Wednesday, January 19, 2011

When Our Babies Fall Down

As I sit down to right this, I know that I must hurry.  In approximately 20 minutes, Zeke will get off the bus--and since we live out in the country that means he is let off right at the end of our driveway with no going to the bus stop involved (a sweet deal really when you have another napping little one)--and our evening "chaos" will ensue.  Although, please know that while sometimes it is TRUE chaos given grumpy moods, bad days, general fatigue, usually what I refer to as chaos is simply the loudness and excitement that ensues once everyone is home from school or work.  But whether the chaos is good or bad, it leaves little time for me to write or have quiet time, so THAT is why I must hurry.

Oddly though, it is about Zeke getting off the bus that I want to write about for a bit.  You see, his Wednesday night Bible school teacher called to tell me she wasn't going to come in because the roads in her neck of the woods were still icy and being that Zeke is the only one in her class, she didn't feel it necessary for me to get out in the questionable weather just to bring him in.  I appreciate that more than you can know, but I digress.  The idea of it being icy provoked a thought since I hadn't been out of the house at all today: if it truly is icy, what if Zeke were to slip and fall on his way into the house?  Don't ask why that thought occurred to me, it just did.

Of course, if he did fall, he'd potentially be hurt, but hopefully nothing more than a scrape or bruise, but as I have found with MOST of my falls in life, it is my pride that is hurt the most.  If upon the realization that I've truly taken a dive I know I am not hurt, my first thought is, "GEESH!  I hope NO one saw that!"  ...but usually someone did.  And then I feel so graceful and cool as I try to pick myself up and move on.  But that is how I feel when I fall down.  When we see our kids fall, it hurts in a WHOLE new one and much deeper.  I imagined myself standing at the front door watching him take that last final (and rather large) step off the bus and then take off running towards me only to slip and fall.  As I stood there imagining in my flip-flops in the warmth of the house, I knew what I would do.  Screw the cold and potential falling hazards!  Screw what other people might think!  I'd run to him!  It is just that hard to see our babies fall down.

However, how many times in his 7 and half years on this earth has he fallen down and I haven't even known it?  Or haven't run to his aid or COULDN'T run to his aid?  Or...as hard as it is to think about...how many times I have I caused him to fall down?  Of course with that last question, I am not referring the literal act of falling down but to the emotional equivalent.

Everyday, as we venture out onto the heated, screened-in front porch to wait for the bus, I am in awe that my baby is even old enough to go to school.  As I see his bus approach and send him out the door and watch him walk confidently to the bus, I am in awe that he is even old enough to take those steps.  Wasn't he just a baby toddling around?!   He loves school (although is approaching that age where loving school is not necessarily cool so he won't always admit it) but he truly does love getting on the bus and riding the entire one mile to that place where his friends are and his teacher whom he really likes and school lunches which also really likes (I count myself VERY lucky in that department).  To that place where even through the occassion struggle he learns so much and enjoys learning it.  Even with his love of school though, each grade has come with some downsides too.  Those proverbial "fall-downs" that send him home heartbroken and sad.  Those days hurt.  They hurt alot.  Because I can't and didn't see what exactly happened and therefore can only offer the best hug and support I can from what he tells me.  I am just so grateful that he is a happy hearted little guy and resilient to those not so great moments.  Mommy--on the other hand--takes those moments a bit harder and therefore gets a whee bit sentimental.

It makes me work harder though at NOT being the cause of any more "fall-downs" than necessary.  You know those not-so-great mothering moments: when you lose your temper with one child because another one has driven you crazy, when you are in a generally bad mood--and for no fault of your child's--and take out your negative feelings on them anyway, or when you are just plain tired and feel alone and react negatively to a simple question from your child.  It's those moments when you see the light in your child's eyes dim away because of your own sharp and unnecessary words.  We ALL have those moments--don't let ANYONE tell you they don't.  But I guess the important thing in being a loving parent is to remember to embrace our child(ren) after we've made those mistakes and remind them of our love for them and how we acted wrongly. 

Well...I must cut this short.  Zeke is off the bus.  Levi is up from his nap.  Our evening "chaos" has begun and need to dive into it head first. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Going Part-Time

I have been conspicuously absent from my blog since Christmas.  Bet you didn't notice, did you?  ;-)

The truth is, LIFE happens and I am coming to terms with the fact that I am just simply not cut out to be a full-time blogger right now.  Thankfully, my "employer" is flexible and is perfectly okay with me going to a part-time position with little-to-no notice (with the emphasis on NO notice).  Perhaps my "employer's" easy-going attitude about my "work-ethic" is directly tied to my pay--which is nothing.  Perhaps.

