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There used to be a magazine called Ideals. It was filled with poems and articles and photos that were really lovely. The photos were all idyllic representations of nature, home and family. (That’s why they called it Ideals.)
It isn’t being published anymore. The closest thing would be Reminisce Magazine which provides warm retrospectives of home and family. Reminisce tends to be a little more realistic, but equally wonderful in its depictions of life in the past.
There is nothing wrong with having ideals. If you don’t shoot for something, you’ll end up with nothing. But what do you do as a Christian when your life doesn’t measure up to the ideal? When blogs and all other manner of media are holding up something you never quite are able to achieve?
Christian women’s blogs, particularly those regarding home and family, sometimes set out an ideal that leaves you feeling, deep down, that you will never measure up. Ever. I saw such a post yesterday about keeping a binder with household cleaning chores for every room in the house. The purpose was to achieve the perfect, clean home. Nice, if you can do it.
But let’s get honest here. How many of us as women can really achieve that binder/checklist level of clean? With children, that pristine bath or kitchen that you just disinfected is undone within hours (minutes?) of your intensive labors. Sometimes life does not afford the time or energy to achieve an ideal, at least for long. Like all those gorgeous ideas on Pinterest, your ideals sort of sit there on your shoulder, mocking you.
Mother’s Day just went by. How many of us feel like we really deserved the accolades from our families? We all have moments where we feel we are getting close to what we’d like to be. Then there are the other times when exhaustion, stress and just plain self get in the way. In a perfect world, our families would never eat a frozen pizza. Our children would have the perfect educational experiences, personally tailored to their learning styles, our homes would look like Southern Living photo spreads and never a cross word would be heard.
Today, I saw a pastor write something about the superiority of the “local church.” The pastor writing felt that people shouldn’t be commuting to other churches far away and that local churches were more “biblical” and should be attended. Nice ideal. In a perfect world, we could all walk to our excellent “local church” that would have exactly what we were looking for. Good luck with that today where there are churches all over, but altars to Isis or Elvis impersonators on Sunday morning maybe just aren’t what you’re looking for. Nice thought, pastor. This is an imperfect world, and people go where they have to for church. And no, driving a lot of miles isn’t ideal.
The glossy “Women of Faith” Conference ideal of the perfectly highlighted, beautifully slim, perfectly together woman is also not the whole story. Some of these women are spending most of their time on personal maintenance, flying from speaking gig to speaking gig, slogging through airports and hotel rooms, to tell all of us how to live. For a fee, of course. (Conferences like these are money makers for the publishers that run them. Note the book tables laden with “how-to” books and DVD’s…) They are holding up impossible standards for the rest of us. Ka-ching! (This slick conference imaging for speakers has now hit the next generation of homeschooler leaders at conferences. It isn’t enough to be schooling multiple kids at home, (while having the perfectly organized cleaning schedule, well-behaved children and perfect record-keeping), now you have to look chic as well. Sigh.)
I’m not calling for an end to ideals. Far from it. We have to continue to strive to do our best in this fallen world. Goals are good. We all need them, and giving up and wallowing in sloth and squalor isn’t what I’m advocating here.
What we do need to do as Christian women is accept that we don’t need to measure up to somebody’s else’s ideal. The photo-shopped, airbrushed images we see in Christian media aren’t reality. No, they’re really not.
Life today is complex, and if you don’t think so, you haven’t lived very long. The “ideal” of one breadwinner and mothers who can spend all their time on binders and cleaning checklists is long gone. I didn’t say that this is a good thing, I said that those days are gone for many families. Sometimes it isn’t about affording luxury items, often now, it’s about not losing the roof over your head.
Nothing is perfect in this world. Every Christian family I know has had to make tough choices in the last few years in a lot of areas. Many are not in churches they “ideally” would like to be in. Many have their kids in educational settings that are far from their ideal. Many have economic realities that require a mom to work as well as the dad. We do the best we can with what God has provided. We can be grateful for what we have, accept that nothing in this life is perfect. Character is making the best of a situation and finding contentment. And we can stop beating ourselves up because we aren’t glossy Supermoms. At least I can say I’m not! I raise a coffee mug to fellow moms in the trenches, and then I will head off to wage war on laundry.
With Mother’s Day this Sunday, here are a few quotes I have enjoyed on the subject of motherhood. Both as a mother of six children, three of which are grown, two of which are nearly grown, and a preschooler (!), and as a grandmother of two (the second one is to arrive, Lord willing, in September), and also as a daughter, I have many thoughts on the topic of motherhood that are touched on by these quotes.
