Mommy, Concentrated

Jesus Centered, Family Focused

My Umbrella Policy

“When I grow up I want to be a rocket scientist,” Think Tank announced, and after a moment he added, “or a garbage collector.” It sounds like a line from “Kids Say the Darndest Things,” but actually, Think Tank is onto something. He has the brains to achieve the first, but he also has the common sense to evaluate his own skill set and current experience and plan accordingly.

Tonight, when I think about Think Tank and his dreams for the future my heart aches, and it’s not because he’s considering a career in trash collection. At this moment, I don’t care if he wants to teach underwater basket weaving in the Sonoran Desert because I can’t help but consider the never-to-be-realized dreams and plans of those young people in Santa Barbara, California. Which of them wanted to become a minister, activist, actor, scientist, teacher, or parent? I think of their families, of the mother I saw crying on the news. I imagine myself in her place, and then I put my own children—who will soon topple from our nest and fly off to college—in their place. And it scares me.

I’m known in these parts for my “worst case scenario” thinking; I try to prepare for any contingency. When we walk around the neighborhood I carry a large stick, just in case some ferocious dog or black bear should attack us. My family dresses in similar bright colors for field trips so I can spot my kid in a crowd. I don’t allow the little people to eat grapes in the car because I can’t do the Heimlich maneuver when I’m driving. (Note to self: learn the Heimlich maneuver!) When we travel I pack at least two pairs of underwear for each night away. I caution my oldest to take his own bottled water to parties—and for goodness sake, don’t ever ever put it down!

I confess I’m a worrier. It’s not about being prepared; it’s more about fearing what will happen when I’m not. I fret about concussions on the football field, kids falling on the stairs, Eddie’s air travel and his road trips…and now about random shootings and stabbings. I hate snap decisions because I have to weigh every option; my second thoughts give Lot’s wife a run for her money. I was told it’s a sign of perfectionism, but I know my worrying is all about my lack of control over events and time. All my carrying on does as much good as complaining about the weather; I can’t make it rain no matter how much boogying I do. In Matthew 6:27 Jesus says, “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” And I’m barely 5 feet tall, so there you have it.

All my worrying is part of my feeble attempt to be a cover for my children, to shelter them rather than thrust them out into the blinding rain. I don’t think it’s my job to show them all the ugliness of life so they can be prepared for it. Really, the only thing you can do about the unexpected is to expect it. Who among us can really prepare for all that we could face today in this world?

Oh, that’s right—the only Who! The Great I AM. What my grandma called “worriation” eventually drives me back to the cross, to Jesus Christ, God’s great Backup Plan, His provision for flawed, fearful folks like you and me. I know God has a plan to give my children a hope and a future; He has a clear vision for my children even when my glasses are a little less rosy (Jeremiah 29:11). When the whole Garden of Eden thing didn’t pan out—as He knew it wouldn’t—and after Noah’s Ark floated back into a sea of unrighteousness and sin, He sent Jesus, His plan all along. Secretly, I’m glad I don’t control everything. My answer to murderers—smite! People who hurt children—boils! People who don’t believe the Bible—watch out! Sure, in my not-so-perfect world my little people might always eat their vegetables and I would never lose my car keys, but then we wouldn’t have fields of daffodils because I’m scared of the bees that pollinate them. We’d be overrun with flies because the Lord knows I wouldn’t have created spiders.

And that’s just it. The Lord does know. The Lord who designed pollination and orb webs is the same Lord who governs destruction, disease, and death. Instead of worrying more tonight about shootings and derailments and unrealized dreams and backup plans I’ll bend my knees and bow my head, “casting all my cares upon Him,” for He truly cares for M&M, Brown Sugar, the Lone Ranger, Maven, Think Tank, Songbird, the Crusader, Eddie, you, and me. (1 Peter 5:7)

Listening for the Answer

“Mom, could you play ‘Beautiful Day’?”

“No, we’re almost there, so I’ll have to play that song on the way home.”

Two seconds later…

“Mom, could you play ‘Beautiful Day’?”

“Uh… Lone Ranger, I just answered your question. We’re almost at Aunt Mo’s, so I’m going to play the song on the way home.”

“Ohhhh, I didn’t hear you!”

“What does Mommy say…?”

As a chorus, the Think Tank, Songbird, Lone Ranger, and Maven intone, “Listen for the answer!”

