June 29, 2012

Judge Not

I'll never forget the time I was visiting teaching CD and a phone call came from home.  Little Boy was upset.  The reason?  Oh no biggie, just that his two older brother's were about to kill one another.  "They are punching each other really hard Mom!"

I was in the middle of my spiritual thought, but after hanging up I was bluntly honest with CD.  I have little to no filter and was not really thinking too quickly on my feet when I said to her "I'm afraid we will have to cut this visit short today as my son's are in a fist fight at home right now."  She was ever so kind but I couldn't help but think she must be judging me right now.  How embarrassing!

I came home to find tempers raging and a black eye brewing on Middle Boy's face, and a few different versions of what happened being explained.  Sigh!

About a year later I was no longer CD's VT (visiting teacher), but our friendship had deepened.  She confided in me one day that her favorite visiting teaching moment with me was the time I had to leave to split up the fighting at home.  Wow, my messages must have really been unimpressive I thought.  She explained further.  That day she felt that I was not the perfect mother she had envisioned, and it made her feel relaxed I guess.  It made her feel all the more comfy with her position in parenthood.  Nobody's family is perfect.  She felt un-judged.

I've had people in my home before who I definitely felt judged by.  My step-Mom judged me unfairly for years.  Perhaps that is why whenever someone comes into my home and finds my house less than tidy I get upset.  Whenever we are getting ready for guests I feel my stress level begin to rise. If I get a surprise pop in from a visitor, instead of dropping everything and focusing on the visit, I am picking things up right and left.  Like they didn't have time to see it there already.  The impression of my dirty kitchen counter has already been seen, but I still wipe away like they caught me in the act of doing my chores for the day.  I have a distant relative who I have heard to be quoted as saying "I assume you came to see me and not look at the dirty house."  Wish I could adopt that attitude.

I was over to a friends home yesterday who was doing the exact same thing I do. Apologizing for the state of her kitchen and laundry and cleaning up in front of me.  I knew just how she felt.  So I started straightening right along with her, brushing toast crumbs off the counter into my hand and flinging them into the sink.  I wonder if that made her feel better or worse?  I hope better.  I meant well.

Sometimes it's better to show our imperfect side to others.  It gives us all a chance to let our hair down.  And let our black eyes show through.


June 25, 2012

Hot Enough?

So my retired Fox-network-watching father has a habit of calling me whenever there is extreme weather of any kind in my area.  I reside in the East while he is in the West but mother nature and the weatherman keep us connected.  In fact if we do get a bit of bad weather and he doesn't call I start to worry.  He'll be a day or two late sometimes with his phone call and when he finally does call I'll say "Dad, we had a tornado warning and I was so worried.... what's that?  No the tornado wasn't the bad thing, it was that you didn't call and I figured you must be out lying dead by the side of the road who knows where, because you didn't pick up the phone to tell me it was windy outside!"

We had a heat wave out here recently (our summer's first), and I was organizing my pantry when the phone rang.  It was Dad.  "Hey I just thought I'd call and tell you that you all are dropping like flies out there" he says.  "What would I do without you?  I'd never know when it was humid or hot or cold or windy or anything!  I never notice these things until the phone rings and you tell me.  Thanks Pop."  Then there was more conversation about the dry heat vs the humid heat.  Like I didn't know the difference.  It's really actually kinda enchanting that he cares enough to call and tell me it's hot outside where I live.  When a hurricane comes through he calls to ask if I have a generator for when I lose power.  We talk about horsepower and gasoline supply.  Then we usually run out of things to say (unless he decides to get political on me), and we hang up until the next bit of weather decides to happen.  

This past time he called I shared some of the troubles I have been having with my teen.  He shared some of his wisdom and we moved on to other topics until it was time to say goodbye.  I always know when he is finished with me.  It's always "well I"ll let you go" or sometimes a quick jab at Obama care and a swift good-bye.  He has to get his opinions in there but has learned not to start a fight with me, bless his heart.  He is now 83.  Who knows how many phone calls we have left.  Our entire family has scheduled a trip to Utah this summer and we can all see him in person.  I can just imagine feeling the altitude getting to me in the dry July heat as we hike and fly paper airplanes and sing our traditional camp song "Bill Grogan's Goat."

Big Boy is refusing to go with us.  I purposely didn't buy him a ticket because he was looking for a summer job and we weren't sure how flexible his job would be.  Turns out, the job he ended up with  has a flexible boss who would let him go if he wanted to, but he is a teenager who knows everything and isn't interested in pleasing Mom.  He has decided he "has to" stay here and earn money for college/mission.  I am done arguing with him and think that perhaps a break from family for him right now might be best.  We need a dog walker anyways.  Maybe after a week's absence from us he'll learn some appreciation for a few things we do for him around here.  Maybe he'll long for a call from Utah telling him how hot it is outside today.  I just hope he isn't missing out on a last chance to be in the same dry heat as his Grandpa.  He'll regret that all the way down to the fiery furnace below if that happens.

(Joking!  I really don't think my teenager is headed for Hell just for refusing to go on a family vacation with us- it's for all the other disrespectful stuff he does that he'll earn that walk of shame-  KIDDING again!!!)

June 14, 2012

Leaving my Nest

Recently we had some baby birds nesting in our front yard.  I noticed the Momma bird coming and going during the nesting stage and knew that we'd have chirping babies soon enough.  My husband did not know what he was doing when he chopped up the climbing vine that they had nested in.  He just thought he was doing yard work, not nearly decapitating newly hatched robins.  When he discovered the exposed birds he felt horrible.  We watched with anticipation to see if the Mother bird would continue feeding the birds after our human invasion.  She kept up the good work alright.  Now we had a front row seat to nature and every once in a while I would peek my head over their nest to see the upturned open beaks begging to be fed.  I would watch that busy mother delivering her worms and think "I know just how you feel, these kids never stop eating do they?"
Aren't they sweet?!

Then a week or so later we were witnesses to an exciting event.  Just as I drove into our driveway I turned and saw two baby birds on the edge of jumping out of the nest.  I had been taking baby bird photos so I thought it would be cool to catch this momentous event on camera for my facebook friends to see.  I sent my oldest out with my iphone.  As soon as he started to get close enough for a picture I regretted my request.  What if he got so close that he scared them to leap before they felt ready.  Maybe they weren't really about to leap but looking for the Mother bird who had been late delivering worms.  Or maybe it was just a leg stretching opportunity, not a real jump/fly day.  Sure enough, my worst fear happened and it appeared that bird number one, in an attempt to get away from my son's paparazzi photo shoot, jumped to get away from him.  My window was down and I heard myself shout "STOP! You are not ready yet!!"  The bird fell to the ground and started hobbling through the grass and right into the street just in time for the mother bird to come back.  I could interpret the chirps she was making to mean "I leave you for 2 minutes and look what trouble you get into!?"

My emotions about the whole thing surprised me.  I was really upset.  Beyond what I thought was appropriate for what had happened.  Tears went down my face as I tried to figure this reaction out. What were we humans doing to this poor bird family?!  First we sabotage their home then force them out of the nest prematurely.  Then we take photos for our viewing pleasure?!  I cried some more.  What was up with this reaction I thought?  Why did I seem to instinctively shout "NO!  It's not your time."  Then this photo shoot came to mind and it all made perfect sense.  

Thinking scholarly thoughts

What a stilly lookin hat

Glad to be outta dat building!

Happy Graduate!

Flying ahead of me already

My other graduate.  Her graduation fee was much less- thus the card-stock cap and lack of gown