In the words of Eddie Veder, “Oh, I….uhhhhh…I’m still alive.” Yes, I’ve been avoiding this blog, but I have been out living life. I chose this particular lyric because Spencer has been playing some Metallica and Pearl Jam for Brooks. Obviously, Brooks loves it, especially when Spence informs him that’s what he heard every morning whilst in the womb. It’s funny to see your kids jam out.
I don’t like change. I don’t like when I get a new device and I have to remember my password, which I’ve definitely forgotten, in order to make things happen. I got a new phone and I can’t remember my WordPress password, which makes it impossible to upload photos from my phone now. So, what’s my solution? Quit blogging for two months.
There have been two pretty big things going on in our household for the last few months and I feel like I can only write honestly and openly about one of them. So here we go. I have this thing called vitiligo. It’s a skin disease that doesn’t have a cure. Michael Jackson had it. Anyway, it’s an autoimmune disease that kills skin pigment. If you search images on Google, you can take a little roller coaster ride to see what I may look like in 10 years. And did I mention stress triggers this adorable little situation? Oh, yeah.
It was all hidden under my clothing until this summer, but now I’m reminded of this thorn each time I look at my hands. I just want to shout: vitili-GO-away!!!!!!!!!!! I know it won’t, so I just have to do what I can to stop the spreading. It’s not entirely impossible, but you could blow a month reading online about various treatment routes that may work for some people sometimes. Oye.
Sometimes I miss my first real personal computer. It was an IBM Thinkpad that Spencer got at a conference. I did all of my first writing on it and, honestly, no keyboard has felt like home since. I wanted to write on that until the end of time, but technology is cyclical…..oh, wait. I want to look the same and feel the same and have predictability until kingdom come. Too bad that’s not God’s idea.
Until my last breath, things will be changing. Hopefully I will be changing because God is still working on and changing me! I need to live more in the Spirit and less in my own head. I need to trust the changes God is bringing about in my children and believe God is fashioning them into the adults they will one day be.
God, help me let go of my Thinkpad. Help me to just suck it up, reset new passwords and move on with technological and skin changes, whether I like them or not. After all, I should be pretty stoked that I’m not still using a Nokia flip phone! And while I’d prefer my skin and body at age 25, I also know that this vessel will wrinkle, decay and die, so I better live the days I have inside it to the fullest.
So, I will let go of Mister Rogers (whom I deeply wanted my children to love and beg to watch) and let the 2016 version of him, Daniel Tiger, take his place.
Maybe it’s okay for the things around me to change if God is continually changing me.
It’s been an interesting week. I spent Monday downtown getting oriented for my new part-time job writing ad copy. I always thought this big ad agency I’d driven past a million times was the mecca of cool – no entry unless you had the correct handshake and skinny jeans. Turns out, it’s just a bunch of folks doing their jobs. But, stigma sticks. It was a busy morning getting my badge, parking permit and computer, not to mention the fire-hose of orientation. Don’t get me wrong, I am pumped to be doing something I love as an actual job, but the learning curve is real. I’m rusty. Yes, I’ve been working from home since Brooks was born and this job will be mostly from home, but being in the business world was a jolt. And I can’t say I’ve ever had as much respect for working moms; I haven’t been that tired at the end of the day in a long time. At the same time, productivity is almost intoxicating when you’ve been reading the same Winnie the Pooh stories over and over for years. At the same time, it made me so happy to see pictures of kids hung around employee’s cubicles.
Tuesday, I transformed into the epitome of a SAHM, doing laundry all day and cleaning up around the house. Note that I was in my PJ’s until after lunch. None of us even set foot outside until 4:30pm. We “home day”-ed hard!
Then last night, I went to a MNO (mom’s night out). I joined MOPS (moms of pre-schoolers) this year mostly because it’s held at the same location where my Bible study girls attend school. This gave me a nice mom break, but also allowed me to have lunch with Sabra and my 11th graders twice a month. They aren’t the 6th graders I once taught. Nope, they have tennis and dance and Latin club, so coming to my house every Thursday night isn’t as easy as it used to be. In only one week, they will be seniors! And I may cry.
