Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

Posts tagged ‘Sisters’

My New Cult and my Aging Parents

It’s true.   I am a part of a cult.  It’s called Fit Bit.  Do you have a Fit Bit?  If you do, there’s a good chance you know what I mean.

I asked for a Fit Bit for Christmas.  Do you know what a Fit Bit is?  If you don’t, there’s a chance you just woke up from a ten year coma.  You might want to check with your doctor about that. Here’s what a Fit Bit looks like:


At first, Scott scoffed at me for wanting a Fit Bit.  He doesn’t get it.  He said, “I just can’t get you one of those.  It’s the principle of the thing.  If you want to work out, just work out.  You don’t need an expensive watch to motivate you.”

But, I do need an expensive watch to motivate me.

Exercising is literally Scott’s favorite thing to do.  He doesn’t do it to lose weight.  He doesn’t do it to impress people.  He does it because it brings him joy.  If Scott couldn’t exercise, he’d be a sad man.  I’m not braggin’ on him.  That’s just how God made him.  Lucky Scott.

I have always been somewhat interested in health and fitness, but always have to find new things to stay motivated.  That’s why I wanted a Fit Bit.  It’s a watch that grades my effort every day.  It tells me at 4pm that if I don’t get moving, I’m getting a C – for the day.  Then, I get off my butt.  Start moving, and bring home an A+.  You’re not literally graded.  They count your steps.  But, for me, it’s like a report card.

After Scott’s impassioned anti-Fit Bit speech, I really thought I wasn’t getting one.  But, guess what?  I have a 13-year-old daughter now, and she is my ally.  The way I heard it is that Olivia and Scott were out doing their Christmas shopping, and Olivia said this, “Dad.  I know you don’t want a Fit Bit, and you would never wear a Fit Bit.  But, this present isn’t for you.  Giving a gift means you are thinking about someone else.  You consider their needs and interests, and give them a gift you think they will enjoy.  It isn’t about what YOU want.”

Wow.  Having a daughter is AWESOME!!!

I love my Fit Bit.  I got off to a little bit of slow start, because I got the rotten lung over Christmas.  But, I did my best.  Now, I’m better, and this thing is keeping me moving.  I’m not sure if I’ll get sick of it, or not.  I hope I don’t.  I don’t really have a track record of getting tired of and/or discarding things we’ve spent our precious dollars to have.  We bought a treadmill before Eddie was born, and we wore that sucker down to nothin’.  It lasted 11 years.  I hope this Fit Bit does too.

I have two other sisters who have Fit Bits.  So we talked about Fit Bits a lot at Christmas.  We said we liked our Fit Bits.  We wanted to wear our Fit Bits.  We wondered if our Fit Bits were working.  We used the words Fit Bit many times.  Because, that’s what you do when you have a Fit Bit.  You say Fit Bit. A lot.

After listening to hours of Fit Bit talk, one of my non-Fit Bit wearing sisters eventually told us she’d really like to tell us where to put all of our Fit Bits.  I think she’s the one who said Fit Bit is a cult.  She might be right.

I was thinking about something besides Fit Bits over Christmas.  I was thinking about my parents, especially my Dad.  I think I told you that he only has a fraction of his sight left.  I enjoyed watching my sisters fuss over him. I really would like to know how to make sure my kids will fuss over me when I can’t do all the things I once did.  I think that’s a nice thing for families to do.

I tried to really give it some thought.  What is it about my Dad’s new vulnerability that brings out this fierce protectiveness in his daughters?  I was working that over in my head when I had a sudden flash of memory.  I remembered a pleasant drive I had with my Dad one Christmas.  I was in high school.  It was Christmas break, and I couldn’t get to my sister’s house in Green Bay when the rest of the family did, because I had basketball practice.  Everyone else went ahead, and my Dad stayed back with me.  By the time we could leave for Green Bay, the temperatures had dipped dangerously low.  We left anyway, and I wasn’t worried at all. I knew my Dad would take care of me.

It’s weird how I remember obscure things.  I don’t know why I remember that car ride, but I do.  I felt so happy and content to be driving with my Dad to see the rest of the family.  I actually remember feeling safe and protected.