One good mother is worth a hundred schoolmasters. - George Herbert
I long to put the experience of fifty years at once into your young lives, to give you at once the key of that treasure chamber every gem of which has cost me tears and struggles and prayers, but you must work for these inward treasures yourselves. - Harriet Beecher Stowe
My mother… she is beautiful, softened at the edges and tempered with a spine of steel. I want to grow old and be like her.” ― Jodi Picoult
I know enough to know that no woman should ever marry a man who hated his mother. ― Martha Gellhorn
All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother. ― Abraham Lincoln
A daughter without her mother is a woman broken. It is a loss that turns to arthritis and settles deep into her bones. ― Kristin Hannah
Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did – that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that – a parent’s heart bared, beating forever outside its chest. ― Debra Ginsberg
Mother, I love you so, said the child. I love you more than I know. She laid her head on her mother’s arm, and the love between them kept them warm. – Stevie Smith
Sweater, n. Garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly.” ― Ambrose Bierce
Mothers can forgive anything! Tell me all, and be sure that I will never let you go, though the whole world should turn from you. ― Louisa May Alcott, Jo’s Boys
Before becoming a mother I had a hundred theories on how to bring up children. Now I have seven children and only one theory: love them, especially when they least deserve to be loved. ― Kate Samperi
Gilbert put his arm about them. ‘Oh, you mothers!’ he said. ‘You mothers! God knew what He was about when He made you. ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne’s House of Dreams
This is what we do, my mother’s life said. We find ourselves in the sacrifices we make. ― Cammie McGovern
The clocks were striking midnight and the rooms were very still as a figure glided quietly from bed to bed, smoothing a coverlet here, settling a pillow there, and pausing to look long and tenderly at each unconscious face, to kiss each with lips that mutely blessed, and to pray the fervent prayers which only mothers utter. ― Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom. – Henry Ward Beecher
Most all other beautiful things in life come come by twos and threes, by dozens and hundreds. Plenty of roses, stars, rainbows, brothers and sisters, aunts and cousins, but only one mother in the whole world. – Kate Douglas Wiggin
The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness. – Honore de Blazac
A man never sees all that his mother has been to him until it’s too late to let her know he sees it. – William Dean Howells
No matter how old a mother is, she still watches her middle-aged children for signs of improvement. – Florida Scott Maxwell
A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces that she never did care for pie. – Tenneva Jordan
A mom holds the hands of her children for a little while but holds their hearts forever. – Author unknown
Once in a while, Tom and I stop off at antique malls to just look around. Looking at the bits and pieces of living from the past tends to put time in perspective. Most poignant to me are baby things. Baby shoes, in particular, hold an attraction. Many times I have held up an old, worn pair and wondered about the baby who once wore them. Running a finger on the little scuff marks on the bottom made by feet long gone, I wonder, who was the child? What did they become? Who was the mother who once loved that baby?
The other day, Emmy was not able to sleep during nap time. She has never been a napper, but I make her stay quiet for an hour in the afternoons to give me a break and to see if she might fall off to sleep for a little while. She was restless on my bed, so I scooped her up (not easy these days as she is so big.) “I just want to rock you for a little while,” I told her. So she buried her head in my neck like the old days when she was smaller, and I stroked her hair, and we just rocked for a time while the world went by. I glanced over at my bookshelf next to the chair and saw the title of an old book I have called, Tarry a While. How fitting, I thought.
Babyhood becomes a distant memory so quickly. Emily will be four soon. Baby days are gone. The tighter you try to hang on to those days, it seems the faster they flee. Every season I pack away little clothes that will never be worn again, shoes that will never fit her feet. Wasn’t it yesterday I held her miniature feet in the NICU and wondered if they would ever be large enough to walk on?
Wasn’t it yesterday I held my first baby’s feet and marveled at how small they were? That was 26 years ago on April 14.
I get stressed out meeting the need of the moment, feeling exasperated at this or that with a preschooler’s constant chatter. But then I remember that it’s all over so quickly.
Sometimes we moms get so busy with the demands of life that we fail to notice how fast all our children are growing. Now I’m watching it happen with my little grandson who is growing so fast, getting ready to walk before we know it. This fall, we will have a second grandbaby!
