I totally get it, Kid 3. Back to school edition 2016

First the news.  The boys went back to school this week and they looked like this:  GROWN.

Which prompted me to look closely at myself in the mirror and plan a new anti-aging routine.  

Holy Cow.  When did we all grow up?

Here's how their first few days went....

Kid 3 got teased about his shoes and came running home to change.  Luckily we live two blocks away and the shoes he was teased for were made for running.   It totally made me remember when I started 7th grade and wondered what I wore.  I think it was some kind of hippie-chic tunic top with brown pants, but not the cool kind that flared at the ankle.  And I wore glasses.  With thick lenses because I was visually challenged.  Had I lived 2 blocks away, I probably would've run home, too.  I totally get it, Kid 3.  

Kid 2 started high school Monday morning, and as of Wednesday morning, claims that this is the longest school year he has ever experienced.  It can only go up from here. 

And Kid 1 is back in football and wants to hit things.  We've decided football does very little to get his energies out, but instead makes him even more aggressive toward his brothers.  Just a little tip, Kids 2 and 3... always turn on lights before you enter a room and look behind every door before you step in.  There's a right tackle lurking in there and ready for some football.

But let me assure you that I prayed over those boys before they started the new year.  Kid 1 acted like I was not doing the whole laying on of hands thing as I prayed over his giant 16 year old body.  In fact he may or may not have tried to look at his phone and pretend I was invisible and mute. 

I prayed for safety and courage and cautious adventure.  I prayed for discernment and wise choices, and simply for a friend to sit with at lunch.  I prayed for good to always win over bad and for intervention at times when  needed the most.  And I prayed for the patience and guidance of every coach and teacher that would influence my kiddos this year.  Then I prayed for old friends and new, and for us all to just come home safely to each other at the end of each day.  

Y'all, the boys just wanted to go to sleep by the time I was done with them.  God bless them one and all.  

And finally, in Fireman Dave news, last week I texted him at work to tell him that the dryer wasn't working.  Because to me that was a serious emergency.  But then he responded, after about 100 years, and said he was busy doing this.

So no, he couldn't fix the dryer.  Thanks to another fireman who took this picture and actually got a photo of more than Fireman Dave's backside at a fire. 

Other than that, I've been enjoying some quiet afternoons at home and wondering where they've been all my life.   

More to come soon.....  I'm thinking about my back to school years, a whole lot about my grandparents who took a lot of care of us back then, and trying to place some thoughts in order.  And I'm praying over some ideas right now.  

Including my fall wardrobe.  

post script... no y'all.  I have not actually prayed over my fall wardrobe, however much it needs it.  But I am giving it some serious thought, hoping that I find some darling yet reasonably priced ankle boots, soft sweaters and pants that don't squeeze my tummy.  

post post script.... Really, I just want to wear pajamas all day every day.  A girl can dream. 

I'm good

Yesterday I was at Target getting a last minute birthday gift for Kid 3.  And I mean really last minute because while I was at there, he was home by himself turning 13. 

And while I was there I saw someone I know ... who sweetly stopped and asked me how I'm doing with missing my friend.  In case you're new here, I lost my friend Debi almost 3 months ago.  

My short definition of Debi?  .... A life well lived and full of fun  - and really the first person that I called friend in a very long time.   And I'm fairly sure the first person to call me friend in just as long.

So here's what my answer was to the question about missing my friend.  I'm good.  But I hate driving by her house and seeing her car parked outside and thinking she's there.  Then remembering she's not.

But mostly I remember she's gone because everyday I look at my phone and no one has called or texted.  No one not named Walters, anyway.  

Last night I dreamed that I was helping Debi with a side business she started.  So while she was in the other room being a nurse, I was in her bathroom selling clothes.  Lots of clothes.  In the bathroom.  Which was an award winning weird dream because I know for a fact that Debi would never run any sort of boutique unless it involved a drive up beer window out the back of her suburban. 

And I have to say that maybe I miss just having someone who knew me and understood me - quirks and all - food texture issues, aversions to stiff and scratchy clothes and my constant attempt at becoming a hermit. 

Yesterday Kid 3 turned 13, and yesterday marked the 5th year that I've had no contact with my mom and brother.  Because they chose pride and hate over getting along.  And 5 years ago I had to explain to Kid 3 why they couldn't come to his party, and I had to decide where to draw the line between what's acceptable and right and what's bad for me and my kids. 

Really I had to decide what was safe and positive for us all.  And I promise that these years haven't been easy in keeping my faith in that decision.  

But gosh I got really lucky to fill that emptiness with a friend.  Because I had been looking everywhere to fill that space. 

Yes I miss her.  Yes I miss my phone making that texting sound and knowing someone was including me in her day.  And I miss being able to tell her that I have a giant hole in my shower wall right now.  And that the dryer broke and can I bring over the wet wash for her to dry.  Please and thank you?

And that Kid 3 turned 13 yesterday. 

post script...
For my sweet Kid 3....

There are so many things I want you to know that you will never learn in school.  Like how important you are to the world around you and your role to play in the BIG picture.  God's big picture.   And how things like your kindness outshine what this world way too often considers important.  

So... my wonderful 13 year old boy, today and every day, your mom thinks you are the greatest gift I have ever received.  

