Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Welcome to...My Life

My 8 year old daughter has a cowboy hat.  She wears it once in a while.  Most often, though, she likes to see how it looks on the floor.  You name the floor, it's been there.  For a long time.  Days, in fact.  Hallway floor, front-room floor, toy-room floor, etc., etc. 

I, as a mother, have taken the oath that I will NOT pick up my children's toys or belongings.  I, as a mother, have the compulsive need to find out just how long something has to sit around in everyone's way before it is actually taken care of.  I, as a mother, get fed up and begin to nag - all the while keeping my promise not to pick up my child's things.  Of course, if I DO resort to picking up their possession, it is either to throw it away or hold it for ransom.

Last week, I told my daughter that if I were to find her beloved cowboy hat on the floor again, it would find its way out of the house via the trash can.  I am  happy to say that she has listened to my words and I have not found it on any floor in our home since.

Tonight, I opened up my spare refrigerator and there, on the bottom shelf, lay the cowboy hat - upside down filled halfway with brussell sprouts. 

You think I'm kidding?

Welcome life.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My Teacher, My Friend

Last night, I met a good friend for coffee.  We haven't had a chance to sit down and really talk in YEARS!  We see each other here and there, talk for a couple of minutes, catch up a bit on Facebook, etc., but any plans we've attempted to try to get together had been unsuccessful.  Such is the way it often goes with moms.

I love friendships that continue and never change no matter if it's years between coffee-dates, etc.  I love when you can sit down and pick up right where you've left off.  That's how it was for Karen and I.  Catching up, laughing, was great.

My friendship with Karen goes back almost twenty years.  She was my high-school computer teacher during my 12th-grade year. (This was computer class circa 1990/91 - the age of DOS, floppy discs, and large, square, blinking cursors)  Though she was my teacher, she's less than a decade older, she was married just three years, and she was a kid at heart.  She was so easy to befriend.  Karen wasn't afraid of teenagers.  She smiled and talked with us.  She wanted to know what was going on - kept up with all the "news".  While many adults found the lives of teens unimportant or annoying, Karen loved to hear about our daily lives and struggles as well as the details of our "courtships." I remember standing around talking with her between classes and after school.  I remember how tired she was after her first few weeks of teaching.  Being born hearing impaired, Karen often used sign language, but also knew how to lip read very well.  However, in the first weeks of school she had done more lip-reading than she had done in quite some time and, piling that on top of learning the ways of the school and getting to know many different students results in exhaustion.  I think I really began admiring and respecting her when she told me how tired she was, but she kept on smiling and saying how much she loved it!

I remember Eric and I (while we were dating) going out for ice cream (or was it Wendy's?) with Karen and her husband.  I can still see her laying her head on his shoulder and him giving his infamous grin.  They were the couple I wanted to be someday.  They were being an example - a good example - without even trying.

During my senior year and a few years afterwards, there was a door-to-door witnessing ministry on Saturdays.  It must have been Karen who asked me to join in this ministry as that was not something I would normally do on my own.  She and I were partners and I still have a trinket box she gave me with the name of the ministry engraved on the top.  We had a blast on those Saturday mornings knocking on doors and talking with people.  She smiled at everyone, greeted them with her boundless energy, and taught me a great deal about sharing the love and joy of Christ.  I'll never forget running under lawn sprinklers one sunny Saturday morning.  Who ever said ministry was dull and mundane never went door-to-door with Karen!

Our relationship began as teacher/student.  Last night, we sat at the table and talked about the joys and challenges of motherhood, homeschooling, exercise, and life.  I don't remember any of what Karen taught me in that computer class (maybe because all of it is non-existent today), but her example has formed a part of who I am today. I find that quite a few of my friends are young people with whom I befriended when they were in those awkward years between childhood and adult.    I still rest my head on my hubby's shoulder from time to time and remember my teacher & her man as newlyweds.  Though it is not often I go door-to-door, I always try to remember to pass out a tract with a smile in order to convey the joy of Christianity - just as Karen taught me years ago.  Without knowing it, I have tried to emulate her spirit in many ways in my life - and I am so grateful to her.

She was my teacher for a short time.  Karen is my friend for life.  Thank you, my friend!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Of Things Matrimonial

So, the other night as we were sitting around the dinner table, Katrina (our 8 year old) pipes up with the age-old question, "Why do people get married?"

I, looked at her and said, "That's a good question."  Turning to my husband, I asked, "Why DID we get married? I forgot!"

Ok - so I was kidding.  REALLY!!

Eric chose that time to be the romantic making me look bad.  "Because people fall in love!!"

We told the kids that when two people meet and become best friends and can't imagine life without each other, they get married.  I realize this is an overly-simplified explanation, but she's eight.

She asked when people are considered engaged and as I was explaining about when the man proposes, Eric got down on one knee proposed - in a overly-dramatic, comical way. Of course, I answered in kind.  The idea that our kids have that we're nuts was basically confirmed.

Anyway, while most girls are dreaming of their wedding and the dress, etc., Katrina asks, "Do you have to have a wedding?  Then you have to deal with all those people."

Obviously, this is our less sociable child.  She's the same one who looks like she's about to crawl under that table every year when the family sings "Happy Birthday" to her. 

I don't know where the inspiration came from (I'm pretty sure it was God-given), but I was even fairly impressed with my answer.  "Well, after you got saved, you were baptized, right?  Couldn't you still be a Christian without being baptized?  Of course.  But, getting baptized tells everyone around you that you are now a child of God and that you want to serve Him and obey Him the rest of your life.  When everyone knows that, you are more accountable for your actions and how you live your Christian life.  The same thing goes for a wedding ceremony.  It's a way to tell everyone that you love this person and you will only belong to him and love him for the rest of your life."  Not bad, eh? 

Then, our 8-year old, saved, lifetime church-goer, homeschooled, no TV child asks:  "Can you live with the person for a while before you get married just to make sure he's the right one?"

Did I mention that she's also our very logical child?

Without going into the whole fornication aspect, I was able to logically explain that the courtship process will enable a person to observe the prospective spouse in many different situations in which you will find out their true character.  Sure, there are issues once you become married and start living in the same house that may have to be worked out; such as, your husband leaving his dirty laundry on the floor instead of putting it in the basket.  But, those things can be worked out - even if it's the wife figuring out that it's not worth getting upset about the laundry, picking it up, and just being thankful for an over-all great guy.

I love these unpredictable conversations around the table.  Something tells me they'll get even more interesting as the kids get older.

A side benefit - my husband put his dirty laundry in the basket the next day. :)