"Why does Batman wear a cape?" I could tell from the start that this conversation was getting serious. I didn't let the topic of Batman fool me. I was talking to my son which is a lot like talking to myself. There is no simple answer. "Ummm. Because it's part of his costume," I replied. "You mean Batman is pretend?" I stammered and thought and stammered and thought some more. "But he's a SUPER HERO!" Graham exclaimed.
I found myself in a discussion with my 3 year old that I wasn't sure how to handle. I mean, of course I didn't want to lie to him. But I also saw him looking at me with eyes that seemed to say, "Mom, please, please, please, don't tell me Batman isn't real. I just don't think my heart can take it." So I didn't lie, and I didn't tell him the truth either. I avoided the truth which might be the same as lying. I started to tell him about Batman being pretend, and then I ended with the "it's complicated" statement that I use when I just don't think either of us are ready for a conversation. Because Batman is a complicated conversation...trust me.
Needless to say, super heroes have been on the brain. In the mornings I ask him what he dreamt about. "Super heroes!" is always his reply. It's like something happened to him overnight, and he became obsessed. I know diddly squat about super heroes, but I'm falling in love with them myself. I've never seen G light up the way he does when he talks about Spider Man, Batman, Iron Man and Captain America. And if you ask him why he loves super heroes so much, he replies, "Because they SAVE people!" Why wouldn't you like someone who SAVES people?
I had the rare opportunity to spend the last few days just with G alone. We went to the movies, played in the rain, painted pottery, got ice cream, drank hot chocolate, and of course went to super hero night at Chick-fil-a. I've loved my time with him. I've never had a day alone with him since Lucy has been born, and it was so special to me. Most of the time I spent hanging out with Spider Man or Captain America, but I also got some quality time with G himself. It was priceless, and I'm thankful for every day I have with my own, personal super hero.
And I'm finally sharing a post much of which I wrote months ago. Please forgive me. Life's been crazy.
Well there's been a lot of hard playing around here lately. Digging in rocks. Swimming in the baby pool. Playing in the sprinkler. Eating snow cones. We've summerfied our house. We even made a trip to Target to get new sidewalk chalk, bubbles, and large paper for finger painting. I guess it's my summer survival kit.
There's been lots of baseball playing. Graham loves him some sports. He wants to spend the afternoon either playing football or baseball. Thakfully, there's also been a lot of helmet wearing too. Lucy loves walking around the house and yard with Graham's Batman bicycle helmet. She just so happened to be wearing it as he wacked her head (by accident) when he was playing baseball. Disaster adverted all because of her obsession with that helmet.
There's also been a lot of fighting around here. One kid takes something away. The other kid yanks it back. Lots of screaming. Even some hitting. There's been lots of frustrations. Lucy has been dragging Graham's Humpty Dumpty around the house and saying, "My baby. My baby." To which Graham replies "Lucy, NO! That is not a baby! It's Humpty Dumpty!" Who would have thought that calling Humpty Dumpty a baby was a crime? Apparently it is. It's one of those absurd laws that our state has had for years.
And because of all the fighting, there's been lots of I'm sorrys around here and lots and lots of hugs. Now that Lucy is talking a lot more, she goes up to Graham and says, "sorry," while giving him a huge hug. And then inevitably this bear hug results in a wrestling move (because that's only natural, right?), and one of the kids gets hurt during the process of apologizing. So we go through the day stacking I'm sorrys on top of I'm sorrys because we hurt each other in the midst of our apologies. And to be completely honest, G and LP aren't the only ones having to say "I'm sorry." I get my fair share of I'm sorrys in too because of course I'm not always calm, cool, and collective during chaos or even during moments of peace.
There's been lots of sweet moments. Reading books together. Graham and Lucy playing peacefully in the backyard and laughing so hard at one another even though neither knows what is so funny. There's been some sharing. There's been some helping one another. There's been Graham trying to teach the Westminster Catechism to LP and also instructing her on how to mow the lawn. And there's been some gospel sharing. There is nothing much sweeter than hearing my husband whisper the gospel to Graham every Sunday as communion is being served. These moments put a smile on my face. These moments give me delight...delight that is deep.
So that's what's been going on around here. Nothing perfect. Nothing extraordinary. Just two kiddos trying to figure out who they are and Jeff and I trying to figure out the best way to love them, nurture them, discipline them, and teach them about Jesus. It's just real, ordinary life. But, I hope one day those gospel whispers stir up something extraordinary in the hearts of my kids.
Today, yes three days before Easter, it dawned on me that we haven't talked that much about Easter around our house. During Christmas it seemed like we spent a whole month talking about what Christmas really was. But not for Easter.
So, today I asked Graham what Easter was about. He first said, "it's about celebrating Easter!" So good of him to define it with the word Easter. "No...tell me what Easter is really all about." He quickly said, "about God being alive." You got it G. It's about Jesus (who is God) being alive.
