Success and Pressure

Let’s talk about success in today’s society, with our children, with ourselves, and with our ability to emulate and imitate the Lord’s merciful acts. 

Technology has become quite my friend, just as easily as it has become my enemy.   While I rely on technology, and more specifically social media, to keep me up to date with the news of the world, I also find it to be quite stressful especially where my children are concerned.  

Podcasts are one of my favorite things to listen to.  I enjoy getting snippets of news via NPR podcasts, or listening to 60 minutes while I’m doing laundry or the dishes.   In a lot of cases, I’m listening to news specifically through my Amazon Echo and Echo Dot while I read and write blogs, pay bills, and finish up any writing projects I’m working on.   It’s a different level of multi-tasking, than what my parents were used to.   One podcast I enjoy listening to is Focus on the Family.   In most cases, they have short little 20 or 25 minute devotionals and/or anecdotes about family and living a Christian life.  Last week, one of the podcasts focused on success and pressure.   They asked the question, “How do you define success?”   And obviously, in today’s society success is defined in a more superficial and at times egotistical way as opposed to a spiritual one.   So, today I wanted to discuss that in this blog. 

Many parents will say their child is successful if he or she gets into a good school.   If he or she wins the MVP trophy in soccer, scores the most goals in basketball, wins the geography bee, the spelling bee, is the valedictorian, or makes the President’s list.   I don’t want to take away from these parents, because they are right…their children are successful, but they’re falling short at times in the way the Lord asks us to be.   The Bible tells us to seek first the kingdom of God, to live for something bigger than what is on the surface.  

So many parents these days have created a thin line between a child doing his or her best and satisfying the egotistical needs and desires of his or her parents.   Ok, ok, friends, I know what you’re saying to me, “let he who doesn’t sin cast the first stone.”   It is not my place to judge or to “preach” because I am just as guilty.  For any of you who follow me on Facebook, you’ll see my often times shameless posts about my children completing tasks, some of those tasks are completed at an earlier age than their peers.   That is my pride shining through and some could call it my gloating, and this is where I state that technology and social media, specifically, are my worst enemy.   They encourage me to not focus on success in a Christian manner.

How many of you out there post photos of your children online?   I’d be willing to bet that every one of you who reads my posts and have children, do this.   You’re proud of your children and you want to share it with the world.   I get it, I do, but does it add too much pressure on us as parents to encourage (and some of you go a few levels above encouragement) our children to succeed?   Are our children becoming an appendage of our own superficial egos?   Think about that for a moment. 

This past Sunday, my pastor discussed “The Exceedingly Great and Precious Promises of God” from 2 Peter 1:5-11 and it correlated a lot with how we determine success, or at least I was able to relate it in my Christian struggles to be a good mom and mold my children into successful adults.   I want to look at two particular passages from 2 Peter 1. 

“Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure.  For if you do these things, you will never fail, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  2 Peter 1:10-11

Peter wrote a second letter because false teachers were troubling the church and disturbing the faith of some by their heresy, immorality, and greed.   Perhaps I’m seeing a parallel in what Peter found and how we, Christians and non-Christians, are determining what makes our children successful.   We are placing realistic and un-realistic requests and stresses upon our children, and why are we assuming these are the only ways to be successful?  Thanks to social media, the competitive factor amongst parents has increased.   Our children’s success, or lack thereof, becomes a direct reflection upon how well we are raising our children.   We can be seen as failures.   We are labeled as dead beats and disconnected parents.  We allow ourselves to dwell upon a shallow view of success.   I struggle daily to make sure that what I’m conveying to my children as “success” isn’t something that is just defined by our society. 

So, what was my point with the post?   To encourage all of you to relax a bit, to let go, to not pin your child’s goals upon what Nosey Neighbor’s kids down the street are doing.   God created us in His image and He has a higher purpose for us and our children than what society leads us to.   This is not to encourage an indolent nature with our children, but continue to guide them and influence what true success is.   And just like Peter says in 2 Peter 1: 5-8,

                “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

And isn’t that how true success should be defined? 

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Global Warming and It’s Threat to Me

Let me preface this blog post with the following statement.   This is meant to be a satire.  Very few scientific or factual theories will be covered under this post.  It is not meant to be an attack against any group or to be offensive, so for you eco-friendly, tree hugging, mother earth loving individuals…relax.   Go chew on some wood bark but only from a tree that was not destroyed by capitalist pigs in their ongoing effort to stifle our environment.

