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

Posts tagged ‘Zeke’

My Mom Job

I am getting close to 20 years into the mom gig.  That’s child’s play compared to some gals, but I’m not exactly a beginner either, am I?   I have been thinking about mom skills a lot lately; I’m trying to assess what I have learned from my years on the job so far.  (Please, let me have learned at least one thing.)

Yesterday, Scott and I were talking about how our parental roles were quite clear when the kids were young. He says it boiled down to two things:

  1. Safety
  2. Activity Director

Simple.  We liked that.  Sure, those roles required stamina.  They were physically demanding, and often led to exhaustion, but what doesn’t feel better than a hard day’s work?  Moms with young kids go to bed weary, and wake up the next day knowing they get to do it all again.

Eddie is our oldest; that poor boy.  He has to be the first to teach us everything.  Scott and I have noticed that at some time in the last year, he crossed over a line.  Eddie is leading us into unfamiliar terrain, and Scott and I are trying to get our parental footing down.

One night after work last week, Eddie sat on the couch and talked with us about work, and what has been keeping him busy lately. Then, he played us a new song he’s learned on his guitar.  I don’t think two people exist on this Earth who could provide Eddie with a more interested  and engaged audience than Scott and me.   That moment was my awakening.   Listening and a bit of encouragement is all a son who’s almost a man really needs from his parents.  I really got it in me to do so much more, but  I can tell I shouldn’t.

I’m grateful that Zeke and Olivia are still wandering through familiar terrain.  It’s clear these two are getting so much closer to crossing over that line to join their big brother.  Once they cross over,  the invisible line that has them  tethered to us  snaps.  Then,  we are all in a free fall.

Zeke had friends over last week, and they wanted to go to a water park.   Zeke and a couple of the other boys do have a driver’s license, but they still have restrictions on how many passengers can ride with them.  They needed Scott and me to drive them.  Scott and I could not have been happier to be needed.  We relished in the moment.  When Scott and I mentioned to the kids that we were sad, because we knew we were just a year or two away from getting the axe, and not being included in their plans, Olivia told us she will never NOT want us to come to a water park with her.   Thank you, Olivia. It’s nice to know some kids are actually loyal.

I don’t know why Olivia likes us, because we can be kind of mean.  When we were at the water park, everyone split up into groups.  Scott and I went on the Lazy River.  On one trip around, we happened to see Olivia, her girlfriend, and a new friend that is a boy waiting in line on the bridge above us.  The kids waved to us, and then Scott had the good idea to pretend that he and I were about to make out.  The look of horror on Olivia’s face was magical.  Her girlfriend was laughing pretty hard too.  Scott and I enjoyed that moment, and congratulated ourselves for our quick thinking for at least the next four trips around the river.  I think that when you’ve put in all the long hours of parenting, you get to take these moments to humiliate your teenagers, and really enjoy them.   We should get something out of the deal,  shouldn’t we?

I wasn’t so mean to Zeke.   Zeke is 16 now.  I know he needs his space. I told him before the boys came that I would stay out of the way.  Privately, I also committed myself to being calm, quiet, and not even slightly embarrassing.  I had to give myself this speech, because none of that happens for me without effort.   I really would like to give myself some recognition here.  I pulled off an Oscar winning performance.   I thought I behaved like a serene and cool woman. Not one bit like myself.

I didn’t realize what an effort I was making until I was alone with Olivia and one of her best pals.  We started joking around, and before you know it, I was doing the running man, and some other, equally awesome dance moves, and it just felt so good to be able to be me.  I am thankful Olivia’s friends are silly and fun, and not opposed to crazy moms. I hope Zeke appreciates what I do for him.

I love being a Mom. I love it so much. I love thinking about it, and figuring out what I need to do better, and what is going right.  I know the Mom role evolves in a lifetime, but I don’t think it ever ends.  I was talking to two moms recently.  One mom has a grown child going through a tragic time. The other has an almost grown child going through an emotionally challenging period of life.  After talking to these two moms, I came to this conclusion:  In many cases moms feel their children’s pain with greater intensity than the child who’s actually experiencing the difficulty.  I know this is not true in all cases, and for every mom.  But, for many moms it is truth.

ed and mom graduation

You know the worst part about this?  Moms have to suffer in silence.  Most of us moms know that if we tell our kids how distressed we are over their burdens, it only makes the child’s burdens worse.  Nope.  Moms have to selflessly pretend to be full of courage and cheer, and tell our kiddos to pick themselves up, and march through that crap storm, because that’s good advice.  And, pulling your grown child on your lap, and snuggling them while you both cry is not an option, sadly.

