CatBit and Clover

Beautiful fields of clover all over.....

Beautiful fields of clover all over…..

This time of year in middle Georgia, there are these beautiful fields of clover interspersed with the tiny purple flowers that will eventually take over.  I think the clover is precious, as it is only in season for a short while, and it reminds me each year of the story of the CatBite.

I was probably six years old because I remember Mama still toting my baby sister around.  We had a cat, I’m thinking it was Josie.  We couldn’t have her as an indoor cat because we found out my middle sister was allergic.  Bless her, I think Mama and Daddy originally got the cat to cheer her up because she was sick so much when she was little.

I liked to go out on our little back porch and play with the cat.  And with chameleons too, but that’s another story.  I can remember Mama warning me not to bother Josie while she was eating.  Ahem.  Well technically, what I did was not BOTHERING her, I was only trying to help.  The cat food was so pretty, in those little star shapes.  So I put one on my finger and held it out to her.  She took the piece in her mouth and ate it.  Cool.  I tried again.  I’m not sure how many times I did this before Josie took bad aim or I moved my finger at the wrong time.  This is when the CatBite happened.  I don’t blame Josie.  I only wish Mama hadn’t blamed me.  I was hurt, and I was in trouble.  Not a good combination.  And to top it all off, after Mama called our pediatrician, I was hurt, in trouble, and on the way to get a tetanus shot as a precaution.  (I think it was a tetanus shot…..if that doesn’t make sense, let’s say it does and move on, deal?)

Because our pediatrician then was in Macon, Mama loaded me and my two sisters in the Little Blue Car, and we drove through town to the interstate.  Just as we started onto the entrance ramp to I-75, the car broke down, and Mama had to carefully pull over to the almost non-existent shoulder.  I am not sure what exactly was wrong, but it wouldn’t go.  Not an inch.  I am sure Mama had to take some very deep breaths.  Not an ideal place to break down.  At all.  The only plus is that Daddy worked on the other side of the overpass at the USDA station.  This, my friends, was in the day way before cell phones or bag phones and just after the dinosaurs.  The funny thing is, I don’t remember how it was resolved.  The picture in my mind’s eye is of the car sitting on that hill.  And the clover.  As I stood next to the car, the clover at my feet and far beyond was so breathtakingly beautiful.  And when you look at it up close, it’s amazing how all those tiny little parts go together to make up this field of scarlet.  A work of Art.

I am sure that the car was fixed and we were on our way, because that’s how Mama rolled.  She got things done.  But the two things that stick out from the memory of all of this is the sight of that pretty cat food star on my finger and the beauty of the scarlet against the vibrant green of spring.

There’s really nothing to learn from this story tonight. Except maybe don’t feed a cat on your finger…..and even if you tell your young’uns don’t do it, you might want to double check to see how that’s going.

But wait, there is this.  I’m thankful that when I look back at the TRAUMA of being CatBit and of the Little Blue Car leaving us stranded,  I do not recall a moment of fear or worry.  What I do remember is the joy of being with Josie, and the happiness and comfort that the vision of clover brought me then.  It still does each year about this time.  It takes me back.  For that I am truly thankful.

Honk Less. Seek More.

This afternoon I stood outside visiting with another volunteer and friend at the Daybreak Shelter during the family style picnic we go to each week.   One of our friends came up and started a conversation.

“See that grass?” he asked, pointing at the newly laid sod.  I nodded.  “Yeah, if they had put fertilizer on it right before that big rain the other day, it would be taking off about now.  But they didn’t.  And look at it.”

I thought for a second.  “You mean some 10-10-10?” I asked.

He continued.  “Yeah, that’s right.  That sure would have helped.  See if they put that on there, it would really grow.”

I kicked my shoe on the sidewalk, trying to figure out how to phrase what I wanted to say.  I tried to speak gently.  “I’m afraid you’re telling the wrong person about this.  Is there someone you could tell that could make it happen?”

He laughed.  “No.  No one will listen. Besides it’s too late.  The rain is over.  It’s just going to take a long time now.”  He continued to bemoan the fate of the new grass.

How many times do we do this?  Tell everyone but the one we should about our problems or issues or concerns.  Everyone but THE one who could do something.

I did not want to write this tonight.  But it has been all my mind ever since.

Why?

Because I am guilty.

GUIL-T.

