Remember

It is past his bedtime. He is snuggled on his tummy, tucked in tight under his baby blanket that just barely covers his tippy toes. I lay next to him on my stomach, facing him so that we are nearly nose to nose. I slowly and gently stroke his hair as I sing “You are my sunshine” quietly. All is still and we slowly come down from the day together, relaxing into the darkness of the evening. Slowly, so slowly I hear a sound start to rise from him. It is a soft keening, building in his throat and before I know what has happened there are giant tears slipping down his cheeks. And the keening rises to a wail of anguish and suddenly he is sobbing and choking out the words,

“I don’t want you to die.”

“I love you so much.”

“Please mommy, please don’t die.”

I press closer to him so that his tears spill onto my face and I rub his back and murmur to him that I am not going to die, that I am going to be with him for a long, long time. And he clings to me and sobs and his hot breath warms my face and my heart aches with all the love I have for him.

And he cries himself dry. And exhausted, he sleeps.

I pray that when I look back at this time of Beckett’s life, I remember. More than just wild and silly and terrible threes, I pray I remember his heart. His giant capacity to love. I want to remember that when Kate is sad he tries to make her laugh. That when I am frustrated he always, with wide blue eyes worried, asks if I’m mad at him. That he wants me to smell his breath after he eats. That he loves dinosaurs.That his favorite color is blue. That he cries if I walk up the stairs too fast for him to keep up. That any time I put on a dress, or make-up, he tells me I am beautiful. That he still asks me if I’m sad that Pops is gone. That he gives the best hugs. That his hair curls when he gets sweaty. That he is the most animated child in his class during chapel, and that he sings with his whole body. That he, in all honesty, wants to live with me forever. That he cried this morning because Kate will move away some day when she “grows up.” That he loves apples so much he eats two or three a day. More if I would let him. I want to remember the way his hair smells after a bath. The sound of his giggle. How much he loves babies. And that the thing he fears most in the dark of night is that I would someday go away and not come back.

Please, God.

Help me remember.

Advertisements

Good parenting

Man y’all. Parenting is hard. And I was having one of those days. You know, the days where you question if you are doing right by your kids. If your best is enough. And you fret and worry and spend hours with an aching heart because you just want to know that you are raising your kids right, that they are happy and healthy and going to grow up to be awesome, productive adults and not jerk faces.

And then your kid’s Daisy troop leader sends you a picture she took at the last meeting and you are all…

Parenting. Nailed it.

unnamed-1

This is Kate using oranges to give herself boobies. Clearly she is pleased with herself. Thanks to Tracy Lyle for the photo. And for confirming that I’m killing it in the parenting department.

Conversations with a lunatic

Beckett CamelBeckett: What are the green things in this bread?

Me: Zucchini. Its zucchini bread.

Beckett: I want banana bread.

Me: We don’t have any banana bread.

Beckett:….

Me:…..

Beckett: I want banana bread.

Me: We don’t have any banana bread. We only have zucchini bread.

Beckett: I don’t like zucchini bread.

Me: You liked it when you ate it this morning for breakfast.

Beckett: That was banana bread.

Me: Nope.

Beckett: YES!

Me: Guess again.

Beckett (now in near hysterics): YES IT WAS AND I WANT BANANA BREAD!!!

(I take the plate of offending zucchini bread, walk into the kitchen. Walk back to the table with exact same slice of zucchini bread)

Me: Here is your banana bread.

Beckett (Takes a giant bite): YUM! Told you Mommy (proceeds to finish slice of zucchini bread)

Me (muttering to myself and shaking my head as I walk away): It is NOT banana bread you lunatic.

The cat’s pajamas

HappyNewYear2015VectorGraphicI saw an article yesterday about New Year’s Resolutions, and why you shouldn’t make them. I figured it would talk about the high fail rate of resolutions (I am STILL not a published author, a size 6 or a guitarist) but instead the focus of the article was that we are such wonderful, marvelous people, we shouldn’t worry about how we can be BETTER, we should focus on how good we already are. Be happy! Be positive! Be you!

