Parenting


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!

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

I knew that birthday parties would be different Here when my BFFH (You know the BFF part, the H stands for here) shared her discomfort that her third-grade daughter was invited to a party that she considered, “A little over the top.”

Said party promised that a stretch Humvee limo would pick up each 8 year-old princess for a luncheon at the Bistro, a five star “dive” on the beach.

After lunch, their Humvee pumpkin was to ferry them onward for a shopping expedition. Each guest was given a $100 Visa gift card within a new Coach wallet to spend on their mall outing.

Packages loaded in the limo, their next stop was to be an oceanfront, spa resort where they would be reunited with their mommies for a mother/daughter spa night. Naturally, spa experiences for the girls were chaperoned by resort nannies while the mommies were to sip champagne cocktails while cucumber masks would cleanse their pores and their pedicured toes-toes would tango in paraffin dip. A Botox party would follow manicures for interested Mommies. (Presumably the champagne cocktails by then of high enough levels to offer anesthesia.)

Night-night would include room service popcorn and root beer floats for the girls in their Princess Suit with resort nannies. After a quick peck good night, the mommies would head downstairs where the limo would await to wisk them off to the “Hot Spots,” on the beach.

Breakfast buffet to follow on the beach the next morning served from 9-11 a.m. Check-out would be at noon when the girls would be taken home via Humvee stretch.

Engraved invite motto for the Princesses: One need not be born royal to have Princess fun!

Engraved invite motto for the Mommies: What happens in the “Hot Spots,” stays in the “Hot Spots.”

“A little over the top, don’t you think?” my BFFH asked me.

“Ya think?” I chortled, as we continued to jog the park, me in my hand-me-down Nikes and Good Will tennis skirt.

So much for my homemade dump truck cakes with chocolate-covered donut wheels…

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!

Thank-you for asking.

Yes, I am absolutely crazy.

In fact, I’ve taken to describing my current cognitive condition as a non-concussive brain injury. Nothing hard or large hit me on the head, but I am nonetheless operationally impaired. My never great, short term memory is now completely shot. Like I can’t remember my children’s names shot. Never mind their birthdays, they always remind me of those anyway. Where as a recent CAT scan would prove my brain is physiologically intact, the road from the driveway There to the driveway  Here cost me at least 59 IQ points. They promise me it’s temporary. I operate like a brain injury patient who’s run away from her rehab facility. And the laundry. My physic wounding has also deleted my laundry function capacity. We live in a sea of dirty clothes piles. The children don’t even expect I’ll get their PE uniforms back to them in a timely manner. They taken to wearing them dirty and using lots of deodorant and body spray.

Some of you have seen this dysfunction in action, or should I say inaction?

It is from among that group I’ve gotten the question:

“Are you crazy?!?! Did I read that right?!?!?!?!? Tell me YOU DID NOT GET A PUPPY!!!!!!!”

Again, however testily queried, thank-you for asking, and trust I admire the emotion behind your multiple use of the exclamation point and question mark/exclamation point combo.

Very, “Really? Really!”

We did, in fact get the kids a puppy for Christmas.

Here he is:

Check out that sweetie-boy-face!

He’s of the smallest of Japanese breeds, Shiba Inu, and his name is Hoshi.

Hoshi is the Japanese word for star.

He is our widdle, shiny Christmas star.

Hoshi fulfills a pre-relocation promise The Husband made to the children. Much like Obama, The Husband vowed our babies would get a dog if we came to live in this little ,white house in Far Far Away.

Hoshi flashes us back to past years with newborns complete with nocturnal crying, potty explosions and scheduled time for tummy play.

I understand why you would ask if I was in my right mind to introduce a puppy into our transitional mix, but I already admitted that I’m really not.

Really.

And that’s OK.
It’s even good.
Not easy, but good.

It’s a time that challenges me to Trust Him more,
go deeper into The Word,
and always,
always,
always,
carry a plastic bag
when walking outside.

‘Cause poopy happens.

Well maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who’d OUT DREW YA
And it’s not a cry that you hear at night
It’s not somebody who’s seen in the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah!

