What am I doing wrong? No, seriously. When are these kids going to be content?
We just had an issue come up in our family that my husband and I thought we handled the best way possible. You would never know it by the reaction of the offspring. What we had to do was determined by the medical condition of our youngest, but it afforded her a privilege that our older two had been waiting for for a long time. (And we still don't think they are mature enough for it.) I will not tell you this privilege, because you undoubtedly have an opinion about it, and frankly, we're sick of hearing everyone else's opinions right now.
We are doing what we deem to be right. We are convinced of it, but every other outside force - most notably the smaller ones we live with - is trying to tell us we are not being fair.
Who's helping us see we are right? Those in the same boat as we are. Others who have a child with a chronic condition that needs to be monitored like ours does.
The world may call us helicopter parents, hovering over a child, who would might not actually die if we did not keep such a watchful eye. My daughter does not belong to the world; she belongs to me. The world is not responsible for adding as many years to her life as possible by preserving her organs. That's my job. Watch your own kids, World, and leave me alone with mine.
Many may favor the opinion of my older kids. Especially those who have children their age who have already given their kids this privilege. My kids are not their kids. My values are not their values. We are doing what we believe is best for them.
Then there's my own conscience. Good grief, it's so hard to hear how unfair we are as parents. Every. Day. We've had tears, fits, arguments, tantrums, and silent treatments. (Sometimes, that last one is almost a relief.) We are told routinely that we do not love our kids. By every one of them. They each believe we favor another child in the family- always a different one, too. I just don't know how they seem to know better than we.
How hard is it to stick to our guns? Impossible without the grace of God. So, for those of you who have had to give in at one point or another - I TOTALLY GET IT. I will not judge you, because I want to be you every day.
And I wish we would not be judged either.
This reminds me of walking life as a Christian. Nowhere in the world are we ever going to see a non-believer say, "Way to stick to your guns! Way to stand up for what you believe!" Instead, our persistence in our faith is countered as "closed-mindedness."
Are we doing what is right? Yes, if we are truly following what Jesus tells us. And the Word even tells us we will be hated for it. Daily, told how unfair we are. Sometimes, even by those in our own family. We will get more arguments, tears, and fits. Sometimes, not as much, and our silent treatment is the act of just being forgotten and left behind. Somehow, others in the world have found that they know better than we.
But we're not giving up. Is it hard to persevere? Impossible without the grace of God. So who do we get to support us? Others in the same boat. Christians, THIS is why we are told to love one another.
I suppose it was more dramatic when Tony Stark announced that he was Iron Man, but this is no less true. I am not Wonder Woman.
There's an awesome meme that says, "Always be yourself… unless you can be Batman. Then, always be Batman."
Yeah, that would be nice. Or would it?
Okay, Batman is not realistic for moms these days. A wealthy, orphaned, sad philanthropist has other things on his mind than we do. All he has to worry about is saving the city from evil. He doesn't have to feed a family or keep a house clean when he has Alfred. Maybe Alfred is the superhero. Where would Batman be without him?
Some women think they can do it. There's a Wonder Woman image they strive for. She can fly her invisible jet and rope any villain with her magic lasso without breaking a nail. Oh yes, and of course she looks flawless doing it all in high heeled boots and a bustier without breaking a sweat. Women want to be her, and the men just want her.
Yes, I'm guilty of that too. I try hard to do it all. As a matter of fact, I feel a bit like a liar writing this post. But just because I don't do it doesn't mean I don't know what's right.
As moms, is it realistic to want to be clean, organized, AND well-rested? Can we be the best mom AND a top employee at our job? Can we have kids that are happy… well, can we just have happy kids? And hey, I would like to be healthy and look pretty myself, too.
It's like a buffet. Everything you want is there, but the plates just aren't big enough. You could go back for round after round, but your stomach isn't big enough either. You just can't have everything. If you try, you won't be happy. (Ask your stomach.)
