Family


Special Delivery

An unexpected
package
arrived
last week,
special
delivery.

Old-fashioned,
brown paper
hugged
the box as
timelessly
as Savta’s
shawled
shoulders
on a snowy
night.

Twine
secured
its
perimeter.
Identical
rank
and file
knots
held
fast,
with
signature,
military
precision.

Kitchen
shears
cut
clean
each
knot’s
final salute.

Brown
paper
curtains
parted
wide
open
to bare
a box
as plain
as its
wrapper.

Atop
its
simple
lid,
a well-
worn
bill of sale
sat
with the
languid
ease
of a
wrangler
on a
saddle.

The
back
side of
this
receipt
ledgered
a single
line.

The
entry,
thumb-
polished
soft
by use,
coffee-
stained
and fragile
read,

“I
put it
in
a box
for you.”

Tulip
bulbs
nestled
cozy
amid
layered
nests
of the
Mosinee
Times.

Someone
with
nursery-
man skill
had taken
meticulous
care to
keep them
cool
and
safe.

Every
prized
bulb
had been
gently
brushed
to remove
residual
dust.

Recent
sunbaths
had
completely
dried
each one.

Damaged
bulbs
had
been
saved.

Careful
exam
identified
their
injured
areas.

Tertiary
care
protocols
had been
methodically
administered.

Fungicide
veiled
their
wounds,
like
a fresh
snowfall,
a shroud
of prevention
to thwart
further
decay.

I grew up
on farms.

I knew
to store
this
treasure
chest
in a
cool,
dry
place.

The wind
whispered
steady
as I stowed
them away
on a shelf
in the garage.

“I
put
them
in
a box
for you.

“A
box,
not
a
coffin.

“They’re
Tangerine
Beauties.

“I’ll
let you
know
when
they’re
ready
to plant
sunrise.”

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew her
She tied you
To a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

c. 2017 Not to be reproduced or used without author permission.

lida vignette mama

Winds
blow
hard
outside.

For
the vision
Is yet
for
an
appointed
time;

New life
buds
in
cold
soil,
Cherry
creek
daffodil
bulbs
hibernate.

But at
the end
It will
speak,
And it will
not lie.

He
grows
from
dust,
new life

Though
It
tar-
ries,

w a i t

for
it;

God is good
beyond words,
His love
never lacks.

Because
it
will
surely
come,

She
has new
challenges
and
new
opportunities.

It
will
not
tarry.

He honors
her spaces
to share
His Love
forward
like
communion
of Communion’s
community.

Bread
Of Life
challenges
challenged
challengers
through
challenges
that
grow
her
U
P
in
His
way.

God is good
beyond words,
His love
never lacks.

God
alone
reserves
her space,
His call
for her life.

Thank God
for
making me
so
mysteriously
complex!

Itinerary
Mine
alone.

Go
and
teach
what
I want
you
to teach.

Everything
you do
is
marvelously
breathtaking.

God is good
beyond words,
His love
never lacks.

It simply
amazes me
to think about it!
How thoroughly
You know me, Lord!

Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

c. 2017 Not to be reproduced or used without author permission.

precious child

maestro conductor
she trusts me
innately
to hear
her heart song
and respond
full voice lifted
in harmony
with lyrics
her own
inimitable
love language

my privilege
to be her advocate
her audience
blessed
as she hones herself
and instrument
sacred music

precious child

crescendos
anew
accelerato
her own
cambiare
remarkable
one-of-a-kind
priceless
self

precious child

very bright
intuitively verbal
deciso
keenly empathic
festivamente fusion
keeps step with
family chords
in eternal dance

precious child

embraces
bharat matra
her Nepali culture
as a native born
and carries it back home
in new verse
passionato

precious child

revels in discovery experiences
joyfully nests
with family
extraverted riffs
piece social patchwork
across public venues
as fluid a dynamic
as chain stitches
along the binding
of a handmade quilt
or a the spray of freckles
as distinct as
its own constellation
across the nose
and ruddy cheeks
of jubilant child
mid high swing
in neighborhood parks

precious child

shares her new experiences
like notes
from sheet music
self confidence buds
authentic cameos

precious child

plunders new
experiences,
transplants
mommy & me
moments,
blends
new colors
tangoes tangerine
into her recipe of play

precious child

the musical delta
and daily miracle
gift of God
of her family
each
and all
for all time

But remember when I moved in you
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

c. 2017 Not to be reproduced or used without author permission.

