Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I Miss My Kids. Really!

I'm approaching my fourth night of the kids being at the grandparents house. The house has been clean for three days straight! It's quite nice that I haven't had to do as many dishes without them here. Hubby and I have watched movies and eaten dinner out without having to worry about who's gonna watch the kids. 

But, I miss my kids. Really! I miss their laugh, and their smiles. I miss their unending requests for something to eat and even their silly little sisterly spats. I miss their adorable faces. Other times if Hubby were to ask me if I missed the kids, I would quickly say, "No. Not yet". This time is different. 

The trip over to the grandparents was a little last minute plan. Usually, I'm at my wits end and that's when Hubby calls his parents to see if they want to spend a little quality time with the little cherubs.We haven't gotten the chance to get that much summer under our belts so far.  It really hasn't been all that stressful. Yet. 

I know I should be grateful for the free time. Trust me I am. 

Today was the first day I actually got out of the house to do something "fun". I'm not sure it gets any better than a chocolate mint pedicure! I had had enough of being cooped up in the house, not being able to think of something to do. Normally, I would have no problem thinking of something to do. It would be party central around my house. Ideas run rampant in my head, while the kids are running around the house. 

So, I'll savor my last night until the kids come home. I look forward to them returning. They have been missed. They are loved! I can't wait to kiss those cute little faces. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bridesmaids and Boxes

Recently I went to go see the totally hysterical movie Bridesmaids. Once I got past the raunchiness of the first two minutes I laughed until I cried*. I had great company for the movie, we were both in stitches! It's main plot is about two women who are friends since childhood, one is getting married and the other is the maid of honor who gets to know the other women in the bridal party. The matron of honor is in every- way-shape-and-form the opposite of the childhood friend. Let the competition begin for who gets to wear the title of "Best Friend".

It made me sort of wonder how the childhood friend had no idea of the "newer" best friend. They had never met until the time to start planning the wedding. The bride had a separate "box" she kept her groups of friends in. It made me think that I, along with most of us, do the same thing. 

Some of us have a family box, that we open when we need to. Then we put it back up on a shelf when we don't need them. Family occasions are just that. Family occasions. They very rarely combine with other groups of people in our lives. That doesn't mean we love them any less. Or does it? 

For those of us that have found a church home or, "box" it can be our refuge. It's our safe place to celebrate the joyful times in our life and express our faith. It can also be that place that we reveal our weaknesses and need for accountability. But for a few, once we leave our church box where does our faith take us? Our accountability is out the window. We dip our toes in and out of the church box on Sundays and Wednesdays and that's it. How do we make it more than what it is? 

In the neighbor box, there's a wide variety of difference. In faith, color, age and political opinions. Some prefer the warm confines of their own four walls. Never to venture out and meet new people. There are those that can make friends with a rock and bring others out of their shell. When Hubby and I first moved into our second house the neighbor across the street suggested a daddy/daughter bike ride**. But when the day and time arrived, Hubby knocked on their door but neighbor was nowhere to be found. I guess he had forgotten? When Hubby went over, the wife wasn't sure when he would return and she didn't know anything about it. They never mentioned it again. How do we draw people out of their homes and into more interaction with the very people in our closest proximity? 

The work box can be a tragic comedy all by itself! We're all looking out for number One! Covering our backside, to climb the corporate ladder and making sure that no one else gets credit for something that we have done. All while trying to maintain a spirit of camaraderie and making it a place where people want to come to work. There have been a few instances where I have seen co-workers actually get along fantastically outside of work despite plenty of differences. How do you foster an environment inside the workplace that encourages teamwork? 

Needless to say, the women in the movie competing for the attention of the bride came together. They put their competition aside for the benefit of the bride. 

No matter how many boxes we have do we mean to keep people in them? Is it to maintain some sort of sanity or steer clear of conflict? In Bridesmaids, yes it is! Is this a case of art imitating life? Do we only expose certain parts of ourselves to the different groups of people?