Yes, my little people, listen for the answer.

That scenario is a daily event in our household. It may not be about what music I’m going to play from my iPhone; it could be questions about the lunch menu, if they can play outside, whether or not they can watch television, if I will count while they jump rope… Whatever the case, they generally ask me the question one million times (and yes, just me, and not their dad sitting peacefully in the corner, undisturbed) and just when they tug on my leg for the tenth time or form their lips to pose the question for the one million and first (oneth?) time, I yell, “You asked me; I answered. Now, listen for the answer!” And though the situation is oft repeated, they always gaze at me in shock that their request was answered, that I responded quite appropriately, immediately, and completely.

Sometimes my kids do hear me, but they give up hope because it takes me a minute to fulfill the request. For instance, Brown Sugar will ask, “Can I have some water?” She’s too small to reach the pitcher, so that translates to “Will you pour me some water?” I say, “Yes, Brown Sugar,” but I don’t move to get it because I’m teaching or cooking or catching my breath since fulfilling the last request. If I take a second longer than she’s deemed necessary, she will ask again, “Will you pour me some water?” The “now” is understood, kind of like that pesky “You” in grammar—in other words, she’s tired of waiting.

And such as it is with God.

That message hit me this morning during the latest play-by-play. I whine, beg, plead, supplicate…ask my heavenly Father for one thing or another. I’ve got the seeking thing down; it’s the finding that’s giving me trouble. The waiting, the hearing, even the receiving. Yet when God answers me, directly and resoundingly, I’m shocked. Do I ask just to hear myself whine…um, excuse me, talk? Do I not expect to be heard? Much like my children, am I too busy moving to the band playing in my own head to hear the sweet music of God’s voice? Am I like Brown Sugar? When I do hear Him answer, I get tired of waiting, tired of trusting. I want it NOW!

Lately, I’ve been focused on one specific thing, and I know He answered me. It was not just a “yes,” but an “Of course, My child!” It was “Here you go, and isn’t this more than you expected?” Yes, it was more than I expected, and therein lies the rub. At first, I rejoiced. I mean, God actually heard my cry! I’m not sure how He could have missed it, as I returned to His feet night and day, moaning and groaning, pointing out all the reasons behind my request—tugging on His leg if you will—just in case He didn’t know which of my needs were going unmet. I really took to heart the scriptures about “Make all your requests known to God” and the parable about the persistent widow. After all, the Bible says, “…Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall not God avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

But still, He had to remind me, “Dear heart, listen for My answer. Didn’t you hear Me? Don’t you trust My Word?” for after I rejoiced, I doubted. Even though His response exactly met my needs, I wondered if it was from Him. And again, I laid my fleece back out on the ground, sopping wet, praying for Him to light a fire.

Well, He did light a fire. Not in the bushes in the yard or on a piece of sheepskin, but in my heart. Often it merely smolders, putting out mostly smoke instead of heat; sometimes its fervent flames burn me from the inside out. Now, I’m listening, looking, and waiting to hear Him, but more importantly, I’m believing and trusting no matter how many doubters attempt to douse my fire or how much rap music tries to drown out the angelic orchestra playing in my ears.

Some people might illustrate this point using the story about the man clinging to the side of the mountain, asking God to save him. God sends a helicopter, a boat, a plane, etc., but the man falls from the mountain and dies because he kept waiting for God to help him, and he didn’t recognize that it was God who had sent assistance. But that story isn’t exactly it. When you’re listening for the answer, you’re not going to get a “yes,” “no,” and a “maybe.” It’s going to be one and not the other. He won’t send all those means of transportation if all He wants you to do is let go of the weak branch holding you on to the mountain so He can catch you Himself. After all, He’s the one who either let you fall of the cliff or gave you a gentle push over the side.

Sometimes the answer is a miracle. And it’s always perfect. It’s a one-size fits-you type of thing. But you have to let go and believe and recognize it. And when He says, “[Insert your name here],” be like Samuel and simply respond, “Speak, for Your servant hears.” Even if it’s too good to be true, it’s never too good to be God.



Cleaning House

I stepped into the third-floor bathroom that my kids use and I had to pinch myself. Somehow, I’d been transported to a gas station restroom off I-95. Yes, it was that scary.