What a bunch of hooey. THAT feel good mumbo jumbo is what is wrong with our country. Excuse me while I climb up on this here soap box, but if we, as a society, refuse to think about how we can improve and instead just sit around patting our backs and picking our noses, we are doomed. Yes, Yes, you are awesome. It’s okay to think you are awesome. I think you are awesome too. I think you are the cat’s pajamas. But, come on. You could ALWAYS be a little bit better. Like, SILK pajamas better. Meeeeeeow.

And so WHAT if I never actually reach my goals? At least I’m trying. And there is a good chance I’m learning/doing/making something positive in the process. I should be PROUD of my failures. I’m not a published author, but because of my resolutions I’ve spent more time focused on writing. That is a GOOD STEP. That time was not wasted. And nope, I’m not a size 6. But I’ve been more active in the past year than I have been since Ben and I got married (fat and happy and all that you know). And THAT is not time wasted.

So go ahead! Make resolutions! Make wild and crazy ones that you have no chance of achieving! Know that you will PROBABLY FAIL. YAY! So fun! Enjoy your failures!! And then make a few that you can totally do, because as much fun as failing is, winning is fun some times too. YAY WINNING!

So what are your resolutions for 2015? How are you going to make your awesome self even better? My resolutions fall into four main buckets. 1. Writing (Do more. Get better. Get focused. Get a draft finished. Of something. ANYTHING. Get published) 2. Health (Be more active. Be a gym rat, or at least a gym mouse. Quit eating out so much. Make health a priority for the whole family. Cook more. Quit drinking so much damn wine. *See? One certain to fail. But I can dream) 3. Mental Health (Maintain sanity. Learn something new. Take a class. Get a new hobby. Ask for help when its needed. Take “me” time without feeling guilty. Drink more wine. *Oops) 4. Family (Less yelling. More loving. Less screen time. More games. Quit parenting by gut reactions and emotions. Focus on Love and Logic. Be the boss. But a kind and loving boss. Play. A lot)

So that’s it. That’s how I plan on working on myself in 2015. And I won’t do it all. I’ll fail a little. Or maybe a lot.And I can’t wait. 

A reminder

I’m pretty sure God does some kind of sorcery on parents that makes us forget the worst parts of having kiddos so that we are dumb enough to do it again. And for some, again and again and again. He is a tricky one, that God. Making us focus on all the LOVE and the JOY and the FULFILLMENT and the blah, blah, blah WHY HAVEN’T I HAD A GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP IN FIVE YEARS AGAIN!?!?!?! Oh, yeah. I have kids.

Most recently I am being reminded that three-year olds are total jerk faces. And I’m allowed to say that, because I love my jerk face beyond all reason, but sweet mother when I tell Beckett not to jump off the back of the couch and he proceeds to do JUST THAT while maintaining eye contact to ensure I do not miss one second of his defiance I want to wrap him in a red gift bow and leave him on some other family’s porch. MERRY FREAKING CHRISTMAS NEIGHBORS.

There is just something magical about the age of three. Like, black magic. Seriously, half the time it is like they are the babies you know and love, snuggling and kissing you and the next minute their heads are spinning in circles and they are screaming so incoherently you think a priest might be in order. In a mere five seconds, a three-year old can go from pure happiness to utter despair, usually for reasons beyond a sane person’s understanding, like because the word “blue” sounds weird or you didn’t tap your nose three times before you asked them to wash their hands.

And God help the sibling of a three-year old. Because those poor kids are up against an unreasonable enemy. I mean, Beckett loves his sister. Like, LOOOOOOVES his sister. But he is three. So instead of being kind or just playing nicely with the one he loves, he torments her. His snuggles are aggressive. He makes annoying noises or, his new favorite, interrupts her repeatedly when she is talking. If he gets her squealing, either out of pain or irritation, he lights up like a Christmas tree. I don’t think there is anything more important in his whole, three-year-old world than getting a reaction from his sister. Nothing. Except maybe snacks.

