A colonoscopy made him think of me... a Christmas message

To spread some Christmas cheer, let me give you a list of things that make me the most Scrooge-like.  

1.  When Kid 2 uses all the hot water in the shower and I only get to shave my left leg before the water turns icy cold.  

2.  When people get so Christmas crazy that they're mean to the sweet ladies in the return line at Kohl's.  

3.  When people honk for absolutely no reason.  And then there's so much rage honking that I get confused about what the heck is going on.  Please tell me that you're not a honker... ever.  If you are, we cannot under any circumstances be friends.  

Anyway, that's my short list... there are far more than that, and sadly, that's usually how I feel around the holidays.  I find it more than interesting that Christmas has become such a huge part of our culture, when really if you break down all the pieces, most days are about the shopping and the rush to get to the actual day - and more often than not, to get through the actual day.   Seriously, did Mary and Joseph ever run out to the Walgreens 30 minutes before a White Elephant gift party to buy a gag gift? 

Yes, I'm a little grumpy today.  Because I really wanted to shave my right leg along with my my left, but also because it's 20 degrees outside and I'm opposed to that in every way.  And I woke up last night at 3AM to put the dog out and found the back door unlocked.  But it was perfectly timed because all the murderers and thieves were too cold to get out and take care of business anyway. 

And I lost my keys last night which sent me into a fuss.  And not because I needed to go anywhere  - but because we may need to go somewhere.  Like in an emergency.... say an alien attack or as my kids predict, zombies.  But really what if we had just a regular old kind of emergency like sickness or accident or whatever?  I like to be prepared.  Anyway, Fireman Dave hung up the phone telling me I was making him nervous about the keys, and Kid 2 tucked his crazy mom safely into bed as he proceeded to hunt for them.  He also told me my shirt was on backwards and reminded me to put in my retainer.  Because I'm obviously showing signs of needing elder care.  

Today I'm trying my best to spread a little Christmas joy and cheer around the house - be it in small batches.  I've put out a portion of the decorations because I specifically asked that we have a minimal theme this year for my sanity.  And thanks to Kid 2, the tree was up the weekend after Thanksgiving.  And today I decided it would be a grand time to switch out my comforter set to the one that smells like musty linen closet.  So I'm doing all that laundry while making fudge and in between telling the kids to study for their final exams and put down their damn phones.  And I am, as you can see, making zero progress in my efforts to stop saying damn. 

I am a picture of jolly. 

But this is good.... the weekend after Thanksgiving, I got a text from an old college beau wishing me and mine a good holiday.  Something about shopping at Walmart always stirs fond memories of me in his mind because this is always when he reaches out.  Maybe it's the cheap prices, the harsh lighting and the all around warm fuzzy feeling we all get when we shop a Walmart super store.  But how sweet of him nonetheless. 

But holiday wishes and stuff aside, he also told me to think of him the next day as he prepared for his upcoming colonoscopy.  And that message,  my friend, is a sign of a long lasting bond.  But more than that, it's an example of how even the smallest amount of reaching out and sharing with others builds relationship.  I told him that it warms my heart to know that a colonoscopy made him think of me, but y'all, it's something.  And those little somethings speak volumes about what's in a person's character and in his heart.  

This year I lost my dearest friend, and Christmas just won't feel the same.  I'll miss our annual Christmas Eve church service followed by pizza party.  I'll miss comparing lists and shopping, and trying to fit a big TV into the back of my car under the cover of darkness.  But what makes it better are the people who say to me, I know you miss her.  Because those words mean they know me and they care enough to feel hurt alongside me.  

But here's the plain and simple fact about Christmas.  In fact, take this as fact all year round and feel free to use me as a reference.  To celebrate Christ, all we have to do is look at ourselves, recognizing our long lists of faults, ailments and forgotten places;  Look at our small efforts to spread joy and create a home for the people that we love;  Look at the day to day relationships we build by being the hands and feet of Christ in the world - (y'all, in plain English, that just means to be nice and good to others);  Look at the gifts that you give others every day in word and in deed, and especially in thought and prayer - and you are, even without gift wrap, sharing the love of Christ.

The greatest gift is that he came to the least likely of families, and in the least perfect of places.  And he came into our lives without a whole lot of preparation on our part.  He just came - into our busy lives, our messy homes, our less than sincere observance of his sweet birthday.... and he said helloThen he said, I love you.  I love YOU.  Just the way you are, as the Elton John song says. 

And he asks only that we give of what we can and do it for his glory.  So that when others see?  They won't say, Wow Kristi, look at your gorgeous holiday decorations, they'll see a home where my family finds a resting place, where we watch silly Christmas movies, and eat an entire pan of fudge in an afternoon. 