Global warming.  What is?  Well, let me give you a basic definition.  It is a gradual increase in temperature of the earth’s atmosphere attributed to the greenhouse effects caused by increased levels of pollutants in our air.   A lot of scientific mumbo jumbo, with a lot of credible experiments to back it up.   Me?  Being the Christian I am, I think it’s all part of God’s plan, and this plan is causing serious problems for me, especially in the arena of being a stay at home mom to two boys, with an overly hot summer thereby limiting them to outside usage and increasing my downward spiral into a state of insanity.

This summer has by far been the worst.   A few summers ago we dealt with so much rain that we had our own personal riverview in our back yard, an anomaly for someone with no rivers within a five mile radius.   Last summer I thought it was hot, but at least we had some rain from time to time to cool us off.   This year, as many of you who live in the South are aware, we are desperately lagging in the rain gauge, couple that with days in the upper 90s, a heat index in the 100s, and this mama is about to go code red bonkers.

When I was growing up, my mom just kicked us outside.   We played all day long, sometimes at our neighbors’ houses, but mostly in our own backyard.   We drank from the spigot or the hose, ran around in our bare feet, and caught lightning bugs well past our bedtime.   That was the summer of my youth, but the summer of my boys’ youth?  We’re burning gas (damn us for contributing to the greenhouse effect) as we’re on the road to various museums, water parks, and pools.   We’re inside because by 9 am it’s already so hot and humid that my children are crying about the heat.   Heck, I’m crying about it too.  It’s keeping me from having an enjoyable summer.

I can’t just kick my kids outside, thank you very much, global warming,  because you have made it nearly impossible for my children to be the same outside kids I was.   Some days I feel like we’re living on Mercury, unable to walk outside otherwise we literally melt from the suns radioactive heat.   Global warming is literally ruining my children’s summer and my romantic version of being a stay at home mom.   I loathe it almost as much as I loathe Hillary Clinton, sometimes I see it as just as dangerous to my livelihood as Hillary.   Global warming is forcing my children to be pasty white, much unlike me at their age…golden tanned.  Global warming is also turning my boys into pansies.  They whine at the least little amount of heat.

I do; however, feel genuinely bad for my boys, or maybe it’s just my mom guilt disguised as empathy.   I don’t want to be outside during the day.  I get up at 5:30 to run just so I can beat the heat.   The pool water isn’t refreshing.  We feel like we’re in an oversized communal bath tub, and there’s zero shade.   There’s nothing refreshing.  I feel bad leaving them in front of a television or with an iPad, but hey, there’s only so much entertainment a mom with a business degree and no original desire to have kids, can offer.

Another threat with global warming…we’re all gaining weight.  Why is that?  Because once again it’s just too damned hot to be outside.  We instead veg out inside watching movies and of course eating snacks.   Personally, I don’t need the weight gain.

Global warming is an epidemic of huge proportion.   It must be stopped, it must be reversed.   Me?  I’m too lazy, and it’s much too hot ouside, to really do anything about it other than write this blog post to complain about how much it’s ruining my summer.   Global warming has quickly moved up on my list of enemies, Hillary Clinton still being number one.

Oh, global warming, how I would love to slay thee.

 

I Want You To Know Him

If I close my eyes, I can still hear the sound. It’s the sound of his last breaths, the minutes that seemed like eternity as I watched him die and listened to the raspy sound of his lungs desperate to take in any air they could get. By that point, he’d had enough morphine in his body to not feel the agonizing pain of his body shutting down on him. Too bad my mom and dad and I couldn’t have something to ease our hurt as we watched the greatest thing to ever enter our lives, slowly drift back out of it, much too soon.

I can still see the look on his face as he struggled to breathe. His face was pale, gray almost. His beautifully blue, eyes which could have melted the heart of any girl who looked at him, had darkened as well and his body became limp as he stared at the ceiling. He was my best friend, the one I confided everything to, the one to know it all first. He was my soul mate.

Today has been 8 years since he left us and I find myself eager to pull up every memory I can of him. I sit and show my boys pictures of him and tell them stories about him. And I want to tell you those stories. I want you to know him, just like I want my boys to know him.

