A little bit different

October 27, 2017

I think, if you sat our family down on the front steps of our home and took a photo, we would look like the perfect microcosm of average suburban America.  Three kids, two dogs, 2,300-square-foot home….it all screams “average.”

I forget in how many ways we are different, and are living life in a simpler way. We haven’t gotten too off-course from my goal of “enough” (in spite of birthday season), and we really aren’t quite “average.”  The past few days reinforced that idea for me.

In a way, it started Monday night; the last night of a four-week Bible study I was attending.  We usually have very quiet evenings, and me being gone four Mondays in a row was a serious shock to the family system.  (Obviously, they all did fine.)  Bedtime hugs and kisses were doled out at 6:40pm since I wouldn’t see kids until morning…..

…and the next morning we hit the ground running a bit harder than usual.  I dropped my youngest off at her preschool, then stopped by the library on my way to a chiropractor appointment.  I had a bit of time at home (long enough to flip laundry) and then collected my older daughter to tag along as we picked up the youngest from preschool and headed straight to Target for a quick lunch (um…ick) and a shopping trip involving birthday gifts for their brother.  We were having all sorts of fun, wandering and smelling candles, when I literally gasped so loud it scared the girls.

“I’m supposed to get your brother to his appointment at 2:00!” I hastily explained, and once I checked my phone I realized we were fine. There was no more moseying through the aisles, however, and we headed straight for the checkout line.  As I pushed the cart towards the door, my youngest reminded me, “Don’t forget his treat!”

Oh, yeah.  We stopped back by the deli and grabbed an Icee.

Headed for home, unloaded stuff, loaded boy, sat in a waiting room for an hour, and tried to breathe.

Back home I collected the girls and RETURNED to Target WITH the Redcard to get our 5% off all that stuff we just bought earlier.  (Sigh.)  One last gift for brother.  A few clothing items for my older girl, who is rapidly (again) running out of clothes to wear, regardless of how often she does laundry.  Got home and started dinner and ate together--on days like today, I consider the fact that we still managed to eat together a HUGE win.

While my husband and older daughter cleaned up dinner, my son and I jumped back in the car so I could drop him off at a homeschool group event.  I hung out to talk a bit, then headed home to put my youngest to bed while my husband ran to the grocery store.  Once both girls were down, I headed back out to make sure I was there to pick my son up at 9:00; only to check my messages in the parking lot and realize the group was running late and maybe push pick-up back to 9:30?

Well…..guess I’ll gas the car now.

Returned for pick-up and more talking.  Home by ten.  Completely sacked out by 10:45.

I knew going into the week that Tuesday would be the worst, Wednesday would be a bit better, and by Thursday, the end was in sight.  At some point mid-Tuesday, I stopped and looked around and had a sudden, deep awareness that some people live like this all the time.

Mine were a crazy few days, but for many, that is everyday.

That is how countless people are going through their lives:  a bit like pinballs, bouncing from one thing to another in an endless–and sometimes mindless–run.  That is what an average day looks like, for an average person.  And thankfully, SO thankfully, that is one way we’re different.

Today we are home.  Home for an entire day.  The bigs are at the kitchen table with me, coloring while I write.  The four-year-old is camped out in the living room with her My Little Ponies  My laundry for the day is done and my daughter has started hers.  The kitchen is clean and the coffee is fresh.  We have discussed a library run, and put it on the back burner.  All the kids are still in pajamas.  It is the best kind of day–especially after the week we’ve had.  I’m so, so grateful that this is our normal; that we are, actually, a little bit different.

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Full moons = crazy dreams.

I’ve definitely noticed this pattern, and last night was no exception.  So often when I wake up, I’ll think, what was that about?  This time it was perfectly clear.

The first dream involved me grocery shopping.   I was searching carefully for items on my list, finding them, and the instant I put them in my cart they would change into something different–not what I wanted at all.  This happened three or four times, until I was pulling things back out of my cart, trying to get them to revert back to what I wanted, to no avail.

While I was wrestling with shape-shifting groceries, someone came on over the intercom and announced that this was the annual “Hy-vee Garage Sale,” and suddenly the grocery store was approximately 1/10th groceries and 9/10th’s Hobby Lobby goods.  I was now struggling to even find what I needed.

Next up: unloading said groceries; at the house we lived in 14 years ago.  When I pulled up in front, our former foster son greeted me and said one of my husband’s friends was here to see him, so I went to his “office” in the garage (which we never actually got built at said house.)  Apparently, he still worked from home in this scenario.  I pulled open the sliding glass door, and was met by another sliding glass door.  I pulled open that sliding glass door and was met by yet another, taking its place.  This happened about five times…. somewhere along the line I recognized what was going on, even in the dream, and made up my mind I was going to make this work, so I finally slid my arm and leg in through the doorway as it opened and won that fight.  HA.

I think my brain is trying to tell me life is a little out of control.  The reality, of course, is I already KNEW that.

