No. You’re Not a Nice Guy.

If you spend any amount of time around people you will find that there’s different kinds of folks in this world. If you work in a vocation where you serve the public you’ll notice this especially. If you are not your own boss, or you work under others, you will notice it even more.

Some that you encounter are nice, pleasant people. They’re a joy to be around, and their words and actions parallel one another. These types of people often treat others with respect, and the way they would wish to be treated.

Then there’s the other type of people. Basically take the above, imagine the exact opposite, and there you have it. My grandma used to say someone was “as mean as a snake,” and I still hear her voice and perfect description when I encounter unpleasant individuals. The venom of their vile attitude is poisonous.

But there’s also a third type of person. There’s the type of person who professes to be kind. They often attend church, and proudly title themselves a Christian. And the thing is, they still are, but their actions usually don’t line up with the character of Christ, and this is beyond bothersome to me.

In the nursing profession I’ve had the opportunity to encounter all types of personalities, and I’ve also had the unfortunate experience to be treated less than I deserve.

Often times when someone is in a position of authority over someone else their behavior can cross the line of professional, and easily become demeaning. It can also become abusive and downright mean. As a snake.

Sadly I’ve experienced this more than I’d like to admit. I’ve been called names like “circus monkey,” or had objects thrown at my face.

I’ve been told I was stupid, and I’ve been yelled at in front of others. And while I’ll be the first to admit when I’m wrong, in all honesty most of these occurrences took place when I did absolutely nothing wrong. That somehow makes it feel even worse to me.

I recently got in a conversation with someone about the behavior of one of these not so descent people, and the fella said, “he’s actually a nice guy outside of work.” But I wasn’t buying it.

He continued, “he’s bought me dinner before.” Then he added, “he sings in the church choir.”

I’m reminded of my time as a waitress, and the poor behavior I would receive from the occasional customer who felt their main objective in life was to treat their server like a dog.

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Food service is like that. Something about serving someone makes them think they can treat you poorly, and like you are less than you are.

I have family that works in the restaurant business currently, and I hear the stories of the despicable behavior of others. We live in a small town so sometimes the irate customer is someone I know, and guess what? Nine times out of ten the words and behavior they exhibited don’t match up with the scripture they just posted on Facebook. Just being honest.

James 3:10
Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

You cannot profess to be a follower of Jesus and continue to treat people poorly. I mean, I guess it’s your prerogative if you want to be mean, but be aware it doesn’t coincide with being a Christian.

You cannot go to church and smile sweetly from your pew, but then cuss out the girl in the drive-thru at McDonalds at lunch afterwards. I suppose you can, but you shouldn’t.

Just because you’re nice when it benefits you, makes you look good to the public, or elevates you socially, it doesn’t mean you’re a nice guy.

No. You’re not a nice guy. Or a nice woman.

You cannot post prayers on Facebook, but then talk down to someone who is your server in the restaurant. Or your nurse. Or your employee. Or any other human being for that matter. I guess you can, but you shouldn’t.

You absolutely cannot profess to be a Christian, but then treat people indecently. I suppose you can, but again you shouldn’t. The two, conflicting personas do not match up. They are not cohesive, and in fact you are giving the title of Christian a bad name.

When someone you have treated despicably is also searching for a relationship with The Lord will they see a clear example when they look at you?

I have prayerfully considered this post as it’s been on my mind for some time. This isn’t written out of anger, and it’s not a personal jab at anyone in particular. I’m writing this because it’s needed for the kingdom.

Maybe you’re reading this and it’s you. You’re the person who doesn’t treat your fellow man like you should at all times. Stop.

Stop being cruel. Stop treating people like they are less than you. If you can’t do that then at least stop labeling yourself as a Christian, because you’re giving the family a bad name.

Somewhere a soul is being lost because you have given a false impression of what being saved really means. This is serious business.

You can’t be a nice guy sometimes when you serve God. You have to be a nice guy always. We all make mistakes, and we all get angry, but we should strive to always season our thoughts, words, and actions with the characteristics of Christ.

We can do better at this, and I think God expects no less.

Why I Don’t Even Think About Trusting My Husband!

All I needed was a nice, hot bath, and I’d feel like a normal person for sure. Being a stay-at-home mom during the week while my husband worked made finding me time a little scant, but I was determined to squeeze in a soak and scrub before the children started tearing the walls down. So while they were occupied I hurried to the tub.

And that’s when I saw it. My husband’s wedding ring hanging on a peg in the shower. Forgotten, and cast away.

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He had gone to work without his wedding ring. He had left the symbol of our union abandoned in the shower. Do you know what I did?

I hurried to fill the tub before the kids could start hollering my name. That’s what I did. I noticed the ring briefly, and then all thoughts of it passed away. Why?

