Friday, May 30, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
"We're going to be making a change. We will no longer be "On the Path to Hell"."
Friday, May 23, 2008
So what was my major faux pas? To start with, on the evening that Keith Sr. informed me at 11 PM that we were departing for a six day trip in just a few days I went into mama-bear-panic-mode. What would I do with my offspring? Who would care for them and make sure they didn't perish? How would they eat, get clean clothes, remember....everything, or get where they needed to be? I expressed this to my perplexed husband who couldn't understand why my face was masked in distress rather than bathed in glee. I explained that I loved spending time alone with him and would enjoy being together, but my instincts were to protect those children, to keep them under my wing or within sight and I needed to know they would be well kept and guarded in our absense. He promptly picked up the phone, dialed, and secured the weekday services of his parents to oversee the home. Chet, he said, could run things over the weekend and Papa and Grandma would take care of things while Chet was at work (the two girls were not available as their schedules were booked solid with school and papers and finals).
I know, I should have been content. But I wasn't. I smiled weakly, for the sake of my so-pleased-with-his-solution husband, and went to bed with my head spinning. Chet has really escalated in the responsibility department, but he's not quite back to being a full time member of the household--and definitely not accustomed to watching the young ones with hawklike precision. As far as my in-laws, I have great confidence in their abilities. They raised six children of their own and did a wonderful job of it. And if anyone has eyes in the back of her head to keep up with the kids it's Grandma! However, they DID just celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary and the math puts them a little beyond the "running after toddlers" stage. I was concerned that Gabe and Lisa might just put them over the edge.
Then it hit me, that wonderful terrible idea of mine--"Coley loves to keep Gabe, Keith loves Fatty Bones (his own pet name for Lisa) and neither of them are working right now. Maybe they would enjoy having them for the week!" When a little devil speaks into one ear a little angel is supposed to counter-whisper in the other. My angel must have been off duty.
There were other aspects to the plan that seemed picture perfect. I was already committed to driving a truckload of furniture up to their new apartment on Friday (yes, they were just moving into their new place on Friday). I could just leave the kids then and we'd take off early Saturday (5 AM). Our return the next Thursday (11:30 PM) timed perfectly with their plan to come home Friday for Ellen's Saturday graduation. It was as easy as making a reservation on the Titanic.
So, I asked and they said yes. Go ahead and say it, "What were you thinking!?" The truth is, I just wasn't. My sole purpose was to protect those little cubs and I knew just who was best cut out to do that--no matter that they'd only been married for thirteen days!!
The cubs came back in one piece, very well cared for, watched over, fed, watered, groomed, and oblivious to the havoc they certainly caused in the life of this newlywed couple. I could not be happier about the wonderful care and dedication that my babies received.
As for my role as mother-in-law and mother-of-adult-child, ohhhhhh am I in the doghouse. I will not live this one down.....ever! It will require of years of payback.
All that said, through it all Keith Jr. provided me with the quote of the century. While talking to me on the phone about Gabe's runny nose, Lisa's endless questions, baby fingerprints on the windows, Gabe's refusal to nap, the cramped apartment, Gabe escaping up the stairs, Lisa's boredom, bodily fluids on the new couch, Gabe's never ending explorer instinct, the unseasonably cold weather, Nicole coming down with the flu, Gabe getting into the curtains, Lisa's continuing chatter, and the twenty-four hour a day commitment he said,
When you think of all the new parents who ask themselves, "What have we gotten ourselves into?" I do get a little satisfaction knowing that Keith and Nicole will not be so blind.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
And so are the people who are working overtime at home to make this happen. When I get home I'll tell you about them and the unthinkable thing I actually had the gall to ask of some of them.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
When Chet was about 18 months old we were in our church basement for a fellowship dinner. As toddlers are prone to do and talkative mothers are prone not to notice, Chet wandered away from me. I went looking for him, and found him walking out of the men's restroom......
.....the urinal deodorizer!!
I still start to gag and want to go wash his mouth out just thinking about it!
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Father and brother give the bride away.
After five years.....
The bridal party
Keith doing his Robert impression. It looks better on Robert!
The Bridal Party outside--notice the effects of the buds just coming out on the trees, and how great the lighting looks on a cloudy day!
Keith, Chet, and Matt really got into this pose
Here's what happens when you pick four athletes for bridesmaids
A show of support from the MTU Husky Football Team
Keith's "Georgia mom", Julie, and "Georgia cake decorating friend", Rebecca, came up for the wedding. Rebecca baked and decorated Thursday and Friday while Julie became my invaluable child assistant. We couldn't imagine this day without them!!
Bride and Groom's First Dance
A Daddy's last dance with his little girl
Groom and mother dance--before the tears
The updated Keith White, Sr. Family
Friday, May 9, 2008
As we headed for the reception Saturday, Lisa asked, "Where's Gilbert?" No Lisa, it's "Robert". "Oh yeah, Robert." Then as we were leaving she said, "Hey, there's Rupert's mom!" No Lisa, it's "Robert". Then yesterday, "Mama, I know it's not Gilbert, what's his name?" "Robert", Lisa, it's "Robert".
