Thursday, August 25, 2011

Kindergarten Does Not Rock

At least not today. Kindergarten may prove to be too stressful for me.

I have fretted and worried and paced all morning thinking of everything that could possibly be going wrong today. I made sure we talked about not throwing away all of the food in our lunchbox after lunch to save something for snack. We discussed how being in a new school always means making new friends and that most children in the class would be a stranger to everyone else. I thought carefully about who I would list as our emergency contacts and who would have permission to pick Addison up in the event her daddy nor I could be there.

I was prepared for the emotions of today.

Or so I thought.

I have been guilt-ridden all day feeling as if I have thrown my first born child to the wolves of elementary school. I left my nervous child in the hands of strangers. A very large building full of strangers. What kind of parent does that? My brain tells me she is safe. My head tells me she will be happy...eventually...and probably was super-fine within 30 seconds of my departure, but my heart is telling me something very different.

I am feeling guilty for bringing her to a place where she is an outsider. My job as a mother is to protect my children, and while she is at school I cannot do that. I have to rely on strangers. I do not like that at all. Not one bit.

As I approach the spot to pick up my child, I see my small child walking hand in hand with a teacher. She looks so small. Her body language conveys that she feels small as well. My heart sinks a little. When she sees my car, her smile lights her entire face. For a moment the world is good. A split second later I see and hear the car door open and hit my angel right above the eye. She is shocked and begins to cry. The counselor placing her in the car says, "she must be tired." I want to jump out of the car and slug her. But just for a second. I am sure she didn't notice my child was in pain because of her.

After we are home for a while I hear crying coming from the top of the stairs. I look up to see my first born holding her hands tightly clasped together. I can see the red stains on her fingers from the bottom of the stairwell. She has cut her thumb on the tape dispenser. What next, Lord?

As we are preparing for bed tonight I offer to paint her toe nails because we ran out of time the previous night. I thought it would be a treat after such a long, stressful day. She begins to cry again and says, "mommy, it won't do any good. Remember the teacher said I have to wear tennis shoes." I am wounded once again. I sent my angel to school in sandals. Sandals that are in compliance with the school's and system-wide's dress codes. Rest assured I can tell you with authority that I checked. More than once. More than half a dozen times. "Flip flops are discouraged" it says. Do not send your shoes in unsafe shoes, it says. Never once does it say "your child must wear tennis shoes." My kindergartener thinks it does. Her feelings were hurt today because I apparently misunderstood what "unsafe shoes" means. I don't do well with someone hurting my child's feelings. Let's all hope for the sake of all parties involved that my child misunderstood the teacher's intentions.

One more day like today and I may look into homeschooling my child. Not seriously, but at least I'll feel as though I have some kind of options.

Today has been a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day. I think I want to move to Australia.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Blessings From A Marimba