And, I think that’s it.  I think THAT is the answer to my question.  When parents are in good working order,  they give their kids the luxury of feeling safe.  The luxury of not having to worry about how things are going to work out.  When it is going right,  kids take it for granted that their parents are strong, competent and ready to take on all the grown upish worries, so kids don’t have to.

I think that’s why seeing our parents at this end of their lives is making their daughters hover; wanting to make sure their parents’ every need is met.  Our safe place of strength is vulnerable now.  When my sisters and I were young, we wouldn’t have believed it could happen.  Now that it has, we know what to do.  We know how to protect, serve and offer safety to vulnerable people we love.  We know, because our parents taught us.

dad and heidikaty mom


It’s a Wrap

I already like 2015.  I have a good feeling about it.  Maybe it’s because 2014 was quacktastic.  And, by that I mean 2014 was really good. We’ve got some mo jo going.

I am on my last day of Christmas vacation.  Which is sad for me.  I have enjoyed every single minute of this sucker.  Even the minutes when I was coughing until I threw up.  Just in case you wanted to know about that.  There was some sickness somewhere in those vacation days.  But, who could really notice with all the fun?

I think I can honestly say that this was one of the best holiday seasons I’ve had.  And the reason almost for sure is because Eddie feels healthy.  We’ve had lots of Christmas and New Years when Scott and I  have had to make a mental note to smile in front of all the people we love.  Because, that’s what you’re supposed to do at Christmas. You’re happy.

No one wants to sit around feeling sad when there are presents to be opened, and carols to be sung.  Putting on a fake smile works.  Just, for the record.  You can trick yourself into having a better time by pretending to be happy.  You can’t give in to how you really feel when you’re sad; sad sacks NEVER have a good time.

My family celebrated Christmas on New Years.  My sister, Gail, and her husband and son from Colorado have been visiting.  There has been lots of laughing, game playing, eating, movie watching, fire building and teasing.

I thought that some day my kids could put all the pages of my blog together into a book.  If my grandkids (cross your fingers) and great grandkids want to know more about who they are, and where they came from, their parents can give them my blog to read.  That is, if my kids are not ashamed of me.  That’s a big “if”.      Maybe when I’m gone, my kids will want to erase all traces of me.  It could go either way.

Because I have this vision for my blog, I want to add a lot of our holiday photos.  Too many to interest you, and I’m sorry for that.  But, if you could just do this thing for my great grandkids, I’d be grateful.

Here was our Christmas: We played lots of games.  The girls like to play cards.  I’m okay with “Old Maid” and “Gold Fish”, but these girls like longer games that involve a little thinking.  I definitely try to stay away from thinking whenever possible.


Grandpa and the boys almost always play Monopoly when they’re together. I hate Monopoly,  but I love Grandpa and these boys.

monopolyThe day turned into evening.  The sparking cider came out, and let’s just say some things happened that are better off not being remembered.  But, my camera was rolling.  So, we have no choice but to relive these things.

Some of my sisters and I leg wrestled.  Surprise! The one sister with long, beautiful legs, ALSO was the leg wrestling champ.  So, thanks, God.  Give her long, thin legs AND make her good at leg wrestling.  Because, she needs more good luck.  I would think that the least I could get in return for having legs shaped like cement blocks, is some strength. And, some kind of championship.

leg wrestling

We also played a game that I found a bit boring, at first.  One person had to go into a closet.  Then, we appointed someone in the circle to be the leader.  The leader had to make subtle motions.  Everyone copied the leader’s motions. The person who was in the closet, now stood in the middle of the circle.  That middle person had to guess who the leader was.  I know.  It’s complicated.  I was getting a little tired of the game until Scott came out of the closet in a headdress:

scott's headdress

The closet we had to wait in was filled with dress up clothes.  Finally.  The game seemed more interesting to me.  We made a new rule that whoever was in the closet had to put on dress up clothes before they came out.  Suddenly, I couldn’t wait for my turn.  I didn’t have much to work with.  A wig, a hat and a sweater.  I came out singing, “Hello my baby, hello my honey, hello my rag time gal…”  And, of course, there was dancing.

hello my dollyScott seemed like he was repulsed by me in this costume.  So, that for sure made me want to be closer to him:

scott's lap

It’s me, Sweetheart. Just give me a kiss.