He was one week old.
He was one week old.

My brother was easily the most amazingly annoying thing to enter this earth. Our birthdays were 6 years and 2 weeks to the day apart, which meant that we shared a birthday party on the week between our birthdays, mostly for convenience for our mom. One guess as to how much I loved that! (sarcasm).

One of our many shared birthday parties.
One of our many shared birthday parties.

He cried all the time. He was always attached to our mom, never leaving her side, even when I just needed 5 private moments with her. He was a mom monopolizer. Not cool!

Enjoying a few laughs.
Enjoying a few laughs.

He hated to sleep and when our dad banished him from their bedroom at night, I would awake to find he had crawled in bed with me.

Brian 13

He loved wrestling, or as we call it down south, wrasslin’. 80s music was his cup of tea. Pauly Shore movies made him laugh, .38 Special was his favorite band, Arnold Schwartzenegger and Sylvester Stallone were the movie stars he idolized.

Brian 14

He was constantly watching movies, a die hard Star Wars fan, but hated reading books. His food of choice was a 2 liter Mountain Dew and a large bag of Doritos. He was easily annoyed with laziness and incompetence. He didn’t have the patience for those who wouldn’t help themselves, but if you needed him he dropped everything.

Brian 4

He worked hard, hoarding money (we joked he was a miser). He treated his body like a temple, never drinking, smoking, or doing drugs. He was a work out fanatic and he longed to be a dad one day. He loved children way more than I ever did.

Brian 12

He loved to hunt and would come home with some of the greatest stories of spending a weekend in a cabin with 8 other men, who farted and snored all through the night. He bagged a couple of deer with the help of our dad.

Brian 2

He entered this world the purest of souls and I know for a fact left this world the same way. He was a realist, a lover and a fighter. He had two nicknames for me…fat legs (which I do now have thanks to my two darling boys) and Al, which was short for my first and middle name, Amy Lynn. No one else ever called me “Al”. I miss that.

Brian 10

He had something wrong with his ankles in that every time he took a step, his ankles would make a popping sound. Sometimes when I’m at my parent’s house, I hear that sound and I know he’s around. I just wish I could hug him one more time, to feel the strength of his arms around me.

I struggle with each passing day to not forget the sound of his voice or the way he looked. I want to remember his blue eyes and chuckle when I think back to a couple of nurses discussing how he looked like Ben Affleck. When I told him that, he suggested I hook him up. I told him to hook himself up since he was going to be around them 24/7.

With our dad before the church Christmas program.
With our dad before the church Christmas program.

We were each other’s strongest protectors. He was always there to save me and if someone screwed with him, you risked getting screwed over by me. I remember when he was first diagnosed with leukemia, he cried (one of the few times in the 3 years he fought it) and asked me what we were going to do. I said we’re going to keep living. When the leukemia came out of remission three years later and he was given 3-6 months to live, I cried and asked him what are we going to do. And he said, “You’re going to keep living.” Me. That’s who he was thinking about in that moment, not himself or what he would have to endure, but what my parents and I would have to endure. He was the most selfless human being I’ve ever met. He was my hero and everyone who knew him was a better person just for knowing him.

Brian 5

He was a Christian, a strong believer in God. On one of the final weeks when he was in the hospital I asked him if he was scared. He said, “no. I know where I’m going and it’s the most wonderful place to ever be. I’m just a little nervous about what I’ll have to endure before I get there.”

After one his radiation treatments.  After one his radiation treatments. [/caption]

The day before he died, it had snowed and he begged our mother to put him in his wheelchair and push him around the driveway so he could enjoy it. Hours later she called to tell me they were at the hospital and the doctor had told her, “his little heart won’t survive much longer.” His little heart. Boy, was the doctor mistaken. He had the biggest heart of all! I told my mother I wasn’t ready to let him go. I went to bed, thinking that we still had plenty of time left with him, only to be urged by God to go to the hospital. I’m glad I listened to Him, because had I not I wouldn’t have been able to cuddle up with Brian one last time as we laid in the hospital bed talking about our childhood while our parents tried to nap. We shared our last laughs together that night and to this day I’m forever thankful to God for encouraging me to go.

The week before he died.
The week before he died.

