To write about something, the sequel

28 July 2011

July is nearly over and I've done very little writing. As luck would have it, this week I'm at a conference for  "artists, geeks and storytellers". All three terms may describe me at any given time, so now is as good as any time to break away and write for a bit.

For those wondering, the baby is doing really well. He's had zero after-effects from his fall and is as wily and happy as ever. We feel so grateful to God for protecting his little skull and helping us to move on and forget the details of that bad day.

Our full-time work in the arts community downtown is closing up shop, both literally and figuratively. Where we invested the majority of our time has permanently closed its doors, opening up the door for us to spend more time investing in the climb back towards Ireland. Still, we are sad and a little bit aimless as we say goodbye to this sweet phase of ministry and relationship, while still looking forward to continuing this gospel-centred culture conversation on the other side.

I'm hoping to put some better thoughts down on screen later this week as this conference settles into my soul. For now, it's weird and slightly unnerving. In every direction, I see excess. Floor to ceiling screens, projections, free t-shirts and a fully functional coffee-shop, all within the confines of the largest church building I've ever been in. Culturally American Christianity is big business. And I feel more and more like just a mom, who's just trying to raise her kids to grow up to still love Him, and maybe try to love and serve some people in the meantime.

Do we really need a triple-wide-screen for that?

When it's too much

14 July 2011

Yesterday I woke up teary-eyed over a typo.
Last night I went to bed teary-eyed because my baby was still alive.

This morning I woke up breathless to see aforementioned baby's smiling face.
Tonight I'm readying for bed breathless because I'm so tired and frustrated and downright angry at how out of control all three children can be at once.

It's been a tough coupla days to be Mom.

The baby fell yesterday. Off a chair. Onto concrete. He was silent, his eyes rolled back, and he seized. And I thought he would die right there in my arms. I thought his brain would go to sleep and never awake. I thought the paramedics would take him from me and he'd never return.

But those things didn't happen. My despairing thoughts did not become realities. He was limp, he was trying to sleep, he was unresponsive, but then he came back to life. He didn't want the neck stabilizer on. He didn't want to be touched and felt and have a light pointed in his eyes. He just wanted his dad as he walked through the door, 10 short minutes later. He wanted a nappy change because he was absolutely stinky. He wanted to go home and watch the wiggles and dance and sing.

Because the fall was from a short heighth and he quickly became his old belligerent self (seizing is not uncommon with concussions, they say... as if it's the most normal thing in the world to see your child's body shake involuntarily), we decided not to expose him to hospital craziness and instead brought him home and watched him, watched him, watched him. Like hawks.

So every time we stirred in the night, we took turns checking on him. I awoke this morning ready to see him whole and normal and most definitely protected by God. We cuddled, played, ate, wrestled, sat, sang... the whole bit. Just overwhelmed with the delight that comes from feeling you've been given a second chance.

And then we went to eat and talk God stuff with our church family. And then I was not so grateful... with the water spilling, with the food throwing, with the biting, with the screaming, with the fighting, with the wetting, with the talking back... it wasn't just the baby, it was the whole lot of them. All three rebelling against me, as if they knew today I would be at my absolute weakness.

We went into the meal feeling all sorts of missional family perfection, and I left with my head hanging between my legs because I still, years and countries and lives later, so do not have it all together.

In 48 hours I can feel it all. Frustration, fear, despair, joy, gratitude, elation, anger, sadness, exhaustion. I feel it all, and it all feels too much for this mama who held a lifeless baby less than 36 hours ago.

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Oh, Lord, thank you, thank you for protecting him. Please, please, guide me in how to mother them.

For the time

09 July 2011

I leave in tears because I'm so grateful for the time.  

For the sisters who laugh at nothing, yet everything. At the boys who are so different but love with such loyalty. For the baby who learns words every hour of every day and tries out names on his tongue as he looks around the largest dining room table we've all ever seen. For the papa (my dad) who hugs, hugs, and hugs again as we leave, even though we currently live just on the other side of town from him.

{He knows it won't be like this again, and wants to hold onto it for just a second longer.}

For the nana who buys the food and sweeps the floors and keeps us all in check with a smile. For the husbands who cook the food and let us sit and talk and play. For the girl who is no stranger to fear and conquers it at every turn. For the brother who hugs his sisters with big bear arms. For the uncle who comes and joins in the craziness without minding it at all. And for his friend who's willing to endure it all and leaves us with a promise of more visits.

I'm so, so grateful for the time. And for the ocean. And for the dolphins. For creation and for family and for love.

It's been awhile, but I'm back with Gypsy Mama and her Five Minute Fridays, from a rusty old dive outside Charleston, West Virginia, on our way back home. If I can do it after 11 hours in the car, so can you!

At the beach

04 July 2011

This morning I wake up early, not to soothe a crying baby or to fix breakfast for hungry children, but to sit by the ocean, with coffee in hand. I forget my Bible, don't have a notebook, my phone doesn't work, so I just sit. And squint. Because the sun reflecting off the water is too bright and too pure for my morning eyes.

(even now I hear the baby on the monitor, talking to himself in sing-song oohs and ahhs... I think he knows I'm writing and resting, so he gives me this time and sings to me instead)

The air is warm and the breeze is slight. People walk along the beach: couples and singles, grandparents and children. My dad is out there and I missed it again; he is an even earlier riser and I'm always just a step or two behind. He'll come back around, though, and I'll grab a kid or two and walk with him, up and down the beach with water and seashells tickling our toes.

We are on vacation - a term I rarely use and feels foreign to say. But yes, we are on vacation with my dad's family, even though the ocean feels more familiar than the parking lot we usually wake up to. I know Ireland is thousands of miles away still, but somehow I think if I can just get in the water and float on my back, the Atlantic will carry me straight home.