Milk Messes and Morning WakeUp Calls

Something I’ve come to enjoy each day I owe to homeschooling.  No, it’s not the audiobooks that we’ve been listening to together lately.  (Though they are quite wonderful–who knew that at my age I’d still love being “read” to?)  And it’s not that I don’t have to go running out for posterboard or glitter or sticks for the glue gun at the last minute because something IS DUE TOMORROW.  (Been there, done that.)  Though there is a long list of things I enjoy about homeschooling, this is the one about how I start my day.

I am usually already awake when I hear footsteps coming in my room. The next thing I know there’s fifty-some odd pounds of grins and joy bounding on my bed.

Cooter.

First thing, he comes and sits on the bed with me.  Sometimes he tells me about his favorite football teams.  Again.  Or he shares the best plays of his favorite players.  Again. Sometimes he shares about the book he’s been reading or something funny his friend said. But a few days ago, it was none of that.

“Mama.  Mama,”  he paused, waiting for me to make eye contact.  His voice was quite serious as was his gaze.  “Mama, I need for you to come fix me breakfast.”

Well, this was new.  Or maybe not so much new as a change.  He used to ask me to do that, but in the past few months, he’s found his way to getting a bowl and the cereal and the milk and fixing his own breakfast.  So, like I said, new.  But not.

I knew he had to be hungry because he hadn’t eaten much the night before.

“Okay, buddy.  But what’s up?  You don’t feel like fixing it yourself this morning?”

“No.  It’s not that.” He held his hands out for emphasis.  “The milk jug. Is. FULL.”

I looked at him.

“It’s a new jug.” And what he said next nearly floored me.  I mean, you know, if I hadn’t been already lying in the bed.  “I don’t want to make a mess.”

Wait.  Really?  He didn’t want to make a mess?

Now that really was new.

He’s nine.  And a half tacked on for good measure now.  Nine and a half, and he’s finally reached the phase where he thought it through before doing it.

Wow.

That is pretty exciting to me.  And maybe just a little sad–that whole growing up thing, but since I didn’t have to clean up half a jug of milk from the counter, cabinets, and floor, I’m getting over that sad bit fairly quickly.

It occurred to me later in the day, as I was once again marveling at this new development and how proud I was of him asking or help, that this world would be a different place if folks thought things through and asked for help if it seemed like they couldn’t handle it themselves.  A really different place.

But that whole asking for help is so hard, isn’t it?

This evening as I thought back over that morning’s conversation and the day’s revelation, Cooter was talking about something he was hoping to do.  “I think that will help me a lot because you learn about diffusing bombs.”  That caught my attention.  “I think that could be quite helpful, because I think I might want to do that one day.  Diffuse bombs.  Like on a bomb squad.”

Oh me.  So maybe he hasn’t learned to think through the consequences in every situation.

Oh well.  There’s time.  And until then…..

he still has his Mama.

Who relishes those morning wakeup calls.

Love to all.

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Turns Out She Knows Best

Where has the time gone?

Not even joking, y’all.  My oldest called me the other day, and she’s about to register for classes for next year.

Her SENIOR year.  Of college.

WHAT ON EARTH?  How did this happen?

I mean, I know, time passes, but I very clearly recall every single emotion I felt the day we moved her into her first dorm room on campus almost three years ago.  It has been a roller coaster ride for sure, but like those rides, it will be over before we’ve even caught our breath good.

Aub is planning on going to law school after graduation.  She has a plan, and she’s making it happen.  Make no mistake, she is the one taking care of all of the things she needs to do and doing them.  She got her internship which turned into a great job.  She read and decided what it will take to be accepted into law school.  She studied for and did well on the LSAT.  She has a notification set on her phone to remind her when to turn in her application to the school of her choice.  She’s even looked at places to live while in law school.

I blinked, y’all.  This is what I get for doing THAT.

When she called me the other day, she discussed that she is going to drop her second major and make it a minor.  The classes she needs aren’t all being offered when she can take them, and she would have to double up and take a lot of hours to make it happen.

As I’ve mentioned before a time or ten, change is not my friend.  So this change made me a little nervous, and I talked with her about all the ways that maybe she could still keep the double major.

I mean, I had to, right?  It’s my job as her parent to tell her what I think is best.

And later that night, after everyone else was asleep, it hit me like a hammer upside the head, that NO.  That is not my job.

It is not my job to tell Aub what the right thing to do is.  It is my job to teach her how to decide the right thing for her.  And then let her do it.

And I recalled her words, “If I drop the second one to a minor, I can continue working, and the work experience will be more valuable in the end than a double major, I think.”

She thinks.

She reads.  She studies.  She researches all the options.

And she thinks some more.

Wow.

All on her own.

And the one thing I’ve watched and been amazed to see is that when she sets her mind or heart on something, I can sit back and watch it happen.  Because it will.  When she believes in something, she will do what it takes to make it happen.

She’s a doer and a go-getter, and she is driven when it matters to her.

Like this.