The highs and lows of the week roller-coasted with such a centrifugal force of hormones that a Rite of Passage collided with a Mens Warehouse.

I bought The Boy his first suit today for his 8th grade graduation tomorrow. I couldn’t take him before today because he’s been cramming for finals.

The Boy is 6 feet tall and weighs 155 pounds.
These vital statistics prove he is a freak of nature
as just yesterday he was less than 7 pounds
and boasted only 21 inches.

I’m gonna have to measure, but I think his left foot now might be longer than he was when he was born.

So we walk into this suit place and Matthew comes over to wait on The Boy.

The Boy looks at Matthew who’s got style written all over him from his purple tie to his black cowboy boots and gives Matthew the eyebrow. The Boy has very expressive eyebrows that can communicate a derisive snub or an impressed bravo depending on their signature arc. He extended Matthew the thumbs-up eye brow. The Boy was quick to notice Matthew’s accessories too. The thumb ring and hand-hammered, silver slave cuff bracelet earned a nod. Matthew’s hair also met approval, tussled with that just-out-of-bed look that takes 45 minutes and two kinds of product to produce.

So as not to mislead you, let me say upfront that our boy is straight. He wasn’t sizing up Matthew, he was making notes as this first suit of his will not only be worn for graduation tomorrow, but also his first formal dance tomorrow night.

So I walk in with The Boy whose shuffling in a pair of warped flip flops and a stained pair of PE shorts (he won’t let me toss because they’re in beloved favorites), and he intersects with Matthew whose got some major swagger.

That was probably the moment that escalated the shopping trip from one that I knew was going to be expensive to one that got really expensive.

Historically,
The Boy loathes shopping.
He hates it.
He detests it.
Like it he does not.
Disinclined be he.

I get him to buy new shoes by throwing out the old pair.
Not being able to dress-out for PE motivates him.
He wears the same three shirts
over and over again
unless I hide them.
I expect his classmates think we are on food stamps.

That’s The Boy I took into the men’s clothing store today.

We’re five minutes into a shopping experience with Matthew and The Boy’s asking for fashion advice. He’s actively discussing purple versus pink as an accent color and which tie best pulls a pattern. We didn’t go in there to buy shoes and he pets a pair on display and confesses to Matthew that he really doesn’t like borrowing his dad’s shoes and that they kind of pinch his pinky toe.

Matthew counsels my son on the importance of taking care of his feet as he is an athlete and is gonna need them strong for the field as well as the dance floor.

The Boy was almost purring once it came time to pin his pants to hem. He quickly agreed it was worth the initial investment for the perma-crease for his trousers.

He and Matthew extolled the virtues of a heavy, cedar hanger for hanging suits and willingly practiced hanging up his own pants so that they would not wrinkle. Matthew explained to him that a man needed to know how to take care of his own suit without the help of mom.

To his credit, The Boy knew who held to the American Express card and gave me a look. It was the I-love-you-aren’t-I-adorable-I’m-your-boy-eyebrow.

He puts his arm around me after the eye-popping tally hits the credit card voucher and opines that he really doesn’t mind if I chaperone the dance.

(On the way to Mens Warehouse he stated that he had vomit in his mouth at the very same prospect.)

We return two hours later to pick-up his altered suit and pressed shirt. He greets Matthew with this complicated handshake-slap routine I can’t imagine where he learned. Matthew leads him to a fitting room to try his suit on and it happens.

The Boy comes out with
Young,
Proud
Swagger
that needs no thumb ring.
His attitude’s shiny
Youth,
Power
and Hope.

Potential
pops his buttons
as much as his ego
and I see our son thrill
himself with the strapping figure
and delighted grin
that greets him in the
3-way-mirror most women dread
that loves him like
the camera loves Brad Pitt.

My eyes blur as I watch my boy see himself and like the man he sees.