At least all of us moms can hug each other.

Here…I’ll leave you with this.  Basically, the worst song ever made.  Almost certain to leave my Mom friends a mess. I’m sorry. I know we’re friends, and I just shouldn’t.

 

 

 

 

 

End of Era Skills

My blogging all but dried up during the cold, busy season of wrestling. I mean, winter.  I forget that it isn’t spring, summer, fall, wrestling for everyone else.

Anyway, I’m back now.

Because I have this writing compulsion, my poor Facebook friends have had to take the heat. In light of my inability to find time to blog, long and regular Facebook posts have become my jam.  I’m ready to blog again; now I can put all my nonsense into regular blog updates.. My Facebook friends will be glad for it.

I have just one subject on my mind today: how badly I handle the end of an era. Not good at it at all.  Eddie is going to college. He will be moving out.

Three of the worst days of my life were the three days I dropped off our kids at Kindergarten.  Since that time,   I have developed only a few meager skills to improve my ability to cope with days like this.

I remember dropping Zeke off, and running into a friend of mine on the way out of the school..  This friend was just as nuts about her kids as I am mine.  I was blubbering and carrying on, and even though she gave me a nice pat on the back, I could read in her eyes that she’d thought better of me than this pathetic display.  No need for all the fuss, really.

In my head, I am totally aware that over the years, gazillions of moms who love their kids  have managed first day of Kindergarten, and high school graduation without theatrics.  I can too. Except, I’m not off to a very good start.

Yesterday, I was in the bathroom at a restaurant, and I heard a little boy tell his Mom, “Hey.  I’m not suppose to be in here. This bathroom is for gewls, not boys. I’m a boy.”

I remembered when Eddie was offended by the same thing when he was little, and then I got choked up.

Later, I was watching a show with a dad playing football with is two little sons, and there the tears were again. Scott always played football with our kids.  Boo hoo!!!

Then, I watched a rerun of “The Middle”. Sue Heck was going to college. You’ll never guess what I was doing.  Okay, so you did guess.  Crying.

Little kids and TV aren’t the only things making me cry.  I was putting gas in my car, and heard a sad song playing over the P.A..  That’s all it took.  Tears in my eyes again.

All three of our kids remember how I handled the whole Kindergarten debacle.  I’d like to think they remember it, because it really isn’t like me to cry and carry on.   They haven’t seen it much in their lifetimes.  I generally save the all out crying for deaths of loved ones…and Kindergarten.

I remember 5-year-old Eddie trying to make me feel better about his Kindergarten debut.  That kid was so happy to be growing up, and a part of his own society.  He couldn’t figure out why his Mom wasn’t on board.  I wrote in his baby book that one day after school he was trying to make me feel better.  He said, “Mom, when I’m at Kindergarten, just go to the zoo!”

See,he said that, because we took the kids to the zoo a lot, and he knew I liked it there. Now can you see why I’m CRYINGGGG????  Isn’t that SOOOOO sweet????!!

I know. Pull yourself together, lady.

I’m going to try.  I really am.  Because kids moving on is good. That’s what you want them to do.  It means they’re healthy, and it means you haven’t done the worst job as a parent, right? Plus,  Moms say goodbye to their 18-year-olds every year, and you don’t hear them whining about it.  I mean, if my 18-year-old was clinging to my leg, begging to stay, THAT would be something to cry about.

I’ll pull it together.  I promise. I will.  I’ll go to the Zoo.

 

ed and zeke wrestling

First they’re little.

 

 

Ed State 1

Then…POOF!  They’re big.  It’s a trap.

Express Blog and Inconsequential Findings

I think I’m posting blogs further apart these days.  It feels like I am.  Quiet moments are not presenting themselves this past month; I’m not good at blogging around noise, or in a crowd.  I prefer no distractions.

Thank the Good Lord for creating Mark Zuckerberg.  Facebook satiates my hunger to express myself.  If you want to bet my Facebook friends that I am their most frequently posting friend,  you’ll win that bet.  I post a lot.

Here’s the alarming part of my Facebook presence.  My FB activity is an example of me exhibiting self control.  What my FB friends don’t realize is all that stuff I’m saying on Facebook is only HALF of what I WANT to say.

What’s wrong with me?

I give myself little lectures.  I say, “Okay Miki, that’s enough.  People have had enough of your shenanigans.  You’re going to resist the urge to post what’s on your mind for the next week. Got it?  Got it.”

