Hello Kitty is harder to let go

I donated K’s first bike today. It was a Hello Kitty bike–I had to drive to Temecula to get it, it was so popular. No wonder, since it had streamers on the handlebars and a baby seat on the back. She learned to ride without training wheels on that bike. I took it from the car, picturing that beautiful little thing riding furiously, a wide-as-a-rainbow grin stretched upon her face. My eyes caught the little purple label still attached–one of her baby labels, repurposed for protection on preschool bike day. She was a baby, then a preschooler with a baby-seat-sporting training bike, and now she has outgrown it all, and it’s going into a bin with our George Foreman grill, the biker-girls bike seat, and a bag of old clothes.

I wept.

As much as I try to understand and appreciate seasonality, my heart still aches as the seasons shift. I love that she’s growing, reading, riding her brother’s old bike. I love that she calls me her buddy now, that she has become my cooking companion. But even Jesus wept (John 11:35) at this world, at the impossible gap between the temporal nature of earth and the eternity for which we were meant. Oh yes, every one of those aches makes me remember that we are not meant for this world, with its rapid passing of time. I could just as easily pine for any of those discarded items, they are tied with memories of time past.

Instead, I think about that verse, the shortest verse in the bible, and the power within it. We can be sad, too, even as Jesus was sad. We can mourn those losses. And then we can remember what they point us to, and praise Jesus that someday, there will be no more letting go.


And you thought they were just cute vegetables

Me: I’m sorry that you haven’t cleaned your room. Why don’t you head downstairs? I’m going to need to clean up these things, and you won’t have them for the rest of the week.
K: NOOOOO!!! You need to give me another chance!!!
Me: I’m sorry, but I told you what would happen if you didn’t clean up, and you didn’t clean up.
K: But you have to give me a second chance. GOD SAYS YOU GET TWO CHANCES!
Me: (speechless. Caps do not do justice to the intensity of this statement)
K: God says you get second chances. I learned that in VeggieTales. God says you get second chances and YOU CAN’T GO AGAINST GOD!

Indeed. I think I just got VeggieTaled.

Live and let die

My tomatoes are dying. The leaves turned yellow, making their way to the top, and are covered with a light dusting of something the internet suggests is fungus. The internet also suggests that I race to Home Depot for fungicide. This isn’t going to happen. Instead, the tomatoes will just die as they did last year and the year before, along with my dreams of tomato gratin and tomato salad and tomato sandwiches.

They’re in good company. The zucchini, the squash, the green beans–they’re all dying too. I have copious amounts of basil and oregano, which isn’t particularly useful since I have no vegetables with which to pair them. The lawn, the flowers, the shrubs are all in some level of yellowed weariness. I’m just not good at gardening.

The thing is, I’m supposed to be good at gardening. We come from farming stock, B and I, and we garden every year. Unsuccessfully. Still, people believe I’m a gardener, which I spend a lot of energy trying to live up to. It’s not an uncommon thread, this feeling that I must live up to the expectations of other people. I can think of a half dozen labels just like this one that I long to shed. The shedding of them, though, is another matter. I don’t want people to think I’ve given up, or that they don’t know who I am. But in a lot of cases, I think I’m just figuring that out, and they’re bound to be as confused as I am.

At the end of eight months of dealing with this confusion, the bulk of it spent on my knees and in the Word, paring down the plants of the world to identify what God really created, I’m finally seeing the light. My purpose? To be a wife and mother and friend. And, to my multitasking chagrin, that’s about it. Other people may be created to do a lot of different things, but not me. Learning to be okay with that has been the first step to being truly happy.

It’s not easy. I’ve spent so long telling myself these things are me that I find myself holding on to them with superhuman strength. I suppose that’s why it takes God to wrench them from my grasp. I worry about what other people think, what they think I’m giving up, and what I’m actually giving up. But if I can stay there, in God’s will for my life, it’s like the peaceful eye of a tornado. It’s the staying there that’s so hard.


Today only: acetone is my friend

On the plus side:
1) We didn’t have anywhere we needed to be, so I was free to spend an hour cleaning the carpet
2) That section of carpet is in a hard to notice spot near our bedroom closet, and not in full view of house guests.
3) I miraculously had both rags and a nearly full bottle of nail polish remover within arm’s length.

Still… there’s nothing good about bright pink nail polish spilled all over cream carpet. Really.


I finally got myself one of this Mr. Clean magic erasers. Yep. Got all sucked in by those commercials where people are wiping off all sorts of things with just water. As someone always looking for chemically-free ( but still effective) ways to clean, it sounded perfect. To good to be true really. I fully expected to be disappointed.

Well, it certainly does have magic cleaning powers because it took the paint off my walls. Really. So either I have some funky water soluble paint, or Mr. Clean’s on steroids (which, we all must admit, would not be surprising).  After one session cleaning of our not-even-very-dirty kitchen cabinets, the eraser is a pathetically wadded mess already missing several corners. But the cabinets are clean. As is that white spot on the wall (hint: our kitchen walls are not usually white). I find it hard to believe I got suckered into buying something to clean with water when I have fifty billion rags around the house that’d do the trick, and I also find it hard to believe that it could work out so bafflingly effective and shoddy at the same time. Around here, Mrs. Clean is not amused.

The Yes Moment

“Mommy, can I help you?”

It was a simple enough request, very thoughtful and politely delivered, too. And it was Yes Day, my day to meet Momalom’s challenge. I worked hard all morning, thinking of how I could rephrase things positively, whether I needed to say “no” as quickly as I often did.

By this point, I was honestly worn out.

“No,” I said. And I meant it. For one, it was M’s rest time, and the rule is that he needs to take some alone time instead of helping me. For another, I was using a less-than-child-appropriate cleaner on our shower. You know, the shower I hadn’t managed to clean since we moved in? That one. It needed as heavy duty as I had. And beyond that, it’s a small wet shower, I’m hot and sweaty and tired, and I just want to finish as quickly as possible so I can get to the fifty other things I need to do before M and I have our usual time together.

He walked away dejected. I was dejected myself. Yes Day sounded so fun. But the truth is, the answer isn’t always “yes.” It became work, all that redirecting and giving in and wiggling around situations where the answer really is, for good reason, “no.” I’m not saying that I shouldn’t be more positive. I get that I often use “no” because I don’t want to deal with the “yes,” that it’s a quick answer that I use too liberally. But sometimes, the answer is “no.” And the more I wiggle that around, the more wiggly I seem. And the more wiggly I seem, the more the kids try to make me wiggle, like I’m a loose brick they can somehow dislodge.

I said “no,” and I meant “no.” The answer was reasonable; I didn’t need to spend time arguing otherwise. But I turned that time and energy toward M’s return. At that point, I was nearly done with the shower, and it was getting close to the end of nap time. I gave him little helpful duties to get me finished and then told him we could work on the other shower together. Yes, he could help. It might not have gotten the shower clean–I put that energy into smiling, accepting, enjoying even as he was using bath towels to wipe the floor and dripping water where I just mopped and squeegeeing every possible surface–because there had been a “no” and now there could be a “yes.” We eventually got the shower clean, the floor wiped up, and the towels in the wash. And we did something together, something different, before settling down to doing something usual. Yes Day was overwhelming. It just wasn’t reasonable for me to expect myself to green-light everything, or feel guilty when I couldn’t. But a “yes” moment? I can definitely spend my days making more of those.

Yes! is the final topic in Momalom’s Five for Ten, coming on the heels of courage, happiness, memory, and lust. If you want to be inspired, too, check out the latest post here.