We ended the night with a hilarious gift card swap game.  And, Grandma and Grandpa gave everyone some gifts too.  Grandma gave her nesting dolls to Olivia and my niece, Naomi.  Olivia and Naomi love to play with these dolls when they come to Grandma’s.

naomi and olivia new years

Olivia and Naomi

I drove the girls home after our party.  The girls agreed that opening the nesting dolls made them happy, but it also made them sad.  They decided they’re going to sneak the dolls back into Grandmas and leave a note with the dolls.  The girls are going to say this: “Grandma, thanks for the nesting dolls.  We like playing with them at your house.  We know we’re going to have many more years to play with them at your house, so we’ll keep them with you for now.”

I knew exactly what they meant.

After the presents we sang a few carols.  We also sang my nephew, Ryan’s, favorite song, “Love Like a Hurricane.”  We shed some tears too; we miss Ryan.  My niece, Libby, said a prayer, thanking God for reminding us of His love for us through the blessing of family.  Then, then we went home.

A lot of the kids ended up in our living room:

cousins sleeping

As far as I can tell, the only bad thing about hanging out with Scott and my families, is that it eventually has to end.  My kids always HATE getting to that part.  Seriously, Zeke and Olivia go through quite a low point after every good bye.  It’s hard for them.

THAT was our New Year’s/Christmas celebration.  I hope you enjoyed your Holiday, and that you can easily recall all your blessings in this world.  I know I’ve told you this, but for sure one of my greatest blessings are the folks who spend a few moments of their lives reading my blog.  I’m so very grateful for that.

Happy, Happy New Year!  Let’s make lots more happy memories this year.

I Was Wrong. You Can’t Karate Chop People Just Because You’re Mad.

I had a pretty intensely fun, long weekend.  Why can’t fun drag on like boring stuff does? Fun just ends way too quickly.  I’m really against that.

Another thing I’m against is getting in fights with your friends on Facebook.  I know I’m against it, because I’ve done it.  That is NOT fun.  Facebook fights drag on

You might find this hard to believe, but I’m not much of a fighter.  This weekend I had to turn my head away when my sisters told the waitress their fish was bad.   I don’t like conflict.

It’s  just that I am SO mad.  I’m so mad about the war on women.  I’m so mad that women and young girls are being held captive by evil terrorists.  I’m so mad that men are trying to force their will on women, controlling what they do and what they wear.  I’m so mad that these men are committing violence against these women.  I want to help.

I told my Facebook friends that I saw a woman in the store wearing a burqa that covered everything, even her eyes.  Her husband walked slightly ahead, wearing street clothes.  I told my  Facebook friends that I wanted to deliver a karate chop to this man.  Some of my Facebook friends were not on board with this.

Here is what I learned.  Some women choose to wear the burqas that cover their entire face, even their eyes.  I didn’t know that; that certainly changes things.  This fact surprised me.  I have a hard time comprehending why a woman would make this choice.  I thought that out of solidarity, any woman would refuse. Turns out I have very little influence here, which is surprising.

The other part of my plan that seemed a little shady to some friends (other than assaulting an innocent man),  was the part where I tried to cure violence with violence.  I think someone had some silly logic like, we keep trying that.  It isn’t working.

Where does that leave me? I guess not even one teensy weensy little karate chop will help.  I’ve been practicing too. So, that’s disappointing.

I did get some ideas from my friends on how to help victimized women locally.  That was a good thing. Sadly, it appears as if there is not one practical way I can physically help the women and girls in captivity who I read about last week.  Except pray.  We can always pray.

I asked my family if we could pray for these women before our costume party.  Here’s what that looked like:


“Hello Reggie, ever heard of closing your eyes when you pray?” I told you he wasn’t a Christian.

I think praying women everywhere should keep praying. Our sisters need us.  Oppression sucks.

It’s hard to do normal life after reading about real girls who want to kill themselves to escape their torturers.  But, that’s what you have to do.    It seems like the whole world should be rushing to these girls’ aid.  But, I guess we can’t.  I’m not sure why, but it just isn’t done.

I have been told that there are any number of horrific things happening to people all over the world at any given moment.  What would happen to society  if we just dropped everything and helped all these people?  Probably nothing good, other than they’d all be helped. I mean, where’s the benefit?

