Inner Claire

Wow, I can hear them from all parts of the house.  The screams, the shouting of orders, the pretend laser fire.  4 young and very physical boys run around my house, fake Star Wars weapons and grenades in hand.  Their screams shake the walls.  Just moments before they were in the extra bedroom playing what sounded like….a hailstorm.  They informed me that it was no hailstorm, but basketball.  I never heard any basketball game sound like plastic smashing the doors….”It’s ok, MOM”

The dog has curled up on the davenport as close to me as she dare come, looks warily at the soldiers.  Now instead of Star Wars they have switched to WWII. The lyrics to “I Believe I Can Fly” come from the littlest member of the posse.  I did not know R.Kelly has made his way to my house.  Interesting.

My phone buzzes or rather, my Iphone whistles its train sound.  (i have not figured out how to get free ringtones for my Iphone)  The phone whistles, and 2 moms are on my text alerting me to send their children home.  I gather one, get  them ready to head out…and of course, the child is wearing flip-flops (cause we can’t say thong in this day and time) and has not coat.  Ever the parent, I tell the child to get in my car and I will drive him home.  Back for round 2 sends another child home and the house quiets, a bit.  My oldest is playing Star Wars Battlefront and narrating the war.  I have no idea what he is saying, he is having a blast….I would like to hear something other than the constant narration.

I look up from the tap-tap tapping of my keys to see the Cosby Show on my television.  I smile. I watched and loved this show as a child, they are as much a part of my childhood as leg warmers, friendship bracelets, Tiffany, and New Kids on the Block (all of which I detested.)  I knew them, dreamed of being a sister to Denise, or better yet…BEING Denise!  I wanted Claire as my mom, who didn’t?

I still want Claire as a mom.  I am watching with new eyes as the chaos calms.  I smile even more as I hear the kids banter, yell, wrestle, and bang on the walls.   I remember hoping that I would be in a Cosby house.  I never thought for a minute that mine would be like that.  I admired Claire for almost everything that she did.  Ok, had to stop and swipe at my nose as the College Decision episode for Denise was on….The note that ma and pa wrote her to end the moment, makes me tear up, every stinking time.  I used to hear it from a kid point, hoping that I would hear something like that.  Now, I pray for the day I get to send my babies into the world.  Well I pray for the day, and I pray the day will never  come.

As I watch I think of no better compliment than to have swarms of shoes to trip over and coats to push out-of-the-way.  I fear that walls will shake, pictures will quiver, and lamps fall to their death.  I am most certain this will happen and much more.  This may not have been the experience I understood–far from it.  Maybe I can channel an inner Claire….I wonder what that looks like in 2013




Someday you will BECOME…..

I think of my sons this Father’s day.  Let me say outright that I would rather this be MAN‘s day and Mother’s day celebrating Women as a whole gender.  I realize that this won’t happen, so I will advocate for it myself.  ANYWAY!!!!

I think of my son’s today.  I was able to catch up on an ongoing project…I have been writing to both of my children since I knew I was pregnant with them…each month I write to them and keep a running journal of what they are up to, thoughts I have, words from just mom.  My children have not seen the journals, it is my hope that I am able to give them to each of my sons on the day they graduate from high school.  I look back through some of the entries sometimes, I already know I will be a basket case on their graduation day…Ah, mom.  As I think of my boys, I often find myself wondering as to their future.  What will it look like?  What will these active and caring boys become?  Will they be proud of themselves, well-centered and caring men?  I would be lying if I did not say that I hope much for them, that I pray harder for their future than I do for anything else.

I think of the future wives or life partners they may have.  I have to say life partner here, because I cannot assume that either of them will choose one way or another.  I have discovered that despite my best efforts, my ability to control either of them amounts to NOTHING.  I can hope and direct and re-direct, but at the end of the day, what they do is their decision and their responsibility.  I will say that whether they marry or not, the people in their life had better treat them well, or this Mom will have some words.

I embark to impart a few words that I wish my boys to know as they continue to age toward manhood….

1)  You were born as babies, became toddlers, young boys, boys–you WILL become young men and men in the future.  You are not boys in men’s bodies–you will be a MAN someday–embrace that.

2)  Treat your mother with all the respect, kindness, honesty, love, and care that you can.  She will teach you many small and large graces you will need in the future.

3)  Do not shrink from emotion or displaying emotion, even if that means tears.  The mark of a mature adult is the person who can admit emotion and keep it from controlling you.  Face it, feel it, embrace it, and then let it go.  Many a life is ruined by those who cannot let something go.

4)  Understand what it means to work hard, to earn your way by honest work.  Whether the work be with your hands, body, mind, or other part, dedicate yourself to doing well each job you are given.

5)  Do not stop educating yourself–learning is lifelong.  It does not matter if this is in an academic or hands-on learning–do not think yourself so smart that you do not have something to learn.