Five minutes later.  Reggie is snuggled in the blankets projecting such cuteness, it would be a sin NOT to post a picture of him. Plus, I need to mention how much I love him.  Because, that’s original, right?  I mean I REALLY love my dog; nobody’s thought of that.    Suddenly, slipping back down the slope.

Sometimes I’ll post something on FB, let it sit for a few minutes, then delete it.  Occasionally, I’ve had friends ask me where a post went.  I just tell them I’m sorry.  I had second thoughts.

What’s a girl with an addiction to writing words, and a head full of silly thoughts to do?

Thanks for the therapy sesh.  I’ve missed this between us.

Now, in the interest of time, I’m going to express blog the rest of my way through this. I thought I might highlight a few random tidbits occupying the space between my ears. This might be how I blog until I have time to go old school, long blog again.  Prepare for your life to be changed:

Bragging

When people say, “I don’t mean to brag”, they mean, “I do mean to brag, but I’d like to be excused for it”.  I generally don’t mind when people brag.  They should leave off the, “I don’t mean to brag” part though.   When I hear that I wonder if I SHOULD mind.

Fitbit

The verdict is in; I’m ready to share the results.   I’ve had my Fitbit for almost one year. It works.

I have a routine I follow each day to get my steps.  It is rare for me to change my routine.  I had a couple of extremely busy days last week.  Time did not allow for my normal routine.  I fell quite short of my step goal on those days.  I realized on those days that my default mode is inactive.  I am not your friend who will bustle around you, fluffing pillows and picking lint off your sweater, because I just can’t sit still.   I LOVE being still.  Love it.

For some reason, my mind believes it’s accountable to my Fitbit; I’m not telling my mind otherwise.

The Fitbit works for me.

Walking

Speaking of steps, my super good work friend and I walk at lunch.  We walk the same route each day.  One day, there was a man who was standing off the sidewalk, more towards the street.  The man was smoking, and yelling something.  He seemed angry. At first, I thought the man may be in charge of some construction in the area.  As we walked closer, we realized there was no construction in the area.

That day, my friend and I decided to change our walking route.

On a different day, I was walking alone.    I was startled when I heard a man yell something in my direction from behind me.  I looked, and I saw the same man who was yelling in the street. This time, he was sitting in a lawn chair, outside of an apartment.  He was a big man, with a big belly.  He was wearing tiny shorts.  Nothing else. It wasn’t  warm.

My good walking friend and I have discussed this man at length.  We have agreed that if he should ever pursue us, we will make every effort to push each other in his direction to save ourselves. I thought I might say “Take her.  She’s younger. She’s smart. She can do your taxes.”

Sometimes it’s just good to have your cards on the table with people.

Faith

Zeke and Olivia are in a church group called “Impact”.  The group is an off-shoot of normal youth group.  Impact is for kids who might be asking themselves, “Why are we doing  this again?”

Impact takes an up close look at the Bible. The kids discuss what they read, and ponder how it may apply to their lives right now.  The other day, Zeke happened upon this scripture in the Book of Romans.  He was excited about it:

But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being.  So nobody has a good excuse.

Zeke thought this scripture answered a lot of questions for him.  I agree.  God reveals himself to EVERYONE through creation.

I hear from God every morning.   I see the black sky dotted with white stars first, until the sky turns pink as the sun rises.  My eyes take it in, and I know: man did not create this.   I would know it, If I had never heard a single sermon in my life on Earth.   I see an eagle soaring over the river.  I look at my small hands.  No hands like mine put that eagle in the sky. I feel humble.  My heart knows a God like this should be worshiped.

Rebekkah picture

*Photo credit to my friend, Rebekah Brackett.  She is an artist. She captures beautiful pictures of her world, and shares them on Facebook.

I Saw Something Beautiful

I saw something beautiful last night.  I didn’t sleep well, and I woke up early because of it. I am feeling a compulsive urge to capture what I saw in words.  The sun won’t be up for a while, but I need to write this now.

Is this how real artists feel?  I always told people I was an artist; they should stop treating me like a normal person.  Artists shouldn’t be expected to do the dishes and go to work is what I have been saying.  Do you think Picasso had to get his own coffee?  It’s hard when you’re the only one who really “gets it”.

Last night we celebrated my Aunt and Uncle’s 55th wedding anniversary.  A lot of years ago, my Dad’s sister, Peggy,  went to a movie with a tall skinny guy she met, named Stan.  These two kids hit it off.  They got married: 3 daughters, 7 grandkids and 55 years later, seemed like a good time to celebrate,

stan peg inviate

My cousins hosted this celebration for their parents in one of my cousin’s backyards last night.  This party was a Pinterest explosion.  My cousins are like that.  If these ladies lived in a cardboard box, the cardboard box would have walls covered in a faux finish; there would cozy lighting and shabby chic pillows cast artfully about so that you’d be jealous of their cardboard box.  You’d wish you could live in a cardboard box too, instead of a dumb ol’ house.

