Here is the new cut. This photo was taken today by our awesome friend Alisa. Just so you know, the long part in the front was originally a lot longer. I made her cut more off. The back is pretty short. I know I don’t look too bothered here…that is because the man is standing in front of me just out of the shot. And he makes me happy.
I recently took a test to see what my personality is. That’s right, I just don’t know…I can’t decide. I need a test to tell me. One of the questions was if I am sometimes accused of being too indecisive or too rigid. And I vacillated…hmmm, I don’t know. I guess it depends on the situation. Well, then again….Then I grew a brain and clicked yes, I am sometimes accused of being too indecisive.
Another question asked if I feel comfortable leaving my options open or after having made a decision. Um, are you kidding me? You mean there are people who would actually rather leave their options open than make a decision? Because I know I took a long time to decide whether or not I was indecisive, but I sure felt better after having made the decision. A lot better. Maybe that’s why I worry so much about making decisions sometimes…because it HAS to be made or I can’t rest.
Perhaps the most difficult question: I am mainly interested in human relationships or in things other than human relationships. I automatically clicked human relationships. And my test results reflect that. Lately, though, I have been wondering…which am I: people-oriented or task-oriented? In my head I’m people-oriented. But in my reality, I tend to focus on the tasks of the day rather than the (little) people by whom I am (constantly) surrounded. I don’t know if its a coping mechanism or a personality trait, but sometimes I would rather windex the bathroom mirror than sit and chat with my 3 year olds. Then again, maybe it would say more about me if I actually windexed the entire mirror. But when I start to windex, I see the toilet needs to be cleaned, and the floor, and…then none of it is done completely, but all of it has been started. I think genuinely task-oriented people are organized and methodical and never leave a job undone. And that is not me.
I suppose I’m neither task-oriented nor people-oriented. I’m just dis-oriented. And I guess that is ok with me (I think…) Enough about me…what about you?
Something is seriously wrong with me.
Context: my mother in law has been bitten by the de-clutter bug and, against her better judgment (as well as that of my father-in-law) has decided to have a yard sale. And when she has a yard sale, she really rolls out the red carpet (albeit stained and slightly faded). There are lamps. There are desks. There are more place mats than any human would need in lifetime. And the books….oh, the many books she has to sell! And though he is ever the voice of reason and frowns upon having “strangers in the driveway, looking through windows and rummaging through stuff”, my father-in-law always comes through in the end and makes awesome signs to guide the masses, leading them to the junk mecca of the Triad.
But she couldn’t do it alone. She needed help to place, to price, to collect money, to clean up afterward. And being the loving and willing daughter-in-law, I offered to be at her disposal for the better part of the weekend. So it would seem that I would be able to keep my focus, to show up to help, to be available. But I am more than just a loving and willing daughter-in-law.
I am an addict.
It is not possible for me to show up empty handed at this open air market, this antique road show, this carport store with multiple tables filled with trash and treasures. And so I prepare to load up my car yet again, with bins filled with outgrown clothes and worn out knick knacks…items I could have sold in any one of the previous 3 sales I’ve recently been a part of, but for whatever reason, haven’t declared themselves as useless to me until now.
But it isn’t just the $48 I will most likely earn. It is the excitement of waking up while it is still dark, of sipping hot coffee in the brisk November morning, of hanging out with my mom and sister-in-law and watching as people haul away our junk for us while we get paid. Granted, the amount we make will never compensate for the number of hours we put in to this small production. But add to that the thrill of the sell and the satisfaction of knowing my attic is a little less bulging and I think I come out on top.
Even so, this is the last yard sale I will ever have. Absolutely, never, ever again. It’s not worth it.
(Sale is this Saturday! Please come! You won’t be sorry! It will be so worth it!)
Ever feel like your attempts at something new are threatened by the fact that so many other people are not only already doing it, but they are doing it better? I was behind a car today with a bumper sticker that read “I run 26.2 miles.” Putting aside my initial confusion (Run? You run 26.2 miles? Like, as in right now? Present tense? Really?), my thoughts after reading this were as follows:
Wow. 26.2 miles. I wonder how far that is? If I started running right now, where would I stop and it be 26.2 miles? I could run a marathon. If I trained. How would you train for that? Where would I begin? How long would it take? Think of all the people who have already run marathons and who are (according to the bumper sticker) in the process of running marathons and how far behind am I already in being able to run a marathon so what’s the point?
And then the light turned green and I forgot about it.
