Friday, October 11, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Ordinary

Five Minute Friday
Today, I'm joining up with Lisa Jo Baker's "Five Minute Friday" movement. Every Friday, people join together to write for five minutes about the same topic. Here's my thought on this week's topic.

Ordinary

A year ago I was wishing to be ordinary. Our lives had been turned upside down by my husband's health issues and my pregnancy. At this point last year we were waiting for the birth of our daughter, followed by her uncertain passing and certain physical and mental challenges.

Now, I can say I got my wish. Day to day I can say that I do "more of the same" and only have to worry about work, dinner, house cleaning. My family has had time to stabilize. We've had time to regroup and enjoy the day to day living we missed last year between countless doctor appointments.

Thanks be to God. Thanks for the ordinary, normal days.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Forever Parents

Let me tell you about a little girl I knew when I worked in after-school care. For the sake of confidentiality, I'll call her K. Her mom loved her very much, but she also loved the men in her life. Her mother had been divorced twice and had brought several boyfriends into her daughter's life. Every time she'd gotten serious with a man, K had been taught to call that man "daddy." Eventually, she'd had a second daughter, K's half-sister.

One day, a man came into the after-care room. I knew this man was K's half-sister's biological dad. K jumped up, calling "Daddy!" as she had been taught to. He ignored her. His eyes skimmed the room for his biological daughter and he picked up the younger girl. K pranced around his feet, trying to get his attention. He wouldn't give it. He was in a hurry to leave.

As he walked down the hall, carrying his daughter, the girl who called him "Daddy" was left to watch him leave without a goodbye.

It broke my heart to watch this little girl see her family leave. I have never forgotten it and I never will....


Let me tell you about my grandfather. When he married my grandmother, my dad was already three years old. I didn't learn that he wasn't my biological grandpa until I was in middle school. It didn't matter. He was my grandpa. In my dad's eyes, he had always been his father.

Grandpa passed away last month. My dad is turning fifty-eight this month. Grandpa never once backed away from his fatherly role in over half a century. My dad respected his father, and knew him to be "Dad" from his actions, not just because his mom told him that the man was his new daddy.

The world is not perfect. It is broken and messy. Relationships are hard, and emotions and egos are fragile.

Parents need to be the stability of a child's life. Parents feed a child's self-worth, and provide a safe springboard to grow and learn.

For K, the last time I saw her she was hungry for male attention, and growing up far too fast for her eight years of age. For my dad, he grew up confident in who he was and where he came from.

A family doesn't have to be blood. It can be blended, adopted, traditional, generational, or what have you. It just needs to be a forever family, full of love and forgiveness, as Christ loves and forgives us.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Slow Down and Enjoy the Ride


About a month ago I read this article written by a mom who one day had her eyes opened to the damage she was doing to her precious "stop-and-smell-the-roses type of child" with two small words: hurry up.

Wow. This beautifully written, love-inspired article made me realize how often I used the same words with one of the boys I nanny.

I love that all the boys I take care of are so different. The eldest loves structure, learning, leading, and reading. The youngest is a great communicator, even at five months old. The middle brother is silly, tends to float slowly from activity to activity, and often exists in his own little dress-up world.

The problem occurs when I'm watching the clock because in the next five minutes we need to finish eating lunch, use the bathroom, get on our shoes, get buckled into the car, and go so that we can meet his mom for the baby's lunch and then immediately go pick up big brother from school; but the middle child is lazily munching his carrots, making them talk and dance, and telling jokes at the pace of half a bite per minute.

This is where my sin comes into the foreground. I am a person who thrives in routine, and being on time is my platform for that. Being a nanny, though, isn't about me. It is so beautiful that this family can have such different personalities. It's great that this boy can be so stress-free and enjoy his time as a child. Who am I to put my need to be punctual before his need to be himself?

Now that the eldest is in school most mornings, I have been able to rearrange our daily schedule to accommodate his individual pace. We forgo the morning snack and instead eat lunch earlier. Instead of structured activities in the morning, he can free play at his own pace or create a craft from his own imagination. Instead of planning little lessons, I take his teachable moments as they come. We save the structured learning and activities for when all three boys are home together. He still gets the same amount of attention, learning, and variety of activities, but he also doesn't have to hear me nag at him to be faster.

I'm not perfect at it, and sometimes I do still need to tell him to hurry and put on his shoes. I've realized that it shouldn't be my my sinfulness admonishing him, though. Sometimes God puts certain children in our lives so that they can teach us.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Birthday Wishes Revisited

Last year, I wrote a post about what I wanted for my birthday. We were in the thick of my husband's health issues and waiting with uncertainty for Penny to be born. In my anguish, all I really wanted was health for my family.

God loves to give His children good gifts. (Matthew 7:9-11)

Looking back, I really can say that God has granted my birthday wishes. Yes, both. Not in the way I wanted, but in the way that was best.

Celebrating five years since our first date.

My husband has been feeling great for a long time, and it is thanks to a simple, mild medication. He can go weeks without feeling bad at all. 



What I wanted was for Penny to be something she wasn't. God made her down to her very chromosomes, and she was given to us for a few special days. The doctors couldn't guarantee us even a few minutes, but God blessed us with days. He may not have given me a healthy daughter, but He gave me time. And now she is perfect and healthy and loved with Him.

Instead of sharing birthday wishes this year, I'm sharing birthday praises. I'm so thankful for the answers to prayer that I have been given over the last year. Hallelujah. God is good all the time. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Write

Five Minute Friday

Today, I'm joining up with Lisa Jo Baker's "Five Minute Friday" movement. Every Friday, people join together to write for five minutes about the same topic. Here's my thought on this week's topic.

Write

I've always been told I was a good writer. From the time I started writing paragraphs for FCAT practice, to essays in high school, I have been encouraged to write by teachers.

Now that I'm an adult it seems like I hardly ever make the time to write. Or, is it that I'm too bogged down to write? I worry that I have nothing interesting to say. I'm afraid of sounding judgmental if I do have something to say. If I sit down with an idea for a novel, I'm concerned about what people will think, and God forbid if it reads like a dime store romance novel!

I love to read. I love to create art. But it takes bravery to write.