You say I took the name in vain
I don’t even know the name
But if I did, well, really, what’s it to you?
There’s a blaze of light in every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

Sometimes analogies are as clear as glass like I feel as giddy as champaign is bubbly or I am as low as a crab in an ocean trench. In fact, our DNA wires our brains to seek patterns from nothingness. This drive to create order compels us to interpret our dreams and identify concrete symbols from abstraction. Our medium is meaning and we seek to understand. We want to know and to be safe and feel well.

This genetic drive for stasis socializes us into a community of diagnosticians as our need to know is equally yoked with our desire to be comfortable.  As such, we approach experience like a puzzle to solve or a diagnostic differential.

If we feel ill, we assess our symptoms to determine if we do or don’t need the intervention of a physician. Often the indicators are straightforward like a fever, or a rash that won’t go away, or pain.

Unrelenting pain.
Pain is the body’s signal that something is wrong.
Pain is a definitive, primal signal.
Pain flashes a warning.
STOP!
Pain asserts the most elementary of medical principals.
If doing that hurts, STOP doing that.

Yet, in it’s way, pain is also entirely subjective.

When I’m in pain, it’s difficult for me to remember that it may have hurt less yesterday.

It (still) hurts (now)!
Make it stop!
Make it stop now!
I’ll drink anything.
I’ll swallow anything.
Get me an epidural!
I don’t care I’m not in labor (or even pregnant).

When in pain, it’s difficult for me to remember that I will feel better, let alone soon, or that my life, actually, is generally very sweet and comfortable.

I’m so comfortable in fact, with my first-world sensibility and Middle Class American propaganda that I’ve devolved into something of a pain-phobic persona.

I don’t want it to hurt.
Whatever “it” is.
Truth be told,
I don’t even want it to feel hard,
or require too much effort…
Whether its making dinner,
or raising a child,
or saving a marriage,
or growing in Faith.
I really don’t want it to be messy
or painful
or moist.

I want my challenges like
I want my food,
fast,
quick,
inexpensive,
easy,
and convenient.

(Hmmmmmm…. Notice I didn’t list healthy…)

As such, I avoid pain and difficult conversations and hard workouts for the simple reason that they hurt. I know they hurt. The gamble that pushing through the pain will take me to a better place often, and simply, isn’t worth the upfront pain tax. This is true when The Husband and I try to agree on a budget or our family needs to purchase a new vehicle or The Mamma needs to schedule her annual OB/GYN physical.

In fact, prior to this week, The Mamma was over a year past due her for her pap and pelvic. Even though I respect that my health is a family resource, and it’s a commodity that daily caregives for the five people I love most on the planet, I kept procrasstinating making an appointment Here because I knew it would hurt.

I wasn’t willing to pay the pain tax.

Ever since I was in grad school, I had the benefit of the medical care and relationship with of one primary physician. Initially he was my gynecologist and later became my obstetrician. He tended my every woman’s health issue from before I conceived of conception through every pregnancy and pregnancy loss and reproductive repair.

He caught each of the heads of our four children.
He held us together through four losses.
He helped me get my body back into shape four times.
He performed seven surgeries.

I trusted him
in a way that I haven’t ever trusted
anyone else with my body.
Never.
Ever.
Except my husband.

So I thought I knew how much he meant to me before I finally made my appointment for that stupid pap smear Here.

I was so wrong.

Nothing at all went wrong with the appointment Here.

The physician was entirely competent and kind and professional. She was thorough and took a medical history as extensive as an archeologist on a dig. She tutored me on how to do a self breast exam and its importance. She inquired if I wore a seatbelt. She admonished me not to drink and drive. She warned that sending a text behind the wheel could kill me dead. She observed that there were treatment options available for recreational drug use and tobacco addiction. She inquired if my husband ever abused me and if I am safe in my relationship. She ordered blood panels and offered me a referral for a primary caregiver. She also asked to weigh me, inserted the speculum without telling me that she was gong to do it first and placed her finger in my bottom without a polite warning.

In other words, she didn’t know me.
Like, at all.

There was no malpractice and nothing inappropriate in the medical care she gave me.

