Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I've been doing it wrong all along!

Look closely.  It is what you think it is.  One pair of pants, on a shirt hanger.  Who would have thought that all these years, I have been doing this simple task wrong!   This is clearly an example of out of the box thinking!  This dwarf will not be pigeon holed into thinking that things have to be done a certain way,  that there is only one way to perform  a common household task. 

Clearly this dwarf, only knows that it is "wrong" in our home to have your clothing lying on the floor of your room or your closet.  Score one for the parents: message heard and  received, and in Bashful's mind,  task mastered!  

Never let it be said that Bashful is shy in the creative ways to get a task done.  Look in this random hanging, Bashful has shown, creativity, obedience, and a get 'er done attitude as he strives to please us by keeping his clothing off the floor of his closet and room.

Have you ever tried to hang your pants on a shirt hanger? I would say that it took more time and energy to do the above, than to put the pants right side out, fold them on the seams, and stick the small end of the pant let through a hanger bar, and pull them to even, as to not fall from said pants hanger.  Or to straighten them out and clip them to a pant hanger with clips from the waist.... My guess is that this dwarf, used anywhere from 15 -20 minutes trying to establish his authority over these pants.  One could guess from the haphazardness of these pants and their precarious balancing act on the shirt hanger that they did not go there, or staying there willingly or with ease. 

This shows moxie, this shows intense thought and problem solving skills.  The problem, the pants needed hung,  and using what I would consider the wrong tool, the dwarf still got the job done.  (I pulled this hanger with pants out of the closet, hung it on the angle, photographed it and returned it to the designated space in the closet and the pants never fell from the hanger.)  Persistence is what it took to find the balancing act that has kept the pants on the hanger since Sunday after church...last week. I think I may have underestimated the complexity of the mind of Bashful. Who knew I was really working with a genius.  An out of the box thinker.  Let this be a lesson to us all, where there is a will, there is always a way! 

You really can't make this stuff up, and this made me laugh out loud!!  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ahhhh... (insert eyes filled with hearts here)

When cupid strikes, he strikes fast and with a fury.  However where teenagers are concerned, it is often not the arrow of cupid that has caused them to see the opposite sex in a new unique and appealing way, it is hormones, the teasing of others, and the need to fill in a gap that society says you have, if you have no one to love, or no one to love you. 

How then does a parent in today's day and age manage to fight the world, the hormones and the friends?  I wish I had the answer to that.  Combine the above items with any "normal" functioning teen, and you could probably assume to have some reasonable conversations with them about how you do not need someone else in your life to be complete, or that they should focus on athletics, studies and building relationships at home and with friends, since these are the people that will be forever in their life. Perhaps in just sharing the biggest truth of the matter, the one you think the moon sets around today will not be the one the sun rises around tomorrow, will be enough to jar them back to their senses.  Perhaps not. 

However, throw in a hormonal, socially awkward, trust in nothing, and believe no one adolescent, and the scenario changes drastically.  Sadly, the one that suffers the most is the one on the receiving end of such intentions, good bad or otherwise. 

Currently we have a dwarf that will remain anonymous, who has tried to bribe, purchase, beg, coerce, finagle, brow beat, in an attempt to wear down, a member of the opposite sex in an effort to win their attention and affection.  Which, if I can be permitted a side trail here, how would one adolescent  with no job, no life experience, no ability to go places without adult transportation, ever even consider that a girlfriend/boyfriend relationship would be possible within the confines of school?  What are they envisioning? Sitting across from one another staring lovingly into each others eyes at the lunch table, for 20 minutes a day, sharing a PB&J that their momma packed?  Insert head shake here... Never mind that the house rule is no dating until you are 18, and yes, that is a thing at our house.

Back to the situation that is currently unfolding.  Enter stage right, smart devises that allow us to be stupid.  If you are socially awkward, then you can remain faceless, and declare your undying love to an unsuspecting soul via a text message, or an email, or instant message.  In doing so, you catch the other party off guard, and unaware that this attack is coming, especially if as the recipient you have never given your number to said intruder.  While the messages are heartfelt I am sure on the part of the dwarf, they are inappropriate, and when it is clear to the average person (the mom reviewing the smart device for just such things) that the person on the other side of the blue cloud is trying to get out of the conversation gracefully, to this particular dwarf, it seems even the clear message, "stop texting me", and "I don't want to talk to you anymore", are not clear enough to penetrate this euphoria of love. 