It had happened overnight. The Crusader cleans it weekly, and we lead the whole crew on a bedtime pass-through, picking up towels, screwing on toothpaste caps, gathering dirty laundry, and generally fussing and pointing. But this morning, the bathroom looked like squatters had sneaked upstairs and washed up after living outside in the woods somewhere.

Someone once told me doing housework is like putting beads on a string that doesn’t have a knot at its end. Usually, while I’m dutifully cleaning one floor the crew is wreaking havoc on another; just as I rinse and dry the last dish someone smears peanut butter and jelly on the counter. As I hold up my tiny umbrella under the deluge of Niagara Falls, I often ask myself, what’s the point? Instead of picking up after my crew I could put my time to better use mowing the lawn with my nail clippers. Sometimes it just feels like time wasted instead of invested. Can I hear an “Amen”?

There’s a lot to be said for housework. I love it when everything is in its place. Housework means sweeping, which feels as soothing as using a new crayon to fill in a blank page in a Mickey Mouse coloring book. But it also means dusting, and I put dusting in the same category as a root canal (I’m sorry, Mom. I know you can empty a can of Pledge like nobody’s business.)

So, what is the point?

The Crusader asks me this same question about doing inverse functions in pre-calculus. Why learn how to do a function and then its inverse? He can write his way out of a paper bag; he can look at a word or an idea from different angles and even convince you that Dora the Explorer is an animated treatise on heroism. (He actually did this.) Math, on the other hand, is either right or it’s wrong. Like housework. It’s either clean or its dirty. You’ve either vacuumed or swept or dusted, or you haven’t.

I googled all these sites that point out the practical reasons behind doing functions, and I learned that you can’t measure an earthquake or use a drink machine without using f(x)=y. This didn’t help. The Crusader likes drinking milk and he’s not planning to move to the West Coast. Mainly he’s not impressed because he still had to do it. Met with his blank stare, I explained that, even if he himself never used his knowledge (and I thought I never would either, but here I am homeschooling, using all kinds of random information I never thought I’d use), doing math problems like these strengthens mental muscles. Eventually, I stuck to the tried and true: “Because you have to and it’s good for you.”

Again, like housework. There’s just no getting around it. It’s necessary. I mean, nobody really wants to use a gas station bathroom, especially in her own house.

I have to say that sometimes I look at God like He’s a pre-calculus problem or washing dishes, like He’s something I have to do. There’s Bible study with the kids (check), private devotion (check), intercessory prayer (check). Those done, I’ve still got the deep cleaning to do: loving, serving, obeying, trusting. Sometimes just smiling first thing in the morning is too heavy a cross to bear.

But it shouldn’t be. Jesus did all the doing, didn’t He? The dying and the saving, the forgiving. He came to serve and to bear the cross. I have a friend who lives that out for me. It’s not like she grins and bears it, because she doesn’t see cleaning up after her five kids as something to bear; she sees it as an opportunity to serve. I, too, should look at every dirty toilet, every smudged floor, every unanswered math problem as an opportunity for God and me to roll up our sleeves and get to work. After all, at the end of His doing, I got a clean heart. A “right spirit.”

Just like math and chores God is pretty black or white; I believe or I don’t. I’m a sinner or I’m saved. Heaven or hell. It is that simple. I like the end result—a clean house, a clean heart—and yes, sometimes I think my doing is tough. I just hope God doesn’t look at my heart and see a grimy, oft-used highway restroom where He’ll have to use a whole roll of paper before hitting the road as soon as possible. I pray that my outpourings of faith and praise keep my heart and mind not just neat and tidy, but as cozy and welcoming as my sofa, so He will take off His shoes and tuck His feet under His heavenly robes and sit and stay a while.

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.

 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.” Psalm 51:7-11


Seventh Heaven

Okay. I’m tired of pretending. Raising seven kids is no joke. When we’re out and about I’m always trying to put on the “this-is-a-walk-in-the-park” face. But I must admit that there are bees and gnats and spiders and lots of sweating happening on this particular sunny walk. When I don’t call you back, it’s not because I don’t want to talk to you; it’s because I don’t have time to talk to you.

