Mommyontheboysturf with her three sons

Mommyontheboysturf with her three sons

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Two Peas in the Same Pod

Our turf looks starkly different this year.  Oldest and Middleson spend their days at a brick and mortar school. Babyboy is still at home with me, on familiar turf.  This Fall has included smooth adjustments and transitions for all -- uniforms, a school bus, sack lunches, teachers other than me, and homework.

Yes, HOMEWORK.  For the homeschooler, all work is homework but in a different, earlier-in-the-day kind of way. Yesterday, Oldest hopped off the school bus in a panic from head to toe.  "I FORGOT MY HOMEWORK!  I can't believe this. What am I going to do? I'll have to pull my card!"  He squealed.  There was confusion at the end of the day about whether he was taking the bus or getting picked up.  I'm  thankful he so badly wanted to get home.  But, in the midst of it all, he forgot his homework. I didn't forget my homework. He doesn't forget his.  We don't really forget things. We are responsible and conscientious to a fault.

Oh, I felt his pain. We are two peas in the same pod. That's like me forgetting to do my taxes.  Oldest said he would have to "pull his card". I don't know what that means, but that sounds seriously horrible.  Is it like a jail for kids who forget their homework? Outwardly, (proud mom moment) I was calm and told him not to worry about.  Inwardly, with rapidly beating heart, I was pacing.

Our personality includes traits like getting it done, right away, all the perfect (the dreaded P word) as possible the first time.  It is black/white. Work first.  Play if there is time.  We don't want a blemish on our slate even if it doesn't really matter.  Everything matters, right?

Since I could identify with Oldest and his feelings, I suggested going to school early Thursday to complete the assignment. We can go at 4 AM if we need to! We will do whatever it takes.  I emailed his teacher and didn't hear back. Truthfully, I forgot all about it.(See I do forget things...I was mistaken, your honor.)

This afternoon I received a reply from his teacher.  She let Oldest complete his homework today under the flustered circumstances yesterday.  Then she wrote, "I also tried to make him understand that even if there wasn't an excuse it would not be the end of the world....mark your card....get the homework slip signed...bring it the next day.  He doesn't have to be perfect. The world is still spinning." 

Oh I smiled. The grace. The Love. The Deeeeep Breath.  The lack of pressure.  She was speaking to me just as much as she was my son.  Self induced panic results from expecting perfection.  Life includes failure, tardies, mistakes, messes, and blemishes.

Was Jesus "late" when Lazarus died?  The healing where Jesus put mud on a man's eyes had to have been messy.  Stinky walky traveling disciples' feet.  The broken bottle of perfume on Jesus'' feet.  Who cleaned up the glass chards?  That could have been a safety hazard.  She could have been sued in this day and age.

Our failures and shortcomings and imperfections serve a greater purpose.  Once again, they point us to a Saviour, who heals our soul brokenness.  They cause us to NEED Him.  For we cannot save ourselves even if we could somehow present ourselves perfect.

For me and oldest, two peas in a pod, we need to remember the world is still spinning.  He has the whole world in His hands.

Celebrating IMperfection,
Mommy on the boys' turf

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day 101

     If I could, I'd gather all my sisters, new-mom friends, and teach a class on Mother's Day.   Mother's Day 101.  I'm no expert. Yesterday marked a DECADE of Mothers' Days for me.  But it was the best one yet.  Why?  I had no expectations.  Not LOW expectations.  I wasn't lowering the bar at all. I just didn't have any.  I've been to The school of Perfection and it always ends with a failing grade. 

Love is messy.
Motherhood is messy.
Therefore, Mother's Day is messy.  Noisy.  Squeaky. Squabbly.  Untidy. Crumbly.  

    Kids wake up on Mother's Day. Therefore, they eat, use the bathroom, perhaps get sick, spill, and act like children. They should.  Mother's Day is no exception. 