Don’t rush growing up, Emmy. I’m not young, I’m not wishing you to the next phase. It will come fast enough. Today is precious. This hour is precious. Tarry a while, little girl.
There’s yet another book out for women with the provocative title, Why Have Kids: The Truth About Parenting and Happiness. The feminist author’s title pretty much says it all. I quote from the Daily Mail article yesterday:
In an interview with UK newspaper The Times, Valenti says woman are bombarded with so much conflicting advice about child-rearing, much of which involves kids being the ‘centre of your universe,’ that the result is a state of near constant anxiety. (This is) the understandable outcome of expecting smart, driven women to find satisfaction in spit-up,’ she says.
It gets worse.
Co-founder of the Feminising.com blog, she also lists the on-paper drain kids place on their parents’ lives, including the long-term economic cost of having children and the inevitable effect a baby has on even happy marriages.
And then this:
Valenti says that she loves her daughter, Layla, very much but adds ‘I don’t see raising her as my life’s mission. I don’t believe that it should involve some kind of suffering or self-sacrifice.’
It’s difficult to know where to begin addressing this viewpoint. I don’t disagree for a moment that parenting, the way the secular world sees it, is problematic. Many mothers are motivated by the culture’s values and half kill themselves in giving their child everything that kids are supposed to get now, whether it’s umpteen extracurricular activities, the latest technology, the best clothes, etc. In addition, mothers are supposed to be successful in outside careers, keep a beautiful home, and on top of that, look “hot” at whatever age they are. No exceptions allowed. It’s a recipe for insanity. I agree.
But the real problem here is not devotion to your children! The problem is not the little ones! The problem in this scenario is the worldview of the mothers. Feminism is a joke. If the feminist philosophy was about liberation and freedom, how do you explain millions of mothers who chronically feel trapped and that they are failing everyone because they are trying to have it all? The answer to the problem is not embracing selfishness and refusing to sacrifice for your children. The answer lies in giving some things up, because those children are most important to you. But authors like Jessica Valenti don’t believe they should be. In her view, children are the problem.
I have been a mother for 25 years. I am 46, and have learned some things along the way—a few insights I have gleaned. The most important lesson is this: You find yourself as a mother by losing yourself. This creed will elicit gasps of horror from authors like the one above, but it is the truth.
Years ago, my son Samuel had a terrible time with out-of-control asthma. He was a highly allergic baby who tested as sensitive to nearly everything in the environment, which meant that when he had a cold, it immediately triggered asthma, because his bronchial tubes were already inflamed from other allergies.
In the first 5 years of his life, he was hospitalized over 30 times, once in the ICU. Every cold, not some, every cold, meant he ended up in the hospital. We watched the seasons change at Children’s Hospital on 7th floor back then. We knew all the nurses. We’d spend hours in the ER, and then they would admit him eventually anyway.
I used to wonder why this endless cycle had befallen my son, and frankly, me. Watching Sam scream through endless IV’s on a papoose board, endure countless pricks for blood tests, and go through endless breathing treatments, knowing full well we’d be back at the hospital in another month with the next cold, was extremely hard on both of us. I was 21 when Sam was first admitted at 6 months old. I slept at the hospital holding him on my chest many, many times.
But in those years I learned an important truth. I knew, even at that young age, that there was no more important job than what I was doing. I knew I was Sammy’s entire world of security and comfort. I would not and could not have been anywhere else but there. The world went roaring by on the roads outside the hospital, but we were locked in with each other in a little hospital room. Nothing else mattered to me but Sammy’s well-being and happiness. In the haze of exhaustion and worry of those years, I found out who I really was: Mother. Nurturer. Comforter. Weaver of the fabric of lives.
When my children stand at my grave, I will have done my job if they know, without a doubt, that they were deeply, wholly loved. That however imperfect I was, that I did not hold back to save myself. That I gave all I could. That I spent the love I had lavishly on them.
There are no guarantees that our children will be grateful for our sacrifices, take full advantage of the opportunities we give them or “turn out right.” But as a Christian mother, I have an ally in the fight. I have the help of a mighty God who hears my prayers and who may use my humble mother efforts years down the road in the souls and lives of my children.
The meaning in life is found in pouring out our lives on behalf of others, just like our Savior did. We won’t gain applause from the world with its tragically warped value system, but we will have had a life well spent in the eyes of our Heavenly Father. And our children someday will bless our memory.
