“Fall”ing in the South

This is my favorite time of the year.  I love the beautiful colors of the trees, their constant metamorphosis into the rainbow of warm canopies.   I love the cooler weather, the ability to roast marshmallows in the backyard without sweating off 20 pounds (however, if that were true, I think I could enjoy that).  I love the smell of pumpkins and apples, cinnamon and cider.   I love fall, but I love it more in the South.

The great thing about the South during the fall is that you can get up in the morning, layer on a coat over short sleeves, and by the afternoon shed the coat and walk around in warm comforting sunlight.   Fall in the South is wonderful.  My boys want to be outside ALL. THE. TIME.   They’re not crying about it being too hot or too cold.   It’s quite literally perfect.   The only problem is that Fall doesn’t seem to last long.

One of the bridges at Falls Park.
One of the bridges at Falls Park.

So, knowing that the days will soon be getting shorter and our window of opportunity to enjoy the cooler weather closing, I’ve decided to start taking advantage of every free moment.   Over the course of the past week, we’ve had bike rides, picnics, and planes.

Since we live so close to the Swamp Rabbit Trail in Northern Greenville County, I try to get the boys out at least once a week.   Davey hops on his bike and Henry and I tag along behind him.   I love how the trail, which is old railroad tracks, looks at times to be carved into a mountain, the rocky terrain shadowing us on either side.   With the changing of the season, the trail is filled to the brim with leaves.   It’s a great sight to see.

Biking on the trail.
Biking on the trail.

Last week, after enjoying a run on the trail as it winds through Falls Park in Downtown Greenville, I decided that I would treat the boys to a picnic.   My original intent was to hand make a lunch, but then reality sunk in and I remembered quickly that I’m not a Martha Stewart, but more of a Savannah Guthrie, so I shouldn’t push my luck and just be grateful I have the wherewithal to actually do a picnic.   Instead of the hand made lunch, which I had romantically envisioned in my mind thanks to my binge viewing of Madmen episodes, I stopped at Chick-Fil-A.

Hamming it up in front of the Falls.
Hamming it up in front of the Falls.

I packed a blanket, some snacks, some books, and loaded up the wagon.   We parked near the Governor’s School, and strolled through the park, over rock bridges and onto some of the softest grass I’ve experienced this side of the Mason-Dixon line.  The boys grabbed chicken nuggets and playfully ran about the park, picking up sticks and leaves along the way.   We even had an opportunity to feed the ducks, an excitement beyond measurable proportions for Henry.

Run, Henry, Run!
Run, Henry, Run!

That day was quickly followed up by a day out at our favorite café and park, The Runway Café and Park at the Downtown airport.   Three WWII era planes were scheduled to fly in around 1:30, so once again we took in the beautiful Fall day, sat outside on the patio, ate our lunch and watched some pretty awesome planes land.  And while mommy was super interested in the planes, my boys really just wanted to run around on the playground, soaking in every last little ounce of Fall they could before it’s gone for another season.

WWII planes.
WWII planes.

Unfortunately for us, rainy weather has moved in yet again, cutting into our fun outside.   Stay tuned for all latest indoor adventures in Dreaming of Mommyhood.

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Criss Cross Apple Sauce

When I first became a stay at home mom, I immediately began taking Davey to our local library.   I wanted to have interaction with other adults and for Davey to have interaction with other children.  It was a wonderful experience as it allowed me the opportunity to meet other stay at home moms, and we even formed a playgroup that met weekly outside of the library.   It was an absolutely wonderful thing.

As with most things in life, people grow (children more specifically) and responsibilities become more and more burdensome.   Our playgroup fizzled apart after about a year when moms were having other babies and unable to attend or were moving, as was the case with two of the moms.   It was a sad day for me as this became such a wonderful thing for both Davey and me.

With the introduction of Henry into our lives, I found it hard to maintain our once hectic schedules and I stopped taking Davey to the library.   I soothed my guilt by saying that he was enrolled in a Mother’s Morning Out program and that was plenty of social interaction for him, but by doing that I neglected to let Henry have his own thing.  I didn’t take Henry to the story time at the library because it was geared for little ones (his age) and met on the days when Davey wasn’t at Mother’s Morning Out which meant he would be with us and thereby bored with the baby stuff.   So, Henry’s social interaction fell to the wayside.  I firmly believe that my lack of getting him involved with programs the way I did with Davey is the reason he’s so clingy to me when he attends the same Mother’s Morning Out program Davey did.

