Tag Archives: Parenting

Late Night Calls

A year ago today, I was ripped from my sleep by a loud chime. My phone. The only words that registered after I answered, were ‘drunk driver, head on collision, and emergency room’.

As I drove the 90 minutes to get there, I prayed. I prayed for my daughter, her friend who was in the passenger seat, and the other drivers involved. I thanked God for the police who were on scene within seconds. (Three were in the area to witness and respond quickly.) I thanked God for the friends nearby who arrived within minutes to be with the girls as the chaos of questions and next step plans began. But mostly, I thanked God that they were alive.

By the time I arrived at the emergency room, the girls had been fully x-rayed, their wounds addressed, and pain medication prescribed. Miraculously, there were only concussions, lacerations, and a whole lot of soreness with bruising to come. They were released with instructions to watch for further symptoms, rest, and take it easy for several days.

My daughter and I were both surprised and really proud of how we held it together that night by using a whole lot of humor. It wasn’t until the next day, when I called the insurance company that the emotion of it all came crashing in.

I was greeted with a warm hello. The woman on the other line was polite and cheerful as we exchanged greetings. I told her I was calling because my daughter was in a car accident the previous night, that we needed to set up a car rental for her, and that I wanted to give them the other driver’s insurance information. That’s when she asked me to give her the details. As soon as I uttered the words, “she was hit head on by a drunk driver”, the polite woman gasped and said, “I’m so sorry”. I immediately felt the lump in my throat and the tears well up in my eyes. She asked about my daughter’s condition. I squeezed out that she and her friend where okay, just very sore. Pulling myself together as best I could, I got through the rest of the phone call all the while thinking that this was not how I saw the week playing out.

Later that day, my daughter and I went to the tow yard to see if we could retrieve items from her car. As she walked gingerly, I asked how she was doing seeing it in the light of day. She said she was okay. She just wanted to get her things. It started to sprinkle as I walked around the car to inspect the damage. The whole front end was crumpled; it was half the size it should have been. The rear passenger side of her car was also dented, a result of the initial driver’s impact that sent the car backwards into another vehicle. And then I looked into the car itself. All the airbags had deployed. Things were scattered and destroyed. The metal that had been pushed into my daughter’s leg was hanging under the steering wheel. Again the tears came. A mixture of sadness at what had happened and gratitude that she was still here.

I’d like to say that from there it was just a few weeks of laying low and all was back to normal. That’s not how it worked. The next seven months brought PTSD, surgery, infections that did not go away, negotiations with insurance companies, and a leaky pipe that flooded my daughter’s room destroying several hundred dollars worth of possessions. It. Was. So. Hard. It was hard for my daughter. And it was hard for me to watch as she was hit with one thing after another. #

The beautiful face of a survivor.

A few days ago, my daughter had a party. It was to celebrate that she made it through the year. She invited friends, had queso and chips, guacamole, smores, and a piñata shaped like a car filled with candy. I was so proud and in awe of how she chose to commemorate the year from hell. She chose to rejoice and give thanks. What could have destroyed her, made her stronger, healthier, braver, more resilient, and closer to God.

I love her example. Too often, I find myself marking difficult anniversaries by remembering and ruminating on all the hard, difficult, and sad things instead of rejoicing the good that God so graciously brought out of the wreckage. So this is our reminder, yours and mine, to celebrate. Celebrate that we survived! Especially those things we thought would do us in! Dig deep into the ashes to find the treasures that can be found. And give thanks. Throw a party. Invite your friends. And by all means, have a piñata. They are very therapeutic!

Books, Books, and More Books

I love books.  I like the way they feel in my hands.  I like turning the pages.  I like underlining and making notes in the margins.  I like filling shelves toimg_1359 overflowing with them.  I enjoy walking through book stores row by row, stopping to thumb through pages.  Just thinking about it calms my heart and makes me smile.

As a result, I have several boxes of books from our recent move.  By several, I mean 50 or so; many of which I’m still in the process of unpacking.   We don’t have the space to continue to house all of these wonderful items so I’m trying to fill new boxes with books to donate.  It’s a time consuming process because as I unpack each book, I can’t help but thumb through it, remembering, smiling, cherishing.

Most of the books fall into either faith based writings or parenting or a combination of both.  Each of them are a reminder of all that God has done and His faithfulness to me over the years.

