Monthly Archives: July 2009

Armageddon

I've decided that the surest way to get the stuffing pummeled out of a kid is to put that child's mortal enemy in time out. 

The one left free to roam will inevitably approach the restricted child and torment them mercilessly until Armageddon erupts. 
Every time.

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Pinned

Have you ever found yourself paralyzed? Like no matter what you do, it will always be the wrong thing? And is your frustration exponential when you consider that you've been in this exact place a thousand times before?

I decided this morning that in the interest of keeping my sanity that I could not think through my options even one more time. Not once. Just put it all in God's hands and get on with my day. Take a breath in. Out. Wash this dish. Tie that shoe. I dispensed with worry.
And then immediately went right back to the mental struggle. 
It's like herding cats–trying to keep a leash on my thoughts. 
It's probably quite pompous of me to think this way. To agonize over my options as if the happiness of so many people could possibly hinge on what I do or say. Or don't say.
Is it because I've pinned my happiness to theirs?

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All This, and More

The cereal box sports a coupon for three dollars off the DVD "Marley & Me". The dog from the movie is pictured, along with a bright red leash coiled around a copy of the DVD.

A five-year-old sits at my table, eating his Corn Flakes, and studying the box. Suddenly he beams. "Look, Kimber! For three dollars I can get a movie, a puppy, and a leash!"

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Food for Thought

My parents divorced when I was four years old. Their new marriages weren't a walk in the park either. I know first-hand the long-term reprecussions of familial discord, and as a young person, I made up my mind that divorce was only an option in cases involving abuse of some sort, but over the years, I've seen, as Dallin H. Oaks observes in the following clip, that there are situations worse than divorce; that there has to be a way to end a broken marriage if one or both parties ever hope to progress. 
That said, I remember feeling like the odd man out, really–I knew other kids with divorced parents, but it wasn't the majority of my peers. Divorce was not the norm. Now, I look around and wonder what on earth my kids must think! Have I reached an age where my peers are more likely to be hitting the divorce courts, or are the very foundations of the American family getting shaky? 
Almost every married couple I know seems to be struggling right now. Not to air the family laundry, but out of fourteen marriages in our immediate family (both sides), there are four couples who have never separated from, and are still firmly attached to their first spouse. 
Four. 
My kids are the odd ones out–parents living in the same house, eating at the same table. What must they think? 

Makes me think twice. Take a little less for granted. I feel blessed, far beyond what I have labored for. My soul sways in wonder at the lengths God has stretched to bless me, all my life. I asked M the other night–what have we done to deserve this? We are proud and stubborn and downright stupid sometimes. And still here we are, still firmly us

Came across this video today, while looking up a recipe. Food for thought. 

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The Case Against Independence

A little over a year ago a woman showed up at my door looking for childcare. She was pushing her baby in one of those little collapsible strollers that sell for $9.99 at your local Wal-mart. 

It wasn't until after I agreed to watch the kid that I realized she had no other form of transportation. She walked four or five miles to my house, dropped off her son, walked four or five miles to work, stood on her feet in the kitchen of an overheated little drive-thru for eight hours, then walked back up to my place. No gentle grade, Division Street. You make good use of your brakes on that hill.

But she was at my door like clockwork, every morning and every night; never made excuses. Her son was always clean and fed and she paid her meager bills on time. She kept her job and improved her situation, but in a sprawling community like ours, her options were limited. She said her mother never felt like teaching her to drive, and she didn't have a car to practice or take the test in, herself. So there she was: baby, stroller, backpack. Twenty-six years old, and literally pounding the pavement to survive.

Moses Lake is not an urban center serviced by reliable public transportation–you've got to get around on your own steam. Summer temperatures soar into the triple digits and there is precious little shade on the streets. Winters are cold and dark long before a fry-cook gets off work. There was no way I was letting what I soon came to think of as "my" baby suffer that walk home at night.

We drove her whenever we could, and arranged for some driving lessons. I remember thinking, What kind of mother wouldn't make sure her child had basic life skills like the ability to drive!? and being a little angry at this woman I didn't even know.
And then my daughter brought up the subject of Driver's Ed this fall. 
She wants me to sign up early; she's horrified at the idea that the class starting directly after her birthday might be full. Have you called yet, Mom? 
She fourteen years old and thinks I'm balking at the course fees. 
She feels no dismay at the thought of sitting her fifteen-year-old self down in the driver's seat of a six-thousand-pound, thirty-thousand dollar machine and hurling it down narrow stretches of unforgiving asphalt, separated from other knuckle-head drivers by a four inch strip of latex paint.

Next thing you know she's going to think it's her God-given right to pilot one of those 747's they've got sitting around the Grant County airport. 
They're just sitting there, Mom. C'mon! You know how much faster I could get to Seattle in a jet? 

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Molting

My oldest son is molting. Peeling off pieces of skin the size of my hand. 

He walks around with the hem of his shirt bunched in one fist at his waist so as to contain the flakes. (We just got new carpet and furniture; somehow he instinctively knows he should not walk around dropping unwanted body parts.) I pointed out to him that tucking in a shirt is a common practice he might want to test out as a more hands-free alternative. 
Silly mother! I think it took all his self-control to just smirk and not pat my head.
Over the past year he shot up a foot or so and stretched out all the baby fat–perhaps this explains why, at the lake last week, he shucked everything but honest-to-goodness swimming trunks for the first time in nine years and bared his skin to the sun. He usually goes in fully dressed. If you think I'm kidding, you don't know the intensity of adolescent self-loathing; the boy has worn a shirt continuously since he entered kindergarten. 
During church on Sunday I noticed he had to keep clearing away the tattered skin from his forehead in order to see clearly–and then what do you do with the discarded parts?
It's a dilemma. 

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