Bliss Gets a Bad Rap

Productivity was at an all time high around here, yesterday afternoon.

Why?

Because, Sweetgirl had a playdate directly after school.

You’ve just not heard silence so golden as the silence we experience when our resident chatterbox isn’t chattering.

Blessed.

Silence.

Sweetboy desperately needed to get his haircut before we fly down to see The Nana and Ahab this weekend. His awesomely awesome fauxhawk isn’t going to maintain itself!  We knew sissy was going to be gone a few days beforehand, so we hatched a plan to spring him from school an hour early and get the haircut taken care of.

The poor child’s nose has been running, as if in a marathon, for the last few days. Being the fabulous and fancy mama that I am, I offered to take him to Tarjay for an Icee after the haircut. I figured that would give me the excuse I needed to go back and get the two things I actually went into that dratted store for, the other day. Because, Target!

Driving to and from each errand, with no little sister to interrupt our conversation with her own thoughts on what brother should do/think/feel/say, Sweetboy opened right up.

Like a can of worms.

We discussed the upcoming Geography Bee at school, this week (He’s excited. And nervous. But mostly excited. However, he doesn’t want to “actually make it all the way to nationals in another country, because I’m not ready for that yet!” At which point, we had to have a conversation about all the levels he’d have to master before making it that far. And, of course, how “nationals” doesn’t actually entail leaving your particular nation. Fun stuff, people.)

From there, we moved to halitosis. Riveting, I tell you. I was reminded that, although he loves me dearly, I really do need to brush my teeth in the morning. I kept my comments about his own dragon breath, in the morning, to myself. He then proceeded to expound on the pros and cons of cinnamon versus mint toothpaste. (One, he informed me, tastes better in the morning, and one better at night.) He covered using his fluoride rinse in the morning versus the evening.  (Have your eyes glazed over, yet?)

He ended the stream of chatter with a solid exclamation about how he can. not. wait. to get down to Florida so that he can finally, FINALLY, wear shorts again! “Mama, you did pack only my shorts, right? Which shorts did you pack? Can we buy a new pair of shorts down there? Can I wear shorts to the airport? Do you think Nana will buy me some Florida shorts?” (Still trying to figure out what those are….)

I was dizzy from hearing the word “shorts” so many times in one hot minute of conversation. Thankfully, we arrived at home.

He almost skipped into the house, he was so content.

And, happy.

fauxhawk_missindeedy

I can’t express to you how much joy fills my heart when this child feels content. And happy. This eleven-year-old, who fights his dark thoughts so valiantly. This child, who worries about whether his hands need to be washed again, moments after washing them vigorously, every. single. time. This guy, with an intense need and desire to hop his troubles away…

When he feels happiness?

Well, the word bliss gets a bad rap, because in this instance, it aptly describes my state. And, clearly, from the joy emanating from his own face, his, too.

It would seem that a mental health afternoon was exactly what this kiddo needed.

And, you know what?

His mama did too.

Yes indeedy.

Just a Few (or 15 ) Things

I’ve been chasing my tail, this merry month of December. Anyone else?

But, I wanted to pop in and tell you a few things before you flat-out decide I am done for.

1. I’m not done for.

2. I don’t even really understand that phrase.

3. Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha = a small sip of heaven.

4.  It also equals a small increase in the midsection.

5.  I was just too lazy to combine numbers 1 & 2 and 3 & 4.

6. My favorite Christmas song is “Silent Night, Holy Night”.

7. To that end, I have been playing The Oh Hellos’ Family Christmas Album on repeat. Number 3 is about worn out. And, number 4. And number 2. And…

8. As we speak, I am only 50% finished with my Christmas shopping. This causes some stress.

9. Stress and I don’t get along.

10. My favorite (and the first) things to put out, when decorating for the season, are our stockings. Each one was lovingly cross-stitched by The Nana. She is an artist! Each has our name across the top.

Stockings

11. Our Christmas tree is up and decorated. This being a year when we are down in Florida with Ahab and The Nana, for Christmas, I call that a win!