Tonight I’m thankful for the privilege to be a part of her journey and to see all the amazing things she is already doing in this world.  I am thankful for her strength and drive and passion and heart.  When her heart is set, look out world.  Most of all, I give thanks for this amazing person who is teaching me how to do my job.  By letting her do her life.

May we all be so fortunate as to know what we want and go after it.

Love and best wishes to all.

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My girl, her first month of college. In a few short months, she’ll be a senior. She’s got this. And it’s my job to let her. 

 

 

The One Thing They Never Told Me

On my out and abouts and errand running yesterday, I found myself in the Getting Place looking for a birthday present and picking up some things that we needed around the house.  I was walking past the endcaps in the baby section and I saw these.

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Adorable.  Right?

Yes.  They are too cute.  Robes.  For those little bitty babies with their little bitty toes and precious little smiles and coos.  Robes.

Don’t do it, people.

I can just about guarantee you that every Mama to be with that clicky gun thing in their hands, creating their gift registry for that very first baby shower–she’s clicking on THAT.  Yes, she has to have that little robe.

Oh me.

I remember (over twenty years ago) when Aub was a little bitty 3 week old baby.  We went and stayed with my folks for a few days.  One afternoon while we were there, Daddy noticed that she was still wearing the same thing I’d put on her after her bath the night before.  (One of those rare days when a wardrobe change was not necessary every three or four hours.  Ahem.)  He teased me and pointed out I used to change my baby dolls more often than I changed my live one.

Yessir.  And there’s a reason for that.

All those precious toes?  And fingers?  And hands and arms and feet and legs?
They wiggle.

All.  The. Time.

They make changing clothes and getting dressed after baths a very difficult undertaking.  It’s the epitome of “take two steps forward and twenty-five back…..” or something like that.

So why for the love of everything little and wiggly–why on earth would you want to add in one more change between bath and pajamas?

Trust me on this.  If you are a parent to be, go ahead and click the little clicky gun on the bathrobe.  Open the wrapped present, because people WILL buy it for you and not tell you the truth of it all, and oooh and ahh over it.  Wash it and hang it up in your little bathroom.  But please.  Do not pressure yourself to use it.  You will be functioning on little sleep, you will be so tired that bathing your little one and keeping that slippery little love above water will take all you have within you.  So use the hooded towel, the cute one with the duck face or name embroidered on it–use that to wrap up your little bundle of joy–no arms or legs tucked anywhere required.  Then go straight from A to Z.  Diaper and pajama that wee one and move on to the next thing.  Trust me.  The robe is cute, but making the effort to get it on–and then off again–and then into pajamas?

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

I share this only because I care.  And I wish someone had told me that.

Before the cute little yellow ducky robe that I just had to have.

Learn from my mistakes.  Pick your battles.  And trying to get your little wiggle worm dressed is only the beginning of those.  Don’t make it harder than it has to be.

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And y’all don’t even get me started on this one.  Just NO.  LET THEM BE BABIES FIRST.  PLEASE.

Love and laughter to all.

 

All Those Role Changes…..Bravo!

Today the littles, my brother-in-law Leroy, my nephew Shaker and I went to the Grand Opera House to see Junie B. Jones the Musical.

I love that place.  I really do.  It put the art in architecture.  Oh wait…..well, it is beautiful and a sight to gaze upon.  Add in a live performance, and it’s one of my favorite places to be.

Today was Shaker’s and Leroy’s first visit to the Grand.  We were in the right place at the right time and got front row balcony seats.

The play was funny and received many LOL’s (laughing out loud) from my crew.  Especially when the two tall male actors came onstage as Lucille’s best friends who rhymed, Camille and Chenille.  Because rhyming names is an important quality to have in a friend.  Hilarious.

That’s when I sat up and took notice. Well we all did actually, but I started paying closer attention to exactly how many actors were in the performance.  I mean, there were a lot of characters–Junie B, her Dad, her Mom, her teacher, the bus driver, two girls on the bus, Lucille, Herbert (I think that was his name–her new BFF), Gladys Gutzman, Camille, Chenille, three other classmates…..

That’s a lot of people.

Leroy said he thought there were maybe fifteen people putting on the performance.

I watched costume changes and was amazed that this one actress changed shoes with every costume and character change–and these were the lace up above the ankle Converse type sneakers.  Nothing quick and easy.  No slide on shoes for her.

Turns out Leroy was way off.  When the play was over and they had the curtain call, there were six talented men and women on the stage.

Six.  That’s it.

I was amazed and very impressed.

Leroy and I were talking about it this evening.  He said, “Yeah, if that had been me, after about my third line or so, I would have said, ‘Okay, I’m outta here.'”

Me too.  Based on costume changes alone.

While the guys who played the two girls were good, I was most intrigued by the young woman who played Lucille and Ricardo and a girl on the bus.  Her costume change each time was from hair to toes.  And she went from playing a girl to another girl to a boy with a distinctive accent.  It was fun and mesmerizing to watch.

Leroy and I were very impressed with their changing roles and playing so many characters well.

After talking with him this evening about it, I headed out with my chauffeur hat on and delivered little people where they were supposed to be.  While sitting and waiting, I went through my checklist on what I needed to do when we got home.  And the rest of the week.

