Monday, March 26, 2012

some people shouldn't upgrade their phones

I have owned one of those military-grade gunmetal grey cell phones that you can dunk in water and throw across the room (not that I would ever do that) for about . . .forever.

Daniel graciously upgraded my phone in a big way about three weeks ago; I'd requested unlimited texting but I got a lot lot more and it's been getting me into big trouble ever since.

The touch screen is mind boggling.  I moved apps to my home page without even knowing how I did it.  I am so so so not a techie and Jacob deftly sent my first few texts for me.

Then I proceeded to almost send my niece a happy birthday message in which the auto correct changed "miss you" to &#!####.

After that I switched all of my texting to Spanish.  I would type "would" and it would say:  "add 'would' to dictionary?"  (Why was the question in English?  I don't know.  That's why it took me so long to figure out that I'd changed the language to Spanish. Er, Espanol. Si, si.)

During this time, Daniel also got a new phone which he instantly hated and has since returned.  But not before he missed about 47 business phone calls because he couldn't hear the ringer and managed to stand up my brother's family for a dinner date. 

About one week into the tele-honeymoon, I discovered voice texting.  Wow, what an invention.  Press the speaker button, talk, and press send.  I was suddenly in love with my phone.

There have been a few problems with this. 

The first one that comes to mind was when I asked Jacob to do something and he didn't respond.  When pressed, he said "Oh, sorry Mom,  I thought you were voice texting."

Well, then, since I can't "touch text"  it also makes me the butt of my friends' jokes because they get to watch stuff like this. 

Is Loren coming?

I don't know.

Hayley, can you text her?

Me: (trying to type. failing.  give up. hold phone to face and enunciate clearly) "HI  LOOREN.  I HOPE YOU COME BECAUSE ITS ALWAYS MORE FUN IF YOU ARE THERE."

(Friends laugh uproariously because it looks quite weird.)

Voice texting has gotten me into trouble with Daniel, too.

Some of Cambria's little friends were coming to our house and I was originally supposed to pick them up.  I was doing a little clarifying via voice text in the kitchen:

So you are picking Camille up then, not me?

Daniel, from dining room:  "What?  I didn't even know I was supposed to."

Me:  "What, Daniel?"

"I didn't know I was supposed to pick Camille up.  I didn't even know she was coming."

Me:  "You aren't supposed to pick her up.  What are you talking about?!!"

Daniel, a little exasperated.  "Hayley I just heard you clearly say, So you are picking Camille up then, not me."

Ohhhhhhhhh.  Right.  I did say that.  To my phone.

And hopefully. . . this is the last embarrassing texting story for a long long time:

On a gorgeous Wednesday night Deeann and I are charging around the Y outdoor trails and Daniel texts me that I should enjoy my time and the kids are all asleep.

I don't want to voice text because I don't want Deeann to keep making fun of me so I try to text him back "okay."  Or rather "OK."


Suddenly I am nearly knocked flat.

By a gangster?


Another walker?


I ran right into a metal bollard.

And I repeat, some people should never upgrade their phones.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

written in stone

I think about my littlest man still.
Like. . .




If not every single hour.

Cuz a mamma can't forget her baby I can't erase his little face from my memory.

I don't want to.

He comes up easily in conversation and we smile looking at his pictures. 

We paid for an Easter lily in his memory and I wear his name on a necklace close to my heart.

I tried to let Eli wear some of his clothes. . . I thought maybe it would seem normal and almost cool.  It wasn't.  All I could see was Gabe and his dimples, and I don't want to be superimposing one son upon the other.

We sketched out the words to his gravestone this week.

It will be beautiful and succinct and perfect and terribly wrong.

I'm glad we've waited.

I hated his unmarked grave and yet hated the stone that would make his death so final.

But it's time now.

This week Jacob drew this picture in one of his schoolbooks:
I sucked in my breath when I saw it and snuck a look at his face.


