Tuesday, June 24, 2014

preschool, peace, and mud

To say I've been stressing lately about some preschool decisions for Bugaboo is probably an understatement. There are a lot of factors that keep me up at night: I'm homeschooling Bubby next year. I'm neutral on the idea of sending kids to preschool. Bugaboo has CP and some other quirky (and lately, more than quirky) behaviors. Bug has an IEP and receives services both privately and through our school system. He qualifies for free public school preschool. We really liked Bubby's church-based preschool, especially his first year's teacher.  Bug's developmental issues make it interesting (challenging?) to mainstream him, even though he does get mainstreamed at our church. Bubby's preschool said they would accommodate  Bugaboo.

 My pro/con list, questions and concerns grew.

Additionally, The Hubs has an interesting work schedule for the next few months as he begins his job as an ER nurse. (WOOT WOOT - He passed the NCLEX! Praise the Lord. Seriously! Praise Him!)  This adds yet  another factor to the preschool decision. A couple of people have had to hear me go over and over the preschool angst I am having.  I think about it all. the time.

But then today someone actually walked across my path - literally stopped me while I was walking Bubby to VBS - to discuss preschool for next year. In her doing that, a couple of my concerns were addressed in that brief conversation. And I have peace. I don't have a specific answer yet for what we are going to do in August, but I have peace that I will be able to make a decision without fear. I really believe today's encounter was a divine appointment because I have been so consumed with fear about some things regarding Bugaboo lately.

Fear is a horrible thing. I wrestle it daily in some shape or form. Even today, soon after I got this instant peace about preschool, I came home to discover a row of huge trees that blocked a factory from our view were being professionally chopped down. Anger that I now have to see an ugly factory instead of pine trees. Fear that it is one more thing that will make it difficult to sell our house. Fear that we will be stuck here forever. Fear, fear, fear. How can I have such peace and confidence about God taking care of something for me this morning, and then just hours later get panicked and angry about another issue?

Fear is mud. I keep stepping in it. I think I am out, and then I realize I am tracking it all over my clean floors. "Look at this mess!" the evidence seems to scream out at me. Or maybe I really hear it saying, "You are a mess!" The lifelong fear that I am messing something up, that I am the mess. Two decades later, same issues, just different situations. Oh, to finally be free of the muck. I see it as footprints all around me, I recognize what it is. Now to just have eyes to see it before I step in it again.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

the (almost) halfway point of quiet

For the past few years, instead of (or some years in addition to) making a bunch of resolutions I have chosen to focus on one word. This year my word is quiet. I did not really want this word, but it is the word I really felt impressed to choose anyway. The year is not quite halfway through, and I thought I would again pause and reflect on what quiet has been like in these weeks and months thus far.

The most obvious thing is that I am blogging less. Part of that is intentional.  I am choosing not to write about anything and everything that catches my attention. But part of less blogging is just the season of life I am in.  I don't have the brain power at the end of the day to write. This makes me incredibly sad because there are two things I find incredibly therapeutic. One is playing the piano, which I am not very good at, and when I do play four little hands now like to come along and bang on the keys with me. Not quite as relaxing.  The other thing that helps me process and release is writing. By not blogging as much I would like to, I feel a little congested, spiritually and emotionally speaking. 

I have things I want to say that I am choosing not to say because I cannot say them well right now. Even simple posts seem like they would take too much effort.  Mothering has become an even more full time job in the last year or two than I ever imagined it being.  Where things often change for some moms when their youngest hits two or three years old, things haven't really changed in the same way for me because my youngest still has a lot of needs. In fact, in the last month he has developed some new needs, and it has been a challenge.  I guess all that to say that if quiet had not been my word for the year I would feel even worse about not writing as often than I do.

