Sunday, February 27, 2011

No More Two-Year-Old

I've been watching the clock today, waiting for 4:00 p.m. It's not that our youngest was born then, but 4:00 was the time we checked in to the hospital to induce. 4:00 was the time when we knew we would soon meet him. And less than eight hours later - at 11:52 p.m. - he was born.

That is the boy we celebrate today!

Although it was less than three years ago that he looked like this...

Today, he looks like this...

And he is sheer delight.

This boy is rarely without a smile or a hug. And if he is without them, just wait, give him a minute or two and things will change. His face lights up easily, his heart opens easily.

There was a point where we thought that we might not try to have another child, that one would be enough. I look at this now three-year-old and I wonder how we would have existed without him. How could we have thought that our lives would be complete without this youngest child?

I look at him and I am again awed that I get the privilege of loving him, of raising him, of being his mommy!

Happy Birthday, my sweet boy!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

On Being a Soccer Mom

As I mentioned in this post, I was reluctant to sign my five-year-old up for soccer. And yet I did so, in fact more eagerly than I would have imagined.

Today I was reminded of why I was reluctant.

As we got ready for our day, I reminded the five-year-old of his soccer game tonight (we are on game 5 of 7). I anticipated excitement as we gathered his soccer clothes. Instead, I got this...

I don't want to play soccer anymore, Mom.

WHAT?!?! (I thought this rather than shouting it)

I wasn't sure how to respond.

We talked about responsibility when we make commitments.

We talked about how much fun he has when he's playing.

We talked about his older brother who will be at the game tonight.

We talked about the fact that playing was his idea.

And after all that he said...

But I don't want to play soccer anymore, Mom.

I have to pick him up in less than an hour. The game is an hour and a half away. I still don't know how I'm going to handle this.

I watched another mother drag a crying, reluctant child in to a game a few weeks ago. I don't want to do that.

But, I'm not sure what I will do.

I've prayed all day that by the time I pick him up he will have changed his mind.

But he might not...

Any suggestions?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

That's What Happens When You're a Mom

I'm not a crier. Never have been. Yes, I know how to cry. Yes, I do sometimes. But not often...not easily. I can count on one hand the movies I've cried at (and still have fingers left).

Even since having children that's remained true most of the time. I love my children passionately. I feel for them deeply. But I don't cry (for joy or sadness) often - even when it comes to my children.

I didn't cry the first day either went to daycare.

I've never cried when they got shots.

I don't anticipate crying on the first day of kindergarten.

I have friends who have and do on these and other occasions. And that's real for them. It's just not for me.

Although I can say that I do get chocked up more easily since having children. But, even with children, I'm still not a crier.

Today the five-year-old and I saw "Beauty and the Beast" on stage. It was beautiful. It's so amazing to me how they bring set, costumes, script, music, cast, etc together to make a lovely performance.

Toward the end when the curse is broken and not only does the beast turn into a handsome prince, but the servants turn from pots and clocks and candlesticks back into people, there is one simple little scene where the only child in the show, Chip (the chipped teacup for most of the show) runs to his mother's waiting arms.

As I watched that child run across stage to his on-stage mommy, a tear ran down my cheek.

Mostly I don't cry. But sometimes I do.

That's what happens when you're a mom.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I Do Love Snow!

(The following conversation was held at my house earlier this week as my husband and boys were playing in the snow)

Husband (to me as I stood watching them from inside): I thought you always said you love snow.

Self: I do love snow!

Self (thinking, not saying): Or do I really just love an excuse to stay in my jammies and drink hot cocoa?

This conversation has had me doing a lot of thinking about the things we proclaim about ourselves.

I grew up in Iowa. Snow (whether in reality, at least in my memory) was more constant than not from Thanksgiving through March. Snow on Halloween was not unknown. And snow sometimes happened in April.

Throughout my adult life I've lived farther south and although I've found things to appreciate about a more temperate climate, I miss snow. I miss knowing I can count on snow. I even miss snow that's around so long that you want it to go away if for no other reason than it is so gray and ugly it's an eyesore.

These are the things I've known about my relationship with snow. And yet my husband was confused. I say I love snow. But I wasn't the first out in it. Did I really love snow?

Of course my thoughts this week have been about far more than snow. I just keep wondering how much of what we think about ourselves is really true...still true? And how much of it is what we learned about ourselves some years ago and just haven't reexamined?

I have had the blessing of being around people over 100 years old who have believed that they still had things to learn, room to grow as long as they had life left in them. And they didn't just mean memorizing facts or learning new skills. Instead, they also knew that they could continue learning about themselves.

I believe God intends us to be on this continuous journey of discovery. I believe God wants us to continue to discover our truest selves - the selves God created us to be. I also believe that God wants us to examine and reexamine and recognize that things that were once true may not always be true. Likewise, things that weren't previously true may become true for us.

This morning we worshipped at a church my friend serves. He was talking about Jesus' frequent command not to tell. He talked about the importance of timing. The command from Jesus wasn't about never telling, but it was about waiting until time was ripe. It was about paying attention to what was right at that time.

Perhaps this isn't so disconnected from the questions I've been asking this week. Perhaps we are to pay attention to the time, to ask what it is right for. Perhaps there are things we have always proclaimed that just aren't true for us anymore. And perhaps there are things we've been ready to disgard, to change, but when we truly examine life that change isn't necessary at all.

Perhaps we are invited to live with authenticity to who God created us to be and to live fully for this moment.

And, by the way, I do love snow!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sabbatical Begins Here

Today is February 1st.

Today I receive the gift of time.

I am blest to serve a congregation that recognizes the value of sabbatical. Every five years I get a three month sabbatical. Having served this congregation now for ten years, today I start my second one. This time I've divided up the three months and so this first piece is the month of February. Today is the beginning.

And, on day 1, all my plans changed.

I was supposed to leave town today. Snow has been falling since the middle of the night. I don't know what the official count is, but we've received over a foot (with drifts far deeper) and the snow continues to fall. So, I'm home...not doing what I planned.

And maybe that's just right for sabbatical.

After all, what I am doing is resting, spending time with my family, cooking for the ones I love and simply being. With each hour I figure out how to set aside a little more of my worry that this month will go quickly and already I'm off course and instead I'm simply finding ways to be, here, today...tomorrow...and likely until the snow begins to melt.