Because it wasn’t important.

At all.

In fact I completely forgot about my husband’s wedding ring until he texted me an hour or so later that day. He asked that if I got out if I wouldn’t mind bringing it to him. And I did get out, but then I forgot it anyway.

My point is that I never for a moment wondered why it was not on his finger, and its presence never caused me even a fleeting thought of concern. I knew he took it off because it slips around when he washes his hair, and then he forgot it in his rush out the door.

I never worried why he forgot it, or if there was a reason he did. I never for a moment questioned his motives, his allegiance to me, or anything else for that matter.

I don’t think about trusting my husband. I just do.

When his phone rings I don’t wonder who’s on the other line. I don’t feel the need to check his text records or even his pockets. Those kinds of things never even cross my mind. If someone asked me right now “do you trust your spouse” I might hesitate for a moment, but only because it’s not something I think about. It’s just something I do.

I trust him like he trusts me, and it becomes a passive action, an act as natural as breathing. I inhale the love he pours out to me, and I in turn exhale my unconditional trust and faith in the man before me.

A good man is nourished by the adoration of his wife, and he flourishes under the trust she rightfully bestows.

If I doubted my husband’s faithfulness would he not in turn distrust me also? I see trust as a two-way street, and indeed we collectively believe in the others’ ability to love abundantly, and in truth.

I don’t doubt my husband’s love, and he doesn’t doubt me. We don’t even think about if we trust one another. We just do.

When my husband got home later that evening I brought him the ring as he stood in the kitchen, and he smiled as he slipped it on his finger. It rested neatly in the indention years of marriage had formed in the skin. Perfect fit.

I smiled at the symbol of our covenant, the circle of our endless love, but I knew it was more than that. It went beyond simple metal. And while a wedding band shows the world you belong to someone else, it’s simply window dressing when compared to the commitment and trust you show one another.

You see our actions are our bond, and our trust in one another is the reflection of our commitment. It isn’t something we think about. It’s just something we do.

A Letter to the Community From Your Nurse

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To the Community at Large,

This morning I thought of my mother. This is really nothing new since her passing six years ago, but this morning I wondered what she would think. I wondered what would be her take on all this mess swirling around the world right now.

Mom was a nurse, and a really great one. She loved the job. Honestly more than I could ever try to do, and there are many days I wish I could be half the nurse she once was.

This morning I imagined us sharing our opinions of the news stories abounding over Ebola within our borders, and I wondered what she would think. Knowing her it would probably be something profound, compassionate, and simply amazing.

I’m not like her though. I’ll be very frank here. Sometimes I get aggravated with my chosen profession. Nursing. Often times, probably more than I’d like to admit, I complain about it. I make inappropriate jokes, vent my many frustrations, and overall likely make some people think that I just don’t like what I do. Sigh.

But I do.

When I saw the headlines about the Dallas nurse contracting Ebola I’m quite certain my first thought was one of fear. Similar to my days in the military, and when the War on Terror began, I had a moment of trepidation over being on the front lines to fight such a formidable enemy.

But do you know what emotion trumped my fear?

Do you want to know what feeling overshadows my frustration every day of my career?

Can you understand what came over me when I discovered another one of my comrades in health care had fallen ill in Texas?

Pride.

I felt pride in the field of nursing. And though I was terribly distraught for the fate of my sister nurses, overall I was proud. I was proud of them, and proud for the call to service that they accepted. They knew the risks, they knew what could go wrong, and still they charged forward with dedication to duty, and to that of their patient. Wow.

And I guess what I want you to know is that they are not an isolated event. Nurses go forth onto the field of battle like this every day. That might sound dramatic, but it’s true.

Nothing will bring this truth to light like an epidemic. Because even in the face of a challenging, frightening disease process nurses like those in Texas will be right there at the bedside.

If, God forbid, you find yourself fighting for your life, you will not be alone. You will look up, through a veil of feverish sweat, and you will see a nurse looking back at you.

It may be wrong, but that fact, that truth, it makes me proud. It makes me proud of my brothers and sisters in health care, and it makes me proud that I walk among the ranks.

Does fear still try to creep in? Yes.

Does frustration over lack of community education and properly taught protocol assault me? Does it assault me as if the blame for personal infection were placed on me too? Of course.

But do you know what places all my fear, anger, or frustration in the shadows?

My duty.

Nursing is not a simple task to be taken lightly. It is a calling, and a duty that is taken with utmost care and seriousness. Even when I joke.

This pride for the profession may make some people roll their eyes, but when you’re in the trenches of a serious epidemic that threatens to spread quickly it will be the pride, dedication, and compassion of a caring nurse that will mean the most to you.

