Scared Straight

After a quick and uneventful C-section to bring my little angel into the world, I remember gazing down at my perfect baby boy. I timidly pawed at my baby to make sure everything looked how it was supposed to look. Ten fingers? Check. Ten toes? Check. I remember breathing a sigh of relief…for a nanosecond…until I realized that the hospital staff was going to require me to take this baby boy home and raise him. Panic that I was unqualified or ill-prepared to raise my perfect baby boy set in. I tried to reason that Mother Nature knew what she was doing. I had read all the books, taken the classes, this was a PLANNED pregnancy. Dr. Spock definitely knew a thing or two, right? And, as those parents who have blazed the trail long before me knew…it was all ok. My baby and I got to know each other and we’ve had our ups and downs along the way but the journey has been a blessing. I know a love I never thought was possible. Every stage of parenting has been exciting and new and I’ve looked forward to the roses and tried, unsuccessfully at times, to avoid thorns that have accompanied each stage.

…until Drivers Ed.

My sweet baby boy is no longer a sweet baby boy. He’s now an intelligent, funny, 15-year-old young man who wants to drive a motor vehicle! I didn’t realize what I was getting myself into when I paid the fee for him to enroll in On-line Drivers Ed. You heard me right…Drivers Ed…ONLINE! Who knew such a thing even existed? Well…it does. So, I get him enrolled. A few weeks later he tells me that he is ready to go get his permit. We check out the DMV website and find all the necessary forms of ID and paperwork that he will need, drive to the DMV, wait… and then eagerly head to the representative that’s going to help us. It turns out that between the two of us we DON’T have enough identification. Home we go to obtain enough forms of ID and ten years of report cards to ensure the DMV that we are, indeed, who we say we are. He passes the test, gets the permit and I take his picture standing tall and proud outside the DMV. Wow, this is a great moment, a slight snafu with the ID, but another great parenting moment in the books!

I’m silently congratulating myself when all of a sudden I see my son hold out his hand and ask for my keys. In an instant, 15 years are erased and I’m that scared mom back at the hospital. My son is in no way prepared to drive a car. It’s been a hot minute since he received his permit. This is dangerous! This is one of those moments where a decision has to be made. I shoot up an arrow prayer of protection, “Please God, let this child get us home safely.” I hand him my keys and slowly (oh so slowly) make my way to the passenger side of the car. He attempts to turn on the radio, “Let’s save the radio for another day,” I say as I have visions of him flying down the highway with Kanye blasting as a police chase ensues (yes, I do tend toward the dramatic). He gets us safely home. This does not mean that I’m in any way, shape or form LESS terrified. We talk a lot about safety and how to turn on the windshield wipers and how to navigate the roundabouts that are everywhere in our city. Looking back, I’m pretty sure I only screamed “BRAKE” 3 or 4 times. I do remember a significant hand cramp from where I gripped my door so tightly.

In the few months since getting his permit, he’s run a red light (he would say orange…I would not), run over a curb or two, forgot to put the car in park and hit a trash can. BUT he has gotten MUCH better. I’ve come to really enjoy the time we spend together in the car. It’s time just for us. We talk, we laugh, we tell stories. This little boy of mine is growing up and next month he will be 16. A few months after that, he will be able to get his Driver’s license and he won’t need me in the car with him anymore…most likely won’t want me in the car with him anymore. So, I’ve decided to approach these times with my student driver as precious moments that are just for the two of us. Time to know my son, hear him laugh, listen to his day. These times with him needing me are becoming less and less. I may not be able to let go of my death grip on the door but I’m going to be positive, full of praise, and enjoy this time with my boy. My baby is growing up much faster than I would like. I’m proud of the man he is becoming. I look back and think of that baby placed in arms of a scared new mommy. We have come so far and I’m so incredibly grateful for the journey. If you happen to see us cruising by and I have a look of sheer terror on my face, know that I’m doing my best and taking this motherhood thing one day at a time.

Error Worm

Have you ever heard of an ear worm? It’s when part of a song, usually the chorus, gets stuck on repeat in your head. Over and over the lyrics play…twenty…thirty…forty times. It’s without fail that I fall victim to the dreaded ear worm when I’m sound asleep. I wake up in the middle of the night with songs running through my head with no end in sight! It can be maddening. I’ll try to sing another song to break the cycle. Anything but the seven hundredth time of whatever I was listening to that day. The older I get the more difficult it seems to ward off the ear worm. I have visions of recording artists laughing maniacally in the corner wringing their hands saying “we’ve got her now.”

There’s just one problem.  I am famously awful at knowing the words to a song. Until very recently I thought the Go-Go’s hit song “Our Lips are Sealed” was “Are you for Real?” It made complete sense to me and I’ve sang this song forever the wrong way. It drives my husband bananas. I now have a car where the title of the song shows up on my dashboard. Wow…it’s like a whole new world of music for me! It’s completely changed the way I listen to music. I still regularly create my own lyrics and for better or worse, I’m like Frank Sinatra singing it “My Way.”

