Do You Like Me? Check Yes Or No

So, I happened across this post on a blog called "Imparting Grace," and felt it too important not to share. Because while I'm not a fourty-something mom, I am a twenty-something mom, and in blogging thus far, I have found myself exactly where she has been. Back in fifth grade, asking,

Do you like me? Check yes or no.

When it doesn't really matter. When I just need to be letting go. And being me.

'Nuff said.


So, my friends, Julie and Rob are quite the musicians, and you can read about their adventures and listen to lovely recordings of their music on their website, The Lovespies.

Anyway, they had a recent conversation in their latest post which *so* reminded me of many a conversation between the Daddy and I that I had to share. After I'd laughed quite heartily. (Click here to go directly to that post.)

What makes it so funny to me is the contrast between specificity and generality. The specificity being on her part, and the generality being on his (i.e. the whole song versus just the beginning). Oh, how familiar that is. Apparently Julie tends to think a man's general discussion is actually dealing with the specific discussion she's having. I'm *so* glad I'm not the only one! I do the same thing with the Daddy almost every day. Poor thing.

The Daddy has jokingly told me on several occasions that conversations with women like me are the reason why men are allowed to beat their wives in other countries. I can't much blame him, but I always respond by telling him that I know where he sleeps. And that I'm in charge of most of what he eats.

He forgets that I come from a line of women familiar with the inner workings of Ex-Lax brownies (pun absolutely intended). Not that I have ever used the old family recipe. Hmmm... Heeheehee... *Rubbing my hands together gleefully*

(Kidding, Daddy! Mostly... *Smooch*)

Drama At The Spelling Bee

I meant to write about this a couple of weeks ago when it happened, and promptly forgot. Typical.

So I thought I'd write about it now.

A couple of weeks ago, KayKay had her first Spelling Bee.

It was a big deal.

She practiced for HOURS each day for TWO WEEKS before the bee. All of her first-grade words, she mostly knew. But then she went on to practice and memorize ALL of the second-grade words, which the first-graders were to be quizzed on if they finished all the first-grade words. Over four-hundred words.

Four hundred.

Hours, I tell you.

And she talked about it every day. And wrote each word, all four-hundred-and-change of them, like two or three times each. I was sick of spelling words after the first week. I had to quiz her constantly on them. Even on the weekends.

Have I mentioned that she wanted to win?

And I wanted her to win, too. I mean, all those hours of work. Seriously.

She invited everyone she saw to come see her in the bee. They took the top five spellers from each first grade class, and of course, she was one of the top five. According to her teacher, she was "the top" of the five. I would have been shocked had it been otherwise.

The day of the bee came, and we ambled over to the school cafeteria as a family. The Daddy even took the morning off in order to watch her.

She did beautifully. Stumbled a bit on one word, but no big. It started as twenty first-graders, then ten, then five, and then... She was in the top three! Whoooo!

I was so proud. She was doing fantastic. I just knew she was going to win.

And then, out of the blue, the judges sprung a third-or-fourth-grade word. WHAT?!?!

KayKay got the first of a number of these higher-level words. Vessel.

She's six. She doesn't even know what a vessel is, for Pete's sake. Whoever Pete is.

She tried so hard. She fumbled and stumbled, and failed miserably.

My poor KayKay. She ran off the stage in tears. It was quite the dramatic exit. She ran straight into the Daddy's arms, where he comforted her with whispered consolation. I have never been more grateful for his strong arms. I think I would have ended up crying with her, if it'd been up to me.

I felt awful for her. And a little indignant. It's petty, I know, to be indignant over a first-grade spelling bee. But the whole thing felt rather unfair - the other two kids got a bunch of hard words, but they let them stay up there even after misspelling four or five in a row, simply because the words were too hard for these little kids to spell. Not that the boy who did win didn't deserve it, either... Because I'm sure he did. And he was very proud.

Even now, it hurts my heart to envision her crushed hopes in that moment. My girl could have won. I dare say, she should have won.

But it was a good lesson learned for both of us. I had promised her the "hugest ice-cream she could eat" if she won. Instead, we went to her favorite book store, and picked out a new book for her to read. She picked The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which I have not read, but all of us girls *love* the movie. I'm excited to read it after she finishes.