I don’t fault others or myself for talking things through with someone.  Not at all.  It is important to have a good sounding board, someone who will listen and make suggestions on how you could best handle a situation.  But in the end?  The only way to resolve it and to make things happen is to address it with the other person or people who COULD make a change.  (You getting all this, Tara?  Um yeah, I’m writing it down.)

I remember talking a situation over with Daddy a few years ago.  Numerous times.  The same old thing.  And, after several conversations, his response was pretty much, “Why are you telling me all this?  I can’t do anything about it.”  Finally I got his point.  He couldn’t.  But I could.

Daddy was right.  Too often we do just what my friend was doing. We hem and haw about something that is going on, but when it comes down to it, we do not ACT.  How many times do we complain about a work situation with everyone but the person in charge?  How often do we put our concerns aside, thinking it is too late or our voice won’t matter? How many times do we feel our heart breaking over the plight of a group of people, but tell ourselves no one will listen?

Listen.  I know.  I am guilty of this, but I also know I have to stop.  The grass is greener on the other side because someone saw a need and didn’t just talk about it; they acted.  If we are going to change the world, our communities, our neighborhoods, our homes, our RELATIONSHIPS–if we are going to stand for justice and the well-being of ourselves and others, we have to stop just talking about it.  We have to go to the folks who can either take action or help US to do so.

I saw this picture of a great bumper sticker the other day.   I love this.

This.  Yes.

This. Yes.

I think I will stick this to my mirror.  So I can remember and recommit every morning–I’m going to quit honking so much, and I.  Will.  Act.

Tonight I’m thankful for my Daddy who empowered me to go to the source, who taught me I could do anything I set my mind to, and who helped me to have confidence in approaching someone with a concern, a plan, a dream.  I am thankful for friends and family who dream with me, who listen to me “honk,” and who then hold me accountable to do the seeking, to act.  Most of all, I am thankful for this gift of grace, that tomorrow I can start anew, with the commitment to honk less, seek more.   This.  Yes, I think so.  Y’all in?

My Sister, Duck Calls, and Sal

The good news was I had a place to stay.  The bad news was it was with fifteen of my new best friends whom I had only just met.  And not even properly, mind you.  We were all thrown together in the waiting area for the CVICU.  Mama didn’t want me to stay, but I was without wheels and it was too late to call someone for a ride home by the time they got Mama settled in her new room.  Night 2 of HospitalStay.

The lights were still bright in the waiting room around midnight.  I only hoped they would eventually dim them.  Let me go ahead and break the suspense.  They did not.  Bright lights.  All.  Night.  Long.

The TV was blaring TNT.  Now for those that love car chase movies with constant car crashes and gunfire, well, people is this the place for you!  Oh, and if you are hard of hearing, never fear, you would not have had a problem AT ALL in this room.

I called my sister who lives closest to the hospital.  I told her I had my Kindle (yes very fortunate, that) and I could read but I was having a hard time focusing.  I could have done any number of things with it, but what I really wanted to do was watch a show we had recently begun to enjoy at home–Duck Dynasty.  I could download it through Amazon, but I would have to buy the whole season.  My frugal sister said, “Do it. You deserve it.  You need it.”   Now, yes, she is my younger sister, but when this girl tells you to do something, it’s a little hard to say no.  So I bought it and downloaded it.  Because she told me to.  (Yeah, that never really worked when I was young either.)

After I went back to visit Mama for the half hour I was allowed to be in there, I returned to the waiting area.  I did have my favorite chair that was close to an outlet and was on an end of a row.  Okay, I could do this.  But wait…..pillows and blankets?  These people had pillows and blankets!  This was like every spend the night party I ever went to.  Go to the bathroom or doze for a few minutes and totally miss out on everything!  I looked around.  The lights were still bright and the TV still blaring, but these folks were snoozing away, most of them.  Because THEY had pillows and blankets.  I was very sad.  Pitiful even.  I tried to use one of my bags as a pillow and my sweater as a blanket.  I must say that the twenty minutes of sleep I got that night were delightful.  And very rejuvenating.  NOT.