Mentally and emotionally this dwarf is now in significant turmoil, because they have created a problem, on SO many levels.  In steps we, the parentals, and in our wisdom and love for the dwarf, try to steer them through the situation.  What the appropriate thing to do at the onset of these love sick feelings would have been, the correct way to talk (the old fashioned way, face to face) with the person they are interested in, how much of your true feelings to indicate upfront, how to handle relationships in a way that is honoring to the other person, themselves (as now you seem a bit mental) all while honoring the Lord with your words and actions, finishing the conversation with strict instructions to STOP communicating with this person as it is making life hard, when it doesn't have to be!

Oh, but the lure of fixing what we have screwed up, even to a hot mess, is an underlying and an all consuming thought process. It is like having a sore that is starting to scab over.  Given time it will heal, but if you keep picking it, healing will take longer and potentially become more painful if you get an infection. 

Now back to the dwarf. While they may have made points with their friends for taking a dare, and professing their undying love, the consequence is a heavy heart because just the opposite has happened. By not trusting that perhaps the older and wiser advice of the parents was spot on, they now have pushed this person of interest farther away from them, and this person no longer even wants to have a casual conversation with our dwarf because of all the awkwardness and  their persistence in not being able to let things drop.  Where there were conversations, albeit stilted and uncomfortable,(because they are after all teenagers) there is now tension, where there once was an easy ebb and flow to the classroom setting and life outside the classroom, there is now strain, and incredibly painstaking thoughts to process about how far away from said person to be, or what or how to talk or not talk to them.  Over analysis is now taxing an all ready over strained brain, which now is making life with said dwarf, difficult emotionally and physically because they are so wrapped up and exhausted in how to fix something that should have never been broken in the first place. 

Now I am going to go out on a limb here, and it may be that I end up standing alone, however with a little life experience behind me, and a lot of time to grow wise with the passing days, I can say in all honesty, I wish my parents had this stance on dating.  NO!  No you may not have a boyfriend or girlfriend until you are married!   Okay that is a bit much, but you get the idea.  Fighting the society's notion that love is all you need is hard. At 12, 14, 16 , 18 and even in our 20's "love" by societies standards is not what we need. 

What as parents, I feel we need to do is continue to build confidence in our children so that they know that God loves them the most and then we as their parents love them second to that.  In line from there, siblings and extended family and forming those relationships should be the priority during the middle school and high school years.  At the end of the day, when your friendships grow apart, love interest falls apart, or you face any other trial, disappointment or failure, you will want the support of your family and their unconditional love to make that transition easier. 

If you are secure in who you are, you will not need others to determine your worth or your value.  Instead, you will be busy sharing your  abundance of love and confidence with others, by being a good friend, a trustworthy employee, a stellar student, a respectful son or daughter, a compassionate neighbor, even a dedicated athlete.  You will find joy in making an impact in others lives, not looking to others to make an impact in yours.  There is always the distinct possibility that you will not find a forever mate, and instead of shopping for one starting at the age of 13 or 14, build confidence in yourself, work on relationships that you know will be around for life, shift your focus to being the best that you can be.

I believe when you least expect it, that arrow, shot from Cupid's bow, will make it's mark on you, and there will be no "shopping" around.  The man or woman (note, not boy or girl ) will be the one for you for the rest of your days, at just the right time and the right season in your life.  If we spend our time and energy with the wrong focus, we end up with a trail of tears, distress, broken heartedness.  While I know that life is hard, and relationships are hard, and there are no guarantees in life or love,  as parents we need to be more intentional in helping our children focus on the important things for appropriate stages of development and trust that God will handle the rest. 

So alas, as a family we are still struggling through the moodiness, and distractions of young "love" gone wrong...but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  I think we have made a corrective dent in the thinking of said dwarf, as they can now clearly see a better way to have handled the situation.  Will that deter them from repeating this heart ache?  I can only hope. 