The Daddy assured her that even though she didn't win, she was the best speller of her class. And that was good enough for her. I wasn't as easily satisfied and fretted to myself about it a bit, but he's right. It's good enough for me, now, too.

I don't want to cultivate the need to be "perfect" in my daughter the way I needed to be "perfect" myself as a child. I was a pleaser and out of that was born a strong need to be perfect. Fortunately the years have mellowed much of that in me since childhood, but I don't want see that in her. Especially not through expectation on my part. I must be so careful and work so hard not to put undue pressure on her regarding performance. God granted, I will be able to avoid those pitfalls and just enjoy the sweetness of who she is and not what she does.

She is just so good at so many things that sometimes it's hard to not expect her to be the best at everything. However, I think she, and more especially me, needed to see that she's not always going to win, because not everything is fair and follows perfectly by the rules or runs exactly the way it's supposed to, and that it's just okay.

It's just so hard as a mother to see your little one disappointed. It's one thing to be the one saying no, or not giving them something that they want. It's quite another to watch them work so hard for something and miss it by an inch or a foot or a left-out letter "e".

Interestingly, a few days later, I was cleaning out her backpack, and came across a paper with the word Vessel printed on it, along with a pronunciation guide and dictionary meaning.

Apparently, she'd had her teacher look it up for her so she could know the proper spelling and meaning of the word. I think it's time for us to learn about becoming vessels of kindness, joy, holiness, and peace. It is a word which we should use often, methinks. As a reminder that the work is what is important, not necessarily the prize at the end.

If that makes sense.

Adventures In Pottyland

Before I write anything else, I must give a hearty congratulations to Meghan and Zack on the birth of their brawny baby boy, Baby H, a couple of weeks ago (click here to see the announcement and check out the amazingness that is Zack's OneLight photography workshops), AND to my dear friends, Jessica and Micah who just welcomed their sweet little girl, Baby J, into the world *this* afternoon!

Hooray for mamas and babies!

Anyway, on to my far-less-exciting news of the day. We're at the Poo-Place again, listening to the girls screech their way into exhaustion. Yay.

Ironically, speaking of poo and other bathroom activities (I actually didn't think about this before I wrote the previous sentences), we had a major bathroom-related adventure right before coming here, and I thought I would share.

So, we went to Outback for the first time in a YEAR for an early dinner. *Now* I remember why we haven't eaten there in a YEAR.

Yeah. We won't get into the patheticnness of the service, meagerness of the food, and as the Daddy put it, "the combined IQ of like, eight," for the entire wait staff.

But as per usual, in lieu of eating her dinner, Little Ladybug had to "go to the westwoom" about three quarters of the way through dinner. And according to her, it was rather urgent. And of course, KayKay had to go as well. Of course.

So off we rush to the potty, which is literally in the furthest corner of the restaurant from where we were sitting. Jogging the whole way, because, as I mentioned, the Ladybug conveyed urgency.

We get to the bathroom and rush through the door... To a line. A LINE. Granted, it was a line of only one other woman (who was doing a urgent potty dance herself), but still. When a three-year-old says "NOW," in regard to the potty, there is no time for LINES. *Sigh* There are only two stalls, and one of them has a mother in there with a toddler.

Soon as we get in line, I ask her if she can wait, and she answers with a perky little I-didn't-really-have-to-go-that-bad "Uh-HUH!"

But then KayKay chimes in that she has to go BAD. Great. *Sigh*

I pray for expediency.

Time slows to a snail's pace. A dead snail's pace.

Five minutes later, we are still waiting for someone to exit one of the stalls. Eventually, the mother and toddler make their way out, and the dancing lady in front of us moves at near light-speed into the stall. By this time, there are four more females in line behind us.

Two minutes after that, dancing lady exits the stall, looking much more relaxed and able to function (the second stall is STILL occupied by the person who was in there when we arrived) and we scoot in behind her. I am eager to move in and out quickly given the line, but am also now feeling "the urge." Yay for small bladders.

