Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Note to My Daughters: Delight and Disappointment

This past Sunday, I had conflicting feelings. I was delighted and disappointed - all at the same time.

Knowing my girls might have those two feelings walk hand in hand sometime in their future,  I wanted to let them know what I did with that tricky situation.

First, let me set things up.

We came home from lunch and my three youngest daughters started making plans to play tennis. Of those three, we have one tennis player (Mary Grace) and two tennis attempters (Faith and Elizabeth). My tennis player had texted a couple of other tennis player friends to see if they could hit with her while the attempters whacked the ball around, but Memorial Day festivities were in full swing for everybody, and nobody who could actually hit a tennis ball was available. It would just have to be the three of them.

I could hear the happy chatter coming from the upstairs as they decided who was going to wear which cute tennis skirt. Elizabeth was the first down and as she was filling up her water bottle, I casually wondered out loud if I should go and hit with Mary Grace to give her more of a "real" workout. Elizabeth, very kindly, said, "I don't know. You could ask her."

And it was then I immediately knew I shouldn't ask her.

Their tennis outing on Sunday wasn't about tennis or any kind of real workout. It was about three girls being together on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. It was about riding to the courts with the windows down and the music turned up. It was about being with one of their kind. And while I'm dearly loved by all of them, it was time to be mom-less.

Hence the tinge of disappointment for me. And it really was just a tinge. Quickly chasing that tinge was the delight I felt for them. These three, though vastly different from and sometimes pretty annoying to each other, were seriously enjoying one another's company. They were bouncing through and out of the house feeling young and pretty and independent. And close. Like sisters.

Seeing your children enjoy each other brings a happiness to a mom's heart that's difficult to surpass.

So there I was, genuinely delighted and slightly disappointed - all at the same time. Which brings me to what I really want to say to my girls. And, even though my oldest, Hannah, was enjoying time at the lake with her husband when her sisters were teaching me this object lesson, she's on my mind as I type.

Don't base what you do and how you act on your feelings. You can have more than one at the same time. You can have one feeling one minute, and a completely opposite one the next. If you go down the feeling road, you will say and do things you regret.

Tell yourself the truth and act on that.

I'm pretty confident that none of my girls knew I was slightly conflicted on Sunday, which is such a success for me. Believe me, there have been many occasions when, because of fear and/or hurt feelings, I have "spit in their soup." I could have done some serious spitting in their little tennis outing if I'd "jokingly" said  something to the effect of, "Go ahead and have fun! Don't mind me here all by myself."

How nice it was to send them off with, "Have fun!"

"Have fun, my young and pretty and independent girls!"

Faith, Elizabeth, Mary Grace

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Smile for the Camera!

It's Mother's Day 2014, and if your family is like my family, you might be snapping a few pictures today.

As I was thinking about that fact, it reminded me of one of the earliest posts I ever wrote (published in January 2011). It focused (pun intended) on parenting and picture taking, which are pretty appropriate thoughts for Mother's Day. I'm not exactly sure what the "rules" of republishing a blog post are, but I figure the blog police might be lenient on me cause it's Mother's Day. :) And, according to my blog stats, it wasn't widely read (26 views, to be exact). Yikes! I'm telling myself that happened because it was one of my earliest posts and not because it was that terrible. 

With that said, I hope you smile just a little when you read the following: A little something about parenting, picture taking, and people I love. 

This pic was taken in the early summer, before Mary Grace entered the world of braces. I saw it for the first time about a week ago when I was turning on my mom's ipad. It's her wall paper.
     It's now one of my favorites. And, once I saw it, I made a mental note: "use on your first parenting-oriented post."

     "Parent." How can the word that describes such a big job only have six letters? If I could give it a hashtag on twitter it would be


     Well, at least that's how I feel some of the time. Which brings me to the two poems that follow this introduction. For whatever reason, my mind jumped to writing these as I was looking at this picture. At first, I was only going to write one - the more serious one.  My bent is to seriousness and "Take Two" reflects what I feel at my core.  But the lighter one has also been true for us. Now, I don't remember the circumstances around taking this particular picture. I don't remember anybody being bent out of shape because I was taking it. But there have been picture-taking times when people have been unhappy about it and forced the smiles.

     So it is with parenting. Different days bring different "takes." They are all real - no denying that.  But they are all God given gifts, designed for his glory and our joy. I'll take that.

                                                                                     Take One    

I made them pose beside the door,
Could you believe it caused a war?

They smile so sweet and look at me,
But thoughts inside we do not see.

What’s really going through their mind
If written here, would not be kind.

They want to get this over soon
Their show’s on pause in the other room.

They humor me, they often do,
And I assure, “We’re almost through!”

The button clicks, they see a flash,
The smiles are gone and off they dash. 

 Take Two

Can those fourteen eyes possibly see
What they do to this heart in my chest?
It beats, it pounds, it swells, it breaks,
For those souls I love the best.

I study those faces and remember days
That I lived together with them.
The bond of blood, the bond of time,
May those memories never grow dim.

I've laughed, I've cried and felt such angst
Could our smiles fade to that black?
They do, they touch, but they don't stay.
Forgiveness and love bring them back.

God, thank you, thank you, my mouth stumbles to say
What is felt in the depth of my being.
Those lives are a gift given to me
I wouldn't believe, but for seeing.