Fire Safety day and story time at the library consisted of a real truck.
Fire Safety day and story time at the library consisted of a real truck.

Yesterday, I decided to brave the elements…not the cold, but the “elements” of taking two boys to a story time at the library.   I hemmed and hawed about it.  I’ve gotten into my own routine, my own comfort level, but I need to step out of that and step out of it quick for Henry’s sake.   The story time consisted of books about fire trucks and fire safety.   There were even firemen and fire trucks for the boys to explore.

As soon as I walked into that same room of previous years’ story times, I had an immediate twinge in my stomach, twinge of regret as I didn’t know how my two boys were going to react.   When I originally began story time, Davey was a free spirit.  He was the child who never say with his mother, was always running around, liked to sing the loudest, touch everything, climb on other mommies, and just not focus at all.   He was the child who refused to sit still.   I was always jealous of the other moms.  I would come home and tell my husband how Davey would run around, how I felt he was getting nothing from story time, and how frustrating it was for me.   Henry is becoming the same way, but Davey?  Well, let’s just say this mommy was pleasantly surprised at how well her big boy is growing.

Davey immediately sat down in my lap, eagerly listening to stories and rhymes.   Henry?  Well, he was a Davey of years past.   He ran around, screamed, tried to take sippy cups, climbed on chairs, took books.   He was my terror, the one who would not allow me to enjoy the program with all the other moms.  Davey; however, decided to join the circle of other kids.  He sat criss cross apple sauce the entire time.  He sang the songs, listened intently to the stories, and even participated in the “stop, drop, and roll” with the firemen.   If I hadn’t been chasing after Henry and trying to quarantine him, I’m likely to have sat in the room, mouth agape at the astonishment of how much my oldest has grown.   He can sit quietly, albeit for just a short time, but he can do it.

Henry was able to sit still for just a split second.   Long enough for me to get this picture.
Henry was able to sit still for just a split second. Long enough for me to get this picture.

As I sat discussing the days events with my husband, he remarked, “remember how you never thought Davey would sit still?”   Yes, I do remember that.   I suppose that since I survived Davey and his terrible twos, then I’m capable of doing the same with Henry.   Maybe in two more years, I’ll be amazed at his ability to sit criss cross apple sauce as well.

Survival of the Fittest

It’s a motto used by athletes and intellectuals all across the board.  Celebrities use it, common folk use it, politicians use it.  Once upon a time, I even used it.   These days, I don’t know how much stock I actually put into the words.  I’m getting older, a lot less bolder, and I just want to make sure that I can survive the raising of my youngest child, regardless of who’s the fittest.

Davey has become a lot easier these days.  He sasses me more than I’d like, but he’s also settling down more and becoming a bit of an asset to me (if children can be considered that).   He helps out more, is able to watch a television show and even most of a movie, thereby allowing me some downtime or the much needed chance to get some chores done.   He understands his chores and because I’ve chosen them wisely, he actually enjoys doing them.

I can take him places, football games, museums, restaurants, and not be too terribly concerned about either not enjoying myself or management kicking us out.  It’s been a long ride to get us to this place, a lot of heart aches and head aches, but we’re there.   Looking back, I never thought it would happen.  So, I can say I have at least survived my oldest son’s terrible twos.  Whew!  Henry?  Well, he’s a different story.