I strip the Ladybug down and fling her on the toilet because I figure the nonchalance was a gimmick and we're really on the verge of an accident. Which I don't want to deal with, considering this is the one time we don't have extra clothes with us.


Not even a single drop.

Thirty seconds later, she's swinging her legs and singing a potty song. Still nothing. I sternly ask her if she has to go, to which she replies, "It's cooooooming! There's pee-pee cooooming!"

KayKay is dancing now. She really does have to go. Poor kid.

I warn the Ladybug that the whole reason we're in the bathroom is because she said she HAD to go, and if she didn't go, she was going to get into big trouble because it's dinner time, not playing on the potty time.

Singsong voice, "I know! But there's pee-pees in there!"

It's been at least two minutes by now and nothing from the Ladybug. I can hear the line outside growing by the second. And the person in the other stall is STILL building their spaceship. Or whatever it is she's doing in there.

Finally, I tell the Ladybug that she has until the count of five before I remove her from the potty so KayKay can go. I get to three, when a tiny trickle starts. And stops. And starts again. *Sigh*

I ask her - really more asking myself - if she only has to go under duress. To which she replied, "Mommy, I'm not wearing a dress, I'm wearing PANTS! Silly Mommy!"

Laugh it up. I did. But that's not all. Oh, NO. It gets more fun.

So the Ladybug finishes up and (to my great relief) the other stall empties of its enterprising occupant, so the line isn't being held up by us any longer. *Whew* Although I'll admit that it makes no sense to me why I felt that the line was waiting on us. But whatever. Moving on.

KayKay flings herself onto the potty and manages to get out at least a gallon before she finished up. At which point she grabs a wad of toilet paper worthy of its own gravitational pull. And uses it. All.

Right before deciding that she has other business to do. Number Two related business. That finished, she promptly grabs a piece of toilet paper so small that you'd need a microscope to properly see it. And uses it to wipe (if you can call it that) before I can stop her.

By this time, I had to use the restroom myself pretty seriously. We'd been in there for what felt like an hour already, and after all the excitement thus far, can you blame me? I finally got KayKay's cleaning situation somewhat under control before I swept her off the toilet and settled in to do my thing. Ahem.

At which point the Ladybug immediately announced, "Mommy, you have a BIIIIG hiney! It's SO big! Hee-hee!" As if my ginormous posterior is the funniest thing in the world. *HUGE Sigh* The twenty-odd occupants of the bathroom now assume that my rear is on par with that of an elephant's or perhaps the size of a small yacht. Wonderful. Thankfully, I don't know any of them.

However, KayKay decided to take it on herself to defend me by putting an end the hiney talk, which I appreciate. But how she did it was certainly NOT appreciated. She reached forward and slapped the hand, the one which she had used to finish her business, the one which was NOT YET WASHED, over her sister's mouth.

God help! Can we say, gag reflex?

Sometimes, I wonder why I even bother trying to teach them about germs. I mean, I have slathered both of them in probably gallons of the antibacterial stuff and have given dozens of creatively illustrated lectures on germs and bathrooms and hand-washing. Did I bring the antibacterial stuff with me this time? Oh, NO. It was urgent. And so the hand gets slapped over the mouth.

We spent at least another hour in the bathroom washing our hands.


I call it an adventure, because compared to the time KayKay "washed" her hands in a public toilet, the germs in this one were all fun and games. Let's hope (I'm praying fervently) that there's not another one. Ever.

Chicken Something

We're having what I like to call, "Chicken Something" tonight for dinner.

As per the name, it usually involves chicken. But not always. There has been "Pork Something," and one time there was even a somewhat inedible "Beef Something." My family, and in particular, the Daddy, puts up with a lot when it comes to my culinary experimentation.

But chicken is almost always it. And other than that, never all the same ingredients twice. Although, oddly, it often ends up tasting sort of mostly the same.


Anyway. The Daddy doesn't particularly like Chicken Something, especially when that something comes out of the crockpot. But only because he's highly biased AGAINST the crockpot. For reasons I will never, ever fathom. I LOVE the crockpot. It is my dearest friend in household appliance form.

But tonight, it's Chicken Something in the crockpot. Sorry, Daddy.