Fast forward to the next night that I wrote about in The Three Gifts.  After midnight when Sandy and I were by ourselves, cuddled under blankets brought by our friend, I pulled out the Kindle.  With all the competing noise the night before, I had not even started watching Duck Dynasty.  Sandy had never seen it, so we sat in the otherwise empty waiting area of the surgery unit and watched a little Duck Dynasty.  We laughed at times, if a bit tentatively.  I mean, really, these are just fun people.  It was very surreal, laughing in the midst of the anxiety, but it helped.

After we watched an episode, we checked the clock for the umpteenth time.  Sandy asked me if I had watched the link she had sent me earlier.  I had not.  Okay, she said, now is the time.  And she introduced me to Sal Siccia, someone who was to bring us much comfort and many laughs during the HospitalStay.  Bless him, he took requests.  So friends, meet Sal.

It might have been that we were both so tired and anxious, but we laughed until our stomachs hurt and tears were running down our cheeks.  I found myself going back to watch this at the oddest times, just to bring that great feeling of our camaraderie and laughter back for a moment.  And can I just say that Taylor Swift is a true poet!  So many times in the midst of all the unknowns for Mama during the HospitalStay, Sandy and I would say to each other, “We don’t know what we don’t know.”  And when the folks on the STICU were a little too rigid with their visiting times?  “Why you gotta be so MEAN?!”

It was a little over three weeks later that Sal shared this, a surprise and blessing that brought me to tears.  A beautiful sympathy card.

A precious tribute to our Mama and all Mamas everywhere.  I had never really heard that part of the song before.

Tonight I am thankful for the laughter amidst the chaos, the comfort of laughing with someone who gets it even when the situation calls for tears.  I am thankful for twenty minutes of sleep feeling like a couple of hours.  I appreciate the gift of a Kindle, of a sister telling me to take care of myself, and of good people sharing their stories.  I give thanks that I have a new friend in Sal, who loves by sharing laughter and entertaining.  Most of all I am thankful for my Mama, who laughed at all my jokes, even if she were rolling her eyes at the silliness.  And for the way she could make me laugh without even saying a word.  I’m thankful I’ve known a mother’s love.   It just doesn’t get much better than that.

Prom Night

My girl.  Her Junior/Senior.  No, really, it’s her first and last prom.  It’s a long story but this is her junior and senior year, so this is it.  THE PROM.

She hemmed and hawed as we do about whether she would go or not.  In the end, she wrote her own check and bought her ticket.  Let me just tell you this is HUGE.  I am so proud of her.  She was intent on going and having a great time.  With friends.  I love that.  I didn’t have her courage or grace when I was her age.  The jury is still out on whether I have as much as she does now.

So we went shopping.  In the end she chose a beautiful dress that was just perfect.  From the GW Boutique.  I’m telling you, we love shopping there and can get the best bargains ever.  I was proud of her choosing to shop there and then so thrilled that she found THE DRESS.  (Aub, are you saying yes to the dress?  Why yes, yes I am.)

THE prom dress.....Take 1

THE prom dress…..Take 1

She then planned out her shoes, found them at a different location of the GW Boutique.  Yesterday she got some inexpensive stuff to do her nails and today she did them herself.  I am telling you, this girl can make a party out of nothing.  She just has that gift.

This afternoon she visited our sweet neighbor friend and talented hair stylist, and she got her hair did.  It was beautiful.  So we had all the puzzle pieces together, time to put them in place.  She started getting dressed and came to me to help her zip up.  Oh y’all.  I just about cry when I think back on it. Just a few hours ago.  My girl.  Beautiful.  I tried to zip but I didn’t have my hands in the right place.  So yeah.  This happened today.

This zipper is broke.....and so was my heart.

This zipper is broke…..and so was my heart.

I just pulled wrong and too hard.  I tried y’all.  Really I did.  We got out the needle nose pliers and I opened up the zipper to slide the other side back in.  Oh what a mess.  My heart sank as each minute ticked by.  She was about to miss her prom.  Because I.  Messed.  Up.  If I had been my Granny or my Aunt or my cousin even, I would have ripped that zipper out, HAD the right one here to replace it, and stitched it back in, and she still would have been on time.  Ahem.  No.  I heard my girl say, “It’s okay.  I just won’t go.  It will be all right.”

Not.  On.  My. Watch.

I love this child.  I try not to spoil her.  But I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if I’m going to let her miss her prom, after she made the decision to go and got her outfit together with such a good attitude and open heart.

