Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Walmart Oath

When I was pregnant with my first child,

I would carefully observe other moms

in a store like Walmart or Target.

These moms probably were pretty at some point.

They might have had light in their eyes

a few months ago,

But now their eyes were glazed over

and their faces were twisted into

an expression that can only be described as

a mix of an anger, frustration

confusion and sleep exhaustion.

The one thing these moms all had in common

was a little person or two
or three in tow.

These little people had long since outgrown

the glory days of their bassinets and booties

and now doned light up tennis shoes
and the beginnings of one or two adult teeth.

They were curious two year olds, demanding four year olds

and often know it all seven year olds.

The tiredest of moms had a combination of all three

with her at one time.

I'd see these women,

but I didn't really seeeeee them.

I would pat my belly and smile

thinking I was way smarter than they were

and that I would never be dragging a screaming child

whose legs had turned to jello

down the frozen food aisle.

Never would my little cherub go into public

wearing pajamas, or a costume of any sort, or mismatched socks.

They'd never pull down displays,
scream for candy at the top of their lungs

or stick their tongues out at little old ladies

who came up to pinch their cheeks.


My parenting skills would combat all of this.

After all I had read dozens of books

and had done my research on

how to raise delightful children.

It didn't take long for my bubble to burst.

I actually held it together pretty well with the

first little guy.
Except for a few knock down drag outs over
what fast food restaurant
we would go to
I'd say we had a pretty smooth first 20 months or so.
The addition of my second son brought

a little bit more of a challenge

because now I was out numbered.

During my days of wrangling my two little lion cubs,

we only had a few near unconscious grocery cart plunges,

about a million toy aisle freak outs,

some candy aisle fit throwing

and one or two display topples.

And I had read books!

Imagine how bad it would have been

had I not been well read!

Enter Princess number one.

She was such a good little baby,

and by "good" I mean

that I could bring her into the house in her carseat

and set her on the floor in the foyer

and she would not utter a peep until I had unloaded and put away

4.8 million bags of groceries.

That's good in my book!

But with the addition of baby number three

came the twisted face.

Inevitably, I was that mom in the store

with her hair thrown up in a ponytail

wearing a t-shirt and jeans,
chasing after three very mobile kids

and saying the same few phrases over and over.

"Don't touch that!"

"Get over here right now!"

"Don't throw that apple!"

"Stop pulling your sister's hair!"

"You are not gonna get a prize

if you don't staighten up!"

That last one works everytime I might add.

Well, if you say it 14 times in each aisle,

they will straighten up as soon as you buy the prize.
Somewhere along the line,
I stopped trying to be the perfect mother
with the most well behaved children
and just started enjoying them,
praying ALOT
and having a sense of humor.
When we were free of most of the antics
of my first three,
my husband and I decided that it would be
to have one single baby on the tail end
of our reproductive years
(and by "end" I mean early 30's).
Just one little bundle to shower with love
and attention while the other three began to develope
interests of their own apart from mom and dad.
Enter Brendell.
You'd think,
being the veteran mom that I am,
that I would have shed my delusions over
how my child would be.
I imagined a little tu-tu clad princess
with golden ringletts
who was loved and adored by her older siblings.
Yeah, that lasted for approximately 21.5 months
and then her will kicked in!
Suddenly I found myself
"that mom" in the supermarket again.
Only this time,
I wasn't as spry as I had been in my twenties
and it only took one little tyrant
to twist my face up!
It took me a few years,
okay 7 years and a couple months,
but I suddenly was hit with a stroke of genius.
I developed
"The Walmart Oath".
Any store can be substituted,
because we all know that children are not
descretionary when it comes to where
they decide to throw a fit,
but Walmart seemed relateable to most moms.

Here is my sweet Princess Brendell Faith.

Darling isn't she?

But if I am not careful,


can turn into this....

which very quickly spirals down

to this.......

So to avoid public displays of

seven year old drama,

I have employed

"The Walmart Oath"

which Brendell must recite once

before we leave the house on any

shopping excursion

and twice if she's tired.