That’s just my cousins; they can’t help it.  They’re not trying to make you feel badly about how every time you attempt style in your house, it looks like you hired a 9-year- old decorator.  Trust me.  These women aren’t doing this on purpose. At least,  that’s what my therapist told me to think about that.

But, we can dig into your insecurities later.  Right now, I want to capture this beautiful thing I was telling you about.

First, I have to go backwards.  My Aunt and Uncle live 2 hours away.  We had 2 hours for Scott (and Zeke)  to hear all the important stuff my brain has been storing.  My family must love our car rides.

I was telling Scott and Zeke about some folks I’ve been reading about in the press lately.  These folks are semi famous for one reason or another.  These folks have always claimed to be hard core Christians.  I mean, from what they’ve told us, this being a Christian thing is their main message in life, and the main thing we should learn about from them.  They’ve spoken about their Christianness with authority.

Recently,  it has come to light, that while these famous Christian people are using fame to convince us of their upstanding Christianness, they are simultaneously orchestrating a heinous private life.  I don’t know why I’m surprised by this stuff anymore.  It’s not a new thing.  I can’t help it though.  I always take it hard.

It isn’t the heinous private life that troubles me.  I’m not in charge of other people.  We are all responsible for our own choices, and the resulting consequences.  What makes it hard for me to recover is the big, fancy, public display of Christian faith.

Do you want to know what super unchristian thought I have when I hear these stories?  I’m going to tell you, because I need Jesus, and here’s how I know it.  When I hear these stories, I think about these people, and I want to say, “Just SHUT UP!  Please.  Stop talking.   Just stop.  Not another word.”

This is what I was telling Scott and Zeke on the way up to my Aunt and Uncle’s anniversary celebration.  I told my family that I was starting to come to the conclusion that people should just quit talking about their faith completely.  Maybe talking about Jesus is the easiest thing in the world to do.  Because, literally, anybody can do it.

I said that I felt like in a world with everyone yammering on (guilty) about how you should live, and what you should believe, there’s nothing new to hear.  I told my family that in a world like this, my actions are my testimony.  My life is my testimony.  I feel disillusioned by all the speeches.

That’s where my mind was at when we parked in front of my cousin’s house.

After we ate dinner, my cousins had a short little program lined up.  My Aunt and Uncle played, “The Newlywed Game”.  That was fun to watch.  Then, my cousins told the crowd what their parents’ happy marriage meant to them in their lives. Everything.

My cousins then asked the five grandkids if they would like to share a few words about their Grandparents.  You could tell this was a surprise request.

stand and peg anniversary

And, this is the beautiful thing I saw.

All five of these grandkids are young adults:  married for a short time, getting married, or going to college.  That sums up where these kids are at in life.  One by one, while holding back tears,  these kids told all of us sitting there how much their Grandparents meant to them.

Each grandchild told their Grandparents that they appreciated all their physical support.  The grand kids said thank you for all the meals they ate  with Grandma and Grandpa,  for the golf games with Grandpa, and for the luxury of knowing Grandma and Grandpa would be there to support them with whatever they chose to do.

The other thing that every single one of these grandkids thanked Grandma and Grandpa for was their faith in Jesus Christ.  These kids explained that Grandma and Grandpa helped them understand that no matter how difficult life became, their faith could carry them.

That’s it.  That’s the beautiful thing I saw.

I saw two young kids who committed themselves to God and to each other 55 years ago.  I saw an imperfect couple who spoke to God privately, daily, asking God for help, asking God  to show them how to raise a family, because they couldn’t do it on their own.  I saw a couple who endured heartache, trauma and their share of disappointment over a lifetime.  I saw a couple who’s faith allowed their hearts to resist bitterness, and to remain content.

I saw a couple who didn’t give grand public speeches about how people should live.  I saw a couple who, in the privacy of their own home,  fell on their knees before God;  Praying to a God they believe is  intimately invested and concerned with the well being of their family and the world.

I saw a couple who  woke up early, without witnesses, and read God’s Word; believing God’s promises were meant for them.

I saw a couple who practiced generosity and kindness every day.  A couple who said they were sorry, who asked for forgiveness.

I saw a couple who’s Grandkids have been watching and listening to their Grandparents.  Those Grandkids received an inheritance from their Grandparents worth more than any amount of money on Earth.