     A 4:45 awakening was the first mis-hap of the day.  Mother's Day is a day that I should sleep in!  Praying, planning, running, and showering before my boys even stirred in their slumber. Babyboy stumbled into the bathroom, half-asleep, "Mommy, I LOVE YOU! Today is Mother's Day, but I am not eating breakfast in MY bed," he leakily spoiled the first "surprise".   Moments later I climbed back into bed like a drama queen pretending I hadn't been up yet.  Middleson brought the menu.  Babyboy delivered the first of many cards, and Oldest laid in bed next to me, too sleepy to participate in Mother's Day Breakfast in Bed.  
*Please note that I should have checked the box marked, more coffee.

     Breakfast in bed = breakfast on the counter, breakfast on the floor, breakfast IN the bed. Breakfast breakfast everywhere.  

     I heard the chaos of too many hands and feet in the kitchen. Trying to find food in foreign territory. My territory.  My land where I know where every little thing is.  Tiny feet carrying shaky trays up the stairs.  Fire alarm ringing.  I smile.  One boy still rebelling against Daddy's request to help.  Middleson joining me in my bed with crumbly toast and pasty oatmeal.  I envision bedtime later that night with oatmeal in my hair.  But, this is fun. Yes, it really is.  The discarded tray on the floor by my bed, the one with leftover ketchup, becomes a perfect target for Babyboy's foot.  He smeared the ketchup on my carpet like a farmer with his muddy boots.  I laughed.  I belly laughed!  Ironically the same weekend we tiled the master bathroom floor, the carpet is streaked with red.  I couldn't stop laughing.  THIS is Mother's Day!  The mess. The crumbs.  The noise.  The pictures that I want so perfect to portray that my boys don't burp, or fight, or complain on Mother's Day. The pictures that show me smiling, never a frustration or ruffle in my feathers.  

      Mommy and her boys. Dressed to match. Ready to smile. But, one is sneezing. One is monkeying. Another tantruming. I just want one picture with smiles.  We can't seem to pull it off.   Finally, we get a few, but not without the threat of frowning on their next Birthday pictures.   

     Piling into the van for church in a white skirt.  Mother's Day white skirts cause stress.  When in doubt, when parading in the grass for pictures, always wear the LBD - little black dress.  They camouflage mud and spills.   Home again, sent back to bed to wait for Mother's Day lunch.

     Alarm ringing, part II.  This time it doesn't quit.  Clinging, clanging of dishes, little boys working hard for me.  I hear it all. I picture my kitchen a complete disaster and then I take a deep breath because kitchens can be cleaned. This day is MORE about THEM getting to love me without my rules, and my boundaries, and my lectures.    

     I came to lunch, alarm still ringing.  Loud. Windows opened to release the smoke.  I'm cold.  I partake the fabulously presented meal in front of me.  I prayed the alarm would stop.  We talked loud and even on Mother's Day I corrected some less than ideal manners. The alarm finally stopped.  After we are done (delicious and beautifully plated, puts my meals to shame), everything in me wants to help with clean-up. Daddy, whisks me out of the kitchen again. My clean-up is quick and thorough.  Their clean-up is partial, long, and full of reminding.  But they loved me by removing me from my normal routine.  

     And back to bed again to wait for gluten free sugar cookies, delivered with milk and smiles.  A lazy shmazy lay-around afternoon for this always-moving, producing, mommy. It was wonderful!  

      Mother's Day will only be quiet and clean when those that call me MOMMY are gone.  Will I be content with the card in the mail or long for the days of crazy, chaotic, crumbly Mothers' Days of years past?   The monkey pictures will mean more than the poised one where life looks serene.  

     I can't help but think of the women with the alabaster jar.  She broke the jar at Jesus' feet. Did she have a Dyson near by to clean up the broken glass.  Did Jesus chastise her for making a mess?  Was the smell overpowering?  And, the waste she was accused of!  My, my, my.  It was messy.  Loving Jesus, her Savior, with everything meant breaking out of normal and causing a scene.  The same can be said of the ULTIMATE act of  love at Calvary.  Surrounded by imperfection, messes, noise, cries, sickness, and sin.  Grace covered it all.  Love covers messes.  

