I have absolutely no idea the part that John Wayne and his potluck dinner played in the deal

I had one of those dreams Friday night where it ended with locking a kid in a room for the rest of his life and everyone screaming I hate you.  And in the room there were endless amounts of glass doors and windows where he and I could still see out into the world and question my ability to keep him in.   And husband exited one door and I another on the opposite side as big symbolism for the different sides of the situation that we were on in the first place.

And looks like it's just the natural order of things.  Things that cause a mom separation anxiety and fits of jealous rage in her dreams that make it hard to miss that the kids are growing up.  And show that maybe mom isn't ready.  I'm talking about me.  The mom who's spent the years of her kids' lives saying a small one sentence prayer for God to allow me to let go enough - today - the small amount that he needs me to let go and let him guide them into their own.  But dreams, once again, mirrors of the soul, this one a very clean sparkly mirror to show all my fears and insecurities, told me that I hate letting them go.

And words said in the dream hit me hard and made my worries seem bigger than they did yesterday.  Though they already seemed plenty big yesterday.    And though the dream didn't really show a movie of our reality, it got pretty close to resembling it.  This particular dream started out in the front yard with a water hose and lots of togetherness, and a John Wayne sighting next door.  And I asked husband if John Wayne was still alive, ... and apparently he was Friday night, along with his entourage, to gather at the house next door for a potluck.  

And then all Walters hell broke loose and we fell apart.  Which right there, must be the title of this post.  We fell apart.  And I don't want to.  Read that line again,  but put some moaning and tears into it and you might have a true picture of Kristi's state of mind and heart the morning after the dream.  And to soothe myself and calm the nerves, I immediately ate about a million chocolate chips trying to drown my sorrows. With no milk.  Which we were completely out of and I told the kids they had to have either water or wine for breakfast.  Not really -  for my readers questioning my parenting right now.

And the kid in the dream was one I had never actually seen before, but he represented one of mine.  Along with being the poster child for all that is wrong with kids in the world today.... number one, he didn't give a hoot about seeing John Wayne.  And number two, he didn't give a darn about things that matter to his mom.  So in the dream he acted ugly and I sent him to the house of endless exit doors and windows where we had words that escalated into personal reflections of my own insecurity.  Like yesterday when I questioned if my hair is a blonde enough shade of blonde.... Is it Dallas blonde or just regular blonde?  Because in the dream kid told me that I was pretty much a frumpy mom of unacceptable proportion.  And that was below the belt of beauty insults and made my green eyes grow neon with anger and jealousy of blonder and cooler moms.  

So then in the dream I scream my brains out for his daddy to put down the water hose and get in here and fix everything.  But he didn't  - and in fact decided that maybe I was crazy and being a little hard on the kid I've never seen before in real life.  So in the end, husband went out one door, I went out another and we left kid in between hating me and the boxes that I've tried to put around him.

And there were words said that made me get all tangled and sweaty in my sheets.  And I woke with back pain and tension.  And as much as I hated to... I could re-trace the steps of days building up to a fitful night's sleep, and see an exact mirror of events that led to the dream.

Events that include a dad that has worked more hours and shifts than he has in years;  level 1 of my separation anxiety.  Events that include a tired mom that finally hit the wall of exhaustion the night before and was in bed at 8:00 with a book and hope for finally a good night's sleep.  Events that have recently made me doubt myself, and my place, and my importance, and even made my insecurities shine like the clear glass that the dream like prison room for my kid was made of.  

And finally, events that pulled at my heart when a particular kid wanted to do something separate from the family when family time has been at an ultra premium lately.  So all combined, I went to sleep tired.  And woke up realizing that not only am I high strung and a worrier over what should be the natural progression of family relationships, but that I'm obviously not ready for any of it.  And far weaker in spirit and strength than I had hoped.