Until…

I listen to mostly Christian radio and last week I was listening to a song I’ve heard for years by Big Daddy Weave called “The lion and the lamb.” There is a lyric in there that I thought went like this:

My God is alive…

Of course, my God is alive! I move on with my day (sing my song). But that night I could feel it coming on…the dreaded ear worm. Closer and closer it called me “my God is alive” Ugh! I couldn’t take it anymore. I just had to look up the lyrics so I could sing the song in its entirety and then hopefully break the cycle of the dreaded ear worm and get back to the business of sleep.  I grab my phone (painfully aware that the glow of the phone is NOT something that will lull me back into a dreamless sleep). I start searching for the song “My God is alive” and I’m getting zero, zip, zilch in search results. What DOES pull up is “My God is a Lion” Wait, what???  A lion? That doesn’t make any sense…My God is a lion??? I’m desperate enough at 3 am and click on the lyrics and sure enough, I’ve been singing this song wrong forever and the lyric is actually:

Our God is the Lion, the Lion of Judah

I want nothing more than to crush the earworm from my brain and now I’m realizing that God is a Lion and the Lion of Judah no less and, like Alice, down the rabbit trail I go.

As you may know, Judah is one of the twelve tribes of Jacob and is commonly used to describe Jesus in the Christian faith and used once in the book of Revelation. I look up characteristics of a lion and these words come up “strength” “royalty” “courage”. I start to think about Jesus and know these are characteristics that he also portrays through the Bible. The ear worm ‘My God is alive” slowly start to recede and the words “My God is a Lion, the Lion of Judah” wash over me. My ear worm turns to praise for a Heavenly Father that sent this baby…this savior to us. A Savior who can be both lion and a lamb. I’m filled with peace and humbled by gratitude for this lion who stays by my side and fights for me and has courage when I’m faltering and is strong when I’m weak. I eventually drift into a sleep befitting the daughter of a King.

I woke up and shared this experience with my husband. His comment was that I actually had an “error worm.” How true! I’m so thankful for this “error worm” because it gave me time to learn more about God and reflect on Him and a few of His attributes.

I know I’m going to continue to goof on my lyrics to songs. It was brought to my attention recently that Journey did not write a song called “’Endlessly.” However, I feel that in this circumstance, God was using this as an opportunity to draw me closer to Him. Maybe it wasn’t an error worm after all but an invitation to sit as the feet of Jesus and rest in Him.

“Our God is the Lion, the Lion of Judah
He’s roaring with power and fighting our battles
And every knee will bow before You.”

Lessons from my Grandma

My grandma always said “growing old isn’t for sissies.” As a child, I didn’t give much thought to that statement. As I grew up, I thought maybe she was referring to laugh lines, or the need to color the gray hair that started to pop (God forbid). Or maybe she was referring to the need for reading glasses or “peepers” as she fondly referred to them.

I grew up in Indiana and my grandparents lived in a suburb of Chicago. I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a week at their home every summer by myself…no siblings…just me! It was such a special time and I look back on it with such wonderful feelings of love for my grandparents. My grandma and I would shop, visit my great-grandparents, and play a lot of Gin Rummy. Through the years, I would hear her utter “growing old isn’t for sissies” and shrug it off and move on to the next thing. Now in my 40’s, I look back and think my grandma was so smart and dolling out words of wisdom like King Solomon!

The older I get, I start to understand that grandma wasn’t just referring to the pesky annoyances of physical beauty. Although, in full disclosure, I’m quick to have my roots done, just had my first experience with microblading for my thinning eyebrows (OUCH and yes, that will be another post), and am indeed, typing this wearing glasses that are now, regularly, close at hand. I’m beginning to understand that as I age, time has started to speed up. There are aches and pains I didn’t have before, my children are growing up at a pace much faster than I would like and the days turn to weeks turn to years in the blink of an eye. I now realize that you have to be tough to grow old. It’s not for the faint of heart! I have such respect and admiration for those who have walked this earth longer than I have. I’m no longer the school girl casually listening while waiting for something else to come along. I am upright and standing at attention. What can I learn from you? What words do you impart on me to make this journey in life matter? No! It is NOT for sissies!! It is hard and unfair at times and also wonderful and beautiful.

My grandma is no longer here. She is in Heaven watching over me. I would give a lot to have one more day with her and ask her to share her wisdom with me. I would sit at her feet and listen with such close attention. I would be present and acutely aware of the moments that we share. I would be intentional and not take a second for granted. And that’s her lesson to me…her final gift in all of this. Slow down. Be present. Laugh with your children. Enjoy your husband, family and friends. Growing old isn’t for sissies, so go for it! The gray hair is going to pop and the eyesight is going to fade. Love who you are now, today, in this very moment and enjoy every second.