I started barking orders.  Rare for me.  (Never mind, I can’t even type that with a straight face.)  So I said, “Get your dress shoes, take your boots just in case, throw on clothes, we’re going to a store, and this is GOING TO HAPPEN.”

And you know what?  It did.

We had a twenty minute ride to the closest store that might possibly maybe have a dress in stock.  She had called them, and we were hopeful.  In the meantime she was texting our other dear and treasured neighbor friend who was pulling dresses from her closet and texting pictures in case the shopping trip was for naught.  Have I mentioned I have great folks all around me?  Love my neighbors.  Yeah, these folks make that an easy commandment to follow.

We laughed as we made a game plan for our dash-in-try-on-buy-and-dash-out mission.  Failure was not an option.  Despite the rain, she kept her cool and her hair in place.  We walked in and saw a beautiful selection of dresses right away.  My eyes went to the chartreuse immediately (yeah, it’s kinda my thing) and Aub’s went to a cute black and white number with BLING. (And she can pull off some bling!)  She did indulge me and try on the chartreuse.  She thought she looked eight years old.  I thought she looked like Tinkerbell, and it was very cute.  But the black and white one…..her eyes lit up.  The price was right, and the pashmina wrap was on sale (needed–the rain had dropped the temp to 55 already!) and there was a cute pair of earrings to match.  And with that we were at checkout right on time.  We asked the cashier for a pair of scissors to snip the tags off.  (Remember my broken filter? Yeah, I told her about the zipper.)  “Oh when is your Prom?” she asked.   I checked the time.  “Ummm, now.”  Sweet young woman.  Headed to the same college as Aub next year–for nursing school.  She’ll make it.  I saw it in her eyes.

Aub changed in the car–avert your eyes people.  She kept it decent, and we were on our way.  She was only fashionably late, thank goodness.  And all was well.  I am so proud of her for turning her back on a bit of a rough start and setting off for an evening of fun with friends.  I love this girl.

My girl, turning her back on the past, and headed for the future.  You go girl!

My girl, turning her back on the past, and headed for the future. You go girl!

After seeing her off, I called my cousin.  I shared with him the evening’s events.  I told him how bad I had felt about not being able to fix the zipper.  “Eh, it’s good to know what you can and can’t do.”  And he is right.  I could have tried.  But many broken relationships and a month later, Aub might have had some semblance of a dress left.  When it comes to stitching and sewing up something that delicate when it’s that important with serious time constraints…..”ain’t nobody got time for that.”

Tonight I am thankful for a girl who dreams big, who is strong and wise and beautiful inside and out.  I am thankful that we were able to go to a store and get a backup dress.  I am thankful for our conversation and laughter and meeting a new person and hearing her story.  I am thankful for kind and gracious neighbors who are a part of the village helping me raise my children.  I am very thankful for great hair spray that withstands major humidity and many dress changes and tremendous stress.  Finally I’m thankful for the words of wisdom from my cousin–trying to make myself into something or someone I’m not…..yeah, FOR SURE ain’t nobody got time for that.

And just for fun, and with much appreciation, the original “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

The Three Gifts

Twenty-four hours into the HospitalStay with Mama, she and I rode in an ambulance from Warner Robins to Macon, a very painful ride for Mama, only made more so by the driver blasting Q106–Classic Rock.  Yeah, there’s another letter to write.  I’ll add it to my to-do list.

Forty-eight hours in, I had spent a night in the CVICU waiting room, been home the next morning for a few hours, and then returned mid-afternoon to hang out with Mama again.  The game plan was for me to stay until visiting hours were over for the night at 9 p.m.  Mama and I talked some, she dozed some, and we sat in companionable silence too.  One of the care techs came in and shared her story with Mama, while holding her hand and trying to take her mind off the pain.  Mama was like that–folks were always sharing their stories with her.  She was a great listener.

As the evening wore on, Mama was getting tired, but the pain kept her from getting good rest.  It was about 8:15 when she said, “Why don’t you head on home? It’s almost time, and I’ll be fine.”  I told her no.  I just didn’t feel like I could leave yet.  I am thankful for that still, small voice that told me to stay.  It was only a few minutes later when I noticed a flurry of activity at the nurses’ station.  Doctors and other staff were gathered and looking towards our room and then moving with purpose towards us.  I knew something big was about to happen.