After yesterday's fun with the joys of (mild) food poisoning, I didn't feel like doing much for dinner. Yesterday was fun, fun, let me tell you. I'm feeling much better now, but you know, nothing puts me in the mood to cook like some serious nausea and toilet-hugging.

So Chicken Something in the crockpot it is. It's easy and usually tasty (in my opinion, although the kids generally like it, too), and doesn't require hours of prep or much clean-up at all. Usually, but not always, it's creamy and sort of chicken-stewish. I haven't decided if it'll be creamy or not tonight. I'll figure that out closer to dinner time, I guess. But I do know that we'll have the Something with some bowtie pastas tonight - they were on sale, yay!! - although sometimes we have it with rice, or over mashed potatoes, or with penne, depending on the flavor of my starch-craving mood.

I'd share the recipe, except there really isn't one.

**UPDATE** Tonight's Something ended up being creamy, after all. And it had peas in it (that's a new twist). And was, I thought, unusually tasty. And even the Daddy, who groaned when he saw the crockpot out, ended up eating all of his bowl of pastas and the Something. That's also new. Perhaps I'll try to remember this combination of ingredients the next time I go for the Something.

I would be delighted to send/post the recipe on here if my one reader is interested.

And yes, I know my grammar is horrible in this post (and others), and yes, I do have a degree in English, and yes, I do condone the way I wrote it all out. So, nuuuuhhh.

The MORE...

Aside from being sick, last week was, in my opinion, an exceedingly discouraging week. At least the first half. When I was the most sick, of course... And of course, everything is worse when you're sick. I spent the better part of Tuesday in tears over my lack of job prospects and lack of airplane tickets to see Mom and lack of creative talent and mothering skills and everything else, and let's not forget that I was lacking the ability to breathe.

But it is Monday again, and I can breathe again. Literally and figuratively.

So here's a little of the more I was talking about on Saturday...

I had a job interview today. For, like, a job I could actually enjoy. Whoa.

I know.

I'm still in some shock. It's with a local bookstore of some repute. And they're looking for someone to start right away.

No, the pay is not great. And no, I have no idea how this works into the whole visiting my Mom thing. And no, they didn't offer me the job on the spot.

However, it was a call-back. And an interview. For a real job. One that involves people and books, two things that I love to work around and with. And it doesn't involve data-entry. Or cold calling. Or any number of other mind-numbing things which I have applied for in recent weeks.

So, yeah. I think it went well. I could have answered a couple of the questions better. Of course, they asked me what I'd recommend to read, and did I mention any of the FANTASTIC mainstream books and authors I've read? Could I remember any of them??? OH, NO. I mentioned a little-known series I read a few months ago, and that's it. Great way to make it known how avid a reader I am, I know.

But... I know the manager of the section I'd be working in likes me, so that's a bonus. I've met her before, so I kind of had some inroads made with her already. Whooo.

So enough about that. Here's some more of the more:

It's our anniversary today. EIGHT YEARS. And just to show what old fogies we are, we haven't planned a thing. We didn't even talk about it until two days ago. I think the current plan is to snuggle up in bed and watch some internet TV after the kids go to sleep.

I know.

It's sad.

We do know how pathetic we are right now, though, and plan to work on this issue for next year... Hopefully next year will involve flowers and romantic European getaways... Or something more interesting than internet TV.

On another, completely unrelated note, the Ladybug showed her colors yesterday... To her amusement and our horror. We went to Backyard Burger for dinner (gourmet, yeah!!) and as we were leaving, a gentleman who was standing next to the exit, and was of somewhat odd physical appearance had noticed the Ladybug and was watching her with a smile. I was not privy to this little exchange, because I was caught up getting her sister to the car, but I had noticed the man watching her as she danced toward the exit.

Anyway, apparently she didn't notice him at first, but when she did, she stopped completely what she was doing and froze, staring at the man. He said hello to her, and at first she didn't say anything, and just sat there staring at him until the Daddy encouraged her to say hello. At which point, she announced, "That man has a funny-looking mouth!"

