Wednesday, July 27, 2011

When I'm Tired

When I'm tired, I just don't do anything very well. I lose my patience...quickly. I speak more harshly. I become frustrated and exasperated by almost any little nuisance and I overreact, usually ending up in tears by the time all is said and done.

I know that being tired is a natural part of life. Our bodies need rest to function properly. I also know that I should respond immediately when my body is saying, "GO TO BED!" but I usually don't. I think of "just a few more things to do" while there aren't interruptions and then I've deprived myself of an hour or more of much needed sleep.

Right now, I'd like to be napping, but I can hear little footsteps upstairs that tell me that the small people in my house are not, so I shouldn't either (if I don't want to awaken to some sort of mess).

And so I sit, tapping keys on a computer to offer a little solace, helping me to feel semi-productive while I wait for another opportunity to get some rest.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The difficult moments

We're at a "jumpy" place with friends. It's a down time in the day for such a place and my three kids and their friend are enjoying jumping in one bounce house with no other children. Then suddenly the doors burst open and a group of 10-12 older elementary aged students come running in and about half the group heads to the spot where my kids are jumping.

I sit back, with the other mom, waiting to see what will happen next. Nicholas, my oldest, who has just a few weeks experience as a six-year-old, sees the small mob of bigger, more boisterous, kids coming their way and immediately starts calling to the girls to, "Come on...I'll help you out!" His petite, 5-year-old, ethnically Korean, friend is the first to make it out. As the bigger kids start climbing in and jumping around he manages to get his 4-year-old sister to safety. The only one remaining, as he sits near the opening in the net, is his 2-year-old sister. She's clinging to the netting on the side and trying to remain standing as the older kids bounce. She's slowly making her way to her big brother and following his encouragement until he gets her to safety.

As they walk over to me, I tell Nicholas how proud I am of the way he helped Mackenzie and Annie get out of the bouncy safely. I assume the older kids weren't intentionally trying to make it difficult for them, but simply were so excited about jumping and having fun that they were unaware of how their actions would impact much smaller children.

Then Nicholas says, "Mommy, they were teasing us."
"Teasing you? How?"
"Well, that big boy in the green shirt said, 'Hey, Chinese people,' but with an unkind voice."
I wanted to knock the kid down.
"Did you say, 'We're not Chinese. We're all Korean.'?"
"I'll watch closely and if he tries to tease you or the girls anymore, I'll help you."

For the rest of the time at the jumpy place, our little pack was watching to see what the bigger kids, specifically the boy in the green shirt, would do next and if they came "our" way, our kids would find another place to play.

I waited and wondered if I had done the right thing. I resolved that I will continue to teach my children that every person is valuable and differences are necessary and wonderful parts of who we are even though we live among people that in their words and actions will disagree. At times it will be painful, heart-wrenching, I'm sure, but we will not accept the words of others as truth, nor will we wear their labels as our own.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

On an anniversary

Nine years ago, today, I said, "I do" and "I will" to a tender present and an unknown future.

Here we are today, riding the current of the predictable and the unexpected, up and down, in the ocean that is "us".

I'm here, with words bubbling over, sometimes filling air that should be left empty, and you're there, beside me.

A relationship that started out with simple words scribbled on scraps of paper tacked to a bulletin board or tucked under a windshield wiper in a familiar parking lot, now so many words spoken and unspoken between us.

Once upon a time there were love letters and songs, long phone conversations and e-mails that told me that you loved me. Now there are the late night responses to a crying child, the offer to pick up dinner or meet at a restaurant, the help at bath time and bedtime, and the willingness to make breakfast for the "littles" so I can sleep in for just a bit longer.

Thank you for not just loving me with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

Friday, July 8, 2011

For now we see only a reflection...

I stood knee-deep in the water with waves crashing rhythmically behind me, my belly swollen with a child that I'll meet within weeks.

My other three stood, still for a moment after outrunning sea foam "lava". They were in a semicircle, looking down at some object in the sand, and as the wave that had chased them moved back out to sea I saw the lovely glimmer of a reflection that met their toes in the sand.

It was brief. So brief that I almost missed the sight completely. Then it was gone.

They came running back toward me, the water that was near my knees retreating closer to my ankles, and instead of a fuzzy reflection on wet sand, I had three elated children--laughing, talking, squealing, smelling of sunscreen and tasting like saltwater kisses. Cool wet hands grabbing for mine and telling me to "get ready! Another one is coming!"

And I thought of the words of the Apostle Paul:
"For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." 1 Corinthians 13:12

There, on the edge of a continent with toes in the Atlantic, feeling awkward in my maternity swimsuit, I had a holy moment. There is goodness in this life and these experiences, but they don't compare to what has been promised for the future.