Saturday, May 9, 2015

Day 704

May 9, 2015

Day 704



Huh...I hit Day 700 this week and didn't realize it.  That means in a little less than a year I will mark Day 1000 - February, maybe?  I'm not sure.


So, this week...has been fine.  It was not as rainy as the weathermen told us it would be.  It's been warm and cloudy and some parts of the Midwest have really been hammered with tornadoes and flooding but we must be sitting in a sweet spot here.  I was actually kind of looking forward to a good, midnight thunderstorm and we never got one.  But Sunday afternoon or evening it sounds like the weather might get kind of severe.  Hopefully, not too severe since I don't currently have insurance coverage on my siding or roof...


I'm just going to have to replace the roof, I've decided.  I think I'll wait until next spring.  Ben's teacher told me they just had theirs done and she can give me the name of the crew that worked for them.  I don't know how long my siding guy is going to take to get my house and garage done and I can't have two crews working at the same time.  And I rather imagine there's a waiting list for most reputable roofers once the weather warms up.  Maybe I should wait until after Ben's graduation party next spring so I don't run the risk of having shingles and junk all over the yard at that time.  I really like the look of steel roofs that are getting more and more popular.  But I've heard some criticisms of them, too, so I'll probably just go with shingles.


I've been a little sadder the past couple of days.  Maybe it's because it's Mother's Day weekend  and Paul always did such a bang-up job with that for me.  Last year we were on vacation which helped.  But even then, the boys remembered, which was sweet, and more than I expected.  And maybe it's because it's less than a month now until June 6 and I might always be a little more melancholy this time of year, as a result.


I was helping set up for our church's Mother/Daughter brunch a week ago (which I did not attend - I went to one 9 years ago and really did not enjoy myself and I've just never had the desire to try again, even now that I have daughters.  I suppose I probably should try it again.  But then I'd have to talk to people).  Anyway, two grandmas were also setting up.  One asked the other about her expected grandbaby and the one said proudly, "Yep - he's due June 6th!"  And then the other said, "Oh, that's my granddaughter's birthday!" And I thought about saying, "And that's Paul's death day!"  But I didn't - figured it would kind of kill the moment.  But that is what that day will always signify to me, for the rest of my life.


Actually, I would love it if something marvelous did happen some year on that date, like the birth of a grandchild.  It would seem almost redemptive.  We'll see.  I don't have any control over that!


Oh, and speaking of babies... the world waited all last weekend to find out the name of the new baby princess.  It's a pretty one - Charlotte Elizabeth Diana.  I wasn't sure if they'd go for "Diana" because, from what I've heard, the queen wasn't overly fond of her, particularly once she divorced her son.  I would  imagine William and Kate would like to stay in the queen's good graces.  But I suppose they managed to please everyone by naming her after Prince Charles, the queen, and the dead princess.  I like all those names - very traditional, which is my preference when it comes to naming people (obviously - run through the list of names I picked for my crew).  But, as I heard all these news reports last weekend and watched people speculating on Facebook about what the name would be, I was reminded of something a local radio host pointed out a few years ago when the world was all excited over the latest royal wedding.


He wondered why Americans were so excited about anything royal.  As he said, our ancestors fled royalty - with good reason.  When they set up our government they did all they could to ensure there would never be a monarchy.  It seemed to him that all this excitement was kind of a slap in the face to the sacrifices made by our founding fathers.


He has a point.  Now, granted, this particular talk show guy is actually English by birth, although a proud American now.  He has a particular  hatred for the English health care system, which he blames directly for his father's death.


I understand what he's saying.  But, I would venture that it is probably mostly American females that get excited by royal weddings and royal babies.  Guys don't care.  In fact, I don't know of too many men that like English anything.  I remember arising very early in the morning to watch Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson marry (waste of time since they both ended up divorced).  I didn't get up to watch Princess Kate.  At this stage of life, I really don't care.  But I do remember admiring her gown when I saw a picture of it later.  I'm still a girl, I guess!


Yesterday, a discussion arose on Facebook about expressions or usage of language that drive us insane.  This was a conversation in which I was only too happy to participate.  As I was typing some of things that frustrate me, I half-jokingly referred to myself as "nit-picky."  My friend responded that no, I am just, "precise."  I like that...precise.