There are days when I really wish I did make this stuff up. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I knew the day would come...

I knew it was just a matter of time, I knew the day would come.  I have been waiting for this day since this past June.  In June we took three working Lingle dwarfs to the Verizon store to purchase their own cell phones.  Of course these particular dwarfs were not about to be seen with outdated technology, so the three of them, Happy, Dopey and Sneezy purchased the latest and greatest of the moment phones, paid for the activation fees, the insurance the started on their journey of being the proud owners of technology that had unlimited, texting, internet, calling, gaming, etc. 

Now not a single one of these three dwarfs are what I would call incredibly organized or focused.  However the girl dwarfs have some what of a life line between their phones and their beings.  It is most always on them or beside them, never more than a hand snatch away. 

The boy however, while he has it on him most all the time, never answers it when it rings (it is always on silent except for his blaring alarm in the mornings) claims he never got the text and has yet to set up his voice mail, and is most often found playing games, or reading on his device. 

Today the call came while I was driving home from work. "Mom, I have to tell you that I left my phone on the bus.  I think.  But I already handled it.  The bus driver is going to keep it til tomorrow.  So you will get the phone back on the am bus tomorrow?", I ask.  "No, I mean the afternoon bus driver. I don't need it until then any way. "  I think to myself, he seems pretty calm about this, but I am not so sure that I agree with the plan.  " Dopey, I say, please call back to the depot, and ask them if I can come over now for it, I will come the long way home so that I can run past and get it from their office.  "Okay, mom, I will call right now."  Perfect... 

The phone rings again.  "Mom, they are just now going out to look for it. I gave them your number and they are going to go get it and call you." 

My phone rings, oh I don't know for the 3rd time... "Hi this is the bus depot.  We do not have your dwarf's phone on the bus, I just checked the entire bus.  The driver was there, and he showed me where your dwarf sits, and the phone is not there."  I say as kindly as I can, as the feeling of dread runs through me, knowing the price tag of said phone,  if there is any possible way that the phone slipped between  the seats or between the seat and the side of the bus.  She agrees to go out and look again, all the while I am quickly approaching the location of the depot. 

As I am pulling in to the depot my cell phone rings again, and the kind and helpful employee says that the phone is not on the bus. It is not in the seats, she ran her hands all over the seats, it is just not there.   I tell her I am in the lot and will be in to the office in a second. 

Upon entering the depot my dwarf and I have clearly been the topic of conversation for the last 20 minutes or so.  I encounter a line of drivers, all talking and when the helpful woman arrives from behind the counter and introduces herself, she once again indicates that the phone is not on the bus. I say, well his siblings have checked his back pack, and pockets, they have checked the drive way and the road where they get off the bus and there is no phone.  He clearly got on the bus with the phone and got off without it and it is not like he was up walking around, or getting off or on at other stops, he was sleeping. He fell asleep with it in his hand, woke up got off the bus, and upon entering the house realized it was not on his person.

As much as I want to believe her, I don't.  I say, "okay, while I am here may I look on the bus for the phone?"  She does a double take and says, "No...you can't go on the bus, your not allowed.  I told you it is not there. "  In my gut I feel like it is there, that if I could just check myself, even if I did not find it at least then I could trust that I had looked everywhere for it.  At this point another driver, says to wait a minute.  She goes over to the table and puts down her belongings, and says to me, "I'll go look for you sweetie. Use your phone and start calling his phone."  So I start to dial.  In the meantime, the other drivers are all giving me their idea about what has happened to the dwarfs, phone, it goes something like this:

"You say he fell asleep on the bus? Then his phone, has done been stole, he wont never see that again."
"I had a kid on my ride lose their phone, and I stopped the bus and asked if it was any one's and no one claimed it, can you believe that?  A lost phone and nobody claims it, like they just don't care or something, and I bet their mom and dad will buy them a new one."
"You wont ever see that phone again. I wouldn't dial his number from your phone, cuz it will come up "mom" on his screen and the kid that stole it , he aint gonna answer it, no way."

