June 24, 2007

My daughter is being baptized today. How can I be old enough to have a daughter old enough to be baptized? How can I be so very blessed that she already knows and loves the Lord?

I pray that this day serves as a marker in her Christian walk, that she will always look back on it with fondness and the knowledge that she is so very loved by her earthly parents and her heavenly Father. I pray for protection for her faith, that as she faces the hurdles of growing up in this sometimes crummy world, she will always feel the closeness of her Lord. I pray that she never stands in the way of the great things God has planned for her life.

When Tim and I didn’t get pregnant when we wished, when I poured over the Bible’s stories about womens’ infertility, I was struck by one constant thought: God knows the exact time He wishes to bring a person into human history. Samuel could not have been born before he was; John the Baptist needed to be born at the exact time to be a messenger for Christ’s coming. God has these plans for people, you see, and just because I didn’t know of the plans He had for my eventual children, He had them all the same. God knew that Abby had to be born at the exact time she was because of His perfect plans for her.

With some of these plans I can already see hints. God brought her to me to soften me, to reflect my own traits — for good and for notsogood! — back at me. God brought her to remind me to have a worshipper’s heart all the time, to never forget the lost and least and last. He blessed me with being witness to her strength, her determination, her very real belief that she can do all things through Christ who gives her strength. He gave to me a reading buddy and a girl who can do the mother-daughter thing, like I have done with my own mother. I don’t know exactly how I merited it (okay, I didn’t merit it — and I guess that’s the point), but I have a daughter. This daughter. On this day.

The day she is being baptized.


June 19, 2007

I feel somewhat like the Bible’s Jacob: wrestling with God, knowing it’s always better if He wins, but wanting my own way, even if it’s to my ultimate destruction.

Details are hard to talk about, but I’m dealing with areas of self-control (smoking and eating) and facing problems head on (pervasive marital junk). Neither is an area that provides me much enjoyment, but I know that my enjoyment is not a pre-requisite for God’s working. Thankfully, neither is my weakness. Because truth? I pretty much stink at controlling my life. Oh, I like to pretend that I’m good at it, but the reality is that you don’t have to look too hard to figure out that I’m pretty unqualified for the job.

Hindsight always offers much better perspective, and I’ve done this God Thing long enough to know that whenever I surrender my junk to God, I’m always glad. Always more free. Always calmer.

I love Beth Moore’s Praying God’s Word book. She puts God’s Word into prayers that we can use in the trenches of our lives.

Father, Your Word says that a person who lacks self-control is like a city whose walls are broken down. Sometimes I feel like there is so much rubble, I can’t rebuild the wall. Your Word claims that You are Repairer of Broken Walls, an the Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. Please introduce Yourself to me by these wonderful names and rebuild the rubble in my life.

Lord, You have said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Lord, You will refresh the weary and the faint.

So I’m off to walk out my life. Thankfully not alone.

Wii Watch 2007

June 18, 2007

Wii Wii, Wii found a Wii. (Or, Oui, Oui, We found a Wii).

The things we do for our children…the boys turn 7 (!!) this Thursday, and all they’ve asked for, all they’ve talked about is wanting a Wii. And the Nintendo people hate parents. This is a well documented fact.

I, lowly and idiotic as I apparently am, thought that a Wii would be easier to obtain than it was say, at Christmas. Oh foolish foolish woman!

Apparently I should have started searching in April. Game stores have little to no idea when their limited shipment of Wiis are coming in — what day or time. And they get like 5 at time, which are then snapped up within an hour. Meijer tends to get them overnight, and people come in at 6 a.m. to nab one. So I started making calls last week, and when I mentioned that my twins’ birthday is June 21, a couple of game store lackeys actually chuckled at me. This is not good for the ego.

But then Thursday night, I hit what appeared to be pay dirt. Andrew, at Unnamed Game Store, said, “We’re expecting some tomorrow between 12 and 3 when our UPS driver comes.” Aha! So I made plans for the kids (thanks Tracy!) and planned on camping out at Unnamed Game Store for the 3 hour stretch. I called my new friend, Andrew, around 11 on Friday and said I was coming in. “Oh, sorry, our regular UPS driver is sick, so the replacement guy came last night instead. And they’re all gone. Sorry.” But was he really sorry? Was it his children he was going to disappoint? (Okay, okay, I know he’s like 16 years old, and all my frustration should not have been vented at him. Actually, I was quite nice. But oh so frustrated! Damn UPS driver! How dare he get sick?)


I went home and began making more phone calls and hearing more chuckles. But then a guy at another store suggested I call some stores not in Columbus, but in surrounding towns. He suggested Mansfield and Springfield and Kenton.

Long story short, the Springfield store guy had it and actually HELD IT FOR ME. I have an aunt in Urbana who jumped in her car (thanks Aunt Sue!) and procured the elusive Wii for her nephews.

And I drove out to Urbana Friday night and picked it up. So, all’s well that ends well.

Take THAT Nintendo! (‘Cause you know they have like 10,000 Wiis sitting on warehouse shelves and they’re doing this limited release crap as a marketing ploy. But at least I’m not bitter.)

It will go SO fast…

June 11, 2007

So, here I stand on the brink of another summer vacation with my kids. And I have to say, honestly, that in general, these things do get better with age (theirs, not mine so much).

As any stay-at-home mother with school age kids knows, summertime presents a bag of mixed blessings. Long languid afternoons at the pool splashing with my three dolphin-like swimmers. Deliciously later mornings when no one gets out of pajamas until noon. All day zoo trips and cooler evenings at the park where the request for “one more slide before we go” can be heeded because bedtime can always be pushed back just a little.  All my kids are ready for a break from the intensity of our school year schedule.