I found myself feeling as if I were having a Mommy Dearest moment the other day.  I came downstairs to find the 1000 piece puzzle I’ve been working (yes, I work puzzles, they’re fun and relaxing, while also stimulating) demolished and on the floor.  I snapped.   I got so mad,  I wanted to punch a hole in the wall.   I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs.  I wanted to punish whoever did it.   I almost wanted to take a wire hanger to someone, but I didn’t.   I did stomp around, interrogate both of my boys (although I knew who was the culprit) and then I threatened to take away all of their toys.   I made them clean up and all the while I was seething inside, the pressure mounting and a pain began forming in my left chest and I felt like I couldn’t breathe.   Dear God, was I having a heart attack, or coming near to it, all over a puzzle?  Nah, I think it was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Henry.  Yes, Henry is the one these days who’s bringing me to the brink of death.   Henry is devious, strong willed, independent, and doesn’t seem to consider any consequences with his actions.  I’m aware he’s not yet two, but he’s very smart for a two year old, much smarter than Davey at times, a feat I didn’t think possible.

Henry is entering his terrible twos, which if I remember correctly means I have at least another two years of this behavior.   TWO YEARS!  I don’t know if I’m fit, mentally or physically, to survive.   I genuinely believe he will take me down, he will destroy me piece by piece, eroding away my armor, until I’m completely naked and vulnerable, where he’ll then deliver the knife to the heart.   Maybe I’m a bit melodramatic, but I really think Henry will be the death of me.

He’s adventurous, has zero fear, doesn’t listen (likes to run towards the road, regardless of how many times I’ve said “no”) and believes anything his four year old brother can do, he can do it better.   I’m going to die.  I am literally going to go into an early grave with this child if I don’t learn how to relax.   My problem, though, is that I’m not thinking on the level of an almost two year old, or even a four year old for that matter.  I’m assuming, falsely I might add, that these boys are on my level.   I’m not coming down to theirs, and therein, my friends, lies the problem.   I find myself every night saying these words, “I just don’t understand.”

So what if the fence is colored with chalk, it’ll wash off.  So what if my puzzle is destroyed, it can be put back together.   So what if Henry threw my wallet in the trash can at the museum, it was recovered, albeit a half an hour later.   That third thing did happen, by the way.   So what if he’s not eating his food, throwing it across the room, he’s obviously not starving.   So what if he instigates half of the fights with his older brother, he’ll learn not to mess with a bull or that those horns will hook.   So what if he’s pulling poop out of his diaper and wiping on walls?  So what!  Those are the words I should be saying to myself every day.   He is only going to be this age for a while and then all new headaches will start.   Sigh.  I don’t think that thought is really helping my cause as I’m sitting here at 4 am on a Friday morning writing a blog.

The only thing that even remotely makes me smile about the idea of if Henry puts me into an early grave, is knowing that my husband will no longer have a buffer.  He’ll have to deal with these boys on his own.  He’ll have to suffer through my torture.  I’m not thinking nicely, shame on me. I wonder where Henry gets his devious nature?  Hmmm.

Happy Friday, y’all!

10 Things This Stay at Mom No Longer Wants to Hear

Every. Single. Day.  I am bombarded by questions, comments, advice, and judgment from other people because I am a stay at home mom.  Every. Single. Day.   It never ceases, it’s like a constant barrage of words pelting my entire body.  And of course there are blogs and articles about being a working mom vs. a stay at home mom, which is better and which is worse.   This morning, I read a blog on Scary Mommy that had the 12 things a working mother never wants to hear.  First off, let me give props to you working moms out there.  It’s tough work.  I’ve been there and done that.   Secondly, let me also just give props to ALL the moms in the world, whether they be working moms or stay at home moms.   You, WE, are all rock stars!

Back to this blog I read.   Working moms get a lot of grief.  I know this.  On occasion, I’ve thought negatively about my fellow working moms whether it be because I’m jealous of their adult interactions, having a life OUTSIDE of their kids, or because I just think their being selfish (yes, I have thought this.  Shame on me, I know!)  After reading this blog, it got me to thinking about the things I, a stay at home mom, don’t want to ever hear.

1.  Oh, I’m sorry.  You must have lost your job.  First off, don’t just automatically assume that since I’m staying home with my kids, it means I lost my job.   Some of us actually chose to leave our Corporate America jobs.   I went back to work when my maternity leave with Davey was up.  He was six weeks old.  I turned in my notice when he was four months old.  I saw nothing productive out of my day while I was working.   Instead all I could think about was what I was missing out on with my son.  I would rise at 5 to shower and get ready, feed Davey at 6 and while my husband dressed him and fixed our breakfast, I would finish getting ready, pack Davey’s diaper bag and drop him off at daycare no later than 7:10, go to work, leave work at 5, pick Davey up at 5:30 and then would have maybe 2 hours with him before he had to go to bed.  2 hours!  That wasn’t acceptable for me.   I can always go back to work, maybe not in my chosen profession, but I can’t go back and make memories.   So, no I CHOSE to leave my job.