 

 

We have been warned that in the magical venue of Universal Studio’s Harry Potter World that there are attractions that our family should avoid like the Avada Kedavra curse:
  • Belatrix’s Hair Salon
  • Dementor’s Kissing Booth
  • Death Eater’s Pie Shop
  • Malfoy’s Day Care
  • Basalik’s Optometry
  • Inferi’s Dunk Tank
  • Voldermort’s Tattoo Parlor
  • Grayback’s Dental Care
  • Hagrid’s Rock Cakes Hut
  • Aragog’s Petting Zoo
Please leave your ideas as comments! We want to be safe.

 

Well I heard there was a secret chord 
That David played, and it pleased the Lord 
But you don’t really care for music, do ya? 
Well it goes like this 
The fourth, the fifth 
The minor fall and the major lift 
The baffled king composing Hallelujah 
Hallelujah 
Hallelujah 
Hallelujah 
Hallelujah!

The Zuks, a Wedding, and the Rose That Changed Everything

The sunrise paints beautiful streaks of color over the Zuks’ home. Streaks of gold, orange, pink, and crimson swathe the dawn sky with a feeling of tranquility. Zyklezo, the tribe’s leader sits up and stretches. His petals are a blood red hue, and his body is grass green. He has small, strait, and delicate arms and legs. His face is made of rose petals and his features are made up of dots and lines. In short, Zyklezo is a miniature rose. He rubs his black eyes with his knobby hands, and stands. Zyklezo looks almost identical to the other members of the Zuk tribe; one of the only differences is that he is about a centimeter taller, a big distinction by the standards of the rose people. The only other difference of the people of the rose tribe is that no Zuk has the same color of petals. As he did his morning yoga which involve bending, stretching, and over all unfolding, Zyklezo thought about the beautiful rose that his tribe called home. The stem was thick and healthy; the petals were a beautiful pink with white lines twisting through them and best of all, it was in the middle of a huge garden of roses. Roses of all shapes, sizes, and colors bloomed in the field. It was bliss for the peaceful Zuks. They felt truly at home.

Zyklezo straightened. The chief of the Zuk people started through the forest of petals that makes up the uppermost part of the rose inhabited by the Zuks. He made his way to the hollowed out stem and stuck his petals in to it.

“Hak lak mekr nssd sohfls” He called. It’s time to gather the dew. Making a noise that was his way of sighing contentedly, he made his way up the rose petal staircase to the top of the rose. The Zuks would come to his call. They always did, every morning when they were called for breakfast. The dew gave the rose people the vitamins that they needed to function through out the day. Each morning they would come, eat the dew, and start their daily activities.

The other Zuks that also lived in the rose slept in the cozy tunnels burrowed in the stem of the rose. The leader of the tribe would always sleep in the top, so that he or she could protect the tribe in case of trouble. As Zyklezo reached the top of the staircase, the dewdrops came into view. Zyklezo froze when he saw the rose crushers. They had the garden tools in their hands, and they were shouting at the top of their lungs. (They weren’t really shouting, but the Zuks have very sensitive ears, so regular speech seems extremely loud.”

“Why are we cutting the roses down this time?” the tall one asked.

“The clients are planning a wedding, a big one.” The fat one replied. “It should be huge; we need to cut down a lot of roses.” They grinned at each other. The tall one started to say,

“Did you hear the proposal? They say that the guy hired-” Zyklezo needed to hear no more. He needed to warn the others, fast! Then, Zyklezo did something that is only done when there is great peril. Emitting a faint popping sound, the chief of the Zuks drew in his knobby arms and stubby legs closed his petals so that his facial features were hidden, and rolled down the stairs faster than dew down a Zuk’s throat.

“Hak dak rak bak neert! Hak dak rak bak neert! Hak dak rak bak neert!” He called, meeting in the conference room now! Distressed, disheveled, confused, but ever loyal, the members of the Zuk tribe promptly drew in their equally knobby arms and equally stubby legs, closed their petals, and rolled after him.

Once in the conference room, Zyklezo told his tribe about the “invasion.”

“Mek mak hak rak tak dak gak bak wak tredgthy howds vowds quensd.”  He told them about the huge invasion coming up, how a lot of roses would be ruthlessly slaughtered, and how somebody had hired a gunman to take them down. When the chief of the army forces, a subdued person, Zekles, asked him to be surer of the translations, Zyklezo consulted the books.