There was a very kind doctor who had a great smile–remember Enos from Dukes of Hazzard?  Yeah, that kind of smile.  He came in and explained that the latest MRI confirmed what they had suspected, and that Mama would need emergency surgery within the hour.  We were both in shock.  Mama did not want to have surgery.  When my brain started functioning again, I thought about Sandy, my sister who had been there earlier that day for several hours.  She had probably only been home for a couple of hours actually.  I called her and put her on speaker phone.  She talked to Mama about the surgery and listened to what the doctor had to say.  She told Mama, “I don’t think we have a choice.  I’m coming Mama.  I’m leaving now.”

I looked at Mama and she looked at me.  I knew her fears on this, but we really had no choice.  She finally nodded and said, “Go ahead.  Sign it.”  She was in so much pain she hadn’t been able to sign anything for herself since being admitted.  “If it will make this pain go away…..I’ll do anything.”

There was a rush of getting things together and then wheeling Mama down.  One of the last things she told me was, “Don’t let Sandy do anything foolish.”  Meaning what, Mama?  Mama was worried about her making the two hour drive late at night by herself and wasn’t sure Sandy should come.  I tried to reassure her, but I knew it was on her mind.

After meeting the surgeons and anesthesiologist, I was led out to a waiting area.  To sit by myself.  And wait.  I had called my other sister and my brother and let them know.  I talked to my aunt again.  While I was talking to her, she said to be sure to check my cell phone, that my cousin had texted me.  I told her I would, and we said goodbye.

And there was the first gift of the night.

The gift of presence

The gift of presence

My cousin and his wife had come down to stay with his folks for the weekend.  When they heard what was happening, they decided to come and sit with me.  When I read this I shed the first tears of the night.  That they would make their lives interruptible, travel a half hour up that late in the evening, that they didn’t want me to be alone–have I mentioned how incredible my people are?  And they brought me a bottle of water and homemade peach cobbler.  There is that too.

In the meantime I had texted my dear friend and minister, who also said she was coming.  Bless her heart, I was tucked away in a waiting area that no one knew about apparently, so she wound up wandering the hallways of this enormous hospital complex, until she was rescued by a kind soul who led her to where we were.  And then I got the second gift:

The gift of comfort

The gift of comfort

My sweet friend had heard all about my experience of spending the night in the waiting area the night before without the comfort of pillow and blanket.  On her way out her door, she grabbed these blankets and a pillow for me and my sister to have as we sat through the night in the surgery waiting area.  Bless her.  Yes, they were as cuddly as they look.

What a gift she is! Wouldn't you be happy to see that face too?  Here she is saying, "Are you serious?" when a dear friend offered to bring us the Best.  Coffee.  Ever.  (She was, thank goodness.)

What a gift she is! Wouldn’t you be happy to see that face too? Here she is saying, “Are you serious?” when a dear friend offered to bring us the Best. Coffee. Ever. (She was, thank goodness.)

My third gift arrived in a bit of comic relief.  My sister was trying to figure out how to get to the right parking deck.  We could SEE her from the windows in the waiting area.  It was pitch black out, but there she was, trying to get around one way and closed streets to where I was telling her to go.  Finally my sweet cousin pulled out her phone and used the GPS to lead Sandy in.  I was so relieved and thankful when she was finally sitting next to me.  And I looked around.  Sitting around us were people who loved us, who made time to be with us during a very dark and scary time.  And there were so many more who were holding us in their hearts who couldn’t be physically present.  So thankful for them all.

One of my heroes, Hugh Hollowell, who runs Love Wins Ministry in North Carolina tells the story of one of his friends in need asking him for help with her utilities.  She became quite upset when he told her he just didn’t have it.  “I thought you were my friend,” she said.  And Hugh told her he was.  And that though he couldn’t keep her lights from going off, he would come and sit with her in the dark…..because that’s what he thinks Jesus does.  Sits with us in the dark.*

Tonight I am thankful for family and friends who sit with us in the dark.  Who hold our hands and tell us it’s okay to be afraid, it’s okay not to want to do this again.  So soon.  And who bring us comfort in the form of warmth and a most delicious peach cobbler.  Most of all, I am thankful for folks who show up.  They may not be able to fix things–things may not even be fixable.  But in the midst of the darkness, they show up.  In whatever way they are able to–bringing meals, sending messages, making phone calls, dropping off goody bags, delivering cups of coffee, offering hugs in a hallway, listening,  sharing muffins on a Wednesday aftenoon, through all of this–sitting with us in the dark.  And that is one of the greatest things any of us can do for each other.

