Monday, December 30, 2013

picture perfect?

" Draw that yell out a little longer & keep your fist clenched like you want to hit me.  I'm just going to go grab my camera."  Said no mom ever.  I was feeling a little fake tonight about posting only adorable pictures of my adorable boys on instagram & facebook.  Any look at a pic and one would think they frolic through snow & are always near one another with loving & sweet smiles.  They could surmise that we spend time outdoors enjoying the beauty that abounds or that we whittle the days away at our local coffee shops.

But, of course we all know that social media only allows for a glimpse of real life.  It is almost impossible to share your life it it's entirety the good, the bad & the ugly.  There literally has never been one time during a tantrum or throw-down, by either of my boys, that I have paused & thought that I should document the moment.  Typically I would be A. ignoring them seeing if they could realize it is a "small" problem to be called a baby by your brother & that they could work it out amongst themselves.  B. Sending up a quick prayer & counting to 10 so that I don't also throw a tantrum or C. Referring, negotiating and/or playing the part of a judge.  (Also known as parenting.)

The moments that I do long to capture are when they are being sweet or having a lot of fun or enjoying a new experience.  Those moments are not always the norm.  They are fleeting & precious & I want to cherish them & have them be in our memories.  The other moments are not so sweet & happen fairly regularly so remembering them is not the problem.  The problem for me is that sometimes they cloud my memory causing me to have amnesia abut the great times.  Maybe it's just me, but do you ever have an awesome day with your kids & then the last few hours are less than awesome & then said less-than-awesome tries to take off with your earlier awesomeness & you are left feeling like the entire day was a total fail & you are full to the brim (or is it rim) with & coulda, woulda, shouldas? The tears & the tones of the end of the day try to tarnish the triumphs of earlier?

Hence why I think that often, we as moms, do take & share the tender & cute pics of our kids.  Not because we are trying to outdo someone else, not because we are superficial & only want to put our best faces out in cyberspace, but because we want to freeze that moment in time.  To treasure the look & surroundings of the moment so that we remember it isn't always hard or loud or whiny or messy.  Sometimes it is actually really great & enjoyable & we see the character of our kiddos & see that their hearts are growing & learning & we want to hold on to that.  We know the discouragement will creep in either prancing or pouncing on us eager to take away the glimpses of goodness we see in our kiddos.  We know that it is a tug-of-war to remember the good midst the not-so-good at the days end.  It can be a struggle to hold on to the awesome moments of our days, but those moments are ours for keeps.  We get to choose whether we give them up or hold them tight.  It is a good reminder for me the next time I wonder why someone always post's picture "perfect" shots of their family.  I get it.  They are holding on to the what is rightfully theirs & I am going to try to be thankful they are choosing to share a bit of their awesomeness with the rest of us.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

being known.

I am still reeling from the outpouring of love our family received the other day.  It brought me to my knees quite literally.  Weeping with snot all over my face.  I don't know who coined the term "ugly cry" but I am pretty sure that was what they were referring too.  It is like when you are so overcome with emotion you are crying & your nose is running all while you are maintaining something that resembles a smile. Not.Pretty.  But a real & raw response to the love that knocks you over.  The kind that can only be the hand of God working through others.  If you've ever experienced it for yourself you know what I am referring to & if not you can hope that one day you do.

My family has been living in lean financial times for what seems like forever.  Although I have vague memories of buying clothes I never wore & eating out all of the time so I know it couldn't have actually been  But 2009 was a long time ago & so much has transpired since then.  Jobs have been lost.  Houses have been lost.  Babies have been born. Bills have been juggled.  Moves have been made.  And that is just in our little family of four so you can imagine why it feels like it has been a lifetime ago.

As weary as it has been & although some days it may feel like it will always be as this we have experienced things that I can only imagine few do.  We have been provided for in such ways that certainly it comes from heaven above because no earthly math works that way.   We have had so many anonymous gifts that it is stunning to me to know that so many people act out of the prompts on their hearts to do something for others.  It is so encouraging & inspiring to hold everything we have with an open palm, because I, who always thought I was a fairly generous person, never knew generosity until this season.  I almost think it must take being on the humbling end of receiving to know what it truly means to give.

A tiny part of the above mentioned outpouring of love I believe is due to the fact that I  gave myself permission to admit that it was hard that it was always hard.  That the hours were short, the clothes were spent, the shoes were warn & the hearts were heavy.  Maybe it is just me, but although I love being real just as much as the next person, sometimes I find myself hesitating sharing what is going on because I fear that I will come across as a "complainer" or because of my pride.  I want to hide behind my "grateful heart is a happy heart" t-shirt & keep on keeping on, because I am living the hard I certainly don't want to hear myself talking about it or think about it anymore than necessary.  But can we just get over ourselves for a minute & realize that part of sharing about what is going on with us actually has nothing to do with us?  It is about the others. The people in our lives who love us & care for us & want to know us.  Don't we want to be known?  Don't people crave that acceptance to be known & valued by their people so much that they do all kind of crazy things to accomplish it when all that it really may take is by opening up & letting others see who we are & what we are going through?  The good, the bad & the ugly.  We weren't meant to live such individualistic lives behind locked doors & closed blinds.  We were meant to live in the open, on the porches, in community.  When we are behind the closed blinds who knows when we have a need & who is there to rejoice & celebrate with us when that time comes?  Is there anything better than sharing some fantastic news with someone & having them be as equally as excited about it for you as you are about it?  If we don't allow ourselves to share what could be a possibility then when that possibility  becomes a reality who is rejoicing along side you?!

I think sharing about what is truly going on with us good or bad is something we all get amnesia about (or maybe it's just me & this whole thing just got really awkward).  It is so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life & give the rote answer that everything is "good" when someone asks.  We go through life coasting from one event or errand to the next without considering what the person in the car over is going through.  We forget that everyone has a story whether in their family, marriage, job or otherwise.  I find myself doing this with my own boys at times.  I know they are right there in front of me, but I don't always actually see them.  What a difference it would make if we were all to slow down just enough to start seeing those around us.  To consider the question before firing off the answer. To pause long enough to hear the answer after we have posed the question.  I think it does take courage to let others in.  It does take some bravery to remove the mask & share an honest truth.  But the thing it we aren't alone.  Everyone is going through something.  Everyone is having a struggle no matter what it may appear on their instagram or facebook accounts.  We can choose what we put out for people to see or hear.  But if we hold back not only are they missing out, but most likely we are too.  This time of year as so many search for something significant might one of the greatest gifts you give be a bit of yourself?