Monthly Archives: November 2010

Blissful Ignorance

Standing in a checkout line today, my kids and I got showered by the boy in front of us, not once but three times. Yes, you read that correctly, showered…he spit on us.

My 2-year-old son said, “Mom, that little boy spit.” I said, “Yes, Sean, he did spit on us and we should not spit on people.” As a result of me saying this to Sean, the boy’s mother turned around and said, “We are trying to ignore it and hope that he will quit spitting on people.”

*GASP*

I was at least expecting her to say, “I apologize,” or “Son, don’t spit,” or “We are trying to teach him not to spit”.

After she explained her ‘ignorance is bliss’ parenting methods, her son proceeded to spit at us a second time. Sean turned to me and said, “Mom, he spit again!” and before Sean could finish what he was saying, he spit at us a third time. At this point, the little boy’s mother moved between her son and me and my kids. Then, he spit on her.

I was in shock. I wanted to ask her after he spit at us the third time if her method of ignoring bad behavior was working for her and him?? I mean, really, at least apologize…

My kids are far from perfect and when I parent them, blissful ignorance doesn’t work. The same could be said for a lot of things in life. What are some things in your life that you ignore in hopes that they will disappear? How is that working for you? ( ;

Often times, we stumble upon these things at the most inappropriate times, like in a checkout line. In an effort to avoid the pain (or temper tantrum) that will inevitably have to be dealt with in order to find resolution, we choose to ignore it.

A small leak that is ignored over time will cause major problems…maybe not today, but in due time. What leaks need repairing in your life?

By the way, I feel like I need to go take a real shower…

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Painful Promises

When I was 10 or 11 years old, I made myself a promise. A promise to keep myself from getting hurt and to avoid pain by not getting a specific something ever again. I have kept that promise for over 2 decades and I thought by doing so I would avoid pain.

But as with most things in life, that specific pain came full circle this week and revisited…in a different form. 

This past Monday started out fairly normal. I didn’t have much planned for the day other than cleaning, laundry, car pool in the afternoon, and an evening coaching appointment. However, I got a phone call around 9:30am that changed my itinerary for the remainder of the day.

My sister called and asked if I would go with her to Cary. Her beloved miniature dapple dachshund, Ozzie, was in tremendous pain and needed to see a veterinarian who could perform surgery on his back. Without hesitating I said of course and we met and drove to Cary.

Ozzie was in a lot of pain, but my sister was in just as much pain. My mind drifted back to that little girl of 10 or 11 who lost her bulldog when he got run over by a car. Tears flowed easily…that specific something had reappeared and I was also in pain, for Ozzie and for my sister.

We arrived at the veterinarian’s office and things seemed to go into overdrive. I felt as if things were moving too fast. Ozzie was FINE the night before, walking, eating, barking…but, now his life was in danger. I felt sick to my stomach. I wanted to protect my little sister and make everything all right. But, I could do nothing but be there for her and pray.

In the end, Ozzie crossed over to the other side. I was honored to be there with my sister when he left us. I would have done anything to create a different outcome, but in the end, I could only be with her in her pain.

I have thought a lot about the pain we experienced by losing Ozzie. It is ironic that we celebrated Thanksgiving this week. I have been pondering all the things I am thankful for as well. Those two things don’t often make a good partnership, pain and thanksgiving…I can think of many other pairings that would make a great marriage. Again, it just doesn’t make sense to be thankful for pain.

But, God calls us to be thankful in all things (I Thes. 5:18). All things…not just the good things. I can choose to be thankful in the midst of pain and suffering, and it is much easier when I know that I can trust God no matter what happens because He is trustworthy. He is sovereign. He is omniscient. Knowing God’s character is paramount. It enables me to trust Him and His plan, and therefore, be thankful in all things.

In the end, I am not thankful that Ozzie is dead, but I am thankful for God’s presence, for Him being with me and for the gift He gave me of being with my sister. I am thankful that I have a sister whom I love dearly. I am thankful for a gracious God whom I can trust with my tears and pain.

There will be more painful times in life when I cannot find anything to be thankful for because the pain is so heavy. However, even in the midst of the pain I experienced this week, God was with me. Just like I could be with my sister. And for that, I am very thankful.