*This story can be read in the chapter “The Marine,” in Karen Spears Zacharias’ book “Will Jesus Buy Me a Doublewide?: ‘Cause I Need More Room for my Plasma TV“.  Or you can meet Hugh Hollowell here http://lovewins.info/ or here (yes, it’s 18 minutes long, but I’m pretty sure you will love him):

What She Sees

Do you know what a “meme” is?  According to Wikipedia (a great resource, right, I know), “a meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena.”

Yeah, okay, now that I’ve cleared that up, the “What I do” one really cracks me up, especially this one about homeschooling.

Hi, I'm a homeschool Mama, and only one, well okay, two of these may be accurate.  Don't ask me which ones.

Hi, I’m a homeschool Mama, and only one, well okay, two of these may be accurate. Don’t ask me which ones.

We have an example of the “What I do,” or rather “What I see” meme going on around here.  I was watching my middle one riding her bike up and down our dead-end street the other day.  She was so happy and free riding along.  It’s one of her favorite things to do.  She was so proud the day she learned to ride her bike on  her own.

Only it’s not her bike.  Exactly.

This is my daughters’ bike.

My daughters' bike--about twelve years old. Many a happy mile has been ridden with this one.

My daughters’ bike–about twelve years old. Many a happy mile has been ridden with this one.

That was not a typo.  It belongs to both my daughters.  It was my oldest daughter’s bike, a gift about twelve years ago, from my great aunt.  She was like a grandmother to me, and she delighted in getting this bike for my girl for her birthday.  I can remember how happy Aub was riding it.  Mama and Daddy would load Aub and the bike up and go down to see my aunt, letting her walk along while my oldest rode it on her paved driveway.

Fast forward about ten years.  Daddy knew that our Princess had outgrown her little bike with the training wheels.  He remembered he had kept this bike out in his building all those years, and he told me he thought it was time.  It was bittersweet as he was the one to teach Aub to ride how to ride without training wheels all those years ago…..on this bicycle.  The lymphoma had taken away his ability to teach this granddaughter, but not his desire to have her learn.  So we got the bicycle out, brushed the dust off, and brought it home.  And that was the beginning of the shared love of this bicycle.

I did have good intentions.  Those rusty handlebars?  I planned to paint them.  The hand grips?  They could be easily replaced, as could the seat with a chunk taken out of it.  (Ouch.  I do NOT remember how that one happened.)  I even had plans to replace the pedals.  But in truth, with the chaos of our lives the past two years, those things never happened.  In fact, all we have replaced is the tires.  Out of necessity.  (Dry rot–vicious stuff that.)

As I watched our little butterfly fly up and down the street on her bike, I thought about her bike and the fact that she LOVES it.  The rust and oldness of it do not bother her at all.  In fact, I think this is how she sees it.

How I think our butterfly sees her bike

How our butterfly sees her bike

Of course, as I look around at our plethora of “interesting” things in the yard, on the porch, and so forth, I am afraid that this might be how some folks around here see her bike.

How I'm afraid the neighbors see the bike

How I’m afraid the neighbors see the bike

But not this girl.  Oh, how I love her vision!  We say she’s our sunshine, only sometimes we have to wear sunglasses.  Things like a little rust or old pedals don’t slow her down.

Tonight I am thankful for this child who dresses herself in what we would call mismatched colors and patterns but still looks beautiful, who sings and dances and asks us to sit for her performances, and who giggles when we ask for autographs.  I love how she sees this world.  I adore that the bike she is riding is made all the more precious to her because it belonged to her sister. This child who loves animals and cannot stand to see anyone have their feelings hurt, this child of mine will have her own hard time of it in this world.  But this I know, her sentimental heart and sweet smile and special way of seeing things has shed light into many a dark day, and I am thankful that she is just who she is.

And one more, just for fun–how SHE sees herself on her bike:

This is a real princes, not OURS.  Princess Amalia, Dutch heir, riding HER bicycle. But I am sure our girl sees herself as a princess riding her beautiful bicycle.

This is a real princess, not OURS. Princess Amalia, Dutch heir, riding HER bicycle. But I am sure our girl sees herself as a princess riding her beautiful bicycle.