And as I said before, I've spent years asking God to allow me to let go of these boys little by little as he is ready to introduce my little ones to the world. But my tiredness and busyness and laziness of late have also poured into my prayers.  And it seems I've forgotten to pray for my boys as much.  And I've forgotten to pray for our family as much.  And I've forgotten to trust that our days are already designed perfectly for these boys to grown into their own.

So here's the actual details that inspired the dream...
1.  I have absolutely no idea the part that John Wayne and his potluck dinner played in the deal.
2.  Yes, husband has worked more than ever.  And we obviously need it or he wouldn't do it.  Just gotta do what we gotta do.   
3.  The kid that inspired the events was kid 2 who just wanted to go to his friend's house and watch a Batman movie instead of going to the high school football game with us.
4. And yes, husband did support kid 2 in his wish to do something independent from the family.  And he gave me his best soothing voice and told me how good it is for kid 2 to be branching out like this with friends that we know are safe and good and all that we ever hoped his friends would be. 
5.  And yes, I am unhappy with my hair color.  As I had the gal put lowlights in the color and now I feel drab and dull.  And I much prefer flashy and fabulous.  Like movie star hair. 

So all that put together has put me in a pickle.  Up a tree.  In a predicament of sorts.  A confused state of mind where I'm wishing all our time together hadn't just swooped by so fast.  And wishing that Batman wasn't as much fun as family.  And wishing for a room that I could just shut out the world and the passing time and sit on the couch a little longer in our pajamas.  

But I finish this tonight with kid 1 at a sleepover.  And kid 3 already had a football game, a scout meeting and a friend's birthday party.  Kid 2?  He went back for a little while to the Batman house to party on with the same buddies that got my blood pressure all up in the first place.  

And as I sit here and relay my crazy dreams and deepest feeling to nameless, faceless people out there to read, I'm not sure how I feel.  I feel thankful to have 2 of my little ones here with me and the dog.  I feel like I need to get my hair highlighted asap. And I feel like I'll eventually figure everything out.  And in doing so I'm hoping I never actually lock any child of mine in a room for the rest of his life.  And I'm hoping the words I hate you never cross the lips of anyone named Walters.  And, I'm hoping to get back to praying better and more meaningful prayers that can give me a little more direction than my dreams. 

post script..... Sunday morning... let's see.... I have one kid actually in his room and instructed not to come out.  Maybe never.  And one kid crying over his punishment day of laundry and dusting the house.  And the iPod, XBOX and the like are invisible for atleast today for these raucous 2.   Because - and it was no dream, trust me - all Walters hell did break loose around here this morning.  And there were carpet burns on a face and words that went straight to the heart and to the fists of another.  Which, when I think about it, makes my dream of John Wayne seem pretty tame.  

Where's the still, Otis?

A follow up is always in order for some stories.  ... remember last week when kid 2 and I had a parental exchange about his negativity when he said the garage door was gonna fall on him and smash him flat?  Turns out the kid is indeed still negative, but he's apparently also a soothsayer.... a fortune teller, a predictor of all things future - like falling garage doors.  Because as he loaded his french horn into the back of the car Monday morning, 4 days after his chilling prediction... the door actually did come loose from the motor thing and crashed to the ground right behind the very spot where he and the french horn stood.  And had I not already been in the drivers seat yelling at them that they were gonna miss the bus, I would've totally thrown my body between him and the falling door.  

But all is well.  And from now on I will listen closer to kid 2's death predictions.  But husband thinks this is just another plan to get a new garage door. Because ours is super ugly.  The ugliest one on the block.  Or maybe the entire neighborhood.  Possibly even the whole city.  And he knows that I can be borderline obsessive compulsive when I get my mind on something..... like wanting a new garage door.  And he suspects that I'm capable of stooping to all sorts of lows to get one.  Like that time about 11 years ago when we had a terribly unfortunate peach toilet in one bathroom and a tornado sky gray one in the other.  And both were old and they smelled.   A smell building since 1956 when they were first installed in our home.  And which,  my pregnant, about to give birth at any minute body couldn't stand.  So the gods of new and improved toilets saw to it that the peach one sprung a giant unrepairable leak and had to be replaced on a Sunday afternoon interrupting football ..... followed soon thereafter by a surprise crack in the water tank of the gray one.  Which I had absolutely nothing at all to do with other than wishing for a crack in the tank so we could get a new one.  And husband still thinks, and mutters under his breath when angry about assorted things, that I hatched some sort of diabolical toilet plan in that deal.   

