I'm just a wife and mother who earnestly desires to grow in my faith and it's demonstration. DISCLAIMER! I have absolutely no problem with women in the clergy. As a matter of fact, I have several female pastors who I consider friends. In my home, the pastor is a male so the pronouns I use to refer to a pastor tend to be male. This is not a statement of any kind. Just a reflection of my every day life!

Archive for November, 2015

To a Mom I Never Knew

An Open Letter to the mom in Barnes & Noble:

I saw you.  You and both of your adorable little guys.  At least, I assume they were both yours.  One called you “mom” and I’m not sure who, besides a mom, would brave the mall on the day after Black Friday with two young men who didn’t look quite old enough to be in school yet!  Big crowds and two little ones in tow without another adult along?!  Only a mother would be that nuts!

They were adorable. I’m not just talking the mini-sized flannel shirt and little “work boots” on the older boy.  Or the adorable curls and blue eyes on the littlest guy.  The way they interacted with each other was just too cute for words.

They were SO excited to be at the bookstore.  And they were EXTRA excited that they EACH got to take a book home.  They were showing each other the “best parts” of their books, pointing excitedly at the Christmas decorations hanging in the store, talking about the “cool sweatshirt” that another customer had on . . . they were having a blast.

Were they loud?  Not really.  I mean, not for their ages.  They were excited and the volume was that of a child who was having a moment he simply did not want to forget.  There was so much to see and be excited about – they didn’t want to miss any of it so they were very eager to point it all out to each other.  But too loud?  Not even close.

Those boys were wonderfully well-behaved  – they excused themselves when people needed to get down the aisle they were in, when the youngest dropped his book the oldest stopped and said, “I can get that for you”, the oldest was careful to warn the younger one when he almost stepped in front of a customer . . . all in all, very well-behaved men-in-training.

Then I took a good look at you, mom.  And I saw the tight set in your shoulders, the fact that your eyes kept darting to all of the adults within hearing distance of your little men . . . you were just waiting for that one cranky adult to rear his or her ugly head.  You were waiting for the first eye roll and sigh, for the first comment along the lines of “It would be so nice if people would teach their children how to behave in public” to be said just loudly enough for you to hear.

And my heart hurt for you.  There was nothing about the way those boys were acting that should have angered anyone and certainly nothing for you to be worried about!  But the way you kept “reading the room” told me that you had heard unkind things before.  You’ve run into people who have nothing kind to say about anyone who isn’t exactly like them.  The oldest smiled at me and said, “Mom’s getting me this book!” and showed me his choice – Giraffes Can’t Dance – so I smiled back and said, “That’s a great book.” (It really is – fantastic lesson in that one!) His smile got even bigger and he said, “I know!” Then he turned to you – “Mom!  She likes this book too!”  I think I’m officially a cool kid with the preschool/early elementary set now.  You simply smiled at him and said, “I heard honey.  Shall we go pay?”  And the little guy piped up, “Then ice cream, right?!”  This time it was your smile that grew when you said, “Right.”

I tell you all of this, stranger, to say that it was a joy to watch your two boys even for a moment or two.  They were enjoying one another’s company, being very good to each other, and were excited about having a new book to read!  I wish I could have told you all of that in the store.  I wish I could have encouraged you to simply enjoy the friendly banter and ignore the cranks.  I wish I could have told you that you must be doing more than a few things right after what I saw today. Oh! And enjoy the ice cream!

And those cranky people who feel the need to roll their eyes, sigh or make negative comments?  Just remember this – some people have to leave their emotional “ick” all over the place in the hopes that other will step in it and become just as cranky as they are.  They have to find SOME way to justify their own grumpy attitude!  So ignore the grumps, cuddle your boys, and read them those awesome new books you bought for them today.  (And one last thing – spoiler:  Gerald the Giraffe finds out that he can, indeed, dance after all!)

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Perspective

Something happened this week that kind of made my toes feel a touch stepped on.  It was nothing big and I am all but certain it wasn’t meant the way I took it.  But I made the foolish choice to allow it to get me out of sorts for a bit.  Frankly, I overreacted!

Then perspective kicked in.

A friend from Erie lost her mom to an illness and lost her sister-in-law just days later to violence.

Another friend from Erie lost her dad to a heart attack.

A “young man” – he’s closer to my baby sister’s age than mine – is battling stage 4 cancer.  It’s ravaging his body and they were hoping he would be stable enough to return home.  The pictures of him with his kids and wife were heart-wrenching to say the very least.  It doesn’t look good and they are treasuring every next breath he takes.  Barring a miracle, he is nearing the end of his journey in this life.

I’m oh so homesick this year.  Strangely, so are both my sisters.  The silliest things – a favorite Christmas movie, baking a traditional holiday sweet treat – have been causing tears and fond memories.   I’m missing my grandparents an extra lot for some reason this year.  Maybe it’s the fact that their great-granddaughter’s wedding is in just a few weeks and they won’t be there.   I’ve shed quite a few tears today remembering holidays spent at Grandma and Grandpa’s house and wishing that just once more I would find myself packed into Grandma’s kitchen with my mom, my sisters, my aunt, my cousins and grandma cleaning up from the Thanksgiving meal (after which we’d all sit down to work on a puzzle – it was a thing, trust me).  Grandpa and his Christmas ties, Grandma’s Christmas village, a fire in the fireplace . . . and that ridiculous motion activated Santa Clause – which would bounce up and down and sing “Jingle Bells” when you walked by – that always scared the tar out of me when I came down in the mornings when we would visit over Christmas!

I cannot be with any of the extended family this year and I’m rather pouty about it.  And that “toes stepped on” thing from earlier?!  Yeah, that doesn’t even register right now.  And I still have my siblings, my children, my spouse, my parents, and my nieces and nephews. There is a rich legacy  handed down from grandparents – who constantly welcomed strangers into their home and did whatever good they could in the community where they spent their entire married lives – that I am lucky enough to be a part of.  So tomorrow, there will be a great big meal in the evening with the traditional entree as well as some things that have become traditional pieces of the meal in recent years.  My “almost-son-in-law” will join us as will an honorary daughter who needed a place to call home for the holiday.  I will enjoy the laughter, make more memories, take advantage of the gift of technology to schedule a “Google Hangout” with my sisters, and revel in the fact that those I love know I miss and love them.

Hug your loved ones a little tighter, spend just a second longer sitting at the table and laughing, and cherish whatever stage of life you find yourself in.  For those who are grieving this holiday season because a loved one isn’t with you, this song keeps running through my head so I’m going to share it here:

 

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