All this human suffering is making me bitter.

I did carry on this past weekend.  I put the sadness away, and had some fun.

I hosted a bridal shower at my house for my nephew and his lovely new bride.  She’s such a sweet young woman, and she also has great ideas.  She asked us to wear costumes.  I’m going to recommend this to other new brides.

You know that feeling you get when you’re going to a party, and one person is the common denominator, while the rest of the guests are strangers to one another?   There is usually this awkward tension in the air.  That tension does not exist when people are dressed like cat burglars and Minnie Mouse.

niece costumes

I haven’t hosted anything at my house in a while.  I like having people over, but it feels like I’m in an era of life where finding time to host parties is extra hard. I’m in an era where finding time to get milk feels like a victory.  Party hosting seems unattainable.

I used to host parties a lot.  I liked it, and was getting sort of good at it.  I have lots of fancy dishes and decorations left over from those days.

For this party, I looked at a beautiful silver, rectangular bowl I have and tried to remember the pretty way I used to display it.  Now the bowl just sits empty on my buffet.  I take that back.  There was one, yellow air-soft bullet at the bottom of the bowl from a fight the boys must have had.  I’m not gonna say that bullet wasn’t pretty.  I just thought it needed something else.

I did my best.   I fluffed and polished.  I threw some cute pumpkins in that silver bowl. When I was finished everything looked medium to okay.  It didn’t really matter anyway, because I knew my sisters were about to descend upon my house. Once that happens, I can go play checkers.  I’m the baby, and lucky for me old habits die hard.

Those women were like a party producing tornado.   I know just the tricks to get out of work with these ladies too.

Me: I forgot I have to do the potatoes.”

Older sister:  Oh, I’ll do it.

Me: Shoot.  I meant to vacuum the front room before everyone got here.

Another Older Sister: Oh, I can.  Where do you want the vacuum when I’m done?

Me: I wish I would have remembered to get ice.

Another Older Sister: I can run and get it.  I’ll be right back.

Me:  My shoulders are really tight.  I was hoping to get a massage before this thing.

Older sisters:

So, maybe they’re not ALWAYS there for me. It’s okay.  I still think they’re pretty great.

sister halloween

Epic Adventure with my Teenage Sons

When I was in college I roomed with my sister and my lifelong best friend.  They were responsible students.  They did their homework.  They studied for exams.  I just pretended to do those things.

At that age, and all the ages before that age, I mostly just wanted to have fun. Remember that song, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun?”  Yeah.  I wrote that.  Or, I could have, if someone else wouldn’t have thought of it first.

I always had good intentions.  I always meant to do my homework and study, but then someone would ask me to order pizza with them, or come to their dorm room and make prank calls. Classic 90’s entertainment. (Really.  IS your refrigerator running? I’d check it, if I were you).  Sure, I had a ton of homework that needed to be done, but how could I say no?  That seemed kind of rude.

You might be able to get away with not studying in high school, but in college it catches up with you.   It only took a few horrible grades before I started figuring out that being irresponsible was not bringing about desirable results.   I experienced my first steps towards being an adult during that phase of my life.

Now I’m a full fledged, card-carrying member of the adult race.  Like all the rest of the adults I know, almost every minute of my day is devoted to fulfilling my obligations.  I am not complaining.  I love this life.

But guess what?  Little, irresponsible, good-time-gal is still buried somewhere beneath my adult exterior.  She’s still ready to have fun whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Scott was scheduled to chaperon his Spanish students on a trip to  Costa Rica the week school got out.  Olivia was going to be at Church Camp the same week.  That meant Zeke, Eddie and I would be home alone.

My oldest sister, and her son were visiting one of my other sisters and her family  in Colorado Springs this same week.  That was fun just waiting to happen.  We made a pretty last minute decision to  hop in the car and drive to Colorado to join the party.  We left at 2:30 in the morning, and drove 16 hours each way.

I could tell some people who loved us were a little worried about this plan (those are a LOT of miles to cover with just one experienced driver).  I would guess that the car ride alone would have been worth the effort though.

