Monday, November 24, 2014


Saturday. The leaves in the backyard were calling our name. I reminded myself how I wasn't going to freak out at the kids and be a drill sergeant about raking. We'd do what we could do. Live and let live. Let it be.

Yeah, all that Zen stuff worked for about five seconds. Why?

We were running against the clock. I knew we'd have to rake while Chloe was sleeping because I didn't want her out in the freezing weather with the cold she'd been fighting. Only -- Ethan wanted to play. The kid spends 8 hours at school every day with 20 minutes of recess. I couldn't blame him for wanting free time. But I didn't like the way he was throwing a fit. It seemed to be there should be some sort of basic understanding that I was the parent and he was the child and not that I would make him rake all day but was expecting him to spend 45 minutes helping mom out too much to ask?

The next hour involved tears (his and mine), threats, warnings, encouragement, complaints, yells, and yeah, a bit of raking. In the end, Ethan left his chores to go smash ice, lost his screen privileges, and later earned (only a little bit) back by doing lots of extra work for mom. I was left feeling simultaneously relieved, stressed because the whole thing had been too hard, and sheepish because after all, this was raking leaves, and I just needed to chill instead of seeing our stand-off as a reflection of my failure to be a good parent.

Later we went to Target (Yes. Again.) where I proceeded to hit a mini-pothole in the parking lot with the cart, and the sudden stop in motion caused Ethan to smash his nose into the cart handle, hard, and began spurting blood everywhere. Especially on the white section of his new winter jacket. Then he began wiping his nose on mine. I tried not to yell about the coats and get us out of the middle of the street. Inside the store we were quite a spectacle. Ethan's hands were literally covered in blood. A few supervisors appeared out of nowhere and offered to hang out with the girls while I got Ethan cleaned up in the bathroom. Then one manager offered Ethan popcorn and a Slushie. Suddenly, all was right with the world.

"See," I said to him as he sucked the frosty blue chemicals, "sometimes in life bad things happen, but then even good can come from them," trying to take advantage of a "teachable" moment.

"Yeah, like people giving you food," he said, crunching popcorn.

Um, yeah. That.

The next day was Sunday, and I was singing at church. This means I leave the house very early and in glorious silence get to enjoy the sunrise drive to church while most of the rest of the world is sleeping. While driving there I was thinking about how often I get nervous about singing (whenever I have a solo or something of that nature). I was thinking about an interview with (worship leader) Kim Walker-Smith, how she had talked about falling off a stage one time, and how she said to just be bold and go for it. Even if you mess up. Mess up big, and move on.

I liked that.

I thought about what it would be like to just have fun and not always sweat over every detail and analyze every single thing and about the burdens that would be lifted from my shoulders.

I thought about singing unabashedly and not wanting to crawl under a rock if my voice broke or wavered.

I thought about how the more I THINK about anything, the harder it is to actually DO anything.

I told myself it was time to start doing, to be ready to mess up, and to have some fun. Whether it was singing, or life.

We got up on the stage for the first service, and my mic wasn't on and I wasn't quite ready and they started 30 seconds earlier than I expected which meant no one could hear me singing a certain part...breathe in, breathe out. These things happen.

Then second service we were about to start and I realized the wires to my ear buds were incredibly tangled and I spend a number of "blonde" moments trying to unravel them and get out the knots and realizing how very, very silly this was. I couldn't stop laughing.

With every one of these little seemingly inconsequential moments I felt something drop off. I think it was the weight of perfection. And every time it did, I felt a little more free.

I wondered about doing life this way, about how to not see every mix-up as a sign that I'd failed at everything. All or nothing thinking has been a path I've tread down for way too long.

I thought of doing my faith this way, about not being so scared to reach out and share, or to help someone hurting.

I thought about all of this, on and off, throughout the morning. I sang and realized how much more fun it was to sing when you realize mistakes may happen, and it's okay. I know, I know. Even a kindergartener knows this. But some of us say we know it, but don't live like it.

Then we went to my parents' house, had a dinner I didn't have to cook and watched a glorious amount of football (these days I treasure just being able to SIT and do one thing rather than running around multi-tasking), and the cousins made gingerbread houses (well, except for Ethan, who of course had to watch football) and then they all invented a game that involved jumping from halfway up the stairs onto a giant beanbag at the bottom, and Chloe crawled around and watched them like it was the greatest thing ever.

Yup. It was a weekend of ups and downs. The best part was being able to let the "downs" go.

It's like that old song, the one in the commercials around here now: Everybody wants to be...closer to free...

1 comment:

Deborah said...

Wow what a busy weekend but you did good! I’m sure Ethan learns a lot from your life philosophy.