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Stuff I Wish You'd Quit Saying

31 Days of Stuff I Wish You’d Stop Saying: Day 9 “Watch this…”

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“Watch this…”

And the worst parent in the world award goes to….

Drum roll….

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Me.

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Thank you, thank you… I try.

And I do try. I promise. I love being a mom. Someone said to me, “Oh my! Starting over with babies in your forties!?!?!?! You know you’ll never retire.”

My response to this is, if parenting is my vocation, by American standards I wouldn’t “retire” for another 20ish years. That’s an entire childhood or four or five. And, retirement is basically a new concept. You don’t find it in the Bible. Imagine you were a Syrian refugee and as you wandered homeless with your children you see an orphan on the side of the road. Her parents are gone. You invite her into your life. It’s the right thing to do. Do you think “Hmmm? This child needs help. But I wonder? How will this affect my retirement?”

“But what about college?”

What about it? First, a lot of children in foster care that are adopted receive state tuition or grants. And, prayer covers everything, even tuition.

Step off soap box. Get into fetal position. Whimper.

Today I am the worst. If this were a paying gig, I’d get fired. The three-year-old has entered into the “Watch this” or in his case “Watch dis mommy!” phase of his life. And he wants me to watch EVERYTHING. He wants me to watch him color, use the potty, get dressed, eat, climb the stairs, watch tv. He just said, “Mommy, watch dis!” And then looked at the tv and opened his eyes really wide. If I don’t “watch dis” he says, “Mommy, yook at me” 4,000 times.

And I lost it.

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I get up at 4:30 to write and hang out with Jesus. For whatever reason, this child woke up at 4:15. I get him some crayons and paper. I try not to cry or stomp my feet and whine “THIS IS MY TIME.” But now that I think about it, that might have resonated with him. I get him settled, and I take my coffee, bible, and go to visit with Jesus.

“Mommy! Watch dis! Yook at me cowlor!”

“Mommy! Watch dis! Yook at me watch Elmo!”

“Mommy! Watch dis! Yook at eat my gogooort!”

Holding my bible, in the midst of Jesus, I went knuckle dragging, banana eating, ape snarling crazy. “This is my time! I will deal with you at 7:00! And not a moment before! Now go, eat your yogurt and give me some peace!” And he says, “Mommy watch dis!” and he does his downcast mope into the kitchen. You don’t want to waste excellent mopiness if no one is watching. Heart pounding, I try and recoup what’s left of my time. I don’t understand what he doesn’t understand? He comes back a minute later and says “Mommy watch dis. Yook at me I am putting on my sock.”

I could cry. I bark, “If you don’t do as you’re told, you are not going to Mother’s Day Out today!”

This is a lie.

He could burn down the house and steal my car and the punishment would never be “not going to Mother’s Day Out.” I do want to watch him. Maybe it’s this new season? I watched the first batch and all their tricks – I must admit I miss them asking. Now I catch glimpses of the bigs on social media. I go to a game, or an art show or play…But they don’t beg my attention. Littles in the house; I guess I got used to not having to watch? A few months ago I heard John say, “Luke do you think I can do a handstand on this banister?” and Luke said, “Well, I don’t see why not?” I didn’t have to watch. The sounds that followed and the spray of sheetrock falling from the ceiling were indicative of a 6’4″, 230-pound man-child that could not do a handstand on the banister. I was glad to have missed that.

But a few days later I witnessed those same two in the kitchen, the younger helping the older with his tie. I wanted to watch this… I cherish that I watched.

day9-img4 Sam will be back in just a minute. He’s smart, but he has a really short memory. My time. So little of it… I am sleepy, it is early. But my strength comes from the Lord. The memories I want this boy to have of me are important. Especially because I’ll be 60 when he graduates from high school. I might need him to refresh my memory – or feed me. It is Mother’s Day Out today. I can be alone with Jesus later. The great thing about littles – he really only wants me to hang out with him. Before the baby gets up. Before the morning school rush starts… and that’s not so much to ask.

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So I whisper “Jesus” and Sam and I will make pancakes together. I can change courses right now. I can make today good. I can choose joy. I can make a good memory instead of a lousy one. Yes, that is what I will do. I want to do an excellent job.

So I say to you, “Watch this…”

May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami

“For the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

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