12. THESE! –> SnackFactory_PretzelChips_Choc

13.  THIS! –>   Mitchells_Fresh_SalsaDip

14. Do you do the whole #EOTS (Elf on the Shelf) thing? Don’t. Start. I’ve begun to rue the day… Anyhoo, we let the kids play with Jack, our elf, the first day he comes out. They get All The Touching out of their system and then we begin sweatin’ it out looking for new ways to hide and position the little elf dude. Looks like Sweetgirl’s gonna do just fine when it comes time to play this game with her own kidlets. She clearly has far better ideas than we do. (Although, I’m not sure Jack approves.)

Elf_Hangin_Missindeedy

15. Sweetman’s family introduced me to the tradition of watching “White Christmas” each year, to kick off the holiday season. I. Love. That. Movie! Our sweet little family, however, likes far less cultured movies: Elf and Arthur Christmas. We’ve watched these 5 times, already.

It’s only December 10th.

Lord, help me.

And, on that prayer, that’s a wrap!

See what I did there?

Now, if only I could do that with All The Presents.

It is a season for miracles…

Yes indeedy!

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.

Rappin_Missindeedy

*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.

Let’s Recap, Shall We

Last week, we were all about this:

Hot_Pink_Cast_MissindeedyBecause, Lord knows there’s not enough drama around here. And, I can now add reason number 237 to my list of “Reasons Why I Detest Trampolines”. All I can say is, thank goodness for Hot Pink Castery. (I’m becoming my own veritable dictionary, aren’t I?)

Thankfully, the weekend was more celebratory!

First, this happened:

masquerade_missindeedyWe attended a fundraiser for our kids’ elementary school. It was nice to get all gussied up, talk to other parents (sans children), and hit the dance floor! (I don’t want to brag, but I do a mean Y.M.C.A.) And, although I had to practice wearing heels (again) for a few minutes a day for the week leading up to it, the night was a huge success.

Then, Saturday, it was all this:

Bama_Movin_MissindeedyThis move up in the AP Rankings made me all sorts of happy, because

SEC_Funny

We ended the weekend on this note:

B_day_MissindeedyAnd, I don’t feel even a little bit older. I will say, we counted up the number of teacups and saucers that my grandparents have faithfully sent The Birthday Flowers in over The Years, and… there are a few decades worth. That can age a person real fast.

In the ebb and flow of life, though, I’m feeling like the tide is pretty high. (You see what I did there? No? It’s a Bama thing.)

Yes indeedy.

Beware the Pale Pink

It started innocently enough.

“Sweetgirl, I’m not washing clothes until later. Please put your pink shirt on today.”

Who knew that clothing color choices could cause such a ruckus?

Who knew that a six-year-old could have such strong opinions about colors?

Who knew that pale pink was so… so… evil?

Sweetgirl knew!

I will not wear that shirt!”

To which I replied, “It doesn’t fit anymore?”

Silly Mama.

To which she retorted – yes, retorted, “I do not wear light pink!” There may have even been a snooty little sniff at the end of that… retort. I’m not entirely sure, as I began to feel my blood pressure rising at a steady clip.

I just needed the child to get an ever-lovin’ shirt on so that we could get out of the house and get to brother’s play-off soccer game.

Asking this child to wear any color other than hot pink, teal, purple, black, or grey is apparently akin to asking her to cut off her pinky finger! Lest you think I kid, she literally deposited the offending shirt into the trashcan to make her point.

Where does she learn these things??? I don’t throw things in the trash when I don’t want to wear them! I might toss them in a heap in the corner of the closet. But I would never throw a piece of clothing in the trash!

Lord, draw near to me.

I want to lock this child in her room for a sweet forever.

Or, at least until she doesn’t go all crazy-cakes on the wrong color shirt.

Nana, Gammy, Aunties, be warned! Beware, The Pale Pink Anything!

We must work on ways to dial down the drama, around here. I would like, for instance, for this child to develop this sort of passion for making the world a safer place for all children. Or, making sure our local homeless have Thanksgiving meals. Or, making sure her bed is made.

But, to have a full-blown temper-tantrum over the color of shirt she wears?

Oh, but she is a spirited one!

Mercy!

Uncle!

Help!

I clearly need some community support. Lay it on me! Whatchu got?

Grace Blazes a Trail

I think God likes fireworks.

My marriage can be considered exhibit A.

