What I've learned about truth is this....

How many Sunday posts have I started with the words, We didn't make it to church this morning because.....  Well, add this one to the list.

I just saw kid 1 rolling our lawn mower down the street with the look of anywhere but home is a good place to be written all over his face.  Maybe he was taking it to a pawn shop to get money for ticket to Anywhere But Here, USA.  Or maybe he was just out looking for some work.  He and I had words this morning.  Then a mother - son stare off.  And he towered over me and tried to squinch up his eyes to look intimidating and I pretty much told him that if he does that again, he might die.   Thus the walk down the street with the lawnmower.  

And kid 2 took out the trash, fussing the whole way about mistreatment, unfairness and his rights as an American citizen....because it's not even his trash day.  And kid 3 rolled and squirmed all over my bed in a pile of laundry trying to get me to give up on his assignment of folding it.

So it all went to hell on a Sunday when we woke and tried to get everyone ready for church.  But they were all in a video game trance or a teenager sleep coma.  And there were attempts at wearing flip flops and stained shirts, and there were cold showers because we ran out of hot water, and there were no pop-tarts which sent everyone over the edge.   So father and sons had a heart to heart in the boys' messy bedroom and all ended up with Sunday morning chores to pay mom and dad back for the added years of stress to our lives.  So then we were so late to church that we opted out.  Walking in that late is just kind of a big sign on our family that says Look at us, we stink at Sundays. 

So that's that.  Here's what happened in the days before....

I couldn't get to work Friday morning because of this...

This is the White Rock Lake spillway which has made news headlines and attracted visitors by the ton.  It also brought traffic to a stop and those of us not sightseeing couldn't get where we needed to be.  So I sat there in the traffic and called the gym and said I would be late. But they told me to go home because the gym's power was out anyway.... So I went home and did a load of laundry till I heard the power was back on and made my way back up there for class #2.  And I walked in to my class and found my group all busy at work and happily aerobically dancing without me which made me feel like I was the target of a giant practical joke.  Like when you invite someone to a party and tell them it's a costume party but it's really not and they show up dressed as a giant rabbit.

Then when I left the gym, someone had parked so close to the driver door on my car that I couldn't get in so I had to climb in through the back seat and over the front to get in.  Which is, I think, a new yoga move that I just made up. 

Then I went home and got a phone call from both Kid 3's teacher and the assistant principal. Apparently my little darling and some friends have been playing the slapping game at school.  Much like a game of tag, but instead of chasing someone you just slap them on the back without the teacher knowing.  Sounds fun. 

And Mr. Principal started to lecture me about the shame in such behavior at school and then, my oh my, mentioned something about kid 3 possibly causing permanent damage to his friend that got the last slap.   And that is exactly the point in time when I spun around twice, slipped into my toughest skin and transformed into Super Mom to defend my child's honor.  

So we talked.  Then I sent this to kid 3's teacher via email to take care of that as well:  


Dear Ms.Teacher, 

I spoke with the Assistant Principal this afternoon. 

I had already warned (kid 3) about playing the slapping game at school.  But it has apparently been going on for quite some time and not a single teacher has stopped it yet.  So, as his consequence he will serve his detention Monday afternoon.   
However, he has no additional consequences at home, as he did not really hit anyone with an intent to harm.  And as I told Mr. Principal, boys show friendship and affection through physical play.  And I know this better than most, as I am raising three of the most physically playful ones on the planet. 

And what I told (kid 3) is this.... that he deserves his detention at school for not thinking through his decision to play the slap game in the first place.  But more importantly, I told him that I am ever so proud of him for what happened next.  That he went to his friend, checked on him, apologized, and made sure their friendship is as strong as ever.  I am proud that (kid 3) was caring enough to recognize that a friend was hurt and went to him out of caring and compassion to say he was sorry. 

THAT is a strong and beautiful quality that I am so proud as a mother to see shining in my son.  


Y'all.  Y'all.  OH MY GOSH was I mad. Mad that I got a phone call from a teacher saying my kid purposely hit another kid.  Mad that when I called the school and spoke with the principal, that he told me that the handprint may have caused permanent damage.  PERMANENT DAMAGE.  To which I told him that I hope when he actually has kids of his own one day that he will be able to tell the difference between play and violence.  Because if he has boys, he's gonna definitely need to brush up on those things.  