Today, I look at my boys and think what their lives would be like if Brian were in them. Davey has his name, but Henry has everything else. Henry looks like Brian, acts like Brian, he is Brian. My mother and I sometimes confuse him. They both have a piece of Brian in them. I just wish they could have actually experienced the magnitude of Brian.

Brian 10

So, on this day, the 8 year anniversary of his death, I wanted all of you to know one of the most wonderful lives I was ever a part of. It was easily the greatest 25 years I’ve ever experienced.

Brian 1

I Can’t Go For That…But I Did

And so starts the holiday season. It’s the season of giving thanks, although that’s something we should consciously do every second, every minute, every hour of our lives. It’s the season for parties, for celebrations of the love we share. It’s a time for family gatherings, gorging ourselves with some of the unhealthiest of foods. It’s the season to toss out that exercise regime because you know deep down you’re not going to be able to really lose any weight. It’s the season for shopping, snagging deals, wrapping presents, decorating houses, and to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Yes, the holiday season is officially upon us.

First season at the new Yankee stadium
First season at the new Yankee stadium

Last week, the day before Thanksgiving, my husband and I decided to load up the boys and make a trip to Atlanta. We wanted to do a little pre-holiday shopping. When we go on road trips, it’s my responsibility to man the controls of our entertainment. I’ve always been one to sing and dance to music. I like to choose some of the cheesiest melodies and groove away. I stumbled across Hall & Oates’ “I Can’t Go For That”. My husband told our oldest son, that this duo was a true classic, some of the best singer/songwriters around. I looked at him and smiled. I knew what he was thinking. He was thinking about our first ever New Year’s Eve together almost 11 years ago.

Experiencing Niagara Falls
Experiencing Niagara Falls

We were at a friend’s house watching Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve. Hall & Oates were one of the featured groups and they were singing an all time favorite, “Maneater”. So every time I hear a Hall & Oates song, I’m immediately transported back to that first New Year’s Eve. All of this then led me to think about everything I’m thankful for and how it couldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t met this wonderful man.

Cruising in St. Lucia
Cruising in St. Lucia

We sat in traffic on the ride back, rummaging through our memories as I replayed all the Hall & Oates songs on my iPod. Our boys had fallen asleep which left us some very precious peace and quiet to really reflect upon each other and how far we’ve come.

I can still remember the day my husband first walked into my life, how he smiled as he slid through the door of my friend Jennifer’s apartment. He was, and still is, the most handsome man I’d ever laid eyes on. I watched him briefly before averting my eyes when he caught me staring. No way would someone this hot ever be interested in me, were the exact words floating through my brain. Luckily for me, I was the first person he came over to talk to.

Charlotte NASCAR race
Charlotte NASCAR race

We dated, broke up, dated again, got married, separated briefly, came to our senses and worked through our problems, and eventually brought 2 boys into this world exactly like us. We’ve had a roller coaster of a ride in the past 11 years, some of which I regret and would change, but everything brought us to who we are and where we are today and for that I’m thankful.

Tampa Aquarium
Tampa Aquarium

I’m thankful beyond words that my husband chose me to talk to 11 years ago. I’m thankful that he fell in love with me. I’m thankful that when he broke up with me, he came to his senses and realized that he wanted me back. I’m thankful that he asked me to marry him. I’m thankful that he didn’t give up on our marriage, when I had. I’m thankful that he became a Christian, thereby helping to insure our home has a strong Christian leader. I’m thankful for the children he helped me bear, the beautiful boys who are replicas of both of us, two of my most precious little gifts in the world. Without my husband, I can only imagine how I may have aimlessly walked through life never experiencing the true love and enjoyment of being a mother.

Myrtle Beach
Myrtle Beach

My children are my greatest accomplishment and no way could I have ever achieved that without my husband.

As the Thanksgiving weekend rolled along, I watched every movement my husband made. I watched him interact with our two boys, watching television, reading books, and helping cook. I watched every little nuance and my heart swelled with so much love and contentment. No way would any of this life have been possible without him.

I am truly blessed beyond all belief and for that I’m thankful.

Alcatraz
Alcatraz

A Love Letter to My Husband

My Darling Husband,

Strange I know, that I begin most every letter I’ve written to you with the words “darling husband”, when I don’t necessarily use those words when talking to you. I may not say them, but I do consider you the most darling of husbands, plus every romantic letter usually starts with some sort of adoration. It sets the mood.