I don’t want you to be afraid. I want you to trust God in this mess. But if you do find yourself feeling some fear I want you to know you’re not alone. There are rows of nurses standing in the gap for you. They will be there if you need them. In fact, nothing could keep them away.

I know if my mother were here she would be the first to do her job, and to do it with all she had within her. I only hope I can make her as proud of me.

If you want to take the time to thank a nurse you know, or to tell them how proud you are of them, then by all means I encourage you to do so. But it won’t matter.

Nurses will continue to do what they do because they must. The fire burns within each one so bright, and that dedication will not wane. No matter what the world throws our way. And yes, that makes me proud. I can’t help it.

Sincerely,

Your Nurse

*original image from nursetogether.com

Why I’m Not Afraid of Ebola: A Nurse, Mother, & Christian’s Perspective.

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I recently was drawn to an article on Ebola that was written from a nurse’s perspective. Naturally. I’m a nurse too. I thought it was well written, and I was in agreement with the majority of what she said inside. What I didn’t like was how I felt afterwards. Long after I closed out the article. This wasn’t her fault. It was mine.

Stories, news articles, and many blog posts are circulating due to the very real threat to health that Ebola poses to the community at large. I’ve always thought information was a good thing, wonderful in fact. Being a nurse I especially enjoy having knowledge on a subject, and growing that base of information. Knowledge is power. Except when it’s not.

Too many times false information is spread faster than the correct data, but that’s not even the worst of it. That’s a huge problem, false information, but there’s something that spreads even faster than that.

Fear.

I’ll be the first to admit it. After I read the article from that nurse, a colleague in health care, I was frightened. As a mother I was very afraid. I imagined watching my children suffer with the symptoms that I fully understood such an infection would cause, and it made me sick to my stomach. It made me want to gather my chicks under my wings, and never leave our nest. Ever.

As news reports continue to come out with further information it gets even scarier. A nurse has contracted the disease?! Talk about hitting close to home.

A fellow nurse asked me, “did you hear?” And I couldn’t fault him for his concerns for they were also mine. I could nod agreeably when he uttered, “They don’t pay me enough to risk bringing that home to my family.” As a mother, I couldn’t agree more.

But then I wondered who would care for the infectious diseases if we all felt that way? Knowledge is power, but fear is a different animal all together.

If Ebola continues to spread I think the illness of fear would affect us far greater and quicker than the actual disease the CDC is trying to contain. Fear spreads so much faster, and fear would be the downfall of our society. Riots driven by panic. The breakdown of the healthcare system possibly? Perhaps.

When actions are motivated by fear there are mistakes. There is misinformation. There is widespread panic.

I see no problem with being informed, but fear often blinds individuals to seeing anything clearly.

My husband has been putting back bottled water. We’re talking about doing the same thing with canned goods. Preparation is wise in the face of a possible breakdown in society. It’s actually prudent. But what concerns me more than Ebola, or an economic collapse, or even a Zombie Apocalypse is the very real possibility of how people may react when faced with a situation that causes them fear. I prepare for that.

As a nurse I find the situation of Ebola very concerning. As a mother, even more so. But it’s my role as a Christian that lifts me out of the mire of it all. It’s my dependence and relationship with Christ that carries me through these very real threats to my health, my life, and that of my family that I hold so dear. It’s my faith that causes me to not be afraid. Not of Ebola, or of anything else that may threaten my happy existence.

I will further my knowledge of the disease process of Ebola. But I will not spread misinformation quickly in my fear and panic. I will research before spreading unsubstantiated articles.

I will buy extra hand sanitizer, and reinforce hand washing to my children. I will not keep them locked indoors. Unless the circumstances change. Then I will act accordingly, but not out of fear.

I don’t fear the unknown future of my family for to do so would drive us all insane. I trust in God’s protection of them, and myself. I don’t consider this a silly, Scarlet O’hara mindset where I’m casting all caution aside and burying my head in the sand of my faith. Not at all. It’s simply trust in Him, which prevents me from being controlled by a spirit of fear.

I will continue to proceed in caution, knowledge, and prayerful consideration. But I will not be afraid. I believe my Savior died on the cross so I could be set free from fear of the unknown. That’s just me though.

I would encourage you to continue to educate yourself, and to stay abreast of the latest information, but do not allow the devil to trap your heart in fear. Do not unknowingly spread that fear like a communicable disease. Don’t follow that conspiracy theory.

I am not afraid of Ebola. And neither should you be. Take hold of the freedom from fear that is afforded to you. We will overcome this.

A Flawed Marriage

I remember when we got together. I was a complete mess. Fresh from a broken relationship, heartbroken, and vulnerable. I cried a lot, and I drank even more, drowning my sorrows in liquid courage, and staying afloat on his affection.