We talked about Jesus dying on the cross, and then Graham said, "He didn't do nuffin' wrong. And he still had to die." Yep. He did absolutely nuffin' wrong. And he's the one who had to die. That's what makes grace so amazing, so sweet. We have a Savior that loves us so much. He came to this earth, did nuffin' wrong, died for us, and then didn't stay in that tomb. He rose from the dead and is seated at the right hand of the Father. That is what Easter is about.
I told Graham that Jesus loved us so much that he died for us. Then Graham said, "He loves you even when ya'll yell at me." Why did you have to bring up my sin...again? But, yes, my sweet Graham. He loves Daddy and I even when we yell at you. I pray that one day G really grasps what he told me today. I pray that one day he will be able to say with full understanding that he is a sinner. And normally I get so frustrated when he makes excuses with the word "but." However, one day, I pray he can proudly say, "I mess up all the time. I'm a huge sinner....but Jesus." The only excuse I don't mind hearing is, "but Jesus...but Jesus died for me. But Jesus has given me faith. But Jesus paid it all." I'm waiting for the day to hear those words come out of his heart and not just his mouth. I do things wrong all day long, but Jesus, sweet Jesus? No, he did nuffin' wrong. Not one trace of evil is in him. Praise be to God!
So, Graham has been 3 for two months, but the pictures have been stuck on a camera. Graham had a fun excavator birthday party. If you had asked me what an excavator was three years ago, I would have tried to change the subject while secretly researching "what is an excavator?" on my iphone (Oh wait, I still had my 1980's phone then). But today, I can proudly point out a tractor, excavator, bulldozer, and front loader. And contrary to my former belief, they are not all the same.
You see, that's what happens when you have a boy. You learn about heavy machinery, and you too get excited when you spot one in a field. Your heart beats a little faster when you notice that it has tracks and not wheels. It's just something that happens when you have a boy. Since Graham "digs" excavators, I had to let go of my tendency to do a sweet little baby party and give him a big boy one!(To be honest it is hard to only find excavators so it was more of a construction party). Jeff's mom made the cake and let Graham decorate it with heavy machinery. Graham had a blast with that. We also filled a kiddie pool with pea gravel so he could do a little excavating of his own. It was a fun, manly birthday for our sweet 3 year old.
A few weeks ago, the whole family was at Target, and Jeff watched the kids as I looked at some clothes. They were doing some remodeling, so there was a huge open space that the kids took advantage of. Graham and Lucy were running around, tackling each other, and laughing hysterically. They were a little loud, but they were cute.
Finally one young woman said, "It so nice to see a family with two kids who aren't about to kill each other. They are so cute. My son looks a lot like your son, and I'm expecting my second." I replied with something like, "Oh thank, you. They're pretty fun." And then I went on my way with my head held a little higher. She thought my family was cute and sweet. Brownie points for me!
Just imagine if the very next day, I happened to be at a book store during story time. And just try to picture my one year old throwing tantrums and my 3 year old refusing to share (This is all hypothetical of course). And then imagine me saying, "Graham, if you don't share, we are going to leave." And then picture me actually following through with this threat and my 3 year old screaming hysterically as I drug him and his sister out of the store. It was embarrassing. I had never had an experience quite that intense as far as tantrums go. And of course I wondered what the other parents thought of me and both of my kids. Brownie points deducted.
So don't judge me and my family if you see us being all cute and sweet to each other. If you run into me at the grocery store and see me telling my kids about every fruit and vegetable and what letter it starts with and what country it comes from, please don't judge me. I'm not always like that. And if you see me out at a restaurant and my kids are throwing food on the floor, screaming at the top of their lungs, and you see me scolding them or maybe ignoring them...don't judge me. I'm not always like that either.
You see, sometimes I look like I'm the good mom and I'm always attentive and always teaching and always gently rebuking my kids when they mess up. And sometimes I'm the bad mom telling my kids they can have a cookie after they're good at the grocery store and then stuffing one in their mouth at the beginning of the trip just to keep them from crying. In any given day, hour, or even minute I might do something that the world thinks as good and something that the world thinks as bad. And sometimes I'm confused about what really is the good mom thing to do and what really is the bad mom thing to do. And when I feel so overwhelmed, that I might not survive the little years, I rest on Jesus and trust that through my good mom moments and through my bad mom moments, He reigns supreme. Nothing...absolutely nothing can thwart his plans for me and my kids. To think otherwise would be giving myself or someone else too much credit. If you do feel the need to judge, may I direct you to my Savior who is perfect, blameless, and abounding in steadfast love. If I'm going to be judged, I'd like to be judged in light of my Jesus on whom all my hope is fixed. My bad mom days and even my good mom days are covered by his grace and his grace alone.