I tried to explain that my dwarf went to private school rode a bus with very few other riders and those that were on this route were mostly siblings and a neighbor, but alas they thought that we would never see it again!

All this in about 90 seconds of time, until wide mouthed they all look out the door and say in unison, "She found dat phone! " 

In this particular instance, I am glad that I was persistent.  I am glad that I followed the prompting inside me that said, do not wait until tomorrow night for the driver to return the phone to the dwarf, too many things can go wrong between now and then.    I was so over joyed that I hugged that kind driver that went out of her way to assist me in my search.  My faith is restored in people and their kindness towards strangers.  I and my dwarf are grateful!  My dwarf is so grateful that he is drafting a thank you letter tonight as per my strong suggestion that he do so,  as I some how feel the need to prove to the bus staff that my dwarf is heads and tails above a hoodlum who would steal a sleeping child's cell phone and that the other children the dwarf's bus also have character, morals, and sound judgment. 

You really can't make this stuff up!

Monday, October 7, 2013

It's a Calling

Let me start off by saying that every day is a new day, and today I wish my new day were already here!  I would love to close my eyes, and open them and it would, like magic, be tomorrow.  While I am not prone to feelings of sadness, or being overwhelmed, today my heart breaks.  Each time I think about the overall big picture, my eyes tear up.  On the rare occasion that I struggle with feelings of inadequacy, sadness or discouragement, I can usually shake it by engaging with others, sharing the moment, making light of the situation, or even just mentally stepping over it without a glance backwards again. 

Many times people misconstrue my ability to shake things off, for being un attached emotionally, or lacking in mercy or compassion.  Most times I would tend to agree that I am not overly compassionate, I have a low tolerance for stupid, and I often forget to filter things through my lens of mercy and grace.  (If you know me well your not surprised by this.)  If you don't know me, you then know someone like me.  I just do not like to get bogged down in the day to day drama of life.  Things happen, consequences ensue, and life goes on, reliving it, rehashing it typically changes nothing, so learn your lesson, and move on, is typically my motto.

But today, I am stuck in a rut.  This rut is not new.  According to the Prince, I am inflicting this rut upon my self for not heeding his wisdom, and for not being able to disengage from the situation.  He feels that I am taking things personally, and am not separating myself from my emotions.  I agree.  I do take this personally because I think that in life there are prompts from the Lord, that encourage us to be invested in something or someone, to step out on a ledge, and to push for a desired result or return on our investment.  However, in this there has to be a balance.  There are in all situations life lessons to be learnt, and while you can lead a horse to water, whether he drinks or not is his choice.  But just because your horse is too stubborn or prideful to drink, do you stop trying? 

In this particular instance I have committed years of my life to journeying beside these particular horses.  This horse has drug me to the bottom or my emotional well, sapped my finances, sapped my energy, sapped my disposition, even has sapped my joy for the moment and has inflicted on me pain so deep that I can not with ease put words to why I even feel this way.  The totality of where I am today emotionally has not happened because of one ill spoken phrase, one out burst of uncontrolled anger, or a justifiable argument, but out of a pent up, built up, preverbal elephant in the room.  My frustration is out of my concern that we are not assisting the horse in learning life lessons that are true, that we are enabling the horse to get a perspective that is viewed through their lens of laziness, anger, resentment and lack of trust.  By not leading said horse to the water of accountability and forcing structure and social graces on them, am I not setting them up for as much failure as if they were to go alone down the road of life without input and knowledge shared because of the love that we have for them?

Or in all this is the Prince right. (Just a side note on this, the Prince's profession as a counselor makes it most probable that he is right, again...)  Are my personal views of the situation just mudding the drinking water.  Clearly in walking away, I will feel like I have failed. I know that is my pride, but the lingering nagging inner voice says while pride would be patting its self on it's back if the situation were miraculously fixed, I know in my heart that if the situation changed, I would give praise to the Lord for stepping in and fixing the cracks in my broken pot and I would thank Him for selecting me to be part of the restoration process. 