(Probably feeling happy with the muscle tone he gave to his own arms.)

But this was monumental to me because this is the first time he hasn't included Gabe.

So does it take two years for a child to heal and move on?

It's good and it's not good and I've tried to rationalize that this was not his best artwork so maybe he was just being lazy and not wanting to draw one more stick figure.

I didn't say anything.

I decided long ago not to force the children to grieve or heal on anyone's schedule but their own and the reality of our family being what JD's stick summary shows is. . . well . . . reality.

So in light of writing our son's beautiful name in stone and the family of five on the schoolwork sketch, this was a special gift:

{Gabe's tree. . .}

love you, my little man
miss you
like you can't imagine
feel the hole
feel the burn
feel the ache

know that you are happy
you don't care that you didn't grow up
(but I do)

still catch my breath
still touch your hair
still see your little self
still wish that you were here

we're going to put this big rock up
where we laid you down
and we will try to summarize your little life
in a few short lines.

I need a lot more space than that.

your life brought me so much joy, my son. .  .

you still bring so much joy.

when I hear this

I know that even though
(in a way)
your star burned down


and honor

and glory

forever to our God.

So while we choose what to write in stone

we are so thankful that your days were written in His book

and that our names are written on His hands

(and you, my baby, are written on my heart forever)

I love you, Gabriel James.

Love, Mommy

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

God's Not Dead (and other quandaries)

All you KLove listeners out there have definitely heard this song by now, super catchy and super fun. . .

God's not dead

He's surely alive

Livin' on the inside

(roarin' like a lion)

and very very. . . ah. . .

puzzling to hear your seven year old belting out.

Daniel and I were exchanging nervous oh no we are becoming our parents  thoughtful glances as Peter Furler rock whispers He's surely alive and I was thinking oh my goodness of all the songs on the radio why do my kids have to love this one?

Jacob was sensing the awkward moment and impending radio dial switch and he leaned forward, straining on his seatbelt:  "You know, guys, this song is just such a good reminder.  You know, the words are."

Maybe he'll be a negotiator when he grows up.

Seriously, I wonder about decisions like this every day. 

When music is making my kids shake their little bon bons instead of praising the Lord, do I

a) turn it off with a click, because I am Mom Almighty

b) be happy that they like songs with words that are good reminders

c) lecture (endless lectures) (so much talking I do) (so tired of talking) now children, yes I like this song and yes these words are good reminders but this is so not producing the fruits of righteousness in your lives and I'm not sure I like the Newsboys as music choices for a five year old and seven year old although it would be very different if you were sixteen and wanting to listen to them while you were working out but the bottom line is that we want our actions to glorify God and sometimes I don't think this music does that. . .

Tonight I'm not convinced that a, b or c are the correct answers and I'm praying that God will show me d). 

Parenting is full of these daily hourly decisions.

This morning I left Bible Study and found Cambria in the gym, limply flopped over the basketball hoop base. I pretend that she's not pouting, but I know too well that she is.  I ask her what's wrong and get nowhere and it's not the place to have a heart to heart and her little friends are asking if she can go outside with them and she goes. 

I think.

I gather my stuff and my bags and my Eli David and head out to the parking lot, expecting to hunt her down from some little hideout on the church grounds;  she isn't there.

She's sitting on her little booster seat in our van, by herself, buckled and looking out the window. She lifts a sullen limp hand to wave at her friends as they clamor to say goodbye and I shut the door and look in the rearview mirror at her little blond head and her pink -t-shirted self.

a) discipline for the attitude; you cannot behave like this

b) assume guilt; you are too pouty and you did not treat your friends in a kind way

c) blame some other child;  what's the matter?  did someone hurt you?

d). . . . .

We talked.  She said she's bad at tag and always was "getting out."  She was frustrated with the others and with herself too.  I didn't cut her any slack and told her she just needed to run faster and that a bad attitude and being a poor sport during games was just not right.