It’s been almost nine years since you asked me to be your wife. Nine years. That’s quite a span of time. At first, I was nervous as to what our futures would hold. Would we be the wild and crazy couple with whom all of our friends would wish to socialize? Would we become world travelers? What about our family? Perhaps we would start one? Well, as you’re quite well aware, starting a family wasn’t my priority. I kicked and fought you the entire way, well almost, until God smacked me in the head and suggested I straighten up my act.

Since marrying you, my life has been one adventure after another. We’ve travelled, we’ve fought, we’ve loved each other and those around us. We’ve both become Christians and we’ve become parents to two of the most delightfully strong willed, intelligent, and happy little boys this world has ever seen. I attribute their intelligence solely to you, but unfortunately they’ve developed my knack for thumbing their nose at the proper way of doing things, instead choosing to trod through life with their own sense of free will. They’re good boys, though, with wonderful hearts and loving arms, and for that I thank you.

I suppose it was Wednesday, as we were driving you to work, that helped to further strengthen my love for you (as if I needed another reason). You see, I didn’t realize that when you asked that I purchase two back issues of Sports Illustrated, the one with Derek Jeter’s exit interview, that you intended to give one to a total stranger. Had you have told me, I may have tried to talk you out of it. Knowing now, who that stranger is, I’m glad you did it.

I found it odd when you threw you hand up at this old man clad in all sorts of Yankees paraphernalia as he stood on his front porch and watched the rush hour traffic passing by. “Hey, Nicky!” you yelled and I was astonished. Did you know his name or was that something you made up or did you hear it from someone else? When you explained to me how you see this man every morning, sitting on his front porch with his Yankees jacket on, I was shocked that you paid so much attention to him. How many times have I selfishly asked you to pay attention to me, when all you do is give me the love and attention any woman could ever want or need? Suddenly I was ashamed of myself.

My heart exploded for you, though as you told me how you haven’t seen Nicky in a while. How he used to ride his bike all the time and then for two weeks he wasn’t around and you were worried for him. You were worried for him! How beautifully unselfish of you! So, you explained to me you finally saw him again and decided to take him a magazine, the Sports Illustrated. I never knew you had stopped by on Monday morning on your way to work. As you told me of how you walked up onto his porch, I pictured the happiness on this gentleman’s face, a happiness that a total stranger would stop and bring him something, would want to sit down and talk with him. Then I pictured you, my husband, doing all of this and suddenly it wasn’t a surprise, because this is you. I suppose what surprised me this most is that you waited two days to tell me what you’d done! You never shouted it loud, asking for the world to see your act. Your humility astounds me. It is who you are and for that I fall more in love with you everyday.

I’m so grateful that the Lord had you choose me, or maybe it was me choosing you. I’m so blessed that He decided that you would be the father of my children, you, the man with a heart bigger than his chest. How fortunate the boys are to have a father like you setting examples such as this. I couldn’t imagine someone better for my children. You are our hero, our best friend, our savior, our rock, and the greatest man we’ll ever know.

As I close this letter, my darling husband, I wish my words could offer you more along the ways of love. My wish is that my words fill every crevice within your heart and soul with love. You are loved, you are admired, and I am the wealthiest woman alive to have you as my husband. No one could ever come close.

All my undying love!

A Letter to My Daughter

As I sit here typing up an email to both of my sons, I started thinking about what I would write in a letter to my daughter, if I had one. I know I would want the same basic things for her as I want for my sons…health, happiness, love, sincerity, respect. I think that it would be more, though just because I am a woman and I’ve experienced things that I could only relate to a daughter. So, I decided that I would write a letter to my daughter, or perhaps to my future daughters-in-law. It would go something like this.

