Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Allow me to Clarify...

     In a recent post on Facebook, I expressed that some people should lower their shields as well as their noses. Since then I have been privately question by a few people, and I will now explain exactly what I meant. My post was never meant to hurt or single out anyone. Knowing something I have said or done that could have hurt someone would sadden me greatly. So I would like to clarify any misunderstanding there might be and explain the reason that posed me to express my opinion in such a way. I posted it due to an encounter I had much earlier with another parent. The frustration was waging on my mind for awhile and I wanted to relieve it. What better way than Facebook. A place were opinions and thoughts are being freely expressed daily.
     As some of you may know, I am on my fourth kid and a lot of things change in between your first and fourth child. You became less clingy, more laid back. "Oh the house is on fire? Ok. Well, go tell Dad and make sure you grab your sisters, the Bibles, the diapers and the Xbox. I'll be home in a few." type of laid back. So laid back I sometimes forget their names.
     Having interacted with another parent several days ago, they saw my child fall to the ground. Jordyn bit it good. And if you know Jordyn, you know she is one tough cookie. This parent noticed that my reaction was less than worried-- nonchalant if you will. My verbal reaction to my child falling was, "Down she goes!" Because in my 13 years of parenting, I have learned that if you keep babying your kids when they fall, they won't learn to walk independently. They will depend on you to correct their mistakes, when they disobeyed your warnings in the first place. So she fell. So she cried and so I kind of laughed. Don't judge. When your child takes a killer wipe out and you know they are unharmed, you can't help but laugh at his or her clumsiness and then punish yourself for not having your camera ready to film it. This was your typical toddler tumble, you know when the top half of them is moving forward, but the feet didn't get the memo? Get's me every time.
     Anyways, as I blew off this little fall, this other parent chose to use some words that kind of frustrated me at that moment. They looked at me with a judging eyes and said something less than encouraging and quite rude. I was in shock. And with my quick wit, I could have replied with something less than appropriate as well. The words were in my mouth, but not in my heart. They obviously didn't understand how things roll when you are a mother of a large bunch. If I sit there and overly attend a situation for one child then that would allow at least two other of my children to start a situation of their own, and I ain't got time do deal with a bunch of situations. I have things to do. People to see. Naps to take.
     Letting my children fall and feel pain, doesn't make me a bad mom. If anything, it makes me a great mom. How else are they going to learn. My job is to pick them up, dust them off, hug them, then point them in the right direction and move them along.  Do I still have compassion in the mist of their hurt? Of course. What mother doesn’t? But I'm not going to allow them to sit and dwell on it. That's when they get all Telanova dramatic on me. "Ay Dios Mio , Help me! I'm dying."
     My parenting techniques are no worse than that other parent, and their parenting skills are no better than mine. Most of the time we're all just winging it. You can read all the Dr. Spock books you want and all the "What to Expect" books you can handle, but none of that is going to change your parenting or improve it. Each child needs to be parented differently and each child is going to react differently when doing it.
     I choose to turn to God. "Lord, What in the world am I doing? Help me approach this the way you would have me. Also, give me the strength to put down this Nerf gun." I believe He gives me the notion when my child really needs that extra attention and the notion when they are just fine. He calms my nerves and gives me the words that my children need to hear during their affliction. Some call it mother’s intuition. God knows the needs of my children more so than I, and He'll use me accordingly.
      I'm not mad at this person who somewhat publicly scolded and humiliated me, but I was saddened that they felt I lacked compassion towards my child. That they could have done better. After all, I'm a veteran at this profession. I know the difference between the tears of frustration, the tears of pain and the tears of disappointment. We all have different personalities, different ways of parenting, different ways of doing things; and we should never raise ourselves above others in thinking that our ways are the right ways and their way are the wrong ways. It’s hard for me to understand how some people think they are better than others when I try to see everyone as equal. Growing up I was always taught that I'm no better than the person next me. That age, race, gender, ability or disability should never cloud my ability to see people for who they are.
       If people would let down their walls of insecurity and judgment, we would learn to see them differently. We could see the person behind the curtain and be willing to hear the logic behind their ways of living; and exchange ideas, thoughts and encouragement. By accepting one another rather than demeaning one another, we create great opportunities to build friendships and open doors to sharing the gospel together. I challenge you to replace a negative criticism you may be thinking towards some with a positive attribute of that person. Change your attitude towards the way you see, speak and what you think towards another person. Change your heart.

Be of the same mind one toward another, Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in you own conceits.- Romans 12:16

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Perfume Incident of 2015.