As a woman physician, taking care of a woman with my medical history, she had every reason to expect I knew the ins and outs of a gynecological exam without verbal cue or someone to hold my hand.

Mine was a routine exam,
one of many she would do that day,
of the scores she would do that week,
of the countless thousands
she has done user career.

It was simply,
no biggy for her.
It was just,
as my lab prescriptions record,
a routine well visit annual exam for a healthy woman.

It was for me, however, anything but routine.

I felt anonymous.

As course as it sounds, I learned a lot about relationship from having a strange woman’s finger up my bottom.

Yep, I said it.
I went there.
I mentioned the nasty.

Ladies, we all know that appointment can be a literal pain in the butt.

Now I’ve got to figure out how to make my point without your thinking that I have some kind of anal fetish or engaged in an inappropriate relationship with my previous doctor.

No.
No, no.
No, no, no!

He was, however, a partner in my medical care and wellness. The Husband and I have had a relationship with him for over 15 years.

Relationships matter.

Relationship reduces pain. Relationship takes the impersonal out of sterile medical procedures. Relationship extends safety when you’re feeling naked and alone, let alone literally nude while straddling stirrups.

It hurts to be away from the people who make me feel safe and known and loved. It hurts to be anonymous, just another pap smear, just two more breasts to palpitate and one more woman to remind about sunscreen.

I knew it would be difficult to see a new doctor. But I didn’t realize how much it would hurt my heart.

I am so grateful that I enjoyed such flawless medical care from my physician the for so many years. His choice to care about me as a person was the longest acting, most effective and most life-giving prescription he ever wrote me.

I know it’s unlikely I’ll ever have that kind of relationship again with another doctor.

I am grateful to him.

He knew me.

I will go to the dentist and get a skin checked and make and keep my annual appointments Here.

I will also seek to nurture and grow the relationships that I’ve begun with people Here. Nothing is more important to my wellness nor better medicine than being known and appreciated for who I am.

There was a time when you let me know
What’s really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

The May dance Here jigs a dervish as frantic as the one I recall and trust that  you are also doing There.

It’s an aerobic month that demands inventory and industry with more than a dash of insanity.

With no end to the list of things I gotta do, my children also scramble to meet their many, various objectives.

They have academic jobs, social obligations, domestic chores, athletic responsibilities and personal agendas. They gotta do so much more than was ever expected of me at 6, 10, 12 or 14. In many ways, their I Gotta Lists are longer and less yielding my own.

It is also Final Exam season.  In my house only one is old enough for that rodeo, and the others are in the midst of the school year “ramping down.”

Running a household wherein one is frantically studying cumulative, college-prep, honor’s curriculum
(not bragging here, friends, and no longer certain that I still want them to participate in this Chase to No Where) 
while the rest of his siblings leisurely unfold into Summer mode collide two fronts as forcefully as a hurricane. Their howls, cries, complaints, and frustrations register enough MPH (Moans Per Hour) to be classified as a Category 4 event.

It is also simultaneously a season of turning each other in, spontaneous confessions and hypersensitive peer relations. In this merry ‘ol month of May, I never know at any given moment which child will come to me with moist, wide eyes and, “Need to talk to me alone.” Generally, there are tears and we have to hug it out before things resolve. The school year has tenderized their egos like a gourmet marinade and the Crying Chair hasn’t gotten this much use since we moved in.

As a Mamma, I’m something of a hybrid between an attachment parent and a drill sergeant. I am crazy in love with my wonderful children, but I get that they are no where near perfect and often need a combat boot kick to jump start their quality maneuvers. I am also aware, however, that their I Gotta lists demand almost every moment of their waking hours.

Their obligations have begun to blister them like their now almost too small shoes I bought them for Back to School in August. They are rubbed raw by the deadlines, award banquets, concerts, and games. They can not perform at a concert and play in a soccer tournament at the same time. They can’t study for an Algebra exam and practice an 8th grade class speech in tandem. Though helpful to an extent in terms of teaching time management skills, too often our kids face Hobson Choices between two required events. Does this help them better organize their time or polish their study skills or simply assert that many students are overbooked?