When I found out that we were going to have our oldest child, I knew that I wasn’t well equipped.  I had brokenness from my own childhood that I didn’t want to repeat; I didn’t want to mess up the beautiful gift that God was giving.  I knew some of the basics of keeping her alive, I just wasn’t sure about nurturing or loving her well.  So I did what I knew to do…I researched.  I watched other moms.  I asked questions.  I reached out for help.  I prayed.  And I read a lot.

Many of the faith based books were about growing closer to God, praying, healing, how to study the bible, and bible study tools.  I knew that I needed God if I was going to be the kind of mom I wanted to be, which meant I needed a lot of healing and truth.  I’m in awe today of all that He has done to sooth and bring wholeness in my heart.

The parenting books were what you would expect; how to talk to your kids, how to listen to your kids, when to start having them do chores, how to get them to work together, how to raise emotionally intelligent kids, how to teach kids about God, how to raise a child with disabilities, and the list goes on..

As the kids got older, I read books about helping children resolve conflicts.  One book recommended that I empathize with my child when he/she was mad with a sibling.  I jumped at the chance to try it out the next time a fight erupted.

I could tell one child was mad at another so I asked her, per the books instructions, “Are you mad?  Do you feel like hitting your brother?”  The book said that at this point the child would reply yes, and I was to empathize by saying something about how I understood her desire, but hitting was not appropriate.  But before I could say anything, she hauled off and hit him!  I was stunned!  This was not how it was supposed to go!  Thankfully, my laughter diffused the situation (maybe not the best reaction, but I couldn’t help myself!) and I was able to make a teaching point out of the failed experiment.  We still talk and laugh about that incident when we reminisce about the kids’ childhood.  It certainly made a lasting impression!

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So as I unpack each one of these books, I think about how each one came into my possession.  Some came by way of loving, caring friends who knew I was looking for answers.  Some came from spending time in the book shelves of libraries and bookstores.  All came through the loving hands of God who heard my plea for help.

I thumb through each book, looking for things I’ve bookmarked, highlighted, or starred.  The memories come flooding back.  Each mark reveals my thoughts, struggles, and desires during that time.  It’s hard for me to believe that those intense, fun, stretching, joy-filled, and sometimes difficult years are behind me. image I’m still a mom, and I have other things to pour into and walk through with my children, but those years of purposeful, daily parenting are gone.

My heart is full and grateful as I now enjoy the harvest of those planting years. 

I’m thankful for the wisdom I gleaned from each one of those books.  They offered encouragement, insight, and understanding.  They all became a part of my arsenal as I grew as a mom.

I smile as I lovingly put books on my shelves to remind me of all that has passed.  And I pray as I put some of those precious books in new boxes; hoping that they bless and encourage their new owners…

God’s Glory

My younger kids and I have been touring colleges lately. It’s been fun to watch them get more excited about going off to school next year and the new possibilities to come!

It’s made me think about how we got to this point.

I remember the younger years.  The years where the days seemed long, tiring, and endless.  The years where I sometimes wondered if we’d all make it out alive.

During that time, I had a woman who told me to enjoy those preschool years because they are so wonderful.  I told her that clearly she hadn’t had preschoolers in her house in quite some time!  Quite frankly, she’s lucky I didnt slap her!


Checking out the University of Houston

It’s not that I wasn’t enjoying my children, I was, but I felt like I was drowning in diapers, laundry, and expectations.  I had put a lot of pressure on myself to not only be the best mom I could be, but to strive for perfection.  See, I started to believe a lie that I had heard from so many well meaning people…God had chosen me because I was just the person to handle the challenge; after all , He wouldn’t give me more than I could handle.

So why did I feel so overwhelmed?  So unprepared?  So tired?  So alone?

Because I started trying to parent on my own.  I wanted to show God and those around me that God had chosen well. That I was the woman for the job.  Really, I was just an average woman given an incredible gift, not because I earned it or had shown awesome potential, but because it was part of God’s plan.

I wonder what God’s expression was when I finally cried out to Him saying I couldn’t do this and I needed some help.  I would have had that, well I could have told you that, look on my face!  But I like to picture Him smiling at me with love in His eyes.

I think that was part of His plan all along; me turning to Him, asking for help, and then relying on His direction.   It’s not that parenting became easy and that there weren’t challenges.  Remember, five kids in twenty-one months…. But I knew I wasn’t alone and had never been.

So now, so many years later and these fabulous kids will soon join their older sister venturing out into the world.  It’s hard to believe it’s already time.  As I look at them, I see the faithfulness of God.  I see His grace and mercy.  I see His provision and guidance.  I see His glory and am overwhelmed again!