I'm imagining the conversation at his house. "Mom, is her name Marissa?" No Robert, it's "Lisa".
Those old 60s names are new and unusual to the crayon crowd.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Lela, Ellen, Whitney, Amanda, Lisa, and Nicole
Gabe, the miniature groom
Kip, Joey, Matt, and Chet
Monday, May 5, 2008
I vividly remember the days before I had children old enough to baby sit when I needed a break. Joey was just 12 years old when my eighth child was born and, although he was old enough to stay home alone for a short time, he certainly wasn’t ready to oversee seven younger siblings. So, it wasn’t until about four years later that I was really confident in leaving everyone at home for any length of time. That meant 16 years of carting a load of little ones to the grocery store, or the department store, the DMV, the doctor’s office, the dentist office, and anywhere else I had to be.
People would ask me, “When do you find time for yourself?” Really, I didn’t have time to think about that, there just wasn’t much extra time. But, after the 50th time of hearing that same question I got to thinking seriously about the need for some “me time”. Wanting to live my life according to God’s plan laid out in His Word, I went to the Scriptures for guidance on how I should seek to insert that “me time” into my life. As it turned out, I couldn’t find one reference to making time for me. I found “redeeming the time” which meant not to waste the time I have, but I couldn’t connect it with caring for "me" needs. God’s instructions were clear on loving others as myself, giving more than what is asked, and doing it humbly and without need for recognition. The only thing He told me about my needs was that He would see to them. He would be my sufficiency. I believed it, trusted it, and poured myself into being the wife and mom I needed to be.
I’m sorry to say that I did not always do it joyfully. I found ample opportunity to waste some of my time just sitting on my pity pot. But, Satan didn’t succeed in tempting me to believe the lie that “I need to find some time to take care of myself”. Besides eating well, getting enough rest, and staying active (which was just a part of caring for the home and family!) my only other ‘need’ was to make the time to worship God, read His word, and pray.
Over the past 24 years God has indeed blessed me by caring for my needs. He gave me a husband who has never ceased to adore me. And Keith saw to it that we got time away to ourselves. He gave me a church family and relatives who pitched in when they could see I needed a boost. But maybe the best thing of all is that He blessed me through the children I was pouring myself into. The love and time I have given to them is coming back to me ten fold. Some of those things show up in the lines of this blog, but recently several moments have piled up together that reminded me of how blessed I am.
First, Troy (15) was talking to me about some of his future (next year) plans that he was discussing with a cousin and he said, “I know you’ve changed some of the rules for us younger kids, and the older ones got to do some things that we can’t do, and people think I should be mad about it. But I’m not. I think it’s good. I figure if you’ve gone through it with the older guys and see some things that you think would be better for me then I’m glad you want things to be different.”
Then, on Saturday my second son was married to his high school sweetheart. There are two things that will pull your child away from you quicker than anything. One is a driver’s license and the other is a girlfriend. When Keith’s heart was knit to Nicole’s all of his dreams and hopes and thoughts and mundane news was communicated with her. I didn’t feel so needed or even so much in touch with him anymore. And while the late teen and early twenty years are a time of independence and separation from the family as a young adult sorts out their convictions and place in life anyway, that separation is even greater when there is a girlfriend in the picture.
Keith, Jr. had told me I would be surprised to hear the mother/son song that we would dance to. He said it wasn’t what he had invisioned picking but when he heard it he “just had to have it.” I knew it had words that were very special and meaningful to him. I didn’t know what the song was until we were on the dance floor. A familiar tune began to play. But, I couldn’t recall the message of the song. I heard words about “a man all alone”, “barely surviving”, “not really sure…” and, along with Billy Dean, my son was singing them to me. Then came the chorus,
If there hadn't been you here for me
I made it through times
I never would've made it through
If there hadn't been you on my side
You In my life
All my dreams would still be dreams
If there hadn't been you”
I cried, and he cried, and if I even think of that song I cry again.
My cup was running over. We were at home after the wedding when my oldest son, Joey, and his wife, Jamie gave me a Mother’s Day card. The card was about two feet tall and on the blank page next to the printed sentiments Joey had written his own sentiments. He filled up the entire page. He thanked me for all of the things that had been important to him, some very little things, and some things that I didn’t know he even recognized. But what really touched me was this: thank you “for letting me go when you knew it’s what I needed, and for taking me back when you knew that’s what I needed.”
I did not think I could feel any more loved. But, Sunday after our morning church service we had a church fellowship meal with the wedding leftovers. Normally, the adults congregate and the children all join their friends. I was sitting at a table, Gabe in a high chair next to me and Shane (13) sat across from me. Keith came up with his plate and asked Shane what he was doing. He just grinned and said, “I wanna sit with my Mom!”
I didn't spend all of the hours and years with my children so that I could be "paid back". That's just the way God works. We follow His commands out of a heart full of love for Him and for what He's done in forgiving our sins through the sacrifice of His son. Pleasing Him is our goal, but as always He goes above and beyond and pours blessings out for that required obedience. His mercies are beyond measure! Mothers, love your children.