Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Kindness Rocks Project

So there's been a thing recently called kindness rocks.  The idea is, you paint a rock, put it somewhere in a public place, and it makes people smile when they see it.  And if the finder wants, they can take a picture with it and put it on Facebook, "hide" it somewhere else, or just leave it.

Bearcub & I've been finding them around the pool while waiting on Ladybug and Turkey's swim lessons, but the girls just discovered the rocks today.  They started spotting them while we were driving around town and asking me to stop and get them.  So I thought this would be a great thing to participate in.  I quickly developed a grand plan to paint rocks and leave them at each place we stopped on our way to the UP.  So I stopped for a can of spray paint.  Thankfully, that's all I invested.  
When we got home, Ladybug was pouting over her sister having two rocks while she only had one.  Kindness rocks already backfiring.  So I sent her inside while I set Turkey up finding and washing rocks.  After our plumbing work, we have an abundance of rocks in our yard, so she quickly collected quite a few.  I spray painted them white and didn't have to wait long for them to dry in the heat.  I sent both girls out to bring in a couple of rocks, and then the kindness rocks really backfired.  I heard wails, and went out to find that Ladybug hit Turkey on the head with a relatively heavy rock.  Why?  "She didn't hold open the door."  I tried to understand how an unheld door justifies hitting someone with a rock on the head, couldn't do it, insisted on an apology, insisted on another apology that sounded halfway sincere, and then herded everyone inside with the weapons, aka kindness rocks. 

Then the painting/drawing started.  My mistake was thinking I actually wanted to make people smile with these things.  One an un-named child painted was supposed to be a "silly face," but it looked like something that was going to eat you.  It was a creation of nightmares.  I talked her into letting me fix it, and we eventually turned it into a smiling carrot.  In the meantime, paint was getting everywhere, water was getting spilled, lunch was delayed, flies kept buzzing, the grumpiness factor kept rising... 

Thankfully, rather than sticking with the project because by golly this is a good thing and we should contribute, I came to my senses.  After two rocks each, I called the whole thing off.  

Cause here's the thing.  There are many good things in the world.  Lots of worthwhile projects.  Lots of great activities.  But that doesn't meant my family has to do all of them.  And we certainly don't have to do them right now.  This might be a great thing when they're 8, 9, & 10.  But at 3, 4, & 5, it's backfiring.  And that's okay.  

In a few days, I might let them paint the rest that are already white.  But I'll be encouraging simplicity. Simple patterns and shapes, that's it. And if it still looks like something that's going to eat your face off... oh well.  Someone can throw it in the river if they find it disturbing.  Might give them some stress relief.  

Friday, April 21, 2017

3 Years

Every year, I think I won't feel it.

The pain, the grief, the memory of the darkness.

But every year, I watch the home videos and look at the pictures surrounding the time of BearCub's birth, just like I do with the other two kids.  And every year, I have the same emotions.  And then the guilt.

Because this was a child conceived in married love, a child both parents wanted.  This child is alive and healthy.  This child was only in the NICU a couple days.  So many children are born in much more difficult situations.  So many children still live with the physical repercussions of a traumatic birth experience.  So many parents never even got to bring their baby home, or had months in the NICU.

But this year, I've come to a different conclusion.  I know, next year, ten years from now, even twenty or thirty years from now, I'm going to remember the circumstances of my son's birth.  And it's going to hurt.  It may always bring tears to my eyes at some point during the day.

And that's okay.

I don't have to forget what happened to heal.  I don't have to stop feeling hard emotions.  My experience does not detract from the experience of others.  I can acknowledge that it could have been so much harder, while still acknowledging that my situation was hard for me.  My remembering of the sadness, the desperation, the fear, does not detract from my ability to celebrate my son.

It accents it.

Because his birth is a story of God's grace.  His birth reminds me, every year, of one of the darkest times of my life when God's glory shown so brightly it couldn't be missed.

When I faced not having a roof over my children's heads, He provided.  When I had no idea how we were going to get our stuff moved, He provided.  When I had no idea where we'd put our stuff when we were forced out of one house before the other was ready, He provided.  When I had no idea how we were going to pay for things, He provided.  When I was at my lowest, unable to care for my children, with a deflated belly but no baby in my arms, my husband hours away with my sick newborn, He provided.

In my darkness, God was with me.

Why would I want to forget that?  Why would I want to become hardened to that?

Friday, April 14, 2017

Forgetting Good Friday...

I forgot today was Good Friday.

I messaged a professional friend and asked if we could move our exit meeting to Friday, and she replied she was off Friday so anytime would work.  I told her to enjoy her day off and we'd reschedule the following week.

But it didn't occur to me why she was off Friday.

Until two days later.  When Facebook posts started centering around Maundy Thursday.

And then I thought to myself, what kind of Christian am I, that I don't even remember Good Friday?  That I've given virtually no extra thought to the death of Jesus this week that we're supposed to be remembering?

Here's the reality.  I've been in some state of misery for over two weeks. One trip to the ER, two doctor's office visits, an x-ray, an ultrasound, a CT scan, labs.  Various medications not fit to be spoken of here. Way too much time hugging a trash can and a reminder that we desperately need a second toilet. Hours spent rocking back and forth in pain on the couch. Hours of Netflix trying to distract myself with something that requires no brain involvement since my brain has shut off.

As I think about previous Easters, I've quite often had major stuff going on distracting me from the Easter story.  Moves and health issues seem to be attracted to Easter season.  And that frustrates me.  I see parents doing great Easter activities with their kids to teach them the great story.  I think I've done Resurrection Eggs one year.  That's it.

But as I started to feel sorry for myself, and then guilty, a thought occurred to me.  A saying on the sign my husband made for me, which is one of my few wall decorations.  "O Lord, Thou knowest how busy I must be this day.  If I forget Thee, do not Thou forget me."  Attributed to Sir Jacob Astley in 1692, just before battle.

God doesn't command us to celebrate Easter on the seemingly-crazy calendar our world uses.  What He does command, is the Lord's Supper.  That's where we remember Jesus' death and resurrection.  That's the sacrament, not Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, or even Easter Sunday.  There's no reason not to celebrate Easter, but if life happens... it's okay.  Because multiple times a year, I do remember Christ's death and resurrection.

And feeling guilty about not doing all these teaching things... my kids know the story.  One of my kids gets it, to the very core of her being.  She believes.  The other kid... going through the Resurrection Eggs isn't going to convince her.  But she's going to hear about it every time we take the Lord's Supper.  She hears it when we read about it in the Bible.  She hears it when we sing about it.  She hears it at random times in conversation when Jesus' death and resurrection come up.

Because His death and resurrection is not just something we celebrate once a year.  It's a part of our life.  It's our reason for living.  It's why we do just about everything we do.  So He's going to come up.  And yes, there are kids who are only going to be in church on Easter Sunday, and we should take the opportunity to share the story with those kids who don't hear it otherwise.  But for my kids... Easter is a part of every week. So if mom's out of commission Easter week and opts to use her energy on keeping the house running rather than big Easter projects... it's okay. I'm letting go of the guilt. I'm guessing there are some other moms who need to let go of the guilt too!