I was pushing the shopping cart along the cereal aisle of Kroger this afternoon - which, if I'm being honest, is really rarely a good experience. For one thing, I have this unspoken rule that I can't buy a box of cereal for more than $2.00 (...does this mean the rule is spoken now?) so, since I don't buy the cheap sugar cereals anymore, I either come out of the aisle empty handed, or overflowing with 34 boxes stacked up to my chin. For another thing, the opposite side of the aisle is stocked with romance novels, self-help books, and showy magazines displaying the faces (and other body parts) of airbrushed models posing behind bold words that promise your life can be happier with the one secret contained behind that very cover. By the time I reach the end of the aisle I feel like I've been bombarded by singing jeers from the cereal side (You Can't Afford Us, Neener, Neener, Neener!) and laser messages coming from the other side (Your Life Isn't Good Enough, We Have All The Secrets!). Plus... it's a crowded aisle.
And it's the homeless cart hangout.
Today was a little bit different, though. The setting was the same, of course. Crowded. It was a Leave Empty Handed day, so I turned around and started making my way to the back of the store and got stuck behind an elderly gentleman trying to decide which type of bran to buy. As I was quietly waiting, I noticed a self-help book sitting on top of the abandoned shopping cart I had stopped next to. The title intrigued me, Mama Drama, so I picked it up and read the long sub-title. Making Peace with the One Woman Who Can Push Your Buttons, Make You Cry, and Drive You Crazy. I thumbed through the pages for a few seconds. Words like 'conflict', 'guilt trip', 'resentment', and 'hopelessness' jumped from every page. And when the old man pushed on, I threw the book back into the cart with a smile on my face.
Well. I don't have that problem, I thought. If I wrote a book titled Mama Drama it would be all about how I don't get to see my Mama enough.
My parents came out for McKenzie's baptism and, though it had only been a few months, it had been far too long since I'd seen them. We all need a little confidence boost sometimes, right?, and they always fill that role to overflowing when they're around. I've just recently realized that this is not something to be taken for granted, and I appreciate how good they are at making me feel good about myself and the work I've done so far in raising my family. They think my kids are wonderful, they think my husband is the perfect catch, they love us all dearly, and I appreciate how good they are at showing that to me. Yes, they are my parents, so they might be biased, but it's enough for me.
And the kids? Well... the kids can't get enough of them. Poppy was battling bone spurs in his shoulder, patiently waiting for surgery, and still found the strength to play a few games of dodge ball,
play with Carson on the swing,
and watch a Duke basketball game with the kids.
Watching basketball (or football) is a true treat for my kids. Especially when they know they'll be able to stay up a little past bedtime to finish the first half. I think Miles is just in for the popcorn.
Nana spent her time playing along with Miles and his Bunny,
and helping me finish up the apron I was making for McKenzie's birthday. The heart pocket? Her stroke of genius to hold measuring spoons.
She was also an invaluable player in getting all the food ready for McKenzie's baptism... but that will be saved for the post all about McKenzie's birthday.
But before I write that post (and to end this one), you must hear two funny stories (actually, both of them could be classified as 'a bit sad' too... but let's go with funny):
Growing up, my dad was not really known for his silent sleeping. On the contrary, my siblings and I would catch ourselves giggling at the snores of his sleep if he happened to doze off any time before us. So when the rumblings started floating from the guest bedroom during a quick late-morning nap last week, I thought Miles would enjoy laughing at them with Nana and me. We all quieted down to silence and Miles's eyes started widening.
"What is that?" Nana asked him. Miles shot a wide-eyed glance in Nana's direction just as another snore broke loose. Nana followed his lead and opened her eyes wide as well. "Is it a bear?" she asked. "I think there might be a bear in the house." Miles barely moved as his little brain tried to figure out how to process the information. He then decided that this was a real force to be reckoned with.
"Eff-a-nunt," he whispered.
"You think it's an elephant?" I asked.
He slowly nodded his head and started instructing us all to get our feet off the floor and, at his insistence, we scrambled to rearrange our positions. We sat for a moment in silence, feet propped underneath us, listening to the snores, watching Miles and waiting for his lead. "Eff-a-nunt," he repeated. His little hands went up to his ears as he whimpered, 'I sared'.
