I am qualified for not many things, but can burlesque dance, sort of, and that might be worth something

I don't know how many people asked me how my weekend was.  Lots.  Plenty.  Because turns out people are polite and I know they really they just want a polite reply in return - but my REAL answer is that I hate holidays.  All of them.  And I especially hate holidays that fall on weekends. I also hate that I just got a truancy warning for Kid 1 because he can't manage to walk his legs to the Attendance Office at school to turn in his sick notes.  Y'all come see me in Parent Jail please if I can't get this worked out. 

So now that we're all telling each other the truth about things, here's some more.  

I also hate raisins and coconut and being on this new lower carb diet that I've been trying for a week.  And I hated this particular weekend until Monday when Fireman Dave finally came home from work after a million years and someone actually spent time with me.  Thank you honey for offering to put me on anti- depressants, but choosing instead to take me out to lunch.  You are both kind and wise. 

Y'all, like the song says, breaking up is hard to do... and I happen to be in the middle of a couple of ugly breakups.  Number one, with cookies.... and I would totally kill for a chocolate chip one.  Or twelve.  But mostly with Kid 1;  possibly with Kids 2 and 3 looming on the horizon.  And finally, with the idea that motherhood lasts forever.  

Luckily the older two boys got life-guarding jobs this summer to fill some of their lazy, hazy summer days, but that means that their worlds are getting even further and further away from home.  That was the original plan from about the time of birth, right?  Yes, I think it was, originally.  But I forgot.  I think I forgot because I got all confused with all the chores and lessons and care giving, and I thought this particular way of life, was, in fact, a way of life.  Like a job with no retirement benefits.  Much like the Dallas Fire Department. 

But folks, there is an end.  And it happens to be in sight, and I am now trying to find out what a mom does after she's not really a full time mom anymore.  I'm taking suggestions in the comments.  I am qualified for not many things, but can burlesque dance, sort of/barely, and that might be worth something.  

Anyway, first of all I was ill all weekend.  Like the kind of sick where you put yourself on a lung transplant wish list, but instead take some antibiotics and try not to cough hard enough to explode your brain.  Turns out I was more than sick on Friday, but I went to work anyway and regretted it every step of all three classes that I taught.  I probably borderline hyperventilated and said some things that were a direct result of low brain oxygen.  But I think I smiled though.  Because I am a highly trained professional who can hide her true feelings like an actor on a stage.  And I really want a smiley face if I suddenly die.  In case there are photos.  

But I worked, then came home and thought about if I had strength enough to go to the urgent care.  Luckily most people were out swimsuit shopping for the holiday weekend, because I was in and out fairly quickly with a prescription for antibiotics and another for a cough medicine that could tranquilize a bear.  

Then I spent the weekend alone feeling sorry for myself and wishing that I had more people.  I think that's the main point of today's post. 

I miss having people.  And I miss my friend Debi, who has been gone from us exactly one year this past weekend.  And I know that she would've brought me soup and then told me to get over myself and to go get a tattoo of something happy or emotionally revealing to make myself feel better.  I miss my friend so very much.  

And I had huge plans to find a new friend this year, but I didn't.  It was like blind dating, really.  And I had a couple of bites, but then I pulled a Kristi and didn't take them up on the invitation or the offer or the whatever.  Because of history.....  Historically speaking, I don't have a great track record with friendships - ask my dozens of former college roommates and assorted others who would label me as difficult to get along with and emotionally distant.   Which is just unfortunate, because I can be so nice when I'm not trying to make friends. It's complicated and weird.  Much like blind dating.  

So anyway, I started this last year really strong in prayer over applying for a new friend.  Then I think I got settled into it just being me, and then I talked myself into the old ways of thinking that any techniques I might try to become pageant winner would end up with me being fourth runner up and great Facebook friends with whoever gave me a chance.  Fourth runner ups only get a sash, y'all.  Not flowers, not a scaled down tiara to fit her position in the court of honor.  A sash. 

I could trace all this back to my faulty upbringing, but then I look at wolves and how they do so well in packs, and I think I'm just looking for excuses to hide something that I never quite learned how to do.  

So y'all, holidays are lonely for some of us.  Holidays are lonely for me.  I don't have a large family and tons of significant others to fill my calendar.  And darn it all to heck, I also have some memories that I'm not sure what to do with and where to put, and lots of time on my hands.  

And really, rest assured, I'm not depressed.  I've been depressed a time or two, and I know the signs.  I get skinny when I'm depressed, and I have not reached mile marker X on that scale, so I know I'm healthy as a horse.  But I admit to the boredom.  And I admit to the lonely.  And I admit to the occasional sad.  And I definitely admit to the fear of doing anything outside this box I've put around my very nervous and quite introverted heart.  