     Shopping. That magical word is like music to my ears. If you're like me, taking a shopping trip is a therapeutic ritual that helps me deal with the stress of life's sudden changes. I mean, why wouldn't I find any excuse to buy a new pair of hip boots or a trendy new purse that would look fabulous with that outfit I bought on sale last week? The possibilities are endless when you have plastic in your pocket.
     When we venture off on that somewhat freeing quest to snatch up deals, we usually call up our posse of close friends or family to support our impulsive decisions to buy things we often don't need.  It's always good to have a friendly companion to help you justify buying all three pairs of opened toe heels that you couldn't make up your mind about and all four of the same blouses in different colors because they shape your body just right. Let's be honest, shopping is fun and we all enjoy it. That is until your trip involves taking your four children. That's when your pleasantly anticipated trip turns into mass chaos in department store hell.
     In a recent trip to our favorite department store, Kohl's, my children and I set out to finish some last-minute school shopping. Having four kids, one being a teenage boy, two of which are overly dramatic grade school girls and then there is my very rambunctious two-year old; the odds are definitely not in my favor. But, I'm a risk-taker so I accepted the challenge. With my shopping cart overflowing with the cutest fashions that meet all the requirements of two very picky daughters, we set off to the fitting rooms with the goal of narrowing down our selection to two outfits each. With adolescent attitudes and a few disappointed tears, we finished with a surprising amount of time to spare. Enough time for this here momma to search out some deals in hopes to add to her fall and winter attire.
      My favorite season is fall, so browsing the over-sized sweaters and skinny jeans is must for this time of the year. I don't usually do this with my kids, but since I was already there, I took a chance and thought maybe the kids wouldn't try killing each other, and I could scope out what's new and trending for the upcoming season. With my back turned and my arms reached into the depths of a clearance rack, I surprisingly snagged a beautiful cream cable knit sweater from last season that was on sale for $4 with 20% off. How awesome was that! Just as I was about to do my "Oh Yeah, Look What I Scored" happy dance, I turn to see all three of my daughters spritzing it up at the perfume display.
     "Try me", is what these bright and uniquely decorated bottles of scented fashions read. A three-tiered placement at arm’s reach of my very curious little girls; two who without a doubt can read the tempting fine print labeled on each bottle. Now, I'm sure you can see where this is going and picture the look on my face when I see my two oldest double fisting Kohl's finest brands of eau de cologne and using not only themselves as test subjects, but their innocent baby sister as well.
     "What are you doing! Are you kidding me? You smell like Grandma LaVerne. Why? Why? Oh my gosh, I'm going to be sick. You all smell so bad. Why?" is what I ranted as I yanked bottle after bottle out of my girls’ hands. With attention being drawn toward our direction, there was no way to duck and hide from this very public situation, because the malodorous haze would just follow us. As other patrons passed by, we could definitely see noses being pinched, hear other children making remarks and a few people give their best air swats with their hands to avoid breathing in the almost deadly mixture of Nikki Minaj, Katy Perry, and Taylor Swift fumes. 
     When we tend to get mad at our children, we sometimes flare our nostrils and take deeper breaths to keep us from passing out from all the yelling we're about to do, but in my case, that was the biggest mistake I may have ever made. As I inhaled the very potent odor of my children who smelled like they were victims of a pass around at a family reunion. I choked, and I gasped, and then turned my back so my kids wouldn't see my eyes tear up. I pretty sure after what I just experienced, I could handle and walk out of a basic training gas chamber like I own it.
    With three sets of arms crossed and the loud claps of flip flops smacking the store floor from my little attitude walking angels, we began our departure to front of the store apologizing to employees who witnessed and were victims themselves of the "Pop Star Perfume Incident of 2015". Yeah, It was that bad, I had to name it. The employees were kind enough to accept my 30-plus apologies as we headed towards checkout to escape anymore attention then I wanted to attract. 
    To my amusement we had been pushed to the front of the line to check out. It was a prayer answered. Thank you, Lord! It was as if God had split the checkout line in my favor. In my overly creative imitative mind, I felt somewhat like Moses, and the people were chanting, "Let these people go, Let these people go!" But, then again it also could have been that the fellow shoppers saw the pink cloud of over-priced perfume crest the jewelry counter and ran for safety.
     Arriving at the service desk, I quickly tossed my purchase onto counter in hopes the casher would catch on to my willingness to be brief and she too would be swift. Apparently my actions weren't clear enough, because she was as slow as a snail traveling through peanut butter. Our now new friend Loren, surprised us with a good game of guess my children's age and grade. The prize for winning was my survival. As I stand there shoulder to shoulder with my kids I try very hard to hold my composure and keep a friendly conversation with Loren, but my sense of smell began to leave, my eyes began to burn, and my mouth quickly became dry. My mind kept telling me, "Do you really need this sweater? Because right now, you need water. You're not going to make it. Abort. Abort. Abort." 
      The transaction was complete and I rushed my family out the door. "Fresh air! Hallelujah! Fresh air!" is what my poor teenage son openly expressed as the sliding doors of the store slid open. "What were you two girls thinking? As I loaded them into the van, I forcefully said, “The first things you do when you get home are don't pass go, don't grab lunch, go straight to the bathtub."  Windows down and hair blowing all over the place was the only way we could make it home without being asphyxiated. That was until the clouds broke and dropped the rainstorm of the century on us. All the way home we choked on Nikki's Pink Friday and Taylor's Wonderstruck, and I wished I would have waited two more days to spend my Kohl's cash when my kids were away at school.
     Washed up and ready for meet-the-teacher night, my girls finally smelled their age again. I can finally fully embrace them and kiss their faces without my throat closing and my eyes twitching. As for my van; well, it smells like I hosted a week long ladies bible study in it. It's ok, no big deal. It definitely beats the smell of old fries and spoiled milk, a scent most parents are very familiar with.
     At the end of these drawn-out eventful days, I still can't help but to remain thankful. I’m thankful that I have these kids who test my patience and do silly things despite my constant warnings, and thankful for the embarrassing memories that will forever trigger nervous twitches. Moreover, I will cherish and be thankful for these life lessons that I will use to guide my children when they are adults with little ones of their own. This shopping trip wasn't the first time my children have turned my face 50 shades of red and won't be that last. With my kids, I have come to expect the unexpected and sometimes the unexpected is not always that bad.