Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Bits and Pieces of Family Life

  • My dear six-year-old told one of the after-school-program workers this gem the other day:  "I can spell ZOO with my eyes closed!"  I always knew she was a genius! :)

  • Son #1: "You bought normal juice?  Who are you and what have you done with my mother?"
    • Me: "It was on sale for 90 cents!!!"
    • Son #2:  "Oh.  She's back." 

  • My elder daughter, musing about how unfair life is, particularly relating to how we make the children pay for their phones and their service:  "By the time you get to K (younger daughter), you're going to give her a solid gold iPhone for freeeee!"

  • Fifteen years ago, when I had a wee little baby girl, our parents bought us a new dishwasher.  For about 13 years, that dishwasher served us well.  For about the last 2 years, the dishwasher has been on my hit list.  It was old and yucky and needed to be replaced.  Today a new era in dish washing has begun in our house -  a new one was installed!  Considering I run 1-2 loads a day, it's an appliance that is well treasured in this house - perhaps you can imagine my excitement!  And when the old one was pulled out, I was able to look behind the dishwasher, and found all our names written on the wall.  When we remodeled in 2007, I had painted our names and the date back there, and seeing it today made me so happy.  I quickly took a sharpie and wrote all our names (including our last daughter, who wasn't yet born in 2007) and the date today.  Someday, this dishwasher will bite the dust and I will be so happy to read the wall once again.

Friday, November 13, 2015

True Blue

Not long ago, I was part of a discussion about friends.  What it means to be a good friend, how to be that friend to others, and how important friends are to us.  And as I pondered qualities of true friendship -- encouragement, acceptance, companionship, laughter, confidence, I  kept coming back to this one basic tenet of friendship:

A true friend would never speak ill of you.

That sounds like a fundamental principle of friendship, doesn't it?  But maybe you'll agree that sometimes that isn't how friends treat us at all.  Perhaps you've been hurt by hearing what a friend said about you behind your back. Maybe you've heard through the grapevine that a friend was putting you down.  Or even on the most base level - maybe someone else was maligning you, and your friend didn't stand up for you.

It hurts.

To me, a true friend would NEVER say a negative word about me.  If I've done the craziest thing imaginable -- something with seemingly no plausible explanation, and my actions are wreaking havoc around me, I hope a true friend would still not put me down.  She might seek to find out what happened from me, and maybe speak hard words to me if they were necessary.  But to others?  I hope a true friend would always try to be positive where I am concerned.

Have I always been this true friend I desire to have in others?  Definitely not.  I have most certainly often and frequently hurt others with my words and actions.  I continue to try, try again when I fail.  In a similar vein, years ago I ran across these questions, which I thought were spot on:

Is it true?
Is it kind?
Is it necessary?

Exactly.  If I am speaking of someone (a friend, an acquaintance, or even a stranger!), I need to remind myself of these questions.  Am I speaking the truth? Am I speaking in kindness?  And the last is just as important - is it necessary?  I often tell my children that someone else's story is not theirs to tell.  Wonderful news of a coworker's new pregnancy?  It is true, and it is kind, but is it necessary?

How do you define a true friend?

A true friend loves at all times.
Provers 17:17a

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Tell me about your baby

I was in Walmart.  I had three children in tow, trying to grocery shop.  My youngest child was in a baby carseat, tucked into the cart with his apnea monitor, feeding tube, and oxygen tank.  I'm sure I was a spectacle.

But my baby was quiet and content, and I made my way through the grocery section, my other two young children following behind me.  People noticed us, and sometimes someone asked me about him.

This was eleven years ago, but one comment still stands out in my mind.  A gal about 10-15 years older than me came up to me and said, "Tell me about your baby."

My heart was warmed immediately, and I indeed told her about my baby.  I told her about his birth and NICU stay, and concerns about his future.  And she listened and didn't make commentary, and was loving and compassionate.  As we stood by the frozen foods, she made me feel normal.  Our life felt crazy and scary and precarious in those days, but her listening ear and gentle demeanor soothed my anxious heart.  As we spoke, she shared that she too had a child with special concerns, and she understood our situation to some degree.

I have never forgotten her kindness to me, and her thoughtful phrasing, followed by truly listening to my story.  While I know I certainly don't handle every situation with such grace, I strive to be that kind of person to those I meet.