I had to explain to someone not long ago why I don't list my birthday or any other important info on social media.  Because, blogging aside, I am actually very private.  I'll talk to you all day long about cute shoes and even cuter boys/men.  BoyMen. 

I've always been a bit partial to this one though every man on Earth says they don't understand it.  Go figure the brain chemistry that can't see the obvious.    But other than that, I'm pretty hard to get to know.  

So here's what I did to take myself out of myself this weekend.  I found someone else to give some attention to.  And how - oh - how I would love to actually see these special kids and have more of an impact on their lives, but that's not what I was called to do.  It's funny how things come around again to remind you of them.... I actually ran across a lady a couple of years ago through a friend on Facebook.  And as much as I can't stand Facebook, it's in times like this that it comes in handy.  

She is a special lady that is a missionary in Uganda.  She takes care of many children that need a home, some from Uganda, others from Rwanda and the Sudan.  Kids that have been rescued from former lives and are now being given a chance to attend school.  Y'all, it was a small gift, but I was able to give the gift of a term of school to two sweet little girls that had not had their tuition paid yet.   Meet Angel and Asenta.

They will never know me.  They will never know who provided,  but they will know that God did.  And I needed to do this very small thing this weekend.  Because I found myself stuck in an ugly place  - halfway between sick and tired -  and the horizon was looking pretty bleak.  I've now made a commitment to seek out other volunteer opportunities.  Maybe at my church, maybe something else.  Let me know if you know of anything.  I am a willing and eager heart. 

I needed to start somewhere.  And little Angel and Asenta were a good place to start. 

post script... there are more cuties just like these littles that need help.  And you would be shockingly surprised at how little it cost to give a child so much opportuntity.  Let me know if you want to learn more. 

Dear God, please do things the way I want them to be done. Amen.

Kristi, you must've grown up in the 60's.  THIS, actually said to me yesterday in aqua aerobics class by a man that obviously has no clue.  Seems like the music I chose to remind my class of their glory days was a big ol' signal for him to start guessing my age.  No.  To start guessing that since HE is that old, I must be, too, since I played a song from that era.  Actually, Mister McNosy Pants, the song was an awesome disco and it was from 1978.  When I may or may not have even been born yet.  I'll never tell. 

Then the ladies around him in the pool started giving him the You have no idea what you've just done, do you, kind of talk.  Which he did not, apparently.  Because he came back for round 2 of Guess Your Instructor's Age.  He then placed me as a teenager in the 90's, his reasoning being that since HE was himself a teen in the 1960's and I don't quite look as old as him - YET - I must be a thousand years younger than he originally assumed.  Or he was just trying to get me to stop making them do a million jump squats in the pool to wash away his sins. 

I find that comments such as this one typically come from mean older ladies and/or confused older men.  I encounter my fair share of both.  Whatever.  But you can bet that right after class I headed straight to TJ MAXX to peruse the high quality, yet greatly discounted in price, anti-aging night creams.  Oh the troubles I have seen......

And before I forget to make this announcement.... to the nice lady at the Tom Thumb who helped me determine what on earth was hurting me in my brassiere region:  I thank you.  You are an angel.  Y'all, there was something in there that shouldn't have been.  I'm thinking a baby sized bee with an adult size stinger, but just a theory.  And don't even ask me how that would possibly occur.  But I tried and tried to reach it, to no end  - because it was way on the backside of the strap, not in the more intimate region or I would've been feeling around in there all by myself.... security cameras be damned.  I double pinky swear to practice my back reaching bra strap stretch from here on out, but for such a time and in such an emergency, I finally had to call for help.  Thank you to the lady in the dairy aisle who came to my aid and found that I indeed had a giant red mark of pain on my back, though no bug in sight.  What a weird trip just running in to buy milk and bread.  So ladies, in honor of bra discomfort everywhere, I declare this the summer of no bras while grocery shopping.  Or ever.  That's even better.  

Today I was going to tell you all about how Kids 1 and 2 missed the school bus and how Kid 2 blamed it on Kid 1 for being a slow poke and how he can't get ready on time.  And then I was going to tell you how Kid 2 then proceeded to get back at Kid 1 by walking the almost 4 miles to school.... while Kid 1 conveniently called his girlfriend.... who called her mom.... who then rolled up and gave Kid 1 a ride.  (That's so in case he ends up being her son in law one day, she can say she was fully invested in this relationship from the start.  Again, whatever.)

Then both Kids 1 and 2 ignored my texts pleading to know their safety status.  Teenagers are like strange aliens that crash landed on this earth and try to make everyone hate them so we will help them find their homeland and get them the heck out of here.