He knew that putting my Explosive with his Implosive would make for lots of Lively. But, I’ve figured out that what that also means, is that things need to get worked out in a timely manner, or there are going to be some major fireworks up in this house. Or car. Or, wherever it is that we happen to be having a “growth opportunity”, as Lysa TerKeurst calls them.

The noise can be deafening.

But, God also provides the venue for fireworks with my Sweetgirl and Sweetboy. They each have personality traits that work in direct conflict with my bliss. All the live long day, some days. What feels like flat-out warfare on my parenting soul, sometimes comes in the form of my children saying “red” just because I said “blue”.

BOOM!

But wait, there’s more! God also provided me with The Nana and Ahab. I can’t even tell you. Let me try. The Nana thinks she knows what’s best for me. (In her defense, she is often right.) Until I get there, though, I will fight tooth and nail to get my point across. (I also have to remind her, repeatedly, that I’m an adult.) (This doesn’t seem to matter.) (I’m beginning to think it never will with parents.) Ahab and I get into some political discussions that will clear a room. Clear. A. Room! There is a clash of worldview and those opinions blow sky-high.

KABOOM!

And it doesn’t even have to be the fourth of July!

Inevitably, though, Grace whispers “do your best to live at peace with everyone”.

Peace_Romans12_18_Missindeedy

Do your best.

Dang.

It stings when I am confronted with the fact that sometimes it’s me who lays that trail of gunpowder, or fires one across the bow, or lights that match.

That I’m most certainly not doing my best.

But grace blazes a trail of peace as it blows away contentiousness, anger, and indignation. It leaves calm in its wake, with harmony as the goal.

I could take a lesson. Or seventy-seven.

I still believe that God likes fireworks. (Who else would bring James Carville and Mary Matalin together in marriage? I ask you!) But, I also believe that Grace comes quietly and gives us a more beautiful show than any fireworks ever could.

Oh, yes indeedy.

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This post is day 28 of the Write 31 Days challenge. I think I can! I think I can! I think I can…

Smitten With Grace

Watching The Three Caballeros with Sweetboy  and Sweetgirl, the other day, I was reminded that families can have rituals that make no sense what-so-ever, to other families. And, they don’t need to.

Watching this Way Retro movie, that my children adore, I was given about an hour and twelve minutes to reflect on how this came to be a comforting ritual for us.

3_Caballeros

Sweetboy’s Autism Diagnosis was something we almost felt relieved to hear. Listening to the child regurgitate entire portions of “Blues Clues” at 22 months old, was unnerving, to say the least. His preoccupation with the handy-dandy notebook being exactly right, even more so. Terrible Two’s aside, we realized that his reactions and perseverations weren’t that of your average bear.

Once we were given an idea of what we were up against, we were able to redirect our energies into seeing how Autism could work for him instead of against him, as it had for the previous year.

We always said that our Sweetboy was like a 1,000 piece puzzle. And, up until we heard the words, Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, we felt like were being given one piece at a time.

Frustrating.

Achingly frustrating.

And then…

We felt like with the diagnosis came 500 pieces. It was a grace. It was truly a grace in every sense of the word. It was an unmerited favor – as no one owed us an explanation. It became an honor to carry this mantle with our child. And, to be brutally honest with you? We now view the wiring of our child’s brain as that of done with finesse, by a Master Creator.

There are so many gifts that Autism brings into this family. When we  see roads and maps and cultures and weather, we get to view them through such intense lens, through Sweetboy.

And that, is a grace, too.

Endowed by The Giver of all Grace.

And we are grateful. We are.

From the first time that Sweetboy’s eyes lit on Donald, Ponchito, and Pablo, he was smitten with their quirky ways. Just as we have become smitten with Sweetboy’s. Viewing that movie, through his eyes, became something our entire family could enjoy together.

And, just like that, it became a ritual. Something we could do together. An activity that we could all, every one of us, experience and enjoy.

Grace, indeed.

31days_of_grace_button_missindeedy

This post is day 23 in the Write 31 Days challenge.

Would someone kindly remind me never to auto-schedule again? 9:45 am is O9:45. Got it Missy? Get it? Good!

 

Interrupted by Grace on Day Nineteen

I had another post planned for today.

But God…

Sweetboy informed me, this morning, that he hates it when I “go all psycho” when we need to get out the door for church.