I have no desire to run a marathon, let me assure you. But it has made me think. How many things in the world have not been done because people are afraid to start? What are we afraid of? That we won’t win the marathon? That we won’t be the best dancer ever? Write the best book ever? Be the best cook ever?
Or worse…maybe I’ll look stupid.
Or worse worse…maybe it isn’t that so many other people are doing it better, maybe it’s that no other people are doing it at all. And the idea of being the first is just too…much.
It’s easy for me to get stuck there…to forget that success does not necessarily lie in the outcome of the attempt. And I won’t even say it is found in the mere fact that I attempted it…because maybe my reasons for doing so were wrong in the first place. But the Lord, He has plans for me. Plans to prosper, to give hope and a future. Will I allow my fear of attempting something to hinder or delay those plans?
Here’s a newsflash worthy of remembering: I don’t have to be the best. And it’s ok to be the first. Because life isn’t about how I compare with you or them or myself, for that matter. And when its not about me, the fear seems to lose its power and life becomes a lot more fun.
Dear lady in front of me in line at Target,
I’m sorry I stuck my tongue out at you behind your back. It’s just that when my child was screaming Mommy, I want that big hairband! over and over at the top of her lungs and you glanced down at her with a blank expression, I interpreted it as a hey- loud- and-obnoxious- little-girl-stop-screaming-and-acting-so-spoiled-and-let-me-shop-in -peace-and-why-can’t-you-get-her-under-control-you-bad-mom-you glance.
But then when we walked out of the store and you stopped me in the parking lot and told me how beautiful my kids were and gently said to my daughter “Your mommy is doing the best she can” well, I started to feel bad. Really bad.
So, I’m sorry for turning your innocent glance into an evil one. Next time I will be careful not to project thoughts onto others that are, in fact, my own. Thank you for offering your support to a stranger in the Target parking lot. And for not turning around when I was leaning aggressively toward you with my tongue aimed at the back of your head.
We ran out of apple juice about 2 days ago. I am blaming my baby’s asthma for my failure to go to the store (and for being late to bible study and for not finishing the laundry and for not returning phone calls and for…) It’s amazing how many things I have found to blame on asthma. It’s been great. Not the asthma, but the blaming. People are lenient on a mom who has a baby with asthma. Between you and me, it’s not been that bad…initially its a bit scary, but once he saw the doctor and got his medicine, he still plays like normal and eats like normal and sleeps like normal. I guess our days have been pretty normal in the midst of the asthma. Except for the 10 minutes 3 times a day that I have to sit with him and give him his breathing treatment with the nebulizer, our routine hasn’t actually changed at all. But its been a great excuse to be lazy without feeling guilty.
Nebulizer? My spell check doesn’t recognize this word. (and I just spelled ‘spell check’ wrong, by the way). Neb-u-li-zer. Right? Ok, now I’m laughing. Did I make the word up? Could it really be called a nebulizer? I hear a deep, slow and dramatic voice echoing in my head “I will use my galactic nebulizer to penetrate the deflector shield…“
Oh my. Needless to say, tonight I finally made it to the grocery store and have replenished our apple juice supply. They are happy to not have to drink only water anymore. (The nerve of a mom to offer her kids cold, clean, abundant water. You would think I had said “you can either have milk or pee” by their reaction). Now they can finally have their watered-down apple juice.
And, more importantly, the baby is beginning to breathe much better. Guess I’m going to have to find another scapegoat.
Tonight our oldest twin tearfully refused a bath for fear that her “fingernails might come off”. They were freshly painted yesterday by her Nanny…I knew what she meant. You have to pick your battles. These days, it seems I’m losing the ones I pick but whatever. She’s asleep now…dirty hair; fingernails intact.
Now that they are all sleeping (husband included), I thought I’d take a moment and offer a few updates.
I talked with the bride. Turns out she’s a really gracious and forgiving person. Good thing. I guess I already knew that, but it’s still a relief to have talked with her and offer my appropriate apologies for my lack of…well, just for my lack. I’d post a photo from her wedding here, but I wasn’t there. So this is me. Moving on. Starting now.
The movie we were waiting for? Well, it came. They were scared of the Beast, but held out hope until he turned nice. And we had a real movie night (or day, really). It is so refreshing to watch something other than Dora. I was pleased to discover I remembered so many of the songs after 15 years or so. Two girls weren’t so pleased. I think “Shhhh, Mommy. We can’t hear” was the exact phrase. At least it’s in English.