“Joh hos wic bwei sic khdsil iosj lis fh” Wedding definitely translates into invasion. The plan was made; the peaceful Zuk people had no choice but to defend their nest. The parting word of the council was the chant that all Zuk people were obligated to do before going into battle:

“We fight for protection, not glory money or fame. For the least amount of harm possible is our aim. We will return soon to our home. For far from that we never shall rome.” The night before, they had been peaceful people, now; they readied their weapons for war.

The next morning, everything was prepared. The rose guns had been loaded, and the warriors were ready. The design of the guns was that they shot rose seeds, and when they landed, a rose sprouted. It didn’t matter where the seed landed. Every seed had been coated in a top-secret growth formula. If the seed landed on a person, that person would have a rose sprout, and would even have to water it daily. If it landed on a brick wall, a huge creeping vine of roses would soon envelop it. If it landed in the ocean, there would be a surfer rose riding the waves, and doing tricks. The small guns were only to get to the satellite controls however. Once the Zuks had overridden the system, they would transform satellites into huge guns and have them all shoot at once to transform the very planet itself into a huge, blooming, rose. The “rose crushers” would all be killed instantly, and the Zuks would have a whole new planet all to themselves. Everything was in place, except for one thing, or Zuk.

Zekles, the leader of the Zuk warriors, was taking one last ride through the field before it was destroyed. He personally didn’t see any need for violence because he could understand the language of the rose crushers perfectly, and he knew that it wasn’t really a “yegd” an invasion. But, orders were orders and he had no choice but to follow them. Also, what was better than one huge rose that they could be completely safe on? This is better. He thought to himself as he burrowed down into his flowerpot. Zekles had begun to sneak out of the rose five years ago. He simply hung back when the others were eating the dew, clambered up to the top of the rose, and, using a seed gun, shoot a flower into a flower pot so that it would get picked up by the plant trolley and, sitting on top of the rose, he could see the whole field. The workers had cut some roses for the wedding, but now they were planting new ones in their place. Not that he hadn’t seen this before, Zekles had snuck out before and he had made this trip thousands of times. The trolley carried the plants that needed a lot of care; so everyday it was wheeled around the field and back. But, this would be the last time.

As he gazed at the endless haven of roses, Zekles thought about how he could convince Zyklezo that the rose crushers really weren’t earth crushers and were really good things. After a good deal of contemplation, an irrational plan came to him. It had a 99.99% chance of failure, but he had no choice except to rely on that 00.01 chance. It was time to stand up for what was right. The plan relied on one secret, the fact that the Zuk people weren’t totally a secret from the humans. There was one person who knew, a girl whose name was Zuri.

Five years earlier: Zekles was riding his regular flowerpot through the field of roses. It was considerably smaller than it is now, but it was still huge to the curious Zuk. It was a normal day, they had recently eater their dew, and Zekles had hopped on the flowerpot for the daily ride across the field. Today a girl with extraordinary eyesight pushed the cart. She was half way through the field when she saw him. Being a smart girl, she kept her head and didn’t scream. She pretended that she hadn’t seen him, and wheeled the cart into the lab.

“I’ll just check some samples she said aloud, hoping that Zekles would be fooled luckily, he was. Zekles wasn’t unduly worried. He was slightly annoyed that he would miss origami class, but he didn’t realize that anything was wrong. He did realize this however, when Zuri plucked him up and set him under the microscope.

“Interesting” she said, peering at him. Zekles was so flustered that he forgot to pretend to be an inanimate object like he had been taught to do in the What-To-Do-If-Under-a-Microscope-Being-Looked-At-By-a-Human crash course that he took in school, instead, he stood up and, calling on him limited knowledge of the rose crusher’s language, he slowly said,

“I am nothing of the sort my dame, hem hem madam! Now led me go, let me go I demand it!” instead of being scared, Zuri was fascinated. She quickly explained that she wanted to do Zekles no harm and that she worked as a gardener in the field. As soon as that was cleared up, they began chatting amicably and by the next day, they were friends. Zuri taught Zekles more English and, in turn, Zekles told Zuri any thing she wanted to know about everything. Because they were so small, Zuks could see things that humans couldn’t, so he told her about the thing that he saw.

Present: Zekles needed to contact her, now! When the trolley stopped right next to the intercom, he knew how. Zekles climbed up onto the edge of the trolley and jumped! He was able to grab the cord and, as he fell, he said through the speaker,

“Zoe, person who works in the rose field, please take the trolley from other person who also hopefully works at the rose field.” Zoe came over.

