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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Big Fish

You know the old story...A man goes fishin', only to return with tales about the whopping size of the fish he caught.  "It was a big fish!" In reality, it was probably the tiniest minnow, IF a fish was even caught at all.
It's the exaggeration.
The embellishment.

There was once a movie with the same title, Big Fish.  In the movie, a young boy listens to the unbelievable tales his father shares.  Stories you would never, in a million years, believe.  Giants, Siamese twins, etc.  As the boy grows into a man, his father's stories don't have that same sense of fantasy and start to become lies instead.  In many ways, the son begins to resent his father for the far-out stories that he has told over the years. Until...
His father passes away.  At the funeral, there to bid farewell...the characters in the stories the son thought to be figments of his father's wild imagination.  Real people.  Real stories, after all.


You might know someone who likes to tell these bizarre tales.  They share of people they've seen, people they've spoken with, places they've been... You can never quite figure out where the real story ends and the imagination begins.

My question is...

Why would you want to?

Yesterday, Rick was telling me about his and the girls' daily walk.  (I should write a book about their walks, by the way!)  Apparently, when they got to a stretch of farmland that hadn't been mowed in months, he and the girls were attacked by, in Rick's words, "like 50,000 grasshoppers!!"  Rick said they were jumping on his head.  They were jumping in the wagon with the girls (Yes, it still has the duck-taped umbrella!).  Grasshoppers surrounded them and jumped on them from every angle.  He kept yelling to Gabriella, "Just keep your mouth closed!"  A scene from a movie, right?

So, when I woke Gabriella from her nap, I couldn't wait to hear her account of the grasshopper fiasco.  I didn't want her to relive a traumatic situation, but I had to know, "Gabriella, tell me about your walk.  Mommy wants to know about all the grasshoppers!"

Gabriella:  We went on a walk, Mommy!
 Me:  Tell me about the grasshoppers!
Gabriella:  We saw two.

Two?  What happened to the 50,000?!  The swarm jumping in, out, over, and under?!

What is it that this little duo sees when they look out the window?  What is it this little duo, along with the twins, sees when they go on walks?
Well, I'm going to choose to believe that Gabriella just hasn't quite mastered her concept of numbers, yet, and if Rick says they fought a battle with 50,000 of nature's hoppiest, then I believe him.

It's the exaggeration.
The embellishment.
 Real people.
Real stories, after all.

I see God in big fish tales that really do happen, that really do exist.  I hope you do, too.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Duck-Taped Umbrella

I made my predictable afternoon phone call to Rick on my way home today.  This phone call usually finds us rehashing the day's events, the ups and downs.  Today's phone call filled me with such joy.

Rick shared how, for the first time, he took all 3 girls on a walk in our big Radio Flyer wagon.  He had rigged it with duck tape, a bungee cord, and an umbrella to keep the girls out of the direct sun.  Pulling the wagon all around the neighborhood, they waved at all of the people who honked as they drove by (Rick lovingly said they were like celebrities!) and talked to neighbors and passersby.  They met a man from Uganda who shared that, in his village, having twins made you some type of high official!  He told Rick that twins were a sign of good luck in his culture.  
As they continued on, the wind picked up and, apparently, Marielle's hat blew across the street.  So, Rick pulled that big red wagon with the duck taped umbrella along, chasing down the hat as it would blow, then stop, then blow, then stop.  After a long adventurous walk, they pulled into the driveway, only to find that one pacifier had been dropped along the way!  So, back down the street they went looking for it!

The tale Rick shared of his wagon adventure reminded me of something you might read in a storybook with whimsical characters, bright colors, curly cue fonts, and magical events.  Their days together seem surreal, so full of love and happiness.  Of course, I'm sure when you're pulling 70 lbs. of Radio Flyer excitement behind you as you chase a blowing hat down the street you're not finding the humor in the situation, 
but something about it makes my heart smile.

I'm so happy that they have these moments together.  Funny thing, I'm not jealous or resentful that it's not me making these memories with the girls, that I'm not the one staying at home with them during the day.  I still get my special times with them and besides, I know they remember me throughout the day because written on the whiteboard when I finally made it home this afternoon...
a note
a reminder
in Rick's rushed "the-babies-are-crying" handwriting

10:27am- Gabriella says her doll is pretty like her Momma.

I see God in every man who devotes everything within himself to be the best father he can be to his family.


P.S. My new favorite photo of the girls!  :)


Saturday, September 8, 2012

And What Must It Be Like to Be Alone...

Is a good night's rest too much to ask for?