I was so broken.

It’s always been peculiar to me how two broken people seemed to fit so well. Somehow even in the midst of chaos and secrets we saw to the heart of the matter.

We held on.

They say no one is perfect, but simply perfect for you, and we certainly held on to that old adage.

We were indeed deeply flawed, with emotional walls of protection as thick as the bond that held us together despite it all.

We needed healing of our hurts, and to be loved without fear of judgement.

Somehow we made it through. By the grace of God we held to the foundation of love, that truth that we were meant to be. Emotional love may wane, but an unconditional commitment sinks its claws in deep.

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This morning I stood over my spouse, and I watched him sleep. I was overcome by emotion, and I felt the tears welling up, threatening to spill out with my relief and gratitude for what we have. The love I felt for him in that moment was so heavy it took my breath.

All around me I see relationships failing, and unfaithful mistakes made, and I draw closer to my husband. I draw closer to the God who placed us together.

And while I cry out thank you Lord I also realize we don’t have it all together. I am imperfect, and he is flawed, but through grace and mercy we hold on to the solid foundation that brought us together in the beginning. Two failing, fledging souls collided, and resulted in a beautiful love affair. Who could let that go unnoticed?

So I hold him a little closer, and as I watch a broken world full of problems spinning all around me I cling tight to our perfectly imperfect life.

Looks will fade, and passion will mature into a lovely, fluid dance of soul mates forever intertwined by feelings beyond what the eyes can see.

We were less that our best then, and we still are today, but together with Christ we press forward to be better than yesterday.

We look past the blemishes, and in fact hardly see them at all. I see only a tender heart open to my imperfections, and calling me to surrender to a pure, beautifully flawed love.

That acceptance of me entirely and unconditionally gives me the confidence to love him deeply. Just as he deserves.

Life with him is wonderful, and I have not a single complaint. If that changes I know it won’t change us.

I won’t give up on him, or on our love, even if things are less than their best. And I know he feels the same. For something about the way he loves me, and I love him, flaws and all, it just feels right. But more than feelings. It’s just perfect. It really is.

A Mom’s Version of Sick Day

I stopped at the counter, and I stood there for a good two minutes. What was it I needed?! I couldn’t remember.

As I stood there in a brain fog, with that discombobulated, stuffy sinus-head feeling I pondered why in the world I had walked across the room.

And although I finally remembered, it still irked me that I felt so disconnected, that I felt so bad. Was it because I was getting older? Shouldn’t I feel better after my sick day yesterday?

It’s true. Yesterday I took a sick day. I did absolutely nothing. Well, except some little stuff I had to do. You know?

And then I really thought about it. I thought about how when I was in my early twenties I would chug some medicine, and purposefully go into a NyQuil coma to evade all icky feelings of a cold.

I would wake refreshed 14 hours later, and then I’d be on my merry, “I’m all over being sick” way. Yeah. Yesterday may have been a little different.

On Mommy sick days childcare still exists. When I woke up sick my children didn’t magically disappear, or spirit themselves off to grandma’s. That probably would have helped, but in my bold belief of “I’m all good,” and “I got this,” I try to continue forward as if my head doesn’t feel like it will explode, and that I can breathe out of both nostrils.

Kids don’t care if you’re sick. They still expect food, snuggles, and energetic playtime. As I found myself dizzy from picking up little balls of play doh under the table I realized my handicap. My children did not.

“What are we gonna do today?”

“It’s so boring in here!”

“Let’s play Dogcatcher.”

“Mommy doesn’t feel good” just doesn’t compute with little minds intent on you, aka, the dog catcher, chasing them around the house.

Then there’s housework. They say the only things certain in life are death and taxes. I would probably add dirty laundry. Maybe even dishes. As long as the earth continues to spin, and the sun rises in the east then I will always have dirty laundry and dishes. It’s never-ending. Even if I feel like crap.

I could probably slack off a bit, and admittedly I did. After all, it was a sick day. So I did three loads of laundry, folded them, and put them away. I cleaned the kitchen, and homeschooled my child. Made a delicious dinner from scratch. Oh, and I kept two little humans alive all day.

Mommy sick day.

I slacked off by not repainting our bedroom, or rearranging the living room furniture.

It’s no wonder I didn’t feel rested after my meager six hours of sleep. Laundry was done for the week, because that’s what my weird Mommy brain told me I must do, and off to work I went. And yes, I even played Dogcatcher.

I realize my husband does this too. It’s not just a Mom thing, and not even just a parent thing. It’s a “I’m a grown-up now” thing. With grown-up responsibilities. My mortgage and car payment won’t let me guzzle NyQuil at noon, and sleep the sleep of the unhampered college kid.

