He Marches to a Different Beat…and that’s okay.

DSC_4420This is my Benjamin.  He is so different from my other crazies.  He is busy and yet highly focused on what he is doing.  He is challenging and very loving and sweet.  He doesn’t follow instructions well but is very sensitive to correction.  He is cuddly and yet has a hard time receiving too many snuggles because he has so much to do.  He is hard to teach and coach but extremely curious about how things work and often takes things apart and puts them back together.  He even answers questions in unusual ways.

Benjamin, what do you want to be when you grow up?

A dump truck.

Do you mean a dump truck driver?

No, I mean a dump truck.

While coloring recently, I got on his case about how he holds his crayon and was encouraging him to try to color inside the lines.  He looked up at me with these big brown eyes and said, “Mama, those lines aren’t for me.”  He’s right.  They aren’t for him.  He just sees things differently.  He challenges me to try to see things from a new perspective.  I want so badly to understand him but he is so beautifully complicated.

He views the world in a very different way than anyone I have ever met.  In 1st Peter 4:10-11  it says, God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.  My sweet Benjamin is a gift to me.  He challenges the way I see things.  He encourages me to seek understanding over judgement.  He draws me in because I want to know him more.  He’s right.  The lines aren’t for him.  He marches to the beat of his own drummer because my drummer is either too fast or too slow.  His differences from me are so beautiful and mysterious.  What a blessing he is, not just as my son, but as a constant reminder of how our uniqueness is not a mistake but a plan for us to better serve others and serve God.  He will grow up to challenge the way we think about the world and for that I am grateful.  Color outside those lines little man.  Love you.

Rainy Day Crazy

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These two have been a challenge today.   It has poured all day today and we are incredibly dependent on our ability to go outside and get our wiggles out.  I pulled out my best stuff today.  We made a pirate ship, went on an umbrella walk, they helped make lunch, we read books, watched Sesame Street, we made telescopes out of toilet paper rolls. 

As I tried to make beds this afternoon they both jumped and pulled on the comforters of each bed and tossed pillows down as soon as I put them in place.  It was like making beds with drunk, belligerent frat boys. In my I mean business mommy voice I told them to go downstairs and play in the playroom.  As I finished up the last bed, I heard uncontrollable giggling coming from downstairs, which usually means someone is playing in the toilet.  I ran down the stairs to find them tickling each other (in a completely nonviolent way). 

It was so sweet.  When we found out we were having twin boys, after I got done freaking out, I reassured myself that we would have moments like these.  Sometimes in my day I let the crazy, not fun parenting stuff outweigh these moments in my mind.  I get so negative in my own thoughts, and then there are moments like these that are so filling and refreshing and humbling.  It still blows my mind that God gave these sweet, challenging, strong-willed, ticklish, screaming and amazing crazies to me.  Most days I think He believes I have more patience than I do, most days my children humble me but everyday with them is a blessing rain or shine.

Not the Good Kind of Slip and Slide

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The scene of the crime.

Let me set the scene.  We bought a new house less than a month ago that came complete with a playset in the backyard.  My crazies think this is the coolest thing ever.  They would spend the entire day outside if this spring rain would just stop. 

Today, after naps, I socked, shoed and jacketed the crew and ushered them outside to enjoy a slightly overcast Ohio spring afternoon on the playset. 

As soon as we walk outside the dog walks over to the slide, lifts a leg and proceeds to pee all over the slide.  The slide, representing at least 80% of what makes the playset amazing.  I yell out to the kids to stay off the slide, run in and grab the dog’s water bucket, clorox and paper towels.  As I’m running back out the door, Benjamin is sitting on the top of the slide as his sister, bless her heart, is yelling, “No, Bubba it’s doggy pee!” 

It was like watching it in slow motion.  I yelled, “Benjamin don’t you slide down that slide.  Sit still.”  He looks right at me, smiles and slides. 

One of many moments when I have been totally grossed out by my kids.  Seriously.  Yeah, you showed me.  Who has got dog pee on their pants?  Not smiling now are ya!

Not one of my finest parenting moments followed but I did get to utter something I never thought I would.

“Now see what happens when you don’t listen to Mommy?  You get dog pee on your butt.”

Can’t make this stuff up folks.

“That Mom” and “That Kid” at Walmart

It all started out beautifully.  Our family had decide to sponsor a little girl for Christmas this year whose family is going through a transitional housing program.  This little girl is one of five children being raised by a single mom.  She is four years old, curly-haired, kinda shy and absolutely adorable, just like our sweet Abigail.  Andrew and I thought this would be a great opportunity to teach our curly-headed girl about thankfulness, generosity and taking care of those who don’t have as much as we do.  We signed up to get her a special doll.

As we headed down the aisle I listened to Abigail explain to her little brothers that we were here to get a toy for “a special friend whose momma was working very hard to get them a home.”  I was thrilled that some of the conversations we had with her were sinking in.  As we picked up the toy, she asked if she could invite this friend over to play.  She never once asked for a doll for herself.  I just kept thinking, this is what Jesus means by childlike faith.

In true Walmart fashion, when we pull up to check out there are only two lines open and it’s a bit backed up.  My son is losing patience by the second.  When it is finally our time to check out I put the item he was holding onto the belt and he loses his mind.  Full blown tantrum.  Screaming, kicking, pushing his brother, who is sharing a cart with him.  It was epic.  I instantly feel all eyes in the store and perhaps in the next county turn toward me.  I leaned down to his ear and quietly reprimanded him, giving him consequences if he didn’t pull it together.  Tantrum continues.  As I look up, the woman in front of me shoots me a look.  I apologize and she leans toward the cashier and says, “My kids are older now, but I never would have let them behave that way in public.”

I am an angry crier, which in moments like this is extremely inconvenient.  I held it together for check out, pushed my cart full of children (two happy and one still demon possessed), to the car, get everyone loaded in, read my crazy tiny human the riot act and then sit down in the my car and cried.  All I needed in the moment was someone to say, “We’ve all been there.”  “They won’t always be two.”  “Is there anything I can do to help?”  I was ticked at my sons behavior, but equally ticked that I had received judgement from another mother in a moment when I just needed a little understanding.

I proceeded to let this wonderful Walmart moment affect the rest of my day.  I was impatient and stressed the rest of the day (wonder where my son gets it?).

Tonight my daughter participated in her very first Christmas program at church.  One of the age groups that sang a song that particularly touched me.  The lyrics hit so hard that I teared up a bit.

Here’s what I’d do differently

I’d love like I’m not scared
Give when it’s not fair
Live life for another
Take time for a brother
Fight for the weak ones
Speak out for freedom
Find faith in the battle
Stand tall but above it all
Fix my eyes on you

Fix My Eyes by For King and Country

When I am in the trenches of my own stuff it is so easy to throw myself a pity party over the hiccups that happen in my daily life.  If you looked at the way I lived my life today you would believe that the most important thing that happened today was my son throwing a fit in a store.  But here’s the thing, now that everyone is tucked in bed and I let the lyrics of this song seep into my heart, I realize that incident was far from the most important thing that happened today.  Today I watched my daughter give when she wasn’t receiving, love others first, stand up for a weak one and fix her eyes on Jesus.  Today, she got to see what it was like to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Today was a good day.