Tuesday, December 15, 2009

thank Heaven for Silent Night!

tonight was our older boys' Christmas music program at their elementary school. it is the last year that both of them will be in elementary school, because here in Franklin, the children will attend a new school for grades 5 and 6. it will be nice, but terrifying at the same time. anyway back to my story, see. i was again a single parent this night, as Willie was at work. the two youngest kids ready for bed but excited to be skipping the night time ritual for any excuse, were bouncing off the walls. with Santa hats and reindeer antlers in hand, we set out to experience some "Christmas Joy."

upon arrival i realize we were right on time and that meant no parking...anywhere. we parked way out in the woods, or at least way out of the parking lot and across the road from the school. this was a great beginning to the night, because it meant i got to walk a long distance in the cold and darkened parking lot to enter the building clear on the other side. yeah, me. (find that Christmas Joy yet?) but i put on my best"i can do anything" attitude and strode off with purpose, baby in arm and three year old holding my hand. we make it to the gym in a timely manner. it's packed. no seats, barely any wall space to speak of. alas i find a spot against the wall pretty close to the front. i would have to stand, but what ever it takes to support my boys, right? right!

the program begins, the babies get excited and want me to hold them both. i struggle for a minute or two, but suddenly an angel in disguise appears. she was seated at the end of one of the rows of many happy filled seats. she turns and asks Aislynne if she would like to stand on her lap to watch the program. Aislynne almost shy, doesn't hesitate long. she excitedly jumps on the angel's lap and happily watches the program as if she were nobility. i hold Braden in my arms and talk with him throughout the program to keep him engaged in what is going on around him. he enjoys it alot.

the program was darling, partly because it didn't last very long and partly because the music was upbeat and fun. then the "Night Before Christmas" is told in a new version involving the principal and his entire staff. it is cute and funny. but at the end, i find myself smiling the most.
(not because it was over:)

the principal of the little elementary school, in our little mountain town of Franklin, stood and asked everyone else to stand. he then preceded to say that the program was filled with fun and excitement as is the holiday season, "but let us not forget," he said, "that at this time of year, we need to be thankful for the blessings given to us by our Savior." he asked that we all remember the reason for Christmas, and shared his gratitude with all of us, that he is still here with us. last year he suffered a severe hear attack and was out most of the last semester of school. he was so thankful to God to be able to be living and working with the students once more. this is his last year, he will retire after this year is over.

but i wanted to tell you this because after his words, he asked us to sing all together "Silent Night" while holding a neighbor's hand.

this struck a cord with me, because it seems more this year than ever before, people are upset that "Christ" is being taken out of Christmas. i feel that that isn't so. not as much as you may think. we still need a God, a Savior and we still need to feel and share that knowledge and love with each other.

so, as i stood there in the elementary school's over crowded gym singing Silent Night acapella style with a bunch of strangers, my heart swelled at the proper recognition in such a public place, of our Heavenly Father and of our Savior, Lord of Lords. of His mercy and love for each and every one of us. it was neat. as i was leaving, the angel lady told me she had been in my shoes a long time ago and remembered how she had once been helped, like she had helped me. the Christmas Spirit is out there, in abundance. people masquerading as angels and spreading good cheer and kindness. simple kindness and simple words of proper recognition were all that was needed to find the TRUE Christmas Spirit that was laying dormant inside of me, trying to come out. and i am grateful that i was witness to it's power and positive force for good this evening. thank Heaven for that special Silent Night, that miraculous Holy Night.

Monday, December 14, 2009

in the blink of my eye...

i must start off by saying..."this is the beginning of the end" and although i know this sounds melancholy and all, i can't help it. for all mothers in the world, you will be able understand where i am because either one of two things: you've been here in my shoes or you fear this day as i do. so without further delay, i will share my story.

this evening, the children and I gathered around the table for some fun family time. i had promised my darling three year old that we would write out letters to Santa, so after the weekend passed and no letters, she started angelically badgering me about writing them. OK, not angelically at all. so, i called the kids around the table to help us out with it. now i have two older boys who know about "Santa" and so therefore the eldest of the two blurted out in hastiness, "mom, aren't we a little too old for that stuff?" this was said not even two feet from their sister who hangs on their every word.