2.  You must have a degree in Home Ec.  Yes, I do hear this.  Do they even offer Home Economics anymore?  I never took it in high school.   And just for your information I have an Associates Degree in English, a Bachelors Degree in Speech and Communication Studies & Political Science (I double majored) and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.

3.  I bet you have time to get caught up on all your soap operas.  Yes, I do hear this one as well.  Who watches these anymore?  I don’t even have time to sit down and watch the news in the mornings, much less watch a soap opera.   When the boys are napping, I’m usually doing some sort of housework or maybe squeezing in some writing time.

4.  I bet you get to workout all the time.  Yes, I do go to the Y, so I do get in some sort of an exercise routine.   I don’t do it just for me, as the Y offers all sorts of programs for children.   Davey flips out if we don’t go on a Wednesday, since that is his exercise day, but I don’t work out all the time.  Anyone who’s seen me knows that I don’t, but I am active with both of my boys, playing soccer or tee ball in the backyard, going on bike rides, and hiking, but my boys are with me 90% of the time I’m getting in any sort of exercise.

5.  Your children will be socially awkward.  My children will NOT and are NOT socially awkward.   That is because I have chosen from the start to constantly have them at various events, from the library, to the children’s museum, to play dates.  I give up my comforts of wanting to just stay at home, so that they can have the interaction they need.  Being a stay at home mom doesn’t mean we stay home 24/7.  I’m very conscientious about keeping my boys active socially.

6.  Studies have shown that children thrive in an atmosphere when both parents are working.  I went to daycare and look how I turned out.    Studies are coming out EVERY day.  There’s always a new one.  This one touts exercising while pregnant will increase your child’s IQ when he’s 5.  Another says that smelling a person’s farts will increase your life span by 6 years.  Studies are gibberish in most cases, a waste of time and money.  The studies focusing on curing cancers and AIDS and other medical impediments, those are worth the energy to be concerned about  Studies are subjective and can NOT be used in every situation.   I went to daycare, too, and I turned out just fine, but I want something more for my kids.

7.  Your husband must make a LOT of money.  Yes, my husband has a wonderful job and it is his job that allows me to be a stay at home mom, but we’ve made sacrifices.  We don’t drive luxury cars, I don’t own luxury clothing, we don’t go out to eat at fancy restaurants.   We had to change our lifestyle in order to accommodate us living off of one salary.  It was hard at first, but we’ve made it work and my kids don’t want for anything.   Stop assuming we’re rich just because I don’t work by my own choice.

8.  I could never stay at home with my kids.  You could, if your circumstances allowed for it.   Some moms must work in order to help keep food on the table and the kids clothed.  Others do it because they just don’t think they could stay home with the kids.   Look, it’s not easy.   I lose my patience a LOT, I mean A LOT!  Some days I feel like I’m spinning my wheels and getting nowhere.   Some days I feel there has been no sense of accomplishment.  I lay my head down some nights and think, “what did I accomplish today?”  Being at home is hard work.  It’s not easy, but if your situation allowed for it, you COULD do it.  I have faith in you.

9.  I bet you have all the time in the world to write that novel you’ve been working on.  As most of you who read my blog know, I sometimes go for days, even weeks without writing a blog because I just don’t have the time for it.  I do most of my writing either early in the morning before everyone is up or during that 30 minutes of time in the evenings when my husband is having his one on one time with the boys.   After that, my husband and I spend a couple of quiet hours together.  Writing isn’t my priority right now.