My darling daughter,
While in your father’s office this week, I caught sight of the young lady working in his office. She’s very young, having just graduated from college, but she already has a very grown-up life. She’s an unmarried mother of two daughters. Right now she’s experiencing some problems with the father of her daughters and I’ve watched as she’s allowed him to tear her down. It angered me and it saddened me, not just for her, but also for the girls she’s raising on her own. It got me thinking about you and what I would want for you and what words of wisdom I could impart upon you.
Being a woman is difficult. I would hope that you’re able to stand tall and hold your head high. I want you to be able to look adversity in the face and perhaps slap it silly a few times. I want you to stay true to yourself, to consider how your actions directly and indirectly affect others. I want you to find at least one opportunity every day to find some way to do good for another human being. These are all the same things I hope for your brothers, but for you there’s more.
You’re going to fall in love, maybe only once, but most likely multiple times over the course of your life. Your heart is going to break and you’ll have days when you’ll tell yourself life can’t go on, but it will. You’re going to allow your heart to interfere with your head, perhaps finding a way to push down that part of your brain that tells you “hey, you deserve better.” Don’t let that happen! You’ll second guess yourself. You’ll worry. In the end, I hope you take a step back and breathe, because really and truly it’s not the end of your world.
Your intelligence will be tested and questioned because you’re a female. Stand strong, my sweet girl. Don’t be rude or heartless, but don’t allow yourself to pushed aside. You have a voice and you can be heard.
Don’t ever settle. Trust your instinct, because in most cases it’s right. You deserve happiness, love, and respect, but impart those traits upon others as well. Be empathic. You really don’t know what someone else’s life is like unless you’ve walked in their shoes. Trust me, my dear, it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever walk in someone else’s shoes. Be careful to trust others and don’t always take things at face value.
Understand the importance of vanity and by that I mean it can be a person’s true downfall. You’ll hear this time and time again…it’s what’s inside that counts. And since we’re on that road, let’s discuss your Christian values.
God doesn’t care what you look like. He doesn’t care if you wear designer clothing, or have a supermodel body. Society may care, but society will not be there for you they way He will. Confide in our Lord daily. Remember to thank Him for your blessings and ask Him to bless others. Make some time each day to reflect upon His word, to read His word, and even spread His word. The Lord made you who you are. This is not your permanent home. Your permanent home is alongside Him in heaven. Remember that my dear and always lead a Christian life.
There’s so much more I could share with you, so much more that’s completely escaped my brain. Not to worry, my darling, you will be forced to listen to me every day of your life at least for the first 18 years you’re living with me.
One final thing…you are a blessing, not just to us, but to everyone you encounter. Remember that. Maintain a sense of humility, but remember that you can and should make a difference in another person’s life…hopefully a positive one. You are loved very much and regardless of what may happen in your life, you will always be loved.

I love you, my sweet, sweet girl.

Love,
Mommy

My Husband is Grateful

And being the good Christian wife I am, I should be happy that he’s grateful, right? Here’s the problem, though, I’m also human and when he said the words, “I’m grateful” today, I took them out of context, and it made me resentful and angry.

Being a stay at home mom is under-rated. I’ve heard some claim it’s over-rated, but really it’s one of the most thankless and at times degrading jobs a woman will ever have. On the plus side, it is also one of the most rewarding and loving jobs. Today, with my Drowning in the Terrible Twos Davey, was not one of the days that I enjoyed. Truthfully, today was one of the days that I not only envied my husband, but I despised him as well. Not very Christian-like of me, I know.

I’ve been so proud of Davey lately. We seemed to have rounded the corner finally with potty training and he’s been using the potty on a regular basis with minimal accidents, but for some reason on Tuesday he’s regressed back to not wanting to potty. It’s making my life miserable. I’ve come so far with him. Should I just put him back in pull ups and let him come to me when he’s ready to start wearing big boy underwear again? Or should I just keep following the path I’m on with him? I don’t want to ruin our progress.

Here’s my conundrum the past few days…Davey will sit on the potty, but he refuses to use it. Instead he holds it in and waits until nap time or bed time when I put on a pull up, then pees and poops at that point. I don’t know what’s changed in the past few days, but something has and it’s really no good for my patience. I’ve tried reasoning with him, which is like reasoning with a terrorist. I’ve tried bribing him, which is like dangling meat in front of a vegetarian. I’ve tried threatening to take away his toys. I’ve tried encouragement, songs, reading books, dancing…you name it, I’ve tried it the past few days, to no avail.

