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Monthly Archives: June 2013

My Rent-A-Kid Experience: I’m NOT Cut Out to be a Mommy

Several weeks ago, my friend’s dad had an extremely major surgery requiring him to stay close to the hospital for a few weeks. He was released from the hospital after a short time, but he had to have someone stay with him at a house for patients who had undergone similar surgeries. This hospital was roughly 5 hours from My Fair City — and the house is a kid-free zone.

So, my friend asked me if I’d play “mommy” to her little girl while she was staying with her dad for several days.

I love kids.

I especially love this particular little Munchkin.

So of course, I said yes.

“YES!!!” in capital letters and with several exclamations at the end!

Mommy left on Tuesday afternoon, so after work, I picked up the Munchkin from daycare and we stopped a minute at my house to grab something before making our way to her house to meet her Grandma and Grandpa so they and I could watch the Munchkin’s dance recital together.

Things were going good.

We decided that since the Munchkin and I were going straight to my house after the recital, we would drive separately.

And it’s a good thing we did.

We got to the recital with plenty of time to spare.

But the problem was that I had never been to a dance recital before, so of course I had no idea about dance recital etiquette.

If I had been just enjoying the show, it would have been one thing. But being responsible for a lively 4-year old dancer is quite another.

You gotta get there on time (precisely 30 minutes early, not one second later) and then you have to find the place to drop the kid off….

Grandma and Grandpa didn’t know where to drop her off and neither did I. So once we got inside, I ran after the Munchkin (who knew exactly where to go) and promptly lost Grandma and Grandpa. Ooops.

We joined the group of 4-year olds and as soon as we walked into the room, the Munchkin stopped in her tracks, turned around and hollered, “MARI! WE FORGOT MY WAND!”

We can’t dance without our wands!

Good thing I decided to drive separate from Grandma and Grandpa!

I had been given a list of instructions for the recital, but the only thing I’d had time to read was that the kiddos had to have a responsible adult in the building at all times and that they weren’t allowed in the auditorium in their costumes.

Freak out!

I had precisely 28 minutes to drive across town, grab the wand and run back.

In the next 12ish minutes, I gained a lot of sympathy for busy moms.

I now understand why people run red lights.

And why people get speeding tickets.

And even why car accidents happen.

Not that any of those things happened to me that day. I just have a much better understanding of how these things happen.

Fortunately, I knew exactly where the Munchkin had left her wand and was able to put it into her little hand just in time for her group to line up.

Grandma and Grandpa had been seated by the time I got back and I didn’t have any idea where to find them, so I just sat by myself. And after the Munchkin’s dance, I sat there wondering if I was supposed to go get her? Or? Hm. What’s the proper etiquette for this situation? I didn’t think to bring anything for her to change into so she could come sit with me.

I sat there with “???” running through my head for the longest time.

Her dance was super, by the way.

After a few more numbers, I noticed that after each dance, a few people would slip out. Are they going to get their kid? What does this mean?

I was so confused.

After seeing this phenomenon take place several times, I decided that this must mean that I’m supposed to go get my kid.

So I ran back to where the kiddos were and the Munchkin pouted and said she wanted to stay. And I was like, “But….”

And there was no one to ask.

Finally, I found some older dancers and they told me that it was completely up to me. She could stay or she could go and no one would care.

Since the auditorium was dark and I didn’t want to go in again because I would either have to stand in the back or disturb people to get a seat, I decided we should just leave. Of course the Munchkin wasn’t a big fan of this idea.

I pacified her with the promise of ice cream.

When in doubt, ice cream.

She agreed to this and after seeing some of her friends at Dairy Queen and deciding that although the Berry Pom smoothie is good, the Orange Berry is better, we made our way back to my house to get ready for bed.

And my phone rang.

Grandma and Grandpa were worried because they couldn’t find the Munchkin.

Fail.

Why had I not thought to get their phone number??

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Posted by on June 24, 2013 in Current Events

 

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And After You Have Done Everything

The past few days, I’ve kind of felt like I couldn’t take any more. And after I decided that I couldn’t take any more, I found out that I could take a lot more than I thought I could.

I hate it when that happens.

But, I also love it.

Because when I can’t take any more, that’s when I stop trying so hard.

In a way, I give up.

But I don’t give up in order to wallow in hopelessness.

I give up on having it my way.

I give up so I can wallow in God.

Because sometimes, you just need to rest.