In stepping back and disengaging, I feel useless. Like watching an accident unfold in front of you and knowing that you can not get there fast enough to be part of the solution, or to keep the accident from happening.  In the back of my mind I am struggling with the reality of,  if I can, after the accident happens, and the horse is ready to drink,  have the heart and the courage and the strength to go back out on the same limb again. 

As a young woman, I never wanted children so I know that the Lord has called me to be a mom of many, and many of them with special needs. Needs that require more skills, more grace, more mercy, more compassion than I have. Hence, why the Prince and I make such a great pair... the helplessness that I feel today in the task ahead is substantially overwhelming, heartbreaking and frustrating. 

Prayers are welcome on behalf of our horses that won't drink, and for their parents that struggle with the right way to guide them, for their success or their failure(which I can not own as my own), as we attempt to set them up for life on their own, outside the comfort and protection of our home.  I would be foolish to think that this will go away, ever.  In the midst of this particular moment in time, in my head I know that grace and mercy will prevail. In my heart I hurt. In my hurt I am rejoicing that it has taken so many years to get to this low point. I also trust that it is a small blip on the radar, this is not a camp that I desire to stay in.  I know that I must dig deep, set aside my inadequacies, continue to trust that God's got all this and so much more. His desire is ultimately for them to drink from the water, to be refreshed, renewed, and restored. His plans for them are even bigger than the ones that I envision for them. For which I am grateful.   Even now, tears still are brimming, but peace is blossoming. 

Some days, I wish I could make this stuff up...

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Rooting for the Underdog

Underdog - n- dark horse, little chance of winning, succeeding.

One thing about the underdog in this particular story is that he doesn't see himself as such.  In his mind he is the top of his class, the top of his game, the top of the dog pile.  In some regards that is true, he will work at those things that come easy to him, such as athletics.  Confidence is a great asset when it is asserted humbly and with grace.  However, challenge him to work hard in academics, social skills, athletics, common sense, or relationships and it is all over!  He has no preserved problems in these areas.  Because of this his response to any help at all is negative, hostile and out rightly ungrateful. 

In the midst of this lives Sleepy, and she is proof, that even when faced with negativity and with unkindness, she shows a continued love for her dwarf sibling that has the most going against him.  She is his loudest advocate, she is his protector, she is his director, she is showing unconditional love to him every day in every way she can.  While sometimes her methods are perceived as bossy, nosey, rude, and otherwise not appreciated, she is not deterred.   In her heart, she just wants what is best for him. Success. This is the same attitude that she has for all underdogs, but when directed at a relation, often the encouragement comes back bitter and hurtful.  It seems like a no brainer that this dwarf would welcome, the chance to lap up the wisdom and council of a loving, caring, delightful sibling, right?  No way.  He pushes her away, talks about her behind her back, he is rude to her face in front of common acquaintances. When confronted on these issues he clearly articulates to me that he does/says these things, because they make him feel like he is better than her.  When encouraged to make things right with her, he states that it is too hard.  That he knows that he hurts her, but he just can't stop himself. 

“He who throws dirt always loses ground.” Chinese Proverb 

Someday it is my prayer that this dwarf will understand that clearly it would be beneficial for him to repair and develop relationship with Sleepy.   It is also my prayer that Sleepy will not grow frustrated in her efforts to love him unconditionally. 

As her mother, I see her frustration as he responds to her in the negative.  As I work to encouraged her that she can not own his responses, and that she is not responsible for his success or failure, I am challenged to remember that myself.  Most often people fail because they have no one in their life that is advocating for them.  If this dwarf fails, he will have no one but himself to blame as he continues to stand at a distance from a community that is out on the tree limb cheering him on towards success.

If I could encourage Sleepy at all in these days of struggle it would be as follows: Stand tall.  Stand firm, and do not grow weary of doing good, there are lots of underdogs out there and each one will  respond to you differently.  Continue to be bold, to live out loud, and to share your love of life with those around you.  The Prince and I are proud of you, and applaud your efforts in loving the unlovely. 

“There is overwhelming evidence that the higher the level of self-esteem, the more likely one will be to treat others with respect, kindness, and generosity.” Nathaniel Branden