For the last week, the twins have been very inconsistent in their sleep schedule.  We've tried different things, called the doctor, but our nights remain the same:  one of them spends most of the night whining, requiring us to put in her pacifier over and over and over.  Maybe 50 times in one night...

As a working mom, as a teacher, it is difficult to meet the demands of my job when I'm so tired.  There is this sense of urgency I have when I'm at school.  You can't take a break or relax when you have children who need to learn how to read.  You can't take a break or relax when you have children who need to learn how to count and say numbers.  You can't take a break or relax when you have children who need to work on concepts two grade levels above because they are so advanced.  

I'm not complaining about the responsibility that comes along with teaching.  I love it.  I guess what I'm saying is this:  it sure is hard being a working mom.  Balancing the responsibilities at home and school has proven to be extremely exhausting.  I'm sure I could make it easier for myself, but then I feel like one end would lose out and too many people are counting on me.  That, in itself, is tiring.

Let's take last night for example.  It was Marielle's turn to whimper and cry every 10 minutes when her pacifier came out.  We had about 20 minutes of complete silence and we hear a cry in the distance.  It was Gabriella.  She was afraid of the "funder" and so into bed she came with us.  

Only GG wasn't tired.  So, for the next 30 minutes that the twins were actually content, Gabriella's big boney toe kept poking me in my back and the slurping from her sucking on her two fingers in my ear was magnified by the quiet around us.  As Marielle started to cry again, here was the conversation...
Rick:  I'll get up and get it.
Me:  No, I will.  I'm up.
Rick:  No, I'm already up.  I'll get it.
Me:  Well, I'm up, too.
GG sits straight up in the bed and so proudly exclaims:  I'm up, too!!!!
Rick and Me:  We know.....

Then, for the next half hour GG begged and pleaded to watch cartoons or a movie.  
GG:  Daddy, let's go down stairs and let Mommy rest.  We can watch cartoons.  How about that for some fun?
Rick in a very sarcastic tone: GG, thanks for tootin' on my leg.
GG in her most sincere voice: You're welcome, Daddy.

It was 3am.

Finally, we let her watch Lilo and Stitch.  As I laid there with the covers over my head, trying to block out the slurping and boney toes and crying, I heard someone in the movie say something like, "...and what must it be like to be alone, to have nothing to look back on, not even memories to think about in the middle of the night..."

What would it be like? 

These years when the girls are so young...
they are hard
they are exhausting
they are, at times, frustrating

but, they are so much fun
they are filled with much more laughter than tears

At the very core, they are the years we will one day look back on and wish for their return. 

So, bring on the sleep-deprived nights, my precious girls.  They are the moments that will turn into memories that will prevent me from ever being alone.

My prayer each day this week has been so simple: God, walk with me.
However, if I can't get some sleep soon, I'm going to have to change my prayer:  God, carry me. 

For all of the mommies that stumble upon this blog, I hope that when you're tired from giving everything you have to everything and everyone around you, that you can find patience, humor, love, and appreciation in the memories you're making.  However crazy they may be.  
Because what would it be like to be alone, to have nothing to look back on?


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Who Am I?

Making an effort to be brutally honest this morning...

Yesterday, I went to the eye doctor for my bi-monthly check-up for my eyes.  As I was sitting in the waiting room, I was looking at the people around me.  There were two guys that looked like they had come from very difficult lives.  The group sitting next to me was made up of some characters:  two girls in their pajamas and 2 guys that, to me, looked like they'd had a loooong night of partying.  

I texted Rick and told him that the next time I wanted to go to this particular eye doctor, remind me not to.  Then, I texted him that everyone around me looked scary.

They did.

As I think about my texts now, the thing that disappoints me the most is that hidden somewhere inside me, I think my comments were fueled by a feeling that I was better than the people around me.

I can assure you that coming to a conclusion like that about yourself is quite disheartening.

Who am I?

If GG had ever come up to me and said, "Mommy, I don't want to sit by that man because he looks different," or, "Mommy, that man looks scary," or, even worse, "Mommy, I think I am better than her,"  I would be real swift to give her a lesson in compassion.  In fact, I would probably share with her how Jesus turned away no one, how God wants us to love everyone, and how in Matthew it says, "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

Who am I to, if even for a moment, think more of myself and less of someone else?  
Not even our perfect God does that?  
God, who has every right, every reason, to look down on us and boast of His goodness does not.  
Do my judgements, expectations, or standards for the life around me get to be more strict than God's?

I don't know if you can relate, nor do I know if you really want to on this subject...

I can only pray that God will continue to be that voice inside me, convicting me when I'm wrong...

Help me love.
Love everyone.
No matter what.
I see God in the love I have for most people, but I want to see Him in the love I have for all people.