Tiny Dart Frog

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.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I used to be a good mom

There was a time, which seems like eons ago, when I was a good mom.

I subscribed to 'Family Fun' magazine (ok - everything is online now, but at one time...) and scoured the pages for cute crafts to do on rainy days.
I organized playdates, for which my house was typically clean and the Thomas the Train railroad track was assembled and ready to be used (no longer strewn about the playroom from the last time the tracks were used as swords).
The kids made snowmen pins out of white buttons for Christmas presents and every birthday party had a theme, along with the perfect cake.
My kids went to bed on time, their clothes matched, and I even mopped the floor every evening (Yes - this is a true story).

I was a stay-at-home mom of three young boys.... and I really, really wanted to get it 'right'.

When my children were little and I was busy being the perfect mom, my mom told me that what would be important as my children grew up was to make sure I spent 10 minutes a day with each of them.  I may not have looked at her like she was out of her mind, but I definitely thought it.

10 minutes a day?  Please...
I'm a good mom.  I spend hours a day with my kids.

And then I went back to school for my Masters (with three small children just graduating was a feat), got divorced (hardest thing I've ever done), and started working as a pastor (a joyous and heartbreaking job).  My kids were lucky if they had clean underwear and I could scrounge up something besides pop-tarts for breakfast.

I see posts on facebook promoting adorable cupcakes found on Pinterest (seriously - cute bunnies with marshmallow ears and coconut fur) or a new fangled way to decorate the yard for Halloween (shoot - I'm aiming for getting the pumpkin carved on time) or some amazing cubby system that will surely tame the beast known as homework (WHAT?!  Just spreading it out on the dining room table doesn't work?).

And two things pop into my mind: "Who in the world has time for this...?"  Which is closely followed in the thought process by: "Me.  I used to have time for that."

I used to be a good mom.  I'm not anymore.

And I honestly sometimes mourn that.  Wish I could give my children more or make sure somehow they know that they are my whole reason for living.

Now, sometimes I'm exasperated beyond belief because somehow one cleat is at their father's house and the other is at mine.  And sometimes we really have eaten pizza for three days in a row.  And sometimes the only time I sit down with my children all day long is when tuck them into bed to say their bedtime prayers.

10 minutes a day, with each of my kids....individually, that sounds like heaven.  And impossible.  Where do I find 30 solid minutes where nothing is pulling at me?

Or them.  Because let's be honest... their schedules rival the President of the United States.

My 16 year old son still lets me tuck him in (if I don't hit the sack before him)...
And my 14 year old son still kisses me on the lips (I'm confident he would die if he read this)...
And my baby, who is 11 - which seems downright impossible, still cuddles with his blankie...

Maybe I'm still a good mom.  My kids might tell you otherwise when I'm harping on them about homework or having a psycho-mommy moment...

But at the end of the day, I love my kids as much today as I did when I was impersonating June Cleaver.

And they teach me that there's more to being a good mom than what the glossy pages of magazines and flashy adds tout.  Sometimes being a good mom is smelling the T-shirts to find the least stinky one.  Ok, ok.  It's not typically this bad.

I try really hard.  And my kids try really hard.  We make family work the best way we can.

Here's what I've learned through all my reiterations as a mom.
All families look different.  All kinds can be good.
All moms look different.  All kinds can be good.
All dads look different.  All kinds can be good.
All kids look different.  All kinds can be good.

Sure, continue to 'pin' or 'post' or 'publish' the latest and hottest trend in baking or crafting or home organization, because I may just pick up one of the ideas if it works in my small corner of the world.

But sometimes, I honestly just need to know that someone else out there wishes they didn't have red gatorade stains all over their van and ran out of toilet paper and is trying to figure out what to make for dinner when all you have left in your fridge is a bag of saurkraut and 3 eggs.

So, anyway....If you've ever felt that way and thought, "I used to have it all together.  I used to be a good mom..."

Me too.
And I love my kids like crazy.
I'm still a good mom.
(Just don't ask my teenage son...)

As a sidebar - the cinquain above was written by my youngest son.  I'm not sure what 'mom' he was thinking of when he described me as 'calm' but..... whatever.  MOM.  Nothing like it.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Dry dock

I'm not a boater - at all.  I don't know how to set a sail or begin to read a nautical map.  I haven't even had enough experience on boats to know if I get sea sick or not.  

I like the idea that I conjure up in my head of what it's like to boat - the freedom, the wide open space, the adventure....  All of that sounds appealing to me.  Truth be told however, haven't always thought I'd like to boat.  

I grew up in the mid-west.  Mid-westeners don't boat.  I don't know what we do that takes the place of the past-time of boating, but not having bodies of water nearby pretty much makes boating for recreation near impossible.

Boating and accessibility to water is much easier and more common on the east coast.  I have friends that boat, that grew up going to the beach, and that steam crabs.  I have one friend in particular that loves to boat (although he doesn't do it as often as he'd like) and his generous sharing of his love of the water is intoxicating.  

Because of this I see boats differently now.
I want to know more about boats now.  
I pay more attention to boats now.

A few years ago I would've passed by a boat raised up out of the water in a dock and not given it a second thought.... A few years ago I didn't know there was such a thing as 'dry docking'.

Now I do.  
And I'm a little jealous of boats.

Ok.  Ok.  That sounds ridiculous.
But in my metaphorical mind a boat has it ALL.  Adventure and rest.  Open waters and dry docks.

I should maybe explain a little better, just in case you, like me, aren't aware of what dry docking is.  When a boat is dry docked it is floated into a vessel-like platform.  The platform is drained of water and the boat is allowed to rest in the dock - it's weight supported - while it is repaired and cared for. 

I don't know about you, but my life has been hectic lately...  much adventure, many seas to sail, multiple places to visit...but not a whole lot of dry docking.  Not a whole lot of rest.  I was recently speaking with a dear friend and we were both talking about how our lives were seemingly whirlpools of activity.  And I said to her, "Too bad we don't get the luxury of dry docking...".

The words surprised me.  Not only do I not typically think in 'nautical language,' but it's not often that I'll admit out loud that some rest and some care and a chance to not sail the open seas sounds appealing.    I've been longing recently for a chance to just stop.

If the boat gets to have it's engine cared for, it's body repaired, it's haul brightened, it's underneath supported, the I imagine dry docking a person to be similar.  Care for the heart, strength for the body, rest for the soul, and support for the whole being...

Dry dock.  
I'd sail a few ocean lengths for that.

Sometimes I over-theologize Jesus - wondering what he was thinking, what he meant by this phrase or that, and curious about where this whole ship known as the church is going.  Sometimes I want the ship to just go....

But as I said to my friend how appealing a dry dock is to me, I realized that maybe sometimes the church can and should dry dock.  Take some time to regain it's strength; give the crew some time to catch their breath.

I'll be the first to admit I'm a terrible dry docker.  See, as I thought about this, I realized that I am given chances to dry dock, I just don't take them.  Maybe I'm afraid of what might go on without me, maybe I'm afraid of sitting idle, maybe I'm afraid to let someone care for me.  

All of which I think is true.  
It takes courage to take a boat off the waters for a time being...

Now, I'm not taking myself off the waters..  that's just crazy talk (ie - I have three children to love, a full-time job, amazing friends and family to visit, carpool, groceries, bills...) Oh, you get the picture.  You have them too.  I can't truly just do nothing...

But I can savor the moments when I could just sit....
So, I'm keeping an eye out for the next chance to dry dock and maybe let the world pass me by for a bit of time.