     Yesterday, in all their imperfection, I received the wonderful gift of love from the treasures God has blessed me with.  In the messes, I saw their love, in the noise, I heard their love.  The fire alarm rang loud and clear to remind me that I was OUT of the kitchen and loved loudly.

     That's what I'd say to those around me if I could teach Mother's Day 101.  Sometimes love is written most powerfully in untidy ways.  And that's okay. That's the way to celebrate Mother's Day.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Martha! Martha! Martha!

(Wow, I have not posted since October 1!  Unbelievable. Today, though, something was stirring in my heart and I had to write.  Once again, it relates in NO WAY to my time on the boys turf. Yet, in another way, it affects my boys in EVERY WAY.)  

     I shouldn’t be annoyed by a Bible story. That sounds sacrilegious and sinful. But, the story in Luke 10 about Mary and Martha gets me every time.  I’ll announce it to the world. “I AM MARTHA!”  I clearly see myself perfecting the house for my guest, Jesus, and being greatly frustrated with my sister for sitting around with the guest and not helping me. That’s not fair!  Surely Jesus would see my busyness as a sign of my love for Him.  I know what all the books say about choosing to BE instead of BEING BUSY for Him. I know.  I get it.  I’ve gotten it.  Done.

     What about the busyness deep inside my heart, my soul, my mind. Contrary to the external, the internal striving no one can see but me. My clamoring about my spiritual kitchen banging pots and pans. Slamming the cupboards in my mind.  Gritting my teeth, I SOS every sin that surfaces.  If I can just srub harder. Deeper. Longer.  Why can’t I get myself perfect?  Earnestly I attempt to clean myself, but the cycle never ends.   My spaghetti and meatball stained insides won’t. come. clean.  I scrub. I scour.  I plan. I prep. To-do lists for Jesus suffocate and confuse. 

1.  Tell someone about Jesus
2.  Memorize this verse and that one
3.  Take care of the temple
4.  Speak right
5. Live right
6. Do this
7. Don’t do that
8. Don’t think that
9. Don’t you dare say that
10. Give that

     I am distracted by the very rules I’ve created to somehow get me “more ready” for Jesus.  Rules never bring freedom.  Rules always come with chains.  But in a sick way, rules bring artificial freedom.  They comfort us by allowing us to feel like the victory is in our control.  It is for FREEDOM that Christ set me free according to Galatians 5:1.  Rules focus on ME everytime.  Freedom focuses on Christ and what HE has done.  Ever tried to abstain from something and realize that is all you suddenly think about?   When my own dirtiness deters me and causes me to see myself as wretched, I tend to look at others in the same way. I see the sins in others like the etched line in my thirteen year old dishes. Scratched. Imperfect.  We are all alike. Chipped beyond self-repair. Self-help. Self-control.  Self. Self. Self.   My striving in my own life for who I want most to reflect, causes me to get agitated with myself and those around me.  The washing-machine- self I’ve created can’t handle this heavy load. I can’t do it. 

     Jesus died once.  All of my sins were in the future. I see no date on my scribbled calendar that says, “Jesus death, part II, III, IV, V....”  Any straining on my part does nothing.  I can’t prepare for Jesus. The preparation has already been done.  My own to-do list to clean myself is shredded.

 Mary, I can sit. Rest.  I can reduce my list to just one thing.
1. Accept His grace -- not bolded or exclaimed.  A gentle invitation

  When I see myself in Him, I begin to see others in need of grace just like me.  I begin to feel free. For freedom is the ability to say YES to what is best, not NO.  Grace takes the chains and rules OFF.  Grace allows me to just soak in His grace. Grace does not equal spiritual 
laziness as I have so often thought.  Instead grace gives up control and allows someone else to do the work for me.  I’ve often let the dirtiest of pots soak for a while. Amazingly, as it sits, the gunk loosens.  The same happens when I just submerge myself in Christ.  Transformation from dirty to clean.  Dark to light.  Imperfection to trusting in the PERFECT ONE.

     Now that’s not fair!  He did it all! For me?  He’s okay with that?  He doesn’t want my help?  He didn’t require me to do the work.  Wow! Amazing grace.  He just wants me. That’s all. That. Is. All.