We are officially Tar Heels.
This time 2 weeks ago we were doing last minute packing in Eufaula. Today is a quiet day in North Carolina waiting for the kids to wake up. They are still on Central Time. I hope at least one of them can adjust before school starts next week.
Addison has adjusted very well to her new Sunday School and Wednesday night routine. Yesterday, she got to go to the church library and check out a book. She was beyond excited. OF course she brought home a princess book, but it sure was a good one. Nothing better than snuggling in your child's bed at night reading books. One day Will is going to let us turn the pages, too.
I started singing in the choir this week. Fun! I can't remember the last time I sang in a choir with an orchestra. Living Christmas Tree kickoff is next Thursday. I'm already getting excited about standing on Christmas-covered scaffolding again, singing memorized music, being totally exhausted after it's over.
My plans for Sunday School have not gone exactly the way I had hoped. Sometimes that's not a bad thing. I'll explain. My plan was to visit several classes over the first weeks to see where I felt most comfortable. There are so many to choose from, and I have friends in these different classes, so I felt I needed to give each of them a chance. The first Sunday we were here I went in a class with folks our age. It's a smaller class, but a really good class. Lots of my Facebook friends are in that class. It felt familiar. This Sunday I was going to go in a larger class with others of my friends, but the kids and I were late. Shocking, I know. We weren't that late, but I had to stop and get a badge and beeper for Will in order to drop him off in the nursery, and couldn't find OUR badge. Maybe there was a badge for us, maybe there wasn't, but I couldn't find a badge. Three of the visitor beepers were checked out already. Fortunately I got some help and we found an unassigned set and sent the kids to their classes. Addison went right in, thank goodness. Will wasn't happy, but did reach for the worker. A miracle in itself. I am convinced the only reason he was upset is because we passed the playground on the way in, and he wanted to go "that way!" Once I made it upstairs all the classes were in full swing. I decided to just sneak back in the class I was in last week. I'm so glad I did.
After the lesson, a couple began to tell us of the class's mission of the month. The Muscular Dystrophy Association is near and dear to their heart: they have a daughter with the disease. I was touched by their honesty and strength in dealing with this disability. I learned a lot about families with disabilities in the few minutes we had that morning. It broke my heart to learn about children who don't want to leave the summer camp because they are in foster care and not in loving homes. I was so struck by the diagnosis some families get that their precious child probably wouldn't live to their 20's. Once again I felt how blessed my family is.
I left Sunday School a little early to make it to the choir room. Yesterday was Youth Sunday. One of the youth led the music (with the exception of the choir special), others played the piano and gave testimonies of activities they'd done over the summer. The youth pastor gave the sermon. But my favorite part of the service was the offertory music.
A young girl began to play a marimba. For those of you who didn't grow up in the marching band, it's like a xylophone but wooden and big. I have to tell you, I don't know what piece of music that young girl played, but it was fast and difficult. She didn't miss a note. I was mesmerized. I've been to lots of beauty pageants and tons of Junior Miss programs, but this kid blew me away. When she finished the entire congregation jumped to their feet with thunderous applause. I was nearly in tears.
Then she began to walk toward her parents. That's when I noticed her limp. I saw her walk to her father - the man from my Sunday School class - and the young girl embraced her father. I could see nothing else through my tear-filled eyes. I was happy to see a box of tissues being passed through the choir loft. Talk about not a dry eye in the house!
Moving is hard. Leaving family behind is hard. Having healthy kids is a blessing! Thank you, GOD for sending me reminders of the things that are important.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Everything Seems To Happen All At Once

I haven't posted in a while, and quite frankly I've been waiting to hear some concrete good news. You know how it goes. You think you have a nibble on your house or you think you might have a place to live or you may have a date to move, and when you start to talk about it or write about it something doesn't work out just right. That's been my life for the last couple of months. We've been in a holding pattern. I'm not good at holding patterns. I like lists. Well, buddy, have I got a list now!

We are finally moving! I wish I could tell you our house here was sold and that there would be no loose ends here in Alabama, but that's just not the case. It's simply another "trust me" from God. However, our sweet church in NC is going to help us rent a house in a great school district (no small feat, I might add) starting in August. Check your calendars, folks. That's about a week away.

When we got the blessing from the church, David hurried and found a house available in a great neighborhood. When I tell ya it was no small feat, I'm serious. Trying to find an affordable house, big enough for our family and all our stuff, in a good school district, available before school starts? Seriously. God was all over that. Anyway, once we got a place to live I had to call the movers. I was sweating being able to get someone to move us quickly because the movers I really liked told me back in June that they were already booked through the month of July. After many, many emails and phone calls, the movers are scheduled. They're packing our stuff (well, all the breakable stuff) on a Tuesday, loading the truck on a Wednesday, and delivering our things on that Friday. Friday!?!? Holy cow, that only gives us one day to travel with the kids. That should be fun.

Meanwhile, dear husband and I have a t-o-n of things to get done before the movers get here. Turning off utilities, turning on utilities, forwarding mail, getting the car serviced, packing anything that isn't breakable and won't need to be used in the next 2 weeks, getting checks cut, on and on and on the list goes. I wake up in the night and think of things I've forgotten to put on my list.