What strikes me as most unfair in this merry old month of May is how unrealistically our children are taught to adhere to the rigid (and often unreasonable) timelines of their I Gotta lists. As an adult, I have options that are unavailable to our children.

I can delegate.
I can pull an all-nighter.
I can file for an extension, or sometimes pay for an extension.
I can outsource it.
I can wing it.
I can decide not to do it.

At their school, my children would be suspended if they outsourced, consequenced if they winged it and have no option to delegate their I Gotta lists.

As a  mom, I also have options my children lack.

I can not do it.
(Think laundry, dishes or making beds.)
I can reduce the usual requirments.
(Think cereal for dinner.)
I can delegate.
(Now the kids have to walk Puppy and get their homework done.)
I can do it tomorrow without penalty.
(Think scheudling my dental cleaning.)

In our home, my children would lose a cherished, electronic device if they went on strike, sent to Time Out if they didn’t do something, “The right way the first time,” and have zero delegation options.

As we sprint through this month with so much to do and so many places to be, let’s consider that even within our families, our I Gotta lists ain’t really equal nor created the same.

My children need Grace, the Crying Chair and the boot right now.

And they’re in good company.

So say we all?

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The decision to move from to Here from melted a slow, liquid process like ice caps.

The final call was time-lapse photography worthy of PBS Nature episode. Nature programs always make me think of my grandfather, who was hypnotically fascinated by snakes. If a during a segment a snake began to hunt, he expected total silence in the room, an homage not only to the chase, but to the fallen.

Whether or not the snake ate well that night, the hunt stirred reminders like a gust of wind conducts fall leaves to waltz in an arbor.

Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return
I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff comfort me.

Though our resolve unfolded slowly, its execution was swift.

Eight weeks from driveway to driveway.

In that single interval, I learned more about the strength of the Body of Christ than I had ever known.

Our church family carried us.

They tended our children
and wiped our tears.

They tagged items for the moving sale
and showed up at 5:00 a.m. to peddle them,
(and restrain me from dousing a smoker with my Diet Coke).

They drove us 400 miles to pick-up our babies
from grandmother’s haven
and carried us home again the next day
because they knew how much it would
cost me to travel alone.

They insisted we just go.
Just go.
And repaired walls,
spot cleaned carpets,
vacuumed,
changed light bulbs,
emptied refrigerators,
and cleaned,
and cleaned,
and cleaned some more.

They held us
and prayed for us,
Jeremiah 29:11,
over and again,
For I know the plans I have for you,”
declares the LORD,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.

They put us first
at the risk of their own hearts,
paid forward labor and
toils that were rightly
ours to bear alone,
read my posts
and folded us into prayer.

They carried plates
and t-shirts,
took memorial flowers
and shared testimonies,
they showed up
and they genuinely cared.

They surprised us with visits,
even on the last morning
and showed up-
bearing Starbucks
and hand-stitched pillows
and sparkling pretties
and books for the heart,
and disco soap for hands
and timid, walking-it-out feet.

All this without judgment
or complaint.
Meeting us where we were,
loving us right as we were,
serving us as we were,
individually and as a family.

My heart floods with gratitude today for those many, precious kindnesses.

The Body was the hands and feet that made our transition Viable.

Because of The Body, I left with a Song of Praise on my lips,
and not a bitter heart.

As my feet sink into the shells Here, I realize I owe so many thank-you notes to the red-clayed kicks There.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff comfort me.

You kept me safe as I began this journey. You knew the road would include much dying to self before I would pick up my head all the way again, yet you never uttered a discouraging word.

You made it so I feared no evil,
Showed me He was with me,
and with sweetest mercies were such
wholly, Holy comfort.

You know what you did
as you did so intentionally.
Trust I know it too;
and am forever changed by the agape love
of every single moment still.

How you taught by example;
what we do matters.

God bless you always.

I love you forever.

Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

 

 

 

 

If you’re like me, there are certain words or phrases that set your teeth on edge, for example,

“If you’re like me…”

Why do people say that?
What sense does it make?

The underlying assumption slaps the I’m right assertion with a heavy hand.
Its backhand hits on the recoil, <subtext> and if you’re not like me you’re stupid.