I loved just about every moment with my kids last summer. Now, at the ages of 9 and almost 7, they seem so much more mobile and self-sufficient. We’re well past the days of cribs and potty-training, but we have not yet arrived at teenage pouts and tantrums and battles over the car.

I’ve heard a lot of parents of grown children say that these years are something of a sweet spot in rearing kids. And I’m inclined to agree. Don’t get me wrong — the baby and toddler years had their moments. But as a friend of mine with triplets (now nine) said Friday night: There’s so much of those years I really can’t remember. I don’t know if it was having 3 kids in such quick succession (kind of a feat for Tim and me — who thought we were infertile!), but the first 5 years passed in a haze of exhaustion. I think it’s why I enjoy my friends’ little ones so much — I can relive, vicariously, those busy and challenging years. I can remember the lurching Frankenstein gait of the 1 year old and the sweet, sometimes questionably coherent, babbles of the 2 year old.

Yeah, I won’t have minute one to myself this summer, and in a way, that’s a tough pill to swallow. But one thing I can say at this point of parenting that I truly didn’t believe when my kids were tiny: It will go SO fast. Something about having kids in school and various activities makes time move at warp speed. Ten years ago, I was just about to find out that I was pregnant with Abby. Ten years from now, that same daughter will have graduated from high school and hopefully be in college!

I want to live in this moment, right now, with my kids this summer. I want to swim with them and play with them and just hang out with them.  It’s a privilege (and sure, sometimes a burden) I won’t always have.

For those of you who have known me for any length of time, well you know that I can’t do much of anything by half measures. Intensity. That’s good, right? And if said intensity spills over into…oh, I don’t know…obsession? Addiction? Hey, it happens.

So I won’t apologize for being sucked into reality TV. Why do I think I’m better just because I’ve never been pulled into American Idol, Project Runway or Survivor?

But So You Think You Can Dance?

Oh, sister friend.

The premise of the show – for any newbies to the oeuvre of reality shows – is that dancers from all over the country audition for a chance to be in the top twenty dancers that appear on the show. Once the top twenty is settled, they are (somewhat) randomly partnered up and made to learn new choreography and dance styles from week to week, usually out of their areas of speciality. America votes (yes, yes last summer I voted , okay?) and two dancers – a guy and a girl – are eliminated week by week until the group is whittled down to a final four who compete for the top prize. Which this year is 250,000. And oh yeah, last year’s prize included a contract to work for a year as a dancer on Celine Dion’s Las Vegas show, “A New Day.” Even I find that part funny, as I have for a long time suspected that Celine Dion is not actually human, but merely a computer-generated hologram programmed to sing treacly ballads. Anywhooo…

Why, I ask myself? Why did I, a 39 year-old mother, become emotionally invested in a group of twenty dancing kids (I think the oldest was an ancient 26, while most were around 18 or 19)? Why did I care so much that I scoured internet boards and devoured hilarious re-caps of everything from the judges’ comments to the hosts’ fashion faux pas? (Um, yeah, I know I could have been writing.) As I said, no half measures for me.

Forgoing the very real possibility that I’m simply an idiot, I would like to try to answer these questions. First, competition is fun. Perhaps as humans we are programmed somehow to root for others, to care about how they and we measure up when compared to others. Watching others compete has long been a pastime for sports fans, so why not for dance fans? And the voyeuristic nature of reality TV allows one to pick favorites and become emotionally involved in the stories of these people’s lives. Like Ivan’s dad finally supporting his dancing after years of being reluctant. Or Martha losing her mother to a sudden heart attack last year. Or Donyelle’s struggle to be accepted as a full-figured size 10 (perish the thought!), as opposed to the more typical size 00 seen in dancers.

Then there’s the fact that I’ve always loved dance. I took ballet for 5 years and devotedly read every piece of dance fiction I could find as a pre-teen. I had elaborate fantasies centered around being a ballerina, which may seem strange for a 5’11” woman with size 11 feet. I had neither the opportunity, nor the talent to pursue a career in dance. So there’s a certain melancholy, an “if only” feeling, like snow melting and slipping through my warm fingers.

And as I approach 40, I realize that many aspects of life are simply past me — I will never be a ballerina, I will never be a physician, I will never be a famous Hollywood starlet…I will never have another first marriage or bear another child. I will never be 18 again with all the big decisions in front of me. And heaven knows, I don’t want to be 18 again. I am overall so happy with the life choices I’ve made, and I have some small level of confidence in myself that has been won only by life experience. But I see these dancers and I can’t help but project myself into their circumstances, if even for a fleeting moment. What would it be like to be Allison of the gorgeous curly hair (the first time I have perhaps ever understood the term girl-crush) and the lithe and elegant lines? To be able to pick up choreography in a matter of moments and have my body obey my mind’s directive? Because I have to say – middle age? Sometimes I feel like I’m lumbering around in a stranger’s ill-fitting clothes. Things hurt in the morning now. And parts that used to be perky have lost just a bit of their…well, perkiness.

Since it’s time for true confessions (for the three of you still reading after that perkiness visual): I let the kids miss school last fall so we could see the SYTYCD live tour in Cincinnati. And I bought a tee-shirt, which I didn’t realize had the phrase, “I KNOW I can dance!” on the back until my friend Kathryn read it when I was going up her stairs, and she spent the next ten minutes doubled over in hysterical (at me, not with me, mind you) laughter. So now I only wear the shirt at home.

So while the rest of you are busy intellectualizing over Lost (which I love too, by the way!) and Heroes, I’ll be glued to Fox on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Shhhh. I have to hear what the judges say.