Advent Candle of Hope

Sunday was the first day of Advent. My boys don’t really care about the “anticipation” and the “waiting” for Jesus. They care about the wreath on the dining table that has candles on it. Candles can only mean one thing – the chance to fight about who gets to light the candles and who gets to blow them out. That’s what Advent is to them. Though they did learn last year that Mommy means what she says – keep fighting, keep arguing, keep driving me nuts, and that wreath disappears!!

So we sit down to a fine dinner of spaghetti and meatballs Sunday evening and light the first candle – the candle of Hope. I ask each one what they are hopeful for – and no, that particular Christmas gift does not count.

A couple hours later, during a typical wrestling match, Mr. Ornery apparently delivered a well-executed sweep kick that crashed the five-year-old to the floor. I did not witness said move as I was in the kitchen, doing what all single moms do after a meal – hiding and praying for a moment of quiet. But no, the Little Guy is screams in pain, and his unempathetic mom gives him a kiss and an elbow rub and a “get over it” look and we’re ready for bed, guys! After all, it is bedtime and sleep heals all wounds.

And what I realize in that moment is that all I’m hoping for this Advent Season is a moment of peace….which is not to be.

So here’s this year’s list of Advent Hope.

  1. Hope for just a few evenings of quiet to sit on the couch and stare at the tree lights.
  2. Hope that the hurt elbow heals up by the morning. This Hope, however,sam-cast2wp was replaced with Monday evening at Express Care and Tuesday afternoon spent in the Emergency Room for a lovely HUGE cast! (Mind you, on the same day, Super Tall Guy finished his 3rd week of boot-wearing after 3 weeks of casting. One out of a cast and one into a cast! Delightful.)
  3. Hope that this fracture train will end and the third boy keeps his bones intact! (He seems to hold the opposite hope, as these casts apparently to draw pretty cool attention according to his logic!)
  4. Hope that the dog will never ever ever again bark from her crate in the morning and wake me up on my golden morning of sleeping in as she did last Sunday! Really, dog?!?
  5. Hope that the boys will develop a much better aim for bodily fluids because I’m in-toiletgetting pretty tired of being the janitor (or else their hands are going to be cramping with writing assignments! “It’s 50 this time but it’s going to be 200 next time!”)
  6. Hope that we get a few more nice evenings to enjoy my early Christmas gift of a fire pit on the front patio (and again, not struggle with “behaviors” related to messing with fire!).
  7. Hope that there will be more dull moments this season – when the to-do list isn’t rumbling around in the back of my skull and the hype isn’t stirring up the boys’ inability to control impulses – and that we actually enjoy the days and each other (I know, too much to hope for, but I’m going to try).
  8. Hope that I can instill some meaningful traditions into this season where the boys catch a glimpse of the true meaning of Christmas and think about others for a few seconds; I’m only asking for a couple seconds.
  9. Hope for the world and all its people to find some peace and know that Christ is the Light of the world that disperses darkness.
  10. Hope for continued love and support of family and friends, and for patience….lots of patience….I need lots of patience…..
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Hanging out in the “Accident Zone”

I’m pretty sure Children’s Hospital Express Care should know our names by now. If you’re parenting three boys, you’re just going to be engaging the health care system…a lot!

Looking around the waiting room on a Friday night, it felt good to be getting out of the fever, cough, cold, respiratory stage of needing a doctor. But we seem to have moved into the “accident” stage of life. Last week, it was a 1 inch dog bite under The Little Guy’s eye from his aunt’s busy-with-my-bone dog. We spent the next ten days with some antibiotics.

Two weeks before that it was a painful swollen ankle of Super Tall Guy mat-xrayafter he twisted it jumping on a bounce-house type jump pad. Not wanting to deal with crutches and school the next morning, I finally convinced him to go with me to get it checked out. Expecting an ankle aircast for a “sprain,” we walked out with a boot and an appointment for orthopedics.

A couple days later when the orthopedist suggested a cast instead of the walking boot, I agreed whole-heartedly. I know boys. Anything removable will be removed. Clothes. Soiled diapers during nap time. Seat belts in the middle of a long highway journey. And velcro-fastened walking boots.foot-boot

I also know that there’s no stopping my boys. Two days after the cast was applied, my sister texted to ask if Super Tall Guy could jump on the trampoline with the cast. “Um, no.”  “That’s what I told him, but he said his mom said he could.” He still rides a bike and a scooter through the neighborhood. I’ve called him down off the roof of the tree-house. Other than maybe shortening the trick or treat time from 2 hours to one hour and forty-five minutes, I haven’t seen much change in this boy (except to ask for glasses of water and dinners to be brought to the couch!).

