Posted in Faith, Family, God, God's Providence, Mommy, Parenting

Listening and Following Directions

Yesterday Enoch got in trouble at school.  When you have a child as boisterous as ours you’re not entirely surprised by this, but you may think to yourself, okay – we’re due for one of those.  However, it’s never fun as a parent to hear that your kid got in trouble.  Everywhere we go and Enoch sees someone from his class, he’s not always great about remembering and saying everyone’s names, but they all seem to know his name.  I’d like to think it’s because he’s wonderful, but wonder if it’s because they hear his name called a lot.  Hopefully a little of both.  Anyway, Enoch got in trouble because he wasn’t listening and following directions.

I am always eternally grateful for the Episcopal Day School here in Rock Hill and all of the many ways they have worked with our kids and support them.  I can’t say enough what a great job they all do there!  I also cannot say enough how much I appreciate that Mike works while the kids are in pre-school and than has the opportunity to be with them in the afternoons.  I know that everyone doesn’t have these choices and opportunities and they are a gift.

Mondays are Mommy Day when the kids get home from school because Mike teaches piano and guitar lessons and then has practice with the worship team at St. John’s.  As much as I don’t always like to drag myself away from work and trying to make a dent in the to do list, I really enjoy Mondays and look forward to being able to tell the kids, you’ll get to see and spend time with Mommy this afternoon and evening.

We usually have a great time.  And we did at times yesterday.  But there were also a lot of times I wanted to scream and say I’ve had it.  That whole listening and following directions thing – yep, it’s for real.  In putting in time out after time out whether at home, in the car, or at the park, we talked over and over about listening and following directions.  Over and over after he stayed in time out, he would agree to start listening and following directions, and over and over when he didn’t want to listen and follow directions, he wouldn’t.  Oh the cycle of parenting.

It got me thinking a lot though.  We keep talking about listening and following directions together.  It’s one thing to not listen and it’s another thing to not follow directions but it’s also a bit of both.  We all know about selective hearing.  I know that if I reach a certain decibal or tone than maybe he’ll turn around and stop, but before I get there he may not be paying a hill of beans of attention to me.  Oh to have the child that immediately stops and listens and follows directions.  My mom has frequently classified Enoch as the strong-willed child, and I promise his picture should be in the books describing it.  But again, as I’m thinking this yesterday and typing it today – I can’t say that it’s not something the rest of us don’t do at times.

We selectively listen for the things that we want to or don’t want to follow.  We don’t have the discipline to always listen to those that might know more than us or to the Creator who actually for real knows better than us.  Were you the child that immediately stopped and listened and followed directions or were you the child that questioned authority and wondered if it really was as threatening as they said it or if this was really serious or not?

Listening and following directions for a child is a great deal about safety and what’s best for you and trusting that your parents are telling you what’s best for you.  But isn’t it the same way with us and God?  Do we listen and follow directions?  Do we read the scriptures or dig down in our faith and engage with texts on justice and mercy and kindness and love?  Do we follow the directions of love God and love neighbor or do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with God?  Are we really hearing it or are we hearing it when we want to and it fits and it still allows us to do what we want to do?

Move over, Enoch.  There may be some more strong-willed children out there.  Heck, I think the Bible and our pews and our grocery stores and all around us – we may be chock full of them.

As we try to teach Enoch about listening and following directions, there’s a lot of time outs and boundaries and loss of privileges.  How does God get our attention about listening and following directions?  Does God use our full name at the top of God’s voice?  Does God shoot a message across the sky saying hello – take the call dude?  Are we plowing so full steam ahead in whatever we think we’re supposed to be pursuing that it’s going to take something radical to derail us and make us re-evaluate?  I don’t know.  When I think of a loving Parent, I don’t think of someone that just lets us get our way all the time or do what we want to if it’s harmful to us.  I think of One who is patient and fair and consistent.  I think of one who corrects and is present and who is there to make sure the consequences are real but who is ready for a hug and to wipe away a tear and offer words of encouragement and a new opportunity.

How do you do at listening and following directions?  How has God our parent shaped and molded us?

Posted in Family, Mommy

I love you, Mom!

Enoch and Evy go to an amazing preschool and we love it!  It’s the Episcopal Day School (EDS) here in Rock Hill.  We have had a wonderful experience there and I know that our kids are benefiting a lot from being there.  For Mother’s Day, Enoch’s class made mother’s day cards where they drew little pictures and answered questions from the teachers.  He’s actually in two different classes, a Tuesday/Thursday class and a Monday/Wednesday/Friday class.  Loves them both!

In his Tuesday/Thursday class when he was asked the question, “I know my mom loves me because…,” he answered, “She holds me when I’m sick.”  He had been sick then with strep and a virus and so that was really sweet.  For his Monday/Wednesday/Friday class he answered in a way that Mike says is absolutely priceless.