But there has been some good things about my focus on quiet.  I am thinking through my opinions before I speak them more than is natural for me to do.  I have actually reflected on some of the writing I have done over the last few years on here, and have thought about some of the things I have changed my mind (or at least softened my mind) about. For example,  I had a pretty strong opinion about "working moms" a few years ago and now I figure I have enough to worry about in my own life that I don't need to (unnecessarily) worry about someone else's. Perhaps I should have been quiet about that opinion years ago, perhaps not.  That being said, focusing on choosing quiet and choosing what battles to fight has made me realize that there are still things I will always choose to not be quiet about - integrity, honesty, faith, etc. Not everything I feel strongly about though needs to be written about - at least not in every season - but there is a time and place for (most) everything.

Another good thing that has been a result of my focus on quiet is I have spent less time online. I have spent less time worrying about trying to impress people or gain a following.  I have realized the people I consistently read online are few, and that is probably a good thing because time is a precious commodity.  I have intentionally returned to my love of reading books. Actual books with pages to turn instead of blogs or not-news-worthy-news articles.  I actually purchased a journal a couple of months ago, and I have tried writing some thoughts with pen and paper.  My handwriting still sucks, but when it's just me and God and the paper, I don't have to worry at all about what I am saying.  That is freeing.

I have tried to incorporate quiet into my parenting.  This is probably what I need to focus on the most in the remainder of the year. Not getting stressed out about things, but choosing to be calm and still. It is also the  most challenging considering the daily outbursts and crying spells Bugaboo has started in the last month or so.  Our house does not feel quiet at many points throughout the day, so I must choose the quiet even in the chaos.

I worry that I have missed documenting important milestones or just funny memories on here the last several months. That is my perfectionist tendency combined with this intrinsic need I have to want to remember everything. (Anyone else with an input strength?) I still don't know exactly why quiet had to be my focus word this year, but I am beginning to see glimpses of the reasons. For that I am thankful.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

To Bubby, who is now five years old

Dear Bubby,

You are five now. The ninetieth percentile for height say the charts, and the hundredth percentile for cuteness says your mama. We celebrated your birthday with gourmet muffins for breakfast and trendy cupcakes for dessert because there is no such thing as too much cake.  You picked a few friends to have over, and somehow I pulled off a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle party in our small house, stuck indoors for the majority of it because of the rain that only poured at the exact time your party began.  But we had a good time, and I would sew masks and make a punch-out game and pin the pizza on the turtle all over again each year to see you smile the way that you did.

You are a mix of shy and bossy. The shyness you get from both parents, but the bossiness (and also the sassy-ness) you get from me. You sound out words because you love letters, and you know about half of the states on the map because you think it is fun. You played soccer in the fall and the spring, and the spring was a much better experience thanks to the coach and environment. You climb the slides at the park with gusto, but the monkey bars are still intimidating. You are cautious of new things and of taking risks, but I think at just five years old that is okay. (It keeps you safe in parking lots and hopefully protects you from stranger-danger.)

You still hate vegetables, and watching you eat a green bean roasted to perfection is similar to watching a contestant on Fear Factor or Survivor swallow a worm. You sing along with the radio, and your voice makes me smile, whether you are belting out something by Pink or by Chris Tomlin.  Legos and Superheros and action figures are your thing these days, and your imagination allows you endless hours of play.  You talk to one of the librarians at story time like she is one of your dear friends. You instinctively watch out for your little brother, and you do your best to include him.  Sibling rivalry still hasn't really been a thing in our house, and for that I am thankful and somewhat amazed.

Each day you say something that unintentionally makes me laugh, and each day you ask something puzzling or profound. I do my best to write these things down because I want to remember. Photographs don't capture what is going through your mind, and there is so much going through your mind. You are growing up so fast. I see you climbing or playing with your friends, and a lump forms in my throat.  You are on loan to me right now, and I don't want to lose sight of that.  I am proud of how you are kind and helpful and compassionate. I am humbled by the faith that I see in you each day, an example in my very own home on what Jesus meant to have faith like a child. I love you very much, Bubby, and I am so glad you are my son.