So you have to pick and choose. Here's how I handle a buffet. I go in reminding myself that I don't have to take everything I like. There's just no way to have it all. So, I take what I am in the mood for, and remember it is not my last ever buffet. The next time I come, I'll get something else. If I feel like it.
In life, you won't be happy trying to cram it all in either. The difference, though, is that you might not get to pick what goes on your plate. You just have to remember not to fill it up. Sometimes you might have to sacrifice something good for something better. Maybe what goes on your plate this time is the health of your children, and you have to sacrifice a full night's sleep, or the best you've got at your job, or maybe even the happiness of your children.
At the buffet, you might not always be HAPPY with what's on your plate. Your body might NEED the iron in the liver you take because you are anemic, and even though milk is good for you, calcium hinders the absorption of the iron. So you must take the healthy liver and forego the healthy milk. No one said it was going to be easy. Or fun.
Wonder Woman's plate was full of great things, like being strong, beautiful, and smart. But she is a fictional character. And may I add that Diana Prince did not have children? Can you imagine if she had to wait for the babysitter to come before running out to save the world? She was given an easy buffet, full of all good choices. (And of course, she's the type who could eat it all!)
I can't be Wonder Woman. Saving the world is not on my plate. Right now, saving my children is the best I can do.
My older daughter wore shorts today, and it's about 38º F outside. Last year, I would have been yelling at her and telling her she would not leave the house until all her skin was covered.
My younger daughter wore the blue dress to church for the 4th week in a row. I didn't complain as hard as I thought I would, even though she has several other dresses in her closet. Somehow, I don't seem to care as much if people at church think I don't buy her any clothes.
Oh, the many fights we had as the children grew. Some, like potty-training, we saw end with success. There was a right answer. (When you have to go, you go!) Others, like food, we are still struggling with. We have tried so many tricks in that area, good and bad. Our kids just don't eat certain foods. We have not won this battle. I'll get to that in a minute.
And then there are the "small" things.
I don't know if I'm too tired and have lost the will to fight anymore, or if I've grown up as a parent. Maybe, perhaps I've become a worse mom by giving in more now. Or maybe I'm just not the micro-manager I used to be.
There's a lot more truth to that first part, I think, than maybe some of the rest. I'm tired. Maybe I am learning which battles to pick because there are just so many more battles.
I have a pre-teen daughter who has been trying to act like teen since she turned 5. I feel like fighting has been a normal part of our life with her. Although I have always thought I have only chosen to fight for worthy causes, such as what she was eating, and what she was wearing, I think I am seeing a bigger picture now. Her choices are no longer a reflection of me. I can take myself out of the picture.
All 3 of my kids are picky eaters. Yes, I am blessed, aren't I? We tried every method under the sun to get them to eat a reasonable dinner.
Now, I've got bigger concerns at dinner. Life and death concerns. OK, maybe not quite that drastic, but serious medical complications are involved. If my diabetic daughter does NOT eat what I expected her to - what I treated her for with her insulin - she could have more medicine in her little body than it needs. That would cause a drop in her blood sugar, that could lead to a coma. It's rare, but definitely in the range of possibility.
So I save my energy for that. I want to be taken seriously when things are truly serious. I want the kids to know that if I say something is important, it really is. It's not about me, it's about them.
What's important to me now? Health & safety, courtesy, and obedience.
Health: I will fight for my kids' health. I might give up for one a meal in a day, but not all of them. Big picture here. No total junk food meals, of course, but over the course of a day, I want good food going in somewhere along the line. I'm winning with drinks. My kids drink water or milk. Period. We constantly explain "health" to the kids. No one is allow to complain about being "fat." It's healthy or unhealthy. We don't want to hear our kids complaining about fat when they are given every opportunity to be healthy.
Safety: No hurting each other. At all. No doing things that will make someone else cry. Period. If you can prevent someone from hurting, DO IT. There's too much else out there trying to hurt us, we don't need to add family members to the list.
Courtesy: Respect. It's the only thing we ask the kids to show others. You will never go wrong if you use the right words.