I know my mom loves me because…She takes me to Target.  She takes me to Target!  Should I be appalled?  mortified?  amused?  At least he knows that I love him.  True.  But do I want him to know that I love him based on me buying him toys at his favorite store on earth?  Yes, it is a regular question at our house – can we go to Target today?  Both children love the place.  Heck, I love the place.  I may be rubbing off on them in not so good ways.

One of the other questions was, “My mom looks beautiful when…”  And that very wise little one put “she goes to church.”  Can’t decide entirely how I feel about this one either, except that he’s an observant little rascal.  There are many days during the week where I admit to skipping the shower in order to get more sleep, get the kids ready, or run around the house picking things up.  However, on Sundays, I actually try to make some effort and dress half-way decent, not in my campus minister uniform of jeans and no make up unless I have a meeting.

There’s something about the honesty of a child that is just priceless.  It gives something to think about in new ways because it’s something that’s not coached or said through the filter of trying to hurt our feelings or not.

What do our children remember about us?  What do they think our priorities are?  In the eyes of a child, who are we?  Those lenses tell us much about where our hearts really are and I think what we would find would both make us laugh and cringe and nod our heads and be stumped all at the same time.

Posted in Family, Mommy, Thankful

Mommy, Mommy, Mommy

Today was a good day.  No idea why exactly I feel that way, but when the chiropractor asked if I had a good day today, I said yes. 

Now seriously I don’t know why I would have said that.  Enoch woke up in the middle of the night not feeling well.  Evy had a “bug” this past weekend so we thought he just had what she had, but when our super silly, energetic little man is laying down, whiny, and falling asleep while watching cartoons – we’ve got a problem.  Mike drove Evy to school and me to work and left Enoch with me while he went to a meeting.  Enoch slept on the couch in my office underneath a beautiful prayer shawl as we waited for it to be time for his doctor’s appointment.

Did I get much work done today?  Nope.  I gave a valiant effort.  Maybe.  But it’s hard balancing Mommy with a demanding week of end of exams/graduation/preparing for next week’s mission to Harlem.  I often wish I could give everything I have to my kids/Mike and everything I have to ministry.  It’s somehow not just hard but feels next to impossible to equally divide my time.  Some weeks, it’s a predominant Wesley week – hello the last couple weeks of school.  And some weeks, it’s a catch up with the kids and enjoy not plugging in for awhile.

The thing that I loved about today – even in the midst of a crazy week where I’m not feeling like I’m getting much of anything done in the midst of feeling like I’m working all the time – was that I got to be Mommy.  I got to be there for the doctor’s visit and not have to hear about it later.  I got to be the one to get Enoch to take his Tylenol and get Evy to let her diaper be changed.  Yes, she’s in rare 2 year old form.  The 3 of us got to invade Mike’s space as he was watching the basketball game in our room and we all four had fun piling on the bed and being silly.  It was a good day.

It wasn’t a perfect day.  I didn’t get a darn thing done.  It included doctor’s visits, antiobiotic and Tylenol all over us a couple times, cat poop on the floor, Evy stripping off her pj’s to wear a pair of shorts that she loves and saw as I was putting it in the washing machine, and now – everyone asleep.  Mike and Enoch fell asleep watching the game.  Who knows if coughing will begin again or if one of the kids will end up in our bed or if we’ll all sleep peacefully through the night.

I am thankul for the chance to be Mommy, Mommy, Mommy.  As much as by the end of some long days as I’m finally sitting down and I hear the words “Mommy come here” I want to scream, I am thankful to be Mommy.  I am mindful as facebook is blowing up with pictures of people’s mothers all over the place, that some people didn’t have the greatest mom’s.  Some have also recently lost their mothers and I can’t even imagine that feeling or how much this time of the year may hurt.  Some others may not be able to be biological mothers but they are mothers to dozens of us nonetheless.  I know that has to be hard too.

I guess what I’m saying is that at the end of the day – Enoch and Evy have no facebook picture background to change.  Praise God – they would probably love the most hideous of photos, my sweet angelic little rascals.  But, I don’t want them to thank me, I want to thank them.  I can’t imagine my life without their marks all over our walls, the stains all over my shirts, or the precious feeling when they actually do say I love you.  I can’t imagine (actually sadly I probably could) what kind of insane workaholic I would be, if I didn’t have Mike and the kids to come home to.

So although in the sleepy hazy fog of tomorrow morning I may totally recant this entire thing (totally won’t happen), I find myself giving thanks for being Mommy.  Watch now, they’re going to use it extra special tomorrow in all kinds of fun ways.