Can I get an amen?

Here are two of my favorites. I’d like to share the music, of course. But, I’d also like to share the why, because I like each one for radically different reasons.

If you’ve never heard the words “amazing” and “grace”, together, about a song, then I ask you, where have you been living for the last 235 years?

There is a version of this song that has undone me more times than I care to count. Amazing Grace, (My Chains Are Gone) was the song I first sang upon realizing the extent of my deep need for True Grace to swoop down and save me. It was later the song that ushered in a realization that addiction was part of my DNA. It is The Song that reminds me, again and again, that my chains are exactly that – mine. I’ve truly been set free.

And Grace reminds me that it doesn’t matter what I chain myself to – or how many times I attempt to chain myself to anything other than the God who made me – He. Will. Find. Me.

And set me free.

While I won’t apologize for my taste in music (it is, after all, thinking in sounds), I will say that some things just appeal to my inner need for a beat.  When I first heard “Letting Go”, by Bethel Music, I was on the verge of making some rotten decisions.  The moment the words “you’ve brought me to the end of myself”, I knew.

I knew that Grace would meet me there. At the end of myself.

And He did.

And does.

What tunes go on the road with you? Share please!

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This post is day 2 of the #write31days over at The Nester’s website.

Sometimes You Need a New Station

I love me some Pandora.  There are a handful of stations that I could about listen to right on into the ground.  My Jack Johnson station – uh-huh!  My All Sons & Daughters station. Yup! Hillsong Young & Free? Check! Andy Hunter because, trance! And, the Sade station? God Almighty said there’s a time for everything and let’s just leave it at that.

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And I like listening to my tried and true tunes. Oh, yes indeedy.

Don’t we all?

My heart has been observing some subtle shifts in the rhythms of my life, lately, though.  And it unsettles my soul a bit.

Because shifts indicate change. And change tends to send me one of two ways: if it’s an adventure that I’ve sought out, I grab a hold of it with arms and legs wrapped fully around.  However, if it’s change that I wasn’t prepared for, I can sort of work myself into a full-stop shutdown.

I don’t have any great insights into why these are my two default responses, other than to know that they just are. Knowing this about myself, I can usually see a shutdown coming and head it off at the pass.

Usually.

Once in a while, though, there’s a change that I couldn’t have seen coming if it landed on top of the nose on my face. Before I know it,I find myself tuning toward some station I wouldn’t have chosen if my life depended on it.

Then, I sit stupefied, realizing that I’m humming and bobbing my head to a song about being so fancy.

This leads me to believe that I just might need to seek out a new station or three and enjoy the ride of new rhythms and melodies. There is a season for everything, right?

Even azaleas.

Oh, there are songs we each take comfort in hearing.  And, they bring us back, bring us around, or bring us up. I think we can also probably agree that some music does more to lift our spirit right on up to the tippy top of Happy than any ice cream cone ever could.

But, as the song goes, “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day…” and all that.  I think I’m ready to tap my toes to some new tunes.

What in the world do all of these words mean?  I’m not sure I can share just yet.  But know this – I will!

Until then, why don’t you try out a new song.  You’d never believe the places you can go with some fresh beats in your ears.

Because sometimes, change dictates that you just need a new station.

If You Give a Mom Some Earphones

Today is International Women’s Day. I’d be remiss if I didn’t honor the women who have worked hard to pave the way for the rights and opportunities that exist for us today.

And, while I consider myself an excellent multi-tasker, this woman right here has learned that she truly can’t do it all.  But, in particular:

If you give a mom some earphones,

chaos may ensue.

She might become oblivious,

as music streams on through.

Things might be forgotten,

kids may be left waiting,

Chicken could be burnt,

all while she’s creating.

If she learns what’s good for her,

the earphones, she will hide.

Otherwise she soon may find

her problems multiplied!

Inspired by one of our family’s favorite children’s books, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” by Laura Numeroff.

Sadly, I’ve come to realize how very much headphones and I don’t work well together. Unless you get an alarm involved.  (And, preferably, not the fire alarm.) Because, lately, every time I put on my headphones, click over to my beloved “All Sons & Daughters” radio station on Pandora, and attempt to multitask, any number of not-that-productive things can happen.

I could forget, for instance, that I put the chicken tenders in the toaster oven and the fire alarm could finally get my attention to let me know.

Or, I might start writing after putting the Sweetkids to bed, with the intention of writing for just a couple of hours, only to look up and see that it is 1:00 in the morning.  And those sweet children will be up and kickin’ again in five short hours.

Then, too, I’ve also had the great displeasure of locking myself out of my house, in my slippers. All because of those blasted headphones! I missed the arrival of the school bus and had to go to my kind neighbor’s house and explain why she had to scoop my kids up with hers.

Because, if you give a mom some headphones…

you should probably make sure that she also has an alarm.

Have you ever gotten lost in thought with your headphones on?  Please tell me other people do this too?

Reggae in Heaven

Doesn’t some music just say home to you?

Now, don’t laugh…but Reggae always speaks soothingly of home to me. Spending my summers in Bimini meant that I absorbed the music and rhythms of those around me.

Whenever I hear some of my favorites, I am instantly transported. I think of The Lady Up On The Hill who made the Johnny cakes and Bimini Bread on the other side of the island, or of the dances done at Brother Ozzie’s downtown bar to “Come Back MaryAnn”, or the radio tuned to reggae as the islanders cracked open the newly fished conchs for all of the tourists.

The music was everywhere. It flooded my soul almost as much as the summer sunshine did.

Reggae makes me relish those innocent summers when I played with the dozens of stray puppies without worry for where they would end up.  I miss doing the ring toss in Brown’s Bar downstairs from the hotel, without concern for anything other than how much candy we’d be overloaded with for all of our wins.  I fondly remember dancing with the Islanders, whose only aim was to teach a young lady how to keep time and rhythm to the flow of the island music.

To this day, put some Bob Marley on and I am instantly taken back to that time and place where I was free from stereotypes and ran the island with all of the other children that called Bimini “home”. That music reminds me that there was a time when there were no adult worries beyond what to rustle up for dinner amongst the things that were freshly caught in the waters that day.

Yup. I’m pretty sure there will be Reggae in Heaven.

Three little birds told me so.

Yes indeedy.

Bimini

What music takes you back?