Obedience: This one sounds like it is about me, but it isn't. Children are put into families to learn how the world works. In the world, there is always an authority to which we must submit: a boss, a police officer, God. Parents are the first authority and the ones who will train submission to that authority. Bottom line is: If I say it, I will be heeded. Because I believe I only ask what is reasonable, the words "because I said so" are enough.
So basically, if you want to wear the blue dress for the 4th week in a row, and I didn't forbid it for some logical reason, as long as you aren't rude about it, there's no reason you can't.
That covers a lot, doesn't it? So what have I given up?
Cleaning. I have my standards, and yes, it is partly my house. But I am losing this battle. My house is a mess, in my neat-freak eyes. You can't even see the kitchen table for all the mail, pictures, games, gloves, and well, I'm not even sure what else is on there. I don't sit there anymore because I just can't look at it. So I give up. They will move out someday, and I will get the house back.
Showering. I want my children to be clean and to smell like a meadow, but maybe they don't like smelling like a meadow. Until it becomes a health issue, I'll just wait until peer pressure settles in to up the daily washings.
Homework time. Apparently, all of my children prefer to wait to do their homework. I always did mine immediately after school. So they aren't me. I check their grades on line, and know that it is all being turned in. They do know the risk, however, of cutting it too close, and not having someone available to help when they need it. That's how it goes.
Clothing. OK, I do have girls. I buy their clothes, so I don't have to worry too much about modesty at this point. When it becomes an issue, we'll step in with safety concerns. I have a boy too. He will wear the same shirt everyday. Whatever. I'll let his friends tell him when he starts to reek while I stand 3 feet away.
There are some others too. Don't sweat the small stuff.
When my oldest goes outside with shorts in cold weather, she might get cold. (She'll never admit it, though.) Because I know that colds are caused by viruses and not just cold weather, I used to tell myself the issue was frostbite. Chances of that happening were pretty slim too, but something just wasn't right about it. So I needed justify it. Today, I don't.
I'm glad to have put the "you need to wear a coat/no I don't" fight behind me now. As she goes into the teen years, I know there are going to be more serious dangers than I will need to fight. When any of my kids come to me with those teen problems, I want them to be scared if I'm scared, and relieved if I am relieved.
While out on a walk with the oldest the other night, I was shivering. She was happily walking around in shorts, tee shirt, and flip flops. I asked her if she noticed that I wasn't bugging her about wearing a coat. She smiled, patted my back, and said, "Yes, Mother, I'm very proud of you."
That was 2 weeks ago. No signs of pneumonia yet, so maybe we are going to survive a little longer than I expected.
And I will wash the blue dress every week so it is ready for one less fight on the next Sunday morning. The washing machine can take care of that for me while I measure carbs and calculate insulin. If something in the house starts to stink, maybe I'll just go find a cup of coffee to smell instead. I'm going to need that energy for the bigger fights.
It was much worse. When my baby told me on the first Thursday of the school year that she didn't feel quite right, I kept her home from school, even though there was no fever. She doesn't make up illnesses. She loves school.
So, I had her rest on Thursday, and Friday she felt a little better. Saturday was not a good day. We ate our dinner out at a family buffet. She was miserable, but determined to eat. Strange. She ate a main dish, so I allowed her to have an icee drink, which led to more pain in her belly and more crankiness. (She wouldn't tell me that her belly was upset, because she was afraid I wouldn't allow her to eat! Remember this…) Then, upon leaving, we treated the restaurant to our daughter giving back everything she ate… right in front of their establishment.
Home for rest. More crankiness. I was eager for the virus I knew was in her body to hurry up and run its course. She had no fever - just like the stomach bug we all had a few months previously. While Sunday she stayed home from church to rest again, and seemed to being doing a little better, she still didn't eat much (because we didn't let her). She was terribly thirsty, and besides all the water she had, we made sure she had plenty of ginger ale to help her belly. And a new symptom was developing - wheezy breathing. She must have had a cold and stuffy nose on top of everything else.