Grandma and Grandpa are towards the end of their lives now.  There will come a day when Grandma and Grandpa will not be physically available to offer comfort and support to the people they love.  But, Grandma and Grandpa’s hearts can be at peace.  Their private lives have been a testimony with impact.  Their grandkids were watching, learning and receiving instruction.  Their grandkids are now claiming their Grandparents’  faith as their own. These grandkids told their Grandparents, thank you.  We will not be shaken.

To me, it’s beautiful.  I can’t know if that’s the life I’m living, but that’s the life I desire.  I can say just about anything to anyone.  But, my family is watching what I do.  I really, really, don’t want to mess that up.

My cousin, Jodi, told me last night that shortly after each Grandchild was born, Grandpa Stan would take the grandchild in his arms and go for a little walk.  On their walk Grandpa would whisper his prayer to God,   committing his new grandchild to the Lord, asking for God’s blessing to cover this new grandchild. Grandpa Stan would also ask God for the favor of building a true and genuine faith in the heart of this new little human.  So that this precious, fragile life would feel security and peace despite what trials may come.

Grandpa Stan performed this meaningful, divine, life altering ritual privately.  Grandpa Stan followed where God led his heart, for the sake of his and his Grandchild’s spiritual lives.  Without an audience, and in front of no one.

It was beautiful.

.

Cheers to a Future…

Hey y’all, give me a little hug around the neck. Ya hear?

Sorry.  “Friday Night Lights.”

I’m heavily influenced by whatever story I am currently following.  Remember when I was Scottish?  I’m a Texan now

I told you, I’m not that good at pacing myself; a pretty standard trait for those of us suffering with some bits and pieces of attention deficit issues. That’s a paradox, right?  People who struggle to apply their attention, actually OVER apply their attention when they’re engaged with something that is of interest to them.  Like “Friday Night Lights”.

Scott said he feels like I’m cheating on him with this show.  I’m always sneaking away to catch a few more minutes with my Friday Night Lights friends.   I half listen to Scott’s stories, because in my head I’m busy trying to solve all my friends’ problems from Dillon, Texas.

Not to worry.  I’m almost done with all these people.  I haven’t been eating and sleeping as much lately; I’ve watched almost 5 seasons in one month.  It’s called commitment.  You might want to try it.  Maybe you could finally make something of yourself.

Other things that have been happening while I’ve been living in Texas are college visits.  Here we are.  It’s time.  Eddie has always seen himself as someone who’s going to college.  When Eddie was in Kindergarten, he would come home from school and immediately put Scott’s videos of the Iowa Hawkeye wrestling tournaments in to the VCR.  I remember thinking that was a little unique for a 5-year-old.  Shouldn’t he be watching “Caillou”?  Eddie couldn’t abide that little Caillou.  Not even for a second.

Poor Eddie. He’s so much like me, I hate to tell him how much. He loves what he likes. Eddie had an insatiable appetite for college wrestling.  He still does.

So, college is certainly on the horizon for Eddie.  Good for him.  Can I be serious for a few lines?  I want to say out loud how much I  appreciate the opportunity to consider possibilities.  I didn’t always believe we’d be here.  Eddie has a future. Eddie has a future.  Eddie has a future.  I’m just going to keep saying it until I believe it.

When Eddie was in grade school, we knew this wonderful family.  This family had a couple of boys who wrestled for the Iowa Hawkeyes.  One of these boys put together a care package for sick little Eddie from the Hawkeye wrestling team.  The package included Hawkeye t-shirts worn by some of the wrestlers, including one t-shirt signed by everyone on the team.  There were also some nice notes in the package, including a short note from  Coach Dan Gable.  If you say you’re a wrestling fan, and you don’t know Dan Gable, you’re busted.  Gable is a wrestling legend;  besides those Olympic gold medals he owns,  he was also the coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes for many years.

This note from Dan Gable gave Eddie a few words of encouragement.  Gable told Eddie that it was good Eddie was getting all this sickness out of the way when he was young, so when Eddie was older he could do all the wrestling he wanted.

This. For sure. This was the best gift Eddie has ever received. Hands down.  No contest.  We framed all of it, and it might be the only Earthly possession Eddie cares about.

I remember reading Gable’s words, and feeling kind of hopeful.  I mean, Gable didn’t know Eddie, or even what was wrong with Eddie.  But, he was Dan Gable. Maybe he knew stuff about the future.  I loved him for pretending he did.

So, the future is now.  Eddie’s looking forward to a college, and, hopefully, more wrestling.  Gable called it.