10.  Must be nice to get to sleep in every morning.  You know, you don’t have to get up and go to work.  No, you’re right, I don’t have to leave the house to go to work, but I still treat my role as a stay at home mom as a job, a career choice.   I get up every morning by 6 (I do have the occasional morning when I get to sleep to maybe 7), do my writing, have some coffee, get dressed and get breakfast ready.   I find if I don’t keep a routine to my day, including rising in the morning, then I’m setting myself and my boys up for failure.   I don’t let my boys sleep past 7:30 most mornings because I want them already on the routine of needing to get up Monday through Friday.   They’ll be going to school soon, after all.

I could add more to this list, but really I don’t have the time, nor do I think many of you have the time to read more.   Look, we all have this chip in our head, a little switch that turns our filters on and off, but for some reason it seems to malfunction when talking to mothers.   I don’t know if we’re just trying to make small talk, but if this is how it turns out, then just don’t do it.   Stop passing judgment on me and my life just because you either a.) don’t understand it or b.) just think it’s the wrong route to take.

My boys are both very smart, testing above their age groups.   They love each other and other kids.   They’re well mannered and two of the sweetest boys you could ever meet.   Could they be this way if I were a working mom?  Sure, but I don’t think our relationships would be this great.

Family Day in Death Valley…Why Not!?!?!

First off, I’m talking about Death Valley, SC, otherwise known as Frank Howard Memorial Stadium, home of the Clemson Tigers.   Of course, taking both boys to the real Death Valley may have been just as painful and definitely not painless.

At the last minute, very last minute to be exact, my husband’s boss called him up to see if we would like tickets for this past Saturday’s Clemson vs. Georgia Tech game.  If we were single, no kids in tow, we would have immediately jumped on the tickets.  Our situation being as it is, we hemmed and hawed before finally deciding we would go IF his boss had tickets for the boys as well.   Turns out he did, much to our overwhelming dismay, I mean, er, excitement!  Yes, EXCITEMENT!

So I’m being a bit dramatic.  Truthfully, I was excited.   I was going to do something I’ve always dreamt about since my days of matriculating at that beautiful University.   I can recall the days when I was student, tailgating in the free spots (these don’t exist anymore) and seeing all the little kids dressed up in their Tiger uniforms, be it football jerseys or cheerleading outfits.  I used to think to myself, “I’m going to do this with my kids one day.”

On his way to his first Tiger's game.
On his way to his first Tiger’s game.

After having my boys, and experiencing first hand, the overly exhausting work of not just raising them but also keeping them AND me alive, I decided that the ole dream of spending a day at a Clemson game with my family would have to be shelved for later years.   I don’t know what it says about mine and my husband’s parenting skills or perhaps the demeanor of our two boys that we CAN’T go to a game and tailgate like all the other families.   Surely, something somewhere must be amiss, right?

Davey's face should have forewarned us of the storms ahead.  He didn't want Henry to go along.
Davey’s face should have forewarned us of the storms ahead. He didn’t want Henry to go along.

At the start of the season, we were given four tickets to a Clemson game.   After much debate, my husband and I decided we would take Davey and leave Henry with my parents.   Surprisingly, the day went spectacular and I suppose it provided us with a false sense of security where sporting events are concerned.   So, when the opportunity presented itself this past Saturday, and us without a babysitter since my parents were out of town, we decided, what the heck!  Let’s take both boys.    Apparently, my husband and I are a glutton for misery.

Why on earth would someone want to bring their kids, especially two boys aged 4 and 22 months, to a Clemson football game on a rainy Saturday for possibly one of the biggest games of the season?   Why?  I wish I had that answer.   I wish I had the answer as to why we didn’t hesitate to say “yes”.  I wish I had the answer to “where were our heads?”   But really, I want to know the answer to is why does it seem that everyone else can bring their kids to tailgate and a game and still enjoy themselves?   Why can’t we?

50 yard line seats.   Would have been even better if we could have enjoyed them.
50 yard line seats. Would have been even better if we could have enjoyed them.

One minute and five seconds into the game, Clemson drew blood, and I was already to the point of wanting to slit my own wrists.   I can’t even recall how Clemson managed to score because I was much too busy trying to keep Henry from picking up random pieces of food on the ground and eating them.   By Clemson’s next scoring drive, I really just wanted to get drunk, just to numb the pain of Davey punching Henry, Henry slapping Davey, and both boys wanting to run around like a pack of wild banshees.  My husband and I spent the better portions of the game holding the boys and trying to serve as referees between the two of them.  It was quite literally the worst experience I’ve ever had in my beloved Death Valley, worse than any of the losing games I’ve sat through.