Monday was bad. All she wanted to do was snuggle. On my lap, I noted that she would need to brush her teeth when she felt better. Her breath was pretty bad.
She could barely walk, but was moving fast enough to get to the bathroom several times. By evening, she was throwing up. More ginger ale. She wanted to spend the night on the floor in the bathroom. Writhing in pain, she begged me to take "it" away. How I wished I could! Throwing up did not make her feel better - it made her feel worse. That was a clue to me that something wasn't right. This was not a virus. Continuing to snuggle her, I felt her heart. It fluttered. Another clue. That was when I made my decision to call the doctor.
The on-call nurse called me back around 10 in the evening. It didn't matter how late it was, because I knew I was keeping her home from school the next day. The nurse felt we should head over to the the ER because she could have been dealing with a blockage. In my pajamas, I scooped up my baby, who could no longer walk, and brought her to a very crowded hospital.
At this point, she was screaming in pain and frustration. That might have been a good thing, because we were called almost immediately. However, my little one had deteriorated to the point where when she needed to go to the bathroom, I had to hold her up while doing the whole procedure for her. Pulling up pants while baby girl can do nothing but slump? Mama got a work out. Also, this was when the incoherent speech began. At that time, I had no idea the dangerous waters she had entered.
It was only a month ago, but some of this night was a blur. I believe the great ER admitting attendant finagled to find us a room somewhere between 11-11:30pm. I remember my baby lying on that big bed while grappling with the thought that she had lost 20 pounds. (Keep in mind, we are talking about a 7-year-old who started at 60 lbs. earlier in the summer.) I remember looking at her ghostly white face and thinking about how deeply her eyes were sunken in.
Several great nurses worked with us, and it was immediately determined that she was dehydrated. How can that be? I thought. All she's been doing all summer has been drinking water.
The dehydration provided a new problem, one that would cause trouble all week. This tiny, 40-lb. child with roll-y veins would prove to be a challenge for any professional looking to place an IV. At first, she found this needle-digging painful, but after the first hour or so, she was too out of it to even notice.
A doctor had been in to ask the same questions I had already answered for nurses and other attendants. I don't even remember what they were now. He mentioned CAT scans and testing for some scary diseases. I'm pretty sure God let those diseases float in one ear and right out another. I have no idea now what he said.
What I do remember is the nurses calling for Alan - the Super Nurse. He remained the only person able to start an IV on her through the week. (This includes anyone on the pediatric IV specialist team in the regional ICU we went to.) It was Alan who noticed her wheezy breathing and said, "Has anyone tested her glucose?"
No one blinked. Someone immediately moved to get a nearby reader and did what seemed to be an instantaneous test.
The number, the moment, that changed our lives. I knew a little about diabetes. I knew they were testing her sugar level and that they expected to see a number between 80-100.
561. Where it all changed. Treatment now had a direction. Of course, I was in a daze, still dwelling on that number that I knew was bad. There were going to be no more tests, not at our local hospital, anyway. Now knowing how very sick my daughter was, and had been for some time (her A1C was 14.0), the doctor was hurriedly making plans to get her transferred to a hospital with a pediatric ICU, an hour and a half away.
We thought she had a virus.
Really, she had Type 1 Diabetes. And she had gone into Keto Acidosis (DKA). Doctors were now concerned, as I would later find out, about swelling in her brain and the permanent damage that it could lead to.
She must have been fighting this through the whole summer. My baby was literally starving, even though she was terribly hungry all the time. Her pancreas had shut down, and was no longer producing the insulin needed to get sugar, needed for energy, into her cells. So, instead of going where it needed to be used, the sugar from the food she ate sat in her body and broke down into acid. Vomiting, urinating, and wheezing were all her body's ways of trying to get rid of all that extra acid. It wasn't working, so the acid went into her blood, resulting in DKA.
At the regional hospital, I was told she had one of the lowest pH's (most acidic) they had ever seen in a child.