Her children rise up and bless her. ~ Proverbs 31:28
It promoted both spa birthday parties for “little Divas” and also Spa Diva Day Camp for little girls, beginning at age 4. For the price of $350, eight little girls could have fake champagne, pedicures, manicures, sparkly make-up and their own “show-off, runway walk.”
The other option was Rock Star Day Camp where “girls just wanna have fun.” It was a small ad with a big and tragic message about American girlhood: It’s been ruined.
It is ironic that at a time when sex crimes against children are rampant, tarting up little girls is now an industry fueled by TV shows. The thinking processes of a mother hand delivering her little preschool-aged daughter to be trained in how to be a “spa diva” are incomprehensible. It is a grotesque moral failing with consequences for all of society.
The consequences of sexing up little girls are everywhere. Anyone with access to a news site will read about even late elementary girls sending nude photos of themselves via their phones. “Hooking up” and oral sex are commonplace subjects for middle-schoolers now. STD’s are at an all time high for young girls. Clothing becomes ever more raunchy at younger and younger ages. Girls just wanna have fun, see? They were made to be eye-candy for guys. (And pedophile bait, apparently.) Yet Mommy and Daddy sit in the audience at the end of Spa Diva Day Camp and applaud their little girls writhing their way down the runways for the pleasure of adults.
I don’t think a society can return from the brink once it reaches this stage. The challenge is protecting and raising our own daughters as Christians in a way counter to this filthy culture. It is no easy task. The more prevalent this sexing up of little girls becomes, the more difficult it is to present a different vision of girlhood to our own girls. Even Christian schools are filled with this carnal mindset, because so many professing evangelical mothers have bought the world’s lies about womanhood and what it should be.
I don’t believe in social isolation for children, but I do believe that the values and beliefs of tender young girls should be shaped by mothers and fathers, not by Hollywood and the little girls at school, fresh from their latest airhead and sleaze training at the Day Spa.
Commitment to providing a different vision of girlhood takes a great deal of energy and prayer. Only God can root a girl’s heart in what is lovely, true and worthwhile. But as mothers and fathers, we will give an account for the influences we allow in our daughter’s lives. If our daughters make bad choices, let it not be because we were too busy to teach them the bedrock truths of God’s Word and model them in our homes.
My sister and her family and my mother came over to celebrate Mother’s Day. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, and a lovely time was had by all. My niece, Anna, captured the nice photo of Emmy with my oldest son, Charlie. My bookends, I call them. First and last!
Who gave me life? My mother.
Who first showed me love? My mother.
Who first breathed the name of Jesus in prayer over my head before I could form a word? My mother.
Who showed me the love of God in every act of tenderness and care? My mother.
Who taught me Bible verses as soon as I could talk? My mother.
Who sought to live out those verses in front of us? My mother.
Who taught me right from wrong and corrected sinful behavior? My mother.
Who wore out a Bible story book reading out the marvels of God’s mighty hand? My mother.
Who gave of herself constantly and poured all she had into her three children? My mother.
Who taught me mother-love for my own children? My beautiful mother.
I honor my mother, Freda, today who through many difficult circumstances and through the wearying and complex maze of this life shows the reality of her faith and shows Christ to her children and grandchildren and soon, their children.
We all love you, Mom and call you blessed!
Her children arise up, and call her blessed. ~ Proverbs 31:28a
Sons make a unique imprint on your heart, and maybe, mothers do that for their sons also. I threw out the subject of mothers and sons over dinner the other night.
“What do you think mothers bring to sons?”, I asked Will.
“I don’t think you can generalize,” he responded. “Each mom is a distinct personality and so is each son. The same mom might bring something different to each son, depending on his own outlook.”
As we talked, however, he conceded that mothers, in general, do bring things to their sons that are distinctly their contributions as mothers. For example, it is a fact that a good mother will care for the health and comfort of her children, whatever their age. It’s called nurturing. Adolescent boys, wanting to cut any last apron strings, sometimes airily dismiss the reminders about things like eating fruit and vegetables and getting enough sleep, but, for example, Will was happy enough to devour the giant sub sandwich I brought him at school when he forgot his lunch one day. Nurturing moms come in handy even for teen boys sometimes!
About that cutting the apron strings issue, it’s an important one. I once read an essay by Nathan Wilson entitled, “Raising Poofters.” It had a profound effect on me. The essay addressed the subject of mothers and sons in a homeschool setting in particular, and it hit me right between the eyes. I didn’t want to raise a “poofter” (wimp) and excess mothering with boys can do just that. Because Moms are hardwired to protect children from harm, they can also squash initiative and create an unhealthy fear of risk taking. Some boys have powerful enough personalities to keep overprotective moms in their place, but others do not. That’s one reason dads are so important. They balance moms out.