The good news is that I’ve had a three-year old before. So while my memory of how terrible it was when she was three is foggy thanks to divine intervention, I very distinctly remember how lovely she was when she STOPPED being three.

Eight months people. Eight. More. Months.

20141215-180048.jpg

A craft for the totally un-crafty: Personalized Mickey and Minnie Magnets

For anyone who has been following this blog for awhile, you know that crafts are not my thing. As in, the one and only time I did an entire craft from beginning to end, I posted about it. I checked the archives. It was October of 2010. FOUR YEARS AGO PEOPLE. Check it out, “A craft for the totally un-crafty: blackboard pumpkins.” Compelling stuff. Last fall I got all motivated and started a wreath. This is it’s current state:

20141029-082316.jpg

Twelve months have passed and I haven’t been able to work up enough give a darn to go to the store, by burlap and FINISH THE DAMN WREATH. You know what is hanging on my front door? NOTHING. That wreath would sure look nice. Maybe next year.

But this month? This is a month to go down in the annals of Edelbrock family history. Because I have started and completed a craft (pausing for dramatic effect and possibly some applause).

Next month our family is going on our first Disney Cruise. And while I am very excited, I made the mistake of joining a Facebook page that thrives on people posting about their personalized T-shirts, gifts, door hangers (called “Fish Extenders” for you fancy, in the know Disney Cruisers), and other things that I basically need a graphic design degree and 40 free hours to create. So we are skipping all that nonsense and taking the “no fuss cruise” approach. Except for door magnets. I can kind of get behind the idea of decorating our stateroom door so that when the kids (or, um, a slightly tipsy Mom or Dad. Don’t judge. It’s vacation.) are trying to find the right door in an aisle of 600 identical doors we don’t end up beating on a strangers door shouting, “LET ME IN. THE KEY IS NOT WORKING!!” So to Etsy I went. Oh Etsy. That magical place of craft items I should be able to do myself, but TIME and ENERGY and BLAH BLAH. After surfing the site for Disney Door Magnets, I came up with two conclusions:

1. Ben would kill me if I spent $30 on a paper magnet that would get a one time use (BUT HONEY, IT’S PERSONALIZED!)

2. I could totally make magnets myself. For a lot cheaper.

So here is my SECOND craft tutorial for the totally un-crafty: personalized Mickey and Minnie Magnets. YOU ARE WELCOME.

Step One: Get a grandiose idea that suddenly you are Martha Stewart and not, well, YOU. Go to the craft store. Buy a bunch of supplies. For this craft you will need: scissors, thin magnets with adhesive on the back, black foam sheets, bright colored foam sheets and foam letters. Check out. Realize you have spent nearly as much as you would have buying magnets on Etsy. Shrug and shred receipt so the evidence is hidden. You are committed now. Stop by the liquor store on the way home. You will need more wine.

Step Two: Google Mickey Mouse head outline, Minnie bow outline and bow-tie outline. Size the images to whatever size you want your magnets to be and print. Pat yourself on the back for getting so far. Open bottle of wine and pour a glass. Take a break, maybe make a cheese plate. You got this.

Step Three: Cut out your shapes, then trace them onto the foam. This may be self explanatory, but I’ve had two glasses of wine and if you have too, I’m going to make it easy. The MICKEY head shape goes on the black. The BOW TIE or BOW goes on brightly colored foam. You are welcome. Cheers!

Step Four: Start to cut out the foam shapes. Realize the scissors you grabbed from the junk drawer are actually, well, junk. Weigh the pros/cons of just using junky scissors or hauling yourself upstairs to the guest room where your “craft” stuff is (i.e. the unused sewing machine and all the stuff you have purchased… years ago… and just never gotten around to using) and getting out the good scissors. Mull this existential question over with some dark chocolate and the rest of the wine. Decide that a nap is in order.