6)  Remember to have fun…enjoy the outdoors and let it be part of you.  The wonder of creation can speak more to a soul than many a perfect word.

7)  Speak your mind with grace and love.  If you have found something worth fighting for, then do so with all your heart, soul, and mind.  I will back you all I can.

8)  Be kind to children, animals, and each person you encounter.  You have no idea what they may be experiencing at any moment.  Remember there are people who have shown you much grace at times, it is our privilege to give back.

9) FOLLOW through and HONOR your word.  If you say you are going to do something, DO IT.  If you cannot accomplish it on your own, be humble enough to ask for help and allow others to help if necessary.  True community comes when we join one another no matter the situation.

10)  PUT THE SEAT DOWN, and while you are at it, check the toilet paper roll–chances are it’s out.

11)  deodorant and showers were invented for a reason–realize that–often!

12)  Clothes hampers and baskets are there, that is where the dirty clothes go–not right beside it.

13)  If you are married to the person of your dreams, cherish them with everything that you have.  Be real, honest, approachable, and in touch with yourself enough to tell them what they mean to you.

14)  If you are blessed with children, be a better parent than your father and I were…improving by at least 50% over what you experienced.  When you are scared or have questions…ask.  There are people there to help you.

15)  Find someone older than you to be a mentor–preferably male who is not related to you.  In turn, find someone younger than you to mentor–preferably male who it not related to you.  We learn volumes from one another.

16)  Your partner will want surprise gifts, flowers, small moments that let them know you are thinking of them.

17)  Teach the little ones how to spit seeds, blow a bubble, whistle, bait a hook, and field a grounder.

18)  The arts have their place, return to them often and let them fill you.  Remember all those songs I sang to you and for you…there was always a reason.

19)  A handwritten thank you is a most valuable gift, write them.

20)  Give the gift of your time, it is the most precious thing you have to give.

21)  Being a man is not about brute strength, it is about your character and the heart you possess.

22)  Faith is vital.  Share the stories of your faith with your children, let them learn from you.  Likewise, listen to them…they have much to tell you.

23)  USE THE FORCE!  Yoda and the rest of the Jedi‘s were honorable because they depended on peace before violence.

24)  Keep your temper.

25)  Find a hobby, something that is all yours and make it part of you.

26)  The written word–its power is immeasureable–read them, let them wash over you, especially if it something that MOM has written 😉

27)  Family does not have to look the same.  If you are committed to the people you call family, love them, trust them, and would be willing to fight for and die for them….you have learned much.

28)  Do not forget you both have a brother out there–be good to each other.  Someday, you two will be all that remain.  No matter what, do not let arguments or personalities destroy who you are to each other.

29)  Black socks and shorts do not mix…In the same way, white socks and dress pants do not mix.

30)  Ice cream does cover a multitude of owies…keep some on hand.

31)  Learn to say, “I am sorry” and “Please forgive me.”  Allow others to tell you the same thing.

32)  Fresh breath is a part of life.

33)  Let your children see you in all facets of life with your loved one…they need to know you both are human and willing to do what it takes to be real and loving.

34)  Remember recreation is RE-creation for your soul.

35)  Have I mentioned to put the seat down?

36)  Take the shaving remains from the sink and the top back on the toothpaste tube–btw, squeeze said tube from the bottom flattening as you go.

37)  Insects and snakes freak out most girls and women…calmly deal with them, you’ll be their instant hero.

38)  Since I almost this age…I leave you with this one:  “You are beautifully and wonderfully made.  And.  I love you!”



My Golden Girls

My mom and I watched a couple sitcoms religiously when I was a kid.  One of those was Golden Girls, I must admit here that I still sit and watch reruns, even though I have seen virtually every one of them.  I love the quick wit and sarcastic conversation.  I have discovered the same comraderie in my local drug store.

The women at the store are an unending source of laughter and smiles.  The last time I was in there the gaggle of gals were discussing their hunger pangs…I smiled as I listened to comparisons of soup and preferences ensued.  I was running in on my lunchbreak and this was a bright spot in my extremely busy day.  The manager commented on how she could not eat canned soup, even to this day.  I thought about that and remarked that I cannot eat spaghettios….they taste like the metal of the can.  What I anticipated would be a solitary foray into the drug store ended in laughter and the warmth of women who make people feel good about themselves.