That being said, he suspects foul play in the ugly falling garage door situation.  But I'm just gonna wait this one out and let time take its toll.  New door here we come... 

And one last thing, ... I tried making crock pot plum butter.  Turns out 3 and 1/2 pounds of plums will yield a whole lot of mess and very little jelly.  And someone out there who shared this recipe on the internet was playing a big joke on us wanna be jelly makers. With all equipment either invested in or borrowed, I spent about 20 hours with the smell of fermenting plums in our house to end up with 1 and a half jars of dark purple bitterness.  Like sour mash.  

Remember the episode of The Andy Griffith Show where Andy and Barney try to get Otis to tell them where he gets his moonshine?  Where's the still, Otis?  They never could find it.... because it was probably in a housewife's kitchen simmering in the crock pot like mine.   

And sometimes we just need a little luck to encourage us to keep looking

Monday.  It was one of those days where I explained to husband in complete detail the after school plan of attack...for me to go ahead and move forward to the barber with kid 3 followed by getting on the waiting list at the flu shot clinic across the street.  Husband was to wait for kids 2 and 3 to get home from school, meet me at flu shots and then move those two along for their turn at the barber.  (Which brings to mind a follow up to an earlier story where I made the young Supercuts girl cry and hide in the back of the shop till I left.  Because I didn't like the way she cut kid 2's hair and I threw a crazy mom fit which turned out to be completely unnecessary because kid 2 loved his hair and is now ashamed to go with me anywhere.) 

All because kid 3 had total hair meltdown that morning getting ready for school.  He doesn't want  a cowlick but God gave him one anyway.  And he also didn't sleep the night before -  though he tried first in his bed then mine, till midnight - when I finally gave up on the idea of sleep with that situation and moved him back to his own bed.  So no rest + cowlick makes for a before school tantrum which I was so completely glad that his daddy arrived home from the station to see.  To see the laying on the bathroom floor in supreme anguish and pain from time wasted, bad hair and too much spray gel.  So I had to go to work and left with strict instructions to put the kid back to bed, do not dare take him into that school in that condition to sully my good name, and call me if you need backup. 

So he slept it off about an hour, went on to school forgetting the drama ever happened, but leaving the parents a year older in spirit.  But he went to school with the promise that we would head straight to the barber after school for future tantrum prevention.  

And while we were there I apologized to the young lady that I had made cry, and she acted all embarrassed, so I apologized bigger and more sincerely.  Which may have been awkward because when she left after her work was done, she still wouldn't make eye contact.  And really I just should've apologized weeks ago.  But at least I can go back there with the kids without worry or shame.  And I feel generally better about it all around.  

And we proceeded to the flu shot at the urgent care place where I waited and tried to call husband for exactly one hour straight and at least 100 redials.  Finally texting my friend who volunteered to drive to my house to see if anyone was alive. 

And they were.  Dad, kids 1 and 2....With no idea that they were to meet me when or where or anywhere.... because husband had taken a nap and turned off all phone ringers.  And never remembered our conversation, our arrangement and maybe not even my name.  So when friend told him that I was with kid 3 at the urgent care clinic, he was clueless about why.  And probably shook his head in sleepy confusion and asked if there had been an accident.  And when he showed up, the entire staff of the clinic knew all about it and had witnessed every single phone call.  And I was mad and took kid 3 home for dinner and left the other men to finish all outstanding business. 

Tuesday.  Football practice intercepted dinner plans and kids 2 and 3 with their hundreds of pounds of homework stayed home and made a sandwich.  Or pop-tarts.  I'll probably never know.  Kid 3 went to practice and on the way home stopped by 7 eleven for a Slurpee and chicken salad from their refrigerator section.  Because it was just that kind of day.  