When I left this morning my daughter told me she didn’t feel well. I gave her some medicine. Then I rocked her for a bit. Finally I tucked her under the covers, and kissed her forehead. I knew that if she wanted she could lay there all day.

All I could think was enjoy it kid! One day sick days will look way different.

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The Reason I Would Choose Not to End My Life

I am prepared that this post might not settle well with some people, and it might even offend a few more. That’s never my intention, but this subject is something I feel strongly about, and I was driven to share. I needed to tell you why I would make the decision to not kill myself. 

The purpose of this post is driven in regards to a story that’s been making the social media circuits of a young woman by the name of *Brittany Maynard. Mrs. Maynard has Glioblastoma, a very aggressive form of brain cancer, and her prognosis is poor. In fact she will die sooner rather than later according to medical experts. 

She recently came forward with her decision to end her own life, on her own terms, and at a time of her choosing. Right after her husband’s birthday. She is being assisted by a physician in the state of Oregon where assisted suicide is legal. Actually they term it “death with dignity.”

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My first thought when I read the article that detailed her story was no!! But then I stopped, and I tried to place myself in her shoes. And the point of this post is not to point a finger at Mrs. Maynard, and list the ways I may think she is wrong. Not at all. I admire her for sharing her personal story with the world, and I grieve with her for the loss of life here on this earth, especially at such a young age. 

No, I couldn’t tell her what was the right decision for her, and I couldn’t assume I knew exactly what she was going through when she made what I can only imagine was the most difficult decision of her life. 

See I don’t have cancer, or any other life-threatening illness. And while I have lost a close uncle to brain cancer, and watched his life up until the end, I haven’t had to sit down with my spouse, like Mr. Maynard did, and make the tough decisions. 

I am a Registered Nurse, and I have worked in the field of Hospice. I found it truly rewarding in fact. I have taken care of patients with her exact diagnosis, and the one I remember the most is the hardest.

A feeding tube placed prior to being enrolled in Hospice made his time draw on longer than it probably should have, and I can only imagine the pain his family felt every day watching him die. Especially when the swelling in his brain caused his eyes to protrude from his head, and actually congeal. 

I don’t go into such detail to offend his memory, or to cause my readers undue distress, but only to point out that I have seen the suffering first hand. I will add that most cases of Glioblastoma don’t reach that point.

But like I said, I can’t say what Mrs. Maynard should do as I am not her, and though I sympathize I wouldn’t be so daft as to proclaim on a public forum what another human being should decide.

I can only speak for myself. 

And though I am not in her situation I can strongly and definitively say what I would do, what decision I would make. It would not be the same choice she has made, and I will tell you why. 

I used to be a very frightened, anxious person. I worried about things, and I feared the unknown. I didn’t want to think about the deaths of people I held dear, and certainly not my own. 

I was like a young girl looking off her front porch, and I could only see as far as my eyesight would allow. I couldn’t see the storm that was approaching, and I certainly couldn’t see the rainbow that would develop after it passed. 

In fact, I couldn’t see beyond the grand field in front of me, and though the rolling plains of wildflowers were so beautiful, greater than anything I could have imagined; I did not see the crystal clear, sparkling ocean view that was just over the hill at the end of my visual field. 

When I met Christ this changed. It didn’t change all at once mind you. It was a long, drawn-out process, and it continues even now. As my relationship with The Lord developed, and was cultivated by my faith I began to see things from His perspective. I began to see things from a Kingdom perspective. 

I stopped being so afraid. I ceased to fear the unknown because I knew there was no unknown to my Savior. My story was already written, and though I didn’t know the end, I could take comfort that He did. My King who loved me so much that He died for me; He knew it all. 

I still experience fear. Christianity isn’t a magic spell that banishes all icky feelings here on this earth. No. It just makes it a whole lot easier to endure. 

I don’t fear death, and I’m not saying Mrs. Maynard does, but my lack of fear in this regard is why I would choose to live. I would live as little or as long as my God willed me to. 

I don’t fear the death of those I love. And while their passing would rip my heart in two with grief, I would take comfort in knowing I will see them again. 

My belief in Heaven, and in eternity conquers any fear of death. And although pain and suffering may come, I truly believe it will be short in duration when compared to an infinity at my Savior’s side. 

I wouldn’t choose to do things my own way. I would choose to do things God’s way. I make this same choice every day, but if confronted with the difficult choice of ending my suffering on earth by my own hands, or instead trusting my God that His purposes are true; I would choose God’s way every time. And twice on Sunday. 

Some people will read this and think I’m full of it, or that I’m delusional. I am not. I am at peace. 