This is not the first time I have left smiling.  I know all the women by name, and the lead pharmicist always comes around the counter to give me a hug and ask how I am doing.  They generally care and are interested in the people who walk through the door.  I told them one day that they are a blessing to me and to others.  I think this is one of the hallmarks of a smaller town.  The women here journey through and with people.  For me personally they are hugs and support and laughter

Today I went in because I needed to pick up the order I placed last week,  There is a spray analgesic called Blue Emu that seems to help my tight shoulders and neck better than mot things out there.  No amount of massage is cutting the pain and offering relief, so this is the next best option.  When I entered the store the manager was talking about Ewoks from Star Wars. So the comparison between Ewoks and some furry creatures from Star Trek continued.  I laughed aloud and wondered what was happening….they had received these round furry blue and orange animal type things that made some weird vocalization…Sure they were cute, but I am not sure they ranked with Ewoks…the closest thing I could equate would be a Furby and even that is stretching things a bit.  Round colored volleyballs with hands and feet and their eyes…well to say that they looked like they were on drugs in an understatement.  Such dilated not right for a drugstore…..  We laughed and then the manager gave me my package and said she had wondered all day why Cindy had placed an order for a Blue Bird… a Blue Emu…Ah, I love these girls. 

There are times when living in a small town drives me nuts.  When I crave the chance for culture and adventure and romance of faraway dreams gives way to a more secure understanding of connection and community.  I am thankful for these women, these Golden Girls….



Face to Face.

Last night I blogged on part of my experience with my oldest son.  Remembering that is still with me even as both my children are up at 7:30 am on a weekend-raring and blaring.  This time it is Star Wars battle droids and warfare.  I never have any idea who is winning or for what we are fighting, much less what my response should be when they ask for direct order from their commander.  HUH?

As I listen to them play their DS on the davenport I can’t help but think of both of them and the last year we have traveled.   I know that I will never forget the impact having my son in the hospital had on my outlook.

You see, I pride myself on being a strong and capable woman, one who can face any trial or obstacle, stare it down and come out on top of the game.  I not only thrive on the challenge of obstacles, there is a certain element of crave that goes into play.  This last year stripped me bare of all that I thought I believed about myself and a faith I touted.

Many of us have this idea that God is all love all the time.  This is true, but there are other attributes of God that I experienced as my son sat in a hospital that I never knew existed.  For all my knowledge, talent, and talk I felt small. I felt helpless and ineffectual.  I hated that.  I blamed myself for where my son was and I blamed him for having something that I could not control.  Yes, I said I blamed my son. Part of me cannot believe I just typed that, yet there are times when I think back on that horrific week that I remember hating what drove him to act in such a manner.  Never ever did I hate my son, but rather what was happening to his body and soul.  Even now as I type this he has interrupted me at least a dozen times with loud and obnoxious comments about not wanting to live in this family anymore, that we hate him.  Most of the time I can ignore it and wait for his calm to return.  Yet, there are times when I want to know what it is like to have a quiet morning in my home–where I can breathe without wondering what issue might blow up next.

Most of all I blamed myself for not being enough.  I had all the knowledge and compassion and it made not one bit of difference.  I was a student of faith, studying for a future in pastoral care and counseling, received training on family systems and chaplaincy–it mattered not.  No amount of what I knew could prepare me for how to feel when those doors closed and I left my son on the other side.  I blamed myself for not being the kind of mom that would instinctively know what was happening and come up with some creative and sure-fire plan to fix it.  After all, that is what our kids expect us to do when something hurts.  They come to us with their boo-boos and we fix it; most of the time.  There are still times when I feel like I have failed him.

I have heard multiple theories from others about what he may or may not have, as well as what causes it.  I have heard some tell me that it was because of medicine I may have taken when I was pregnant with him,  Others have commented that it must be the fact that I am adopted and probably passed it down to him from my own DNA.  Still other comments are steeped in wondering about him having a brain tumor .  None of these is or was the case.  They only served to make me feel worse about what I was or was not doing to help him.

I talked earlier about the door.  I had passed through this door with my own key fob countless times, yet I still recall the sound of that door as it closed as clearly as yesterday,  It was the loudest, most lonely sound I have ever heard.  I never knew that silence could rip through silence like that.  I did not look back, I did not want to see that which separated me from my son.  In that moment I wondered where my God was.   I wanted the ground to open and swallow me right there and not return me.  I felt small, I felt forgotten and alone.  I was convinced that I had done something horrible for an all-loving God to let this happen.  Then the words of my theology professor came to mind, “Remember the so that.”  So that.  Bad things do not happen SO THAT a ministry will happen somewhere else down the road.  It happens and it stinks, and sometimes there is no right and easy answer.

In the moments that that door slammed shut behind me I grew up in my mind.  On that I will comment more later.  As I imagined what my son would face in the days ahead, I hurt.  There was nothing in my power that would solve this situation, the fury was palpable.  In hindsight, he was in the right place at the right time and in the hands of some incredible people.  I knew their strength and passion for caring, after all, I was also one of them.  I chose not to work any hours while he was in the hospital.   While I crossed the parking lot, I had to trust and that was the hardest lesson.  So,  I end this post having calmed my own charges in the last 2 hours….ADD meds have kicked in and my oldest is no longer climbing the walls and there is a bit of peace as they both watch Shelldon on Saturday morning cartoons.  I am positive I will post later, so stay tuned.



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