“I wonder why.” She thought to herself. She immediately spotted Zekles, jumping up and down and waving his thin arms like a crazy person. She went down on the pretense of fixing her shoe. “What are you doing?” she whispered.

“You don’t have to shout.” He said back.

“What?” she asked? “Oh, just come here!” She him picked up and plopped him on the cart. When they got to the lab, He scuttled to the microscope and went underneath it. A few months earlier, they had installed a microphone/silencer in the microscope so that both could see and hear each other more comfortably.

“There,” he said. “Zuri, the most terrible thing has happened! Zyklezo, the chief has misenterprited some workers talking about a wedding! He thought that in our language, it translates to invasion! He called a council and weapons have been made. Tomorrow we will take over the world! I will have to lead the warriors in a desperate march across the country to the NASA space station! Then, our technology will take over their system, and we will take over the satellites and turn the whole planet into a giant rose!” By the end of his sentence, Zekles had become so distressed that his words blended together in to a long assertion.

“Calm down, calm down!” Zoe protested, “What do you suggest that we do? You have tried reason with Zyklezo, haven’t you?”

“Yes!” Zekles nearly shouted in his desperation. “During the council I asked him to check to be sure because I knew that he was wrong, but I can’t contradict the chief. So he looked at the books,” Here Zekles slumped down defeated. His voice shrank down to barely a whisper.  Zuri waited patiently as he let out a huge sigh and continued. “The books, the books. They are all wrong! They say that white means black and that solid means liquid and they are just all wrong!”

“Are you just going to let it happen?” Zuri asked. There was no accusation in her voice she just wanted her question to be answered.

“I was going to, but I can’t!” Zekles answered. “It wouldn’t be right,” he continued, “to destroy something that is so beautiful. I was thinking about it on my way around on the trolley. I could refuse to fight, but there are many other warriors, I could sabotage the weapons, but I would be thrown out of the Zuk tribe, and Zyklezo would just order new ones to be made. He won’t give up until the earth is destroyed unless-”

“Unless we change his mind.” Zekles and Zuri said at the same Zekles quickly explained his desperate plan; Zuri listened quietly, pointed out some minor flaws, and softly suggested some revisions. In five minutes, they had constructed a plan that could save the world.

Zekles raced breathlessly into Zyklezo’s room.

“Zyklezo, there’s something that you have to see!” He shouted, “it’s in the field, we already have a ride.” If the chief was suspicious he didn’t show it, he silently followed Zekles through the maze of tunnels that the Zuk people had drilled in the rose.

“Zekles-” he started to say,

“No time!” Zekles shouted he was worried that if Zyklezo asked to many questions, his and Zuri’s plan would be discovered. They had made it through the maze of tunnels, up the rose petal staircase, and through the delicate walkways on top, and on to the trolley, Zuri had phase two of the plan set up, and the chief had grown impatient, he wanted an explanation, and he wanted it now!

“Zekles!” Zyklezo shouted with indignation, “What is the meaning of this? Taking us into enemy territory, not resting up for the attack! What on Zunis has gotten in to you?”

“I just thought that you should see the world the way I see it.” Zekles tried to explain. “No offense, but you look at the world through reftg eyes, you vision is cloudy.” Then, Zekles repeated an old Zuk prophecy: “Rewt huyt besd, hefd kelsd makexd, if you have dirt in your eyes, it is hard to see.” Being a reasonable Zuk, Zyklezo agreed with one condition:

“If I am not convinced, we will go on with the invasion.”

“I understand completely.” Zekles replied. I hope that this works! He thought to himself, the plan had started, and now it was time to let it unfold.

While Zekles had been working on Zyklezo, Zuri had been talking to the field inspector, Ayden. Using the power of persuasion that she was born with, Zuri convinced Ayden to inspect the field with her right now, even though the inspection was scheduled for the next month with the field supervisor. Zekles never figured out how one quick text on her part convinced the inspector to fly all the way back from Paris to California, but it had.

“I take it that this is the um… how do you Americans say it? Oh yes, yes, the special plant trolley.”  Although Ayden was strictly American, when he went on vacation in foreign places, he picked up there habits.