I trust in God’s plans for my family and myself, and this faith makes every day I live on this cruel earth a little easier. 

Death has no real sting when viewed through the eyes of eternity. Our time here is short, and we are just passing through, preparing our souls for an eternity with God. 

Whether God chooses to take me quickly in my sleep, or if my time of death will be longer, harder, and more painful; the outcome will be the same. I will wake up next to Jesus, and it will be glorious. 

When you make the decision to follow Christ you also make the decision to trust His plan for your life. And your death. You make the decision to remember it is only an earthly death, and you will in fact live forever. 

I honestly hope Brittany Maynard changes her mind. I hope she will draw her strength from The Lord, and not from the empowerment of calling the shots in how the end plays out. Because I believe she will only find true peace, and true freedom from the fear of death by placing her life in His hands, and trusting that His ways are so much higher than our ways. 

Sometimes we are all like the little girl who cannot see beyond the field in her front yard. We cannot see the glorious beauty that is just beyond our sight. 

Faith allows you to trust what you cannot understand, to surrender what is out of your control, and true contentment is found in letting go. 

Even when you cannot see.

*I apologize if I misinterpreted any of the facts in the case of Brittany Maynard. I got my information from news stories I have seen. I would certainly never assume I know the entire story, or what she is dealing with. This post is meant as an opinion piece, and what I would do if in a similar situation. And yes, I’m certain of my decision.

Deconstructing the Act of Being Late

I know, I know. I’ve said it before. Now that I have kids I can’t seem to be on time, to anything, ever. And I’m sure those of you out there who have yet to have children, don’t have them, or they’ve gotten older are like, “blah, blah, blah. We hear you Miss Tardy.”

I’m sure you might suggest that I plan to leave early, or perhaps set out everything I’ll need for the next day; anything that you think should reasonably allow me to not be late. That would be nice, wouldn’t it?

Theories and plans are pretty little ideas made up of one part unicorn smiles and two parts laughter of tiny fairies. So nice, so warming to the cockles.

So unrealistic in a world that is ruled by toddler tantrums and preschool poops.

If you look at it scientifically rather than through the rose-colored glasses of good intentions you can see where all the planning, laid out clothes, and dreams of departing without yelling are torn apart, and thrown into the black hole where my toddler’s shoes reside. But we’ll get more into that later.

Let’s look a little closer, shall we? Let’s go back in time, to a place in the past where I imagined I could stop the tardiness. Let’s deconstruct the act of being late, and see where it all falls apart miserably. Come on.

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It all begins with the well-intentioned, early set alarm. I will get up an hour early tomorrow! you think, and as you lay in your warm bed, where you can easily forget the realities of life with children, you smile quite pleased at yourself for the morning ahead. I’m going to be on time tomorrow! You double-check that the alarm is really set, and you fall asleep contentedly with visions of arriving early dancing in your head.

Baa-baa-baa!

Oh dear Lord! You hit snooze quickly. Just five more minutes!

You’re not going to get up early. You’re going to hit snooze six more times. You’re exhausted from rocking a teething toddler at 2am. Interrupted sleep isn’t the same, is it? Which also reminds you, we really have to get the four year old in her own bed. You’ll be feeling that kick in the kidney for the rest of the day.

It’s ok. You’re not too hard on yourself as you crawl out of bed an hour later, rubbing the spot on your side where you were assaulted overnight. After all, despite missing your alarm you still have three hours until it’s time to leave. Piece of cake!

Mmmmm. Coffee. You almost enjoy a full two sips before being summoned for chef and waitress duty. Milk and eggs for the masses.

Well that took longer than you thought.

Bath time. Get dressed. No silly. Not just yourself. Everyone else too. You think back to playing dolls as a child, and getting them dressed. It’s not the same at all.

Imagine wrangling a slippery pig who is mesmerized by the television and can’t seem to understand how pants work anymore. Put your leg here!!

Oh dear Lord. You’re already yelling. This isn’t good.

Don’t look at the clock. It will only make you feel worse.

“Why do you have chocolate on your shirt?! Where did you get candy?!”

“Mommy cannot hold you right now. No, please don’t cry. Why are you crying?!”

“Really? You have to poop right now?”

“Where are your shoes?”

“Where’s your sister?”

“No! Don’t play in the toilet! Your shirt is soaked!”

“No, we don’t have one more minute. Put the iPad down.”

“No you can’t take your six favorite Barbies. Don’t cry! You can take three.”

“Where’s your shoes?”

“Don’t pull out your hair bow!”

“How can you be hungry?!”

“Yes, Mommy will fix you a snack to take. Yes, juice too.”

“Go pee. Yes you do have to go. Go pee now!”