Will came home one year from the EAA Airventure flight show held annually in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Tom loves aviation and used to go stunt flying with his pilot friend. Will was only about 6 years old that year and came home with his gap tooth smile lit up. “I went flying all by myself!” he announced.
I looked wonderingly at the father of the household standing in the door.
“He went on the Young Eagles flight experience in a little Cessna,” Tom reported cheerfully.
“Whaaa??” My BABY up in the air with a stranger? My son, thousands of feet up in the air with a complete STRANGER?!
Will kept looking right at me, smiling his big smile, so I had to smile back.
I gave him a big hug. “Awesome!” was all I could say.
Will proudly handed over the photos of him climbing into the plane with the pilot. Overprotective mom got put in her place that day. Sons need wings, and they sometimes arrive sooner than we’d like.
What sons bring to mothers is a post in itself. I could write a book on the subject. Before I had a daughter, I didn’t even think I wanted anything but sons. I love so much about little boys. They tend not to hold grudges, they have their spats, clear the air and carry on. They are sometimes grubby, but always, always interesting.
Little boy memories fill my mind. Legos and Big Wheels, wet hair slicked over from their baths, wrestling matches in the living room, Hotwheels car shows with Tom who would spend hours with them racing their cars on the wood floor of the living room, Super Soakers, violin and piano lessons and snow forts and G.I. Joe dangling from the upstairs window and the ceiling fan in the kitchen (with the fan on), Sam’s many trips to the library and so many other things.
Each son is a precious gift no matter where he is in his life. I am thankful for all four of my sons. My oldest called me the other day with a piece of good news. He didn’t realize how flattered I was that he would call and share it with me. It told me that maybe, just maybe, I had brought something good to his life also, and that he knew he could always count on my interest and concern.
When I read of how brave soldiers who had fallen at Normandy sometimes, in their delirium, called for their mothers, it showed me the lifelong impact a mother’s love has. What I hope my sons have gotten from me, despite all of my mistakes, is the bedrock knowledge that they were and are loved for who they are. If they have that, I have done my job.
(Hope Blog readers, please pardon a lighter subject matter today.)
Buying a purse is a very individual thing for women. What one may find workable and attractive, another would never carry. Your purse can say a lot about you and where you are in your life.
I have had babies and children since 1987. Never did I have much time (or money) to worry about a wardrobe of handbags. Some women have dozens of purses to suit whatever they’re wearing. The rest of us don’t live that way. My collection has usually been very basic. One basic black leather, one basic brown leather and one clutch that would work for dress occasions. I learned if you buy as good quality as you can afford, the leather bags last for years.
The clutch thing makes me laugh. Back in 1998, I got invited to go to the CPAC conference in Chicago. I really did not want to go, but decided to make a weekend of it. There was a closing dinner preceded by an hors d’oeuvre reception, so I packed an appropriate (hopefully) outfit.
In Chicago I realized I only had my big brown mom purse with me. Duh. In the Omni hotel gift shop, I saw a very pretty gold colored clutch that wasn’t as expensive as I thought it would be. Rather then disgrace myself with my graham cracker crumb-filled brown monstrosity, I bought it, feeling smug that I had saved the day.
At the reception, the elegantly clad wife of a prominent civil liberties attorney sat down next to me on a window seat overlooking Michigan Avenue. I was attempting to look relaxed and casual, as if I did this kind of thing all the time. To my silent hilarity, she set her purse down next to me. It was a big brown monstrosity, just like the one I’d left in my hotel room! I never did find reason to use that gold clutch again. Mary used it to play dress up.
After years of carrying my life on my shoulder, and after years of back pain, I decided to do something radical a couple of weeks ago. I downsized. I got myself one of the neat little Baggallini zipper bags like the one my sister-in-law had the last time I saw her. Everything in one, neat, tidy little bag. No more carrying $10 worth of change in the bottom of my purse (Tom has laughed at that for years), no more carrying a make-up bag with me as if I have ever needed to make-up anywhere but home, no more carrying of small toys, crackers, books, sippy cups, and the like. I am taking a stand for traveling light. If it doesn’t fit in my tidy zipper bag, I don’t need it.