Step Five: That nap was a good idea. Pat yourself on the back, get your good scissors and get to work cutting. Cut out all your shapes. Get really excited when you realize the foam you are using has adhesive on the back because you forgot to get glue and if this craft wasn’t finished soon it was going to end up with the wreath in the “good idea, lack of execution” pile in your closet. Stick bows and bow ties on the Mickey heads. Text your husband a picture to tell him you are kind of a big deal. Don’t expect a reply. You won’t get one so imagine him rolling his eyes, because this is likely what is happening when he reads your text.

Step Six: Dump the bucket of foam letters on your work surface. Dig through and try to find the letters for everyone’s names. Realize this is tedious and you need more wine. Thank goodness you thought ahead and picked more up. Plan to very carefully place all letters on your magnets. Realize that you don’t have the patience for this and just start slapping them on. Get slightly annoyed the names don’t look straight and then decide to pretend you did this on purpose. It’s art. It’s artsy. If anyone complains about their names, decide you will knee them in the groin.

Step Seven: Step back, look at your work and feel like a badass. Drink some more wine to celebrate. Text your Mom because you know she will respond. If you have a good mom (I do) she will tell you they are cute. You will then text them to your husband because now you are actually finished and HE HAS TO RESPOND. He won’t. Later he will claim he was in a meeting. But you know he was probably thinking about how his name wasn’t spaced correctly.

Step Eight: Kick back and feel accomplished. Then realize you haven’t stuck the magnets on the back, so they technically aren’t magnets and you technically aren’t done. Curse a few times. Pick good ones. Like the F-bomb. Use that one. Then get up and stick magnets on the back. It will literally take you two minutes. You will feel sheepish for overreacting, but it did feel kind of good to curse like a sailor.

Step Nine: Decide to write a blog post about your craft. Because if a tree falls in the woods, someone needs to read about it.

IMG_4129

In my skin

I was cleaning out my blog drafts, a little housekeeping this morning, when I came across this post from last fall. It was written sometime in October, shortly after Dad was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. It was an important read for me today. A reminder that there is still so much good in our lives. And while I miss Dad terribly and feel the loss of him so strongly during this season, I can still find contentment in our blessed life. And that is where my hope comes from.

———

October 2013Life is not perfect. You only have to read my Facebook or check past blog posts to know that there is a lot of pain and struggle and worry right now. Which makes what I’m about to say seem so wild and crazy to me.

I am content.

We had a speaker at my Moms group the other day. She was there to talk about raising children who are not entitled, but something she said at the beginning of her talk really resonated with me on a totally different level. “Teach your children to value contentment above happiness. Happiness is situational, but contentment is unchanging.” She elaborated, sharing that although you could wake up completely happy, your feelings could change immediately. Say, after your son smears peanut butter all over the dog. See? No matter what your station in life, your personal fulfillment or your strength of faith, there is a pretty good chance you are NO LONGER HAPPY. But, you can still be CONTENT.

Hm. That gave me pause. I am certain I am not happy at this time in my life. But am I content?

I was walking out of the gym this week when the answer came to me. I had just had a great workout, one that makes you feel strong, and capable and invincible. It was cool, the kind of weather that promised fall leaves and fires and warm blankets, and snuggling. And I was walking to my car and it hit me like it was a direct message from heaven. And I remember thinking, “I am content. I hope that years from now I can remember this season in our lives and remember this feeling of contentment. Right here, right now.”

But can I? Can I be content even when my father is fighting for his life? When cancer has crept like a thief in the night to wreck and ravage one of the people I hold most dear?

The answer, surprisingly, is YES.

The answer is yes. And I don’t think is dishonors my father to say that. Am I happy. Oh my, NO. No, my heart hurts and my soul cries out for God to hear our prayers. But I am content. And I would think that should comfort my father more than anything else could. Because I know he loves me. He wants the best for me. And I am finally at a place in my life where I can say, Yes, father. I am okay. I am content. I am at peace.

dbbd794f23e7879cb415f9da3b5ffe7c