wise guys

I didn’t like my junior high English teacher.

Her name was Mrs. Wisdom.

No, really.  That was her name.

She was nice to me, at first.  People like her are always nice at first.

I was in a new school after a summer move across the country.  I’d gone from having friends, lots of friends, to knowing no one.  We had to read our book reports out loud.  In front of the entire class.  In front of all those boys.

I couldn’t do it.

I absolutely could not do it.  She called my name and I froze in my seat.  I didn’t say a word, I just shook my head no.  She smiled at me with that fake smile I didn’t know was fake by then and nodded at me to get up.  I wouldn’t do it.

“Well then…”  I thought maybe she’d be nice and let it slide.  But no.  She called on Michael Meredith.  “Michael, why don’t you read Rebekah’s paper for her”.  He stood up from his desk and walked over to mine.  I handed it over.

Later that day in the lunch line I caught wind of the rumors.  Mackenzie told me first. I liked her.  She was the only one brave and nice enough to tell me.  “Um, the boys are saying you don’t know how to read.”  I couldn’t believe it.

“Huh?”  I was too shy to be too upset.

Those boys had no idea what they were talking about.  I’d been in the advanced reading group since first grade–me, Kristin, and Mary–before I got kicked out of it for not doing my reading homework during a two-week family vacation.

But that was in my old school.

“They’re saying you don’t know how to read.  That’s why Michael had to read for you.”

Well that was just great.

The first week in a new school and I couldn’t even read.

Now I felt even stupider.

 

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field of dreams

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My favorite thing about Mommy is…”she plays with me.”
~Ethan, age 4~

“Mom?  Do you wanna play with me?”

He’s wearing his father’s old bathrobe, no shirt underneath.  This is the baby who made me a mother. These past few months I’ve noticed his widening shoulders, his torso filling out alongside his arms.  He’s got the voice of a boy and the body of a growing one.  He doesn’t call me Mommy anymore, but he still asks me to play.  I don’t always say yes.

“Sure, whattaya wanna do?”

Those days when he was young, when I didn’t have to work, he had my devoted undivided attention.  We played Thomas trains all day long, all the blessed day long.  On the days we couldn’t be together I missed him something awful.  During those twelve-hour hospital shifts, it was all I could do to help the old men swallow their pills, tuck in my patients, and dream about the time I’d be crawling around on the floor playing trains again.

The game he picks is foreign to me.  He shuffles up the deck of cards.

I smile at the boy, though he has no idea why, but I do.

He can teach me how to play.

building blocks

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“Youth is the seed time of good habits, as well in nations as in individuals.”
~Thomas Paine, Common Sense~

The next step is to build the afternoon.

This is the time of day I struggle most with goals and ideas.

It’s the time of day I realize we’re barely halfway through the day and still have about seven hours to go.

This is the time a little girl can run a few errands to get away from the house and spend time with her Daddy.

This is the time when the little boys can lay down in their beds for an hour even if they don’t fall asleep.

This is the time Iron Man and Spider Man can go outside and pitch to the concrete wall for a while.

This is the time Momma needs to rest and regroup.

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And that’s okay.

timeless lies

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It’s 2PM and the day has stalled.

The kids are watching a useless Youtube segment, useless in my maddened mother conscience anyway.  While they laugh, dabbling in the idols of the age,  I am browsing the World Wide Web, Facebooking for female adult conversation.

Two hour nap time no longer exists, which means, what’s left of my sanity wouldn’t remain either– except–this turn of events has forced me to wake early, two hours early before children get up, two hours of sunrise and peace and of quiet.

“Kids!”  I startle them into a daze.  “Turn it off.  Right now.  Turn it off.”   For better or worse, they’re used to my abrupt interruptions of urgency.   I shut the computer and grab the Bible, opening to the twenty-third Psalm.   As God is my witness…

Every so often I get the feeling I’m being watched, and I don’t mean by human eyes.  I feel it mostly in my dreams, the ones to visit since I was a girl.  In them I am being chased, pursued by forces set to destroy all that is good.

“Kids, when the Bibles are gone, when the Bibles and the bodies are burning–“, a child’s voice cuts me off before I continue.  They’re sitting on the floor looking up, facing their mother, turning their backs to the silent black screen.

“Bodies?” he asks.

“The Christians”, I answer.

Repeat after me.  The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, and on and on we go until the house of the LORD forever, with the help of God, we will with the help of God.  Cherish the Word.  Hide it in your heart for the day of trouble…

Keep watch my little flock.

This isn’t about burning the black screen or chucking the computer out the window, though the thought has crossed my mind. We don’t have television channels, but we do have the Internet, and we’re not afraid to use it.

Let the reader understand.

 

 

 

abide with me

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“Are you settling in?”

This is the most frequently asked question by friends and family.  Close behind is the curious, “How is school going?”  The short answers, respectively, are “Yes, we are” and “I think it’s going well.  I absolutely love it.”

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We’ve been here now a week shy of two months.  Most of the boxes are unpacked and possessions have found a new place to live.  The ones that haven’t remain stored up for a rainy day when they will be the source of much delight and treasure hunting.  My walls could stand a few more frames and decorations.  Tara has an eye for stuff like that and she’s offered to come over and help me some afternoon.

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The new routines are surprisingly still going and are still going surprisingly well.  Back in January, I didn’t make a New Year’s resolution, but I did write about how I wanted to embrace the gift of routine in my life.  God has given me the chance.  What started out as splashing water on my face every day upon waking has steadily blossomed.   At this point we have focused mostly on the wake-up through lunch hours.  Rome wasn’t built in a day and I don’t suppose stable home routines are built that way either.  Change takes time.

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This has very much been a team marriage effort.

The home is known as the woman’s sphere, but man is the head of the house.  My husband is a man of discipline and a creature of habit by nature.  I am not and never have been.  I know plenty of couples where the situation is reversed, where the wife is naturally more organized and the husband is more laid back.

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The differences aren’t what matters.  The difference is how you approach them.

We are slowly learning how to live with one another in a harmonious way, a way that takes the other person’s needs and personality into account, and appreciates the different colors we each bring to the table.  Instead of continuous heartache our differences are becoming a source of genuine joy.  Together we are making a home.

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Even as I type these words I’m fighting back tears.  Dad is gone most of today representing camp at the district LWML convention.  We have now reached Saturday afternoon and I’m starting to feel the birth pains.  This is one of those “something is wrong with the world” times.  It seems that no matter where you go, part of marriage will include enduring painful times of separation.

“Lord, grant that I be faithful this day.”

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Here in a minute I’m going to ask the bigger kids to please stop playing basketball in the stairway.  The lowered noise level should help.  We’ve been outside already once and we’ll head that way again.  I have fear issues when it comes to them playing outside.  I haven’t quite gotten to the point where I can send them all outside to play by themselves and find it peaceful.    We are also working on building trust.

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God will help me with this as well.