I just don’t think I’m cut out for this whole parenting thing. Motherhood…I don’t think it’s for me. I tried. But now I wanna be a bartender in the Florida Keys. With tattoos. And dreadlocks. Yes, definitely dreadlocks. There are more of them than me. And if you count my adorable 42 year old husband who is still not quite raised and the furry oreo I also tend to, that’s five people (yes the dog thinks he is a person). And somehow in the middle of this chaos God wants me to be still. Me? Still?
“They” say that with little kids come little problems. With big kids come big problems. Well whoever “they” are, they lied. They’re all big problems. And the worry that comes with them is even bigger. “They” don’t tell you any of this in the parenting books. Not that I’ve read any of the parenting books.
Maybe it’s the annual psychotic, Game of Thrones episode every day on repeat, exhausting, when will it end, stop adding stuff to my calendar, I dare someone to plan one more meeting in the month of May that causes me to reflect. When you’re a mom your year goes from August to May. Not January to December. Kids get a year older in May. Despite when their birthday is, they age in May. So that’s when you look back and see all the boxes you’ve checked.
This year, among many other things, we checked brain tumor off the list. Well, let me rephrase. We checked lack of brain tumor off the list. Spoiler alert: Molly is fine. She has asthma. But for a few very difficult weeks, we didn’t know. So I’m sitting in the chair at the hair salon and she had just applied the first brush stroke of color when school called and said she had passed out and was very lethargic. I have the unusual gift of being calm in a storm. I can process chaos like nobody’s business so I was able to very rationally give orders to my husband to go pick her up and bring her to me and we would go to the ER. I was able to calculate that it would take the same amount of time for him to go get her as it would take me since I would have to rinse this color out. And if he went at least I’d have taken care of my gray roots in the process. I mean it was really a win-win situation. We discovered she’d actually had a seizure and what followed were weeks of tests and waiting and then two more trips to the hospital and a lot of fancy expensive doctors. Along with an insurance change smack dab in the middle of it. Little kid little problem? Not quite. We started off looking for a mass and ended up with asthma. Sounds easy enough but it was brutal. And when she looked up at me from the hospital bed with electrodes coming out of her gauze wrapped head and said, “This is the worst day of my life,” I could only think how much worse it could get. And the sight of that helpless child in that bed nearly broke me. I told God you know what I am capable of and this is not it. I am not capable of watching my own child suffer. The next day was the MRI and I laid in bed that morning asking where was this strength going to come from? The pediatrician said “We need to rule out a brain tumor” and that’s what today was. And alllllll of the You’ve got this’s and Just trust God’s plan’s were utter crap to me at that time. Because I know better than anyone that sometimes God’s plan is hard. Sometimes kids aren’t okay. Sometimes there really is a problem with their brain. So I laid there asking how am I going to get out of this bed and do this today? Ultimately she was given the all clear by radiologists, a cardiologist, a neurologist and two hospital stays later we had put the pieces together and we had asthma. I’ll take it. With open arms, Lord, I will take asthma.
In the middle of that my husband’s company sold. When oil pays the bills it’s not a question of if but a question of when the company gets sold. We white-knuckled our way through a few very difficult, confusing and intense months. Many, many porch mornings and afternoons with Lauren Daigle’s “Trust in You” on repeat. Begging Him to move the mountain, part the water and give the answers. And for a long time He didn’t. I would have to just keep repeating “There’s not a day ahead you have not seen”. Some days over and over. And all of the It’s all going to work out’s and Trust God’s plan’s were utter crap to me. Sometimes husbands do get laid off. Sometimes families do have to move out of state. Sometimes there’s not enough money in savings to ride it out. Information and news changed daily. Sometimes hourly. What we needed and what we wanted were two different things and what to pray for was confusing. And for a minute it looked like He had settled it with only what we needed. And it was hard to be grateful for it. So hard that He took it away for a few days. Until I was grateful. It was such a confusing time—waiting for test results, waiting for employment updates, waiting, waiting, waiting. And I wasn’t very quiet in the waiting. I was anything but still. Until he forced me to be. When He dragged me home on Black Friday, in the middle of the afternoon, when I had plenty of shopping left to do…I knew He wasn’t playing around. My husband had to fly out that day to an emergency in the Gulf—a place he hadn’t been in probably a decade—and then He had my new sofa delivered an hour later and pretty much took me by the ear and sat me down in that nook of the corner. Now known as “Momma’s Spot.” We still had no answers on Molly or the work situation but He had had enough of the busyness I was surrounding myself with. So I sat. And I sat there until Monday morning. He drew me to the story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt. And to the verse that says “The Lord will fight for you. You need only be still.” And then I got it. In a figurative sense (and some days quite literally) I would duck down and cover my head in my arms and sit still. Your battle Lord, not mine.
