Thursday, March 18, 2010

This is the First Day of Our Acquaintance...

I wrote this last December when I was comtemplating starting this blog.  It is out of sync, but I keep seeing it sitting there when I go to my list of posts.  I almost feel like I HAVE to post it.  Know what I mean?

December 1, 2009

Tonight I sit on my hearth warmed by the fire and a cup of hot green tea scented with jasmine flowers. My evening with my children was exactly what I needed. I watched them play nicely with one another and listened while they laughed. A mommy happy place. Homework was completed with no arguments. Sleepyheads went to bed with little fuss and fell fast asleep following the nightly routine that ends with "Rubby, patty, rubby, patty." Bliss.

Text rolls into my inbox, and the chime calls me to get out of my warm seat. I am wishing it is a spicy text from my husband or a quick reminder about upcoming lunch plans with a friend, but I am certain when I see the sender's name that the message delivered is much weightier. "Daddy has gone to heaven." My heart is now heavy for my dear friend. On Friday, he was doing well, looking spritely. This morning he fell backward in the kitchen and hit his head on the floor dislodging the bones carefully fused in his infancy. His brain flooded with blood, and now he sits with his Father. She is floundering in her unexpected, fresh grief. A Daddy's Girl left without her daddy. What can I say to her that will mean anything? I tell her I love her. There is really nothing else to say. She says thank you and that she loves me, too. I could tell her that he's in a better place or that it's all part of God's plan or that it's comforting to know that she will get to see him again, but I don't because I hate it when people utter such stupid things at life's crucial moments. Sometimes saying too little is far better than saying too much. At least that is my motto for tonight. You just don't know where each day will take you.  She will never be without her Father, and neither will I.

Before I get too far ahead of myself... a proper introduction is in order.

I am Reckless, a 39 year old SAHM living in a middle class neighborhood in a bedroom community deep in the heart of Texas. I spend my days taking care of my salesman husband, my 2 elementary school aged daughters and my preschool son. I cook, I clean, I do carpool, I volunteer for the PTA, I talk on the phone with my mom, my sister, and my friends, I go out for girls night and talk about my kids; basically, I'm boring as anything. Except that I'm not really. You have to believe me. Okay, I cannot require or coerce you to do anything, but just play along, k?

Life is for the most part crazy good; I am content. Like many of you, I consider myself blessedly normal with a side order of crazy. I have inherited crazy on both sides, so I come by it honestly. There is no sense trying to keep those skeletons in my closet. If I bring them out now, they will be less likely to scare you in the future. Dress 'em up in Sunday finest and parade them around. Maybe even take them to Walmart.

I am who I am. Like it or... Well, just like it. And aside from the spartan, generic demographics listed above, I am a follower of Jesus, but I am not very good at it. In fact, I stink. I fall down; I get up. Christ compels me to continue to come closer until I may be covered by His dust. Continually, I am humbled and amazed that He calls me salt of the earth, light of the world, His child, His friend. Apart from His grace, I am absolutely nothing.
Twice I have been in love. Does that make me a two-timer? Sorry, I just couldn't resist the pun... Once with the man I hoped to marry who couldn't love me and once with the man I did marry who thinks I am the hottest thing on wheels (or heels, perhaps).  Knowing about these two men is central to knowing me.  The first is a big part of my story and actually completely intertwined in my personal redemption story.  I can't extricate the first man from my life.  Although I have no contact with him, some days I wish I could.  Maybe I will explain him more, maybe not.  My husband is far from perfect, but I love him. And, surprisingly, he loves me. People always expect him to be married to Barbie. I am no Barbie. Petite pants are too long on me. Brunette. Hazel eyes. Not the Homecoming Queen. Not a cheerleader. Not even close. At least I have a small waist.  Wouldn't want to disappoint on all accounts. 
I'm not very organized; I detest this about myself, but I know it has to do with the creative process. You can't start to work on something only to have to clean it up minutes later. The process is thwarted. I have dust on my baseboards. I have been known to drink out of the orange juice container on occasion. I let my kids watch too much TV on some days and eat a piece of candy before breakfast because it is a Tuesday--let's celebrate. I would much rather eat Zingers than fruits or vegetables. I hate to exercise, but I want to stay in my size 2 jeans. Some days I see myself as absolutely, devastatingly gorgeous (and of course, those are the pictures I will share...) and other days I want to wear a paper bag over my head. I love eighties music. I love seventies music. I think Bruce Willis is still hot, much hotter than Brad ever thought about being. I hope my children grow up to be mediocre people like their parents, but I secretly know that my youngest has the personality to be some sort of celebrity. I will hide that secret from him because I don't want fame or fortune or any of the things that go with them for my children.  That's me, ugly parts and all. If there is something you want to know, just ask.