i glared at at him intently, fighting back every impulse not to bite his head off right then and there and ruining the whole darn thing for everybody. I'm talking the laser beam look. looks that could kill, because i didn't want my three year old to repeat this new attitude. miraculously i managed to say, "you are never too old for Santa." then i followed it up with the "wink." you know the one, moms. the one that is way over exaggerated for the other recipients benefit. yes, the one where we look like our whole face tics with the movement, as if nodding to heaven. anyways, thankfully she didn't really catch on to anything amiss. the boys had been taught to keep our dirty little secret and therefore when i heard the response was angered that he spoke that way in front of her.

i let it go. (i'm so good;)

later, after one bitten off green marker top, marker stains all over the table and the paper shreds in the garbage, yeah, I'm not sure how the shreds were even made. we finally posted the letters on the wall for Santa to see. our task complete to every one's satisfaction, i read them all one at a time, savoring the memory of this years wish lists. as my eyes approached my oldest son's letter, i beheld a plain hasty written note. just barely a sentence of what he wanted for Christmas. my heart dropped. I'll tell you why.

my sadness overcame me not because he didn't believe in Santa anymore, i knew he didn't. i was the one who told him about that dirty little secret. it was because i think really for the first time it hit me. there is no going back with kids. he's done with that stage of his life. the magic, mystery and wonder of it all...it's gone, in the blink of my eye! as i stared at his practically bare and unadorned letter to "Santa", i realized i can never go back with him to that place, to those moments. all that are left are memories of past magical Christmas', and there have been many wonderful magical memories, but it isn't the same and it doesn't feel the same. my boys are growing up so quickly before my eyes, and i can't slow it down or go back or even stop it. it is happening every day, whether i notice everyday or not.

i had passed by the living room a while later and peeked in on the boys watching a Christmas movie. the lights where glowing and the tree stood peacefully basking in that light. the room softly filled with reminders of old times and traditions mixed with new ones. i stopped and gazed at them secretly hoarding the new memory. keeping it locked deep inside, so that one day, all too soon, i can pull it out and be grateful for that memory and maybe laugh to myself and thinking "back then, i had thought they were so old." because as i have just learned they will be gone too soon. and i won't be able to come back "here" with them.

in the blink of my eye....a very wet and tear-filled eye.

Merry Christmas to all our friends and family, enjoy it while they are young.
youth really is priceless.

Friday, December 11, 2009

"Just Life"

OK, so i was literally on the couch this entire week. sick. i had some multiple germy guests outstaying their welcome. so with four kids, a husband with two jobs, and me with a part time babysitting job, we don't have time for me to get sick. this week life really reared it's ugly side. let me share with you some examples:

me sick for the length of the whole working week.(sinusitis, walking pneumonia)
the second car stopped working, mysteriously!
missed work days, (willie and i) right at Christmas time.
couldn't get in to see the doctor till Friday
more missed work
kids late for school
broken glasses by collier
late to work, leaving early from work
pain, dirty house. beyond dirty
never seeing my husband other than a whirlwind figure that swept in and out of the house.
burnt dinners
babies in two-day old pj's and no baths
my daughter telling me "mommy, you stink. you need a sower!"

a down right miserably hard week of "just life"

i really had to stop my self pity party and think "what do i learn from this? i know God intends me to learn from my experiences, so think, val. think."
i prayed. and prayed because life had gotten really hard really fast.

the up side to life suddenly appeared as i had my thoughts turn heavenward. here are some examples:

my friend was able to pick up my boys from school, twice.
my husband broke his back to keep the family running as i would have. he tried:)
he kept his cool almost the whole week.
my friend called to check on me and delivered a homemade pot of soup!! a must have recipe!
the truck miraculously started after a week of not working. (willie prayed)
i eventually started feeling a bit better.
willie and i found time to talk out our troubles and got to whine together.
we felt that God was with us again. (not that he ever left us, usually works the other way)
we became stronger as a unit
the boys learned to help cook and other things that mommy does without notice:)
we understood each others important rolls in the family and now it will be a very long time before either of us forgets that!!
and i learned that as busy as i can get and all the things that i can do, there are always others waiting to help, should i not be able to.

so, yes a bad week in a certain perspective but a whole lot of gifts given because of "just life" getting in my way.

imagine that!!!

thank you to my superhero in disguise, my love of my life and husband, willie.
thank you jenny for all your help this week. i owe ya big time:)
thank you boys for being ready and willing to lend a hand when needed. you both are so awesome. santa was definitely watching:)

thank you Jesus for the merciful arm that was wraped around me and my family during this past week, we couldn't have done it without you. that i know without a doubt!!!

thank you God...lesson learned!!!