Monday, June 07, 2010

Her Rules
Try as I may, today had Monday written all over it: a tube of silver glitter glue squeezed out on the upholstered dining room chair, a big fat Wal Mart meltdown, my favorite mug broken and exploding grape juice concentrate. Nothing colossal, just lots of little moments that tried my patience. By the time I loaded the girls in the car at 7:30 to run an errand, I was out of sweetness.

As I backed out of the driveway, Olivia screamed. I lectured. No, a bug on your arm is NOT a scream-worthy emergency. Especially while I'm driving. That discussion prompted the following:

Olivia: "When I'm grown up, my husband and I are going to live by OUR rules."
Me: "What rules are those?"
Olivia: "Well, we will stack our books differently."
Obviously. The book stacking guidelines in her current home ARE very limiting.
"And we will eat messy food without a bib. And we will dig our hands into it and smear it everywhere." 
I feel the need to interject here. The five year old does not actually wear a bib. Unless she and her sister insist on wearing "fairy princess dancing dresses" in purest white to the dinner table that includes ketchup. Then, yes, I wrap a towel around her neck.
"And we will live in a MESSY house. And our garden will be out of control and we will plant a WATERMELON in our garden."
She is clearly irritated that my debut 4x8 foot teeny garden does not include a mass of vines and twenty-pound orbs. 
Me: "So are these the things that are wrong with your life now?"
Just curious, man.
Olivia: "Yes."

I guess that's not too bad. Those don't seem like the kinds of things that will make her resent me terribly. But then, I have 13 more years.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Preschool Love
Daddy picked Olivia up from preschool today. When they got home (after a lunch date at McDonald's...bonus!), Jason told me that he overheard a "b-o-y" telling his dad that he "liked" Olivia. We had a little chuckle over that and later as she unpacked her backpack, she showed me a picture that a different "b-o-y" had drawn for her. The girl is on a roll, apparently. "Screeeeeeeeech" is the sound of Mom putting the brakes on time, thank you very much.

Do you have random, disconnected memories from early childhood like I do? Take, for instance, the incident at daycare in which I was sitting on a little scooter, wheeling backward and ended up under the seat of a teeter totter at the exact moment the child on one end was headed down. Seat square on my head, blood everywhere. What I remember most about the day is being absolutely convinced that this would wreck my chance of getting to wear the paper crown on my birthday.

Or the memory I have of a little boy chasing me into the tunnel on the daycare playground and trying to kiss me. Do I REALLY remember that, or did I just hear the story replayed enough times by amused family members that I *think* I remember it? It's hard to say. The boy, whose name for whatever reason was seared into my memory, moved soon after from my small town and I don't remember hearing another thing about him.

Fast forward 14 years. I was a college freshmen. It was Wednesday, the first day of classes and I had gone to a campus ministry gathering with a guy from my hometown. Part of the meeting included an introduction of the group's leadership team. Yeah, yeah, yeah...nice to meet you. Then this guy stepped up to the mic and said his name. An alarm sounded in my brain. That name - the one seared in my memory - was now being spoken into a microphone. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! It's the boy who kissed me on the playground! I whispered to my friend, asking if this guy had ever lived in our hometown. He said he had. After the meeting I went up and introduced myself to him and said something brilliant like, "Uh, I think we went to daycare together." What a nerd.

Or maybe that nerdy move was ACTUALLY genius! Because the mysterious tunnel kisser? He told me today that he heard a five year old was sweet on our daughter.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Gift of Water...and How My Four Year Old Made My Christmas
Do you need to hear something good? I do. It has been a heavy week. Lots of bad news for loved ones of my loved ones. Tragedy in Haiti that I can't comprehend. And then just the pressing of a hectic, wearying, unpredictable week. Maybe you don't need to hear something good, but I need to tell you something good. So lend an ear for my benefit, okay?

One Sunday morning before Christmas, a pastor at my church shared about an organization called Advent Conspiracy. I was really intrigued. Go look. I don't want to give it away for you. 

A couple of days later, I popped open my laptop and navigated to the Advent Conspiracy site. One of the partner organizations featured on AC was Living Water International. Living Water (in their words)
"exists to demonstrate the love of God by helping communities acquire desperately needed clean water, and to experience “living water”—the gospel of Jesus Christ—which alone satisfies the deepest thirst."

I was so drawn to the images on-screen and videos of precious people in impoverished nations, huddling around filthy, stagnant water holes to draw contaminated water for their families. The voices told of the staggering death rate from water-related diseases, of children missing school to hike for hours for water. As I watched, my ever-curious Olivia crawled onto my lap. Before long, even Annalie was at my side, the three of us watching in silence. Olivia asked me a few questions and I told her that I had been thinking that maybe we would send some money to these people as our annual "Christmas gift to Jesus." She thought that was a great idea.

Twenty or so minutes later I was in the shower and heard the familiar rattle of Olivia's piggy bank as she plunked it on the lid of the toilet. 

"Is this enough, Mom?" she said.

"Enough for what, honey?"
"Is this enough to buy the water?"


It had been a long month and I wasn't "feeling" Christmas. It had been hectic, we'd been sick and even some of our favorite Christmas traditions felt kind of flat. (Which reminds me of the dinner at which - while trying to lead our Advent devotion amid absolute kid-chaos - Jason finally reached his limit, slammed the bible shut and put kids in various time out locations around the house. LOL. MERRY Christmas!) So this opportunity to witness my four-year-old's heart awakening and responding to a great need of someone totally outside herself, well, it was the greatest grace gift this mama could have asked for.