Thursday, December 6, 2018

Bad Weather

Weeks ago, I was driving my 3-year-old home from soccer class. The snow was swirling, roads were slick, and the sky was pitch black. Layna is in the back, rambling on about how Brock (a spunky kid in class) was rude to Coach George.

Me: Layna, I need you to be quiet so Mom can focus on driving.

(Do any other parents find themselves in the habit of referring to themselves in the third person? It started as a way to encourage their first words to include me, but now it’s part of me...or part of Mom.)

Layna: Why Mom?

Me: Because the weather is bad.

Layna: *gasp* The weather is NOT bad. Mom, snow is so good! It’s beautiful. You can make snowmans and snow angels. You can go sledding and play in the snow. You can...

Me: You’re right. Snow is not bad. The roads are bad though.

How much adult perception has changed from childhood.

#perspective #schooledbymykid

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Morning Cuddles

I tell myself that as the mother, I hold the power in the relationships with my daughters. You know, they same way you like to tell yourself little lies to make you feel in control.

Then, 3am rolls around and my oldest wakes up. My initial response is an instruction to get back in bed, it’s not awake-time yet after all. To which she responds that she wants to cuddle. I reach in my bag of mom-arguments and come up empty. Minutes later, my left arm falls asleep as I listen to the rhythm of her breath. 

Well played, daughter. Well played.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Almost a Diamond

It’s no wonder that diamonds are a woman’s best friend. With all the pressure we are under, we’re practically turning into the things. As a mom, it’s infinitely more pressure than you can imagine. Little humans are depending on you, and society is constantly telling you how you’re wrong...or at least not “normal.”

My baby had a wellness appointment last week and her doctor said she should be talking more at this age. He wants to see her saying many more words by the time she is 18-months old.

Well thank you, Doctor. I’ll give her the message.

So all week, I have been struggling with digesting this information. Am I doing something wrong? Should I read to her even more? Should I be more repetitive? More animated? Enunciating? I ask her to say things, she won’t listen. Arg...

The truth is all the doctor is telling us is that our baby is slightly behind “normal.” Easy to hear, right?

Well, it’s been a week and I’m almost to acceptance. Every move I make as a mother has been exhaustively analyzed and I’ve come out just fine in my own measurements. My baby will talk when she is ready. 

To all the mothers -

Let’s give ourselves a break. We deserve one.


You’re not making a diamond out of me yet.

End rant.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Pre-Preschool Episode 2

Setting. Dawn. Headlight-lit expressway.

Layna: Baby shark, do, do, do, do. Baby shark, do, do, do, do.

Me: Layna, are you eating your breakfast?

Layna: Oh, I forgot!

(5 seconds later.)

Layna: Mommy shark, do, do, do, do. Mommy shark, do, do...

Me: Layna, are you eating?

Layna: I forgot again!

(3 seconds later.)

Layna: Daddy shark, do, do, do, do. Daddy shark, do, do, do...

Me: Layna, did you forget again?

Layna: Oh! I keep forgetting!

(10 seconds later.)

Layna: (muffled chewing) Momma shark, do, do, do, do. Momma shark, do, do, do, do. (pause for a bite) Papa shark, do, do, do, do...

Monday, October 15, 2018

Pre-Preschool Episode 1

Setting. Dawn. Rainy car ride on the expressway.

Layna: Mom, you still haven’t mailed that package to your friend?

Me: No, but I’m going to today.

Layna: Where does your friend live again?

Me: Kentucky.

Layna: (giggles) How does your friend get in Tucky?

Me: Its Ken-tucky, and that is the state she lives in. We live in Michigan.

Layna: Oh, yeah. Who else lives in Michigan?

Me: Almost everyone you know.

Layna: Bodie?

Me: Yes.

Layna: Elsie?

Me: Well, no. Elsie lives in Ohio.

Layna: Oh yeah, Elsie lives in Ohio at the bottom of the Earth.

Me: Who told you that?

Layna: Daddy.

Me: (rolls eyes)

Layna: Mom, how does Elsie get up from the bottom of the Earth!

Me: Ask your Dad.

Layna: Maybe a ladder.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Don’t Stop Complaining

Several years ago, I heard someone on a podcast define gossiping as “complaining to someone who cannot fix the problem.”

This was a revelation, a turning point for me. As a child at church, I learned the impact that gossiping can have on relationships, communities, and society. I hold that understanding still today (so many years later). But, I struggled to determine what was actually considered gossiping. If I shared news about a friend when he wasn’t there, was that gossiping? If a group of us got caught up in discussing the details of another’s life, was that gossiping. Maybe. Maybe not.

Take this definition, and I hope you find the same clarity. By all means complain, but complain to someone who can actually solve the problem. Don’t waste your breath spouting negativity that can’t possible bring resolution.

Be present in your conversations and understand the power behind your words before you speak them. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Left Lane

The sun is just starting to rise, gently coloring the horizon. I’m lost in thought, radio off, preparing my mental checklist for the day. Speed control set at exactly the limit. You enter the on-ramp up ahead and soon it is apparent that you should either adjust your speed, or I should “let you” merge in. Courteous by default (or so I try to be), I signal and glide over to the left lane.

At this spectacular point, you merge in slightly behind me and slowly creep up beside me. We don’t wave, but I scope you out with my peripherals. I consider reducing speed, but decide to wait it out. Clearly you are in a hurry and will speed along soon. But, you don’t. Instead, you gradually pass me on the right, leaving plenty of time for the ten cars behind to catch up and tailgate you. Now a long line is parading beside me to the right. You know, like you’re not supposed to do.

Now I’m stuck over here in the left lane like a jerk and your ten new friends don’t even know that I did this for YOU!

There is probably a lesson here, but I haven’t learned it yet. Until tomorrow morning...

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Line in the Sand

Located at the Alamo Mission in San Antonio, you will find the following on a plaque:
If you drew a line in the sand (or gravel, grass, linoleum, etc.) and asked the people with shared values to come over, how many people would join? Would your family all be on your side of the line?

If the CEO at work drew a line in the sand, would you be on their side of the line? Would your co-workers all be together?

Are the people in your life defining the same line as you?

Draw a line in the sand and take a look around. Do you like the view? If not, change it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Allow Adventure

On my left foot, I have the following words tattooed:
if you don't know where
you are going, any road
will get you there
Vision is a great thing to have, when you have it. Vision keeps the destination in view, when your eyes know where to focus. But, lacking a vision does not mean that you have to stay stagnate. Waiting for a target (or worse, waiting for the "right" target) can hold you back from gaining speed.

As a traveler of this thing called life, consider becoming okay with trekking down paths that do not immediately lead you anywhere. You can find benefit in all actions. Even mistakes, or especially bumpy roads that end with a u-turn, can be fruitful in the future.

Be patient. It will pay off, if you let it.

Follow your curiosity and enjoy the journey.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Listen Up

Conversations are transactions. Are you holding up your end?

When someone tells you a story, they are taking a risk. Will it pay off? How will you greet or receive their words? Will it be valued? Will they be valued?

If you are constantly meeting stories with disdain and boredom, people will stop engaging in meaningful conversation with you. Sometimes this may require you to embellish the value of the story, to encourage rather than extinguish. Often, this requires you to practice humility and realize that you don’t know everything.

Create an environment where stories can be told.