Friday, May 25, 2018

Peeks of Light

It's time for Finish the Sentence Friday and, today, we're supposed to share a photo and a story to go with it. I can't share the photo I want to, though. It's a picture of my oldest daughter and some of her friends that was taken a couple nights ago when they were having a sleepover to celebrate the end of a grueling sophomore year and one of their birthdays. It is a photo of love, friendship, and pure joy. 

While I'm certain they have each put this same photo on all their social media accounts (because I've seen and "liked" each and every one), I don't feel it's my right to slap their faces up here on my little piece of the internet. So, instead, I spent way too much time on Canva finding this stock photo of joyous friends to share! It's missing the green grass and the familiar faces, but you get the idea.
So what's the story that goes with the photo??

We made a decision two years ago to enroll our daughter in this extremely rigorous academic high school/college program. Every day since then I have wondered if it was the right decision. I have seen her completely joy-less and far more stressed out than any fifteen year old should be. At the same time, she has made some great friends and can definitely say she has overcome some incredible hurdles. It was actually an enormous relief to see such joy on their faces in that photo.

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Thursday afternoon (the day I picked her up from the sleepover), we were driving with my around town when we witnessed a pretty bad car accident right in front of us. The car in front of me ran a red light and got t-boned by another vehicle. The next thing we saw was the homeless man who is almost always on the corner at that intersection. His sign says he is a disabled veteran. Using a cane, he was hobbling across a very large and busy intersection as fast as he could to check on the people in the cars that had collided. HE WAS THE ONLY PERSON WHO WENT TO THEM! (I called to report the accident while sitting in my car, but admittedly did not get out of my car. I just didn't feel it was a responsible, safe thing to do in so much traffic and I have no medical training to offer anyway.)

Later, my daughter and I were discussing what we had seen. After all, she has her learner's permit and will get her license in just a few months. It was a teachable moment, for sure. We both made mention of the homeless man and what a selfless thing it was for him to risk his safety to go check on the people in the wreck. She said, "Moments like that restore my faith in humanity." 

Maybe it was just something people say, right???

But, maybe not. In the instance of maybe not, I had a few thoughts:

1) It makes me sad that my 15 year old daughter has a sense of lost faith - faith in God, faith in people, faith in goodness. I cannot shelter her from news of school shootings, angry people, and natural disasters. Kids these days are under so much pressure to excel at academics, look a certain way, grow up too fast. I wonder what hand I've played in the dim outlook she has and what it means for her, all her friends, and my two younger daughters in the future. 

2) I am delighted that she still sees peeks of light in the dark. In reality, she has always been a "glass half empty" kind of person. It was refreshing to hear her refer to the homeless man as a sign of hope and to see the sheer happiness on her face in the picture I'm not posting. It was, yet again, a relief to know that some optimism still exists in her and that maybe our choice of high school program coupled with all the terrible news in the world has not completely stolen away every last drop of her childhood innocence.


As parents, we make decisions every day - big ones and little ones - that affect our children's lives. Sometimes, it's so hard to know what the right choice is. We just have to do what we think is best in the moment, move forward with love, and hope for a good outcome. Then, we have to take the peeks light as they come and hold on tight until the next one comes around! 
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Linking up with Kristi and Kenya for Finish the Sentence Friday! 
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Friday, May 18, 2018

What's on the Menu? Food Frustration

Sometimes, I love food. A decadent piece of chocolate cake or a hearty bowl of pasta; sinking my teeth into a juicy, perfectly seasoned burger or a creamy cone of cold ice cream on a hot summer day. Just this week, I had food from a restaurant I had never tried before - a Hawaiian pulled pork taco topped with pineapple and paired with some amazing sweet potato chips. Sounds yummy, doesn’t it? Yep. Sometimes, I love food.