Today, I decided that Davey would sit on the potty until he peed or pooped in it. I took a pull up off of him at 7:30 and 1 cup of milk, tea, 2 cups of water, and 5 hours later, he still didn’t want to pee. He had it in him! I know he did! And I was determined that he was not going to get the better of me and hold it in until nap time and pee in his pull up. No, sir! I know where he’s gotten his strong-willed, stubborn streak from…ME! What he should know is that I’m the master and I will win, or so I continued to tell myself. Now here’s where the “I’m grateful” remark came into play with my husband…

While sitting on the potty, Davey begins a barrage of nasty tones, words, and accusations all directed towards me! ME!?!?!? Not only did he tell me that he didn’t love me, nor did he like me, but he also told me that his Daddy was his favorite, I’m a mean witch, and Daddy is the best. I believe his actually words were, “make daddy come home and you go away forever.” Are you kidding me? Why do I get to deal with all of this abuse? I’m the one that carried him for 9+ months, have a lovely scar from the surgery and a belly that will never be as flat or hips as slim as they once were because of him. I’m the one who suffered through leg cramps, horrible heartburn, sleepless nights, and weeks of recovery pain after having him. I’m the one who gave up my career to stay home with him, to be an active part of his life, to take the responsibility of molding him with my own hands. I’m the one who doesn’t get the luxury of overnight business trips in nice hotels with no screaming kids. I’m the one who deals with getting peed on, vomited on, and even at times pooped on. And yet, I get treated like I’m the wicked witch of the west!

My husband says to me, during my rant, that he’s “grateful” which in turn caused me to unleash a bombardment of angry words at him. I said to him “You’re grateful that you’re seen as the good guy and I’m the bad guy or are you just grateful that you are working AND out of town and don’t have to deal with the unpleasant side of raising our boys?” Was that unfair on my part? Perhaps, but in the heat of the moment I didn’t want to hear his “I’m grateful” comment even if I did cut him off before he finished with “I’m grateful that you’re the one who’s capable of handling our boys and I’m grateful that you’re their mother and I’m grateful that you take care of them.”

Well, I suppose I’m glad his grateful, but for once JUST ONCE, I’d like to be seen as the good guy. I’d like to be seen as the favorite parent (that’s selfish, I know). For once, I’d like to make it through a day without Davey calling me a mean witch. I don’t want my husband to be grateful (well, really I do). What I want is to have my loving, cuddly relationship I had with what was once my sweet boy. I want my cake and eat it too.

Happy Mother’s Day

High-waisted blue jean mom shorts, with a paisley print halter top and a kerchief around her head, that’s my first memory of my mom. She used to sing Eric Clapton’s “Lay Down Sally” to me. She actually called me her “Sally”, she once told me because I was sassy and she equated that with the name “Sally”.

Those were the days of 1977, with marigold shag carpets, disco was queen, summertime in the South was a water sprinkler with polka-dotted bikinis. When I hear Seals and Croft’s “Summer Breeze”, it immediately takes me back to that first memory of my mother as she painted the living room. The windows were open and the humid breeze played a game of tag with the sheer curtains.

As I sit here today, I’ve tried to go back and recall as many memories as possible of my mom. When she got married, she had this long jet black hair. She was thin (5’11”, 105 pounds) and looked like Cher (from the old Sonny and Cher days). She was glamorous (still is, but in a more classy and sophisticated way). She used to paint my toe nails, curl my hair on soft rollers at night, let me wear her glasses and heels. We used to color princesses (Snow White was my favorite) and read books. She’s always had a poker face, and when you crossed or defied her, be prepared to pay. She’s fiercely loyal and protective of those she holds dear. She’s my hero, my mentor, and the mother I hope I have the ability to be one once as good as.

My mother taught me a lot growing up. She taught me the value of feminism without being liberal and losing her conservative roots. She taught me to fight for what I believe it, but to pick my battles. She taught me that not all opinions deserve to be heard and that I should turn a deaf ear to those who disagree. She told me the importance of my Southern roots, the necessity of acting like a lady. She encouraged me to grow and to follow my dreams.

As I grew older, I asked my mother to tell me what some of her fears were for her children. Most mothers would say they feared death or kidnapping or injury, but not my mother. Perhaps she thought we would never have to worry about anything like that. What she did say sticks with me today. For me, her biggest fear was I would set my goals so high that I may never attain them and thereby tearing myself apart. I have a very self-deprecating personality and my mother feared that would be my downfall. For my brother, she worried that he was so eager to see the good in everyone that he would be taken or snookered (as he grew older).

