The Next Thing

This summer has been a doozy.  I lost a grandmother, rode the rails of the cancer train with another grandmother (still riding), had a grandfather fall and break his hip–and this while he suffers from late-stage Alzheimer’s.  I’ve been on an extended family vacation, finished a manuscript, tried to sleep at night (and found myself unsuccessful).  I’ve done my level-best, along with millions of other Americans, to ignore our political candidates and their latest absurdities, but found myself horrified anyway when I peaked through my fingers.

All in a few weeks’ time.

DSC_0690This summer has been a doozy, yes, and I’m almost ready for it to be over, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t necessary.  Everything we go through, each day that passes, is, in its own mysterious way, a necessary part of the whole that makes up our lives.  Our experiences shape us and we shape them (which is what writing is, in the end, the shaping of events into stories we can tell until we begin to understand them a little).  God helps us with the shaping, and that’s a good thing since he’s the one who holds everything anyway.

Still, I look forward to the coolness of fall, the reassurance of routine.  I prepare to kiss summer goodbye this time without a hint of nostalgia.  It’s almost time and I’m ready.

 

 

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When You’re Poked With a Big Stick

Last night, my daughter crept into our room like a wraith from an M. Night Shyamalan movie, and tapped me on the arm three times.  I opened my eyes and, while couldn’t see her, I could feel her, though it took me a good four seconds to remember where I was.

She bent over me and whispered, “The dog puked in my room, and it wasn’t lumpy or a lot, but I can’t sleep in there.”

“Ish it on your bed?” I croaked, through my Meijer-brand mouth guard.

“No, it’s on my rug,” she moaned.  Now I could make out the outline of her hair.

“Go back to bed.  We’ll deal with it in the morning,”  I said.  (Warning!)

“I can’t.  You wouldn’t sleep with barf!  I’ll run out of air in there.”

“Then shleep in the fourth bedroom!  Do not wake up your father!” I was up on one elbow now.

“I can’t do that, Mom!  I have fear issues!”  I could see her flailing her arms, or at least, that’s what I think was happening.

My husband woke up.

“Now, shee what you did?” I hissed.  “You woke up Dad, and Dad has to get up at 5:30 a.m.”

Husband heaved himself upright, wordlessly, to go into her room and vanquish the up-chuck.

Before she left our room to follow him, my daughter whispered, “I’m sorry, Mom.”  It was more of a question.

And I said, “You aren’t sorry.  You aren’t sorry at all.”

Instantly I felt familiar guilt bathing my consciousness, but I was so mad I didn’t say another word.  I flung myself down on my pillow and squeezed my eyes shut.

When my husband finally staggered back to our bed, he informed me that there was no puke, on the rug or elsewhere, and that our daughter must have dreamed it.

That the whole thing was for naught (shoot me).

Except I know that it wasn’t.  Because it reminded me, once again, that when I’m poked with a proverbial stick (and being awakened out of a dead sleep is a big, big stick for me), the ugly me, my sin nature, strikes.  I need to be reminded that it’s there.  I need to deal with it before the Lord, lest I become comfortable, and stop fighting it.

This morning, when my daughter got in my bed (something she still loves to do), I told her that I’m sorry I was so impatient, so lightning-quick to get angry last night.  That it doesn’t please God when I react to her that way.

She forgave me immediately because that’s how she is.  She didn’t tell me I wasn’t really sorry.

We hugged each other, and prayed together, asking God to make us more like Jesus, more fearless, more giving.  And then we started our day, and it was fine.

Photo on 3-16-14 at 8.39 PM #2

This is my motherhood.  I’m not satisfied with being a jerk, but it’s onward and upward, because it has to be.  It just has to be.  I’m a slow learner, but I am learning, by the grace of God.  And my daughter is, too.

This is how it is, and it’s OK.

(Final note:  This morning, I also might have mentioned to my daughter that there never was any barf anywhere in her room, and that, scientifically speaking, she would probably never, ever, run out of air, except when she dies.  Because that’s also true).