“Yes Mr. Ayden,” Zoe started on the tour making sure to keep her body angled towards the trolley so that Zyklezo could hear. “This is where we put the plants that need more air and sunlight then all of the others. Every day we wheel it around the field and talk to them, we believe that this helps them grow.” Zyklezo was amazed. What is this? He thought to himself. “These are the rose crushers! Why are they giving such special attention to the roses? He listened in amazement as Zuri continued:

“It is time to take the trolley around, and I really don’t want these poor plants to miss their walk. Do you think perhaps that the inspection could take place during the walk? We would go around the whole field.”

“That would be fine.” Ayden replied.

“Thank you very much Mr. Ayden.” Zoe responded “Now, to continue, this is the main rose garden. As you can see, we water our plants every day, and also fertilize with our specially made, all natural, completely safe to both plants and humans stimulant. We make this in our lab, to the left, and use it on all of our plants.” As the tour progressed, Zuri hinted all she could about loving the roses and taking care of them. By the end of the tour, Zyklezo was dumb struck.

“Meet me in my rooms after this is over.” He ordered Zekles. Then he sighed, hopped down from the trolley, and made his way carefully down the stairs. Zuri had seen him go, but had no idea what he had said, and she had Ayden looking at her expectedly.

“I’ll just straighten these blossoms.” She improvised, and then quickly bent down towards the rose that Zekles was still on. “Did it go well?” She inquired.

“I have no idea,” He replied helplessly. “But I’ve never seen him like this, the news is either good, or bad. This might be goodbye though.”

“Don’t talk like that!” Zuri admonished. “We are going to get out of this! You will convince Zyklezo that we really won’t cut down all the roses in the field! You have to help all the humans, you can’t let Zyklezo destroy the earth!”

“I know, but what will I say?”

“You know Zyklezo more than I do! I think that he was impressed with the tour, but he might need some more convincing. Just tell him the truth, that we really won’t destroy the rose!”

“I’ll try, but it might be tough.”

“You have to try, the world depends on it!”

As it turned out, Zyklezo needed no convincing.

“For the first time in my life, I, the amazing, the dependable, the faultless,” Zyklezo began, “the perfect, the humble chief of the Zuks am wrong. I have misjudged the rose crushers. The one called Zuri has taught us all a lesson.  When there is dirt in your eyes, you can’t see.” Zekles decided to not say that it had been Zyklezo that had been taught the lesson, not the other way around.

“I believe that we all have all learned many different things in many different ways oh chief.” Zekles proclaimed, “Do you think that this would be enough reason to call of the attack?”

“Of course it would!” Zyklezo shouted with indignation. “It would be wrong to attack something that would not hurt us! That would be barbaric!” With some difficulty, Zekles avoided stating that Zyklezo was about to do just that.

“Excellent decision Zyklezo,” he began “I am glad that you cancelled the takeover.”

“Yes, yes, now,” The chief began, “later we will have a council meeting to tell everyone that the invasion has been called off. Until then, go do something.”

It wouldn’t be fair or true to say that there was never another almost invasion from both the Zuks and the humans. There was one narrowly avoided mishap where the Zuks’ rose was almost clipped, but with Zuri’s help, that to was avoided. After a while, Zyklezo stepped down, and Zekles became the chief. He was truly humble, wise, kind, and the best chief that the Zuk people will ever know. As for Zuri, she worked happily in the rose field for many years, averting many an unfortunate disaster. When she retired, her son, Zachary took her place and his daughter after that. It went on like this for many years until the rose field was shut down for financial reasons. Zabrina, Zuri’s great great great great great granddaughter helped the Zuk people manufacture the rose guns into gardening tools and eventually made a very successful business out of it. As for the Zuks, their tribe lived happily for some time on their rose. Many chiefs came and went, although none quite as good as Zekles. They became more trusting of the “rose crushers” which they eventually promoted to humans, and not more than a few days went by when a young, adventurous Zuk was not sent out with a pack, and a compass to have an adventure, and come home stronger and happier than when they had left.

 

Baby Girl:  (Huge smile, sweet, open and eager squeal) MAMMA! I! WROTE! MY! FIRST! PRAISE! SONG! DOYOUWANTMETO SINGITTOYOU!!???????!!!!!

The Mamma: (Morning grimace, mutters, while making breakfast and slurping coffee like its O2 dropped from the over head compartment of a distressed plane) Sure, Baby.

