Last week was so great! My spirits were really lifted by doing Random Acts of Kindness and by hearing of all the kind things others have done. Despite a good week, I still cried myself to sleep almost every night.
This week I felt myself start to unravel again. I dodged social gatherings, found myself trying to rub out that chest pain again and had very, very little patience for my children.
“They are SO freakin’ slow,” I said through clenched teeth to Man. “I can hardly take it! And the constant questions! They never stop! Always needing answers or assistance…!”
Man looked at me with an expression that said, “Yes…that is the parent/child relationship…”
“I know. I know that’s my role. That’s part of my frustration! I need to be able to handle that and do the job but what I really want to do is punch a hole in the wall!”
Then yesterday morning a very damaged soul, consumed with evil, went on a killing spree. Most all know of the tragedy in CT where a shooter took the lives of 26 people. 20 children.
I did not feel fear for my children. They are as safe as anyone can be in their school. This guy was going to hurt people no matter what sort of lock down procedure a school had or no matter the size of ones town. These things are out of our control sometimes and so I can’t just let fear consume me. I wasn’t afraid.
I was sickened and heavy-hearted. I kept considering all of the “whys.” Is it all of the processed foods we eat? Is it overcrowding? Is it the violent movies? Is it the news media constantly shoving this crap in our faces and glorifying these acts? Is it vaccinations? Is it a gun control issue? Maybe it’s not bad medicine. Maybe it’s too much good medicine. The weaker are surviving when they used to not. First generation in, not so bad but 3 or 4 generations down…. I don’t know. Maybe?
After the “whys” I went through all of the scenarios. I already have Christmas gifts for my kids. I’m sure the parents of the slain have gifts already as well. Ug. So awful! Anytime of year it’s awful but now during the Holidays when you are planning all sorts of ways to make your children smile and believe in magic! Now I was angry. Hot tears, chest pain, the whole thing.
Enough. Do what you can, where you can. Raise good kids. Love them into wonderful men who love back.
Parenting sucks. It’s also a divine privilege. God has loaned me two of His angels to care for. Huge blessing! Huge job. Mom’s are heroes because if they do their jobs well they may be saving the world from a nut job who goes in and steals others lives. I’m not blaming this guys parents because I have no idea the story there. Maybe they were awesome parents and this guy was just poorly wired, but I believe that most of what we become as adults are a product of how we were raised as children.
That being said: I know lots of people who had bad situations as children and they rose above it. That’s a special person that can do that though. A lot of the people in our prison system did not come from good family back grounds.
I picked the boys up from school yesterday. I had already planned to because we were going to the Children’s Hospital to do a Christmas Sing-A-Long for needy children. (First I typed “nerdy” children. Haha!) It looked like every parent who was able to, was at the school picking up their babies.
When I saw Buddy he ran across the school yard and jumped into my arms! Bug dragged himself to me and pushed me with his head. That’s a hug from Bug. He had ketchup or something all over his face and his clothes were dirty as well.
“Come on Bug! I need a real hug! Give me a squeeeeeze!”
Head butt again.
“Alright. I think that’s the best you can do today.”
“Are we off to the hospital?” Buddy excitedly asked.
“Did you bring me a nice button up to wear?” Bug asked.
I picked up a couple of other friends before heading to the hospital. We stopped at a drive through as there would be no time for dinner before hand.
“Boys, I want to remind you that we are going to bless others today. These families are very poor. They are getting a hot meal and a chance to see Santa and to get a big bag of gifts but that’s all for them. Not you. Don’t ask for any of it. Also, if you get a chance to talk to any of the kids, don’t treat them any different from you. They are just like you, with the same wants and hopes and dreams as you have.”
“Except they are poor…” Bug said sadly.
“The only difference is money and that’s just paper,” I said.
We arrived at the hospital where there was a huge table full of cookies in the lobby. The kids could decorate their own cookie, have pizza and see Santa. A great night!
Bug saw the cookie table and his eyes grew wide. Then, horror of horrors, my chubby, ketchup smeared faced son shouts, “Are those cookies just for the POOR kids?!”
Man whisked Bug away to the bathroom…
We sang our songs (Buddy acted out each song in an interpretive dance of sorts) and helped usher people through the line to Santa and then left. Honestly, we felt poorly utilized and I would love to take over the whole event for next year but…
Afterwards, Man took Buddy and Bug home and my friends and I went out to dinner. We had a laughter filled evening! It was a good night after a terrible day. It was good to spread a little cheer to those who have less than us. It was great to see them together as a family, laughing and smiling in their pictures with Santa. It was good to laugh with friends and to remember how blessed we are to have each other. It was so so good to have Buddy and Bug with me while we did these things. It was also, good to see them go with their father so I could have time with friends.
When I got home, the boys were in bed. Man gave me a big hug and lead me down into the basement where a glass of wine and a roaring fire were waiting. A perfect way to end any day.
Caren came over this morning for coffee and Bailey’s. My sons played around us. They were “Squatchin’.”
“Mom, will you hide our yeti and can we borrow a camera to collect evidence?” Buddy asked.
Part of me wanted to say, “Stop playing around us. Stop interrupting!” But I know there are parents today who would love to be annoyed by their little boys.
“Go to your room and don’t come out until I tell you to,” I said while taking the toy yeti to signal my willingness to play.
Together, Caren and I hid the yeti and set out a few other clues. Then we sat back down with our coffee and set the boys out on their hunt. After a couple of expeditions the boys then got ready to go to their other friend’s house. I’m gonna call him Ace.
My sons grabbed coats and toy weapons to take over to Ace’s house. As I drove down his long dirt driveway we saw a dark…something…flash across and into the woods on the side of the drive.
“Holy smokes!” Bug shouted. “What was that?!”
“I saw it too…” I played along. “Maybe…it’s a Sasquatch!”
“That was no squatch,” Buddy said, low and serious. “That was special forces.”
Just then camo and black came blazing out of the wood and ran along side of my car. Ace had a special black vest over his camo and a black shield over his face. When I stopped the car he stood in front of it and raised his shield to reveal a beaming smile! He raised his hands out to the sides and gave a slight bow. I rolled down my window and applauded.
“I love you Ace! That was awesome!”
“Bug,” Buddy whispered. “Arm yourself!”
The boys opened their doors and rolled out, guns blasting.
They didn’t even turn to say good-bye but all ran off into the wood together ready to attack any foe or creature they may encounter.
I thought that it was kind of awful for them to be playing “guns” today but…some parent in CT would love to be me this morning, watching their boys play guns as little boys do.
I often feel bad about my many blessings because I’m so undeserved. (Don’t try to convince me otherwise. You don’t deserve yours either. That’s what makes it a blessing and not an entitlement.) I think part of being grateful though, is to enjoy your blessings. Enjoy your family. Enjoy your home. Enjoy your clothes, your car, your mountain side. Whatever it is, love it and relish it.
This morning the world seems weighted down by those terrible events. I encourage everyone to be a light in the darkness and a vessel of love to others. Today is a day for daisies and sunflowers. Buy some and give them out. It’s such a little thing but people need that bit of happy color and caring gesture.