The Daddy said he was too shocked to do anything except shuttle her out the door as quickly as possible and pray that the gentleman hadn't understood a word out of her mouth. I just sat there in slack-jawed horror as he relayed the story to me.

Lord, HAVE MERCY on us. First KayKay and now the Ladybug?!?! This is His sweet revenge for my swearing that my kids would never be the ones to say such things when I became a parent, isn't it???

Life In All Its Forms

So, here I am again, feeling as though there's not much to write about. Which, in one respect, there isn't. I've been sick for most of this week, so much of the days have passed in a sleepy, snotty, and drugs-mixed-with-loads-of-viatmin-C-induced haze. Whooooo.

I guess I should be grateful. Surprisingly, my immune system has held strong for some time now, and I haven't been sick with a cold or the flu in some months. I'm pleased, actually. I'm usually down for the count for several days every couple of months, and it's been at least five or six months, maybe longer, since I've been sick.

So, though I'm at the tail-end of being sick, and sick of being sick, it's not all bad. I did, however, have big plans for this week which were completely foiled by said germies. Oh, well, next week looks promising.

Let's get on to news - there's some to share!

First and foremost, a number of forlorn and vehement prayers have been answered... In a most interesting way. As I mentioned, my Mom had a stroke a couple of weeks ago. She's out of the hospital and doing pretty well, but I've been super concerned about her, and absolutely desperate to see her... With no practical way of doing that in sight.

See, here's the thing... Right now, we make enough, but not extra. And in the last couple of months, things have gotten a bit tighter due to some unforeseen circumstances. However, I had set aside a bit of money a couple of months ago from our IRS refund to buy tickets for the girls and I to visit my Mom over the summer. But being practically minded, the Daddy and I agreed to use that money for more urgent things, like groceries. We were thinking that I would get a job fairly soon and could at least send the girls for a visit and then I could go out there for a few days myself after I was working. So off that money went to Publix, and not a month later, my Mom is in the hospital and I'm kicking and yelling and berating myself every which way imaginable. Ugh. Always listen to your first intuition! It's usually right. Mine told me to hold on to that money, and I kicked it to the curb.

So I have been scrounging and scraping and searching and praying... Praying. PRAYING. Looking high and low and everywhere to try to figure out a way to get up the money for plane tickets to visit. She lives on the West Coast and insists that I bring the girls, and how can I argue with my Mom who's just out of the hospital? So three tickets it is. No less than EIGHT HUNDRED DOLLARS. And I have searched, believe me.


No job - not even a couple of day jobs to make a hundred bucks.


I'd about given up. I figured the Lord was closing the door, and I should just trust Him that He was going to take care of my Mom.

And my Mom could tell I'd given up when we last talked two days ago, and wasn't happy, but we didn't really talk about it then. So yesterday, she called and left a message basically telling me that I HAD to come and to do whatever it took to get out there. This is very unlike my Mom - she demands I do things, yes, but only things pertaining to me and my life, rarely, if ever, pertaining to hers. And I knew she was right as soon as I listened to the message. But what was I to do? Once again, I sent up a prayer for a miracle.

After I listened to the message, I called my Dad and cried a few tears to him about the whole thing. I didn't want to talk to Mom until I had something, ANYTHING, figured out. I mostly just vented my frustration that the money was nowhere to be found and that the time to buy them was slipping away. He was sweetly sympathetic and offered what help he could, but it still wasn't enough.

And then, just a few hours later, my Mom called me again. And she says, "I'm looking to buy your plane tickets online right now. When do you want to come?"


Apparently, just that afternoon, right after she left that message, she and my step-Dad received notification that some money, for which they'd been waiting and praying for, for OVER a year, had come through! And it came in a way that was very unexpected to them... It's not a lot, but it's enough, and there was a little extra. So they decided to use that extra for tickets for me and the girls to visit!

Whoa. I can't even begin to say what a relief it was to hear that! I felt and still feel as though a huge weight had been rolled off my shoulders. Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU, God.

I am so blessed.

And then there's more. Oh, yes. Of course. This is MY life we're talking about here. It wouldn't be my life if there wasn't more. However, the more is going to have to wait until tomorrow, because this has turned into a novel (as per usual). The Daddy and I need some snuggle time.

