Monday, November 12, 2012

A Shovel & A Rake....

Have you every been "backed into a corner"? Something takes you by surprise that you are not at all prepared for? Do you surrender or do you come out swinging from every side?

As Moms, I think majority of us come out swinging, especially if we feel one of our kids, or even husband, is being threatened.

Our Backyard
I am reminded of a little situation that happened back when we were living in Texas in the middle of a cow pasture. The ministry we were a part of for many years was on the outskirts of a very small town in the middle of nowhere. All of the ministry staff lived on the property and we were so blessed to do so. One of the best parts was coming downstairs every morning and finding anywhere from 5 and up to 20+ deer stand just outside the front door. Of course, with those beautiful deer were also many snakes (of all shapes and sizes), raccoons, armadillos  skunks, scorpions and spiders the size of my husbands hand. The deer I LOVED, the others...not so much.

One morning, after kissing my husband good-bye for work, my girls were sitting on the floor playing while I drank my coffee and watched the news. I suddenly heard some noise in the kitchen and assumed Lupe had come back in to get something he had forgotten. I was calling out to him and he was not responding, so I went into the kitchen to see why.

Out my back window
I walked in and saw no one but continued to hear a very strange noise. As I walked further into the kitchen, nearing the pantry, I became quickly alarmed..I mean freaked out! I realized the noise I was hearing was a scratching of claws and it was indeed coming from my pantry.

Of course, I began frantically looking for my phone that I could not find at the moment I needed it most. I refused to take my eyes off of the pantry door, for fear that the second I did...the "thing" (which I was sure was a raccoon- or something very similar) would move and I wouldn't know where.

I finally got a hold of Lupe, who clearly thought I had lost my mind and was exaggerating "the noise". Luckily, he only worked 2 minutes up the road and was heading home.

Meantime, I needed to get my girls (who were 4 and 2 at the time) upstairs to the playroom, but that meant I was going to have to take my eyes off of that door to do so. I kept picturing a raccoon chasing my girls and I around the house while I had one hurled up on my shoulders and the other tucked under an if that was even close to being possible- but my imagination was declaring it an absolute reality. On the other hand, I was picturing the raccoon, or whatever the thing was, opening the door as soon as I took my eyes off if it, and hiding somewhere in my house ready to pounce on me at any given moment.

I finally decided that quickly running the girls upstairs and gating them in so I could return downstairs to laser beam the door while I awaited Lupe coming home. It seemed like forever when I finally heard the car coming up the drive.

Then it happened, I could see Lupe heading toward the backdoor followed by our good friend and avid hunter, Taylor Bartelli. I was relieved to see Lupe, but seeing Taylor with him gave me an even bigger sigh of relief- I knew that whatever was in that pantry was not going to be there long. I began looking for one of Taylor's guns tucked under his arm (both relief and fear that raccoon guts and blood was going to be spread all over my kitchen). But, NO- no gun, instead I see a shovel under Lupe's arm and a rake under Taylor's...I almost busted out singing the theme song from Green Acres!

They walked through the door, and I told them both to be quiet and listen...they listened...and listened...and listened. NOTHING! Now the dumb animal was making me look like a crazy woman! I started to defend and explain what I knew I had heard, just as they were giving me the "Ya right, you have lost your mind.." look- they heard it! HA! I was no longer the crazy woman!

THE Squirrel in the light..
Then the sound began to move, the "thing" had been in the walls and had now maneuvered itself up into the ceiling. Now we all looked a bit crazy running around the house looking at the ceiling following this "thing". The guys were trying to figure it all out, and I was standing in the kitchen when I heard a loud "crash, thump, BOOM!" I looked up to the ceiling, and there it was, standing on the plastic light cover... okay, so it wasn't a huge raccoon, but it was a demon squirrel!

"SEE, I told you, I told you...." I yelled triumphantly.

Lupe and Taylor ran in, shovel and rake in hand and began to laugh.

"Well, get it out.....and find out how it got in! PLEASE!" I was now begging.

After several days, we managed to figure out that a squirrel had a nest in our breezeway roof (that connected the garage and house) and had managed to make a hole to get into the house. After 2 more "squirrel in the house" incidences, they managed to get it completely fixed.

Lately, I feel backed into a corner a bit by a few "squirrels" that could be fantastic opportunities for us if we could get all of the details worked out just right. I must confess that there have been a couple times that I felt like throwing up my hands and surrendering. But, instead I am choosing to face my "squirrels" with my "shovel", Matt. 19:26 "..with man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible and my "rake", Philippians 4:13 "I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.." 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

My Mommy Doesn't Love ME......

"My Mommy Doesn't Love MEEE....." I listened to Tenly scream for what seemed like forever.

Yep, it was one of those days today. One of those days that just hurt and made me question all of my carefully thought out "strategic parenting".

It hasn't just been today, it has been several days...toooo many days of struggling to hear respect in her voice, following directions, listening the FIRST time, and of course climbing the Mt. Everest of homework. I have even began to hear Tenly raise her voice to me and stomp her foot....more than once!!

There is veteran Moms reading this, chuckling as they remember and they (and their children) are still alive to report survival on the other side of "The 6 year old battle of the minds.." And, I am taking comfort in picturing those of you doing just that (so please tell me that someone is!?).

I know I have written similar posts of these frustrations before. But, today I just seemed to have been derailed as I cried in my bed over what seemed to be defeat, frustration and surrender all balled up together. Mind you, I have not been quite the "model Mom" in my responses to my beautiful sassy daughters outbursts- so you might as well add Mommy-Guilt to that ball while we're at it. I have never been much of a yeller, but at times it feels like an alien has taken over as I hear my voice shrieking, "Are you kidding me? Did you really just do that...?"

I had, what I thought to be, a GREAT idea! It was a beautiful day in South Florida, 70 degrees and not a cloud in the sky, a perfect day to do homework out back on the water. I though this was brilliant enough to take any negativity out of homework and make Tenly forget how tired she may be.

After treading gently through the spelling practice test with gentle encouragements, we made it. Then we approached practicing her vocabulary words, Tenly began to detach herself from even the thought of trying. I don't know if Cinderella herself could of gotten a different outcome! Actually, scratch that...she would have gotten a perfect outcome! Come to think of it, anyone and everyone but ME would have gotten a perfect outcome.

After several chances (too many, consider one chance sufficient in my book), she was sent back inside to be disciplined.

I am a tired Mom. I am tired of fighting with my 6 year old. I am tired of over-analyzing my parenting skills/methods and tired of changing them. I am tired of making Tenly cry, and I am tired of crying. I am tired of being the wearing the red horns with matching red pitchfork surrounded by flames, while Daddy flies in the clouds with the angel wings and halo.

But, that's also what makes me a Good Mom. I care enough to continue to question everything and change it. That I care enough about raising good respectful kids that I am willing to be the bad guy and "make" them cry. That I still hurt when I see my kids cry, whether it's because they have fallen, had their feelings hurt, or are being disciplined by their mean Mom.

My heart still hurts and I still have a million questions rolling around in my head. My day with my girls is coming to an end very soon, I pray that my heart and Tenly's heart both feel better when it does.

God, continue to give me wisdom and help me to grow, listen, make changes, capitalize on being right and admit when I am wrong. I have already proven that this is one job I cannot do without my God and today I have needed Him more than ever.