I did offer, as well, for him to come spend some time locked in a closed room with my 3 boys so he can get a crash course on  A) how to survive, and  B) lessons of love and life as told by young boys.  But he didn't take me up on the invitation.  

I live in a house strewn with underwear and mismatched socks.  A house where the choke hold and the body slam have been perfected.  A house where I have to move the couch back into place every day following wrestling matches and sofa gymnastics.  I live in a house full of boys that play and fight and love all the same way.  They touch and roll and yell and hit and throw and make messes that usually end up okay in the end.  And only in a handful of occasions has it escalated to actual anger and violence.  It's happened.  And it will surely happen again.  But that's also part of learning to work out their differences and practice how to forgive and forget. 

And of course I called the mom of the kid that got the red hand print slap and offered my sincere apologies for being the mom of such a bouncing ball of energy.  And then I called husband at work to tell him what I said to the teacher and the principal - and to warn him that I may end up on the news as a hostile parent.  But he told me he was glad I took the phone call instead of him, since I said the things he would only think of saying.  I am mother, hear me roar.

I said the things that needed to be said.  Not just a fly-by- the-seat- of- my-pants rant out of anger.  But with careful thought of things that needed to be addressed for quite some time.  I've had to do that on previous occasions as well.  

And all that being said, here are my thoughts on truth, for what it's worth. 

What I've learned about truth is this.  That all we have is the truth about where and how we fit into this giant world.  And the beautiful thing about truth is that once it's told, it can't be untold.  So it just bounces around till it lands in the right place to do some good.  And the rest is out of our hands.  

And for the truth teller, much needed space is cleared in the heart for better things to move in.  

So I told some truth where it needed to be told.... and then I had peaceful dreams.  

It's survey time!

It's survey time!  It's the first ever Angels, Pirates and Thieves blog reader survey.... because YOU are so very important here.  

And yes, I have prayed hard about this and think it's the next wise step to take this blog to it's best place ever.  

So why do I feel like that cartoon where the dastardly villain ties the helpless girl to the train track?  

Anyway, I am so blessed to have this site and to have you here keeping me company.  Thank you in advance for sharing your heart and ideas with me.  

Here's the survey link.  I'll keep it up and running for a while, but don't keep me tied to the train track  wait too long or you might miss it.  

First ever Angels, Pirates and Thieves Reader Survey 

Biggest thank you hugs to all of you....  


Then on Sunday my kids decided to act bad..... volume 4

I was trying to post this and right behind my head, ..... y'all.... RIGHT. BEHIND. MY. HEAD.  the power line transformer exploded in my backyard.... which was a sign that this post was not meant to be shared with the masses.  However... I'm gonna leave it here for those of you who drop by.  Because maybe you've had a week like mine.....
 So this is it for the week.....

Right now I'm on a serious mission to remove sugar from my diet -  once again -  because I let the devil take hold for a while.  That, and I got a look at an 80 year old former Playboy bunny who writes a fashion blog and looks more than amazing.... and knew it was time to kick things up a notch.  Going sugar free may totally make me the meanest woman on the planet... but with lean, sculpted arms.

Yesterday I ran into Fireman Dave and the entire engine crew at the grocery store.  Actually I was driving down the street and they turned in the parking lot right in front of me - so like most women who dream of one day meeting a handsome fireman in the produce section, I followed them.  Luckily I was cleaned and showered so I managed to catch one and claim him as my own.  

And I took pictures of the house exactly the way I found it when I came home from work one day earlier in the week.  And I'm bravely sharing ... because maybe your house looks like mine on an ordinary day.  Like a porthole to hell opened up and uninvited guests had a party in my den. It was just one of those boys at home a lot, friends over, sick dog, while mom and dad are at work kind of weeks that just rips my heart right from my body when I walk in and find what's waiting for me. 

Last Friday we had a plumbing disaster... sandwiched perfectly between way late in the afternoon and a ceremony honoring next year's incoming middle schoolers, kid 3 being on that list.  The dishwasher was running, the washing machine was running, and husband tried to use the garbage disposal which then flooded the laundry room floor.  And then he had a nervous breakdown and began hours of sweating.  

