Monday, July 18, 2016

First Day of School and HELLO, Kindergarten!

Somebody started Kindergarten today!



Nah to the ah to the no no NOOOOOOO!

I asked him if he wanted to stay home with me.

His response:


Jason: I don't think anyone has ever been more ready for Kindergarten.

I mean. I guess I can't argue with that. He's only been counting down for the last EIGHT months.

"How many more months til Kindergarten, Mom."
"How many more weeks now?"

And, at about for months out, we started on days.

"MOM, Dad said it's only one hundred and seven more days!"

But, the BEST part of starting Kindergarten for our confident, free spirit is that he FINALLY gets to go with his brothers.

No more looking longingly out the car window.
No more I AM SO BORED.
No more NAPS! (Naptime graduation is BIG TIME in our house. Congrats, Whit!)

They're headed off to a new adventure - my four buddies.

That one on the left starting middle school? He's been down this road six times before - this new year thing.

He's the leader of this band of brothers and he stands so tall in that role.

They're so ready to take on the new year. All FOUR of them.

I walked Whit in today - wondering if he'd have ONE shred of pause.

Nope. He never looked back.

He was made to fly.

And, he's gonna soar.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Motherhood: A Thousand Letting Gos

The day my first son was born, that precious day, my husband placed his tiny body in my arms and his eyes caught mine and I kissed his wrinkled forehead and I whispered the only thing my heart knew: "I'll never let you go."

I'll never let you go.

A few hours later, the nurse came into our hospital room and told us she needed to take him "for just a little bit." But my heart heard, "You'll never see him again."

I didn't want to let go.

That little bit felt like hours and the not-wanting released hot tears down my cheeks as I waited for her to roll him back into our room. Which she did, much to the relief of my husband who just wanted an hour of sleep and a cure for his hyper-emotional wife.

I was learning that ancient tug:

I had to let go.

What no one told me about motherhood, what a new mother's heart is too young, too tender, too new to understand, is that motherhood is a thousand letting gos.

My tiny son. I've been letting go his whole life.

The first day I dropped him off at the nursery at church, screaming and pulling at my shirt. Letting go.
His first time down the big slide. Letting go.
His first day of preschool. Letting go.
His first overnight at Grandma's without me. The hardest letting go.
His first day of Kindergarten. The HEAVING sobs of letting go.
When he turned the corner on his bike. Letting go.
Handing him an iPod and the scary world of technology. Letting go.
And this year, middle school. OMG, middle school. Can I carry him in on my hip?

I still have a thousand more to go.

Letting go.

Over and over and over.

My heart, since the moment I first laid eyes on him, has always beat easiest to every mother's favorite anthem: I'll never let you go.

But I'm learning: He isn't mine to hold onto. He is God's child before he is my child and my holding on would only keep him from his God-designed, made-just-for-him adventure.

That big slide? BEST. DAY. EVER.

Turning the corner on his bike? Breeze-in-his-hair, not looking back, taste of sweet freedom.

And, now - middle school? "I got this, Mom."

Letting go. So I can hold onto God's promises for him:

Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
Isaiah 43: 18-19

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The #1 BEST Way To Be A Good Friend To Moms

I've been thinking a lot lately about what makes a good friend in this season of my life.

This season, with young children running wild in my house and dirty diapers and dirty dishes and dirty clothes scattered about. Running here and there to baseball and birthday parties and screeching into the drive-thru and off to friends' houses and playdates at the park and homework and bedtime battles and cobwebs in the corner.

This season is SO all over the place and SO full of goodness and exhaustion and wonderful things and hard things...

I started out thinking about a particular friend I just spent time with and what makes her so lovely and pleasant and easy-to-be-around. Which then led to comparing her, right or wrong, to the friends I've had that I find to be so ... prickly. And, then I began thinking about what kind of friend I am, what kind of friend I want to be - and all of that led me to this question:

What makes a GOOD friend to moms?

I once had a friend ask me, with utter shock in her voice, "Are you REALLY giving him peanut butter at 10 months?" Ack. Prickly.

I once lost a friend completely because she didn't think I responded to her texts quickly enough. And she told me so. I had four children under the age of six at the time and was pregnant with my fifth and WHO CAN TEXT WITH REESE'S PEANUT BUTTER CUP FALLOUT ON THEIR FINGERS? Honestly, texts would sit on my phone for days sometimes and I just didn't have the mental or emotional capacity to respond to them all.

I felt a lot of hurt from that loss. I just couldn't meet her expectations.

On the contrary, I have a friend who is a neat-freak, but can come over to my house when it's in HURRICANE RECOVERY MODE (which is most of the time) and she laughs with me at my crazy and sits among the squalor and has coffee with me. She loves me so well and I LOVE to be around her.

I bribe my kids with snacks and treats. (#sorrynotsorry) And, one of my FAVORITE people on the planet would never, EVER do that - but she would meet me at the park and pull packs of high-fructose corn syrup fruit snacks out of my bag for my kids in a HOT MINUTE. And, then she'd hug my hyperactive children when they finish the packs in 10 seconds flat.

I have friends who range the entire spectrum of mothering choices:

Some eat ONLY organic food; some buy Krispy Kremes and McD's french fries and call it dinner.
Some don't do social media; some live FULL DAYS/WEEKS on Facebook and Instagram.
Some live in immaculate, organized houses; some haven't seen the vacuum in weeks. (#weownavacuum?)

Being a good friend to the moms in your life is NOT about how you live and what you choose for yourself and your family. And then finding friends who match up to your standards of mothering.

After 11 years at this mom gig, I think I've finally figured out how to be the BEST kind of friend to the moms in my life:

Let her choose her priorities.

Listen - All moms are different. All WOMEN are different. We tick and tock to different rhythms. We come from such different places - such varying sets of values and fears and insecurities and there is NOTHING like parenting to bring those to light.

When it comes to prioritizing what is important to us - WE AREN'T ALL THE SAME. But, how utterly boring would it be if we were?

Our differences, when celebrated in freedom and grace, are a glorious picture of God's creativity. When we allow our friends to choose their priorities, ESPECIALLY when they are different from ours, we become these lovely, love-to-be-around-you, grace-filled friends.

But if I have a friend who doesn't agree with my priorities, and she needs me to know that, we probably aren't going to be friends very long. Do you know who my best friends are? They are the women in my life who agree, along with me, that we're all different and we do not need to be the same to love each other well.

So if you want to be a good friend to a mom - you don't need to be like her. Her kids don't need to be like your kids. You don't need to share values and hobbies and have the same outlook on parenting. In fact, you can be entirely different.

If you want to love another mom well - let her choose her priorities. Let her be free - to be messy or clean, organic or Krispy Kreme, laundry or "no clean socks here, kids."

Let her choose her priorities. And you will become one of those trusted, precious, love-being-around-you friends to her.

And, y'all - those girls are GOLD.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Happy Easter 2016

My precious ones.

So thankful for Jesus - for the love he poured out to us on the cross. And, that WE live because he couldn't live without us.

Happy Easter, friends.