Sunday, February 1, 2015
February 1, 2015
Snow day! Paul would have loved this. There is already a foot of snow outside and it hasn't quit falling yet. All the area churches were cancelled and school has already been called off for tomorrow. The boys are pretty excited because it's Super Bowl Sunday and now they don't have to miss part of the game by going to church. The Littles already went sledding and came inside complaining of being frozen and getting snowballs thrown at them. I made them hot chocolate and Ellie immediately dumped hers all over the floor. I love days like this...well, not the part about mopping up hot chocolate milk, but I like the rest.
It's a wet snow and the wind is really picking up. I just hope we don't lose power. Will brought in the kerosene heater in case that happens. He has to drive back to school tonight. I hope he'll be ok on the roads.
I was out in it last night. I had my first "Mom's Night Out" event which I'll write about in a minute. I ended up picking the kids up more than hour before I needed to because the snow was really coming down by then. It still took me more than twice as long to get home and was pretty hairy at times. If I had known church was to be cancelled I could have slept in. But I was still up at 7 checking the snowfall amounts and Facebook, to see if church cancelled yet. It wasn't so then I had to trek up to Will's room to get his opinion. We finally decided we weren't going to risk it and I went back to bed. I laid there, drowsy, and might have fallen back to sleep except that I then got a text and then a phone call letting me know church was cancelled. And my mouth began to let me know it had been entirely too long since I had taken any Advil. So I got up.
Ah, yes...my mouth. I got my tooth pulled Wednesday. It was no easy matter. Before he started the dentist asked if I typically encounter any problems with tooth removal. I had a sudden flashback to the last time I had a tooth pulled, nearly two years ago when I was getting my bridge. That was so traumatic that I could not eat or talk for a week because my tongue was completely mangled. That tooth had to be chipped out. I told him, "Uh, sort of!"
This poor guy. He did eventually work the tooth out in one piece but commented that my bones are "like concrete!" and said if I ever need another extraction he's sending me to an oral surgeon. But he was really good and patient, even though he told me that this extraction was one of the worst he'd ever done in 11 years of practice. I felt sorry for him. Now, I feel sorry for me. I'm still not getting more than 6 hours between doses of Advil and Tylenol, even though it's been 4 days since the extraction. It's just normal healing - no dry socket or anything, thankfully.
Last week was a slow week, which is good because we're still not completely back to normal. It was a weird flu. The symptoms passed pretty quickly but for me, it just wiped me out, and I am struggling with fatigue. David was really sick for a couple of days and then was back to normal and now today he's struggling again with symptoms. Ben has caught a terrible cold (or it's a monster allergy attack - I never know with him) so it's doubtful he would have gone to school tomorrow anyway. The Littles were supposed to go see the Merritts on Friday but I gave Jenn the heads up that this virus was going around our house and to be on the safe side, we decided to delay the plans by a week. Well, then yesterday she sent me a picture of her oldest camping out in the bathroom - the flu had managed to hit their house even without my kids transporting any germs over there!
So last night was the Mom's Night Out event. I think I wrote about this in an earlier post. Single Parent Provision is a faith-based, non-profit ministry in Des Moines. Every so often they sponsor these nights where they take care of younger kids and the moms are free to do what they want for a few hours.
I dropped the kids off and went to Hy-Vee. They had a bunch of sales I wanted to take advantage of. Plus, by that time this snowstorm was being predicted and I wanted to make sure I had enough food for the boys' game. They were supposed to be attending an after-church Super Bowl party and I wanted to make that up to them by having enough snacks around. As I approached the check-out it occurred to me that my cart was full of junk food only. There wasn't a piece of fruit or a carrot stick or even a package of meat to be found. Yikes. I paid and the sacker commented, "You must have a lot of kids!" I agreed with her and told her, "Six" and then commented, "And three of them are teenagers!"
"Boys?" she asked and I nodded. She laughed and said, "I knew it! You're so tiny I knew all this couldn't be for you!"
At 150 pounds I'm a far cry from being "tiny" but her compliment made me feel good anyway. I guess when you're single you'll take anything you can get...even admiration from a grocery store bagger.
So my evening went pretty much as I had planned. I walked around the mall for a bit and enjoyed my supper while reading my kindle. The quiet was nice.
Then I went and picked up the kids. I could not believe all the compliments that came my way. All the workers had something nice to say about how "well behaved" my kids were. One, an older guy, followed me into the playroom and said, "I can tell that you have really invested in the lives of your children. They are amazingly obedient! You're doing something good at home and it shows!" Of course, the irony is that in that moment, Ellie was choosing to run all over the play equipment and I was just about to threaten her bottom if she didn't come immediately and get her shoes on when he stepped into the room! My guess is that they must have some really awful children come to these events and so mine, in comparison, seem really good.
But, I was grateful for the compliments. I don't think I'm doing an amazing job, though. I've never thought of myself as a particularly great mother - just average. I love them. I feed them. I make sure they have clean clothes. But there's so much more I could do and there's so much more I could do better than what I do. Paul was a good dad, though, and he helped fill in the gaps of my parenting. So I worry about the kids, especially the Littles, growing up without him. With all my inadequacies in the parenting department, do they have any real hope?
As we were leaving one of the workers was talking with me and was telling me how much she appreciated my kids coming and then laughed and said, "Well, they may be good now, but just wait until they hit their teens!" I smiled and said, "Well, actually, I've already had teenagers - three of them!" She got this look on her face - abashedness, awe, shock, pity - I don't know. She stuck her fist in the air and fist bumped me and said something, but I don't remember what it was. Anyway, it was kind of funny.
And another worker tried to shoo Sam back to the room where the kids were watching a movie. She told him, "Oh, your mommy will be back for you in a little while!" Sam looked at her and said, "This IS my mom!" And I instantly knew what the deal was. The girls are black and Sam is white. I think the worker just assumed that all my kids would be black and it didn't occur to her that I might have kids of differing races. She didn't mean anything by it, but it was almost like reverse micro-aggression. If I believed in micro-aggression. Which I don't.
I'm glad I went. The Littles had a really good time it sounds like and are already asking when we can go again. But I did have a mini pity party after I had dropped the kids off and was walking through the snowy parking lot to my van to start the evening. I knew the odds were good that I was the only widow dropping her kids off that evening. The majority of other mothers either had their babies without the benefit of marriage or are in a divorce situation - which may or may not be their fault. It rubs on me that I am in the same boat with all of them. I didn't ask for this! I didn't do anything to cause or contribute to the situation of single parenthood. Life isn't supposed to be like this.
But almost immediately I found my thoughts drawn to the Biblical Joseph who had a whole lot of unpleasant things happen to him that weren't his fault. I thought of Daniel who was sold into captivity and ended up thrown to lions when he chose to obey God instead of man. Suppose he was facing those hungry lions and thinking, "Uh, God? This isn't the way it's supposed to happen!"
This may turn into my next Jewels post before I'm all done with it. But I am realizing a sad truth about myself is that I have lived my life thinking that if I follow the rules well enough I will be spared from pain. And yes, that's true in some areas. We can make poor choices that cause hurt down the road. We can make good choices that make for a more peaceful life and ease of living.
But...we can't control everything. That's where I stand today as a single mom. Not my plan, not my will, not my fault. But since I know nothing happens in my life without being sifted through God's hands first, it IS His will for me right now.
I can fight that. Or I can embrace it.
It's up to me.