Then he spoke with his presumptuous man voice and asked me what I put down the drain.  So then I shot some eye daggers his way and asked him what he put down the drain.  

But being a hero, he ran to Home Depot, rented something, and went outside to the main thing.... the thing.... and sweatily worked on it to save us hundreds of dollars.  And he would every now and then yell at me to turn on the water.  And then make a throat slitting move -  signaling that he either wanted me to turn off the water, or kill me in my sleep.  But he fixed it, showered and got dressed in time to make it to the school ceremony in time to hear kid 3's name called.  All while continually wiping his sweaty head with a napkin.

Then we all went out to eat and everyone acted nice.  Except for the dog who stayed home and massively threw up on 2 different rugs.  Which had to be hauled outside to be washed and dried and they still haven't made it back on the floors yet.  

Then on Sunday my kids decided to act bad.  There's currently a horror movie deal in the works to recount those moments.  

Which brings me to Monday and to rug #3.  More dog throw up when I got home from work.  And I had to wait for help to arrive because it was the rug under my grandmother's antique table that weighs about 900 pounds...  I also slipped on the wet pool deck and bruised my knee in senior water aerobics.  Happy Monday.

And I now have 3 kids who have discovered minds of their own.  Kid 1 has decided that he doesn't have to tell me when he leaves the house, and when he went missing on Sunday afternoon, I found him at the elementary school on the swings drinking a Dr Pepper.  Which is one step away from a park bench and a bottle in a brown paper  bag.  

And I understand the need for alone time and for things that belong only to you.  And in a house this size, especially the mess it's been this week.... I may feel like sitting on a swing and drinking my cares away as well.  But I'm trying to get him to understand that he hasn't crossed the line to adulthood yet ... and with growing up comes increased responsibility.  And that includes respecting your parents enough to keep them informed.  Or in other words.... don't make mama get in the car and hunt you down.

Kid 2 has his moments of 13 year old sass that make him think he can challenge me in an eye rolling contest.   And kid 3 hates me because he wants to go on a trip to California - on a bus - alone - to some inner city church convention that he heard about on a flyer.  And the answer was a big no.  And maybe an Are you crazy or something? thrown in there with it.  

But I'm in it to the end, or the death.  Speaking of, here's a note I found in my bedroom this week.  I'm pretty sure it was slipped under the door during the Sunday melee when kids 2 and 3 barricaded themselves in there, hiding from kid 1.  (And the kid that wrote it totally can't spell and I'm wondering how he made it all the way through the 8th grade)

I have no words to top this. 

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He has made everything beautiful in it's time... maybe that's beginning to happen...

Do you ever catch your self scrubbing the bathroom sink every. single. day.  and look in the mirror and exclaim, Holy Cow... I've become my mother...

Which in some ways I totally have.  Which is good.  And in even more ways, I have completely NOT.  Which is even better.  But I think it only fair for me to look for ways I might be like her - so I can mimic the good and avoid the bad.  I'm sure my kids will one day do the same, maybe on the therapist's couch.... But really, because it's just me these days depending on memories to build a story of what was, I want to find some good things to hold onto. 

Turns out that I'm a maniac for a clean house.  Which is just like her.  And I can spend hours piddling around the house doing not much of anything other than this and that.  Sometimes my mom would move the heck out of the furniture.  Maybe just to clean really well.  But maybe because the couch might look better over on that far away wall over there.  I have no idea how she did it, but we could come home at any time and find something relocated, or her with a sand blasting machine and a safety mask blasting away at the brick wall of our den.    

This weekend I've heard and seen lots of Mothers Day sentiments around.  Some for moms still in our lives, some for moms we miss, but not a lot of thoughts for those of us that have moms that are still around - but not really.  

(And for the record, around here.... as of Wednesday my plan was to cancel Mothers Day altogether this year at our house.  Because I thought about pretending I don't have kids.  Just like sometimes they pretend they don't have a mom.  Only time will tell.)  

I've recently thought about writing a letter to my mom.  Thought about it.  Which is as close to doing it as I've ever been.  Because as many of you know, I've been estranged for several years from what family I have remaining.  It was a hard decision to make, but one I was forced to make for me and my kids. 