Y’all.

I couldn’t even.

I had to take a minute and just slump down and cry.

There are Sundays where we all pitch in and work as a team to get out the door. It takes the type of planning and forethought that I’m sure even Bobby Fischer could appreciate.

Honestly, the child is right. It’s a rare morning, Sunday or not, without some sort of “For the love, child, GET YOUR SHOES ON” statement being made as I wrangle everyone out of the house. All The Planning is something I’ve let slide. Plus, it wears me out. So I don’t plan often. Or enough.

Clearly.

In that moment, I just wanted to hang up the towel and sit on the couch with some coffee and have a good pity party. Wouldn’t lamenting the fact that God forgot to give me a stronger “planning gene” be a better use of my time than sitting in church with my mind going over and over that terrible horrible conversation with Sweetboy?

No.

And I could feel Him gently nudging my heart, and telling me so.

The kids were nowhere near ready, but I was. So, Sweetman stayed behind and they did church together, at home. Sweetboy was picking out some worship music and Sweetgirl was running upstairs to get her pretty pink lamby Bible, as I left.

Why did I leave without them?

I needed to.

My own heart needed to be able to get quiet and be surrounded by the voices of some faithful. It needed to glide into a pew and worship the God of grace. More importantly, sometimes, this girl needs to retreat and regroup.

I really needed to do that, most of all.

And here’s what Grace whispered: “You are here. Be still and let me remind you of what I have overcome so that you can come confidently before me.”

So, I did. I got real still and just tuned my heart to grace.

And when I got back home, everyone was happy to see me and share what they’d done for “church” at home.

We all snuggled in as I explained how hurtful it was to hear that mama gets “psycho” in the morning. Sweetboy then explained how yucky it makes him feel when I’m rushing, rushing, rushing some mornings. Important apologies, laced with all sorts of grace, took place.

It become painfully clear that even though planning takes a lot out of me, it is in the best interest of my mission field down the hall that I do it. And, I do believe that God will honor my desire to provide a less chaotic kind of morning routine.

Grace interrupted my morning to rain down on me, even as it showed me the need for some change. That’s what Grace does. It loves me too much to leave me where I am.

I am so thankful.

Yes indeedy.

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This is day 19 of my 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.

V_Fourmation_Geese_Wanderlust_Missindeedy

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?

 31days_of_grace_button_missindeedy

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

When Adulthood Comes Early

Whenever Ahab visits, he likes to remind us that “I never sleep more soundly than when someone else is paying the bills.”

Amen.

And surely, nothing inspires maturity like your own bills to pay. Or diapers to change.

I’m sure we could all swap stories about some momentous occasion when we finally got it – that moment when we knew there was no going back from adulthood.

I wonder how many of us would mention owning our first car, paying our very own rent for the first time, or being the only one to decide whether to head to the doctor for that rash, or not?

But, some brave souls walking among us, were inducted into the halls of adulthood far too early.

The threshold of adulthood is no respecter of age. And, age, sometimes, has nothing to do with maturity; especially when you are forced to see life through the lens of adulthood earlier than you should.

Taking care of your younger siblings, because your parent is passed out drunk on the couch?  Adulthood.

Getting a job to help your single parent make ends meet each month? Adulthood.

Pleading with a guardian to take their medications because without it, their minds go dark? Adulthood.

sailboat_experience_missindeedy

Childhood is precious to me.  Mostly, because it was a time I cherished, growing up.

Grace now sifts the reasoning behind the decisions made by the adults during my childhood. Some decisions were born of necessity. But almost always, my best interest was taken into account.

Having heard plenty of stories where this was not the case, I understand that this is not a truth that everyone can claim.

For those of you that can’t claim a carefree childhood, my heart… it hurts for yours.

And, I long for you to know that the God who loved you then, and saw, loves you especially now.

Why especially?

Because, if you’re here, reading this, then I think you still want to believe in good.

To believe in a God who cares.

For whatever reason this God I speak of gave me a heart that hurts for you, He did. And it does.

So, to those of you for whom adulthood came all too soon, I hope you’ll continue to want Good to win out.  I hope you keep fighting The Fight.

Because, you are not alone. Not in this world and not after it.

You matter.