I'm not sure when I'll stop getting sentimental and nostalgic over birthdays. It hasn't happened yet. It's a sweet day for me, and I hope my kids feel its special for them too. Like a video, I play the events in my head that led up to Graham's birth. It was a rough day. But being removed from that day by three years, I can say it was a beautiful day. I remember the hard things about the weeks that led up to Graham's birth, but I also remember seeing my first child for the first time, and nothing can put a damper on that.
This year was fun because Graham was definitely aware that it was his birthday. Jeff and I blew up balloons and threw them all over Graham's room last night. I also taped streamers to his doorway. When he woke up this morning, I heard him crying for me. "What's wrong Graham?" "The balloons don't have strings! What happened to the strings? The ones at Chick-fil-A have strings!"
He was seriously crying over the balloons. Not exactly the response I was looking for. I guess the boy likes balloons with helium!
Then, I made him some pancakes with sprinkles and M&M's on top. He blew out the candles in his pancakes, and then ate the M&M's. That was all he had for breakfast...M&M's. We went to Bible Study, the park for lunch, and Graham's favorite restaurant for dinner. We had lots of phone calls, texts, Skype conversations, snail mail, and Jib Jab e-cards. And then I curled up with Graham on the couch and read him On The Night You Were Born. After the story, we flipped threw a photo book from his first year of life and talked about the day he entered the world.
So it was a normal day, and it was a special day all at the same time. Sometimes parents think their kids hung the moon, and for just a moment please allow me to think that too. He's a full of life, fun-loving, imaginative, tenderhearted, hot dog eating, football loving, sweet big brother and son. And I love him to the moon and back.
Despite the fact that my husband is against New Year's resolutions, I obliged him to set "goals" with me for 2012. We had some of the typical and unrealistic goals that everyone else and their mother also set this year. But we also talked about how we want to pray for our kids after we put them to bed at night and how we want to read through the Bible in the next year. It probably won't happen. But you gotta aim high, right?
I also started contemplating the million other things that I would love to do in the coming year. I want to be more organized. I want to have birthday cards ready to send out to every friend and relative. I want to have lesson plans for my kids each week. I want to cook amazing yet healthy food. I want to sew some of my kids' clothes. I want to learn to take good pictures. I want to read more Classics. I want to read more theological books. I want to plant a garden. I want to can foods from my garden. And so on. And so on. I didn't really write all these things down on my official goal list, but they were thoughts just lingering around. My mind started going crazy with all the things I would like to be better at. And the list became exhausting. Really it did. Something's gotta give. And just what would it be?
A wise woman in my church said that we should pray every morning, "God show me what you would have me do today." I think those will be the first words from my heart every morning. (Please ignore the fact that this is probably another unrealistic goal). I might have to throw my goals to the wayside so I can do what God would have me do each day. Because the problem is that they are my goals, and they may not be God's goals. I'm not convinced that setting resolutions are bad, but I am convinced that they are burdensome and destructive when they become idols. My resolutions should never ever interfere with the answer to this simple question, "What would God have me do TODAY?"
So I rest in Jesus. I rest in him who has lived a perfect life and has finished the race for me. I surrender each day and all my goals to him and hope and pray that I do what he would have me do every moment of my life. Something's gotta give. Something's gotta give me hope, and peace, and patience, and gentleness when my goals aren't met and even when my goals are met lest I become prideful and arrogant. Rest in Jesus my dear friends. Rest in his abounding love and free grace in this new year.
I'm starting the New Year out with a bang...that is...in the kitchen of course. I decided I would make my friend's 8 minute tomato soup. I wanted something besides a grilled cheese or PB&J, and I could handle 8 minutes. First, I put the soup in a pot that was too small...the cream quickly overflowed. Next, I moved the soup to be pureed in the blender. I turned it on and was nearly frozen in shock. Hot tomato soup flying all across myself and the entire kitchen. I couldn't find the "Off" button soon enough. Needless to say, 8 minute soup turned into 45 minute soup by the time I got myself, my cabinets, and my appliances all clean. To be honest, it's almost 4 in the afternoon, and I still haven't cleaned it up completely. I know I'm a domestic goddess. Really, really, you don't have to flatter me with compliments on my awesome cooking and cleaning skills.
I've set some goals for myself this year which I hope to post about later, but I think I have a goal to set for Graham: learn to get dressed by himself. I asked him to completely dress himself this morning. What did I find? Graham with his underwear on backwards, his shirt on backwards, and his jeans on backwards. I think we may need to work on that! When I tell him he needs to turn his underwear around, he always replies, "But I like it that way! I can't see Thomas if I turn it around." Those silly underwear makers. Why do they sometimes put the design on the rear end part of the underwear? My kid wants to see the Mickey Mouse, the Thomas, the Buzz Light Year!
So that's life in 2012 so far. Disasters in the kitchen, backwards clothing, and Miss Lucy Paige who is so proud of herself and her new found skill...walking! Go Lucy!