Today I give my small efforts at shopping and giving and cooking and preparing.  And then I'm resting in the knowledge that all those things are already a gift to someone.  I don't have to give the greatest, because that's already been done.

Some days it's more of a mountain.....

Y'all.  Okay, so I posted a quick Thanksgiving review a while back.  And every bit of it was true because I absolutely did go fishing and found that fish adore smoked sausage and brisket as bait.  That was my top secret fish technique in the family fish-athon.  It's also true that I hurt my arm but it's feeling on and off again better or maybe I'm just used to that ripping sensation in my shoulder every time I try to move it.  And I may or may not have told you that I was sick all over Thanksgiving break with a cold that Kid 1 shared with us all.  Now it's all moved into my ears and I can't hear anything and people fuss because the music in class is too loud.

And it is also true that I have a kid head over heels in teen love and the worst part is that I don't really know what to do about it.  And I think all of this comes at a time for me that is magnifying all the changes going on in the boys' lives, all the growing, all the not needing mom for nearly as much anymore.

I may or may not be in crisis.  And I'm worried that I'll be tossed out like an old toy - like in those sad Toy Story movies that  make me cry every darn time I watch them because Andy grows up and doesn't play with Buzz Lightyear and Woody the Cowboy anymore.  And of course Facebook shared a memory with me today of when Kid 1 sang in a school choir concert  - and it was the most angelic, sweet voiced song -  and I looked at him in the video when he was 12 and I wanted to yell at the whole bunch of them to stop singing songs that make me sad.  And Kid 1, stop growing up.  And stop only talking to me when you need money. And stop being in stupid love with a girl that I've only seen twice and stop making me think about what and where my future may lie.  

Fireman Dave tried to comfort me last week with a trip to the arboretum.  But it was cold so we sat down in the sun and talked mostly about the boys and even more about me and my impending crisis.  And he tried to remind me that we've been working toward these days for the last million years  - trying to grow these boys into men of character and strength.  Add to that the ability to pay their own  bills and we'll call parenting a success on all counts.  Of course, right then was when I noticed that we were sitting in the Dallas Arboretum's Garden of Memories.  Because it's all just a big plot.  Maybe the government.  Maybe the devil.  Maybe just me battling against my very own self. 

Anyway, I told  him that I know what our goal was all along but that I didn't hear it running up behind me so fast.  And speaking of, ....where the heck did the time go?  Did I do everything I wanted to with the boys before they run out of sentiment enough to humor me and ride go karts like we did the Tuesday of Thanksgiving break?  Did they go with me because they wanted to?  Or because I hold punishment powers?  Or did they go with me because I told them I would take them out for lunch.....  I'm depressing myself even thinking about it all.

Oh my gosh, this past week brought an ugly case of cyber bullying at the high school level, another terrible hair color situation, and a trip to the dentist for me.  And I am proud to report that I had zero cavities.  I must've gotten better control over my deep tooth grooves.  Anyway, the dentist looked to be about 15 years old and I did stop and check his credentials before he was allowed to use any sharp instruments in my mouth.  He reminded me of the little elf in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer - the one cast away to the Island of Misfit Toys because he wanted to be dentist.  But that elf may have been older and more experienced.  I say this strictly to point out that as much as the Dallas Fire Department has been in the news of late about a handful of firemen retiring as millionaires - we will not be one of the lucky few.  We are and may always be the kind that go to the cash pay dental clinic and hope for the best. 

So here I sit, writing this after one of the biggest parenting battles of my entire career.  And it involved the teenage Romeo and Juliet.  Mostly, the Romeo - aka, Kid 1.  Last night I visited with the girlfriend for approximately 60 seconds in the school parking lot, and Kid 2, after witnessing it,  announced it's awkwardness in a sort of embarrassed for me way.  I, on the other hand, probably proved the young girl right in thinking I'm scary and mean. Bless us one and all. 

This is all a new chapter for me.  And I'm in the process of polling those that I trust to find out how they have handled similar situations.  I need valuable experience and input and encouragement.  And hopefully I'll have it all figured out by the time Kids 2 and 3 find that romance is alive and well in these here United States.  

But really, the conversation with the kids has been ongoing for almost forever.  But this week it was at least 3 times with Kid 1  - speaking of battles and all that life will send his way.  But mostly we spoke of battles that I am willing and committed to fight on his behalf. And that's not always going to make him or his brothers happy.  I've tried to explain to him the dangers of words and the things that a young lady can say to harm the reputation and the future of a young man.  I just don't know how to handle the shaky grounds of modern romance very well anymore, and trying to be an advocate for a teenager with stars in his eyes is proving to be a fight that goes an indefinite number of rounds.  