My preciseness cost me a FB friend this week.  Well, not really.  I unfriended her.  I really didn't know this gal.  She was a friend of a friend who sent me a friend request for some reason.  Well, one night this week she posted a meme that read, "Don't loose hope - you don't know what tomorrow will bring!"  I responded, a bit snarkily, "Yes, like perhaps a better grasp of the English language?"  I then added a note about not minding me - I'm something of a language nerd, or something like that.  Oh, my goodness...she got so upset with me.  I was nice about it but then quietly unfriended her.  A few days later she messaged me, demanding to know why I had unfriended her!  This is like the locker hallway of junior high all over again... I was honest - nice, though - and told her it was obvious to me she had a personality that is easily offended and I have no wish to continually risk that and that's the way it is.


As I am growing older I am noticing  a distinct intolerance in myself for foolishness in others.  I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.  It may just end up making me crabby a lot.  But I really should not be like this.  Relationships are more important than standing up against the abuse of the English language. 


Most of the time, anyway.


Ooh...and more on my "preciseness":  In Hobby Lobby this week I was perusing the scrapbooking stickers when I came across a pack that made me pause for a moment.  I shook my head, groaned, and probably rolled a couple of eyeballs before moving on.  Later, I ran it by David to see if he would catch what had caught my ire.  English is not his strong area, so if he could figure it out, then you know it's bad.  Even he got it.


It was a package of wintertime stickers and one of the stickers read, "Burrr!"  Really?  "Burr?"  You mean like the one under my saddle after seeing that?!


Yeah...just a little crabby.


Ok, time for something happy: my friend, Jenn, is a new mom this week.  It's an adoption and this whole thing has just been really thrilling for me to watch from the sidelines.  This is child #6 for them.  The rest are biological, except for son #2, who is the girls' bio brother.  They wanted a baby boy to match his big brother so they specifically sought to adopt a black newborn.  It's been a bit of a journey for them, but I've rejoiced with them as they were finally chosen by a  birth mom more than halfway across the country.  They were informed late last week that this Tuesday would be baby day so the entire family loaded up and took off.  I texted her as they were on the way to hospital for the delivery and it wasn't but a few hours later I got pictures on my phone of the most adorable newborn little boy.  There is just something about black babies...


It kind of made me sad to realize what I've missed from the girls' first years.  I never got to cuddle that brown sweetness.


But this has been neat because I don't think I have any other really good friends who have adopted brand new babies like this.It's been  special to have a front row seat to this endeavor and to see the reward nestled in their arms.  I can't wait to hold him!


Tuesday night the kids did have softball, despite my hopes for rain.  David has really improved a lot from last year - and he was good then.  His game was especially fun to watch.  Anyway, one of the other homeschool moms approached me and we began to talk.  She observed the girls and told me how cute they are and then commented, "They have such a nice color to their skin."  I agreed.  I've always thought the girls are both such a pretty shade of brown.


But I've been thinking about that comment ever since.  I know the lady that spoke meant nothing offensive by saying it and I didn't take it in a negative way at all.  But really, what is a "nice" tone of black skin?  Is it being as close to white as you can be?  Is darker skin not nice?  I remember when I got the call for the girls.  I was told they were black and that we would, more than likely, end up adopting them.  I didn't meet them or see a picture or anything until that June morning when I picked them up in Des Moines.  But I remember seeing them for the first time and feeling relieved that they were a lighter brown color.  I feel ashamed of that now, though.  Why did that matter at all?  Would I love them any less today if their skin was nearly black in color?  I can't imagine that.


I know Lizzie is pretty attentive to differing shades of brown.  Once, we were helped out to our van at Walmart after making a large purchase by a man who probably came from the Sudan.  She talked for days in amazement about how black he was.  Even just a couple of weeks ago I had her dressed in a black dress for church and she commented that it was a good thing her skin was only medium brown because with the dress people might not be able to see where the dress ended and she began!  She made me laugh by saying that.


What is it about skin that we've decided there are good and not-so-good shades?  When I was younger, I didn't like being as pale as I am (Lizzie comments from time to time that "You are the whitest person I know, Mom!").  I envied my friends who tanned easily and was embarrassed by my legs and arms that would only ever burn rather than tan.  I fried myself on purpose several times, laying outside with tin foil and baby oil (stupid, stupid, stupid).  I used to buy self-tanning lotions, even as an adult, in hopes that my skin would darken.  One nice thing about middle-age?


 I don't care anymore.


Anyway, I've just been ruminating on this all week.  No definitive answers - like most of my thought life - just a jumble of thoughts as I attempt to sort through things.


Something that cracked me up this week: Lizzie has an imagination that matches her enthusiasm for life.  She asked me one day what I would do if someone broke into our home and told me that he was going to kill either herself or Sam - who would I  choose to die?  What a horrifying question!  I told her I would tell the bad guy to kill me.  Lizzie replied, "No, you can't do that.  He says, 'You have to choose either Sam or Lizzie.'"  I told her I wouldn't do that.  I would tell the bad guy to choose then.