The first college Eddie wanted to visit was my Alma Mater. I wish this visit had something to do with me; it’s purely coincidence.  Or, I should say, it’s purely about wrestling.

When we were on vacation with Scott’s family last week, we took the opportunity to visit campus.  I have not been to my Alma Mater since I graduated.  It’s funny how quickly you remember things.  I gave my family a tour; I wasn’t half bad.

The kids wanted to know where I stayed on campus.  I told them that their Dad and I were married then.  I lived off campus with their dad while I finished college.  The kids responded to this information with instantaneous disgust.  Especially Olivia.

Olivia is appalled that I did not have the independence nor the dignity to earn a college degree before I chained myself down to a man for the rest of my life.  I told Olivia that while I respect her point of view, I do admit I really liked her Dad a great deal; I think there’s a decent chance things are gonna work out, despite our foolishness.

UNI

Just hangin’ around campus in our Crocs.

zeke uni

Zeke wishes he was as cool as that guy.

la la uni

Her wrestling stance needs some work.

Black Hills, Bad Pictures and Self Denial

We had a good idea for a vacation this summer.  We thought that after the boys wrestled at Nationals in Fargo, ND, we could finally see Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills.  We’ve talked about taking that trip for years.  Maybe I’ve wanted to see the Black Hills a little too badly.  One time we had to take a detour through a corner of South Dakota, on our way back from Colorado.  On this detour, we passed by a blackish looking hill. I pronounced, “Hey kids.  Those are the Black Hills.”

Usually my family trusts my pronouncements.  My family seemed a little iffy on this one. Eddie asked, “Really?  That’s it?”

I’m like, “We’re in South Dakota. It’s a hill. It’s black.  Those are the Black Hills.  I don’t know what else you want from me, kid.  Now, tell your teachers and your friends that your parents took you to the Black Hills this summer.”

I don’t know why some people have to knit pick the heck out of everything you say.  Can’t they just trust me?

I didn’t realize when we were making all those Black Hills plans this year that Olivia’s missions trip was at the same time as the wrestling tournament. DANG!!!  We just couldn’t see enjoying major sight seeing short a family member.

I hate calendars.  Calendar makers are pessimists.  They like ruining all our fun.The actual plan ended up being Scott and I going to Fargo on our own.  The boys traveled with the team.

Scott and I spent four nights at a hotel, going back and forth to the Fargodome to watch the boys and their Wisconsin teammates.  I really was sad about the family  vacation being messed up, but I’m not gonna lie. Scott and I had some laughs.

I think I told you a while back that Scott and I were a little nervous about how we will survive when our kids don’t need us like they do now.  It’s scary to not be needed.  After our Fargo trip, we feel a little more confident we’ll survive.  We forgot our kids happened because Scott and I like each other.

I think Scott and I had only one difference of opinion on our little vacation.  That problem happened when we were deciding where to eat.  Decision making can cause people like us some problems.   Sometimes you just really need one person in a relationship who can handle the pressure of making a wrong choice…about tacos vs. hamburgers.  Personally, I don’t need the stress.

I wish I would have written down all the times and reasons I was laughing my head off in Fargo.  I can’t remember why now. Just so many, unimportant funny things can happen on any given day.

I do remember one thing that made me laugh until I felt like I had used up all my laughing for life.  Scott has always said he has camera anxiety. I didn’t know that was real.

Personally, I think Scott is a cute guy.  But, I have to agree with him.  I haven’t seen many pictures that accurately represent the way I think he looks in real life.  Scott says it’s because he gets nervous.  As soon as someone brings out a camera, he starts debating in his head what he should do with his smile, posture, eyes.  It’s a lot like deciding about tacos vs. hamburgers.  There’s so much at stake.

Scott and I had some time to kill between the boys’ matches in the Fargodome.  I felt like I could really help Scott figure out how to take carefree, happy pictures.  We did some selfies.  And, I don’t know.  I just don’t know.  It’s not that Scott looks so bad.  It’s just that he looks unrecognizable as a human.  I’m not actually sure how Scott could really look worse, unless he wore a hideous mask. Wait. Nope.  Still not worse.

The harder he tries, the worse it gets.

1,2,3, cheese…

bad pic 1

Oops. Your eyes were closed.

bad pic 2

Dang it.  You closed them again.

bad pic 3

Wait.  Are you trying to do that?  You have to keep your eyes open.

bad pic 4

Wow!  I can see you went to a lot of effort. Don’t do it again.

bad pic 5

Okay, maybe one of your eyes looks okay in this?

bad pic 6

We should stop.  I’m starting to doubt our relationship.

I thought all it took was persistence. Sometimes I’m wrong.