Moments like those make me feel so inadequate as a mom.  I feel like there's probably some deep moment I'm missing or a huge psychological barrier that I'm glossing over and later in life when they sit on the proverbial therapist's couch I'm going to come up in the conversation about two million times.

But then, later that afternoon, she brought me a piece of paper and a pen so I could write down a letter.  She makes endless letters and cards, but can't spell yet and I'm very accustomed to writing down her little notes so that she can trot off and copy them down with pink and purple markers.  I sit on the couch and she dictates:

I had fun with you today when we left church and we talked in the van.  I love you Mom.

I look down at the words I've just written.

Maybe I make everything too complicated.

JD worked with Daniel this morning.  He was sick with excitement looking forward to it.  He came home at noon.  And now my choices begin:

a) let him revel in the joy of having helped his daddy and read all afternoon on the couch

b) let him do half of his school work

c) keep our noses to the grindstone and do the normal allotment of pages

I choose c) and we sweat and we struggled all afternoon on this beautiful first day of spring and we finished at 5:53 pm and I wonder if there was a d) answer to that issue as well.

Mom, are you frustrated with me?  he asks and I look over the counter at him.

No, I'm not frustrated with you, I'm frustrated with myself, I tell him. Parenting is full of tough decisions and sometimes I don't know if I'm making the right ones.  Like it hurts my heart to know you're tired and hot and don't wanna do school and I wonder if it's the best thing to make you do it today.  I don't know.  But I love you.

He is happy and reveling in much accomplishment today, headed out with fully charged batteries for his remote controlled Hummer, sweaty and all boy.  He grins. 

It's okay, Mom.  I know.  It's hard.  But guess what?  You won't have to make tough decisions on your birthday.  I've got stuff planned.

Oh that boy!  He's gone and I yell after him that he's making me cry happy tears but he doesn't hear over the rrrrreeeeeeeeeeerrrooooommmmm of his car.

These are the things that drive me to God these days, these questions and wonderings and deep desires to do my part to raise my children to walk with Jesus and love Him with all of their hearts. 


That said, do you turn the radio up or down for God's Not Dead?

Monday, March 19, 2012

dreams. jobs. more selfishness.

I feel tears running down the inside of my nose as I listen to someone talk about doing their dream job.  

I try to explain it to Daniel later, from the safety of my home, curled up on our leather couch, the children asleep. {finally}

The tears push again and I find myself amazed as I verbalize my selfishness. 

I just feel like life is . . . out of my control. 

Like I just never got to choose. . . . and now I am just stuck. . . and I wanted to write. . . and now I teach. . . but I'm not a teacher. . .

And it's all so thankless and these little people are so thankless sometimes.

And the monotony can just be mind numbing.

This is why I read deep stuff, I thought today as I laid on the floor with Eli, pressing a push and go rattle up and down, up and down, up and down, just so I can prove to myself that I'm not going crazy.

You can laugh with me, I'm sure, or look back and remember;  you can worry that I am going crazy; you may think I'm a little selfish, and there you will be absolutely correct. 

My husband  {gently} points out that laziness and selfishness keep us from our dreams and the only one keeping me from writing is me. 

I want to argue with him.

I want to say that The Children demand everything.

I want to say that Hospitality leaves me no time.

I want to say that Grief has stolen my motivation.

I want to say that Teaching has exhausted my capacity to think.

I want to give excuses, but there are none, and there are four fingers pointing back at me if I even start to blame.

I can get up earlier,

I can be purposeful,

I can engage my brain instead of  lulling it to sleep,

I can just write.

Though my creative nature defies and strains against order and discipline, it is dying without it. 

Scheduled creativity. . . . .?  (cue screaming clip) Fortunately, creative people are always up for a new idea and though I really am reluctant, I'm giving it a try.

So you may find more around here, my little quiet corner and my idea springboard, my little blog where I can dump my thoughts and sort out life. 

And confess my selfishness.