Team Boyd is still hanging out in the snow globe. Life is calm and settled one moment and totally shaken up the next. Whether it is a moment of peace and quiet or one that warrants a referee jersey … we are holding on …. and trying to take note of all there is to learn.
With each high and low that I take time to notice and process … God, so faithfully, teaches me wonderful things. But … He doesn’t take away the laundry piles that keep my thoughts in short segments … so, I will stick with the “cliff notes versions”
Chapter (oh … lets start at) 46 : Invasion
There are two places I seek refuge. A long walk unplugged. And a long bath behind a … actually two locked doors.
Now a days, I have an entire herd of prehistoric animals to relocate in order to find solitude. Most times my heart smiles as I scoop them all in the toy basket that nests next to my tub … but there are plenty of times it frustrates me to no end and they are swept to the ground without a care.
No place is untouched by the five kiddoes we are raising. While I do mourn the fact that toys are scattered everywhere, our furniture will continue to be stained and teens simply do not put things away … it is a reminder that this is what it looks like to be ALL. IN.
We are silly to think that our house will be unscathed by the romping and rough housing and toys of our kids as we live within the same walls.
And we are crazy to think that our hearts will be unbruised and unstretched and left alone as we love our kids with all we have.
I hope that I allow our home and our heart to be invaded by our kids. Though I whine about it often, I hope deeply that they continue to leave marks and memories every moment we are together.
While I endeavor (mostly in vain) to stay tidy and keep it squeaky clean with happy hearts and teachable moments abounding, the truth is: there are dinosaurs invading every nook and cranny of our home and my heart.
And it is my choice as to how to treat those “dinosaurs”. God is using those invasions to remind me that it’s not my space. It’s not my life. It’s not my agenda. It’s His.
When I remain thankful for the good and the bad, when I remember who is invading our hearts … then it becomes purposeful and easier. And I sure find pleasure in the dinosaurs … and all they leave in my heart.
CHAPTER 47: Stinky Face
I OFTEN find myself at my wits end not knowing how to love our youngest. Actually, if I am honest, I could say that about all my kids. And they could say it about me.
One night, as I was really wrestling with the characteristics Mark has and how I didn’t feel like I was loving him as I should, I half hazardly picked up a book to read to him.
I love you, stinky face.
“Mama said, ‘I love you, my wonderful child.”
But I had a question.“Mama, what if I were a big, scary ape? Would you still love me then?”
“If you were a big, scary ape, I would make your birthday cake out of bananas, and I would tell you, ‘I love you my big, scary ape”
“But mama, but mama, what if I were a super smelly skunk, and I smelled so bad that my name was stinky face?”
“Then I’d plunk you in a bubble bath! But if you still smelled stinky, I wouldn’t mind. I’d whisper in your ear, “I love you stinky face”
Mama continues to remind the little boy that she would love him through ALL worst case scenarios. Swamp Monster. Green Alien. One eyed Monster. And she lovingly meets him where he is. Loving her son for who he is. Yuck and all.
I barely made it to the end. I was sobbing through this silly kids book as it was blatantly obvious what God was reminding me to do.
Love him like he is. He will not be like any of the other kids. And they won’t be like him.
Just love them like they are.
It will be different for every single one of them.
And it will have to be done with the Love of the one that Loves Me so well.
If Jesus can love me … prideful, judgmental, lazy, highly impatient gal that I am … in such creative and intentional ways, then I KNOW He can equip me to do the same.
*the book was one that was given to our youngest by his birth mom. It’s like she knew I was going to need a little extra help with him.
CHAPTER 48: Take a Hike
I have been encouraged by folks that care deeply about me to find something to do for myself. Shockingly, as self centered as I am, that was a hard task. So, I decided to take a hike. Literally. I heeded the wisdom and have made a long long list of hiking trails to conquer in the next year.
My biggest takeaway thus far: The woods are a mess.
They are totally disorganized and never tidy. They are dirty and never put together.
The rock cliff never says “oh I’m sorry I am so old. I haven’t had time to get something new.”
The cave full of daddy long legs never once hides what we think are unwanted guests.
They never ever consider putting on their “very best” … because they ARE their very best.
And they are simply doing what they are created to do: causing people in their midst to think about their Creator.
Not once do I enter a trail or canyon and have expectations of anything but to see Gods glory. And not once have I left a trail having compared myself to the beautiful surroundings I have been in. There is some great perspective under the canopy God has created … a good place for our souls to dwell.
Chapter 49: Average Mom
End of school math story problem for you:
A mom receives TWO phone calls from the bus driver AND the principal about unacceptable behavior in one child.
Another child of the same mom is presented with a high honor the same days.
What is the average score of the mom?
Let’s say she is an average mom. And I am the queen of the club. And becoming quite content there.
Because the sun will set as it does each day. Awards will be filed in the “keepsake box”. Consequences will be fulfilled. And no matter if it was a “high” or “low” of the day … I remain proud of each one of my kids.
Chapter 50: A story for later.
Junior High kids make my arm pits sweat. I have a hard time being around them. Actually, I just have a hard time watching them. They make me uncomfortable. I have grown greatly in this area as we actually own two junior highers ourselves. But, I still chose “outside chaperone duty” at the dance, because I don’t think I could have handled being deep in the mix.
So, welcoming crew we were. It was quite entertaining to watch the kids arrive at the dance. Some solo. Some in groups. Many entered with confidence. Many looked as anxious as I was. But they all made the decision to get dressed, get in the car and go. Some went with abandonment, some went with a bribe.
We teamed with some friends to welcome the kids and check permission slips. The other mom told me how she simply told her son he was going. He would have been way more comfortable and content at home or the movies that evening. But her reasoning was awesome.
It will be a story for later.
Whether it is the best.night.ever. or a total fail. Decades from now, he’ll be able to say “I remember the 8th grade dance” and then share his experience … grand or dismal.
The things we experience are vital parts of our story. They are the moments that make us. Some will build us up and some will seem to tear us down. Some we will be proud of and others we will want to hide. They will put color and depth into the story God is writing in our lives.
I treasure the example this mom set in expecting her kiddo to go and experience. So often, we want to make each experience magical and perfect. We want to (and some work hard to) protect our children … and ourselves … from uncomfortable situations. Heck, as adults we can maneuver situations so we are comfortable.
But we NEED those moments. We need to learn how to maneuver through them. We need to see what they will teach us. And we need stories for later. Stories that might make us cringe or die laughing. Stories that might encourage someone else or just remind us that we are far more capable than what we think we are.
Let the experiences flow as they may … (with plenty of parental wisdom emparted to the young and naive) … because we all will cherish the stories for later.