"I, Brendell Faith Cleary
do promise, promise, promise
to behave like a lady in the store.
I will not throw a fit, cross my arms,
stomp my foot,
give the stink eye,
stick out my tongue,
ask for something more than once,
roll my eyes,
annoy my siblings,
walk off in a huff,
cry, complain, whine,
sulk or pout.
I will walk beside my mom
and happily help her when she asks me to.
So help me
Hannah Montanna, Taylor Swift
and iCarly.
(God just seemed too sacred to use
in jest)

Sometimes it works
sometimes it doesn't.

The end.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

rib searching

This kid is such a nut!
From the time he could talk,
he has brought so much laughter into our lives.
His comedic timing is dead on
and his humor is universal.
He's just naturally funny without
even having to try.
I was recently reminded of this when we stumbled upon
an old family website that I had built.
I hadn't posted to it since
Brendell was an infant,
but it's still there.
I have to share this story from 2001.

"The other night at dinner, one of the kids asked me how God made people.
I explained how God made Adam out of dust and then Eve from Adam's rib.
David also told them that boys have one less rib than girls.
I added that when the boys get married, it is like finding their other rib.
We told them that God had a perfect match out there for each of them
and that they would someday belong to someone just like David and I
belong to eachother.
Michael was very curious and asked, "Mom, who do I belong to?"
I told him that none of us knew right now who that girl would be but that
we would pray for her whenever we thought of it.
The next night at bedtime prayer I heard Michael say his usual
"Thank you God for everything you have done for me....."
but he ended it differently this time.
He said, "And take care of that girl that gots my other rib. Amen!"
Someday we will meet this special girl and I will tell her that Michael
has been praying for her since he was seven and boy is he
happy to have found his rib!"
At almost 17 years old,
he's definitely stepped up his rib search!
This story was a reminder to me to cover
both him and his future mate in prayer.
It's a very hard thing to be obedient
in a disobedient world,
but the payoff of self control is
God has more blessings for us
than we can fathom
and his timing is perfect.
Hang in there son!
God knows who you belong to
and I'm certain that she is worth the wait!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Restoring Honor

Restore {verb} :
To bring back to a former, original or normal condition.
Honor {noun}:
Honesty, fairness or integrity in one's beliefs and actions.

I started listening to Glenn Beck on the radio
many years ago.
He would keep me company as I dropped Brendell off at
Happy Apple in Saint Marys, Ga.
His views intrigued me and while they were not
all exactly like mine,
he was saying things that no one else on the radio was saying
and he made me think.
When he joined Fox News I started watching him regularly
and while again, some of the things he said
did not exactly line up with what I hold to be true,
I still respected his knowlege of history
and his love for our country.

When we heard of the 8/28 rally
and what it's purpose was,
we thought about going.
When we heard that Sarah Palin was going to speak.
we knew we had to be there!

Living close to Washington DC is bonus in
such a time as this.
We sat with people who had traveled in from
North Carolina, Florida,
Ohio and even New Mexico!

The crowds were thick, but kind.
Excited, yet respectful.
Fired up, but not frenzied.
I was so proud to be there!

Observing the sea of people from all walks of life
who were there for one common purpose was
The military was honored,
those who had given their lives in this war
and in other wars
were honored
and civilians who were living an example
of Faith, Hope and Love
were honored.

The mood was decidedly uplifiting and encouraging.
No one was bashed.
No political lines were drawn in the sand.
We were a mixed lot of Americans
standing together for the purpose of restoring our country
back to her roots.
To return to the founding principles
of our forefathers
and to turn our hearts back to God.

I don't think I have ever seen
a larger gathering of people
anywhere else!
Based on the land mass covered
there were at least a half a million
people there!

The line just to get metro tickets into Washington
was thousands deep at 7 am when David and I
first attempted to get our tickets
at the New Carrollton station.
We ended up driving in to Suitland, MD
where David works and got right on the
metro station there with no trouble at all.
It was a long and exhausting day
but it was so awesome to be there
and to be a part of an event that
I believe in!