(I asked myself why I was carrying the immunization card from my 24-year-old son in my wallet as well as the library card from Greenville, South Carolina’s library system when we’ve been living back in Wisconsin for 6 years.)
Emmy stuff will have to go in her sleek, small black bag, also downsized from the big pink thing I used to use. We’re traveling light. My shoulder is already thanking me! My Baggallini bag may not be stylish or fashionable, but who cares? I am light on my feet, and that feels very good!
It was 10pm, and I still had two and a half hours before I was committed to picking up our adult son who needed a ride home from work. The town where he works is a good drive, and I wasn’t looking forward to a lonely, snowy trip in the wee hours out on the highway. But our son was counting on me, and I wasn’t going to fail him.
“I’ll go, just tell me where it is,” Tom said.
“That’s the problem,” I said sheepishly. “I can’t really give you the address, I only know it by sight from dropping him off today. I made several turns that I would only recognize, and I can’t remember the name of the place, unfortunately!” It wasn’t one of my more brilliant moments.
Weary from the long day we’d already had, just after midnight, we set out on our journey. I knew immediately going down our hill that the roads would be bad. They were. The salt trucks and plows hadn’t even begun to salt and scrape.
Narrow two-lane roads that seemed perfectly friendly by day looked eerie and menacing in the cold light of the moon. We traveled slowly, with only the lights of farms and houses here or there along the way. Nothing looked as it usually did. It was a silent white world.
When we got to a critical turn, I confidently told Tom to turn left. He did, and that started our late night (mis)adventure. It will be funny some day when I think back to it, but I am not yet at that point. Let’s just say that every directional instinct I had that night was wrong. Very wrong.
“Turn here, no, there.”…”I am sure this is it. Yes, I’m positive.” “Stop, we’re going too far, this isn’t it.” “WHAT? I’ve never seen that barn. There were no railroad tracks here. This isn’t the right road!” “Go back.” “Highway 83?? That’s supposed to be Highway 59!” And so on. We stopped. We backed up. We turned. We slid.
We drove back onto a familiar road and were driving along through the snow at about 40. That was about 35 miles per hour too fast. Our car suddenly spun out of control. We were making donuts in the snow (going in circles) unintentionally and headed for a hill. Tom managed to stop the car in the wrong lane finally. I’m grateful nobody was coming over the hill at that moment.
Things did not improve. An hour and a half later we sat in a deserted industrial park in North Prairie totally defeated. I was certain this was the right turn off. It wasn’t. Our son had already been off work for an hour and probably thought we had forgotten him entirely. It would have been a long, cold walk of 10 miles back to where he lived.
“I can’t believe this! THIS IS WHERE THE PLACE WAS!” I shouted in exasperation.
“OK, we’re in the Twilight Zone,” Tom said drily.
We got back out on the highway and after driving up and down and up and down, around a round about, and around the round about again, we were exhausted and half demented.
Our son had a new cell phone that was not yet activated so we couldn’t call him. The second reason we couldn’t call him is that we discovered that BOTH of our cell phones had run out of battery. Not one, both of them.
Realizing we were beaten, we limped homeward in silence. I pictured our son being put out of the building into the cold with nowhere to go, thinking we had let him down.
We got home at nearly 3am, and I was so stressed out, I paced the floor. Tom gave up and went to bed, but I could not accept that somewhere out there, son was walking down Highway 59 in the dark and cold because of me. How could I get into a warm bed?
I prayed and prayed he would call. Finally, I called the sheriff’s department dispatch and a very kind female answered. She heard how distressed I was, and said she would have a sheriff’s deputy drive by the place where my son lived with roommates and see if he had gotten home. I waited another hour and 45 minutes until the phone finally rang.
It was my son, apologetic for not calling earlier. A security guard at work had given him a ride home after half an hour of waiting. He’d been sleeping for 2 hours already!
Can you say ARRRRRGH?
He hadn’t called because he figured we had just forgotten to pick him up. “It’s all good,” he said in his characteristic way.
Well, if nothing else, my thankful response was just another reminder to him that he was loved. I’ve never been so relieved, I can tell you. I finally got to sleep after a mug of hot milk at around 5am.
Now you know why I didn’t get up to make a heart cake from scratch for Valentine’s Day. I was bleary eyed and going on two hours of sleep for the great party, but I pulled it off. And anyone who thinks I’m addicted to drama has never been a parent. The stories you could tell…