My boys are 17 and 14.  They are rough and tumble boys, and they have everything in common with their rough and tumble Dad.  My boys and Scott have shared many road trips together going to various sporting events, and on missions trips.  I can tell when Scott and the boys return  that the time they spent together was the best stuff life has to offer.  I was hoping for the same.

Trapping your teenage sons in a small car with you for 16 hours is key to getting a conversation started.  This strategy did not disappoint.  I talked and listened to these young men for hours.  They had such interesting things to say.  They’re funny.

I learned more about their plans for the future.  We talked politics, faith and even about relationships with the opposite sex.  Not for very long about that.  That was their least favorite thing to talk about.

We missed Olivia and Scott  a lot.  I’m not going to lie.  We also enjoyed a road trip with a lead driver who keeps a little looser hold of the reins.  That’s right.  I’ve got Scott totally beat in the let’s just go with the flow department.  After we had been driving for several hours, one of the boys told me he had to go to the bathroom.  I said, “The tank isn’t empty though.  We have to stop when it’s empty, so we can fill it up.”

One of my sons responded, “Why can’t you just stop now, and fill it up even though it isn’t all the way empty?”

I thought about that for a while.  I said, “Because Dad?”

That’s when we decided to defy tyranny.   For the rest of the trip, when someone had to go to the bathroom, we stopped immediately.  I filled the gas tank up when it was  half empty and three-quarters empty.  First trip ever that no one had to cry in agony from extreme bladder holding.   Scott will shudder to hear of this complete mismanagement.  I liked being in charge.

We had ourselves some fun.  The boys were looking forward to spending time with their cousins.  If I gave my kids the choice between Disneyland, a major league baseball game, or being with their cousins, cousins would win every time.  Our kids have always loved their cousins.  When they lost one, they started loving them even more.


One of the boys’ cousins just graduated from college.  He’s joining the ranks of responsible adults.  Poor kid.  My boys and their  two cousins enjoyed three full days of non stop boy fun.  It was the perfect send off for their older cousin.  Hearing these four boys giggling and teasing each other made their moms happy. Did you know boys can giggle?  It’s a good sound.  All the driving was worth it.


Garden of the Gods


I was feeling good about being with my sisters too.  These are women who are easy to enjoy.  Don’t get me wrong.  We fight.  One time in Colorado I said something one of my sisters didn’t like.  She said she was going to give me the silent treatment.  That was the longest 60 seconds of my life.  She said that she hoped I learned my lesson.  I definitely did.




We spent a lot of time outside, and we saw a lot of pretty things.  I tried to take as many pictures as I could.  Boys aren’t very cooperative with that.  After the first day, they told me they wanted to be done posing for family portraits.  Fine.  They’re not very good at it anyway.  I am.


photo 2


My big girl job is promoting Wisconsin.  It’s easy, because I love Wisconsin.  Colorado also has my heart.  Pretty scenery and the outdoors make me happy.  The low humidity, bugless air, and commonly blue skies are so cooperative.  There wasn’t much reason to stay inside.

One day, one of my sisters and I were reading under a tree while the cousins played frisbee golf.   My sister left to use the bathroom, and  a man about my age approached.  He was dressed very  Coloradoee (real word).  Coloradians don’t try too hard.  That’s another reason I love it there.

He noticed my Wisconsin License plates.  He said, “Are you from Wisconsin?”

I said, “Yes.”

He took a drag of his cigarette.  As he moved closer, I noticed that he must have been wearing marijuana flavored cologne.

He told me that he moved from Wisconsin to Colorado 16 years ago.  He said he plays all year round: white water rafting, fly fishing, frisbee golf, skiiing.

I said, “That sounds so awesome!”

He told me that he works a little here and there, doing odd jobs to fund all of his play.  Mostly he just plays.   I believed him.  He definitely looked like my teenage nephew from Colorado.  Only this guy was trapped inside a 40 something year old body.

He said he found Wisconsin to be distasteful.  He said, “I left, and never looked back.  When I have gone back I see my friends from high school, and it’s like, dude, you’ve never even done anything with your life.”

I said, “For sure.  They probably just got married, had kids and are working hard to raise them.  Seems like a total waste. Some people just don’t get it.”

He said, “For sure, Dude.”

Then he invited our whole family to get a free frisbee golf lessons from him.

