I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.
Mother Teresa


Don’t Get Hooked!…

Please don’t think that, by any stretch of the imagination, I fancy myself a parenting expert!  Far from it.  If time and parenting a handful of kiddos with a diversity of gifts and issues has taught me anything, its that what I thought I knew for sure, was just a possibility.  There are so few clear answers when it comes to human relationships.  Thats what makes them such fertile ground for our personal growth.  Each and every child is different, as are the parents, which is what makes it all so fun-lol

So with that foundation firmly under foot, and with much trepidation…I will venture a parenting tip =0   Phew- I just broke out into a sweat!

There have been a handful of occasions when I have had to either bite my tongue or remove myself from a situation, lest I interfere in an exchange between a parent and child.  I struggle desperately to fling a life ring to a drowning parent whose child has just craftily flung them overboard.  But its not my place.  Nor would be the most teachable moment.

Children are amazing and wonderful!  I get warm-fuzzy’s just thinking about them.  But they are clever little monkeys!!  And if we aren’t careful they will have us hanging upside down from branches in a matter of seconds.  Usually, with only a few words.

I could go into a lot of detail, but here is all I really want to say…DON”T ENGAGE THEM!!  Its a trap!

Keep your requests and answers cheerfully simple.  Don’t feel like you owe them an explanation.  If they argue with you or ask why, there’s no need to really reply, unless to say something like,” Well sweetie, I think I asked you to do something”

If they flat out refuse to do it, your response could be, ” I’m sorry you don’t like what I asked you to do, but I would really hate to see you lose your______ (privilege, or ?) over something like this.  Let me know when you’re finished doing what I asked and we’ll do______together”  Sometimes  I will explain that when they argue or delay, that my patience goes down and that I don’t really know what I will do when that happens.  “I can feel it draining out of me so I’m going to give myself a time-out until you decide what you are going to do”  It keeps them guessing-they hate it!

In a last ditch effort to frazzle you they may ask you to repeat what it was you asked them to do- don’t fall for it.  I like to say, “Well, its pretty distracting in this room, maybe a little quiet in your room would help you to remember.”

If the tone of their voice starts to rise…yours should fall!  If they yell, you whisper.  It shows them that they are not going to get the best of you.  Keep your sense of humor.  Tell them that when they yell it makes your tummy tickle or makes you want to furble your tongue.  But, whatever you do, stand by what you asked them to do and don’t back down.  You are not doing them any favors, what they want is to know that you are strong, someone they can lean on when they need it.

One last thing…

I often hear parents ask their children to do things or correct behavior in front of other children or adults.  That works really well if you are looking for drama.  If however, you are wanting to maintain calm, it always better to ask them into another room to consult.  Or, maybe whisper it in their ear.  Touch their shoulder while you do it, smile, be peaceful.

Happy relationships!!

A Miracle in Motion

There are many days when I rush around with my eyes closed.  I fail to see or take notice of the many things in my life that warrant awe.  Yesterday was not one of those days.  “Y” is our teenage son (he would probably appreciate remaining somewhat anonymous).  A strapping young lad, 6 feet tall and probably 160 pounds.  He has kind dark eyes and a smile that you’d like to hang on the wall where you could see it from every room in the house!  Baseball is his game!  He waits all year long to play.  His year revolves around it.  As a tall, left hander, he plays a mean first base and can nearly rip the cover off the ball when he hits.

Yesterday was a typical spring for our area.  One minute beautiful sun dancing through the budding branches and the next minute the wind and rain threatening to rip those same branches off the tree!!  It is torture for the baseball player, nose pasted to the window, watching the weather drama play out.  Never really sure until the last moment if the game will go on.  He caught a break yesterday and he was thrilled!

All the other children had plans, so I relished the opportunity to sit quietly without distraction to watch.  The solitude offered me a chance to absorb the magnitude of the miracle in front of me.  “Y” is a marvelous creation!  Coming to us at a mere 14 days old, eyes bulging and body shaking-his birthmom was a heavy drug user.  She had no idea who his father was.  He struggled mightily as a baby with reflux, skin issues, lung congestion, allergies and asthma.  But oh my, was he beautiful!!  The warmth and depth of his skin tone made you want to eat him alive! ( Lol)  I couldn’t go anywhere without people stopping me to comment on what a gorgeous baby I had!

As he grew, you either wanted to strangle him or hug him to death.  He was so hyper and out of control it was exhausting to watch him.  His greatest challenge and desire was to control his impulses.  There were times when we would almost despair of him ever making progress.  But he did.  Encouragement would trickle in from friends and family that hadn’t seen him for a while.  They would often pull us aside and whisper, ‘boy that “y” has really come a long way since the last time we saw you’.  It was like a drink of water in the desert.

Two years ago, he was diagnosed with a rare birth disorder that causes the left side of his body to grow faster than his right.  He was faced with the fact that he might never play baseball again due to the risk of blood clots forming if he were hit on that side.  He didn’t know if he would become crippled.  Fortunately, he has a mild form of the disorder.  But he has still struggled with painful bulging veins that form clots.  In June he underwent knee surgery to stop the overgrowth of his left leg.  It was suppose to be an easy rehabilitation but due to the over growth of veins in that leg, he bled inside his leg and recovery took nearly 6 months!!  He has had bronchitis three times in the last year, the last time landed him in the hospital because he wasn’t breathing and had extreme leg pain from a secondary viral infection in his blood.  All of which he endured like a saint!

Today, we get compliments constantly from people that know him.  He is kind and thoughtful (most of the time-he’s a teenage boy after all 🙂 )  He loves his mama, thats for sure!!  I forget sometimes to take stock of what the Lord has done.  To remember that it is only by His hand that I have the privilege of knowing this extraordinary young man.  That it is only by His grace and mercy that “y” was not simply and abortion statistic.  And that we should be thankful every moment that he was plucked from the hand of evil and not growing up to be a drug addict too.

A Great Quote!

I stumbled upon this quote today by Martin Luther.  He says, “Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave.”  That, right there, is the ticket to a long, happy marriage folks!!!  If we could master that, then we would all fall asleep at night with a smile on our faces.  Sadly, I think that too often we are far too selfish to think about how we are making the other person feel.  One of my older daughters was shocked this week to discover that one of her friends who is from a family with nearly a dozen children was struggling because his parents are getting a divorce after over 20 years of marriage.  She couldn’t believe that after so long together they could call it quites.  It served to confirm in my heart that becoming comfortable in marriage is a deadly poison!  Hmmm, I wonder what I could do to make him hurry home to see me….?????

A perfect place to start!

Three boys wrestling in the living room, three girls quietly playing a game at the living room table, one doing homework, one cooking pancakes, the super fat dog stops his everlasting search for food long enough to bark at nothing.  Its a party!  Its impossible to not either laugh or lose your cool.  Keeping my emotional knees bent is the lesson I am constantly trying to learn.