Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Thank You Poem

Sometimes I wonder why I have this blog. Does anyone even get anything I am writing about? Do they wonder why I bother?

The answer is surely, “Yes” to some … but I will blog more often in response to one of my dear friends I saw last night. She said,

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Christian By Convenience?

            I’m not casting any stones, just taking a closer look in the mirror. It doesn’t look so impressive this morning.  
The brutal truth is that I have slipped into convenient Christianity. I am a strong Christian when everything is going good and MY way. If my hopes and prayers are answered, then I am good with my Creator and my faith. BUT, if my heart longs for something and things don’t go as I planned, I sit in the corner with my tail between my legs, quietly.
I think, “Why bother praying? What will be, will be anyway. It’s not like what I say will matter.”
I cannot focus on the good and what I DO have. I chose to want more and to expect no bumps in the road.
          Last night I could hardly go to sleep as I was haunted by fear. My mind raced with horrible scenarios. They were so horrid that I do not want to make them in tangible letter form by writing them. The devil was working overtime in my mind. As soon as a bad thought was planted in my brain, it was as though the fire was stoked just for the fun of it, and bad went to worse. Finally, about 1 am, I drifted off to sleep. The alarm sounded less than 5 hours later at 5:45 am. We had to wake up early because it was the first day of school, and we were going to do a different routine …
The discussion happened last night shortly before bed. I had been avoiding the topic for a few days. When it would arise, I either changed the subject or simply didn’t answer.
Again, my youngest daughter asked, “Mom, can Kaysie drive us to school tomorrow? PLEASE!”
Kaysie assured me, “Mom, I’m comfortable to do it. I’ve done it several times now. You know we will call when we get there and we can leave a little early. It will save gas and you won’t have to get out. If you would rather drive, that’s fine with me. It’s the first day of school and you may want to be there for Karly. I know I’m not very nurturing to her.”
That would mean BOTH of my children being in the same car, alone, without me. I could just throw up.
In spite of my gut-wrenching worry, the decision was made last night. I agreed.

I cannot figure out what the heck is wrong with me and this driving issue. I have evolved into a completely insane control freak with no faith. Granted, the drive to school is not the typical drive. It is quite a haul and involves every single kind of road possible. Interstate, back roads, bypass, state highway … all of them in this one journey.

This morning, we all woke up a little earlier than usual so the girls could leave sooner. I fixed coffee, started some laundry and made biscuits. (Not from scratch, the canned kind.) I kept my composure as I kissed them good-bye, watched them get in the car and pull out of our drive. As quickly as I shut the door, I sat straight down on the steps and began to cry like I have not cried in a long time. My poor little Swayze puppy was panicked, it upset him so badly. The tears came and went for an hour and I am sure they will return at 3pm when they get back on the road to come home.
Though I am in my late 30’s, I still wanted and needed parental guidance. (If you read the previous blog, YES, I called my parents AGAIN. waaa., I know) I made a phone call, suppressing my tears so I did not unnecessarily scare them. There is nothing like answering the phone call of a loved one who is sobbing. I couldn’t be hysterical about what could happen, when everything was fine in reality. The problem was in my “what-if” thinking.
I heard the assuring words, “It’s all going to be fine. You are God fearing and He is going to watch over them. God will take care of them.”
I responded between sobs, “But what about my God fearing friends who have lost their children? He was watching them. When it is time, it won’t matter. Prayer will not change that. I am scared.”

We talked for awhile and when I hung up the phone, I was forced to take a closer look at myself and my relationship with God.

Lately, I have been so frustrated with my kids for seemingly only being happy when I am doing what they ask me to do. Their mood is governed by one thing; If they are getting their way or not. It makes it less tempting to do for them when their attitudes are so conditional. Neither of them can pull through the negative hard times with optimism, and they take the blessings with a grain of salt. They are only happy, and only happy with ME, when I do what they want me to do or make their wishes come true. It makes me angry and I feel incredibly unappreciated. That is easy for me to understand … Why I turn around and treat God the same way? That, I do not understand.
There are people living in poverty, who have nothing but their faith. They must watch their children go hungry and deal with their own hunger, yet they praise God at all times. It is remarkable how being stripped of the frills gives rewards.
Typically, it would have been like me to simply breathe a sigh of relief when I got the call saying, “We are here and fine,” then go about my day.
Today, I took the time to stop and say, “Thank You, God. I recognize what You have done.”
The evolution is beginning as I enter the phase of my babies flying from the nest. God must be offended as I reluctantly hand them over to Him, as if He cannot do as good of a job as me. I should take a lesson from His patience and mercy.

Praying unconditionally,

Sunday, August 7, 2011

And She Drives Away, In the Car, Alone, Without Me …

          If I weren’t me, I would question me. I would make fun of me. I would have all kinds of advice to give to me …
          My 16 year old daughter will be leaving for a busy teenage agenda, and I prepared the car for her today. She will drive herself to each destination from this afternoon until tomorrow afternoon. Even though she has driven by herself over the last week or two, and I had multiple people individually drive with her before that, my mind and heart are not doing so good.
Today, I put more gas in the car, positioned the GPS in a non-visual blocking spot, put extra money in her change purse, ran the car through the car wash and did a quick vacuum. Evidently, I was going through some strange sequence of insane motions in an attempt to feel like I was doing something to help the upcoming moment when she would drive away. As I sat in the front seat of our car finishing with the final Armor All/Windex touches, I noticed that I was no longer doing the wiping motions. I had stilled into a quiet stare wondering, How can I do this? WHY am I doing this? It’s too early. She’s too young. Why did no one warn me of this turmoil that would come 16 years after giving birth? I feel like I am doing the most insane thing by letting my child drive out there with all of the dangers … I think I am suffocating. Now, I think I’m going to yak … Wait; don’t I need to check the oil? What if the oil is low? I don't even know how to check oil.
          One would think I was sending my child into outer space as I was preparing the space shuttle and praying over it.
          I am going through a reenactment of a day that occurred 14 years ago. I walked with my little daughter, hand in hand up the steps leading to her big girl school. She was 2 years old and had repetitively asked to go to “school” like the other big kids. I signed her up in a twice a week Mother’s Day Out program, bought her a cute lunch box and packed her favorite foods. She was beaming with pride as she entered into the building wearing her new, stylish black and blue velour outfit. I was fine, until it was time to hand her off to a total stranger and walk away, leaving her there for 5 hours. It stung.
Looking back, that doesn’t seem like such a big deal; but it was then … just like this is now.
I can only imagine the upcoming phases of trying to keep my composure as we are packing my child’s things and taking her to college. Or, when some young man captures her heart and she begins a new life as an adult woman, wife … and then becomes a mom herself.
I will keep these writings for her. Even though she is so frustrated with me now; somehow, I know that she will feel a pain as her baby drives away for the first time without her. Maybe it will not be as dramatic and severe as her mom’s was, but I know it will affect her and I anticipate a call … just as I have called my dad.
“Daddy, I think I am losing my mind. I am having such a difficult time with this. What’s wrong with me?”
He lovingly responds, “Honey, we all did that. It’s just part of being a parent and loving a child. You have to let her go.”

My children are the most important part of my life, and the largest part of me as a person. Letting them go is so hard.

Simultaneously happy and sad,