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Wonder

There are times in life when I wish that I thought with the innocence and wonder of a 5-year-old. One evening this week we were sitting in a turn lane waiting to turn left. My mind was on the traffic and my Wal-Mart list. Callie’s mind was on the goodness of God:

“Mom, look what God made just for us!” she exclaimed loudly while pointing her finger towards the western horizon. A glorious sunset with hues of red, pink, lavender, and orange lit up the heavens. Thin wispy stratus clouds draped in white interrupted the technicolor panoramic display of God’s artistic offering. It was quite marvelous.

In that moment, my mind also turned to the goodness of God. I am thankful for the reminders that God uses to help me resurrect the innocence and wonder that I once had as a child.

I am thankful for the little interruptions in life that allow me to drift back a few decades and regain a child-like perspective. It is in these moments that I truly live and life is simple again.

When is the last time you allowed yourself to be caught up in awe and wonder? Who were you with? I wonder how your life could be different if you allowed yourself to pause and be in awe when your life is interrupted by God’s goodness…

“Wonder is the basis of worship.”   Thomas Carlyle

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Innocence

Before I had children, I watched or listened to the news daily. It was a part of my routine. Now, with two little ones, I get my daily news brief from wral.com. I skim through headlines and read any article that interests me. I then check the 5 day forecast and continue with the rest of my day. Usually, this process takes no more than 5 minutes…much shorter than the 30 minute newscast I used to watch or listen to in the car on the way home from work. But, my priorities are a little different now and my car rides are not as quiet as the used to be…

This weekend, Callie was in my office rehearsing her sight words while I was getting my news fix on wral.com. She saw a picture of a little girl from western NC who was killed and her remains recently found. In her curious 5-year-old way, Callie asked me why that little girl was on the news. My mother hen instinct kicked in and I wanted to say something like, “she was found alive” or “she won an award” or anything other than the truth…ANYTHING but she was killed by those who were supposed to love and protect and care for her and her remains have now been found by the police…

What do you do in those moments as a parent?? Well of course, you tell the truth, but how much of the truth and how in the world do you preserve your children’s innocence in the process?

I took a deep breath, prayed a quick “Lord, help!” looked at Callie and said, “Well, sweetheart, she was killed and the police have found her body.” You can imagine the 30 minute conversation that ensued:

Callie: “Mommy, who killed her?”

Me: “They think her stepmother killed her.”

Callie: “Oh no, mommy! Why would her step mom want to kill her?”

~Insert another deep breath taken by me!~

Me: “I don’t know baby…sometimes people make terrible, terrible choices.”

Callie: “That was a horrible choice…mom…you would never hurt me.”

Me: “That’s right, baby. I would never ever hurt you on purpose. I will always love you.”

Callie: “I love you, too, mommy.”

I exhaled, but knew the conversation wasn’t over. A few quiet moments followed as Callie scurried to the playroom and came back with her snack. She climbed up on my lap and said, “Mom, sometimes people make bad choices don’t they?” I said, “Yes, Callie, we all make bad choices. It is important to remember that all of our choices have consequences, good and bad.”

We talked for another 20 minutes or so. I will spare you all the details! In the end, Callie was out of questions, but her peace was back. My peace was back, too.

I know I can’t protect her and Sean from reality forever, but I do know that their innocence and purity is something that I want to safeguard for as long as I can. I try to keep several things in mind as I am parenting them:

  1. Always be honest, but do no harm. In other words, tell them the truth but spare the nasty details that they don’t need to know about. Callie did not need to know all the details about the little girl’s death and remains.
  2. Be available to talk about reality and things that happen. TALK to your children and LISTEN to them. Help them understand things that don’t seem to fit into their current framework of how life is supposed to work. Yes, this takes a lot of time, but your children are worth it.
  3. Exposure. There are certain things children should never be exposed to. This is all relative to their ages. As they age, their exposure broadens. This is also dependent on your belief system. Be with your children when they are in a position to be exposed to things that you would not normally allow, for example, things on the Internet. And, when they are exposed prematurely, talk about it with them.

As my children age, their innocence will continue to be assaulted. William Butler Yeats so aptly captured this inevitable truth, “The innocent and the beautiful have no enemy but time”. I can’t stop the hands of time, but with God’s help I can be prepared for those unavoidable moments. The key is taking the time to communicate with my kids and not expecting someone else to take care of those things for me.

“Innocence is always unsuspicious.” ~ Thomas C. Haliburton

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