On top of the moving checklist, there are the getting-ready-for-school checklist and the last-minute-before-we-leave birthday party checklist. (Yep, having a party before we leave. Thanks to Nana for offering her house. Otherwise we'd be having a cardboard box themed party.) Those lists have included everything from ordering backpacks, having backpacks monogrammed, picking up recital videos, ordering a cake, finding decorations, gathering presents, sending invitations, going to two doctor's appointments for immunizations and physicals - oh that reminds me - I forgot to get A's updated blue slip after all those nasty shots, so that's another trip to Dothan. I'm tired just typing this.

Now, add all that stuff up and remember all the laundry, cooking, cleaning, picking up toys after two small bored children, pool maintenance, dirty diapers, refereeing two small bored children, not to mention finding time to sleep and shower on occasion, and I am a bit overwhelmed. Moving stresses me out.

What I have to remember is after all is said and done, in two weeks my family will be back together under one roof. That makes it all worth it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

When She Grows Up

Addison has been practicing preschool graduation this week at school, so of course, she has continued playing graduation at home. All of her Pet Shop, Disney Princesses, and Strawberry Shortcake friends are lined up on the hearth reciting their parts. The theme this year is "What I Want To Be When I Grow Up."

Here are some of her graduates' wishes (made up entirely by her):

Ming Ming Ducking wants to be "a florist because I like to plant flowers."
Sally Lamb wants to be "a teacher because I like to help kids learn."

Some of the others...

"a ballerina because I like to dance."
"a trash picker-upper because I like to recycle."
"a librarian because I like to read books."
"a princess because I like to wear crowns."
"a mermaid because I like to sit on rocks."
"a flower girl because I like to throw flowers in the air."
"a football player because I like to tackle."
"a rock and roll girl because I like to be in a band."
"a chef because I like to cook good food."
"a fishergirl because I like to eat fish."
"a magician because I like to do tricks."
"a gymnastics girl because I like to do flips."
"a bride because I like to wear white dresses."
"a cleaning lady because I like to mop the floor with my mommy."
"a fireman because I like to save people."
"a mommy because I like to help babies stop crying."

And my personal favorite:

"a daddy because I like to sleep longer in the mornings."

Addison's wish for herself is to be "a pediatrician because I like to help babies get better." I'm going to remind her of this when she complains about doing her algebra homework in a few years. Come to think of it, I should probably start saving money now for medical school. Where is that Junior Miss scholarship when we need it?!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Relocation Isn't For Wimps

May is here. Our calendar is filling up with field trips, graduation, and dance recitals. However, the one thing I'm not filling is moving boxes, and that doesn't make me happy. When David accepted his new job, I was hoping to be with him in North Carolina by Easter. Then I hoped to move by the end of May. Now were looking at, well, no idea. I'm a list maker. I like order. I need to have a plan. Being at the mercy of a real estate market in a recession and waiting for people to help me who have no real stake in the matter are causing me to have ulcers.

Here's the problem: our house has been on the market since March and has been shown once. Once. Not a good sign. We need to sell this house before we can buy another home in North Carolina. We were told we could live in the church's missionary house when the current tenants leave, and she's leaving this week to go back to Uruguay...for six weeks. I still can't get anyone to tell me if/when she'll be out of the house permanently. Last I understood, she filed a 3-month extension, which means the earliest we could get in the house would be October. But even that date is a guess. I can't get anyone to tell me anything definite. I'm banging my head on the wall as I type this.

School starts in August. I have to get Addison enrolled in kindergarten before school starts. But where will we be in August??? Do I register her here in Eufaula? Do I register her in North Carolina with no address? Calgon!

Our plan last week was to put Addison in private school in NC so we wouldn't have to worry about where we live in the city and wouldn't have to deal with school districts, etc. The schools we talked to or looked into either considered Addison too young for kindergarten or they had a 2 year kindergarten program. Either way, these schools would be holding Addison back a year. Not going to happen. Not even an option. Those of you who've met this child know that she's ready for kindergarten and will be more than ready for first grade this time next year. She read a postcard to me yesterday. Nope, we're not waiting 2 years for first grade. She's already bored in school. Head banging continuing.