And then there is my daily struggle with Good Mom. If only she would disappear into the archives like that blog post did. But she doesn’t. Instead she hovers, lingering in my days the same way the smell of a dirty diaper lingers in the room after it has been taken to the trashcan outside. She weaves her way into my thoughts and leaves me feeling helpless to ever becoming more like her. Turns out Good Mom may be a good mom, but she isn’t a very good friend.
I remember the words the Lord speaks to me, gentle and true. He brings life and hope and clarity.
And He doesn’t hover. I like that.
So its been a good weekend. Saturday especially. Time with friends with donuts and coffee. Took kids to the park. Pulled some weeds in the yard. Enjoyed a girls night out. Ate good food. Watched a chick flick. Today was a good day too. Church was good. Kids were happy. Husband was happy. Lunch out. Time at home. Baby napped. Girls played.
I sat down to clip coupons. I was content…proud that this day that has such potential to be hectic was turning out so nicely. Until I lifted up the coupons from my desk. And there, at the bottom of a small pile of papers, was an invitation. To a wedding. Of my friend. For yesterday.
As I held it in my hand, I could feel the blood rush out of my face, that creamy card stock mocking me with its swirly silver writing…silently accusing me with the words Saturday the eighth of September. My first instinct was to think of someone else to blame. Anyone but my own lack of organization for failing to transfer the wedding date from the card to my calendar. Surely they should have called the guests to remind us to come? But it was in vain. All I could think of was that while I was stuffing my stupid face with chicken florentine pizza and crying because Jane let Tom Lefroy go, my friend was living the most important day of her life. And I missed it. Because I forgot.
So here I am. Regretful, yes. Embarrassed, you better believe it. Sad for two reasons: because I know I disappointed her by not being there and also, because I’m disappointed myself. I wanted to be there. To meet her husband. To take photos for fun. To be a good friend.
I feel like a failure, an idiotic airhead. But I can’t let myself stay there. I guess there just comes a point when I have to realize that I’ve made a mistake and, as much as I’d like to, I can’t take it back. And so I wait…for my feelings to settle and for the color to return to my face.
And I go out and buy her a card to contain my well wishes and sincere apology, a wedding gift, and a box of chocolates.
I am not the one to write about loss. I have friends who could write books on the topic. But not me. Still, there has been a loss. And today marks 10 years. So I feel compelled to write. And so I do.
The spring of 1993 was the spring I turned 16, got my braces off, made the varsity cheer leading squad, went to my first prom and had my first legitimate boyfriend. His best friends’ name was Chris, and Chris was dating my best friend, Heather. Needless to say, the four of us became pretty close.
Chris was not the kind of guy with whom I would have naturally been friends. He could be kind of a jerk, actually. He was really funny, but often times at other peoples’ expense (it was high school, after all). He always said I had a big nose but thought it was ok to say because he had a big nose too. He was talented and popular…captain and keeper on the varsity soccer team, voted most outspoken in the senior superlatives. He liked to party. After a while, we saw a softer side of him. I was there when he was baptized. He was charming and, if you could get past being the brunt of his jokes, he was pretty easy to like. Over that year, he became one of my closest friends at a time in life when friends were everything.
Eventually, we all went off to college and lived separate lives. A year or so after I had last seen him, I was watching the news along with the rest of the world as we learned of the death of princess Diana. A short time later, Mother Teresa died as well. And I watched loss and grief on TV. But I was far removed, disconnected, aware but unaffected.
Little did I know that during that same time, on a small college campus in Tennessee, there was a motorcycle accident. And so while the world was mourning the loss of a princess and a saint, those who knew this funny, witty, talented, sarcastic college guy…well, we were mourning too.
Now its been 10 years. So what’s my point? I guess just that he should be here. Somewhere in the world, he should be laughing and loving a wife and having kids and living. And I’m not naive enough to think that he and I would still be in touch because we probably wouldn’t. But I should be able to google his name on a curious Saturday afternoon and find a blip of an article from a random newspaper about when his baby daughter was born or his name listed in an online college graduation bulletin or maybe even his stats in a bio about the US Olympic soccer team or his run on Survivor or…something.
I guess that’s the nature of death. There is a place in the world where it seems like they are supposed to be but they aren’t. I don’t even care where that place is. Just somewhere. But then, who am I to say what is supposed to be or not be? And so I sit and remember, reflecting on his life and who he was to me and those who knew him…and I trust that, even though it doesn’t make it feel any less of a loss, I trust that the Lord knows. And He sees. And He is still good.