Moving forward, when my husband and I are offered tickets to a Clemson game, and we don’t have a sitter for the boys, we won’t be asking the question, “why not?” but instead “WHY?”  To all of you parents who are able to go these games with your children I secretly despise you and loathe the ground you walk on, but I’m also envious of your magical abilities to get your children to cooperate.   Please, tell me your secret.

And while we left knowing Clemson had won the game, we put the boys to bed early last night and watched an entire replay of the game just so we could really see how well Clemson played because that’s how my husband and I roll with college football.

Our first family game at Clemson!
Our first family game at Clemson!

Go Tigers!

Talk to Ironman

Yes, this is what we have now crumbled to in our house.   If I want to have a conversation with Davey, ask him a question, tell him what not to do, etc., well then I must talk to Ironman in order to get to Davey.   A big heavy sigh.

I’ve been fortunate in that neither one of my boys have needed a lovie or an item to provide them with security and comfort.   I feared this, as I know so many parents who’ve lost sleep, wasted gas, or called every store they walked into in order to find that one item their child needs in order to function properly.   I am beyond thankful that we did not go that route, but now it seems that we must travel down another road so many parents have already been on.

This afternoon I asked Davey about soccer.   He’s playing again and while my husband and I are beyond thrilled that he at least stays on the field this year, we’re still a little annoyed with his inability to get in there and actually play the game.  He follows the players, but doesn’t try to get the ball.   When the ball comes his way, he starts kicking it, but then immediately has it stolen away (as should be done) by another player which in turn forces him to start crying, or just give up completely.   My frustration abounds as it is not in my nature to cry about something, much less to just give up.  So, this inability to understand has led to a conversation about soccer, which led to Davey only answering if I asked the question to Ironman FIRST.

Davey has an Ironman doll.   He’s not totally attached to it, not in the way that the world is coming to end if he leaves it as his Mimi’s overnight.   No, his attachment comes and goes with Ironman, but for some reason he feels that he needs to now have Ironman with him everywhere he goes.   He feels that he needs Ironman’s strength to do the hard stuff and I’m a ok with that, a little annoyed, but ok with it.

So, as I asked him questions about soccer, I had to ask them in this way, “Ironman, if you go to soccer with Davey tomorrow, do you think he will try hard to get the ball?”  Davey then looks at Ironman and says, “tell Mommy that I will play harder if you come with me.”   I’m sitting here shaking my head as I type out this conversation, my mouth in a bit of a grimace that I’m now being forced to use Ironman, an inanimate $15 piece of plastic doll, as an intermediary in my conversations with Davey.  I can’t wait till his dad has to do the same!  (Insert a devious laugh as I know my husband will begrudgingly do this, but roll his eyes and grit his teeth)

Apparently, taking Ironman to soccer is only the beginning because now Ironman must also go to church tonight to help him with the memory of his Bible Verses and to school tomorrow.   Look, I know Ironman is crazy smart and has super human strength…he’s a superhero after all, I just find it annoyingly humorous that he is now forced to serve as a middle man in a four year old’s conversations with his parents.

 

Forgetful…Was I Always This Way?

Yep, so I finally did it.  I finally broke down and bought a day planner.   It’s nothing fancy, and yes I do have an iPhone with a calendar, but it does help me to at least remember day to day events.   Unfortunately, I’ve still managed to forget one thing…a daily snack for my child.

I got an email today from Davey’s teacher.   She wanted to let me know that Davey hasn’t had a snack in his bag the past two days of school and she wanted to know if everything was alright.   Yikes!  I explained to her that it was completely my fault, that I was used to sending in a bag of treats monthly for the entire class.  It’s a lot easier to remember things once a month as opposed to every other day.   She explained it was alright, that she had provided him with some goldfish from a stash she keeps on hand (I suppose for dead beat parents like me).