This phrase is kin to another irksome spin, “You’re like me that way.”

Unless you are fully vested within my inner circle, whether I am or am not like you in any way, remains a comparison for me alone to name. That aside, there’s something intrusive, counterintuitive and hyper-intimate for someone to assert, “You’re like me in that way.”

It offence blisters my sense of whimsy and chafes my authenticity meter.

Furthermore, there’s no appropriate rejoinder to dissent such an assertion without giving offense.

How am I supposed to respond?

“No, I’m not like you in that way and never wish to be?”

“No, I’m a first edition.”

“No, I’m like me that way?”

It’s all so very, order-your-own-dessert-if-you-want-cheesecake-dammit-I-don’t-want-to share-of-me, but really, how can anyone be like you in that way?

Speaking of, “Do ya wanna share < a/n appetizer/entree/dessert> with me?”

That drives me bat cakes too!

Again, I don’t want to sound contrary nor offend, but no, I don’t want to share the Meatloaf Plate with you. Actually, I want to choose my own meal, get it on my own big-girl plate, eat how I want of it precisely to my fill, and hog all of the gooey condiments for myself, thank-you very much.

Another line that consistently toggles my gag reflex like a throat culture is, “I need to tell you something, but don’t get mad.”

Too late!
I’m already mad.

If you knew me well enough to tell me something so potentially volatile, you would know how to tell me without making me mad.

I smell judgement all over the statement too. It asserts that I assassinate messengers and lack self-control.

I need to tell YOU something, but don’t get mad. You’re an idiot.

“I need to tell you something, but don’t get mad,” is kissing cousins to, “I hate to tell you, but I heard…”

One, you don’t hate to tell me at all, in fact you’re breathless from having rushed over right after you heard it to dish it to my face, capture my every micro-expression on your smart phone, and report back to your base ship.

Nothing good this way comes after the segue, “I hate to tell you, but I heard…”

I did not win the lottery,
You do not want to help me fold laundry,
Your neighbor Susan does not think my kids are well-behaved angels,
Only pain fills the pail of that conversational bucket.

If any of you find me cheeky, or worry my intensity may begin to spin hard enough to drop a house on your sister, please for the love of all that is linguistically good and reasonable don’t order me to

“Calm down,”
“Relax,”
“Take it easy,”
“You’re gonna burn out,”
“Don’t burst a blood vessel…”

Really?
REALLY?
REALLY?

You don’t find it just a tad bit above your pay grade to assess the legitimacy of my emotional range?

Talk about condescending!

Why don’t you

Excite up,
Tense,
Jig it out,
Burn baby, burn!
Hemorrhage an emotional taboo…

The only thing worse than you telling me to take it easy is if one my kids suggests that I, “Chill.”

Of course, then I could tell him, if you’re like me, there are other phrases that make you mad because you’re like me that way. We should share some buffalo wings and discuss it so you can calm down.

I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah!

It’s time to come clean.

Amid the transitional issues from Here to There, one of the kids has developed some serious behavioral issues.

We’ve consulted experts in the field and done family sessions together, but thus far, nothing seems to help.

It’s reached a crisis point both in terms of marital resources as well as how the other kids respond. They know we would NEVER put up with these behaviors from them and are tired of making concession after concession for their troubled sibling.

Here are some of the behavioral features that challenge us with our boy:

    • Suffering from severe separation anxiety
    • Refusing to “come” when called
    • Out-of-control whining
    • Biting
    • Aggressive growling
    • Constantly begging for food at the table
    • Fear of strangers
    • Fear of strange objects
    • Bullying small children
    • Theft personal possessions
    • Vandalism/destruction of personal property
    • Destructive habits like chewing and digging
    • French kissing house guests
    • Jumping on strangers
    • Taking lead during family walks
    • Ignoring basic obedience commands
    • Pooping on the bathroom floor
    • Peeing the bed

 

It’s gotten to the point that we don’t even know who he is anymore.

This once adorable, snuggly, sweety boy has mutated into his own Dr. Hyde.

As much as my education should make me philosophical, I cannot reconsile that puberty could so transform a soul as this.

