Monday, June 27, 2011

It's All Those Q?U?E?S?T?I?O?N?S !!!!

     Want to know what one of the most wearying parts of my job is as a mother of six girls ages 2 to 15? All their questions! Yikes!  I actually try to give intelligent, thoughtful, educational, and appropriate answers to each one of them, mostly out of habit. Sometimes I find myself muttering, "I don't know....Huh? What was that you said?"
      My youngest child says, "WHY?!" to everything.
     "Julia, please come here for your bath."
     "Because it's time for your bath. You need a bath tonight."
     And then I have another daughter who notices EVERYTHING and feels the need to comment on my decisions in question form.
     "I thought you said we would go to the mall today. Aren't we going like you said?" and
     "So and So and So and So took the last of the M&M's and you told them not to. Are you going to do anything about it?" and
     "Didn't you say we were going to have pizza for dinner tonight? Why are we eating chicken?"
     I have yet another daughter who is uber-curious. I've just answered the phone and am engaged in a new conversation. "Who is it?! Who's calling? Who's on the phone?" To which I answer with irritation and a harsh whisper, "So and So! Now stop interrupting me!" Sometimes I find myself purposely not answering her questions because she never stops wanting to know everything there is to know about anything and everything that is going on around her.
     And there is the frequent line of questioning that goes something like this: "Where is my purple thingy?"
     "What purple thingy?"
     "You know - the purple thingy that we got last week at that place we went to?"
     "What place?"
     "Oh, never mind!"
     Yet another oft-heard conversation in our house: "Where are my shoes?"
     "Where you left them."  
      I have yet another daughter who will say something like, "Why is the moon white?" to which I reply, "Go ask your Dad!" Tim has lots of questions referred to him because he is Mr. Smarty Pants, really and truly.

     UGH! and SIGH...I'm sure I'm doing something wrong by either 1) being irritated by all my daughters' questions, or 2) raising daughters that have so many questions! I'm not sure which one it is, but I suspect I'm doing something wrong by feeling irritated. I find it mentally fatiguing to always be "on" and having to answer questions, though. When my girls were little their whining was really challenging for me. Now that they still whine, but can do it articulately, and with questions, I'm even more challenged!
     I think it boils down to the fact that I really like my own space to keep my thoughts to myself and not have demands made of me. I want to be selfish and self-absorbed and all those questions interrupt my own internal dialogue, forcing me to think and consider and attend to their inquiring minds. Sometimes I feel that they need correction for asking questions out of rudeness or challenging authority, when they should accept the situation they are faced with and not question so many things.I take some of those questions as a sign of discontent and an attitude of ungratefulness and complaining. Not always, though. Sometimes they are just curious. And being curious is a very beneficial quality that I hope they maintain for the rest of their lives.
     I myself am a curious, question-asker. There is almost no subject that bores me. I learn so much from asking people questions and engaging in fact-finding missions with complete strangers. The stories I hear! The people I meet! The things they tell me! Wow! It really is fascinating. Everyone has a story and as I listen and observe and discern the heart and spirit of a person I've just met who is sharing their story, I discover evidences of God's imprint on them, his hand on their life, or their need for his compassion and wisdom. And there I am. Sometimes I reflect his care for them , and sometimes I don't.
     Now if only I could remember that my girls have their story, too, and that I'm called to reflect his compassion, patience, and gentleness to them, too. Oh, Lord, give me wisdom, the right answers,  and mental endurance! Oh, and please, add in a heavy dose of humor, too!
     As a side note, have you ever noticed that boring people are NOT curious?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I Hate Goodbyes

     I am really bad at goodbyes. I'd rather just not say goodbye and leave while the "leavers" don't notice. I don't mean to be rude, although this certainly can be viewed as quite rude. I just hate goodbyes. I'm still trying to figure out why. Last week presented an opportunity at getting better at goodbyes. My neighbors from across the street were relocating to their retirement home in Arizona after having sold their home.
     Only a few short weeks ago (almost unbelievable in this real estate market - and yet, their home is fabulous and showed extremely well), I first noticed the "For Sale" sign appear in the front yard. Tim hadn't told me he had a conversation with Tom weeks prior in which Tom had mentioned that they were going to be selling their home.
     I saw the sign. I started crying.
     Needless to say, I chatted with them throughout the weeks that escrow liteally ripped by. I kept going over the friendly conversations with Kathy, who had lived in the neighborhood for over 50 years. I recounted all the talks we had on the front lawn about various things. She was so direct, yet kind and thoughtful. She was a godly woman who was devoted to her husband. I saw her as a kind of mother, although I have never tried to replace my mom. How could I? She was one of a kind! And I mean that in the most positive way.
     I was helped in the gradual process of saying goodbye to Tom and Kathy by meeting the new neighbors. And when the neighborhood goodbye party beckoned, I went and scoialized with all my neighbors. But I didn't say goodbye to Tom and Kathy - yet. I knew they were leaving early the next morning. Sure enough, I noticed the huge moving van out in front of their house by at least 7 am. I kept making excuses as to why I couldn't go over just then to say goodbye. Eventually, as they were about to leave, I was able to get some pictures and say goodbye. It wasn't so bad. It was satisfying to say goodbye in the right and proper way.
     There have been other goodbyes this springtime, too. I had my last MOPS meeting a few weeks ago. Those women at my table were very sweet and fun to get to know. With school plans for this fall, I don't have any extra time for MOPS next fall. Besides, I'm really eager to volunteer at a nearby hospital starting in the summer. So, this was my last MOPS meeting. I was a little sad, but not terribly so.
     One last goodbye awaited me several weeks ago. I droppped Elena off to babysit near my friend Doris's home. She was leaving the next day for the suburbs of Las Vegas with her three children. Her divorce is very close to being final and she had finally found a job and a place to live. I swung my car around the corner and was pleased to see her children playing outside. I parked and asked her kids if their Mom was home. I then got Julia out and went to where her car was parked and surpised her. We talked for about 10 minutes and then I hugged her goodbye and wished her well. "I'll be praying for you," I mentioned as I departed. And I will.
     I had met Doris when our children started preschool together in the fall of 2007. When I first met her I was struck with how vivacious and beautiful she was. She was so friendly and upbeat. I would later learn of many trials she had with her husband and children in regard to extensive medical issues. (She could practically be doctor at this point!) We became better friends through my last pregnancy and then through her last pregnancy. We talked about all sorts of stuff and she always remained warm, kind and fun to be with. I am going to miss her a lot.
     And then my favorite librarian left my favorite library. Boo-hoo. It's just so sad.
     Although I relish the balmy weather and bursting blooms of springtime, there are usually too many goodbyes during this time of year. I wish I didn't get so attached to people so that saying goodbye would be easier. But I do. And it really is better to have those treasured friendships, even from afar. I felt God reminding me, ever so tenderly, "They may leave you, but I will never leave or forsake you." I was comforted. Thank you, Lord, for being that ever-ready fountain of comfort and security. Please be with and bless my friends.
     And "Goodbye Springtime!" Summer is upon us! Maybe I'll make some new friends and strengthen the ones I have.