I’m sure when you think of seven kids you think of your own struggles, and you multiply them. Seven not-so-little plates around the breakfast, lunch, and dinner table and all the snacks that go in-between. Seven attitudes that go along with those plates of food because more than likely, not everybody likes hamburger casserole or sweet potatoes or chicken Marsala or pasta (but only on Tuesdays). Then there’s seven people to dress and teach and cart around. Seven people saying, “It wasn’t me. I don’t know who left the windows down in the car. I didn’t know it was going to rain.” Seven people who don’t feed the dogs or take them for walks. Seven people who have to stop by your bedroom at night, even if it’s just to tell you who won the basketball game or to ask if she can have an apple now that she’s hungry because she didn’t like the sweet potatoes you had for dinner. Seven people who want to play soccer or take piano lessons (okay, to force to take piano lessons) or do Mock Trial or star in the community theater. Seven people who don’t like riding in the backseat or hearing “Because I said so.” Seven interruptions when you’re using the bathroom. Seven fights over the iPad or television. Six people who don’t want to listen to the baby’s Wee Sing CD again or watch Doc McStuffins heal her toys again and seven people who don’t understand why I need to hear Shirley Caesar croon “No Charge” again.

And that whole idea about “Oh, by the time you had M&M I bet it was easy”? No, I wasn’t spitting out the last two children like they were watermelon seeds. It’s called labor for a reason and Number Seven was as much fun to deliver as Number One. Ten centimeters is still ten centimeters, and they really aren’t that much to work with if you really think about it.

And don’t get me started on potty training.

So, why seven?

Because God said so. That’s my true answer. This is all Him. I never imagined more than four. But then I never imagined marrying my sweet husband and living in a beautiful, old Victorian or taking my family to Europe and wonderful sister-friends and having such a precious relationship with my parents. So, just because I never imagined it doesn’t make it bad. To the contrary, it’s more like, “exceedingly abundantly over all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)

While we’re multiplying the tests and trials I should count the blessings, too. With seven you get more than an eggroll (that’s a nod to the generation who knows about the Doris Day/Brian Keith movie that’s really about six kids, but oh, well). Seven is the Biblical number of completion and perfection, after all. It relates to the days of Creation in Genesis and the Holy Spirit in Revelation. Scholars says that the Bible itself was originally divided into seven parts—the Law, the Prophets, the Psalms, the Gospels and Acts, the General Epistles, Paul’s Epistles, and Revelation.

For all of you who are like me, Bible thumpers but not Bible scholars, think on these things: I got seven chances to hold a new baby and soak in that new baby smell. With seven children I got seven opportunities to hear a first word, to see first steps, to witness the first smile that’s based on gas or angels or just snuggling with mommy. I’ve been blessed to count seventy little fingers and seventy teeny toes and wake up seven thousand nights to nurse, comfort, cuddle with, or pray over seven warm bodies. Having seven kids gives Eddie and me time to get it right (or work on our mistakes); we can afford to mess up with the first one or two or three and still get it mostly right. Not to mention all the fodder for the blog I don’t have time to write. Multiply the laughter, family movie nights, the games. Extra helpers to wash the dishes, take out the garbage, mow the lawn, and clean the bathrooms. More hugs, kisses, first dates, first proms, in-laws (oh, wait, this is the list of positives), and “I love you, Mommys.” Seven favorite board books (although Miss Spider’s Tea Party is my favorite, hands-down). Seven sets of hands to hold my feet when I do sit-ups and seven pairs of lips to tell me I’m beautiful even when I don’t . By the time M&M graduates from high school, somebody will probably bless me with a grandchild or two, so my nest will never be empty, dusty, or lonely (though they’ll have to mail Eddie and me a picture to our beach house where we’ll be hiding out by then!). And if the Rapture doesn’t come before our retirement runs out we’ve got seven places to wear out our welcome when we’re older and crankier than we are now. I mean, somebody’s gotta take us in!

So, I think I got the short end and the long end of the stick, and I’d rather have the whole stick than none, even if it’s used to beat me over the head from time to time.

People love to tell me, “Oh, I couldn’t do it” and “God bless you.” And even if you don’t mean it, I will say that yes, He has blessed me, and I couldn’t do it without Him.


The Mother Ship

Do you ever sing this Sunday school song with your little people?

“Who built the Ark? Robin, Robin.

Who built the Ark? Mother Robin built the Ark.”

Perhaps not. But it’s a song I hum from time to time. You should try it; feel free to substitute your name in place of mine.

It took Noah more than 100 years to build the Ark. He’d never even seen rain and he wasn’t in the shipbuilding business. But he had faith. He trusted. He had resilience not just to work, but he had the strength of mind and godly character to wait for the promised result of his work.

Wait and work.