Anywhoot—MOPS is not for me, but I did it anyway. I boycotted all suggested crafts, enjoyed several speakers, but mostly rolled my eyes at the ultra-mom stuff. Funnily enough, I have been saying YES to every event proposed by MOPS lately and last night was a MNO at the Drafthouse. They rented out a theater and we watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding II. My expectations were low (for the movie and the event), but I ended up sitting next to the one girl at my table whom I really connected with and we had the best time. Also, the movie was spit-your-soda-out hilarious!
A cynical friend of mine who has much older kids than mine once brushed off these women by saying sarcastically, “MOPS moms act like they served in ‘Nam together.” I never told her that I joined, but she’s sort of right. We are all moms in the trenches. We are doing a hard thing together, getting diagnoses, watching our loved ones have surgeries and battling our own fears. We are working moms and SAHMs who need an excuse to have our husbands put the kids down so we can gab with each other over chips and queso, then watch a chick flick and laugh with reckless abandon. The 9-5 mom and the one in her house dress until 3pm each day all need the break because whether or not we are with our kids each day, they are with us. When I was at the office downtown all day Monday, I kept checking the clock to see what my kids were up to. And I don’t think I have ever plastered my kids with so many kisses at the end of the day, the poor things were shiny from all of my saliva.
Mom Life is hard and we need other moms. Now that I’ve quit MOPS, I actually get it. Who cares if they want to craft together? I’d prefer to play around with words on the page, but that’s my preference. And how cool is God that I get to make some money doing what I love. From home. Where my heart really is. But the truth is, my kids will keep growing. They will need me less and less and I will have to think about what I’m going to do with the rest of my life. It excites me that I may be able to continue earning money doing something I love. And I’m even more excited to step it up to the next level with this job. We shall see where it goes!
This weekend was big in terms of conquering fears within the Williams household. Did you know that forgoing free stuff can be a legitimate fear? Well, it’s true. For me, it’s hard to pass up free stuff and when you are offered a day and night of it, it’s hard to keep your head on straight.
Spencer’s company provided us with a free night at the JW Marriott in San Antonio during the Valero Texas Open, where they have a villa above the 18th green. Did I mention a/c, free food and drinks and 18th green? So, free badges to the best seat in the house, a night at the most beautiful resort I’ve ever seen and 24 child-free hours with the man I love.
For me, the hard part was the free booze. In four days, I will not have had a drink in one whole year. May 1st is the marker and yet this occasion made me want to throw it all out the window. I’d convinced myself that it would all be so much more glamorous feeling if I had a glass of wine (or 3) in my hand to really feel out the whole experience. Thanks to the prayers of a few of my friends, I abstained. And then Spence and I proceeded to have the best night ever. We had the whole pool to ourselves and acted approximately 10 years old. I think we needed a dose of silliness and a reprieve from being parents/adults. In the end, I was so glad I passed on the drinks. For me, it just lights a fire that doesn’t go out.
In the smaller end of our house, my son is a conquistador. He is scared to death of mannequins (we are talking the kid won’t even enter an Old Navy), so as you’d expect of Spencer, he ordered one. Yep, we now have a mannequin in our home so Brooks will learn that it’s just a piece of plastic and nothing to be scared of. Little by little, the fella is warming up to the fake human and realizing it’s just that.
I guess you can say we are big fans of exposure therapy. Aside from mannequins, Brooks is not a fan of loud noises. BUT the kid loves monster trucks! So, Spence took him to a Monster Truck Jam where he was timid at first and then warmed up and stayed the whole time. No melt-downs, a few jaw drops and many cheers later, he returned home to inform me that monster trucks are REAL!!!!
It’s unclear where Brooks and my fears originate, but we are putting on our big kid pants and facing those fears day by day. And that’s what I love most about kids; present is the only place they know to be.
“Oh, Look! They must be doing really well!”
I can’t stop thinking about what this statement means. And it’s because my best friend asked me point blank when I used it flippantly. I’d shared with her that often my Facebook motivations are aimed and bringing up this little thought in others. Lorraine knows my heart and when she questioned me, What does “doing well” even mean? I sat back for the very first time and thought about that little phrase that gets thrown around all too often.