I like Ephesians 6:13. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

I like that verse because it talks about practicalities. Yes, prepare. Yes, protect yourself. Yes, do what you need to do to stand up for yourself. But, after you have done everything, you can stop doing. Your job is to just stand. Don’t give up — but take some time to just be. Rest. Gather yourself together. Just stand.

I had a situation today where I had to decide when to stop “doing” and when to start “standing.” I was so tempted to just give up. I was sick of all the drama and all the backstabbing. But then I was reminded that after I had done everything I could do, I still needed to stand. I still needed to be me, and I still needed to do what I’ve always done, because I do what I do out of love, not out of a desire for recognition. Regardless of how I feel about what’s going on, there are people who need me. So right now, my job is to stand. My job is to not let discouragement get the best of me. My job is to keep on keeping on.

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2013 in Current Events

 

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My Birdie

I got a parakeet last week.

Solomon is a beautiful shade of blue.

If he hears music, he chirps along. It’s nice.

I let him out of his cage when I get home in the evening, and he sort of flutters about a little bit, but then he finds a nice perch somewhere and just sits there.

The first time I let Solomon out of the cage, I chased him around the room trying to get him back into the cage and he just flitted from one perch to the next. It was really quite maddening. My friend then informed me that he would go back to the cage on his own when he got hungry.

So now I just leave him be when he’s out. And he just sits there.

Solomon could be exploring my house, but he just sits there. It’s like he doesn’t even realize he’s not in a cage. He doesn’t know he’s free.

Solomon and I have that in common.

I spent years being told what to do, what to think, and how my life was going to turn out. Then I left and years later, I’m still doing the same old things, even though I’m no longer caged.

When Solomon does venture out to explore, he always ends up flying into walls. It’s like he’s not even looking where he’s going. It’s really quite comical.

Solomon and I have that in common too.

I don’t literally walk into walls. But when you don’t really know what freedom means, you kind of just sit there, fearful of where the next move might take you and not really knowing what to do next. So you sit there until you sense danger. Then you flit and flutter a little bit, you fly into a few walls until you find another good perch — and you hope that it’s going to be safe for a while. You want it to be safe forever — but you just don’t know if that’s even possible. After waiting a while on your new perch, you start to get a little anxious because who knows what might happen next? So you flit and flutter about a little more. You’re looking for the security of the cage, and while you’re looking, you fly into a few more walls, get a few more bumps and bruises, and wonder what is going on and how you’re supposed to get what you need. Finally, you find it. You let yourself back into your nice, safe cage and wait for the door to close behind you.

Not realizing that although you feel safe, you have just lost your freedom.

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2013 in Current Events

 

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#74

One thing that I really like about my church is that they almost never do music that I did with the worship team I used to be part of.

Today was an exception.

Instead of thinking about Jesus at church today, I thought about how messed up the whole situation was back then.

Back then, there was a question as to which key to play the song in. Being a soprano, I typically enjoy singing more if the song is in a higher key. I cast my vote for the higher key — and I was promptly criticized by another worship team member because “the only reason you want the higher key is so you can sing higher notes.”

Um, yes. Isn’t that sort of the point of playing a song in a higher key?

Apparently higher notes are evil or something? Maybe? Does this make me evil because singing high notes is sort of my thing?

I spent several years feeling guilty for preferring to sing that song in a higher key. I’m not making that up.

Today I realized that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being able to sing the high notes — and there’s also nothing wrong with enjoying doing something that you’re good at. I also realized that there was no reason for anybody to be critical of my opinion. My opinion is just as valid as anybody else’.

And, I’m incredibly grateful that I’m no longer part of that group.

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2013 in Current Events

 

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Rejected People Reject People

At church tonight, the pastor spoke about the need for relationships.

Face-to-face relationships.

You know — the kind where there’s no screen involved.

The kind where you talk to each other. Verbally.

The kind where you really, truly connect with someone.

* * * * *

This topic has been weighing on me for a very long time. Like, for the past 4 years.

Four years ago, I lost every friend I had.

I had been very involved in my church, but when one person decided I wasn’t cool anymore, a series of unfortunate events happened which ultimately ended with my being completely secluded and cut off from everyone I had related to up until that point.

Being that alone is horrible.

You try. You try really hard to go on but it just doesn’t work. You begin to be suffocated by the monotony of endless nothingness.

The nothingness ends up manifesting in physical pain that can’t be explained. And the pain causes tiredness. And depression. Because nothing makes sense anymore. The only thing that really makes sense is that everything that matters hurts. And that doesn’t even (really) make sense. There’s no reason for the pain. No physical injury that might have caused the pain. No explanation as to why you’re suddenly all alone.