I confess I lament:

This is NOT what I signed-up for!

This is WAY outside of my comfort zone!

This is NOT easy!

This is NOT fun!

I have even asked they why question….

Why do other families enjoy such perfect sons when ours is so OUT OF CONTROL?

At the risk of TMI (too much information,) he’s taken to stealing my dirty thongs and hiding them in his bed.

When I retrieve them they are chewed crotchless.

Is it regression?

Is it hormones?

Is it an underlying psychological disorder?

Is it growing pains?

Or is it simply, The Puppy?

And why is it we allow behavior from our pets
that we would
NEVER,
STINKIN’,
NEVER

tolerate from the issue of our own loins?

 

Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken HallelujahHallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

So I got a new gig.

The gig’s a good one, but it comes with a name tag.

The name tag serves the dual purpose of security clearance and identification. At a glance, children and parents may easily recognize me as a community member.

So much so, in fact, that when I first encountered the community I perceived it as a badge of honor. Shiny and white like the patent leather, church shoes I wore as a little girl to catholic Mass, I looked for those uniform placards when I needed help.

And when I first arrived Here, I needed help with everything including where to find the bathroom. As dazed and confused as I was, however, I trusted that if I found someone with that clean, white badge and its navy school insignia, s/he would help me. In its way, the troops that wore them were like my M*A*S*H* unit. As messy as I felt, they helped me triage the needs of my children and prescribe appropriate treatment.

I, however, haven’t worn a name tag at work since I worked my way through school waiting tables in local fern bars. During that season I wore an apron, carried an ice-tea pitcher and politely inquired any patron who looked under 30, “May I please see your ID?” in accordance with store policy. Didn’t matter who complained it was an invasion of privacy that I would deign to ask, or  moaned that now he would have to run back out to the car in the rain for her wallet, being sure that patrons were legal to drink came with the name tag.

Flash forward three graduations,
a wedding,
four children,
four score and seven years,
(Ok, not quite, but some mornings as I battle the snooze alarm it feels like that long ago)
and now I work another gig in a foreign land that requires a name tag.

Initially, because of the rescue mojo that had become my gestalt associaiton to the badge, I was my-first-pony proud of my name tag. Giddy, jump up and down, hug-it-out, my-new-colleagues-think-I-am-a-freak, tween with new Adriano Goldschmied ex-boyfriend jeans, proud of it, I got the job!
I got the job!
I got the job!
Oh, so happy proud of it!

Me-Pop proud of it,
feeling groovy
kind of Zen
welcome to The Show
kind of wowsa juice
proud of it…

(Like when I wasn’t wearing it at work, I kept it on the leopard apron in my kitchen kind of giddy about it, proud of it…)

Until last week Wednesday, when I was at breakfast with a friend that is.

This brilliant, percussive friend of mine is from the East coast.

She talks fast,
drives faster
and likes the F-word.
A lot.

And says it often,
a lot,
and
loudly.

Now I’m no stranger to the F-word,
I’m not squeamish about the F-word,
I grew up with the F-word,
I respect the versatility of it,
it’s pliability,
it’s enduring ruggedness
across the ages,
as dolphin flippers,
of aquatic
verbal acrobatics
that can approximate
every part of speech…

However, all of a sudden, wearing that new, shiny name tag was like having a How’s My Driving: 1-800-URF-IRED bumper sticker plastered to my forehead.

“Oh, yeah,” I could hear ONE Mommy complain to another Mommy at a neighborhood Botox party, “I saw that new hire, Ms. Jael Seeker, you remember her bio sent out by the head of school don’t you, and she was sitting there over a omlette listening to a woman drop F-bomb after F-bomb and laughing!”

All of a sudden wearing the name tag was an invasion of my privacy.
That shiny white badge publically
staged my name,
position
and place of employment in bold font.

It mutated into an invasion of my privacy
and even though it was raining,
I wish I had left it with my wallet in the car.

Wasn’t oh-so proud of my name tag then.

In fact, I was pretty embarrassed,
hang-my-head-down,
hair-in-my-face
humbled.

Context’s vital to distinguish between form and substance.

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

 

 

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