Of course those of us who have found a church box know the reason for the boxes - we live in a broken creation and each of us through our pride have set ourselves up as God. We have built up walls around us, constructed boxes around ourselves to ensure that we remain in control of each aspect of our lives. But Jesus came into this world to dare us to let down our walls, tear down our boxes, and open ourselves up to others in love, because He first loved us. "His Kingdom come, on earth as it is in Heaven." May I have the strength to live into this prayer!

*which is much better than laughing until I pee in my pants!
**they also have two daughters, a tad bit older

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I Value Your Time

What is it about family? Maybe people in general? Some people's love comes with conditions and demands. We do our best to try and jump through those hoops for a small chunk of what attention we might get back in return, only to be discarded. It never seems to be good enough. 

If we drive four hundred miles to attend a high school graduation, it's not good enough because we don't have a gift in hand. When we send a gift but don't attend, it doesn't warrant even two sentences on a Thank You note. There have been plenty of times when others have driven four hundred miles into our town, but there was something else on their calendar*. We were an afterthought**. 

We recently got an announcement from somebody we haven't seen in ten years. I just didn't get it. I couldn't pick out the person in a lineup. Was it their attempt at trying to get a gift? When they moved into a new home, they invited all the rest of the family, but not Hubby and I. The last time they came over, I was explicitly told that they were in my house to be served. By me. I don't serve people my own age or younger if they are physically capable. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE having people over. I want to serve people because I've invited them into my home and enjoy their company, not because I've been told to. There are some people that have been invited over and over, but I never get a response back. If it's me, then I wish they would just say so. I guess that's okay. After hearing "No" or nothing at all, the invites will just stop. No pressure. 

Some people hold it against us if we seem to be doing better financially. Others hold it against us if we aren't doing as well. We're looked down upon, or we've somehow insulted someone if we offer to help. Is there a happy medium? To quote Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along?". 

The hardest part about family drama is what kind of affect it will have on my kids. Our family is pretty darn small already. Who will they turn to for special holidays and get-togethers? 

It's no wonder we choose to replace family with friends. They include us in the good times and the bad. Sometimes even in the sad. They include us. Period. We all have a few good friends that put their hearts on their sleeve. They would drop everything to help us out in a pinch. It's almost as if they could be the brothers/sisters we weren't blessed with, until later in life. 

If there's anything I value over material things, it's your time. I wish more people did as well.

God, grant me the patience and the grace to take things in stride. Life is short. I pray for loving relationships. Meaningful moments. I need special understanding for what seems the impossible. I pray for time not to slip away. 

*This happens on my side of the family AND Hubby's. I'm not pointing at anybody specific. Hhhmm.... maybe it's me. 
**Who am I kidding? We weren't thought of at all. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Come On Summer!

It's been a long school year. I can almost taste the last day of school. It won't get here soon enough. It's been an interesting year as far as being a crossing guard goes as well. There have been some good things about this year, as well as bad. I have to remind myself of the good when something bad happens.

I had to make a list to help get me through the last few weeks of school. Here goes. 

The people and things I will miss:
-The moms who allowed me to get to know them by name. They've made the mornings and afternoons a pleasure. Here's to new acquaintances and friends. 
-The kids who were ready to get to school each and every day. Some of those kids had the sweetest disposition.
-The school bus driver who actually tried to keep the Christmas spirit alive by leaving his interior Christmas lights up well after the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Saviour was over.
-The extra money was nice. I could earn a little play money and it didn't take me away from my kids.
-The people who drive by and just wave to say hello. They're not dropping off kids, they're just on their way to work. Or wherever.

There will also be some things that I won't miss:
-the alarm clock. Need I say more?
-Seeing kids that are way too small to be sitting in the front seat of cars.
-People who don't understand what my "Stop" sign really means.
-The woman in the minivan with a permanent scowl on her face. Everyday.
-The extreme cold/heat. The weather has not been my friend much this year.

It's been an interesting year. Goodbye homework. Goodbye to being a crossing guard at the corner.  Hopefully, summer will wipe away the headaches of the past school year. It will give us time to nurture new friendships and maintain the existing ones. Plenty of opportunity for fun, relaxation and FREE TIME.