Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rule of Crazy

You’ve no doubt heard of the “rule of thumb”, right?  It’s the stanshoesdard operating procedure…the way things are done…what you can expect.  Well, in my family (meaning my mother/father/brother/sister), we operate by the rule of crazy.  It’s what is to be expected.  If there is a verbose, borderline type person around, someone in my family will attract their attention (unknowingly, of course).  They will say anything to us, from their inappropriate overshare about family history or how they have the same shoes as we do, except they wear them on their hands.   For me, it has gotten to the point where I look at people suspiciously when they say a friendly “Hello” to me in the grocery store.

So when an older gentleman approached my children and I in the Piggly Wiggly, I shot him a wary glance.  Then when he asked me if he could give my children something, I immediately answered in a sarcastic tone, “Like what?”  The man seemed taken aback and wasn’t holding a mysterious bag of candy or anything, so I straightened up and acted like my mother had taught me some manners.  I politely said, “Sure that would be real nice.”  And the man produced from his wallet two crisp-from-the-bank two dollar bills.  He asked my son if he had ever seen a two dollar bill and my son said “Yes, I already have one.”  (His mother is still working on teaching him some manners…*cough*)  The man gave both kids a bill and told them to buy themselves a treat or help me pay for the groceries, he didn’t care which, he just wanted them to have something.  He looked up at me (didn’t I mention that the poor gentleman was in an electric cart?) and said, “They are real good kids.”  I thanked him and the kids did the same and I walked away feeling chagrined. 

We live in such a jaded world and most days it tends to take me down with it.  Even if I’m just taking the offensive position, I often expect the worst of people.  I hope I don’t pass that along to my children.  I want them to always see what’s truly good in people and take the rest with a grain of salt. 

Never speak harshly to an older man, but appeal to him respectfully as you would to your own father. Talk to younger men as you would to your own brothers.  Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters…This is something that pleases God.”  1 Timothy 5:1-2,4


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dear St. Nick,

Why in the world would I be worrying about Christmas time in the middle of August?  I’ve discovered that my grandmother (and now my sister) was right about shopping early.  I love to hit December with my shopping list whittled down to a few stocking stuffers and only needing to worry about baking cookies (which was quite an undertaking last year).  So this weekend I casually mention to my daughter that I wondered what she might be asking St. Nick for this year.  She and my son know they get one big deal present from Santa and that’s it.  So she immediately answers that she wants “an ice cream bear.  The one that is pink and blue, with an ice cream cone”.  She reminded me that we had seen an advertisement for Build-A-Bear Ice Cream Bears.  No problem I think to myself and go off to search the internet for a bear she can thank St. Nick for.
Um….they were a limited time offer.  And, ahem…uh, they are really expensive on EBay.  I attempted to bid on one I found for a reasonable price but was quickly outbid.  So now I’m in the middle of a dilemma.  I cannot, in good conscience, pay $30 plus dollars for a stuffed animal that will sooner or later end up at the bottom of the toy box or stuffed under the bed.  But I hate to disappoint my daughter by not getting her a surprise she would enjoy.  She is one of those kids that believes her stuffed friends are real and that they have actual feelings and I’m getting a little misty sitting her typing but she genuinely loves her friends.  I wonder if between now and then I could dye a bear to look like this one and find a felt ice cream cone.  What a crafty undertaking that would be.  The easier thing (ooh I love the path of least resistance) would be to convince her she would really like something else…as in, something I can actually afford.

Even if this wasn’t a request for St. Nick (I know some parents are opposed to the idea of lying to their kids), it would still be a request for a present that she really wants.  I feel like I walk a tiny little line between keeping my kids' spirit bright and untarnished and showing them how the world REALLY works.  If you were me, what would you do?

Mornin’ glory

I am not a morning person.  Every morning when the alarm goes off, I automatically set it again, for thirty minutes later.  Then before I go back to dreaming, I wonder if there is anything I can skip in order to lie in the bed for a few more minutes.  So there are more times than I like to admit, that I drive my kids to school without brushing my hair (thank goodness for bandanas) or without fully changing out of my pajamas.  I look like a mess and feel like it too. 

Now that we are in the full swing of another school year, I’m noticing how my kids are too much like me in this department.  They lie in bed until I bellow that we are going to be late.  They lounge, draped over the chairs, until I find my keys.  My son has even gone so far as to ask me if he can sleep in his clothes for the next day, so he can just wake up dressed.  Gotta give him points for creativity, but the answer to that one was “No”.  My daughter is generally a cheery ray of sunshine in the mornings but has now adopted a less than appropriate way of greeting me.  She tenses her entire body to the point I think she might levitate off the bed and screams at me that she doesn’t want to go to school.  It makes for a pleasant atmosphere. 

So here I am, question in mind.  Will changing my morning habits and attitudes change theirs?  I will endeavor for the next few weeks to find out. 


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