Tuesday, November 30, 2010


My niece Eva turns 21 today.


That makes me the aunt of a legal drinker. Egad!

Eva was the first baby I ever cared for. I was in awe and completely smitten from day one. She was my original Little Buddy. We tore all around town causing all kinds of trouble together. She was with me when I ripped the pump off the gas tank. But that’s a story for another time.

When my sister, Valarie, returned to work after some time at home with Eva I was working part-time in a retail store, mainly evenings. So whenever she needed someone to care for an ill baby or toddler I was available. That’s when I learned how to hold, feed, bathe, and shower a young one with love and care. I also learned how to make a child tardy for school. I guess you could say that was the start of my bad mommy ways.

When Eva was in Kindergarten both of her parents had to be at work, or at least on their way, before the start of the school day. My apartment was on the way to work for her dad, Rick, a.k.a. Dren, so he would drop her off at my place before the sun came up. I don’t remember what he was doing at the time. I just remember he had to be somewhere at an ungodly hour.

Dren would knock on the door and I would answer it, taking Eva’s backpack and clothes for her to change into and we would both fall on the couch or the bed (depending on whether or not Pat was in town) and we would be out as soon as her head hit the pillow and my arm wrapped around her. Almost every morning I would wake up and look at the clock and that would start our harried routine: fling back the covers, yank off her pj’s, throw on her clothes, rake a comb through her hair, disguise my pj’s in whatever was near, and run out the door with breakfast in hand.

We were late…again….and again….and again. I don’t think Rick and Val were too happy when they got the report listing the number of tardies Eva had at the end of each semester. Oops! That’s what you get when you leave your child in the hands of an immature twenty-something who stays up until two or three in the morning.

I don’t think those Kindergarten tardies hurt her, though. She’s now a junior in college with an unbelievable GPA and has been accepted to study abroad next semester. She leaves for Botswana, Africa after the new year. I don’t see her near as much as I did when she was a little one, but thinking of her half a world away still hurts. I may have to snatch her up during the Christmas festivities and take a little joy ride with her.

Maybe we can vandalize another gas station.

Happy birthday, Eva!

I love you so much and I’m so proud of the young lady you’ve become.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Sin I’ve Committed

I‘ve been careless.

I’ve been way too hasty.

I’ve been wishing for something that I truly don’t want to come.

The problem is I’ve been so caught up in myself that I didn’t stop to think about what I was doing, or thinking, or wishing.

You see, I feel run down. I’m working full-time in a stressful and toxic environment. I’m also a full-time mom, a wife, and a housekeeper. I’m probably not much different from many of you.

At the same time I’m trying to work out a risky career change and singing at church part-time. I’d say I have more than a full plate. It’s more like a buffet table. Instead of picking and choosing from my custom-made buffet, I tend to pile it all on and stay stuck in the mode of How am I ever going to get this all done?

So today I worked on my weekly schedule, because a buffet needs A LOT of planning. Each week I try to find time for some exercise, cleaning, researching, writing, and, oh yeah! There’s the kids. And, I’m embarrassed to say, it never fails…I end up thinking to myself, Man, I can’t wait until they can bathe themselves, or feed themselves, or entertain themselves.

Right after I printed out my schedule with a heavy sigh and an overwhelmed feeling, I saw a video of a woman whose daughter is getting married. A sad look came across her face and she said, “You just don’t think when your child is small that in just a few years it’s going to be completely different, and you look back and say where did that time go? It goes by fast.”

This hit me so hard I almost fell to my knees. I felt like I had committed the mother of all sins. You can take that literally. I’ve been wishing away my kids’ childhoods.

But what does any of this matter without your kids? What if I do get that dream career one day, but they don’t want to call or visit me because I was always preoccupied?

What if I have a clean house, but they feel like I’m always yelling at them for leaving out toys or crumbs on the table?

What if I have all the time I want to sit and brood about what all I have to get done, and I forget that my first priority is enjoying every minute I can with my precious, aggravating, loud, and beautiful kids, as long as they’ll allow me to hold them, snuggle with them, run and play with them, or just lie with them as they sleep?

It’s time to repent and ask for guidance to get back on the right road. I need you guys to remind me if I start to stray again.

I still have a schedule because I’ll forget what’s coming up if I don’t, but I’ve changed it to be more lax. It reads, “Things to Do If There’s Time.”

I’ve got more important things to tend to.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It's All in the Mind

I’ve been in a baking kick lately: gooey s’mores bars, moist banana muffins, and my awesome chocolate cream pie. Ok, the last isn’t baked, but it’s a treat so I’m counting it.

So earlier this week I found a fantastic recipe for red velvet cupcakes (Thank you, Paula Deen!). As I was pouring the finished batter into the muffin tins Savannah came in. A little late, I might add. She usually runs in as soon as she hears the mixer running, but she strolled in rather nonchalantly this time.

“Wha’cha making?”

She looked a little confused when she first saw the red batter and then her eyes grew big with excitement.

“Are those red velvet cupcakes?”

“Beet muffins,” I responded.

“What’s a beet?”

“It’s a vegetable. Wanna try a taste?”

She looked repulsed when I held out the spatula to her.

“Just try it,” I encouraged her.

She got a very small dot of batter on her finger and tasted it, then stuck out her tongue.


“Are you serious?” I said stunned. Yuck wasn’t quite the response I had expected.

“I don’t like it,” she said with a slightly disgusted look, yet there was still something on her face that told me she wasn’t sure she believed she had just tried beets.

“I can’t believe you don’t like this. Try it again.”

With a little trepidation she took a bigger bite of the batter and with all the drama of her sister she protested, “Oh! It’s horrible!” and ran out with her head thrown back and her arms flying behind her.

Oh the horror of supposedly trying a new vegetable!

A red one at that!!

I finally confessed when Savannah found Pat and me sharing the very tasty leftovers in the mixing bowl and a laugh that our oldest, hater of all things good for her, had immediately hated it just because she thought it was a vegetable.

It’s amazing what we can keep ourselves from enjoying just because of our thoughts….and fears.

Just a little food for thought.