I was also going to tell you how Fireman Dave dropped me off in front of Old Navy to return a dress that I so wanted to fit me but it didn't.  And how when I stepped in front of the car he stepped on the gas and almost ran over me.  Was it intentional?  Involuntary?  Premeditated?  Maybe he was thinking about all the continuing education credits he needs to earn for work and how he could probably get in some good learning by saving his own wife in a pedestrian vs car accident.  Plus he would be saving on gas by letting me run my errand at the same time. Next time, though, I'll walk around the back of the car for sure. 

But I'm not going to tell you that story.  Instead I chose this: 

Friday night my friend and co worker lost her home in a fire.  Sunday an acquaintance of ours was found dead in his home.  Monday I was in talks with someone about all the relationships in our friend circles that have fallen apart recently;  marriages strained from the pressure of jobs and kids and everything else that pulls us away from that original hope we had when we said I do.

And on a friend scale of 1-10, 1 being, I barely know them - and 10 being I eat Christmas dinner at these people's houses, I would say that today I am about a 3 or 4.  I used to be way up higher on the scale.  Because these are the types of relationships that are strong when everyone's kids are friends and all involved in the same scout troops and sports teams, and our time was meshed together in an almost endless variety of ways.  Then the kids grow up and out and they grow their big kid interests and get their next stage friends, and we lose touch with the families that used to be so close.

But I still find myself invested in the goings on of all my people.  Because they're on the same road as I am.  Kids the same age, marriages about the same age.  Houses and jobs and interests all around the general area of interest - that being our kids and how to pay for them.  But it's a natural unraveling of relationships when based on those things.  That doesn't mean I care any less about the news of the weekend.  Maybe it makes me care even more, because I'm starting to see that the things that affect them can just as easily find me.

Y'all, I thought about it over and over again and I tried to figure out what I think about it all.  And I decided on this.  Because I know someone is going to ask me, or ask someone this.  Probably on Facebook and I'll cringe at the broad range of discussion that ensues.  

Where is God in the ugly particulars of life?  So for the record, let me address my thoughts on it.  

The short version .... He's right where we ask Him to be. 

The longer version .....  Somewhere, at some time, modern social media users, especially, started spreading the gospel of God's saving grace in the form of his protection and blessings if we just live right.  Or if we give enough.  Or believe enough.  Or pray enough.  Or whatever enough.    Somehow we got the get off easy idea that God's job is to protect us from the uglier parts of life.   

Y'all. No.  

Just no.  

The Bible is filled with stories of how Jesus calmed the raging storms and parted deep waters and even caught a few fish when even the professionals from Field and Stream couldn't.  But stories are only as good as their interpretation.  And sometimes we, especially me, can find ourselves in a desperate place called, Dear God, please do things the way I want them to be done, Amen.  

For the millionth time please let me remind you that I am not a Bible scholar.  Ask anyone that has ever seen me doze off in Sunday School.   Um, if you could even get me to go as an adult.....  But I know that stories in the Bible aren't there for us to see God's undeniable power and how he can use those powers of protection to keep us in his favor and shelter.  

Y'all, I wish that were the whole truth.  But that's a surface interpretation.  That's a feel good, all about me, ask and thou shall receive interpretation.  But really?  These stories are more about how storms have always been present, even when Jesus was actually somebody's neighbor.  And how storms will always be a part of life.  The Bible stories that we so like to call upon as promises of our favor in God's eyes?  They're really meant to show us more about God's undeniable power to lead us during times of trouble than his power to keep the trouble away.  

So where is God in the details of life?  He's in our response, in our reactions and in our reaching out to the ones who need to be comforted.  His love shows in that casserole that you cooked for someone, that gift card that you sent because you didn't know what else to do.  The hospital visit, the phone call, the quick text asking if there's anything they need.  Y'all, he's there every time you ask how you can step outside of yourself and give something to others.  

God is wherever we invite him in.  That's our choice.

I don't even know what to title this post......

Today Fireman Dave denied knowing me.  In public, to actual people.  I feel certain that he has done this exact thing on a more private level over our time together, but this time it was at a park, to some moms, including one I know.  Apparently at an official fire department function showing preschoolers and toddlers the fire engine and entertaining the ladies with his man in uniform charm....

So along comes a gal and asks him if he knows any firemen around there with a wife named Kristi.  WITH. A. WIFE. NAMED. KRISTI.  First clue, her name is Kristi, second clue, she is someone's wife, third clue, her husband is fireman.  He couldn't think of anyone.  Had this been a game show, he just lost a car and a trip to the Bahamas. 

So then he asked her if she knew this particular Kristi's last name.  By that time he has her all confused and checking facts on her phone to see if I've made up this whole being married to Fireman Dave thing..... but a faint memory from the past hits him all of a sudden, a memory from about 1999, the Fall maybe?   ..... possibly a wedding.  Oh yes, he thinks.  I sort of  remember  someone named Kristi, .....  but hello Kristi's cute friend and faithful blog reader who was probably still wearing her adorable tennis skirt,... How YOU doin?  Your smile and perky personality all but made me forget that I AM FIREMAN DAVE!

