Category Archives: Faith

The Gift of an Abundant Attitude

Isn’t it the best feeling when you have found the perfect gift for someone? Have you thought about the perfect gift for yourself? I was reminded recently of just such a gift I received awhile back.

” I need to show you something”.  My college age son had called me up to his room to see his desk.  We both stared in silence. Me at the damaged wood surface. He at my face waiting for a reaction. A plug in air freshener he had pulled out and set on a shelf atop his desk had leaked, dripping down onto the desk.  The liquid that provided a sweet, pleasant aroma had removed the furniture finish down to the bare wood. It took me a few minutes to absorb and process what I was seeing. First, that the air freshener chemicals were strong enough to strip wood stain off. Secondly, that there was permanent damage to the desk. Luckily his computer keyboard had been spared if only by an inch or two.

I sensed my son’s relief when I responded calmly in my best “no big deal” voice.  His concern was not without warrant. He  had heard the stories of the previous Desk Disaster as we have come to call it. In my defense, at the time, I was a stressed out young mom corralling 4 kids all under the age of ten. Finances were tight. We drove our cars till they dropped. Our D.I.Y. home repair and remodels were painfully slow. Our furniture consisted of thrift store and garage sale finds. The desk find was a big win. Finally the long awaited bedroom remodel was complete. We brought in the new “used” desk and a small sense of joy and satisfaction  followed.  For about 30 minutes. That was when my 9 y.o. son called me in to proudly show me his contribution to the new room decor. He had etched his name into the desktop! As you can imagine, I didn’t take it well. Lost it might be an apt description. It was the first of a couple memorable Mommy Meltdowns.  I did eventually come to realize it was his sincere attempt to personalize his new room, not a targeted blow to steal my joy. But in that moment , the marred desk was the visible confirmation of what I tortured myself with. Despite our best efforts, I would never have a home I could feel good about. For others with more disposable income it seemed to come so easy.  For us, it took endless hours of hard work. This is not a moment I am proud of, but it is a window into my mindset at the time. Continue reading The Gift of an Abundant Attitude

Acts of Kindness

In my previous post,  Who’s Your Daddy, I referenced the concept of God as Father-n-law. Married to another child of God, I have a heavenly Father-n-law. As a mother, I can try to imagine the feelings of protectiveness we share for our children.  God in protective parent mode..oh boy! Not sure I want a visual on that one. The flip side of the coin is how we feel as parents when kindness is extended to our child. I have appreciated acts of kindness towards all of my children over the years but some really stick out.  These would be ones directed towards my special-needs daughter.  Most specifically from other kids.

When my daughter was younger, preschool age, the kids were more accepting of her differences. As kids get older, they become more aware of the differences. Some kids become very uncomfortable with the differences.  At best they would just exclude her, at worst become mean.  During the preteen years I was told many kids are so uncomfortable in their own skin they have a low tolerance for others who are different.  My oldest son had to deal with a couple of neighborhood bullies at the bus stop during middle school.  They said nothing to my daughter but were relentless to him about his sister.  Around that time a  new kid at school, Matt, came over to our house.  My son’s defenses went up at his question, “Does your sister have a disability?”  Bracing for what might come next, my son answered truthfully.  As he retold the story to me later, the surprise and relief were still in his voice. Upon confirming that his sister was not typical, his new friend responded, “That must be hard for your family.” Now I was the one taken aback.  Such grace and maturity from an 11 year old?  More to his credit, Matt followed those words with actions whenever he came over. He made a point of engaging my daughter in conversation and inviting her to join them in activities.  I haven’t adequate words to express the positive feelings this brought forth in me towards Matt.  He wasn’t in the neighborhood long, but Matt will always be welcome in our home. Continue reading Acts of Kindness

Who’s Your Daddy?

The definition is clear, your spouse’s parents are your in-laws. How you actually address them? Not so clear.  Whatever everyone’s comfortable with, you might hear. Given the ever changing tide of social etiquette these days, I would agree. What if, however, not all said parties are comfortable with the same thing?  This topic has been getting table time discussion with couples we know.  After making it from preschool thru high school graduation, we have entered a new  parenting phase. The serious girlfriend/boyfriend, fiance and newlywed stage. Welcome to the world of parenting young adults.  I didn’t realize what an emotional issue this could be. Feelings are all over the place:

  • “Why doesn’t my daughter-in-law want to call me Mom?”
  • “Why do they want my son to call her mother Mom? I’m his mother.”
  • “My husband didn’t call my mother mom until his own mother passed.”
  • “We always called our in-laws Mom and Dad.”

Continue reading Who’s Your Daddy?

The Twilight Years

It was December 2012.  My teens were watching TV in our family room. I breezed thru long enough to hear, “How could anyone not know about the Twilight Phenomenon? They must be living with their head in the sand for last 5 years!”  I take two steps back.  Wait..what? I have no clue what this movie actor is talking about. Is this an astronomical event? I could ask my kids. Thinking better of risking my credibility for future life experiences, I Google it.  Apparently a series of books about vampires became insanely popular and movies were being made. Who knew? Apparently everyone but me. Continue reading The Twilight Years