Baby Girl: (Innocent and wide open) The title is, NoBudes Prfikt and I am NoBude.

NoBoDes prfikt and I am noBode.
Cume now is The time to rest
Cume now is the time to Bring
your heat. Come just as God
said thank you for
Bing such good frenas
all of you Thak you Thak
you Thak you But
remebr NoButes
Prikt evin you.

The Mamma: (Moist words, softly cries and hugs Baby Girl tightly) Amen, Baby Girl.

Hallelujah!

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content, (Philippians 4:11).

As previously posted, the promise that I can learn what Paul grasped through Christ’s strength
 and be glad in every condition stokes my GO! fire.

If interested, you may check out the entire post about my recent infatuation with Paul here.

My thoughts continue to dwell upon Paul and the masterpiece of transformation God crafted with his willing soul.

Paul proffered the young church a godly Where-Our-Thoughts-Should-Dwell-Punch-List in his thank you note to the Philippians for their ready aid when he was in the clink in Rome:

Finally, brothers,
whatever is

  • ______ true
  • ______ noble,
  • ______ right,
  • ______ pure,
  • ______ lovely,
  • ______ admirable
  • ______ if anything is excellent
  • ______ praiseworthy

think about such things, (Philippians, 4:8).

<Aside: That’s exactly how I see this verse in my head.
For me,
it uploads as a check-list,
not a sentence
or benediction.>

I would benefit from this being tattooed on the front of my right forearm where I could not fail to see it before taking action into my own hands.

Through the inspiration of the Holy Dove, Paul equips believers with the spiritual equivalent of a pilot’s preflight check-list.

Just as pilots must file a flight plan to ground control before take off, Paul challenges us to record a metacognitive, quality plan prior to thought habitation.

In other words, Paul directly warns us to responsibly plant what thoughts we allow residence in our minds as they not only germinate expectations, but self-fulfilling outcomes that directly enhance or impede our Joy.

Paul’s assurance to the Philippians that through Christ that strengthens him (representative model) he has learned how to be happy despite his circumstance (and therefore we can too) resonates with his admonishment to manage the soundtracks in our own heads.

Don’t you want that lesson plan?
Don’t you wonder
how that fleshy guy,
formerly known as Saul,
accessed such a feat of Grace?

I do!
I want Paul’s Playbook!
I wear His colors.
Put me in Coach,
I’m ready to play!
I’m ready to burn it up for You.

I imagine one of Paul’s signature plays is the Thought Sack.

I expect Paul clipped thoughts he did not want to live in his mind at the knees like a hot quarterback that needed to be shut down.

A more aggressive maneuver could be called the Thought Interception.

Such a call would be important were an unwelcome thought already in play, and one needed to catch it and run it down the other side of the field.

Here’s a sample of what such Thought Interceptions might look like:

Thought: Grr! I have to drive my son to soccer practice again!
Thought Interception: My son made the team!

Thought: Hmmph! I have to figure out what to make for dinner.
Thought Interception: We have more than enough to eat. Let’s double-batch tonight. Who can we carry a meal to tomorrow?

Thought: Snarg! I am drowning in a vile sea of filthy laundry and, if my kids throw any more clean clothes in the hamper, they can go to school naked.
Thought Interception: My washer and dryer is right here in the house, not a laundromat across town.

Thought: Spit! This bathroom sink is full of toothpaste and cereal slobber.
Thought Interception: My kid brushed his own teeth before school without a reminder.

Thought: Snarl! My kids have too much homework! Don’t those teachers respect our family time?
Thought Interception: My children love their school and want to be successful.

Thought: Huff! All they do is eat! We are out of milk and Cheerios AGAIN!
Thought Interception: My child is home, not in a PICU ward on intravenous fluids.

Thought: Ack! My husband brings his work home! He’s constantly checking his flipping iphone.
Thought Interception: In this economy, where 1 in 10 are out of work, my husband has a job he loves.

Thought: $$$! The family budget kicked us in arrears again.
Thought Interception: The only eternal currency is Relationship.

Thought: Yawn! Not tonight. I’m tired.
Thought Interception: Meow! (Kegel, Kegel, Kegel.) May you never weary of doing good nor want another.

