Life Lately

In Adoption: This week past we shared fellowship with some friends who have travelled deep into the heart of adoption. Their arms are so wide-open and their hearts even more with the loving of two Littles from across the globe. We went to them with our story, how we came to be at this unexpected place and where on earth do we go from here (?) and heaven smiled on our coming together and exploring regardless of the outcome – there is no prescription in this process. But the thing I carried home right close to my aorta was a simple prayer born from one tiny piece of our conversation . . . “Our Father, what is real family for us?” And the reason I supplicate this sentence to heaven is because the way family has been defined by our western, white-man’s dictionary might not be the truest or deepest definition of family. On the alternate hand, we cannot make our statements like a blanket and say all family’s should be a mixed-up, colorful collection. But, what in this world does it mean for us to be family? I believe on the other side of Jesus the margins are stretched and family is global, but how that plays out in each of our stories is as colorful as the earth itself. So we pray and we pray and we pray, “Our Father, what is real family for us?”

Pray with us?

In The Living Room: Look how cute they are. All my dudes and my Dude working out their manly-muscles with Tony Horton and his P90X. This is the recipe for making children fall into their pillows come nightfall.

Did I mention how cute they are?

In Adventure: This trio of wee boy-hearts, they beat for adventure and I spend considerable energy trying to reveal to their young eyes that adventure is in the vision of the beholder and can be unfurled in the smallest stuff, but this week I wanted to make it bigger for them . . . “Adventure Week” I told them and they did their Little Savage(s) dance of untamed enthusiasm and blew my eardrums into the next county with the whooping and hollering.

Monday, Adventure Day 1, began with our first-ever walk all the way into downtown . . . From the top of the hill next to home, my finger points in the distance to a scene they’ve seen a few hundred times, but this occasion is different because their vantage point changes as their legs will bring them there instead of spinning car wheels. “See those buildings off in the distance? That’s where we’re walking to. YAY!!! We’re going to have SO much FUN!!! AND, we’ll get ice-cream when we get there” It is incentive enough.

Our muscles groaned up that same hill on the way back, but there was such satisfaction in using our bodies so well. To say we “had a blast” would be stating it mildly and the memories from that day and the rest of our “Adventure Week” are pure gold. I think I feel a tradition coming on.

In The Neighborhood: I hear the screams while I’m up to my elbows in dishwater suds. A pounding heart propels my feet to a dead run out the door and in the direction of audio terror. WHAT in the world is it this time? I wonder, but not for long as galloping legs carry me around the bend half a block from home to the scene of disaster.

There he is.

Seth is bleeding and bruised from his helmeted-head to his flip-flop feet, but instantly I can see that all his wounds are surface. Unfortunately, my heart starts in with serious palpitations as I take in the REAL problem . . .

I don’t know HOW they manage to wreak the havoc that they do.

My Mid-Son very effectively crashed his bike into the neighbor lady’s Mary Kay, pastel-pink Cadillac. I’m not making this up. He side-swiped that sucker from back to front and left rubber-tire skid marks along the whole length before landing head over heels on the hood. He then rolled to the ground where bare skin collided with unforgiving pavement.

My fear kept me from confronting the owner to talk restitution, so when Austin came home, I sent him over to face the music (or, in this case, “face the make-up” {oh man, that is the cheesiest thing I have ever said – maybe}). And you know what? All those scuff marks buffed right off that pastel-pink paint.

Sigh.

The End.

P.S. I’m buying stock in band-aids and Neosporin. And buffing thing-y’s

In My Mind/Heart: This homeschool mama has a whole week off, starting yesterday. Hooligans are at summer camp with their friends – kayaking, fishing, swimming, hiking, crafting and learning about Jesus through nature. I’m certain that they’re bored to tears.

What’s a poor girl to do besides suffer at the beach?

My mama gave me an audio theatre presentation of the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I took him to the sun and sand and listened straight through his story for three hours and when he died in the end, I felt like I had lost a dear friend as I cried silently behind my sunglasses. Radio theatre is amazing like that, the characters come alive and tug you right into their circumstances. The beach beneath me disappeared and I found myself walking the streets of Nazi Germany, breathing the sights, sounds and horrors of the day.

My appreciation for the man Dietrich became through unprecedented events and trial, amplified with each passing scene. An idealistic pacifist he was, but when reality rolled repulsive in the form of a monster named Hitler, he discovered a painful, yet graceful, marriage between his divine ideals and the world’s human actuality.