Then he called home to tell me about it because he knows that around these parts, I have eyes and ears everywhere.  And the best defense is a good offense, or something like that.  I forget.  Anyway, I'm sure everyone enjoyed the park party and the fire engine and all went home the better for it.  That's totally what counts, right? 

At that very time, though, I was at home washing dishes with an odd new hair color.  Which is actually two separate stories, altogether.  But in case you, also, don't remember or don't recognize me in the days to come, let me introduce myself.  Hi, I'm Kristi Walters and I write a blog and occasionally do some other things like parent some kids and try to keep them out of jail.  Totally kidding, y'all.  It's a joke.  

And the dish washing part of the story?  .... not a hobby of mine at all.  But the dishwasher has been broken for years months, weeks and when we tried to repair it we found out that it had nearly caught on fire.  That would actually be our second dishwasher fire in the history of this family, but I hate to brag. 

Here's an actual picture of me today working around the house while Fireman Dave was about town doing fireman things with young children and their cute moms. 

See how I totally finished all the chores then put on a cleavage baring top and served the kids some frozen foods on a tray?   

It has been one of those weeks that I have to ask myself why I do half the things I do.  I once again got emotionally tackled by Kid 1 over the now deleted post about him and his lady love.  I was spoken to by Kid 2 on at least two occasions as if he had just awakened me from my nursing home sleep as I sat dozing in my wheelchair and bathrobe in front of As The World Turns.  And I felt frustrated at the multiple signs of life moving on and the obvious changes that take place because of it.  Including, but not limited to my pants size, my inability to grow alluring eyelashes and I guess what really matters, the fact that I am running out of usable time and space to make a difference in these boys' lives.  

I was telling the boys that one of the reasons that I chose to stay home full time with them when they were little was the fact that children form so many important pieces of their personalities and mental and emotional functioning from birth to age three.  And I found myself wishing that I could speak to whoever decided that age three was the cut off age to determine if any of my kids will grow up to be serial killers and how I want to ask them to give me at least until they are of legal age to shut that parenting door.  

My sweet friend and neighbor was telling me this week about when she was raising her three kids, and how she always felt like they were never the ideal picture of three little birds sitting on a telephone line, all facing the same direction, all with eyes focused on the same goal.  Instead she said she always felt like she had at least one upside down and one facing backwards.  And I told her that that's kinda been my theory of motherhood all along... that one kid at a time tends to be the challenge, that in my experience anyway, they tend to stagger their episodic outbursts of rebellion and exploration so we can handle each event with the time and care that it needs.  Not always, though,....I have to say that in case the gods of children acting the fool are reading this post today.  

But I ran across a particular Bible verse this week, too.  And the more I thought about it, the more I think its a really good fit for this week as we inch toward Mothers Day.  

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.  Philippians 1:6

Y'all, oh my gosh.  Is this a promise that we all need to hear today and everyday?  I say yes please and can you please make that a to go order?  Because I need this verse to stay with me every step of the way as I am navigating some pretty deep emotional waters these days.  Mostly my own emotionally charged waters, not the kids'.  I need this verse to pour itself into my heart so deeply that when I question all that I have been through up until this point, that I can be 100% sure that it was because it was an investment of good work, put there by Christ who sees exactly the end result.  

And as a parent?   I can see in these words that the good work that God began in me by placing me in the job of Mom to Kids 1, 2, and 3 - has never been without a plan.  And that the good work that he allowed me to begin will be faithfully completed in them until such time that we are through with this world.  

I think sometimes as moms we lose hope.  And then we lose faith.  And Y'all, that's all on top of how we've already lost all our energy and probably some chunks of hair along the way.  And then we're asked to sit at a restaurant table and be celebrated on a particular day in May, when all we really want is to be guaranteed that our work is good.... that our work is for our children's good. 

I love how certain verses find their way to me when I need them the most.  And what I hear this one saying to me right now ... is that its okay to just take it all in this coming Mothers Day weekend.  Sit back for a bit, and take note of the good work that God is doing with my mothering efforts. 
post script  - I actually don't love Mothers Day anymore than I love my birthday or any other occasion that draws attention toward me and my life's achievements.  But the day is coming, and I hope to at least get a good meal and someone to take out that trash in celebration thereof.  I'll let you know.  

post post script - the hair will be okay.  So everyone that looked at me oddly on Monday can rest assured that I ran by the Target on my way home and got a box of something wonderful and now I'm looking a whole lot more like myself.  And feeling like it too.  Yay for whoever dreamed up a box full of hair highlights for under $10 - complete with a nifty plastic cap.  I owe you one.  
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