I finally fell asleep last night and slept the sleep of an exhausted person, body and mind.  But I woke up with the idea in my head of parenting being a little like this.... I feel like I've just spent the last 16 years of my life carrying a large load up a hill.  Some days it's more of a  mountain.....  And along the way, I've picked up rocks to add to the load.  And along the way I've also tossed out a few that I no longer need.  But the climb has been long and winding and sometimes even with a great big flat part to walk easy and be fooled that I've got this mothering thing figured out.  But when I've finally gotten close to the top, I drop the Kid  ...... out of a mixture of confusion and needing to rest.  And he's rolling away so fast that I can't chase him fast enough.  And at that point, all I can do is hope that all the climbing and adding to his life up until this point, has already made a difference.

Oh, there you are. There's the girl I've waited a lifetime to become.

I guess the funniest thing about our Thanksgiving trip was when the entire 15 of us played charades.  When it was my turn, the topic was barbecued ribs.  Which I don't eat and thus didn't know how to act out because of it.  Anyway, I chose to focus on the rib part.... so I put my hands on my ribs and did the wanna be runway model pose.  Not a soul guessed it was my ribs I was talking about at first, but our sweet 13 year old nephew guessed even better - and paid me the compliment I had been hunting for all weekend.  His guess was SKINNY.  And I stopped dead in my acting tracks and was taken aback by how I felt like I had been unknowingly complimented by a kid.  Then I got it back together after telling him I love him and his sweet innocence, and resumed my charade -  and it turns out I am not a good actress.  They finally guessed it but had to pretty much list off the entire menu from a barbecue restaurant to get it in time.

All weekend I had been struggling with how I thought I looked in all our family pictures.  And all weekend I felt like the people who hadn't seen me in a while were all asking themselves if I quit the fitness business and became a food taster.  Or something.  Because y'all.  I'm so hard on myself.  And all y'all..... I have always been hard on myself. 

I also, our first night of the trip, was overwhelmed by the togetherness of it all and went up to my room and cried.  Not for long, but still.  Because you know what?  It's just wrong on a million different levels to not have a family of your own that claims you.   And I miss my wonderful friend, Debi, more and more of late it seems.  The holidays without our annual Christmas Eve together is going to be rough.  I think we should all cancel Christmas this year and return when all is merry and bright.

And I struggled with the teenager in love all weekend as he couldn't make eye contact with anyone because his dang eyes were glued to his phone.  And it all came rushing toward me - that things aren't the same as they were.

I understand in my mind that I'll probably never be the small, near weightless beauty that I was before kids.  And before too many birthdays and birthday cake.  But I don't understand it in an accepting it sort of way.   And I know I'll never be the same person I was before marriage and jobs and my share of heartbreaks and battles.  But I know that years from now I'll be reading this and say, YES!  Hallelujah to it all, Kristi...you aren't the same as you were, and you're not the same as you're going to be. 

I can't speak to this subject for the men reading this, but for us girls, I can, and am a living, breathing example of how we spend our lives in constant battle within ourselves - trying to figure out who we are.  Trying to figure out if we're good.  Or even good enough.  And trying to figure out our worth and what all the required pieces that play into that big equation may be. 

I would dare say we are always in a state of waiting.  I am, anyway.  I'm waiting to be the one in the cutest outfit at the whatever.  I'm waiting to be the one that has the article that goes viral on the web.  And I'm waiting to see what I'm supposed to do next.  That's kind of a big deal weighing on me right now.

Maybe this is it.  Maybe I'm supposed to be the one that writes about things that encourage and may or may not be funny.  Maybe being the me I am today is exactly what I've been waiting for all along.  I just need to take it all in and say, Oh, there you areThere's the girl I've waited a lifetime to become.   Maybe each day is my own advent of change - constantly in search of what God has in store for me next.  

Did you notice I said advent of change? Which occurred to me today -  is exactly what the season of Advent is all about.  Y'all, I thought it was just a word that I use a few weeks before Christmas.  But Advent - the season of waiting, is also the season that we are to take note of all that's going on in our lives, and wait for what can and will change because of the birth of Christ. 

Boom.  Now it makes sense.  

Advent blessings to you. 

post script:  a little southern language tutorial...

Y'all - the word I use to mean, you and you and you.  It could be a small group or large.  Doesn't really matter.  But it's not definite that it includes everyone within earshot.   For example:  I just love Y'all. 

All Y'all - what I mean when I mean every one of y'all, no one excluded.  Everyone being part of the y'all that I am speaking or referring to.  Example - All Y'all are invited to follow along on the blog as we observe Advent together. 

All Y'all's  - something that belongs to everyone.  For example -  I love all Y'all's sweet comments that you leave on my blog.  

Got it Y'all?
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