Five minutes before listening to the rope stretch around his neck, the story leaves you with one of his final letters from his two years in traitors prison and I have been ruminating on those words: “I have come to some conclusions. During the last year or so I have come to know and understand more and more the profound this-worldliness, our Christianity. This is something that I am discovering right up to this moment. That it is only by living completely in this world that one learns to live by faith. One must completely abandon any attempt to make something of oneself. Whether it be saint or converted sinner, churchman or righteous man or an unrighteous man, sick man or healthy one. By this worldliness, I mean living unreservedly by life’s duties, problems, successes and failures, experiences and perplexities. In so doing we throw ourselves completly into the arms of God, taking seriously not our own sufferings, but those of God in the world, watching with Christ in Gethsemene. That, I think, is faith. That is how to become a man and a Christian.”

I’ve been filtering memories from the last ten years of living through this lens of the world being the medium by which I find myself in the arms of God and I discover so much truth there, not to mention the richness of paradox. It also reminds me of a single line from one of my favorite songs, “Let the world wound me, until I see You alone . . . in everything.” 

Selah.

In Thanks: #301 Children playing hard/falling into bed. #302 Hugs, tears and forgiveness before the sun goes down. #303 Walking everywhere with the elements all over my skin. #304 Summer dresses and flip-flops #305 Italian Ice to make a day special. #306 Bandaids and Neosporin! #307 Anticipating vacation. #308 Whole family bike rides – 3 growing boys sandwiched between us.

Love to all,

Erika

P.S. For some reason, I am unable to link to other pages from my posts. So, where you see “friends” highlighted, that is supposed to take you to steadymom.com, “story” is supposed to direct you to Wherein My Heart Changes (under “We” and “Wonderings”) and “place” is Wherein My Heart Changes – Part 2. Sorry. WordPress and I are going to have a little chat to see if we can sort it out. :)

Wherein My Heart Changes

The last of the training wheels came off this spring.

Three Dudes are growing up fast and my heart is constricting hard. Because, the thing is, it was only yesterday that I was snuggling their baby-chub and inhaling their new-skin scent.

My womb was so young – by today’s standards – when it harbored and grew three babies in three years. Littlest One arrived before my 24th rotation around the sun and I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, but I gave my best. I still tell people that I have very few memories of that entire year after Jude was born – I was drowning deep in the “daily’s”, so to speak.

This is when the tightening of my chest occurs and my grieving grows large. I would turn back the years and stop you, Mr. Clock, if I only had the power to wield such a feat. I would turn back years, because my heart has changed, you see.

Once upon a time, I couldn’t wait for them to get older just so I could breathe and we chose a guarantee by way of vasectomy to ensure that easier air would come sooner rather then later.

I remember all the times of grocery shopping with the wee ones and the old lady’s would gather round our cart-full-of-kid-and-consumables and exclaim with wrinkled and experienced fervency . . . “Cherish”, cherish they would say, those chubby babies are grown-up men before your mother-eyelids can blink and this will unequivocally be the best time of your life.

The best time of my life? You mean, it doesn’t get better then sleep depravation, zero personal space, dirty diapers up to my ears, 3x stereo crying . . . add emotional bankruptcy?

And yet, I believed whole-heartedly with my head their words to be wisdom and truth, but my fledgling heart couldn’t wrap around the sentiment itself.

Within all these years, my aorta has grown-up alongside the stretching boy-skin (hey, who’s raising who here?) and life-with-kids is reaching a rhythm that moves with a bit more ease and a lot more grace. And somehow the ease and the grace promotes an expansion to the walls of my self. A little demo here and a rebuild over there and voila! My capacity is blooming with room.

Is that why my arms feel suddenly empty?

If someone would have told me back in the “cart-full-of-kid-days” that I would want more babies one day, I would’ve laughed out loud at their absurdity and rudely so.

Except, the joke is on me.

They would’ve been right.

Because, here I am now, 6 years and 1 baby-preventing operation later, wishing for another Tiny to add to our family. But, we cannot so easily scrub away the permanency of our long-ago choice.

A few months back, I cried big tears – watering my husbands shoulder – to grieve over circumstances that led to decision-making that we can’t reverse with any sort of ease.

But my husband with the wet shoulder, he has a heart bigger then the state of Texas where he came from and he tells me that he’s open to anything . . .

That “anything” has brought our family to the edge of a thread to follow and I’m going to tell you about it.

Soon.

So, hang on to your girdle Gladys.