I felt so guilty while reading the email.  I envisioned my sweet little Davey looking around at all the kids and their super yummy snacks all made by hand I’m sure from their super moms.   I could see his shoulders slump as his teacher gave him some of what she had, his embarrassment growing red across his body over the fact that his mom forget a snack.   I made him feel like Alexander, from the book Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.  When he got in the car, I immediately apologized to him.  He shrugged his shoulders and said, “that’s ok.  I accept your apology.”  I prodded him more, eager (for some strange reason) to see if I had truly scarred my child.   Thankfully I didn’t, but this has me wondering just when did I become so forgetful?

I’ve always been a timely person, remember birthdays, following through with commitments, never needing a to-do list.   These days if I don’t literally write down the words “pack Davey’s snack”, then it’s like I’m suffering early onset Alzheimers, which worries me.

I’m told it comes with the territory of being a mom, that your mind is so overloaded it seems to go on the fritz from time to time.  So, does this mean that I will always be this way?   I will forever be a slave to the day planners and calendars I’ve NEVER used before in my 40 years on this earth?  I guess so.   In the meantime, I’ve now put a sticky note on the fridge, on Davey’s back pack, my bathroom mirror, and my steering wheel to remind me to pack Davey’s snack.

Being Thankful

As many of you are aware, South Carolina midlands and coastal areas experienced flooding unlike anything that’s ever been seen in our state.   The Upstate, where I live with my family, was originally predicted to see more flooding than what it received.  Fortunately for us, but not so fortunate for the rest of the state, we dodged a bullet.

For days our television has been inundated with images of flood waters, cars submerged, people attempting to drive through the floods, rescuers saving people by boat and air, and total devastation of major roadways.   While we don’t let our boys watch much along the lines of normal television (they get PBS and kids movies), it’s been near impossible for us to keep them away from the news, and truthfully I haven’t wanted to hide it.   I’ve actually encouraged it.

This morning, I sat Davey down alongside me as we watched news reports of the devastation.   I suppose I expected him to ask more questions, but mostly he just thought it was “cool”.   I suppose that’s the normal response for a four year old, and I don’t fault him too much for it.  He’s a kid, but he’s also a fortunate kid, one who is blessed beyond measure.

I should have just let it go.  I should have allowed him to just say, “that’s cool, mom.” but I didn’t.   I wanted him to see what was going on in our state, in some places less than an hour away.   I wanted him to know that there are people who are suffering.  I wanted him to know that there are people who’ve lost everything.   I wanted him to be thankful for what he had.   I guess that’s asking a little too much, but I didn’t just let it go.  I took the opportunity, as heart breaking as it is, to teach my son.

We talked about the weather and how the flood waters came about.   He asked if it was like with Noah, and I said “no”, although some people may have felt differently.   We talked about how it’s our responsibility not just as Christians, but as South Carolinians, to help our neighbors.   I encouraged him to look around and tell me what he should be thankful for.  He said his toys, naturally, but then I implored him to look further.   I asked him if he’s blessed to have a house.  His response, doesn’t everyone have a house?   No, sweetheart, everyone does NOT have a house.   I told him we have food, and once again he was confused, because doesn’t everyone have food?

I’m not ashamed of what we have.   I don’t feel guilty for our blessings, I’m thankful for them.   I’m grateful that the Lord has provided for us, but now it’s our turn to help provide for others.   So, I told Davey that we were going to do a donation drive in our neighborhood.   He didn’t understand, so once again I got down to the level of a four year old and explained that we’re going to collect bottled water, diapers, formula, and individually packaged snacks for the Red Cross.

We posted our donation drive on our neighborhood Facebook page and what a blessing to already have neighbors respond, less than six hours after we posted it.   When our first donation came in, the excitement in Davey’s eyes was wonderfully magical.  He’s genuinely excited to help and while he may not understand completely the ramifications of this horrible storm, he knows he, like so many of us, plays a crucial role in helping our state to rebuild.

If you’re interested in helping out those hit by the floods in South Carolina, then please visit the Red Cross and make a donation.   If you’re interested in contributing to our neighborhood donation drive, then contact me.

We are all God’s children and we all have a responsibility to come to the aid of our neighbors.   Be thankful for what you have in life and give to those who may have lost it all.

We are #scstrong.