Injury only has two days of “coolness,” though. mat-castThe first day is an opportunity to show off the green-casted foot to all the kids in the neighborhood. Ohhh. Ahhh. The next day is the sympathy at school and the offer to be at the head of the lunch line.

But on day two, the anger sets in. The annoyance at the itch down deep inside (“you must go buy me a hair dryer now, Mom. She said to use a hair dryer.” It’s nine o’clock at night, buddy. We’re going to bed.). The frustrated tantrum of wanting it off and banging the cast against the wall in an effort to shatter the plaster.  I consider the $85 cost of replacing the waterproof liner if we have to redo this cast and the damage to the wall as I angrily respond; that is, until I pause and remember that it’s day two. Day Two is nightmare zone, whether it’s during vacation at the beach or the start of a long recovery process. Day Two is when the excitement comes to a screeching halt. Always be prepared for Day Two.

And yet, two days moved into two weeks and then three weeks and the cast came off. The nurse practitioner smiled and said, “Keep it in the walking boot for 3 weeks and then see how it is.” See how it is? The kid just took off the walking boot off 10 days later to “skate” at the indoor slide-skate park!! Remember, “removable” splints and bandaids and velcro boots and so much more are, in fact, removable!

I’m not sure who is more miserable when a kid breaks a bone, but I can assure you that we’d all like to get out of the “accident zone” of medical visits.

 

 

Why It Matters: I Choose Love

I’m not just going to get over it. It matters to me.

I didn’t sleep Tuesday night. I lay in bed checking the electoral count every 5 minutes. When the Associated Press called it, fireworks went off in my neighborhood. For the first time in a long time, I felt fear in my heart. Gunshots in the neighborhood a few weeks ago did not even compare to this fear. Fireworks to celebrate the election of a man who for over a year has publicly spewed words of hatred and anger, racism and sexism, disrespect and disregard for thousands upon thousands of people, this act of celebration pierced my heart.

In the morning, my eldest son woke up. Having followed the election from the periphery, he knew that Trump was unkind, but he certainly didn’t know the depth of it all. When his eyes opened, I said, “Son, Trump was chosen.” “Oh, okay,” he replied. I said, “No, son, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was just elected our president.”

“Oh, that’s bad. Very bad.”

This is not about taking “sides.” This is not about policies and politics. This is about choosing dignity and who will represent Americans to its own citizens and to the face of the world. #notmypresident is the cry that this man does not represent the feelings and passions of so many people. And I cannot tolerate disrespect and violence against my children, my family, my friends and my fellow humans.

I can not tolerate that my 7-year-old scribbled this note and tried to hide it in his room one night this week. When I asked him about it, he replied, “Because I am stupid.” And the pain touches me and I wonder where he is hearing these words that pierce his soul.nate-name

As I lay there into the early morning hours of Wednesday, the words below formed in my heart and I jotted them down. This morning (Sunday), I asked my ten-year-old to write the second half of the poem and handed him my computer.

Listen to his voice. This is why it matters to me.

When you walk in white skin
You stride through the world
Open doors and shake hands,
Look in people’s eyes with confidence.
When you walk in white skin
You feel safe, respected, untouchable
Assuming that you have the right to what you want.
When you walk in white skin
You say “I am not racist, I don’t even notice the color of skin,”
Because your eye has already seen the flesh upon your arms and it is content.

When you walk in white skin
You must force yourself to consider a walk in the shoes of another….

For….

When you walk in black skin…

Kids pick on me!
“Your black and I am white so you listen to me” they say.
Someone punched me in the stomach!
Sometimes it bothers me
Sometimes I feel bad inside
Sometimes it makes me get mad
Sometimes it makes me get annoyed
Sometimes it makes me get angry
Sometimes I am lonely.

THE END

 

It’s not that I don’t accept a “change.” It’s that I won’t accept mistreatment of human beings who were created by and loved by the Almighty God. I will not accept evil.

"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince"

“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”

It Matters to me.

love-quotes-darkness-cannot-drive-out-darkness-only-light-can-do-that-hate-cannot-drive-out-hate-only-love-can-do-that

I Choose Love.
On behalf of my boys of brown skin, I choose love.
On behalf of my family and friends, I choose love.
On behalf of everyone who is scared and hurting, I choose love.
On behalf of the oppressed, I choose love.
On behalf of you, I choose love.

 

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