Why did she lose so much weight, even though she was so hungry? Since her cells weren't getting the sugar they needed, they fed off her reserve fat and eventually muscle. Breaking down the muscle, leaving acidic residue in her blood. Her cells weren't getting fed. She was literally starving.
Once the ambulance got us to the next hospital, a pediatric team got working on her right away. The paramedics left us and were replaced by several doctors and nurses. It was going on 6:00 a.m., and neither my baby or I had slept at all. For her, it was because even though her speech made no sense, the doctors were afraid of her losing consciousness. So they kept her awake. For me, I was just too scared. We wouldn't be able to sleep through the night for a few days more.
Another round of questions came for me and for her after we arrived. I was asked the same questions I had been asked a few times before now, about family disease history (of which there was none) and so forth. She was asked questions to determine her lucidity, such as her name and who I was. I was so nervous about her answering correctly, I could have thrown up.
Throughout the next day, she began to "transition" as they told me, out of DKA. The vigilance and constant presence of the nurses made me nervous. They were worried too. Fear was an ever-present guest in our hospital room. I was taken aside early the first day to be told that visitors should be kept to "family only" during her recovery. Fear didn't get the memo, because it is not part of our family.
The many machines she was hooked up to fed her the liquid, medicine, and nutrients her body needed, while others monitored her heart, blood pressure, and other vitals. She still has some residue of the tape marks on her little body.
As she came out, through the week, her breathing became more normal, her skin tone less ashy, her face less sunken, and her feet less blue. All good signs. Then, as more tests needed to be taken, more blood needed to be drawn, and with her awareness increasing, the blood draws drew many tears and wails in addition to the scant amount of blood they were able to get. As painful as it was to watch her recognize the pain, I was thankful that she was with us and able to cry.
Eventually, the IV fluids and insulin were removed, and the training began. I was thrown into the world of shot giving. God made me a fast learner as I needed to be. But watching trained nurses struggle to get enough blood from her fingers on a prick should have given me an indication of what we had to come at home.
The turning point and highlight for my little girl was a visit from the therapy dog, Jasper. I am so thankful for Jasper. As he jumped up onto her bed, ready for a loving petting from tiny, bandaged hands, he had no idea he had brought the first smile to her face we had seen in days.
In truth, we were beginning to see what the high sugar level and acid in her blood had done to my little girl over the summer. Screaming fits and toddler-like tantrums had become such the norm, we joked about walking on eggshells. The reality was, she just felt miserable and had no way to tell us that her pancreas had stopped working.
After she was discharged, we spent the next day in "diabetes boot camp," learning about the disease, the basics of her care, and most importantly - how to feed our child. Our lessons have been reinforced daily.
The first few weeks at home have been tough - especially on grumpy days when her sugar is high. I was asked in the hospital, repeatedly, what questions I had. At the time, I knew too little to know what to ask. Now, I wish I had a live-in nurse just to answer questions (and if she could do pricks and shots too, that would be great.)
We haven't really told her much about what "forever" is going to look like for her here on earth. That's because we are sincerely hoping a cure is on the horizon soon. If nothing else, this new diagnosis has brought us to our knees much more often. He never left her, and we are sure He will always be by her side. God has been good - now that she has the medicine she needs, she is feeling much better than she had been through the summer. Our permanently grumpy little girl has gone away and been replaced by one more aware of what her moods mean and how to control them.
We thought she had a virus. We were wrong, but God saw us through and saved my baby from what could have been something very bad. I hope this post has given you some ideas of symptoms to look for if your own child gets sick and you worry it could be Type 1 Diabetes. I will reiterate it by posting a list soon. Until that time, give your child a hug, and remind him or her that God is always in control.
I sit here looking out my window at my garden, and I remember.
I remember when I looked out my window on April 7, 2002. (It's in my pregnancy journal.) It was a Saturday, and I was in my second trimester with my first baby. In those days, I was convinced I was fragile and shouldn't lift a finger.