Wednesday...I've had a total mind sweep of this day. 

Thursday.  I had before school words with kid 2 about constant negativity after he predicted the garage door would probably fall on him and smush him to death.  So we parted on not so happy terms and then I felt bad because what if the school bus got into a fiery collision and I had to play my last words over and over forever in my mind till I went crazy with regret.  So I texted him an I love you on his iPod and he replied.... bye.  That's all I got.  Which made me really hope the bus didn't have a fiery collision.  

Friday.  I had a class cancelled and used my time wisely to make the best thrift store purchase in the history of all thrift store purchases.   Here she is.... all cleaned up and cozy for my boys to sit and read in.  Or build a model of the Alamo out of books  - which is what that is right in the middle of the floor.  A very large, very accurate model of the Alamo.  

The chair had good bones, but the slipcover was disgusting.  But I looked it over and saw it was originally from Crate and Barrel which would have cost me an arm and a leg had I bought it there.  And it just needed some love.  Like the little Christmas tree on Charlie Brown.  And a good cleaning.  So armed with my $3 bottle of Oxi Clean and about 4 washes on the heavy duty wash cycle, I ended up with something lovely.  And my thrift store price for the chair and ottoman?  $45 well spent dollars.  Sometimes we just get lucky.  

Today.  Saturday.  Front yard football turned into a full on brawl.  And there were names called and tears shed.  And a sprained finger.  And brothers mad at brothers.  And a mom sitting in a chair on the sidewalk taking pictures of only the good parts.  Because that's what I'm trying my best to see even in the midst of the storm.  The storm of doubt and ugly and frustration of being a family.  

And sometimes we just really need a little luck to encourage us to keep looking.  

And a little forgiveness.  

And a little time to rest and regroup.  

And people who can look past our dirty and ugly  - and find what might be good underneath it all.   

Don't steal. Don't do drugs. And DO NOT pick up loose women.

“You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they're dark.  

A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?”
Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You'll Go! 

Oh the lessons we learned this weekend...  I can't even count.   

We discussed the Bible, specifically, how Adam and Eve already knew how to talk if they were the first people created.  And how often times Bible stories are representative of bigger ideas and concepts.  Very technical Bible theory, to be exact.  Kristi version.   

We had a surprise talk about our new neighbors' different family structure and how it fits into the world as we have known it up till now.  The new neighbors, who, by the way, for the last several months have apparently thought our names are Bill and Cindy.  Whatever.  

We did a few chores and avoided even more.  We put ice on our ankles and feet for the pains and injuries of the day.  One kid played imaginary football hero in the front yard, and one kid went AWOL for about an hour till he was discovered eating a Schlotzsky's sandwich at a friend's house down the way.  We were glad to find out he was well fed and not kidnapped.  So then I could feel good about going grocery shopping. 

We had surprise skate board practice after the pants were already off for the night.  Because if we could live in our underwear and/or pajamas, I promise every Walters would.  

And I tried on and modeled some new outfits for my lovely, yet outspoken teen and tween boys... who told me they make me look like the mom from the 1980's themed TV show, The Goldbergs.  

And husband is AGAIN working another 48 hour fire station shift.  No, make that 60 this go round, while our air conditioner sounds like it could explode any second. So if you drive by my house and hear sounds of rockets firing from the backyard... we hope to get that fixed asap.  But you probably shouldn't stand too close. 

And we ventured out on our own for the first time in a new way.... and confused the daylights out of a few parents in the process.    All wrapped around a movie, and a first trip alone to the mall.  I was the deliverer.  Another parent the receiver at the end.  But there were kids left to wander retail all alone for the first time, one kid mine, two close enough.  And I gave them the Mrs. Walters special talk..... that when they are my kid or are with one of my kids, they will be treated as a representative of this family.  Of me.  And I had better hear either good things or nothing at all coming from this experience.  Don't make me come out in my pajamas to meet mall security, because I will...  