I call myself Reckless because I'm learning to love people recklessly.  Not reckless dangerous, but reckless as in without constraints or regardless of the cost.  Those constraints would come mainly from me.  Nobody likes to be hurt.  And that's where the abandon part comes in.  I'm working on abandoning the natural impulse to not let people into my life. Practicing the art of hospitality even when the house is not perfect or my kids are being rude can be difficult.  I'm working on it.  I should not have people in my life who I call friends that have not been to my house in five years.  When a friend said a few weeks ago that she had never been to my house, I got that stab.  I realized, I'm doing it again.  I'm closing all the doors, locking them, putting on the chain.  I just don't want to live like that; I have already lived that life.      

Hence, the blog...  I'll have no idea who will actually read it, but it will help me chronicle my successes and failures in loving God, loving my family, loving the people who I encounter.  And, I'll be turning 40 next year.  I'm not handling that prospect particularly well.  In the past, I have always loved birthdays and never minded adding another year to my age.  I have always believed that growing older is better than the alternative.  My personal motto has always been:  "Don't let the wrinkles spoil your twinkle." 

I am trying to figure out just when and where I came to be this person. At one time, I camped out under the stars at Joshua Tree, climbed the rocks and enjoyed the view from the precipice, went scuba diving, drove across the country, attended great rock concerts, hopped on the back of a motorcycle with no helmet, saw big musical productions regularly, used erudite multi-syllabic vocabulary with confidence, visited art museums, and wrote poem after poem after poem. Then, somewhere along the way, I stopped. I don't know why I turned into this ultra-cautious person who I think is a little afraid of life. Or maybe I do. It's part of the journey, I suppose. I mean if I have all the answers, that's no fun, right? Just agree with me here. Good.
In the past year and a half, I have become determined to live differently--to be authentic, transparent, and in general, share the wreck of Reckless. I have a past, I have a present, and I have future. Some of it is sordid and steamy (you knew there had to be some steam for me to be reckless, right?). Some of it is sad or despicable or mean or loving or pee-in-your-jumpsuit-hilarious. Hop in the back of my convertible, and let's take a ride. Get in. You're invited. Really, I'll move all the junk off the seat if you will sit down.

March 18, 2010

Sad.  Just sad.  Sometimes broken hurts more on one day than another.  I'm being bombarded with the idea that often I am not present in the moment.  Would being more "present" be a present for me?  Why am I afraid to unwrap this gift?  Afterall, I love gifts.  Who doesn't want a gift... unless it's from my father-in-law, and then trust me, you don't want it. 

Friday, March 12, 2010

Smiling Seven

Happy 7th, Rock-N-Roll Princess!

Yes, four days later another one of my children has a birthday.  Today is the most special of days for my middle angel, the Rock-N-Roll Princess.  She loves the sparkles, but she knows how to get down and wallow in the dirt if needed.  And, as a friend of mine says, "she was born with a megaphone attached to her voicebox."  The child has a wonderfully, infectious laugh, but she has ABSOLUTELY no concept of "inside voice." 

She also has no teeth right now.  Huge gaping holes in her mouth.  Her no-brain mother bought her a special birthday lunch and took it to school to eat lunch with her.  Here's what I brought:  2 pieces fish, fries, hush puppies, lemonade, and CORN ON THE COB. 

"Ummm, Mommy, I can't eat corn right now."  

"Well, I didn't want to make you eat green beans on your birthday." 

"Can I get ice cream instead?"


Well, since I dropped one dozen of her birthday cupcakes trying to get in the car and fell down the front stairs of the school trying to bring her lunch in (dropping the same dozen of cupcakes again), it only makes sense that I completely forgot while ordering her lunch that my child currently has no teeth.  

And, of course, this child is a miracle, too.  We did not think we were going to be able to have more children because we lost three between Miss Proper and Rock-N-Roll Princess.  Just when we said one child would be fine if that was what we were given, I showed up pregnant.  Another gift was born on March 12, 2003 paralyzed on one entire side of her precious, pink 7 lb. 15 oz. body.  Our pleas for this child were also heard.  Look at her now!  If you listen carefully tonight, you will probably hear her roar from wherever you are because there is a "spa"tacular slumber party planned.  I don't imagine there will be much slumbering.   

Monday, March 8, 2010

Lizard Catching Shoes

Today is my oldest child's eleventh birthday, and so it is the perfect day to introduce her. 

Happy Birthday, Miss Proper!  

I am so thankful for the daily gift that she is in my life.  Each day when I look at her, I remember that she is a miracle.  