The nothingness is a constant buzzing in your ears. It drives you crazy. You’d do anything to stop it — if you knew what “anything” consisted of. It’s torturous. It’s always there, constantly getting more and more annoying and you have no idea how to make it stop.

I ended up leaving.

Maybe that wasn’t the best response in the world. But I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t go to church and watch the people who had been my friends doing what they’d always done, but this time, without me. So, I left.

* * * * *

I’ve always been a people person. It might not appear that way on the surface, but I am. I can’t even clean my house without having someone to talk to while I do it. I put off grocery shopping until I can’t put it off anymore — because I typically don’t have anyone to shop with.

So, when I lost my friends, my life went into a downward spiral. It was awful.

On top of all that, everyone I had hung around before believed that single people were more spiritual and closer to God than non-single people. It was also a law rule in my church that if you were in any role in ministry, you were not allowed to date/court/otherwise entertain someone of the opposite gender.

As I was removed from ministry after ministry, and as my life kept up the steady downward spiral, I began to seriously rethink this notion of aloneness being equal to godliness or some kind of super-spirituality.

I know this is really simplistic, but if you look at the very beginning of the Bible, there’s this dude named Adam who was created by God for the purpose of keeping God company. But after God created Adam, and after Adam spent a couple days naming the animals, God realized that something was missing.

It was God who realized it.

It was God, who created the guy (so He’d have some company), who came up with the idea that people need people.

The Bible says that Adam walked with God in the cool of the day. It wasn’t a vague “God….. if You’re out there….” situations. They were face-to-face.

God. Man. Walking together.

And God decided that something was missing.

God invented relationships. He invented spiritual relationship. He invented relationship between Adam and the earth. He invented relationship between Adam and the plants and animals. And then He invented women. And when He invented women, He invented human relationships.

At the end of the day, He said, “It is good.”

If God invented human relationship and said “It is good” — then how is it possible that being isolated could be more spiritual or more godly than having healthy, dynamic relationships with all sorts of people?

As far as I’m concerned, asking someone to forgo relationships in order to be “more spiritual” is simply asking a person to be more spiritual than God is. Which…. is wrong on so many levels. It should never be done. Ever.

* * * * *

That was just the first step. Making the concept of having friends (especially male friends) ok in my mind was a huge step in the right direction — but it’s sort of like the process of rehabilitating a junkie. Once you define right and wrong and decide that you have a problem, you then have to take baby steps. The baby steps for the junkie are labeled. The program I’m familiar with had stuff like submission and honesty. But every step, although it might be labeled the same, looks different for each person.

It’s good, great and wonderful that I realize that relating to people isn’t a sin.

But what does that look like? How do you do it?

And how do you do it when people have hurt you so much that if you have to look at another person, you just might throw up? Yes, I’ve been there. I’ve been that repulsed by people. People in general. All people. (Except, not my grandma. Cuz my Grandma’s awesome.) Especially church people. Church people were the worst.

* * * * *

I came here hoping this problem would get better. But it hasn’t. I just don’t know how. I don’t know how to do relationships because all my relationships have been me sitting there agreeing with everybody in order to avoid conflict. That’s not a relationship. I also remember having relationships with people who invited me to hang out with them in a group and then everyone proceeded to ignore me until I got sick of it and went home. That’s not relationship either.

It’s not that there aren’t people to be friends with. It’s that I don’t know how.

* * * * *

So, I was really excited to hear the message at church tonight.

Until church was over and people dispersed and I was left with a 4-year old who was running around disrupting everything.

I felt pretty rejected. I haven’t felt that rejected since I left that god-forsaken place I used to live.

I tried to scoop up the munchkin and she ran under a table trying to escape. She wanted to play with her friend. I wanted to go home and cry. I grabbed her while she was coming out the other side and she hit her head on the table. I slung her over my shoulder and walked out with this 4-year old kicking and hitting me as we went.

After I got the munchkin into bed, I realized that I had been in such a hurry to get out of there that I hadn’t even taken the time to ask her if she was ok.

…..I’m a terrible person sometimes.

I thought about this whole scenario for a while and I realized that when someone feels rejected, they often behave in ways that others (usually) perceive as rejecting behavior (i.e. my not asking the munchkin if she was ok after hitting her head).

In other words, rejected people reject people.

Ouch.

I don’t want to be that kind of person!

I don’t want to cause the same kind of pain I’ve experienced. I want to be a better person than that.

But how?

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2013 in Current Events, My Story

 

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