Maybe I heard my mom saying it a lot while I was growing up and it always meant financial wellness. But more and more I am really (like really, truly, deeply and to the core) learning that money isn’t the answer. It doesn’t solve every problem and often only creates more. So, what is the wellness I’m really after? It’s spiritual and relational. My looks are guaranteed to fade. I will age and we can lose every dime we have at any moment. We live in an unstable and unpredictable world. But the Lord does not waver. And that is where we must be rich if we are to survive here with any hope of thriving.
So I am thankful for my key relationships and that they are rooted in God.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
This morning, I’m sharp. I got to spend the weekend with my best friend. We shared our souls, spoke truth, laughed and cried. And then I was able to come home and do the same thing with my husband last night. As I rocked my daughter to sleep before I put her in her crib, the thought flooded my mind that even if we lost the house, the cars and our money, we are doing really well.
I want to invest more in my eternal wealth.
As your children grow, you get to know their personalities. I love both of my children dearly, but they are very different. It really does fascinate me that two people made from the same genetic stuff can be so opposite, but here we are with two kids who act as differently as they look.
My son is cautious. As soon as I walk away, he’s close behind. I know that he will always leave when I leave and I have learned to use this to my advantage, particularly because I have another child who wouldn’t even notice being left behind all day.
Last weekend we went to a birthday party at a kiddie wonderland. It was a blast, but the only rides Brooks truly enjoyed were the ones I could accompany him on. We had to stop the boat and cars early so he could eject. That option wasn’t available for the planes, so he hid his head until it was over. He did great on the carousel, Ferris wheel and train, where I wasn’t too big to ride.
Sabra on the other hand whinnied at the wind blowing in her face. She giggled and loved being on the move. She is a thrill seeker and rarely searches for my hand. And while B didn’t even attempt the pony ride, Sabra’s appetite was bigger than her stomach. Once she actually got up to the pony, she held on to the trainer tight and was quickly returned to my arms. Honestly, it’s refreshing to see her exhibit fear!
We had a great day of sweets and thrills and no naps. And I’m continuing to learn how to encourage each kid’s strengths and work with their personalities.
Yesterday I read a blog post about following the rules. Let me back up a tad, the post was really focused on the author communicating to her children that they aren’t that great or special. Within this explanation, she repeatedly reinforced following the rules.
I thought about ways I break the rules, then this morning it hit me where I think I’m special. I’m especially irreverent to school, namely preschool. Sure, I get my tuition in on time and we support the annual carnival fundraiser, but I could care less about the Yankee Candle fundraiser, school pictures and the school mascot, which I translate as unnecessary parent homework.
See, on Monday, we got Huggy.
I hadn’t heard of Huggy until Monday, but he is the school’s mascot and travels home with each student for a few nights. Along with his journal. It’s a sweet idea and I love that Huggy is more than a village of germs, but really I’m just calculating what I need to keep up with him and wondering what the minimum amount of work is that I need to do before he goes to the next dude.
Huggy’s journal is filled with his adventures and photo proof of said adventures. They are written “Dear Diary” style. Of course parents do the chronicling, but I was so bored reading through the previous highlights of Huggy’s life that I decided to shake things up. So, for my journal I wrote something funny! I made the Williams family seem bonkers for letting me drive before age 16, eat blondies at 9:30am and dance to DJ Snake during clean up. I didn’t say “it was straight up dope” but that was implied. I read my clip to Spencer right before bed and we both got a laugh. “Nobody cares,” I said when he raised an eyebrow.
Then this morning, as I was flipping back through my masterpiece, I noticed a sheet glued to the front of the book. There were instructions! What?!? And, get this, Huggy’s adventures are shared in CHAPEL!!!! Ouch! I tore out the pages I could and went straight. I made what I could cutesy and rated G.
And in the end I found myself scolding myself for not just following the rules like everyone else. There is a reason they are there and I’m not that special–these are things I’m trying to teach my kids, so maybe I should lead by example.
Also, maybe I should put a little extra effort into my penmanship. It’s borderline atrocious.