"You're scared?" I repeated.
After his nod, I broke the game and picked him up to peek in on Poppy and see that there was nothing to be afraid of. We spied on him for a second and then went into Miles's room to read a book. He was not completely trusting and made sure the door was completely closed before we sat down in the rocking chair and read, The Bear Feels Scared.
This little guy seems to have a few real fears (well, if you classify elephants as real fears) and has mentioned that he feels scared multiple times in his life. The other day I walked into his room when I heard his after-nap calls and found him huddled in the corner of his crib whimpering. Upon further investigation, he said he felt 'sared' and pointed over to the curtains. I still don't know exactly what was going on, but we may be in for some real monster fighting with this one...
McKenzie came tromping off the bus on Friday afternoon and informed us that she had a small problem.
She had slipped this giant bolt on her ring finger while she was packing up to come home and was having trouble getting it off. Brian worked on it for the better part of two hours. Pulling. Twisting. Soap and water. Crisco. Dental floss tied around the biggest part of her finger to compress the skin. Thankfully the bolt had plenty of room to slide around underneath her knuckle (so we weren't worried about circulation), but that poor knuckle ended up swelling and was very sore before he decided the next best thing to do was to let it sit for a while to let the swelling go down. I gave her a little Ibuprofen, Nana gave her her very own can of Root Beer and, per her request, we left her alone downstairs to read books until dinner time. You can imagine how distraught she was... "My very last day of being a seven year old, and I have to have this bolt on my finger," she said fighting tears.
A half an hour later, just before eating, Kenz and I knelt down and quietly said a prayer. We asked Heavenly Father to help us know what to do about the bolt, and we asked him to help McKenzie be happy in the meantime while we figured it out. He answered the second part of that prayer immediately and her spirits improved. Around the dinner table we all talked about the options we had. InstaCare? A small hacksaw? We finally settled on lots of Crisco and trying to slide some small, flat, plastic toothpicks underneath the bolt to hopefully provide a sort of track for the bolt to use, and maybe some compression for the swollen part of her finger. Fail. Next idea was to cut a straw lengthwise and try to wrap that around her finger and stick it under the bolt. Fail.
Up till this point I had left the pulling and coaxing up to the men, but decided that I should take a turn. I gently twisted and pulled and then pulled and twisted a little harder. For some reason, I looked up at my dad and mouthed the words, 'I'm going to pull.' He nodded and hugged McKenzie a little closer. Brian started rubbing her back and I began to put much, much more pressure on that poor knuckle. She started screaming, and I wanted to stop...but I strangely didn't feel able to. I twisted around and around and pulled with as much force as I felt was safe without ripping her finger out of the socket. I started noticing some progression after about 10 seconds (which is a long time...think about it) and it fueled me to keep going. "It's almost there, Kenz!" I shouted. 10 more seconds and I felt the last of the swollen skin slide under the bolt that was now resting in the palm of my clutched hand. I wrapped McKenzie up in a huge hug and praised her for getting through it.
"Linds! Linds!" Brian said. "Good job, Linds!" His relief was so intense it lasted the rest of the day (he even continued making comments into the following day) . He turned his attention to McKenzie and said, "It's off, Kenz! I thought we were going to have to baptize you tomorrow with a bolt on your finger!" She chuckled a little through her tears and said, "Me too."
I had some thanks to say in my prayers that night. It's not really in my nature to 'just pull', especially if I know it's causing my own kid pain. But I got the idea and the strength from somewhere... Phew.
Well, anyway, hooray for wonderful parents. And hooray for no real Mama Drama. We're so glad you guys came to celebrate McKenzie's special day!
We love you!
(PS - speaking of drama - sorry to all of you Google Readers out there! I posted this one with the date wrong, so I tried to re-post it and accidentally posted the draft to the beginning of McKenzie's birthday post instead! Anyway, then I finally got it right on the third try... sorry! And, you can consider yourself lucky that you got a sneak peak of McKenzie's birthday post.)