Eleven years ago at precisely 8:00 pm (because this child is nothing if not precise and punctual), Miss Proper made her way into this world, yellow and grimacing.  She did not scream.  She did not cry.  She did not pink up.  The nurses and doctor rubbed her back and legs while clearing her nostrils and mouth.  Still, a small grunt was all she could muster.  The neonatal nurses rushed in and whisked her off to NICU.  She couldn't breathe, and we didn't know why.  The doctor came in explaining and updating.  "We don't know yet... the next 24 hours are critical."  He used profuse doctor-speak and told us she had suffered a spontaneous double pneumothorax.  In Reckless speak, both of her lungs exploded and became riddled with holes when she tried to breathe.  I looked over at my husband and my parents.  All our eyes were widening and brimming with tears.  My dad quickly said, "That is God's little girl, and He is going to take care of her."  So, we all did the only thing you can do when faced with the unexpected and unexplained; we prayed.  And, our prayers were heard, and they were answered with unequaled speed and skill.   A miracle.  A blessing.  There is a bigger purpose for Miss Proper.  I love watching it unfold, even if I do get mommy-worry from time to time.
Fast forward eleven years.  I could say, "Where did all the time go?"  However, I know that most of it has gone to the ordinary, mundane activities of daily living.  The stuff we must do... eat, sleep, clean, bathe, school, carpool, homework.  I can't remember every moment of her life.  There are those days and moments that I hope I will never forget.

Miss Proper, at the age of three, pranced into the kitchen with baby wipes wrapped and taped around her feet.  I, of course, asked her what she was doing.  She replied, "I am going to catch lizards, so I have made myself some shoes."  Nevermind that the child had no less than 20 perfectly good pairs of size 6 shoes hanging in shoe bags in her closet, she was on a mission.  Sadly, no lizards were caught that day, but I did catch the first concrete glimpse of the unique mind of my daughter.  She doesn't just march to the beat of her own drum; she grows the tree, makes the drum, and writes the song.  Lizard catching shoes would never occur to me, but I love them.  I hope she never changes.   

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

So, how the heck are ya?

I find as I live my everyday life that although I am living authentically, trying to be as transparent as possible without spilling my guts to every random person or cashier at "The Krogert," that being authentic makes people spectacularly uncomfortable. Why is it that we ask each other, "How are you?" when we really do not want to know. Are we looking for courtesy? Are we looking for acknowledgement that we are? Not that we are anything in particular, just that we are here moving through our lives. Why would we not want a friend or a loved one or even an acquaintance to say, "I am barely hanging in there" to us? And when they do say that, why does societal convention encourage us to say, "Well, things will get better." Things don't always get better. Why can't we stop what we are doing and spread an extra dose of compassion or caring? I have hands; I have feet. And if I use them, why are you suprised that I care enough to stop to listen to you? Isn't it more encouraging to be with someone in their time of need than to be with them in a time of ease or celebration?

Let's admit it. Let's be bold. Sometimes things simply suck. I know, klassy with a k, but sometimes being honest and authentic means you are going to have to get down to the marrow. Why do we put on the masks of "put together" to walk out in the world when the real face we have would do just fine? Because some people don't like our real faces? They just don't care because they have troubles of their own. But wouldn't the burden be lighter if I could share it with you? Wouldn't you like to know that I, too, struggle daily with who I am, who I have been, who I want to be? Do you think for one second that anyone you know actually has it all right? 

I am looking for something deeper when I you ask the question. I truly want to know how you are and what you have been doing with this one unrepeatable life of yours. Where have you been, and where are you going? What are your struggles, and where are your triumphs? I want to know. It is the nature of me, an INFP, the Idealist Healer, who walks through her life wondering who she is and how she got here. I rarely give up on people and am willing to give them every allowance, every chance I can, to love and be loved. I love often, and I love deeply. When I meet broken people, I want to know them. I want people to feel cared for and loved in my presence by me and by my Creator through me.   

My journey into authentic living began rather recently.  I spent a difficult six weeks going through testing for breast cancer.  Now, the prospect of cancer is not particulary enticing for me or for anyone, I suppose. However, it is not the possibility of death that comes with a cancer diagnosis with which I am concerned. It is the possibility of changed life for my family that occupies my thoughts. I find myself continually revisiting my life, my memories, my mistakes. What is my legacy? It is not that pretty. I have been reckless with my one and only life, eternal though it may be. I know in my heart that I have an inheritance coming to me from the Alpha and Omega, but I fear that it is not as abundant as it should be. Why have I not chosen abundance? Doesn't everyone want to choose abundance? Why would I repeatedly choose those things that would smother me or discourage my faith from any hope of growth? I just don't know. Maybe it is not meant to be known. I only know that I chose things that were not in my best interest or in the best interest of the people in my life at the time. I have been a wild woman. I have not obeyed wise counsel. I have run with my heart and ignored my head. And I am still reckless, making the wrong decisions all the time, but I am not a hider and I am not a liar. I may be reckless, but you will know about it, and then, you can decide for yourself if you want to answer my question and know you will not be alone or just walk on by after saying "fine." It's all up to you.

So, how the heck are ya?