Take A Slingshot, And Shoot It In The Sky...

Happy Mother's Day to all blessed enough to be named so!

I wrote this yesterday, but didn't get a chance to post it because it wasn't quite finished. It's kind of a two-parter, separated by these neat little lines... Enjoy!

I'm feeling particularly crummy today. It started yesterday with a minor sore throat and some drippy-nose yuckiness, and now it's moved on to MAJOR sore throat and tsunami-inspiring nasal stuff. Yuck. But even though my plans for this morning have not gone according to plan, I'm not going to let this germy thing drag me down without a fight. Go Vitamin C germ-killing ninjas!

So Friday was an interesting day, from start to finish, actually. Even though I was feeling something like primordial slime half the time.

Early yesterday morning, after I'd dragged myself out of bed and managed to get KayKay off to school, the Ladybug and I snuggled up on the couch to watch Toy Story 2. Lately she's become very enamored with all things Woody and Buzz. Anyway, we were sitting there, and I was mainly watching her watch the movie, when she looked up at me with that precious pacifier smile and said, "Are you my new best friend?"

And my heart stopped. "Yes," I said, and even though I didn't know what to say or how to feel about being the Ladybug's best friend, while at the same time realizing that she doesn't really understand the concept of "best friends" yet herself.

After I said yes, she smiled and turned back to the movie for a moment, leaving me there to contemplate what she'd just said, how good her warm plump body felt all snuggled up against mine, and how short the days were that she would still fit into my lap like the little bug that she is. Then she looked up at me again and said, "You're my vewy best friend in the whoooole world except Jesus."

How heart-breakingly beautiful and sweet. So wonderful that Jesus comes first to her, even as this young age. It was such a dear moment, but was one that I'm wholly unready for. I'm not ready to be the best friend, I still want to be the Mommy... The one who kisses booboos and sings lullabies and who finds the lost paci when it's sleepy time. The one who cools small fevered brows and soothes away bad dreams. Who is not relegated to the mere capacity of friend, but who is the sun, the moon, the stars, and the whole universe wrapped up into one. Some day, oh yes, some far-off distant day, I want to be the best friend, but now... Now I just want pudgy baby fingers wrapped around mine and the smell of pink-scrubbed silky skin and big blue eyes who look at me with all the secrets of God hidden behind them.

Let KayKay be the best friend, the bearer of little girl secrets, and let me listen in with a smile and be the beloved Mommy, at least for a little while longer. I am already somewhere between the everything and the best friend to KayKay, although it's awful for me to admit. My first baby is a baby no longer, but instead a full-blown little girl, complete with her own ideas about life and clothes and what things that must be "important."

And terribly, sadly, with all the regrets in the world, I didn't take the time to fully enjoy her. Part of it was due to the fact that I was a hormonal and physical mess for nearly two years after KayKay's birth, yes, but that doesn't lessen my sadness over the fact that I can't remember much of her babyhood. She's already blooming, and I feel as though I missed out on the bud.

So let the days, the hours, the minutes, slow to near stopping - stretch each moment that much longer - just so that I can stay the Mommy and play with little fingers while listening to little giggles. Let me breathe deeply and enjoy the innocence that is childhood for some time more before I must step into the role of friend.

Although it's on a completely different subject, I felt that I must share this quick anecdote from yesterday as well:

Last night, Friday, I took KayKay to a special worship service. They have these every couple of months, and I feel that it is a good way for her and I to connect outside home and school, as well as connecting her to her growing faith in a very tangible way. She is very attuned to the Spirit afterward, which I love to see. Her faith always seems to grow and she really enjoys them... And of course, being six, she really likes the fact that she can stay up extra late. Whoo-hoo!

So about midway through the service, KayKay broke out her crayons and paper which we'd brought in case she got tired of listening, and began to draw. After a little while of drawing, she took another paper, and wrote a letter to God:

Dear God,

I pray every night.
You are the only God.
I go to church.

What is heaven like?

Love, KayKay

And then, when she finished, she looked up at me in all seriousness and whispered quite loudly,

"Do you know God's address???"

To which I laughed quite loudly, causing a bit of uproar in the back of the church. Ah, well.