At any rate, I'm okay with this.  Would I like to write more?  SURE!  But when the only time I have to do so in the quiet when I can think and focus are the same times of day during which I am the sleepiest...well...you can guess what usually wins out.  That tends to happen when you are 9 months pregnant.

But I haven't just gone to part-time on my blog.  I did with Facebook as well and with NO REGRETS.  At this point, canceling my account was not an option if for no other reason than the ease and swiftness at which I can take a wonderfully candid photo with my iPhone, and immediately download it to FB on that same device, AND--if the timing is just perfect--Steve could log on from Afghanistan and see that photo immediately.  To me that time saver is SO much easier than having to take the candid shots with my camera, take the camera upstairs to my iMac, plug the camera in, download the photos to the hard drive, log onto my email, begin a new message, attach the said photos, and send them to Steve.  ...just typing the process wears me out.  But the ease of sharing photos isn't the only reason I LIKE Facebook.  It is a wonderful medium for keeping up with all the wonderful people the Lord has put in our path--and we have friends strung across all continents minus South America and Antarctica (the two penguins I requested a FB friendship with have yet to confirm me). 

The problem is, Facebook can be an addiction.  And it was/is for me.  I seriously equate it to alcohol.  The two are not inherently evil in their own rights, but it is in how we go about fashioning a "relationship" with them that things can go sour.  A glass of sweet red wine or a wonderfully coconut-y Pina-Colada on a beach can and often are enjoyed for what they are--a nice, delightful beverage.  But when a person happens to start down that road where they crave that beverage everyday, when they think they cannot get by without it, that problems start.  Facebook was my alcohol.  I was logging on NUMEROUS times a day and spending TOO much time just being nosy and reading past posts of friends so that I wouldn't miss out on ANYTHING going on in their lives.  It was truly an addiction.  I felt I would unintentionally hurt friends if I didn't log on and see their status and comment--whether that was a mundane status update or a life-changing one.  I would read posts from friends and be overcome with jealously at the stupidest things.  I would read other statuses and disagree with a specific ideology that person was taking and begin to think "less" of them.  All these negative "spirits" were shaken together in a dangerous cocktail that I willingly drank down everyday.  They caused me to feel horrible inside.  To think less of myself.  To doubt myself, my husband, my kids, my family, my friends.  I can't specifically pinpoint a moment in time, but at some point in the weeks since Christmas, it hit me...I RARELY ever logged off Facebook, and when I did, I was in a foul and horrible mood.  I needed to stop.

So...I weighed my options.  Just like I believe to be stupid for an alcoholic to think that every liquor store and bar be burned down so they don't have to address their problems, I believed that canceling my account or failing to log on EVER was not a reasonable solution. BUT...cutting way down on the amount of time I did spend on it was a good place to start.  If I needed to trim more fat later, I would.

The temptation still is there, don't get me wrong.  But I am managing it pretty well.  I can log on to answer a message or post--one that merits a REAL answer and not just my "wise" thoughts on the topic--and log right back off.  I can even get on to see how someone is doing--as in checking to see if a female friend due around the same time as I am has had her baby yet--and log right off.  Just today, when I logged on to answer a message, I happened to read a post on the home page that started to stir that negative cocktail again.  I was proud of myself--I simply clicked on the message I intended to reply to, typed and sent that reply, and logged off.  Ten minutes later, I was feeling better, whereas a month ago, ten minutes could have past and I would still have been on Facebook feeling horrible about myself for no real reason at all.  I guess that is my way of saying that I can walk by a bar and push the temptation to enter and drink aside.  And it feels good.

In the end, I just want to reiterate that I am still on there.  I still want to hear from friends and keep in touch.  Don't stop "talking" to me on Facebook if that is how we normally communicate.  Don't think I don't care about your good news and announcements if I don't respond with a comment--in all likelihood, I simply don't know of that good news yet or I would (this is where I have to have faith that TRUE friends will let me know via a phone call, visit, or email and if I still don't find out about it, I can't waste time being hurt).  Don't think I won't post pics of the baby soon after she/he is born and look forward to your comments (if you choose to comment...if you are even on Facebook).  Remember, I am still on Facebook...I am just going to a much more part-time postition on it.  And just like there are seasons of the year where part-time help is needed more (i.e., Christmas in the retail world), there are also times where I will WANT to be on Facebook more (i.e., announcing our newest addition to our family).  I just hope and pray this makes sense.

Now...if you'll excuse the TOTAL irony here...I am going to get off here and post a link to this newest blog entry on Facebook.