The hardest prayer for a mom to pray is Your Will Be Done, Lord. We are Momma. We know best. Trusting Him with my children is not a comfortable concept to me. Fourteen years ago almost to the day He broke my trust. He showed me that sometimes it is really not okay. Sometimes He takes children back. Sometimes some things don’t work out this side of Heaven. So as for trusting Him…..He’s having to prove Himself.
Like trusting Him with that 17 year old girl of mine’s wings. She’s so good and smart and beautiful. And obedient and pure and faith filled. And with that, sometimes hidden. We see her gifts and talents and strengths. We know that in His time it will be her time. But can she wait? Will she get impatient and lower her standards, lose focus and toss her goals aside? Can she keep doing the work, making the grades, volunteering the time and doing the good even when she goes unnoticed? So what’s the plan here God? Will college be her day in the sun? Are we storing treasures away and gaining perspective on what’s really important? Because what I see, what I’m afraid of, is a young lady saying what’s the point? Everybody else is or isn’t. Why do I have to do this and not do that? But then….she wins an election and gets chosen for the class. She stands up for herself and gets the A. Okay God I see what you’re doing. So I cover my head and sit still. Your battle Lord.
Like when the 8 year old won’t wear shorts. She doesn’t like the hair on her legs. The blonde hair on her legs. She has noticed that other girls don’t have as much hair on their legs as she does. So she doesn’t want to wear shorts unless she can wear knee high socks too. She’s begging to shave. In the 2nd grade. You find her outside on the porch with a pair of scissors. She is cutting the hair off of her legs. For hours. And all you can think is she will try and swim in leggings this summer. And what will she do in the not so distant future when her legs aren’t the only places she has hair. And it won’t be blonde then! Jesus take the wheel. And she doesn’t like her teeth. Her two front teeth. She asked the Easter Bunny for whitening strips. She has mastered the art of the soft smile because she won’t show her teeth in a picture. So what’s the plan God? Are we building character? Strength and tenacity? Because all I see is a very timid socially awkward young girl who’s going to hide in the bathroom at sleepovers and sit in the car at school dances. But then…she reads at her First Communion mass, in front of a church full of people, standing at a podium with a microphone. Two years ago she ran off stage from her Kindergarten awards ceremony, wailing and sobbing the whole way. Okay God, I see what You did there. So I cover my head and sit still. Your battle Lord.
The 5 year old wants to be a waitress when she grows up. Good thing pumpkin because there won’t be any money left for your college by then. We’re spending it all on Momma’s therapy, eczema cream and Symbicort. The same 5 year old who wants to drive a black jeep with glitter wheels when she’s a teenager. Who asked for “smokey eyes” for her dancing pictures and keeps calling her Nanny to wax her eyebrows. Who has crushes of equal value on an 11 year old, a 45 year old father of two and our parish priest. Who says, “Heyyyyy Handsome” when her daddy walks out in a suit. So what’s the plan here God? Are we crossing our fingers and hoping for the best? That as long as the restaurant where she potentially waits tables doesn’t have a pole we will consider her a success? Or are we fostering confidence and independence? Because all I see is THAT kid other moms talk about who corrupts their little angels. The one who will be hanging out of the window of her boyfriend’s four wheel drive. But then….she receives a Responsible Discipleship award and remarks how “pray-ful” nuns are and she wants to be just as “pray-ful”. And she has a 25 minute discussion on President’s Day about her struggle with whom to love more…God or Abraham Lincoln. Okay God….I see….yeah I got nothing. I have no idea what You’re doing with that one. But I will cover my head and sit still. Your battle Lord.
Yeahhhhh I don’t know if I’m cut out for this motherhood thing. But in the midst of battle, if we’re lucky, He sends us Sista Wives. Not to be confused with Sister Wives. I will share just about anything but I ain’t sharing “that” so let’s be clear. Sista Wives. They’re the friends that make our kids their kids and their kids become our kids. They’re the ones we call to bring this one here and we drop theirs off there. We feed their kids in our car and they listen to sight words in theirs. When it happens to one of our kids it happens to all of us. Because let’s face it, whatever our kids do, we do. In the past year we’ve made cheerleader, won Vice President, been chosen for Campus Ministry class, won the coveted Religion award, played middle school football, high school football, tennis, volleyball, basketball, tumbled, danced, cheered, pep squadded, broken a track record, taken singing lessons, learned to read despite the odds, been on dates, lost four teeth, thrown 13 touchdown passes, made 20 AR goals, made A’s on two Chemistry finals, graduated high school with honors, made our First Communion and NOT had a brain tumor.
We’ve also suffered an avulsion fracture which resulted in two surgeries, dislocated our shoulder twice, bombed a Chemistry test, confessed to cheating, thrown interceptions, had way too much girl drama, quit karate, gotten in two fender benders, had strep throat six times and flu four times, locked our keys in our car twice, stayed out til dawn once, we’re repeating Kindergarten and apparently now we have asthma.
Hashtag still winning. Still. There’s that word again.