Sometimes, though, food sends me to the brink of angry frustration. Dieting and calorie counting vs willpower and “I don’t care!! I’m going to enjoy this dessert!” Constant menu planning, lunchbox packing, and “Mom, what’s for dinner?” interrogations. I get so tired of trying to figure out what to cook, what to plan, how to work our busy schedule around fitting in reasonably healthy meals and something a plethora of differently picky eaters will tolerate. It is a weekly, daily, hourly struggle. 
Sometimes, I get so tired of the struggle that I wish food was not such a necessity. I wish it was not something we needed; something we have to constantly keep in consideration. Sometimes, I wish there was not such thing as food - no such nuisance; no such thing to be a constant thorn in my side. 

Then, there’s those tacos and sweet potato chips; cheesecake and fresh strawberries. 

Life would be so much easier without the need for food, but also much less interesting. 

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Linking up with Kristi and Kenya for Finish the Sentence Friday! 


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Long Days, Short Years


My alarm goes off at 5:30am. I hit snooze once (or maybe twice). Then, shower, get dressed, put on make-up.

I head down the hall to turn off the alarm, feed the dog, and start the coffee. There must be coffee. 

I make the rounds to wake up my girls. Sometimes, I stop short and just stare at them for a few seconds. They look angelic when they sleep and I can still see the toddlers they used to be. It's fleeting, though. Soon, I am thinking to myself, "How are they ever going to make it when they go off to college and I'm not there to wake them each day?" I say their nicknames and give them a gentle shake. "Wake up! Time to get going!"

I head back downstairs to make my coffee - stevia and lots of creamer. I need to pack the lunches. Oh, how I despise packing those lunches! Day after day and picky eating kids. I throw in a Lunchable or an Uncrustable and a apple, then I feel guilty for not packing something healthier or more creative. Shrug. I Gave up on being creative a long time ago. 

I make the rounds one more time just to make sure everyone is awake. They're not. "Get up! Get up! Come on!!" No time for sentimental gazing now. 

I have my usual breakfast - a bowl of protein cereal. Brush my teeth and gather my things. One by one, they come down. "Get your shoes on. Grab your bag. Do you have your lunchbox?"

Out the door for the carpool runs. Drop off the youngest two. Then, a coffee date with my oldest daughter. Focus. Cherish. There aren't many of these left. She can drive herself next year. 

Drop her at school, then off to work. Meeting. Emails. Work. Meeting. Emails. Work. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. 

Back to the car for pick up rounds. Phone keeps dinging with emails, texts. "Hey there girls! Did you have a good day?" "Yes. Do you have any snacks?" 

After school activities - some days there are more than others. Maybe an errand if we have a few minutes to squeeze it in. It's probably a grocery run if we do.

Finally, home again - just in time for me to need to start dinner. Cook it up. Serve it up. Clean it up.

"Do you have homework? Then, get to work."

Remind them to shower. (Why do they need a reminder to shower?)

Send them to bed. 

Laundry. Dishes. More emails. Maybe TV. Maybe a book if I can keep my eyes open long enough to read a few chapters. 

Finally, my head hits the pillow for a few hours of sleep before it's time to do it all all over again. 

It's been long day. 

Most days seem like long days these days. 

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Rushed sips of morning coffee and a bowl of cereal. I scroll through my Facebook feed. "You have memories to look back on today." Click. 
Their tiny faces stare back at me through the screen. Still the same, but also different now. 

Six years ago? Nine? 

Has it really been that long since they were that small. Not possible. It feels like it was just last week. Just a couple days ago.

Look at that face! Look at those curls! 

I remember that outfit. I remember that day. I remember sleepless nights and toddler tantrums. I remember sticky fingers and midday nap times. 

I thought those days would never end, but here we are. How did we get here?  It's a different kind of chaos now. A different kind of crazy. 

Somewhere through the miles and miles, my little ones became tweens and teens. Nap time was replaced by homework and I hear "Mom, can I go out with my friends?" instead of "Mommy, come watch me again!"  

Those days seemed long, so very long. THESE days seem long, so very long. 

But, oh the years! They fly by so fast! 

Hug tight. Don't blink. Hold on. Let go. 

Long days. Short years. 

Long Days.

Short years.   

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