“Where are your shoes?”

“Where is your sister? How did she get outside?!”

“Get out of the mud puddle! You’re soaked!”

“What makes you think you can play in the puddle if I won’t let her?!”

“Get in the car!”

“We’re gonna be late!”

I usually put mine in the car at this point. Yes, I still have to gather snacks, cups, coats, diaper bags, umbrellas, and my purse, but it will only take longer with them. At least if they’re buckled up their madness is confined to a location of my choosing. And it’s like the only time I get to pee without somebody watching.

We might just make it. You look at your watch. If I leave now we’re good. You almost faint from shock.

There they are strapped in their respective car seats, smiling little angels ready to help you arrive on time.

“Where are your shoes?”

“Seriously, where are your shoes?!”

You have a brief moment where you consider letting all knowledge of shoe loss fall to the wayside. But, it’s cold, and it’s wet.

You see a lone lefty laying on the pavement, and you crouch down to look under the vehicle for its counterpart. Ouch. Your first real pang of pain from the kidney punch you took.

No shoe.

You search every inch of the vehicle, but to no avail.

“Where’s your shoe?! For the love of Pete!”

The toddler giggles hysterically. She ain’t talking.

“Mom. Who’s Pete?”

“He’s the man who’s better than the word I wanted to say. Where is your shoe?!”

“I’ve got them on.”

“Not you. Her. The hater of shoes and hair bows! I hope you’re happy. We’re gonna be late!”

More baby giggles.

You run inside. You run back to the van for the keys. Then you run inside. You’ve given up finding the missing shoe, and figure there’s a better chance inside.

In your toddler’s room you see a plethora of different shoe choices.

A red Mary Jane. A pink boot. But no matches!

Flip-flops? No.

You considering pairing a purple boot with the pink one, but they’re both the same foot. So you finally decide on a pair of neon pink sandals. With socks. Sigh.

At this point I want you to realize a few things.

You will hit every red light.

You will need to get gas terribly.

You will get behind someone going twenty miles below the speed limit. They will likely have a handicap tag, and you might feel momentary guilt for the terrible things you are saying about them under your breath.

You will be overly ecstatic when they turn, but then you will get behind a truck like your grandpa’s. Not the one he has now, or even the one he had when you were a kid. It will be the first truck he ever had. It will also have an unsecured ladder hanging from the back, and no working taillights.

Despite all your best efforts, despite the very best laid plans, and despite all the good intentions you will arrive late. Even if just by five minutes, you’ll be late. You could set all your clocks fifteen minutes fast with the hope of fooling yourself. You would still be late.

This is parenthood. A vortex of tardiness.

Can you still term it fashionably late when you’re carrying a stained diaper bag, and a sippee cup in each hand?

I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure out where the shoe went.

8 Ways Parenthood Makes Me Feel Like a Loser. Just This Week.

When I’ve finally arrived to that quiet moment in the late evenings when children fall asleep I have a mixture of emotions. As I sit in the dark rocking a baby, feeling the mixture of sweat and drool collecting in the crook of my arm, I look at that angelic sleeping face, and I can’t believe I made it here to the end. 

On one hand I’m so grateful for that sweaty, snoring bundle, and I think, how did I enjoy life before this?!

On the other hand I’m just happy the day ended with me not strangling anyone, and I wince with memories of raised voices and hastily uttered prayers to God above to give me the patience not to say too many curse words out loud. 

In the dark I pray to do better tomorrow, and I’m astonished at how my life has changed. How I have changed. Things that were once important have been moved to the back burner with all the remnants of burnt food left behind, and what’s left is a struggling woman just trying to make it to bedtime without having to take someone to the Emergency Room. 

Parenthood has rocked my universe! Sometimes most times I feel like I am failing miserably. Here’s eight ways being a Mom has made me feel like a loser. Just this past week. 

1. I can’t be on time. Like ever. Sigh. 

I used to always be early. Pre-kids that is. My personal motto was “to be early is to be on time.” I thought people who were late were so rude and disrespectful. I still think that. The thing is now that’s me. 

2. I’m useless. What I mean is, I have zero energy. I am currently having an affair with Mr. Coffee, but to no avail. I’m taking vitamins, and putting B12 under my tongue like it’s the latest craze rave drug. I exercise. Ok, I don’t, but I think about it a lot. 

I’m just so tired of being tired. All I want to do is nap. 

3. I’m hormonally imbalanced. Serious. OMG! Agghh!!

Within any given day I can cry like a baby and then scream like the NFL’s angriest football coach.