And then it hit me.

We are all like those actors and actresses, aren’t we?

Costume changes, role changes happening regularly, sometimes with only a moment’s notice.

And we do it.

The only difference is–

We’re winging it.

No rehearsals, no nets, no one to answer when we call out “Line!”

No second takes.

This is it.  And we have to be ready for our next scene at all times.

Now that’s what’s impressive.

We don’t give up after a couple of lines or ask for an understudy to take on the role.

We get up, we get out there, and we do it.

Might not be an award-winning performance every single moment, but hey–we show up and we perform and we play more roles than we ever imagined we could.

I think that deserves a standing ovation.

Tonight I am thankful for the opportunity to share live theater with those I love.  I give thanks for the hands that built the building we sat in and for the powers that be who make sure it stays as it has always been, an important and beautiful part of our cultural story.  I am thankful that the play was good, and that Shaker seemed to have a great time.  Most of all, I give thanks for those in my life who play numerous roles and have set the bar way high for the smooth costume and role changes.

So what if we don’t always seem to get our lines right.  The actress who played Ricardo entered the classroom as him and spoke in Spanish.  “He” then explained that since he speaks two languages, it’s hard for him to remember which one he’s speaking at the time.

I feel you, Ricardo.  It’s like that in real life too.  Sometimes there’s so much going on, I don’t know which way to turn, let alone what needs to be said or what I’m trying to say or where I’m supposed to be.  But, as with the other classmates, grace abounds and we move on.

Tonight I salute you all with a standing ovation.  Way to go!  You showed up.  And you haven’t given up.  It’s not easy, this living life thing, and you haven’t quit yet. That is phenomenal!

Who needs to hear the words “You done good” and get a standing ovation from you?  It’s free, and it doesn’t take long, and it just might put a smile on someone’s face.

And that’s the gift that keeps on giving.  Grace.  Encouragement.

Bravo!  Brava!  Well done!

Love to all.

Ain’t nobody gonna help you

This display was seen at a bookstore on our walk in downtown Macon.  Daddy warned me about this crew!

This display was seen at a bookstore on our walk in downtown Macon. Daddy warned me about this crew!

Tuesday when the littles and I were headed back from the Grand Opera House to where we’d parallel parked (you may take a moment to be impressed–ha) on a side street, I saw this display in the window of a bookstore.  As I stood there taking it all in, I thought about what Daddy said when I was expecting my first one, his first grandchild, eighteen years ago.

“Ain’t nobody gonna help you raise this young’un.”

Now my Daddy was an educated man, a wordsmith of sorts who did all kinds of cogitating and reading fascinating and in-depth works.  However, he was smart enough to pass on this bit of wisdom in just this way, probably the same way it had been passed to him.  I don’t know, maybe it’s his original thought and he just knew it would resonate better this way.

Because I’ve never forgotten it.

When folks gave my child the diet soda when she was very small instead of the juice I’d sent, I remembered this.  When ThoseInCharge on the plane trips back and forth from Japan played Rated R movies on the overhead screens and I had to keep a constant check that she wasn’t watching (and therefore I could not sleep!), I thought about this.  When one of her teachers questioned why I wasn’t letting her watch one of the popular tv shows at the time, I remembered Daddy’s words.  When those who should have had her best interest first and foremost let her down time after time, yep, Daddy, I would think, you are SO right.

There have been so many times.  Rules set by parents of peers–they give their children new cars while she is sharing Becky the Blazer with me.  Children who had cell phones way before she did, and she just didn’t understand.  Young people her age allowed freedoms that just aren’t okay with me.  These folks just ARE NOT making it any easier for me in raising my child.   Oh boy, was Daddy right.  Nobody’s helping me here.

But then again…..

I look around now, today, just four weeks until her graduation.  And I know what Daddy was saying, and yes, so many times it was true.  I’m glad he told me that so I was a little prepared each time it happened.  But I also know he was wrong in a lot of instances too.  He himself proved the prophecy wrong.  He and Mama have been huge in the “raising up” of my children.  Their help was priceless and made a significant impact on the young woman about to embark on the next step in her journey. (Maybe his double negative was prophetic after all?)

There are others.

Family, our people, who take time to love unconditionally, as hard as that may be–and to laugh with me and at me in the challenges of parenthood

The teachers who empower and encourage her to think for herself–the ones who show her the door but let her open it herself

The folks in her life who helped her figure out what she believes and what she doesn’t and give her grace in changing her mind; those who help her on her faith journey, help her to develop strong faith so her steps won’t be wobbly as she continues upward

Those who take time to listen to her stories, people of all ages who love her and listen and call me on stuff as well (you know who you are)

Today I am thankful for those who have given her grace and love and a safe place and continue to do so.  When the messages she gets from those around her fill her with doubt or sadness, there are people who ARE helping me raise her–our village people–the ones who hug her, who are on her side, who come out swinging the proverbial bat, saying, “Where are they? I got this.”  Those are the ones I’m thankful for.  And because of them–

The folks who ain’t gonna help me just don’t matter.

And for the record, no one got a book on Tuesday.