Lizzie then said, "Well, I would say to the bad guy - 'kill me because I love Sam so much and I want him to live!'"  I told her that was very nice of her and it's actually what Jesus did for us.  Inwardly, I smiled because it's just another evidence of her big heart.


Well, later that same night I heard Lizzie posing the same scenario to Sam that she had earlier presented to me.  I was driving and about swerved into a telephone pole when I heard Sam say, "Yeah, I'd tell the bad guy, 'Kill Lizzie!"  Of course, she was then sputtering about how she was willing to die for Sam and she couldn't believe he wouldn't do the same for her!  I glanced in the rear view mirror and saw a sly grin on Sam's face that told me knew exactly what he was doing  - yanking his sister's chain once again.


I think this would fall into the oh, brother category!


I teach Patch club on Wednesday nights.  Ellie stays with me even though she's really too young for the group.  There's just no where else for her to go.  It was prayer request time and like she does every week, Ellie pitifully announced that, "My daddy die."  Sam, who was sitting beside her, exclaimed in exasperation, "Ellie!  We're over that now!"  I had to smother a laugh even though it really isn't funny.  But in that moment it kind of was.


I think I've written before about how Ben has been reading his Bible a lot of mornings before school.  Normally, when I get up I'm in a haze, stumbling around to get his breakfast and school bag ready.  Then I collapse on the couch with the Today show until the bus arrives.  I realized this week that Ben has been taking his Bible back to my room for a few minutes during that time and reading on my bed - because it's quiet.  A couple of weeks ago he had asked me where the best place to read in the Bible is and I had suggested that Proverbs has a lot of good, practical, life stuff.  He commented to me this week that he is alternating between the Psalms and Proverbs now.

Wow, just wow...Ben has a psychological classification of  mild to moderate mental retardation.  But he's smarter than a whole lot of people I know.  I am so proud of him.


I was shaving him one night this week and evidently, in a silly mood.  I asked him if he was glad that he was created a boy and not a girl.  Ben gave me a measured look and then replied, "I'm glad I'm a man."




I asked him if he considers himself to be a man and he quietly replied, "yes, I do." 


And in that moment I had a total flash of understanding.  He gets so frustrated and angry when I don't let him deal with the Littles the way he wants.  That's because his way of dealing with them only leads to greater difficulties and makes my job harder.  But if he considers himself to be a man, then he must feel disrespected when I don't let him exercise that same authority he feels he already has.



Grainy today...I stayed up a little late working on this and finally collapsed into bed shortly before midnight.  At 3 am I was awakened by Paul's truck chug-chug-chortling down the alley and into the driveway.  The school year is over now at Faith and to celebrate Will and bunch of his friends decided to go out to Saylorville Lake.  I was just praying nobody would drown.  At least none of them drink, thankfully.  Why Will thought he needed to take the truck, I don't know.  He commented recently that he's started to develop quite a few friendships with the more "redneck" Faith students so I suppose that might be why - they'd probably think a loud, rusted-out, almost 30 year old truck would be pretty neat.  So anyway, he got home in the wee hours of the morning.  I fell back asleep.  Until 4:30 am.  The piercing alarm of my phone indicating a new text message finally penetrated my subconscious.  Argh!  And of course, I couldn't find my phone to shut the thing off.  That necessitated turning on a light and stumbling through the house.  Eventually I found it in the bathroom (not a good place for phones).  The text was from Will telling me he didn't get home until 3 (like I might have missed his arrival) and asking me to not wake him up in the morning.  I thought about sending him a text so he could get beeped every 3 minutes until he read it, but I didn't.  Then I had a hard time falling back asleep.  I eventually did, but had to be up 2 hours later to take Ben and David to church for the Adventureland rally.


It's 10:30 in the morning now and he's still snoozing away, which is probably one of the many side benefits to being 20 years old.  Workers are pounding on my house, installing the siding.


Will did tell me he got some of his final grades back.  It sounds like he probably made the Dean's List again.  That presentation I helped him with about the Christian and death - he got 100%.  He said he got a 99% on his 8 page paper we wrote together on trials in the Christian life (James).  That was a cool one because we interspersed Will's perspective of his dad's death in spots between the actual research portions. On a personal level, this was progress for Will in being willing to share about how that affected him.  We weren't sure if that would get him favor with his professor or not since it made the paper no longer strictly a research paper.  But his professor loved it, thankfully!