During the years my younger brother fought leukemia, I watched my mother suffer. She never did it in front of Brian (my brother), nor did she do it much in front of me. It saddened me to watch her, but inspired me as well. I prayed (and continue to pray) that I’ll never have to experience the pain she had when my brother took his last breath. I worried that she would leave me and sink into a pit of despair, but I quickly realized that would never happen. She loved my brother fiercely, but her love for me was just as strong although different.

Today and every day, I’m thankful for the wonderful woman God has given me for a mother. In the nearly 39 years she’s been my mother, I couldn’t be more fortunate, more proud of her accomplishments, nor more loved by anyone. My mother is a Godly woman, raised a Christian and still strong within her Christian roots. She is my strength and my best friend.

I started thinking this morning about my Granny, my mother’s mom, and I put myself in my mother’s shoes. My granny died shortly before I turned seven and my mother 35. I can’t imagine not having this wonderful creature to talk to on the phone everyday. I can’t imagine Christmases or Sunday dinners without her. When my mother was my age, she’d been without a mom for almost four years. How sad!

My mother has helped mold me into the woman and mother I am today. She’s instilled in me a love that’s greater than anything I could have imagined. She continues to teach me and guide me, to love me and strengthen me. I just hope that one day, my boys will look back and at least think about me in this way. I hope that I’ll have done the job for them that my mother did for me. Thank you, Mom!

Be thankful for the moms in this world, for without them we would not be.

My Sensitive Little Man

If my husband knew I were writing a blog about our 2 year olds’ sensitivity, he’d probably give me grief.   I guess I really never understood,or perhaps I underestimated, Davey’s level of emotional comprehension.   We used to worry that he didn’t understand pain, as it’s very unusual for him to cry even when injured.   Truthfully, it used to worry us, but not so much anymore.  

Of course these days, Davey’s had to deal with my emotional roller coaster especially on these final few weeks of my second pregnancy.   He’s seen me cry more, although I do try to leave the room if I feel the tears coming on.   He’s seen me get upset and lose patience.  He’s seen me exhausted.  Frankly, he’s had to deal with mommy’s entire emotional spectrum, but he’s handled it pretty well. 

Last week, I recorded “Mickey’s Christmas Carol”, which of course is Disney’s version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”.  I thought how wonderful it would be for him to watch especially since he’s a HUGE Mickey Mouse fan.   What I didn’t anticipate was the fact that my two year old was able to completely understand what was going on.   And why didn’t I anticipate that?   He’s a very smart child, very intuitive, and always eager to know more.   He’s constantly questioning things and doing his best to regurgitate what he’s learned.   So, why wouldn’t the movie have an emotional impact on him?  

He was glued to the television for the entire 30 minutes of the production and when the Ghost of Christmas Future showed what was to come, Davey seemed to take it to heart.   It wasn’t so much Scrooge would die alone, as it was that Davey understood what was to happen to Tiny Tim.   As he watched Mickey kneeling at Tiny Tim’s graveside, Davey climbed into my lap and said, “No, Mama, Mickey sad.  Tiny Tim go to Heaven.”   And he put his arms around my neck and hugged me.  

How did my son know this?   My husband and I have never really talked about life and death.   I love to tell him stories of my younger brother who died of leukemia.   He’s been with me to my brother’s grave to put balloons and flowers on it.   Perhaps his memory is so astute that he remembers all of this.   I never cry at my brother’s grave, but I do become slightly misty when I tell Davey that his uncle is part of his namesake.  

I smile, though, as I’m writing this because I’m proud of my son for having a sensitive side, an emotional side, a side that can hurt and understand even emotional pain as complex as that of losing a loved one.   I smile because I also know that my husband and I are doing a good job raising him to try to deal with all of life’s little nuances.   I smile because I also know that my husband and I are doing a good job in raising him as a Christian boy.  

We haven’t watched Mickey’s Christmas Carol again.   Not because I don’t think it’s acceptable, but more so because we all have been just slightly too busy preparing for Henry’s impending arrival.   I am concerned that Davey may cry when he sees Mickey at Tiny Tim’s grave again.   I don’t like seeing my baby cry, but to know that it’s not because of fear but because of a level of sympathy and love makes me feel good as a mom.