So I left three sweet boys with this.... Don't steal.  Don't do drugs.  And please please please... DO NOT pick up loose women.  Now go and have fun.  

And finally, we discussed the qualities of a good friend and a not so good friend -  and were subsequently tested with questions to make sure we know which one we are.  There was totally a reason for that one.  

So looking back from the Sunday night view, I think the biggest part of our weekend energy was spent in plenty of talks about friends and other lovers that have input into our actions, choices, thoughts, feelings and ultimately - in the big picture - our lives. 

And trying to explain to an almost 13 year old about the ins and outs of letting people - purposely or not - pressure him into doing or thinking something in particular...when it's going against his gut instinct?  Well, that's hard for a girl who, at the age of old enough to know better, still has a tendency to give the same power to others.  Because in the process of deciding how I'm supposed to feel, I find my mind quick to race away with emotion and confusion, and end up falling, right out of the gate. 

And I think that a lesson I need to learn first... and live by it so all my little ones' eyes can see... is that God's blessings and outpourings of gifts and love, even the gifts of others in our lives,...especially the gifts of others in our lives... do not come with built in trouble.  

The trouble that shows itself in the form of questioning and stress and worry?  That's what we add in all by ourselves. 

Remember in the old Bible movies where Moses comes down from the mountain to find the Israelites dancing and writhing half naked? ... that's what this is like

(Preface to the story....I wrote this last night on a tired and weary Sunday evening with an undertone of tears.  I think mostly from breathing too many paint fumes at a cub scout meeting.... and no they do not condone paint fume breathing in scouts.  We were crafting and creating and all that goes into being a handy cub scout.  So we came out with a water bottle rocket spray painted in the theme of The Dallas Cowboys which is a nod to daddy and his every year football obsession.  So on the topic of paint fumes and the breathing of... don't do it people.  DO NOT DO DRUGS, even as second hand while sitting in the mom section, gossiping, along with other parents at a scout meeting.  Paint fumes make you sad and want to cry.   Next time I'm sending a brother or a dad in my place for the craft portion of meetings.) 

And as a follow up to a previous story... my older adult gym member meltdown?  I saw her today and she's good.  And I could even see the light in her eyes return full of hope and a peace, that though all is not perfect, okay is good enough for now.  Super hugs to her.  And again, I could cry.  

And we have no underwear.  Underwear thieves have been here, and taken all but the outgrown, too small to be comfortable at school ones.  There is definitely more to that story, but it may seem a little off color to discuss men's underwear to points of extreme on the blog.  I just need to go shopping.

So here it is... the original Sunday evening post....... 

Yesterday I sat out at the school swim party/very important fund raiser in the pouring rain holding an umbrella.  Waiting for the lifeguards to finally hear the thunder and call it a day.  And while the boys swam, I ran over to the Red Box movie rental/Walters family entertainment resource for all occasions... and got... nothing.  Because our choices were The Lego Movie, again.  The Muppet Movie, again... or Rosemary's Baby.  And kid 3 has made it half a week with no nightmares so nothing scary ever, ever again.  

Kid 1 has to have his wisdom teeth out in the next 6 months and kid 2 isn't far behind.  Kid 3 has some sort of spontaneous shoulder dislocation going on every now and then.  So for now we just keep telling him not to pull on his arm.  We could probably use some medical advice on that one.  

So husband is working another 48 hour shift.... been doing that a lot lately, and I'm tired.  And y'all he has to be, too.  Last week he worked a special event, assigned the task of saving young lives from themselves.  At a rave.  Which is apparently a dance where you can come nearly naked and do things your parents would be shocked at.  One of his texts to me said,.... Remember in the old Bible movies where Moses comes down from the mountain to find the Israelites dancing and writhing half naked?... that's what this is like.  

But we do what we need to do and look for joy in the doing it.  Laundry excluded.  