Another thing we enjoyed doing in Fargo was watching freak athletes from 46 different states wrestle their hearts out.  The wrestlers attend a camp a week prior to this week long tournament to train with their teammates from around their state.  Every day, the kids work out at an intense pace for the better part of their waking hours.  The wrestlers are generally trying to get down to their peak fighting weight too.  There is a lot of expenditure; very few deposits.

On top of the body fuel issues, you’ve got kids away from home, sleeping in hotels and hanging out with their buddies.   It’s easy not to sleep well. We decided that just learning to manage your energy for this thing could be a guy’s secret weapon.

At the end of the week Zeke’s eye was swollen shut, and Eddie was on crutches. He injured his hip.  I might be tempted to doubt whether all the boys’ effort is worth the price.  That would be a selfish thought.

I was trying to give Zeke some sympathy about how little he was eating.  He reminded me that most of us eat WAY more than we really need to on any give day.  It’s quite possible to survive on less, he told me.  Then, I told him he must not understand that I have very little tolerance for hunger.  I bet he never thought of that.  Mr. Sillypants.

I haven’t always been the best at embracing difficulties: physical (especially physical), mental, emotional.  I’m more in favor of things that happen without effort, and require little sacrifice.   I can see what is happening with all these wrestlers though.    I can see these kids are learning how to endure temporary discomfort to achieve long term goals.

Immediate gratification is a part of our wonderful, modern and convenient culture.  It isn’t wrong.  I love the drive up window.   It’s just that I have this suspicion that having what we want, whenever we want it, gets us a little out of practice with self denial.  Sometimes self denial is necessary, often helpful when building something meaningful.

I was also thinking that if a kid learns young that hard work, a bit of self denial and a dash of temporary discomfort can help them achieve something quite worthwhile over time, that kid might be well prepared for handling life.  Life isn’t always like the drive up window.

Anyway, it’s too soon to say for sure if I’m right about all this.  But, it helps a mom to believe.

fargodome 1

Family Pictures and Long Skirts

I’ve always thought that the 4th of July marked the half-way point for summer.  I guess I was wrong, because the 4th is next week, and there’s no way summer is half way gone. I’ll not be having it, laddy boy.

I’ve been reading historical fiction this summer.  I’ve been hanging out in Scotland.  Do ye know of the book “The Outlanders”?   Dinna mind me new Scottish accent, lasses.  Canna be helped.  Tis a very good book indeed.

Wow.  I’m like a sponge.  I just read books like this and then I know a whole new language.  Crazy how my mind works. It isn’t average.

I feel so freakin’ sentimental lately.  Blahh!  I hate it.  My eyes well up over nothing.  It’s all this time racing past me.  I try to grab hold of some of it, and make it stay in place; I can’t manage it.

Writing helps.  Writing is a way to memorialize simple moments in my life that would otherwise be lived and quickly forgotten.  I like to remember ordinary things.  Ordinary things are my favorite.

Pictures help too.  I recently read an article about all the things you should do with your family when your child is a senior.  One of the suggestions was taking a family portrait.  I haven’t been good about formal pictures with our family.  We’ve only taken a couple.

Here’s one of our first family pictures.  Scott always teases me about this picture.  We were in my sister and brother-in-law’s wedding. Things sort of came together for me that day; I looked pretty fancy.  It bugs Scott that I don’t have one of the kids on my lap in this picture.  He says he thinks I grabbed Zeke by the ear and pulled him out of the way so the kid wouldn’t block the camera’s view of me.

family pic

Beat it, Zeke!

C’mon, Scott.  You know I’m not like that.  But, let’s be honest.  You think one little kid is gonna stop the camera from capturing all that beauty?

I don’t know where Scott comes up these crazy ideas.

Just to keep me humble, our next family picture captured my real essence.  In that photo, I looked like wet dog with a side of hairball.  That whole picture taking experience was a fiasco.  I won’t bore you with the story now.  But, just in case you think I’m exaggerating, I’ve got proof.  It was misting/raining that day.  My hair was down, all nice and pretty.  By the time we took our picture, the only thing I could do was put all those wet strings plastered to my head into a pony tail.  What I know now is that it really doesn’t matter what I looked like.  I just want to remember what all the other nice people in this photo looked like then:

family pic

5 Years ago. Eddie has his head on my shoulder, AWWW!!!!

This article I read said that now is the time for the family portrait.  Once your senior graduates, the family dynamic will never be the same.  Capture the moment while you can. So, we did.