I loved this time with some of my family.   It’s true.  I am one of those poor suckers from Wisconsin who never did anything with their life.  But, I am getting better at recognizing an opportunity for fun when I see it.  I’m learning not to hesitate. You can only grab an opportunity while it’s there.  I’m glad I’m learning that.


miki and boys


Weddings and How to Get a Job as a Neurosurgeon

My niece’s wedding was last weekend.  She’s beautiful, but don’t tell her that.  She doesn’t like hearing it. She found a fun, quiet, kind and intelligent boy to love.  I just love celebrating people like that:

Elle wedding


I love all my nieces and nephews, Scott’s side and mine. When they were babies and toddlers, it was easy to love them.  They were so cute and funny.  What I didn’t realize then was how my love for them would grow as they grew.

I have had one nephew and  two nieces get married in the last several years.  My newly married nieces are sisters.    They share a sisterly love that I recognize well.  They are tightly bonded, but are very different.

Both my nieces are kind and humble.  My older niece is articulate, outgoing and funny in the most clever way I’ve ever known.  The entire family counts on her to keep us entertained.  She gushes her affection on us all.

Her younger sister who was married this past weekend,  is gentle, soft-spoken, musically gifted, reserved and strong:  physically strong, but emotionally strong too.  These two love each other:


Elle Libby


For this wedding, I did something truly  I bought my niece and her new husband a gift off their bridal registry at Target.  I wrapped it, and attached a real wedding card:

wedding gift


I don’t wanna brag, but I did all that the day BEFORE the wedding.  Not the day of.  Just to be clear.  This marks the first time EVER that I have brought a real wedding gift to a wedding.  Every other wedding we have attended, I could be found cutting a check to the bride and groom on the way from the wedding to the reception.  Hopefully there is a Walgreens on the way to pick up a card.  If not, a generic congratulations card from the gas station is a back up plan I have used.

People who bring real wedding gifts to weddings have always freaked me out.  They  freak me out with their awesomeness.  I don’t know how they do it.   That’s the kind of stuff that just seems impossible to me.  One time my sister-in-law framed the sheet music of our cousin’s wedding song, and gave that to our cousin as a wedding gift.  Now that’s just showing off.

I wanted to buy a gift, because I’ve been experimenting with being a grown up.   Grown ups do grown up things, like buy gifts in advance.   I also wanted to buy a gift, because I wanted to take advantage of my new 5% discount with my debit card at Target.

I told my Facebook friends that I was in a standoff with Target for a long time over the debit card.  I literally had the same guy check me out three times in a row.  I’m sorry to be unkind, but this guy  looked like he could use some fresh air and exercise.  He maybe was one of the guys who plays  “Clash of Clans” instead of sleeping at night.   Then he has to go to work, and he’s super crabby.

Over the course of three interactions with Mr. Clash of Clans, he made his opinion of me known.  He told me that it was basic ignorance that prevented me from getting the Target debit card.  He held me in disdain.   That’s why  I decided to never in my life get a Target debit card.   I make the best decisions out of spite.

I stuck to my guns for a year or so.  Then, a lady checked me out who spoke English as a second language.  She looked like she was a mom, and she said in a very nice voice, “I think you like that card.  It save you money.”

“Where do I sign?” I asked.

She seemed surprised that she talked me into it so quickly.

I have been so flippin’ busy at work lately.  Craziness.  Last week I was taking a nice woman on a tour of some rental properties.  Before the tour I was cleaning my car.  I saw a clipboard in the trunk.  I decided to put the itinerary for the day on the clip board.  SHABAM!  Something insane happened.  I instantly became more knowledgeable.  Do you realize how much more credible you are when you carry a clipboard?  You  feel it.  You instantly know things you didn’t know before you were holding a clipboard.  People respect you.  People ask you to help them with their problems.

I knew this was true about umbrella canes.  I didn’t know about the clip board though.  I told my Facebook friends a while back that the easiest way to gain respect is to use your umbrella as a cane when you walk about.  You think I’m kidding?  See for yourself:




I was thinking that I might get a clip board and an umbrella cane and go interview for a job as a Neurosurgeon or Chief Financial Officer.  The interviewers will be like, “What qualifications do you have for this field of work?”