The Before and After

Oh my goodness how I have missed you.  Yes, you.  And you, and you, and you.  But I've taken on the role of PTA President and I've learned that in politics, even at the high school level, people lie.  Now I think and do all things PTA while I sleep and when I wake -  much like being in love, but not. 

I was clearly dehydrated when approached about taking on the job, and as history has proven, I can make some questionable decisions in that particular state of mind.  That and I believed the people who told me it would be an easy job.  Once again, dehydrated, and in a weakened state of trust.  Anyway, you can call me Madame President from now on.  Or you can just keep calling me Kristi which is good too. 

We also took a little road trip and had a long discussion with the boys about the power of social media and how it can totally mess up your entire existence if used carelessly. ( For instance, this photo of the boys could follow them their entire lives.)   Right now they're mad at us for taking them far from the safety of home and making them talk about life topics.  Next I think we should drop them off in the woods and see if they can find their way home.  Another good life skill.  My dad did that to me when I learned to drive except that it wasn't in the woods, it was in a sketchy part of Dallas and on a busy freeway.  And I did find my way home -  and along the way met some nice men outside a dark and near deserted gas station in the middle of  nowhere who were happy to give me directions.  Oh the craziness. 

So... I couldn't decide what to title this post.  Here were my ideas.  

1.     That time I got fed up with summer and took it back from the video games.    Actually that lasted about a week, but we only have one week left till school starts and I'm praying we'll all still love each other then. 

2.   That road trip where we ate at places with burgers called The Fatty.  Kid 2 completely recommends the Fatty Burger if you ever have trouble deciding.

3.  That time I almost went into a tee-pee but changed my mind when I found out a hobo lives there.   

 4.  That time we went to a fried chicken place and Fireman Dave demanded I give him all my cash like a mugger in a dark alley.  So I did and then didn't have any money left to buy a piece of candy at the Russell Stover store.   

5.  That time we learned that there was a Russell Stover candy store mere steps from our hotel and who knew?  They serve ice cream sundaes. 

6.  That time Kid 1 practiced his driving on Historic Route 66 in Okahoma and we all prepared to die.

7.  Or that time we traveled Historic Route 66 and took pictures of a giant Indian. 

But ultimately I decided to go with this as title and subject.  The Before and After.  

Because we were in Oklahoma City and went to the OKC Bombing Memorial.  We went when it was all lit up at night and if you've never had the chance to see it, please try to.  And find one of the 168 chairs on the lawn representing those killed, and pray for that person's family.

The front and back walls of the memorial list two times.  The far wall says 9:01, the time before the blast.  The other wall says 9:03, the time immediately following, with a large empty space between the two to represent the time that everything changed. 

I can think of so many examples of before and after.  Before love, after love.  Before kids, after kids.  Before sickness, and after death.  And in the between times is a giant space of time for this thing called life.  (um, yes... those are indeed the words to a Prince song.)

For me it's easy to look back and see the gaps of the before and after - of the times that I'm now past, and times that have healed.  But I'm in an in-between now.  And I can't say when or how the after will be.  I wish I could. 

I got kinda upset with the boys while we were at the memorial.  Because it didn't mean to them what I wanted it to mean to them.  And before I got a chance to get all mom mad at them that night, Fireman Dave pointed out how the kids' lives are so different than ours were at that age.  How they think lock down drills at school are the same as fire drills - basically just a chance to have a mid day break.  I actually used to silently thank the crazy phone call person who called the high school every semester around exam time to threaten a bomb because I got to go outside.  And talk to people.  Because y'all, there was NEVER REALLY A BOMB.  And we all knew it.   It was just another kid who didn't study for his algebra exam and needed to have an excuse not to take it;   so he went into the pay phone booth at the school and called the office. Yes, I said pay phone booth. 

But for my boys, threats like that are so possible.  And so real.  And sadly, bad and scary news becomes the normal when it happens too much.  And nothing seems to be a surprise.  And I guess what bothers me the most is that bad things don't seem all that bad to them. 

Maybe it's just what they've grown up knowing.  Because,.... they too are in an in between time.  They're in between times when we could feel safe and not think about scary things when we went to school -  and a time when maybe one day we can again.  I don't know how long that particular gap may last.  

The bombing memorial was beautiful and such a lovely tribute to the lives lost.  But what I think I will remember most about it is this.... right outside the walls of the memorial, directly across the street, is a large statue of Jesus with his back turned to the memorial.  Which I thought was a bit odd until I walked over to it.  But he wasn't turned away from the pain, he was turned away because of the pain, with the title of the sculpture, Jesus wept. (John 11:35)

And y'all, I know he does.  He weeps with joy along with us at every new happy beginning and he's still there weeping when it comes to an end.  I get asked that on a fairly frequent basis... questions about how God allows bad things to happen.  First, I'm not a believer that God allows the bad.  And I'm also not a believer that he can stop it.  And I have to say each and every time that I don't understand it either. 

And I happen to be very, very afraid of my next bad thing.  I really am, because I remember how much I didn't enjoy the other ones.  But I like to think that God cries along with us in our sadness and lonely and scared.  And he misses the time before things changed.  And no matter how long the in- between is, he has his heart set on the after.  And I think that's where he wants our hearts to be as well.  
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