I have all of these deep things to say about leaves when they are green, containing chlorophyll, and when they die, showing their true colors (you know those oranges and browns and yellows people flock east to see in the fall). I’m sure I should be contemplating my true colors, too. But I’m not going to do that today. I just need to say that I love natural colors. I’ve been taking photos of trees since last fall, thinking I would post a meaningful blog about change or whatever, but that never happened.
Then a freak tree near Brooks’ preschool turned red yesterday (in late March) and I had to photograph it. I have no wisdom to impart, except to say that sometimes we should just marvel at creation. Blooming flowers and changing leaves offer us a wake-up call to look heavenward. Spring came early in Austin and I’ve lifted my eyes.
I’m not crying. Yet. See, last weekend we were given an amazing and very second-hand Dollhouse bunk bed for Sabra. She will be out of her crib for good in about six months and then we will be done with cribs and Pack-n-Plays forever. Have I mentioned I’m not crying? Darn, I think i just felt a tear well up.
(Wipes tear) Anyway, I love my engineer of a husband. He not only disassembled the bed at another family’s house, but he reassembled it in Sabra’s room, reinforcing it to keep our baby girl safe and sound for when the time comes. We’ve only had the bed for two days now, but it has been the biggest hit. Not only have they found hide-outs, but it’s given them a new spot to play.
This big move also forced me to rethink our play room, which has technically had very little play. I ended up moving most of the kiddy toys upstairs to said play room so we can feel like we sort-of reign the downstairs region of this house. Sabra’s kitchen and doll house bookshelf were also evicted from her room on account of the behemoth Dollhouse.
Oh, and we can’t turn on the fan while this thing is in her bedroom.
And while I’d never want my children to think I’d spend that kind of money on a bed (especially for a 2 year old), I do want them to know that hours of scrubbing and Goo-Gone applications can salvage even a piece of furniture which was on its deathbed. No, it’s not in the best shape, but it will do the job of providing one twin and one double bed in Sabra’s room, while hopefully fostering her imagination and letting her be a little girl while she still is one.
When I go for weeks at a time without blogging, it’s not because life is slow and boring and I don’t have anything to write about. It’s because:
a. I’m sleeping in and not participating in “5am Team Meeting”
b. So much is happening I can’t keep up
c. We are out of town
I would say my excuse this time around is a combination of the three. I really like bullet points, so that’s what we are going with today. A little update.
Post Golf Cart Purchase Happenings:
1. Brooks got 7 stitches in his head after falling off our bed. Wait, this sounds like a graceful rolling off, which it was not. He soared into the air and then whipped his head back around, super-hero style. This kid is in full little boy mode right now. Full energy, full passion and full force. ER visits are so cheap.
3. We stayed at my dad’s house on Padre Island while we were there. For one night. And took the boat to Snoopy’s. The kids loved it. I will post photos only and not dig into the emotional ramifications.
4. I got drawn for the NYC marathon! What? First try is very rare, but I think God is helping a daughter out. It’s a relief to know that I don’t have to drink for 8 more months because I will be running (hopefully….stay away pesky injuries).
5. I went back to the ER for another cheap visit because I had chest pain over the weekend. When you say “chest pain” they freak out and run all of the heart tests. My heart is just dandy, so I’m off to a gastro tomorrow for them to tell me I have GERD. It’s been about 6 years since my last endoscopy and diagnosis, but I fear it is back. Boo.
6. Sabra is a natural on the dance floor. We can deny it no longer: Our daughter has moves. This little lady needs to get thee to a dance factory. I see leotards and tap shoes in her future.
7. We finally said goodbye to the leaning tower of playscape that has threatened visitors since we moved in. We tore this hazard down and put each piece out for big pick up. Now we have piles of wood in our backyard, begging to be constructed into something playable for our kiddos who love to play.
8. Last, but not least, our kids got to see their favorite aunt and uncle this weekend as we celebrated Brooks’ 4th birthday with an early party. The kids are a little obsessed with Aunt Emmy and Uncle Sonny. Now we will be hearing about them for weeks. Also, Sabra names all of her stuffed animals Aunt Emmy. Adorable!