My husband was outside, moving dirt around to start a garden in front of our house. Our house hadn't been built more than a year ago, so he basically followed the dirt lines left by the construction/landscaping crew.
I knew the dirt wasn't very good, and I didn't have the first inkling about how to make something grow anyway. After a trip to Home Depot, stupidly asking no questions, I chose to begin with 2 azalea bushes and 2 rhododendrons.
One rhododendron died almost on contact with the dirt. I really have no idea why one grew and the other did not. The azaleas fared better. I learned later that azaleas love the acidy soil that is plentiful around our house.
That summer, I gave birth to our first child. It's a good thing azaleas are perennial, because I did not have time to fuss over flowers. Time passed and I bore two more children while the azaleas faithfully returned each year to mark the end of April/beginning of May. Since two of my babies were born in April, there were a few years that I didn't even notice the blooms.
But a funny thing happened when the kids all made it to school age. I bought a recliner and put it in the living room by the window so I could do my writing with a beautiful view. For about a week or two each year, my window would be filled with plentiful pink flowers.
I rarely get to look out the window at them. Beginning of May is softball season, soccer season, concert season, Mother's Day, and a couple of birthdays.
As I write this, it's spring again, so just the other day, I looked out my window to see the azaleas blooming before I headed out to a 4th grade concert. The flowers were a blur. It's tough to see clearly through tears in my eyes.
You see, the last time my azaleas were blooming, I was on my way to a special "tea" to celebrate the end of my youngest's year in kindergarten. And now, all of a sudden, I am going out to celebrate my middle child's last few days in elementary school.
My children age like there's nothing to it. (I guess there really isn't, as far as they can see.) But the azaleas come back just the same every year. I will look out my window in just a few years to see the same azaleas, only they will be in the background of my oldest's prom pictures. Same flowers that struggled to come out just before she was born. But the child in the foreground is different.
Looking at the pretty pinks is becoming harder and harder. They announce the close of another school year. But they are the anchor of anything static in my ever-changing family.
The kids are growing, and I love that. It's just going to come as a shock one day to look out the window at the azaleas and not have to run to an end of the year concert. I won't know what to do, but at least I will have the azaleas there to look at.
Welcome to May. I will be looking out my window to see azaleas coming and going again, bowing away to give the limelight to the rhododendrons. Soon the rhododendrons will pass, too, so the butterfly bush can carry the summer.
But I won't forget the beautiful blooms from early spring. Even though they only lasted a few weeks. I know they will be back again in a year. It won't look exactly the same - nothing is ever the same - but they will be there. The kids inside the house guarded by the flowers will be much different, I'm sure. But, for now, they are still there as well.
So, good bye, for today, azaleas. I have a concert to go to. I don't have any time this year to see how you've grown. But your time will come, as my Lord wills it. I will be back to you before we know it.
We were getting ready for Valentine's Day on one of our many snow days this winter. My youngest child has overachiever tendencies, and so she had already gone gung-ho in getting her seed packets stapled to the cards on the day I let her at that stapler.
I was proud of the cards I had come up with for my son. Minecraft is the obsession du jour, so I printed out cards that simply said "Be Mine" with a picture from the game. Now, of course, these days a solitary piece of paper is not enough to show your classmates you have fake feelings for them one day of the year. With allergies and diet restrictions all over the place, my brain gets taxed coming up with ideas for the little extra to be included. It had nothing to do with the Minecraft theme, but whatever - I picked up an easy bag of heart-shaped lollipops.
As my son opened the lollipop bag, he noticed there were actually generic little "To:/ From:" cards in the bag with the candy. He had a little laugh, since he had already put names on all the Minecraft cards. But then he took one pop and attached it to a card. He didn't write my name or do anything other than put a pop in the assigned spot on the card. Then he looked at me and said something to the effect of, "But I'm so glad you made me cards that I liked instead."
The compliment slid right off my back. Of course, I did something for my son that would make him happy. It was pretty easy and cost nothing.
