Have a dressed up day!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

I Faked It Till I Made It

I remember the day I made the decision to graduate him early. 

He was flying through kindergarten work.  Reading second grade readers fairly well and bored with his workbooks.

I logically told myself if I graduate him early then I can take two years to complete first grade, or a grade later on that he might struggle with. 

Made sense.  Still does.

So I planned.  Met with two beautiful friends who would be graduating their babies with my baby and we planned. 

They would pledge and count by fives and tens and recite Psalm 23 and a poem and answer interview questions and sing and change their tassels and throw up their caps.

I truly enjoyed the planning - even when I was complaining about it.

And the day drew nearer.

Izzy and I took him downtown and she took photos.  I knew what I wanted and argued with her that we did not need balloons.  She had a plan and stood her ground as the photographer and we bought balloons. 

The balloon photos - they are my favorite.

Izzy, you were right.  Forgive me.  But I'll do it again.  Sorry in advance.

Mom bought him a new sportscoat and I searched for the perfect yellow tie and Delia used the blow dryer on his hair.

And the day was here.

And it was a wonderful time with family and friends.  I don't think it could have gone any better.  Happy children and proud parents and love all around.  He spoke clearly and loudly and smiled till his cheeks had to hurt.

And I faked it - that this moment was what I really wanted.  'Cause what I wanted was when he couldn't say popsicle or when he called his milk no-no.

I smiled large and shed tears at the right moment in the slideshow and nodded to all the compliments on his behalf.  But deep down in the pit of my stomach I knew something.  I knew I wasn't sure that this was the right decision.  I wanted to pull him onto my lap and tell everyone I had made a mistake and we could all go home now.  We'd do this again next year - when it would be the right time.

And you know faking it till you make it?  What we mamas do sometimes - when we often want to give up and more often want to hide and we feel the need to scream - but we don't, we just fake it till we make it through that moment?

I faked it and I made it.  And later that night I watched him sleep.  Him lying there in just his briefs cause that's what big boys do and cuddling three blue dogs now, the third with a cap and tassel on.  I realized I had let my mind wander from the beauty of the moment. That I was thinking too much of what there is to lose instead of the abundant joy of what is here now.

Yeah, well, I'll do that again, too.  I apologize to myself in advance.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Louisiana's Best Kept Secret

At first we really didn't think anything about it. All children love animals, do they not?

It's been since she was very young, but I'm not exactly sure how old she was when I first realized how deeply her heart is connected to God's fifth and sixth day creatures.

 It was after the love of rocks.  There were buckets of them spilling over, weighing heavy and always on the floor.  Patience wore thin the day I put handfuls in the garbage.  She was barely four.  She'd never know.

And then she began to look for her rocks.  The rock that looked like the fish was missing.  Mommy, 'ou see me ittle wock that ooks ike . . .

and then another . . .

and then another. 

Big round innocent trusting eyes holding up chubby fingers to show me size. 

I swallowed hard each time and gave her my sympathy and helped her look and


It was after her love of pink and all things pink.  After the Polly Pockets had been packed up and the stuffed animals began to stay on their shelves.

After Jay Jay the Jet Plane and Bibleman and Squinkies.

But I knew before the day the small dog wandered into our yard and she convinced me to keep him for a few days.  Signs were put up and no one claimed him.  He was healthy and well cared for and I made the mistake of convincing her to let him go. 

He'll find his way home, Izzy.  If not, he'll come back here and we'll do something else.

He ran straight out of her arms and into the street.  Right in front of a car.  I heard the scream and wiped tears for what seemed liked forever and I thought of the rocks I had thrown away and wondered if she would think I had thrown this dog away.

She doesn't.

Over the last couple of years it has become apparent that it is more than a passing phase.

Her brain reads like an encyclopedia of animal knowledge.  

And her heart . . .
is like shelter.

It makes room and houses and cares and is safe refuge for all animals big and small.

We knew we were going the night before, but waited until morning to share - just the trip, not the location

Surprises are as fun on the giving end as the receiving end -
don't you think?