I've really been having a time and a half of it lately with Ellie and lying.  Lizzie went through her own struggles with that and it just threw me because to the best of my knowledge, none of the boys have ever told me a single lie, let alone made a habit of the practice.  But ever since I had Jenn talk to her last fall she's been a pretty truthful little girl.  But Ellie...oh, my goodness.  She's so tiny, physically, and so cute that I tend to place her mentally below where she really is.  She's a smart cookie and she's latched onto this lying thing with a certain ferocity.  I can look her in the eye and ask her repeatedly to tell me the truth - she knows she lying and I know she's lying - but she will open her eyes wide and  swear up and down that no, the sandwich ended up under the bench all by itself, or no, she didn't climb on the refrigerator shelf, and yes, she definitely saw her sister go into the kitchen, take out the whipped cream can, and spray it into her mouth (last night's episode).


Ugh.  I am pretty sure I'm  going to be getting a phone call from the police station someday asking me to provide bail money for this pint-sized miscreant.


So we went through this last night.  This time I reminded all the kids how they will never have peace in their hearts as long as they keep sin in there and neither will God hear their prayers.  She didn't budge.


Sam, however, had lots of questions.  Apparently, this sin in heart/no prayers reaching Heaven was news to him.  He then wanted to know how we know that.  Well, if it's in the Bible, how do we know it's true?  How do we know the people who wrote the Bible heard God right and wrote down the right stuff?  He then commented that he wished God still talked to us out loud instead of in our hearts.  Me, too, Buddy - me, too.


So, anyway, about an hour later, down the steps comes Ellie.  I immediately launch into my you better be bleeding or your room better be on fire speech I always shoot off when they get out of bed after I tuck them in.  But she stopped me.


"I did it, Mommy.  I lied to you."  I kept a sober face but on the inside I was fist-pumping.  She DOES have a conscience!  I AM getting through! 


Maybe, just maybe, she won't be knocking off liquor stores at fourteen...


I've started having TMJ pain in the last couple of weeks.  I remember when I saw my new dentist in Jan. he moved my jaw and asked if I could feel it clicking.  I didn't notice anything.  But a couple of weeks ago I started having pain when chewing.  I did some research and it's definitely TMJ.  If it gets bad enough there are treatments but for now it looks like the best thing to do is Advil it into submission.  The Mayo website says it is most common in women between the ages of 20-40.  That means I'm too old for it.


Today has been a nice day, even though I am still so tired.  A good chunk of the front of my house got sided today and my new door was hung.  I ordered a new storm door this week that should be in in about 10 days - it's black, which I think will look really great.


Will woke up around 2 this afternoon and has been busy knocking stuff off the  to-do list I made for him.  I just needed the stuff done by the time he leaves for camp on the 31st.  It didn't have to be done today!  It sounds like he had a really nice time last night and the Saylorville Lake thing was not just a bunch of crazy college students - even some of their professors were there.


Yesterday afternoon was nice, too.  The daughter and granddaughter of some dear friends from Council Bluffs graduated from Faith yesterday and they had a reception for her at the school.  Lizzie and I went up and were able to pop in and visit with everyone for a couple of hours.  What a blessing that was.  I think I smiled for rest of the day!


I think tomorrow will be a nice day, even without Paul.  But I'm sure I'll be missing him more.  He always complimented me often on my  mothering skills, which was nice to hear because that's one area where I've always felt like I fall short the most in.  He made me feel valued on Mother's Day and I can't expect the kids to do that in his place.   You don't usually appreciate your own mother all that much until you're long grown.


  But, it will still be a nice day.  I'm going to take the kids out to eat and then I need to swing by Penneys because I have some great coupons that expire tomorrow.  David put on his athletic shorts for softball this week and was dismayed to find that they are now above his knees.  They look fine to me but apparently, that's a no-no in teenage boy land.  So I should be able to get him some new ones tomorrow.


And then I have about $13 worth of Dairy Queen gift cards floating around in my purse so I think after church in the evening we'll top off our day with ice-cream.




They're saying severe weather will be moving into central Iowa in the late afternoon/early evening hours with the potential for heavy rain, large hail, high winds, and tornadoes.  I am worried sick about my siding.  It's not covered by my insurance until the work is done and how on earth will I pay for more siding and labor if all this gets destroyed tomorrow?  I was expressing this to Will and he drawled, "What are you going to do - hold it onto the house yourself?"  So much like his dad!


So, I'm praying a lot...and trying to remember that life is enjoyed most when it's held onto with loose hands.  That's true of houses, and husbands, and money, and children.


God's got this.

































No comments:

Post a Comment