I have the working part down. I’m a hard-working mother, a person who works from home, a woman who loves to work with kids. “W” is literally my middle initial, and work is what I do. Okay, waiting? Not so much.

I often use Noah as an example with my little people. If anyone followed directions to a tee, it was Noah. God gave him exact specifications for constructing the vessel that would save himself, his family, the animals—the world as Noah knew it. If it had been up to my little people, the Ark’s inhabitants might have found themselves clinging to floating olive branches and random pieces of gopher wood, for that great boat would have broken up at the end of Day Four.

Why? Because my children are good for winging it, for thinking on the fly. These are great skills to have when they’re doing critical thinking exercises or sitting in art class—maybe they should just cut the knot in half if they can’t untie it or mix their drips of yellow and red when they need to paint a fiery orange sunset. If they don’t have grape jelly, sure, strawberry jam will work.

Sometimes, however, they struggle to follow directions exactly. If I ask for X, W, and Z, Think Tank substitutes Y for W because he thinks I made a mistake. The Crusader just brings Z because that’s the last thing he heard while he finished his YouTube video. Songbird retrieves W, X, Y, and Z to cover all her bases. I respond, “Don’t ask me what I mean. Just do what I say.” (Yes, I know, that’s one of those weird parent-type turns of phrase, but my little people get the point.) Well, Noah did just that. By faith, he followed directions exactly because he believed God meant what He said.

Like Noah, I trust and work and yes, I even wait (not happily). I look at each child as an Ark. While Noah used pitch to waterproof and preserve I use other means to make my children seaworthy, these individual vessels of God’s salvation. Each requires something special to float: M & M takes a firm hand to guide him while I can steer Brown Sugar with a single firm look; raising my voice sinks her ship immediately. Maven is on a diet of hugs to round out her sharp edges, but the Crusader’s needs are less physical, more intangible. Songbird loves affirmation, Think Tank enjoys quiet conversation, and the Lone Ranger just wants to go first every once in a while. Raising them, loving them, getting to know them is a labor of love—or, in other words, work.

And just like Noah, this parenting work also takes faith and waiting to realize its fruits.

In 1 Corinthians 3:6-9 Paul writes, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.” These buildings, my Arks, must be fit to sail on these turbulent seas. The skies are often stormy; they may be “driven and tossed by the wind.” The depths they plough through are briny and filled with sharks and sea urchins and other creatures lurking below calm waters. Eddie and I try to build them (up) according to God’s specifications, His Word, but just like my little people, we sometimes wing it; we stray from the manifest and put our own coordinates in. And if we stray off course, so do they.

But by faith, we keep plugging along. And we wait, knowing that God gives the increase. We made it through those 40 long weeks of pregnancy to see what would be birthed; now we find ourselves waiting rather impatiently at times, as we watch them grow, as we enjoy and fret and pray and wonder while we water and feed and God prunes. We do so because we know God keeps His promises, even if our own hearts fail us, if our tender shoots appear to fail to thrive.

To mix this metaphor a little further, in Noah’s case God provided the Who (God. Noah); the what—the imperative (“It’s going to rain. They’re going to perish. I’m going to save you.”); the when (“Right now—give or take 100 years.”); the where (“Right here.”); the how (“An Ark—this tall, this wide, made of gopher wood.”); and the why (“I love you.”). In my own building projects, I always know Who (God and us) and why (His unfailing love), but sometimes I feel like I’m building blind, like the other questions go unanswered. Yet I’ve just got to work and wait according to His perfect way and will, knowing He always keeps His promises.

In Eddie’s Mother’s Day card he added up the months and days I’ve enjoyed motherhood. According to his calculations, I’m celebrating my 18th Mother’s Day, starting with the year I was pregnant with my first. This includes 10 years (and counting) of homeschooling; 14 years of changing Pampers; 17 years (and counting) of sleepless nights; 67 months of pregnancy; 84 months of nursing; and months of potty training, hours of tying shoes, and untold days, months, and years of crying tears of pain and joy. Now, just like people approximate Noah’s 120 years of Ark-construction, I estimate my children-building time as well. I may end up somewhere near Noah before it’s all said and done, but when God works on His numbers I hope He counts me faithful, obedient, and satisfied and not just tired from all this hard work.

Who Loves You, Baby?

