Poison Dart Frogs are some of the tiniest and beautiful creatures on the planet; they are also incrediably deadly. So, why call this blog "Tiny Dart Frog"? It goes back to the old adage - good things come in small packages. We are all created exactly as God has intended - unique, strong, and beautiful.
Tomorrow is my oldest son's 14th birthday (I have absolutely no idea how this happened...I swear he was 4 years old just last week) and it's also the date my mom is retiring. For some reason, that has been a bit lost on me, I am amazingly excited for her.
This evening I stood in the kitchen, making a chocolate chip cookie cake for my son to take to the Confirmation retreat tomorrow (yes, he's a trooper for spending his birthday at confirmation). I used the recipe my mom taught me - the one I have memorized; the one that is dubbed the 'best cookies in the world'; the one my mom makes; the one my kids say they are going to make when they have kids.
And I remembered how it used to go when I was very little...
Every Monday when I was a kid (actually, I don't know if it was every Monday or not, it just feels that way when I think about my childhood) my mom and I would make cookies.
She let me measure out the ingredients and even crack the eggs. She held the bottle of vanilla under my nose and we both agreed it was the best smell on earth. I'd lick the beaters. And we would each steal a few chocolate chips.
My mom says she doesn't really remember this next part, but I do.
Once she slyly whispered to me with a grin, "You know, they always put a few extra chocolate chips in the bag just for moms and daughters who are making cookies together." And I believe I looked at her with awe, thinking I was the luckiest girl on the planet. And maybe I was. Maybe I am.
I've carried that memory, however clear or faded it might be my whole life. It says everything about her. Everything about me. Everything about my children. See, I may have some of the details wrong, but the truth is...that doesn't matter at all, because what I remember is how I felt. I felt as if there was nothing that could ever go wrong; that everything was possible in the kitchen with my mom.
That feeling is what matters.
This evening, as I stood there with brown sugar and cracked eggshells, my youngest son saunters into the kitchen and says, "Oooo. Yum. Can I smell the vanilla?" And I almost cried.
And then as my oldest - my son who is more a man than a baby - snagged a few chocolate chips and glanced at me with the teenage head bob, I knew why I was so happy.
I don't really need my mom to come and bake cookies in my kitchen with me... but she could.
And I don't really need my mom to help me decorate my house...but she could.
Just as I don't really need anyone to share a Mountain Dew with me...but she could.
Maybe we never overgrow wanting that feeling of 'it's all about you and me, baby...'. My childhood, my mom, my child who is no longer a child, all wafted through the kitchen mixed with the aroma of freshly baking cookies. This is what it is to be happy. My mom and dad taught me that.
It sounds like I think my mom's retirement is all about me, doesn't it? I don't mean it to sound that way. I'm good with written words...not always with spoken words. And so on the eve of my son's birthday and my mom's retirement, I say~
My name is Christine Stephan, although I answer mostly to Mom or Pastor.
I am a Lutheran pastor for an amazing group of Jesus' disciples just outside Washington DC AND a mom to 3 of the best boys in the universe.
I blog here about family and faith and frustrations....That thing we call 'life'.
My boys are passionate about all things legos, anything involving a ball, video games, and chocolate.
I am an avid runner, a lover of interesting books and deep conversation, a very amateur writer, and also a lover of chocolate.
I also love theology (which is weird, I know), but I don't love theology more than Jesus.
This blog is hardly ever profound, but it is real. As a pastor and I mom, I find 'real' to be more helpful in my journey with Jesus than crossing all the t's and dotting all the i's.