I called a professional photographer.  I had this discussion with her about scheduling an appointment around wrestling tournaments.  I explained to the photographer that it was likely my boys would have a black eye, or some other facial trauma, if we didn’t pick the right day. She pretended like we were having a normal conversation.

I had to call the photographer the day before our pictures.  I told her the boys did  not have any facial bruising.  Eddie just had a smallish scab on his nose.  Oh, and Eddie was on crutches.  Eddie tore a hip muscle in wrestling practice.  The photographer thought photshopping crutches out of the picture might be a challenge.

We had the pictures taken anyway.  We worked around the crutches. Picture taking can be fun.  I was really well behaved.  I didn’t shove any children out of my spotlight.

Right now, the five people in my family have fewer opportunities than ever to be all in the same place at the same time.  When we are together, I sure enjoy it.  We talk and laugh a wee bit more than y’ may believe.  Oops. There I go again.  Being bilingual is a harder than you think.  I keep having to remind myself to use English.

Eddie hurt his hip three days before our pictures.  We hadn’t talked about his injury much.   Eddie gets a bad wrap sometimes from all the members in our family.  I mean, most of the time he deserves it.  The kid can eat a new bag of chocolate chips in an hour.  But, Eddies’s got some things going for him too.  One thing we all know about Eddie is that he can take a hit.  Eddie does not complain. He doesn’t ask for help.   He doesn’t bring up his troubles in conversation.  He doesn’t do anything other than lay low, and wait for things to get better.  I guess Eddie has had a lot of practice at that.

On the way home from picture taking we were finally finding the time to ask Eddie about his injury.  It happened during wrestling practice.  Eddie felt a pop in his hip.  The guy he was wrestling put Eddie on his back and said, “Fight back, Eddie!”

Eddie said, “I can’t.”  Then, Eddie army crawled over to the wall and waited for practice to end.

Eddie’s wrestling practice is a 45 minute drive from our house.  Eddie said he left practice without being able to put any weight on his leg.  It was night time, and raining pretty hard.  He hopped on one leg out to the van.   He lost balance in the parking lot, and tried putting weight on his injured leg.  He dropped to the ground with the effort, and found himself laying in a large puddle. Eddie was close enough to the van to crawl the rest of the way.  He got to the passenger side door, opened it, and crawled over the passenger seat to the driver’s side.  He drove home using his left foot.

Eddie casually shared this story on our way home from picture taking.  I thought this was a crappy story.  Why didn’t he call us from practice so we could come and get him?  Why didn’t he tell us this story sooner?

We were real sorry to hear about what happened to Eddie, but we were enjoying being together while we heard it.  There’s something good about having teenagers.  With teenagers, there are moments when they are at their best, and you are at your best, and your realize you might have actually created your very best friends for life.  Great idea, God. Thank you!  We had several moments during the evening where we could not stop laughing.

Later in the night, Scott was trying to text a fellow coach using the voice command option on his phone. Scott was just rambling into the phone to test the technology.  He wanted to see how it worked.   At the same time he was doing that, we were laying around asking ourselves if Reggie farted.  I asked Scott if he farted, and so he spoke into his phone and said something like, “They think I farted.  I didn’t.”

I yelled into the phone, “You farted.  You stink.”

Then, Zeke yelled, “Send.”

Did you know that if you tell your voice command text to send, it will send?  Scott told us the message sent.  The message to his peer said, “Hey coach, do you know what time practice is and they think I farted.  I didn’t. You farted you stink.”

At first we didn’t believe him that it sent.  Then, he showed us.  Oh my Gosh.  You couldn’t stop us then.  We were gasping for air, we were laughing so hard, and so long.

Scott had the last laugh though.  He told us the message didn’t really send to the coach. Scott is smarter than that.  He was practicing voice texting by sending the message to Zeke’s phone.  We should have known better.  Scott was awfully calm for just having sent an important text to a respected peer about whether or not he farted.

I just have one more important thing to tell you.  I’m giving long skirts a try.  I know I’m a little late to the party. But, I’ve never been accused of being a trend setter.  I’m okay with this.

I just haven’t been on board with the long dress/skirt thing, because I felt like I would look less hip, and more like a member of the Duggar family.

I bought this long black skirt.  I think I like it.  I sort of vacillate between feeling like I’m fashion forward, and thinking I look like I should be offering Holy Communion. No disrespect.  Priests dress totally right for their line of work.

At any rate, I like this long skirt because I think there’s little chance all that fabric could get caught in the waist band without me noticing.  If you read my blogs, you feel me on this.  If not, I won’t be opening that wound.  I’m only just now beginning to heal.

long skirt

Looks pretty good, right?

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