I don’t see a way we can be like Paul and learn how to be content in all situations unless we pray for the Direction, Self-Control and Faith to reset our internal monologues. Paul’s challege to critcally manage and map our cognitive process streams is in it’s own way, like fishing:

Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it. (John 21:6)

As for me, I’m going to toss back every discontent idea I net.
I’m only gonna fry the fish fit to feast with Thanksgiving.
Grace & Chips.

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!

I remember as clearly as I fixated over the color of the skirt I wore my first day teaching how amused I was by the tilda eyebrows of one of my most beloved students of all times.

Her glorious brown brows wagged up and down simultaneously,
a glorious earthworm of indignation,
or perhaps incredulity
at my assignment
and too hasty Nothern vernacular.

I was so delighted by her radiant sincerity that I stopped talking midsentence,
and pointed my finger at her,
surprised,
horrified,
perplexed
and noisy eyebrows.
“Tilda!” I exclaimed amazed,
“You’re eyebrows are tildas!
Go write that down!
_one of the advantages of the bastion of my own classroom_
Happy to escape me if only for a moment,
she did and recorded
tilda (eyebrow description)
on the pad I keep by my computer.

When she returned to me more animated than she had left, a praise song of well-groomed, question-mark, eyebrows inquired without words, “Now what?”

I had always thought this student exceptionally beautiful and brilliant, but never loved her more than that day as there is something elastic and time-stamped about a 13 year-old’s ability to express herself exclusively through the subtle, arced mustaches above innocent yet wordly eyeballs.

I knew I wanted to write about the vignette and how it connected me to my own adolescence.

Alas, it was poetry never penned as our lives somersaulted from There to Here. Also at that time, my oldest was 12, not 13, and I ignorantly considered myself immune to the domestic challenges furrowed once noisy eyebrows take root in a peaceful and unsuspecting home.

The Boy can simply look at The Oldest Girl and she’s ready for combat like a grunt on juice.

As for The Mamma?
I might need to be fitted
for a bite plate,
what with all the tooth-grinding
his eyebrows inspire.

Perhaps it was the shock of the move,
or the humidity here,
the hormone poisoning,
or the salt water swims,
but somewhere between the land of There
and our arrival Here,
The Boy got him some noisy eyebrows:

 

These brows say,

“You did NOT just say that to me;

we are not amused.”

 

 

These brows ask,

“You did NOT just say that to me;

you’re a waste of good oxygen.”

 

These brows gasp in social horror,

“You did NOT just say that in front of me (and/or my friends):

You embarrass me and humiliate yourself with that mouth of yours.”

 

These brows chuckle,

<genuine laugh, giggle, hiccup),

He had these same beloved brows _then blonde_ when he was five.

 

These brows challenge,

“You did NOT just say that to me,

You want me to do/say/wear what?”

For those of you who enjoy backstory, when I was around his age, I admit that I spent precious time in furious practice to perfect the questioning-one-eye-brow lift.

If you haven’t ever seen me do it, it’s only because The Husband made me give it up cold turkey  because it so irritated him. He found the look to be condescending. Given the context of when he saw it on my face, I had to submit and repent. Ironically, it took me longer to extinguish the lift than to perfect it.

As such, it’s not that I don’t respect how much can be conveyed in a good brow lift  or its relational implications.

Like when we were kids, my brother could stand across the room and just give me the look and I was furious. Of course, he had practiced and perfected the look that was all eyebrow, by the way, and knew it made my skin crawl.

My reaction was his Payday and better than the candy bar.

Naturally, all my parents observed upon me catapulting myself across the room like a ravenous vampire toward his jugular was him innocently standing there with crossed arms and a perplexed brow.

Let’s just say, the gene did NOT skip a generation.

Now it’s The Boy,
and The Oldest Girl
just might draw first blood.

The Boy versus The Mamma,
The Boy dares a stare down against his old man
(like he could win).

And it’s all so raw,
and real,
and naked,
and intense,
without pretense
or life experience.
Painful,
funny
and oh,
furry
bittersweet.

May it ever be my boy’s elastic brows express his heart as transparently as the cross pours Grace.

May he ever feel free to test limits and find safe boundaries in our Faith and home.

May he never, ever bait his sister unto the point of death.

And however bushy, may his own tilda brows ever raise Hallelujah to the One who made Him ours.

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!

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