So I write this on a Sunday evening with a tired body and a brain full of paint fumes.... paint fume brain.... from 2 hours of making a water bottle rocket at cub scouts.   And with no outline or notes or planned out path, just hoping to find words of encouragement for the coming week.  Because right now I think I need it more than anyone. 

And y'all... I love, love, love this one.  I could hang it on my refrigerator and carry it in my purse and ... maybe I should just commit it to heart.  

 Jude 1:24-25

To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore!

May we find ourselves living fully in the gifts of our present.  May we look out on our tired and imperfect now... and see it as good. 

So thank you fireman Dave for scaring the bejeesus out of the 11 year old

Sometimes I write things on here just because I saw or heard it... like today I saw a pink dog.   And I like that I can say whatever the heck I want to on here because it's mine.  See how I added the heck part?  Because it's flavorful and I want to.  

I was recently invited to write for our church's blog as a bi-weekly contributor.  And at first I was hesitant.  I still kinda' am, wondering if I'll be a good fit.  Wondering if I'll have readers and Facebook likers and in general, wondering what I've gotten myself into.  But I said yes to trying, anyway.  But after the first published post, quick as a flash,  I went to read what was actually published to make sure they didn't  take all the Kristi out of it.  Like breaking news of a pink dog.  Or words like heck or sometimes #$&% which stands for words I may hear presently in my mind but would never dare to utter out loud.  Because I am a southern lady even though I failed in the back to school cookies on the porch challenge. 

I always liked the way my grandmother used the word outfit to fill in the blanks for anything she couldn't remember the real word for.  Like if she didn't remember your name, she'd say... Oh my, did you see Ms Outfit out there in the yard today in her nightgown?  Or if she needed potatoes at the store but couldn't come up with the word, she get all flustered with some hand motions and say something like,... YOU KNOW... well, outfit.  Better than saying damn, and serves in kind of the same spirit.  It's really all purpose.  

And I find that I remember the oddest things now... sometimes I dream about it, sometimes I get a little memory drive by that came from nowhere.  Like Ms. Outfit..... I can't quite put my finger on the who, what, and where... but the memories are flooding in at a rapid pace.  

So on that note, I was giving some thought to the seasons of life.  And of course our new post Labor Day season with the 100 degree day here in early September that made my sweaty work clothes stink in the car.  But the calendar makes it official and I can now begin to sweat in my fashionable boots, decorate the porch with a pumpkin, and call it Fall.  

Last week at work I witnessed the emotional meltdown of one of our older adult gym members and it was hard to watch.  And it was hard to know how to handle the moment.  And hard not to be thankful that I'm not in that particular season of life.  And then a young mom accidentally locked her purse, keys and baby inside her hot car and some quick thinking was in order.  And I again thought how thankful I am to not be in that particular season of infant and toddler parenting anymore.  

Around here, kid 3 has been having nightmares about the same time each night for several weeks now.  And I can't decide if it's a growth phase that will work itself out, or if it's because his daddy showed him a scary movie where a crazy murderous maniac broke into a family's home - a fireman family's home, wouldn't you know,... see the similarities?  And then they all had to fight to stay alive.  So thank you fireman Dave for scaring the bejeesus out of the 11 year old.  And I now officially nominate you as his counselor and sleeping buddy till all this passes.  

But things change at such a rapid pace.  And sometimes in a split second... and THAT scares the words right out of me.  Sometimes without me even noticing, I  look up and I'm in an all new spot.  So I write to make sense of it all, and to make peace with so much that runs though my mind. And I document it all as it happens.   Like my pink dog sighting today.

Sometimes I think it makes a difference in our understanding - my understanding - when we can look back on our memories from this new view where we stand today.  And can piece together a little bit more of the big picture.  And I can only imagine the checklists and calendar conflicts and general chaos in God's loving and oh so patient mind -  as he navigates and moves and works within each of us in such strange and beautiful ways to work out something in the end, that has been in the works of his heart since the beginning. 

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