I'm certain that God was laughing with us from His throne.

P.S. - The title of this post is KayKay's idea (which she shared with me later) of how to get her letter to God, since none of us knew His address. I had to laugh again at her practicality and imagination. It's certainly possible that if we shot God letters into the sky with a giant slingshot, He might just reach down and catch them!

Diff'rent Strokes

I've tried to write a post for several days now with no success. I've just not had the heart for it, to be honest.

My Mom had a stroke last week.

She's been out of the hospital for a few days now, but had another visit to the ER this afternoon. She didn't have another stroke, but it's not so good. The doctors don't really know what's wrong. Or why she had the stroke to begin with.

So, yeah.

She's 51. Not nearly old enough to have had a stroke. Barely old enough to be a grandmother (but don't tell her I said that - I have to have something to tease her about). And certainly not old enough yet to have enjoyed her granddaughters the way grandmothers should. And she's hardly had enough time with her true love, after 21 years alone.

See, I'm an only child, and was somewhat of a loner as a child. Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty much the ultimate extrovert, but even now I have few enough close girlfriends. I have a difficult time making good friends, even though I'm super friendly and love being around people. My parents split up when I was really small, and my Dad and I are still working out some of the kinks in our (still very close) relationship. But my Mom has always kind of been my rock. Even though she often didn't want to be, she's been my girlfriend and sometimes my everything. I cry to her when I won't cry to anyone else. She raised me, mostly alone, and has spoken truth and love, encouragement and support into my life in ways that can't even be described. She can still go and talk to my Dad and help him understand me - something that I love most of the time, but occasionally loathe. Usually when I'm in hormonal-overdrive-and-I'm-now-the-wicked-hormonal-witch mode and just want to throw around blame and neither one of them (or anyone else) will stand for it. Which is a good and miserable thing all at the same time.

I'm afraid. Despite the lighthearted title, there is nothing about this that feels at all fun or funny. All I really feel right now is fear.

I'm mostly afraid that I don't have the time to tell her all the things that need to be said... Which is mostly nothing, and all of everything. To tell the hopes that dare be dreamed into existence. Or at least into verbalization. To laugh all the laughter that needs release. To pray all the prayers and argue the disagreements and share the achingly beautiful moments of motherhood with the one woman who knows me best and has been there already.

My Mom is funny, overly-neurotic, incredibly smart, strong and resourceful. And that's just for starters. I used to think that I wasn't much like her in personality, but after children, I know that I certainly got her temper. God help me, patience has yet to show her sweet face in any of the doorways of my life. I pray that changes soon!

My husband doesn't really understand, although he has tried. He's an only child, too (odd, I know), but isn't that close to his parents and claims that he doesn't even want to begin to plumb the depths of my relationship with my parents... Particularly my Mom. *Sigh* He's a man. That's probably all I needed to say to begin with.

So now I'm thinking about life and death and moments. Where I want to be in 20 years. What's important. What's not. Not that I wasn't already thinking about these things. I've been in the middle of an almost-full-on "gotta change crisis"... I mean, I've consistently found myself in the last weeks thinking about what in my life needs change - this is something that I do on a fairly regular basis, but lately, it's been the music to which my heart beats its drum. Change, change, CHANGE.

Simplify. My life is filled with too much noise.

Live the moment. I spend so much time doing that I often get lost in the joy of just being.

Play. I've lost my freedom to play... I need to get it back.

Breathe. I feel the call of the Spirit to breathe in that quiet space meant only for me.

Walk. I know that I must walk boldly toward that destiny to which I have been called. Pray that I still stand firm and not reach toward that which is folly.

Trust. I need to let go and just do, just live, just walk, just believe, and just change.

So where does all this leave me? Vacillating between tears and glory. Between emotional numbness and the realization that there is nothing to which I can hold firmly except Him and the perfect holiness of His grace.

All I can say is, "Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Echad, ve atah Melech ha'olam oseh ma'aseh vereshit."

(Blessed are you, oh Lord Adonai, Adonai is one, and you are the King of the universe, the source of creation and its wonders.)

Blessed is He. I pray for peace.