Monday, April 20, 2015

On Teens and Dancing

I have come to realize that parenting three teen aged sons is much like dancing.

Think about it for a second and just stay with me....

You hear an unfamiliar song. You know, one that you've never heard before, but even so... You kinda dig it. You find the beat and start moving to it and begin to feel pretty confident in your ability to move your body to the beat in a fashion that doesn't make you feel, or more importantly, LOOK like a total idiot! Suddenly the beat changes and your left there to find your rhythm again.

You listen intently.
You watch others and how they are moving.
You feel the music sink into your soul to bring on the moves.

Do you see the correlation here?

On any given day, I feel like the rhythm of this life is constantly changing. I may feel comfortable for a few moments and have the familiar sensation of knowing what to expect next, but that awareness doesn't last long before the beat changes once again... Leaving me feeling like a stranger to my own mind and body. I can't help but wonder what I look like to those around me, but especially to my own boys.

I've reminded myself and them that I've never done this before. There was no trial run before they came. That reminder certainly doesn't make me feel any better, and I get the strangest "DUH" stares from the three of them whenever making that obvious statement.

Yesterday I held within my arms a brand new baby. He wasn't even 24 hours old! Such a sweet, precious little boy... All wrapped up like a little gift. Holding him brought tears to my eyes because I know FIRST HAND many of the days that lie ahead for this little guy and for his parents.  J and I have received our three such gifts in this same way. They came to us with such beauty... Everything about them so perfect and wonderful. Their little lives brought with them new responsibilities and yes, worries. The worry never leaves. It changes, but it doesn't leave. I remember the first night having Lucas home from the hospital... I literally DID NOT sleep. He did, but I did not. I HAD to listen to him breathe. I felt that I MUST make sure that his tiny little chest was moving up and down appropriately. I kept that up for a good long while until I had to crash and burn. This was all part of a beautiful thing called Motherhood.

Over the years, the worries I have for my boys have evolved. The rhythms of life have changed suddenly, repeatedly, and drastically. What at one moment has seemed familiar has quickly become unchartered territory.

We listen.
We watch.
We feel.
We learn... From each other.

I am unexpectedly filled with a sense of knowing that this IS the new rhythm. It twists and it turns, but it is brilliant... As it stretches my mothering abilities beyond the boundaries that I set for myself years ago. I pray that these boys can see that and appreciate it. I hope that they can see that although I'm not by any means perfect, I am a mother who is constantly learning... Constantly being re-shaped and molded.

This dance of life is sometimes strange... But it is ALWAYS beautiful. It is one that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world! This dance is continually begging to be heard, to be seen, and to be felt. That is how we learn about ourselves and those that we love so much.

Lucas, Colby and Caleb.... I am the luckiest Mama in the world! I am even luckier to be side by side with you through this crazy, rhythmic life.

Today and always... May I have this dance?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Crossing Paths

So I guess coming here has become an every six months or so thing. I don't know when that happened or why it happened. I just know that's how it is. I still find my head constantly swimming with thoughts... Both old and new. The thoughts sometimes paralyze me. If I were better about coming here to write, I know that wouldn't be the case.

There are two words that have been stuck in my brain since Saturday.

Crossing paths.

My hubby, our two younger boys and I were out running some errands on Saturday. While doing so, we met this very sweet older man from Russia. I believe he had somehow become lost (and I've been praying since Saturday that he found home), but in his being lost, he touched our hearts. We sat in a parking lot with this man for close to an hour. He barely spoke english. Amongst his Russian vocabulary, there were just a few scattered words of english... Just enough for us to try to understand what he was wanting to communicate. We learned that he loves math, that he was somewhere in his mid eighties, that he only moved here from Moscow recently, and that his two brothers were killed in the war. This stranger shared tears with us as he told us (mostly in his language) all about losing his brothers to war. We were able to share about Jesus with him, and he shared with us that Jesus is someone he already knows. He shared how knowing Jesus in his communist country was a hard thing, and at times, for some it was deadly. By the end of this visit, my heart ached for this man who had just simply crossed our path that day. His sadness was completely contagious! However, I couldn't help but think how this appointment in the parking lot was Divinely scheduled. He was meant to cross our path, and we were meant to cross his.

Fast forward to yesterday. My mom and nephew came up to spend the day. It wasn't something necessarily planned out. Those are the best times, don't you think? Anyhow, we got busy playing with Thomas the Train and sewing up roman shades for our bay window. After many interruptions and distractions, it was time for a snack! I made my way to the kitchen and prepared a healthy snack of cheese, crackers and blueberries on a plate for Elijah. We got him situated at the table and Grandma put her needle down and joined us too. We were chatting about lots of things when I heard a familiar voice coming through the back door. It was my Dad.

 I'm not going to lie. At first, I was thinking about all of the many ways this could go not so good. I knew my parents wouldn't get into any knock down drag outs, but a general feeling of awkwardness? Yes! But then, almost immediately I heard these two words in my head again.... Crossing Paths. Peace washed over me.

We all sat in the same room for a good long while. That is something in itself that I never thought would happen again. Mom picked up her needle and thread again, I folded laundry, Elijah went back to the menagerie of train tracks and pieces, and Dad contently sat in a chair and led discussion on extended family members of both sides. My parents got caught up in a way. It wasn't anything deep, just very pleasant. It was surprisingly comfortable and I knew that these paths were also meant to be crossed.

I feel like I could go on and on about the multiple ways in which I have felt blessed by the crossing of paths recently. These are just the two most recent examples. God has been busy in this home these past few weeks. He has been orchestrating all the right people at the right place and at the right time. It's not something that I take lightly OR for granted.

He always has a plan... It's been a blessing to see His plan being carried out through the many crossing of paths.