The only thing I can count on right now is God. A friend recently reminded me that God is never late, but He's very rarely early either. I know He will work everything out in His time and not mine, but right now, I have no clear direction and not even a smidgen of a plan. I am scared, confused, and panicked. I need an inking of what to do. I need a safety net. I need my family back together. Addison prays every night for our house to sell so we can move to be with Daddy. Breaks my heart.

I know one day I'll look back on this post and see exactly how God worked all this out in His perfect timing. That is, if I can still see after this concussion. I need a helmet.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

On Growing Up

Spring brings flowers and showers. Graduation and wedding invitations fill our mailboxes. It's a time for new beginnings and some endings as well. I used to love going to a wedding. I suppose in some ways I still do, but having a four year-old daughter who is obsessed with all things wedding, husband, boyfriend, and family, my perspective towards marriage has changed a bit. I can no longer sit in the church and not see my sweet Addison standing at the front in a beautiful white dress with a mile-long train. I envision my first born child looking at her husband-to-be with twinkling eyes and a beautiful smile on her face as she takes his hand and promises God to love him for as long as they live. I flash back to the present day and see Addison standing in a field of dandelions making wishes; I see her picking the petals from daisies and saying "he loves me; he loves me not" while I remind her that if "he loves her not" her brother and I will clobber him.

I know those days are far in the future, but her graduation is only four weeks away, and I am sad. Preschool graduation is not nearly as an emotional time as a high school graduation unless your child is the one graduating to real school. This child whom I prayed for and waited for and waited some more for is growing up. She's becoming an independent person with ideas and aspirations all her own, and for that I am grateful. But the mommy side of me wishes she'd stay little a little longer.

She will start kindergarten in the fall in a new school in a new town and new state with all new friends. I am terrified for her but will not let her know. I will do my best to give her all the confidence I can will upon her, and I will pray for her. Daily. Hourly. Constantly.

She is my best friend. She knows that. I only hope I can be half the mommy she thinks I am.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

On The Road Again

It's official. OK, Sunday it will be "official" official, but, we're moving. Again. Greensboro, North Carolina - here we come!

Three and a half years ago we moved back to Eufaula for David to help his dad take care of his businesses. For three and a half years, David has been miserable. Running a coin operated laundromat is not his dream, calling, nor passion. From the moment we moved back, we felt the call back into full-time ministry. In some ways I guess we never felt the call away from the ministry.

God has blessed us with a precious church who called David nearly immediately after our arrival back in our home town. They allowed David the opportunity to remain in the ministry (although part time) while he worked full time at the laundry. Many weeks and months during the last few years, David was working 7 days a week. It was stressful for all of us.

All along the journey David was contacted and wooed by churches wanting him to return to full time ministry, and each time we felt that it was either not the right time or the right fit or just plain out not right for us. Each time we tried not to get discouraged. As time passed, discouragement was hard to avoid.

December 6, 2010, my daddy died. Two days later, the pastor of Friendly Avenue Baptist Church called David to talk to him about becoming their Associate Pastor for Discipleship and Evangelism. David told him what our family was going through and said he couldn't talk to him right then. When he hung up the phone, David looked at me and said, "well, I probably just blew it." Family has always been the most important thing to David. We wouldn't be in Eufaula right now if it weren't. Apparently, that meant a good bit to the folks in North Carolina.

After many phone interviews, Skype interviews, road trips, plane trips, and a whole lotta prayers, the church extended a call to David with a 98.3% affirmative vote. Pretty cool.

David will begin this new chapter in our lives on April 4th. The kids and I will join him as soon as we can. Many things are still left here to do. We have a birthday for David and Will's 2nd birthday party just this month alone.

Oh yes, and a house to sell...anybody wanna buy a house??