Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Don't Mess with My Kids.....

Seriously, ever seen a momma bear when she suspects her bear cubs are in danger? Me neither. But according to almost everyone, that's a situation you want to avoid.

When I'm feeling like that proverbial (rather than mythical) mother bear, I cease to think or act logically. Mess with my kids and you mess with me.

Except when they become adults and live on the other side of the country. Then, it doesn't matter how badly I want to stomp in waving my wooden spoon. It doesn't matter how eloquently I might be able to chew someone out. I'm stuck. I'm stranded in a no man's land of parenting.

As our children grow older, they have to fight their own battles. They use whatever wisdom and skills they've picked up over the years; they might even call for advice. Mostly they want Mom to listen, to tell them that they can make it through and to say "ohhhh..." at the appropriate pauses. I'm getting better at this.

However, sometimes I just want to haul off and smack those who are making the lives of my children difficult. After all, how dare they .........................

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Soups!

I'm just tickled that Fall is here. One of my favorite meals to create is a large pot of soup, fresh bread or rolls, a green salad, and sliced apples. A common meal around our house is "Mama's Soup Surprise" which is anything I make up. (the name comes from a children's song about chicken hips and lizard lips and alligator thighs.) Once the air gets a little nippy, I make up all kinds of soup.

My most recent creation was a fresh vegetable soup with a tomato base (tomatoes from my garden), green beans, spinach, corn and the first rutabaga from my garden. Rutabagas are a Prichard food. On my husband's side of the family, we always have rutabaga for Thanksgiving and Christmas. For my soup, I cubed it and boiled it in the tomato stock with the other veggies.

I would have taken a picture of this lovely soup, but after I added some pasta it ceased to be so lovely. I boiled the pasta in the liquid of the soup and set the pot on the back of the stove until supper time. Wouldn't you know, that little elbow noodles swelled to jumbo size leaving little of that pretty broth. It tasted fine; the next day the noodles absorbed even more and we called it a casserole.

Some day, I will make a lovely meal and take a picture. Probably not on a corndog night, though!

Missing My Kids

Once again, we put in and took out the leaves in our kitchen table. We can seat 12 around this table, and there's nothing I like better. So when we have to take leaves out, I get a little sad.

Our German guests have gone home, the college kids are back in school, and the college graduates are settled into their jobs. That leaves only 3 children at home. I look at my smaller table and think, "Wait a minute! Didn't I have a bunch of kids so that we could have a full table?"

And yet, I didn't have a large family just so that I could test my large-batch recipes on someone. (I'm still thinking about the "why" of the large family.... get back to me on that...) I consciously raised my children with their adulthoods in mind. They are young children for such a short time. I really don't want them to live with me forever. I'm terribly proud of my responsible, wise and independent offspring.

Still, I think about them all the time. I miss them, and would be calling even more than I do except I don't want to overstep my boundaries with them. I'm enjoying watching them live their lives. I miss the days of snuggling on the couch and carrying them in my arms, but there is no way I want to go back there. A common phrase I hear from preachers & counselors is "your past is not your future."

So, I text them, send e-mails, make phone calls and send a Care package now and then. And I think about them a lot. (which translates into praying .....)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Developing a Testimony

A while ago I heard a man ministering to a couple. He encouraged them that their children were "developing a testimony." I've thought of this many times and realize how true it is.

Most parents that I know are doing their best to train their children and teach them what they feel is important. If we could, we would have them make the best and wisest decisions all the time. We would have taught them so well that they wouldn't make mistakes or find themselves in difficult situations.

If it was even possible to parent without making mistakes, (and it's NOT) I think we would have children who know a lot about God, but don't really KNOW Him. They would be like hot-house plants who wouldn't know how to live outside their own homes.

Not only have I made mistakes, but my children have made some of their own. (I know it's hard to believe.) I have 47 years of learning under my belt, and my children can learn from my experiences. But it's not the same as having some of their own. I learned forgiveness from situations where it was essential. I found grace when I reached the end of my own strength. I fell in love with the Lord only when all other loves failed me. It will be the same with my children.

So, what's a parent to do? Teach them everything you know. Then stand by and encourage them when they need it.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Changing Routines is Like Pulling Teeth

School has started and the new schedule is killing me. Not that I was a lazy bum all summer, laying around and doing nothing. I'm always busy doing something. But over the summer my schedule slips to later and later nights. Everyone at our house (parents to the youngest of kids) seems to be up way past our bedtimes and sleep in a little later.

Well, contrary to my personal preferences, the Northield schools start bright and early. It doesn't matter what time you get to bed, the bus always comes at the same time in morning. I can coax a few minutes if I drive all the way to school, but that's not a very efficient way to do things.

As I said, I'm not lazy; I'm more of a night person. Last week, even thought I had to be up before 7 am, I got to bed one night at 12:30 am, one at 1:23 am, and one at 2:21 am. By the end of the week, as my dear mother would say, "my butt was dragging."

So this week I intend to be in bed early. Wish me luck!