To him, it was apparently something else. To him, it was another brick solidifying our relationship. I knew what he liked and didn't think twice about doing it. That meant a lot to him. My boy isn't a typical boy, at least not in this day and age. He has somehow managed to hold on to a sweet innocence that could easily be muddied with every step through the school hallways. At 9 years old, he still holds my hand and smiles at me.
He handed me the card and said, "Mom - don't ever throw it away."
The lollipop was sweet, but his commission has taken a hold of me. Its importance has strengthened since he issued it.
Ever. That's the word sticking with me.
I'll be honest. I get a lot of papers and pictures and crafts from the kids. They don't ALL make it into the box of things I keep each year. I have come to the realization that sometimes I am the convenient excuse for the kids to not throw away their crafts.
"Here, Mom. It's for you," actually translates to:
"Mom, I don't know what to do with this thing the teacher had the whole class make, but I know you treasure every single thing I do, so here's a reminder that I want to make you proud."
In other dialects, it could also mean:
"If I go near the trash can with this, you might ask me to take the trash out, so I'm going to play cute and make you do it."
How do I know these are accurate? Because seldom am I asked, "Mom, what did you do with my picture?"
This lollipop was different. The word "ever" caught my attention. That word said, "I mean it, and I'm going to check up on you."
OK, son. It's just a lollipop. I can hang onto it. It won't get in the way.
It sits next to my computer station in the kitchen. The kitchen is one of my busiest places. I spend a lot of time there, cooking, cleaning, and getting life into a more organized chaos. (My writing is more concentrated and done in the living room, so my kitchen work station is a place I only visit for a short time, but I do it frequently.)
Truly, I don't think I could have put that lollipop in any better place.
The lollipop sits right by my medicine dispenser. I see it when I need to take my pills, and I suddenly remember why it's important for me to stay at my best. I'm not doing it just for me.
At night, I'll stop by the area to pick up a drying towel after I wash the dishes- the dishes no one else volunteered to do, but I do without a second thought. Everyone else in the family comes along as I am washing and dump more dishes in the sink. No "thank you's" or any other kind of acknowledgment from the children. If I'm lucky, the water won't splash up into my face.
Then, I wipe my hands dry. I see the pop, and it says, "I might not tell you I care that you do the dishes, but I tell you that I care about you."
Maybe on another day, I'll prop the computer on the counter with the Pinterest recipe I need to use to cook dinner.
Dinner is a hard time for my family and me. Tastes are so specific and varied, that it's all but impossible to come up with a meal everyone will eat. I'll think I've found one, and it will be met with resounding complaints that make me want to scream. I try so hard! And no one cares. To them, I am still the evil mom forcing disgusting nutrients into their bodies. How dare I take claim on their lives in such a way?
But the lollipop is there. It has been there through all the complaints. Even if one of the complainers is my son, his sentiment remains on the counter. His words say, "I'm mad," but his lollipop says, "Don't give up on me. Ever."
In the kitchen, we keep the containers that hold everyone's shoes. My son's box is right next to my work station. In the box are the basketball sneakers that my son dreads putting on. Two months ago, we bought him good shoes for the season. He tried them on and they were fine. I think it was a day later that he put them on and they were a size too small.
Day by day, those feet will grow until they are bigger than mine.
But that lollipop will never change. It won't grow up, it won't move out. It won't need bigger shoes or money to go out with friends. It won't get a driver's license, it won't go to college.
The lollipop will always stand in its spot by my work station saying, "I love you, Mom."
Pieces might crumble from it if it gets knocked around, but it won't be thrown away. Never.
That lollipop will stay on my counter forever.
One day, my boy won't let me hold his hand. He'll be holding someone else's hand. I'll have to hold the lollipop instead. I hope he comes home one day, maybe with his wife and kids, and asks me, "Mom, do you remember the lollipop I gave you when I was in 4th grade?"
Because I will have it. I'll get it out and show him that I never threw it out.
He will smile again because we both know that the sentiment still stands true. My boy loves me.
Passion Under Grace,