With all respect, to the adults in my child’s life

Disclaimer: I have had a headache today, and I really did need a nap.  Alas, it did not happen.  So I apologize for the following.  Maybe. NOTE: Filter broken.

Dear Adults in my child’s life,

Here lately I’ve been thinking on some situations that have left me shaking my head.  As I listen to my teenager tell me what’s happened, and she asks, “Why?” or “How?” I struggle to find an answer to give her about these folks who are grownup and making these choices.

Fo the times you let things get out of hand when you are in charge, let her peers rattle her cage and wait to stop it, thank you.  She now knows where you stand, as do I.  We know better now.

Thank you for saying, “Well she never calls me.”  YOU never call her.  And who is the grownup here?  (Oh, that’s right, it may very well be her. Hmmmm.) The same goes with complaining that she never comes to see you.  Do you come see her?

And to the grownups that see her and then ignore her, but make sure you each see her–yes, there have been awkward moments in your relationship, but sitting and whispering and pointing and NEVER speaking? Yeah, that didn’t make things more awkward at all.

If you promise to do something, I’d suggest you do it.  Or have a phenomenal reason why you didn’t. She’s written folks off for less than that.  Just FYI.

And finally to those who label today’s teenagers the “instant gratification” generation while complaining that the wifi is too slow or that the drive-thru line is too long, ummm, well, you’re on your own.

Here’s the thing, I am tired of people knocking teenagers and complaining about how they are.  I know quite a few, and most of them I think pretty highly of.  I know young adults with integrity and a great sense of humor, who take time to serve and help others; not because their schools require a paper signed saying they’ve “served” so many hours, but because they really, genuinely care.  I know teenagers who choose to spend their time with people who are homeless, with young children in need, who travel on their school breaks to serve folks in another country.  These “kids” don’t need role models.  They ARE role models.

But for those who could use someone to watch, someone to guide them, here’s a thought.  Could we, AS ADULTS, check our behavior and make sure it’s role model worthy?  I’m looking in the mirror as I say this as well.  I need some polishing, quite a bit actually.   I just think we are all a bit hypocritical when we say, “I wish they’d act more adult-like…..I wish he’d grow up…..Why isn’t she being more mature?”  From what I’ve seen up close and personal and in the media, I think that young people may be out of luck.  We’re bickering over who’s right, who’s wrong, what other people should do or say and how they should live.  We tell young people to get things done, and then we spend hours in front of all kinds of foolishness on the computer, our laptops, our smart phones.  (Oh boy, that one hurt, Tara! I say to myself. I know, I know) We are so busy pointing fingers or staring at screens that we forget who is watching us.

In the past few weeks, I have seen more behavior from ADULTS that I don’t want my children emulating.  I don’t want my children to judge others.  I want them to be okay with being the first to forgive and offer grace.  I want them to have their priorities straight.  I want them to continue to grow and learn.  I want them to love all, and do love.  That’s the bottom line–I want them to grow and to love.

The irises brightening our days and our spirits

The irises brightening our days and our spirits

This week our yard has been graced by these beautiful irises.  These are from some bulbs I found on clearance at Wal-Mart at the end of the season a few years back, and I let my little bitty ones plant them.  Pretty much, they dug, and they threw them in some not very deep holes.  The whole thing was, quite honestly, not very intentional.  However, look at them!  Each year, just when I’ve almost forgotten about them, they burst out with the most beautiful blossoms.  And what a sight to behold!

I think that it is important for me to remember that my behavior and attitude are like those bulbs.  I may not be putting an example out there intentionally, but I am planting a bulb.  It may stay in the ground for quite a while, but eventually, that thing’s gonna grow.  And because I want to grow beauty and grace in the world, I’d better be real careful about what I’m dropping into the soil of their souls.  Because whether I intend to plant it or not, if I drop it, eventually it will grow.

Thank you for sticking with me through my headache-induced rant.  Tonight I give thanks for those adults who ARE planting beautiful bulbs of love and grace with my children.  Those who are careful with their words, those who encourage and empower our children to help and to shine brighter.  I am thankful for those who are patient and listen, and who give the most precious gifts of time and respect.  You may not see the beauty come to full fruition any time in the near future, but know that one day, it will, and I thank you for that.