It's Louisiana's best kept secret.  An hour east of Baton Rouge and an hour north of New Orleans.  Ten curving miles out in the boondocks down Highway 445 to 40 East.  Past old barns.  Past century old homes falling down around their stories of love and laughter.  He thinks they need to be torn down.  I know they just need life breathed back into them.

Then there it is, one and a half miles on the left.  Right before the sign telling you children are welcome at the Ole Post Office Pizza and Daiquiri.

It hides in the middle of nowhere.

They look like they are coming, two by two. 
 And then some.

And they are everywhere.

She didn't speak at first.  I thought maybe I was wrong and this was not such a big deal.

It's not Africa, baby.  Maybe not a real safari.  But we can pretend, can't we?

She didn't say a word.  We drove down the curving dirt path to our waiting jeep.

Then she rolled down her window and breathed deep and there it was.  That big beautiful smile. 

Daddy, I didn't know there was a place like this here.

Yeah - he always gets the credit.  He doesn't throw away rocks or kill dogs.

 Some surprises are better on the giving end,

don't you think?

I confessed a couple of years ago about the rocks. 

Thought she'd think it was funny.

She didn't.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Good-bye, Preschool Hall

I gently tried to explain to Max that he would stay in his five year old Sunday school class. Yes, you graduated K5 early, but at church you will stay kindergarten. You'll stay with your friends.

He is so excited that this Sunday he will move upstairs, to the five year old class, out of the preschool hall.

At least one of us is . . .

To hold that first one when she was five just once more. That would be bliss.

To think with my brain and not so much my heart . . . that would be bliss.

I'm not logical or methodical. I'm emotional and chaotic.

And that used to be good enough.

Sunday I'll hold his hand and climb the stairs and feel Gregg's hand on my back and know that Max is beautiful and growing and in love with me still.

I'll watch him grin big and go in like he owns the world and try not to think too hard.

I could parent for hundreds of years and still not want to say good-bye to the preschool hall. 

Good-bye, preschool hall.

Hello, children's wing.

And time taking flight - be gentle with me, please.

Friday, May 4, 2012

When the Need Doesn't Matter

The worries of my world strike hard at four in the morning.  My mind drifts in this direction I yank back hard and turn my pillow to the cool side.  It grows warm and I sit up, stretch my feet that are yelling and give up.

I stand by her door but do not open it.  It's old and loud.  My hand finds that old pane and I utter, please, Father.

And that first child that is flying high has me whispering her own plea to above.  May her sugar be where it should be may she do as she should do and will you please, Father, make me a little better at this letting go. Where do I let go to?   And this new hold is not as easy as the first.

I lie back down and find him in the dark.  It has been too long and there is too much to do and not enough time and all that has held us apart or kept us apart is lost at four in the morning with his arms wrapped tight and I hear the breath I love you.  When he speaks it like a whisper breath and not a closing of a call or an exit out the door and I breathe it in like the gift it is.

I pull the covers up over his little body and wonder how she sleeps in that position and think about my day.

Today I will load the car and forget the camera or the bottle or the small flag he will wave and have to go back in and rush to not run late. 

Today I will stand on the side of the highway for a man I did not know but wish I had.  When he answered her 911 call and stayed by her side and told her it would be okay I should have taken the time to find him and thank him. I wonder how this event in her life will shape her.  He came and protected and comforted and now he was cruelly taken away and shouldn't she be too young for this?


I stand at the window looking out and think about the man that took this officer's life.  How does a person get to a place like that?  Did he not have someone to pull the covers up over him or pray hand on his door?  Did he not have someone to find in the dark?  Did he turn his back and say no over and over until his heart was hard?

This is the only highway I have ever known and each mile has memory and today I take my children and stand in respect and wonder how do you thank enough and why my highway?

Someone said there had to be a first, even in our little city, but why did there have to be?  I think of his child and his wife and who will whisper those words like breath and that's enough thinking and I notice my windows need washing and I turn away as the paperboy drives by and I wonder why don't I drink coffee?

Then - there it is.  What I have grown to expect and need and appreciate and adore.  The rush of comfort and peace and promise.

It always comes.  No matter the time the sun setting or rising no matter the question or the need.

It always comes.

Drawing of me losing my cool courtesy of budding artist, Izzy.

Have a dressed up day!

. . . put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Colossians 3:12