But time apart and away creates opportunity for many things to happen. Feelings of hurt can linger and grow, or they can fade into the distance of the years.  I'd like to think that many of mine are fading.  And I'd like to think that time has given me space to think and grow in maturity enough to objectively question, discuss and wonder about so many things that were, over the years, too much for me even to look at. 

And time has given me back some memories that up until recently were completely gone.  The kind of memories that I need a few of to know that my mom had some positive influence in my life.  Like her chocolate cake.  I would win the Lifetime Achievement Award of Chocolate Cake Greatness if I could ever make one as good as hers.  

I think I just needed some time to clear out some space for some good to find a home in my heart. 

Maybe that's starting to happen.  

And happiest of Mothers Days to you whether you are a mom or mom at heart.   You are amazing at what you do... 

post script.... I wrote parts of this post weeks ago, maybe it's even been a couple of months.  Since then I've had some reasons to postpone contact with my family.   

So... as the saying goes, One step forward, two steps back.  But being willing to take a step forward is a really good thing. 

As we near the week of Mothers Day 2015, here's where I stand on mothering

We made an emergency stop at the 7-11 on the way home from baseball yesterday with a screaming toddler 11 year old in the backseat.  Because I decided that he needed to eat to be normal again.  So kid 2 and I left the monster in the backseat and ran in to buy a sandwich.  And when we got back to the car I told kid 2 to make no eye contact, speak no words, and just hand the food to the backseat like he might feed a bear at the zoo.  Throw it a fish and back away slowly.  

Yesterday turned into a day full of screaming and countless choruses of I hate you from kid 3. Directed at me.  Until he exhausted himself and slept off the tantrum for a good couple of hours.  And it was all about friends and how unfair a mom I am, and whatever else mixed in as well.  But the fact is that it was ugly no matter the start and finish.

And when he woke up and I asked him if he had something he needed to say to me.  Of course it was the required I'm sorry of a kid who knows mom won't be quiet till he says it.  Not at all sincere, as is with most of us when we're put in the position of forced regret.  Or being caught at being less than the person we want people to think we are. 

But I tried to take that opportunity to tell him that his words were hurtful to me. And who knows if he cares.  Because being 11 is hard.  Obviously. 

And as we near the week of Mothers Day 2015, here's where I stand on mothering....

Kid 1 came home from school Friday afternoon and told me about a drug incident involving 8th graders at his school.  And I was glad he told me about it on his own.  And I thanked him for not letting me get a phone call from the school on this one.  And though I talked about it throughout the day with several moms, I never claimed that any of my darlings, though not involved this time, .... are incapable of being involved in this or anything....even organized crime.   Because they are.  It just didn't happen at school on Friday. 

And kid 2 has been near a nervous breakdown in the past days that showed me all too well how alike he is to his mama.  Me.  Some people yell, some eat, some do whatever they do... but he and I ?  We purge. Out with the old is our motto.  Pick it up before I blow it up in flames, if I may once again quote Miranda Lambert.  I think she's talking about her lying loser of a man and all his crap, but it still applies here, I think.  

So we clean closets and throw away anything in our sight that causes us distress, or just if it happens to be laying on the floor.... no matter its value.  Because when our world is rocking, kid 2 and I crave calm and order and space.  So he stood there in front of his closet way past bedtime one night staring up at the shelf of outgrown baseball pants, in a trance of despair over how messy life gets sometimes.  And it makes me sad that a 13 year old even needs to consider it. 

And of course kid 3 and his post baseball game meltdown.  And it was a mix of exhaustion and hunger and anger all rolled up into a Dr Jekyll/Mr. Hyde combo... and my mistake was trying to reason with it and feed it a sandwich. 

But after the dust settled and he came into the room with me, I told him that I love him and there's nothing in this world that will ever change that.  And... here's the big one for me always.... there's nothing in this world big or bad enough for me to ever use the kinds of words he used with me.  Because of the hateful words that still live in my heart from times gone by? .... I keep my mother tongue under tight security to make sure I never scar one of my kids like that.   

And back to the love subject... I love my kids.  But there are a couple that I don't like very much right now.  Luckily, like and dislike float on the wind.  But love lasts.  And that is mothering to me. 
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