I’ll look down at my clipboard and then look back up.  I’ll point my umbrella cane right at them,  and I’ll say, “Do we really have time to waste on this trivial type of questioning?  People are dying at this very moment.  Of neuro problems.  Let’s proceed.”

They’ll look at my clip board and umbrella cane and say to each other, ” Well,  she obviously knows what she’s doing.  I don’t think we should waste her time. ”

Then I’ll get the job.




How to Raise Unspoiled Americans: You Can’t

This past weekend we had a Saturday with nothing scheduled. My daughter and I were home alone. On Friday night I was a little giddy with the anticipation of unscheduled time ahead. I got carried away and made the mistake of telling my daughter that maybe we could go shopping the next day, but then we didn’t.

You DON’T do that. You don’t mention the possibility of shopping to an almost 13-year-old girl, and then not go shopping. That’s like telling a heroin addict you’ve got heroin, but you’ve decided not to give it to them. Those jokers will shoot you down.

I woke up on Saturday and it was sunny. Sunny enough for me to see we were living in a sticky, ratty raccoon’s nest. I just picture raccoon as not being very good housekeepers . I’m not sure they deserve that.

I needed to clean. My daughter needed to help. That’s fun news to break to your almost-13-year-old daughter. I wish you could have been there.

“Ahh, good morning, Sweetheart. I am sorry, but I decided that we are NOT going to go shopping after all. The good news is that you DO get to scrub the toilets.”

I like my daughter. For real. I’m sad for her that she does not have any sisters, but happy for me. She’s my best friend. We have tons of fun together. I have told Scott that I think we won the baby girl jack pot when she was born. She’s nice. She likes to follow the rules. She’s not very sassy, and she seems to have a pretty soft heart. But, she is almost 13. Sometimes she can act like it. Sometimes almost 13-year-olds can act like sweet, precious, fuzzy little hellcats. Especially when you back out on their shopping trips.

That morning I started to think about all the shopping trips my daughter has taken. She has friends who’s mothers are saints. I.AM.NOT.KIDDING.YOU.SAINTS. These women have demanding jobs, busy husbands, multiple, busy children AND they take their daughter and her friends to the mall to browse around all day. They all walk around looking for bargains. These moms usually spring for ice cream, or some other fun treat. My daughter adores these moms. I do too.

So far, Scott has hosted one of these mall browsing outings for the girls, but I have stayed away from it. It sounds just so painful. I’ve told my daughter and her friends, “Listen, I don’t think I can actually take you to the mall all day, but we COULD do something more fun; like run over my foot with the minivan.” No takers so far.

Let’s be truthful with each other. I’m not staying away from the mall because I’m standing on moral high ground. I’m staying away because it sounds super boring. I’m selfish. That’s it.

But I do have to wonder what my daughter needs at the mall. What do I need at the mall? Both of our closets are full. Do we need shoes so that we don’t have to go barefoot to school and work? No. We probably have 40 pairs of shoes between the two of us. Do we need belts to hold our pants up while we work? No. We probably have 20 belts, and we don’t do really hard work. Do we need coats to keep us warm? Nope. There are dozens and dozens of those in our house.

I tried cheering my daughter up on Saturday with a little mini sermon. She really looked that gift horse in the mouth. I tried explaining to her that like many Americans, we misuse the word “need” every day. We do not know what “need” means, because every day when we wake up in a warm house, with food to eat, clothes to wear, school to attend and freedom to say what we want and to worship whom we please, all our needs are met.

When all our basic needs are met, we make up new ones. We say, “I need another pair of leggings; I need a new hair cut; I need a new painting for that wall.” We add layer after layer of things around us. All of our stuff surrounds us. All of our stuff is insulation that protects us from ever having to feel the pain of a real need. If we don’t ever have to experience real need, then we can’t help being spoiled. It isn’t really even our choice. It’s geography. It is cause and effect. But we can at least acknowledge we are spoiled. We can do that much, right?

My daughter broke in right about there and said, “I’m going to go clean the toilets.”

I think I totally inspired her. I know it wasn’t because she just wanted me to stop talking. There is no way an almost 13-year-old would do that.

I’m being a little silly. This video is not silly. It’s sad. I found it on a blog I like to read:

I pray for peace.

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