Oh my goodness, look at that puppy wearing a tutu, and kissing an old man! insert tears

I just dropped a dish. Again! insert spinning head like the movie Exorcist

I just realized the dish belonged to my deceased mother. insert hysterical tears

4. I have zero patience. Ok, I have a little. Otherwise I would be in prison already. But it’s nothing like it used to be. What happened?

I used to be so relaxed and easygoing. I’m assuming patience is stored in your uterus and is transferred to the placenta because every time I deliver I lose a little bit more. 

5. I’m stupid. Seriously, I feel like an idiot most days. I’m so forgetful, and young children are so eager to point out your inadequacies.

I’ve always considered myself pretty intelligent, but then I became a mother and that went out the window. I have decided that aside from housing my patience, my placenta also holds my memory. It is gone too. I’m sorry, what were we talking about?

6. I’m a slob. I used to be so put together. insert tears over the loss of my former self

Once upon a time I wore black with no fear of boogers. White pants were a cinch with no worries of sitting on discarded food. I didn’t have to wash a shirt every time I wore it. Only if it got a stain. Which rarely happened!

I had time to fix my hair, fix my makeup, and pick out a complementary outfit. I even had time to shave. All the way. 

Now I am frumpy. My kids look amazing. I’m rocking a ponytail. They’re wearing matching bows. I have on stained yoga pants. They are wearing the cutest outfits ever!

We won’t even go into the stretch marks and droopy boobies. I’ll start crying again. Or probably not. I’ve resigned myself to the fact I now have a mom butt. 

7. I’m crazy. I’m certifiable, loony, momma needs meds kinda crazy. 

I’ve always been peculiar, but nothing makes you question your sanity like parenthood. 

I love my children more than life.

I want to throttle them. 

This mothering thing is the greatest thing ever. I was made for this. 

“Oh my gosh! Leave me alone! Go outside. For a week.”

How can something be so wonderful, and yet so exasperating? Am I crazy?

8. I am a failure. Well, that’s how I feel anyway, and I guess that’s where that thought I’m a loser comes from. 

Parenting is hard, and the cost of messing up is huge. The thing is I love them so much, and the thought of not giving them my absolute best makes me feel like I miss the mark, fall short, and in essence fail. 

It’s that thought that comes to mind when it gets quiet. I wonder, did I do my best today, or could I have done better? I’m always glad there’s tomorrow, but I know one day the tomorrows will lessen. There’s only so many days to do this right, and being my own worst enemy I assume I screwed up royally. 

That’s what I see. I see the raised voices and loads of wet laundry forgotten in the washer once again. Sometimes I forget the happy smiles and hugs accompanied by an unprompted, “I love you so much Momma.”

So maybe I am a little crazy, and I need to work on my patience, but I can take solace that they know I love them, and they never doubt it for a moment. 

Some days I will feel like an emotional wreck, a snot-stained slob, and an absolute loser, but then I can remember all that I have gained. I can cry happy tears and wipe them with an over-sized sweatshirt while I hold babies instead of leaving precisely on time. 

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Don’t Forget to Dance

My little sister is getting married tomorrow which is an emotional moment in itself. Tonight we got together to rehearse the big day, and hearing the music to which she would walk down the aisle made me cry. Such pride I felt for my younger sibling in that moment, but that was before the dance.

There’s so many things to think about when planning a wedding, so many details that you want to go just right. On a night like tonight, the rehearsal dinner, you can get lost in all the practicing, timing your steps just perfectly so you don’t race down the aisle. But she didn’t forget.

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Daddy. We need to practice our dance.

They did, and as I watched them turn slowly in circles on the wooden platform I thought of how quickly it all goes.

He had walked me down the aisle too, and it didn’t seem that long ago, but even more so I could easily recall sitting in his lap and falling asleep after a bad dream when I was a little girl.

I can remember when he threatened the young man who took me on my very first date, or how he would tell me when he disapproved of my revealing outfit. I wince at the memory of getting in big trouble, and the look of disappointment on his face. It doesn’t seem that long ago.

I watched my little sister in the arms of our father, and I saw her lay her head on his shoulder. She knew. She knew that it went far too quickly. And she knew better than to forget to dance.

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I watched my young daughters dancing themselves, and I didn’t miss the fact that they were getting bigger every day. It happened so quickly, and though the busyness of just living could take over, I knew that I couldn’t forget the important things because I was too focused on getting it all right. I couldn’t forget to dance.

As my sister placed her head on our daddy’s shoulder and tears began to flow I knew she felt the speed of it all. She knew that tomorrow she would leave the protection of her father, and she would become one with her husband. But for the moment she just danced.

When I looked at them I didn’t see a grown woman. For just a moment I saw a little girl, and I think our father did too. But I knew that when the music ended the little girl would be gone.

And they would be grateful that they didn’t forget to dance.