When I was a child my mother told me two things that still resonate. The first was “Robin, don’t show all your teeth when you smile.” Yes, a big ouchie, but I don’t take a picture to this day without thinking of Mama.

The second? “Robin, I’m not your friend.”

Now that hurt! It took years for me to get over the pain, to grasp the multi-faceted meaning of her simple statement. But one day, my eyes met my precious Songbird’s over the dinner table, and unbelievably, I heard myself repeat my mama’s words: “Darlin, I am not your friend.” Bull’s-eye! Man down!

When Songbird first heard me say these words she was speechless. Up until the last year or two, I was Mommy, someone who loved her unconditionally (as long as she cleaned out from under her bed, held her pencil properly, etcetera, etcetera, yeah, unconditionally); who said “yes” every once in a while; the mother who fed her, taught her, cuddled her, and transported her; the one who translated all the girly stuff for her dad and brothers. But one day, all of that got tweaked—maybe it happened the day she borrowed her first shirt or slid her toes into my shoes for the first time or we stayed up late together to watch a Lifetime movie. Suddenly, Songbird saw me as her “bestie” and the world as she knew it opened up: she pictured us holding hands, skipping through the mall, whispering about boys, comparing diets.


I saw her face crumple and heard her heart break, but oh, Songbird, a mother is so much better than a BFF! We do all these things, and much more, but instead of suggesting the belly-baring top, we talk about the meaning of modesty. I don’t tell her her butt looks big in those jeans, but that her butt shouldn’t be in those jeans in the first place. (Forgive me, little people. I know we shouldn’t say “butt.”) We don’t ooh and ahh over boys, but I share my vision of the kind of man she can expect to marry and we discuss why courting is better than dating. Instead of comparing the latest fad diets I relate my constant struggle to accept my own physique; I pray that she’ll see herself as God sees her and I remind her that “man looks at the outside, but God looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) And we do it over our steaming cups of Starbucks chai tea latte or Auntie Anne’s pretzels.

How does a friendship with your child work anyway? Friends her age don’t correct or discipline; they advise, affirm, and encourage, even when their BFF is in the wrong. If I see Maven and the Lone Ranger tussling in the yard, would I shout “Fight! Fight!”? People befriend others that have qualities they admire and desire to imitate. Should a 43-year-old woman really act, dress, and talk like a 14-year-old? If she was lost in the woods should she ask a park ranger for help or the equally lost friend crying her eyes out beside her—in other words, does Songbird need another misguided, hormonal, sweet-and-sour girl her age telling her what to do?

Sounds harsh? Maybe, but the obvious answer is nope, because she wouldn’t listen anyway. Instead, she’d complain about so-and-so who’s too bossy and thinks she knows everything. She needs me, the person who has a right to be bossy but has the brass to admit that in spite of not knowing everything I still know more than she does (as long as we’re not talking about lip stains vs lip gloss). In this world that says anything goes, she and the rest of my little people need a kick in the…backside, a stern word or two, and some loving criticism that steers them back on the right track. They need the only people in this competitive world who love them enough to want them to do better than we did, dear old mom and dad. We’ve been there and done that and can tell them where to buy the t-shirts at a discount.

The other day Songbird asked me to “turn off the mom thing for a moment and think like a girl.” I took a deep breath, gritted my teeth, and did it. Well, I didn’t turn it off, but I turned it down, and it’s something I’m doing more often and for longer periods. I listened; she talked. She listened; I talked. And then I turned the “mom thing” back up because after all, I’m the only one in the room wearing a bra who’s been her age and mine. Now, her friends can’t do that, and I love her friends dearly because God has blessed her with some great ones, but in the end, if she stops texting them or checking the “like” box they’ll just give her “her space” instead of sending her Easter dresses and shredding three cups of carrots to make her favorite cake when she visits once a quarter (oops, sorry, this isn’t really about me).

Songbird is starting to get it, and I know I’ll have this painful moment a few more times with the other little people who still see me as Mommy. Yesterday she admitted we have a special relationship, which is so much better than a friendship. She’s right. Our relationship grows and changes as she grows and changes, and one day, we will laugh and cry over the boys we’re married to and we’ll point out how all the weight we’ve gained over the years only enhances our beauty. But for now, I’m leaving the friendship thing, as I leave most things, to God. He’s our greatest Friend, Lover, Mother, Father, and best of all, our only Savior. He does everything well and fulfills every need. I’ll just stick with what I do best.