An Evening Out

January 27, 2017

I had a completely kid-free evening tonight, and how did I spend it?  Shopping, of course.  Knowing me, that sounds both completely ridiculous and completely practical at the same time–it is really nice to roam the stores at a leisurely pace, looking for the exact.right.thing, and feeling free to go back when you’ve missed something.  No three-year-old in the cart getting progressively crankier is a huge blessing that I don’t get often. Even with the older kids, I feel obliged to keep moving because I know they don’t want to be there.  So yes, kid-free shopping is immensely practical.

But it’s also not like me. If given a kid-free night of my own choosing, I’d be home reading or working on a project.  Unfortunately, the kids were at home.  So that ruled out that possibility (at least until after bedtime).  Coming out of Target, though (of course I was at Target), I was struck by the unbelievable sunset that was minutes away. You could almost stand and watch it happen in front of you, the sun gradually slipping under a cloud until the gray was illuminated in peaches and pinks.  And I did watch, for a bit.  Then I started to feel silly, sitting in my car in the parking lot, in a “this is a kid-free night!  Are you going to just sit there?” way, and I got up and went in the next store.  That was a fairly brief trip, and when I came out, sure enough; there was the sunset, easing away from the glorious I had just missed.  I walked very slowly to the next stop, trying to soak it in, and realized I’d been surrounded by people all night completely oblivious to the show.  As I wandered through my last stop, I was struck by how much stuff exists right now–it was one of those floor to ceiling display places–and how it seems that everyone around, this Friday night, was set on owning a piece of it.  Forget the beauty that came completely free right outside the door.  Our job is to buy:  to go and to buy.  And not to think.  Heaven forbid we stop and think.

As I left that final store I was struck by the last thing I saw:  a large, framed photo of a sunset.  I suppose, that way, you can “own” it, and look at it whenever you want…before you walk out the door to go buy more stuff.

“Why do we buy movies?”

September 6, 2012

Every great once in a while, my son does or says something that makes me think I might be getting through to him.

He recently plowed through his piles of drawings, and all the ones he wanted to keep are now neatly three-hole-punched and gathered together in a binder.  He then tossed the ones he didn’t want into the recycling bin.  That’s huge.  (I don’t think I can stress enough….that’s huge.)

When he came home from a shopping trip with Grammy three T-shirts richer, I informed him that he had to get rid of three he already had.  Which he did–without protest.  (Again….huge.)

The funniest part, though, was a conversation we had in the car as we drove by a video store.  “Mom?” he asked thoughtfully.  “Why do we buy movies?”

He then went on to explain his train of thought:  we always check them out from the library, or we might go to a Redbox or video store (actually, I can’t remember the last time I set foot in a video store), or we record things on the DVR….but why do people bother to buy movies?

That’s a really good question, kiddo….

My response?  “Well, I think they just make really easy gifts.”

I looked through the movies on our shelves (we have 99 DVD’s right now, 76 of which are actually movies*), and they seem to be full of still-wrapped-in-plastic “hey, he really liked this movie–I’ll get it for him for Christmas!” types of things.  Secret Santa gifts from coworkers; birthday gifts from people who don’t know you well enough to know what you really might want….a movie is a safe, easy gift idea.  And we have two shelves full of them.

I’m fairly certain I know what’s next on my list to weed through….

 

 

*What else could there be, you ask?  TV series collections and DVD’s of concerts.  The concerts, I’m quite sure, are staying.  🙂

Girl time

August 6, 2012

I had the opportunity to spend the afternoon with just my girl recently.  Since my son was out and about for special time with my husband, I offered to take her out and about for a snack; anywhere she wanted to go.  Where would she like to go for a treat?  Her choice.

Her choice?  “Starbucks.”

(Gah!!  I’ve completely corrupted my child!!  She’s only six, for crying out loud!)

So….to Starbucks we went.  It’s right around the corner from our house (wait….can’t pretty much everyone say that?) and as we pulled into the parking lot she asked if we could go to the girly-girl store that was in the strip mall behind the coffeeshop.  I bargained:  a trip to the home-stuff store for me, and I’d take her to her store.

Deal.

After thoroughly enjoying her raspberry truffle cake pop (“Mommy!  This is the best food I have ever eaten in my entire life!!”) we went to look at “her” store, one of those tween shops that’s really too old for her, with cute (expensive) clothes and a gazillion (pricey) accessories.  As we pulled up, she announced that “just looking in the window makes me happy.”  My stomach turned….am I raising some materialistic little brat?  “Why does that store make you happy?”

“Because it’s all pink and purple!  It’s just happy colors!”

Whew…

We strolled the store, and she looked at everything, her enthusiasm unbounded.  Not once did she ask for anything.  Not once did she request, beseech, inquire, suggest, or demand.  She was beyond happy just to look, to see all the fun stuff, and then, when we were done, to walk out empty-handed; chattering away about her favorite finds.

I’m still in awe of her attitude.  Her willingness to deeply enjoy everything around her (especially the food), and her willingness to walk away from all of it with a smile on her face:  she’d enjoyed it, and she’d have lovely memories of it, and now she was done.  No greed, no ugliness in her heart; just a sincere joy in everything we did together.

Joyful gratefulness?  Grateful joyfulness?  I don’t know what to call it, but I want it.