Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Some things are worth getting up for

I have a long history of falling.  Once when I was little I fell off a curb into a mud puddle in the parking lot of a restaurant.  When my mom took me inside to clean me up, the restaurant man was crazy helpful because he thought I had been run over by a car. 

Then when I was a teenager and wearing some totally cool crop pants, I fell down my driveway and scarred my right knee for life.  I also fell out of my car in the Tom Thumb parking lot one time when I got tangled in the seat belt. 

At work I've fallen off steps, slipped on the deck of a pool, and had a giant metal basketball backboard and pole fall off the wall, pinning me, breaking my tailbone and forever altering the course of a disc in my lower back.  I also had a near death experience in the Texas heat teaching my 4th class of the day in the bright summer sunshine while everyone in the pool watched and waited to see if I might fall in.   

Then there was that time that I tripped going up the stairs on stage at an elementary school awards ceremony.  Not once, but twice right there in a row.  And sadly, I wasn't the one in elementary school, but a parent with a captive audience.  

And I fell teaching a class yesterday morning.  The good news is that I was fine.  Mad -  but fine.  Because this time wasn't even close to being my fault, but a slip and fall on something slick on the fitness floor.  It was like an invisible ice patch and I went skating .... which reminds me of the gillion times I've slipped in my own kitchen after the boys left water on the floor in a devious plot against me.  

So yesterday after class I marched downstairs to complain and tell my manager that I could've totally broken my hip and he'd have to live with that the rest of his life....  my exact words, I believe being, WHAT. THE. H.E. DOUBLE HOCKEY STICK is going on up there ?   

Anyway, people were sweet and worried and mostly shocked that I get paid to dance for a living.  But as I told every one of them, If you only knew how many times I've almost killed myself in this job, you wouldn't worry about this one at all.  So let's salsa.  

Y'all, it seems most of my fallings and failings have audiences.  And in the stage of life where I live right now, what I envision as failings as a parent scream to the world that I wasn't paying attention that day in mom school.  

I probably napped when I should've been guiding and leading - or taking them to baby ballet.  Maybe I did too much for my kids.  Maybe I did too little.  Maybe I forgot to teach them that the value of their words are like mirrors of their own value.  And their own values. 

Anyway, I didn't really know what to expect about parenting teens.  Though the topic ranked right up there in my top 5 greatest fears.  And I think the biggest problem I have with the whole thing is the loss of control.  And the loss of time to make any further impact on their choices make me doubt all the years leading to this.  

Did I  ___________?  
Didn't I ___________?  
Should we have___________?  
I thought we ___________.... 

Lots and lots of conversations going on like that between me and Fireman Dave lately.  (And here is where I make a public plea to my man to never ever leave me...... because I can't raise these monsters boys on my own.  He promises that they'll have to kill us both to get rid of us.  And y'all, those are the sweetest words I've ever heard.)

This past week I learned a bit about the behind the scenes life of teens.  The phones, the slang, the need for me to Urban Dictionary search anything and everything to have a clue about what's going on. It's the new girlfriend and the growing up too fast - and the pressure to be like other people, though inside somewhere I think they know there's pride in being different. 

But for a couple of days this week I completely lost heart in all that I've invested over the last 15 years.  I got sad and mad and disappointed.  And for about 2 seconds I gave up and decided to let it all work itself out - faith in God and all.  But then I remembered the story of the man stuck on his roof in a flood and how he kept praying for God to help him.  And though boat after boat came along to rescue him, he sent them away, still waiting on God....  See the irony in that story?  I don't want to get stuck on the roof in Teenager-ville and finding that what I thought was faith was just ignorance.  

So I got out of my funk and made some calls, had a heart to heart talk with a key player that placed me right in the center of the activities and the mind of the teen in question.  And I'm contacting important players, parents, and other adults in this game of raising my kids.  

And I got up from, well .... down.

And I decided that I love these boys bigger than this world and so much bigger than this bad reality TV episode of Teenage Angels, Pirates and Thieves.  And I decided that they're worth everything I have to do to grow them into good men.  And for now anyway, at this writing, I'm up for the challenge.  Then a long vacation filled with naps and tanned, shirtless men bringing me drinks by a pool.  

Maybe that slip and fall at work yesterday was what I needed to remind me that we all fall.  And that we all fail.  I definitely do.  But that some things are worth getting up for.  I happen to crazy love what I do, injuries and ice packs aside.  I've fallen before, and I know I will again - but I plan to get back up and start again every time.  Because that's where the love comes in.  

Just like being a mom.     

post script... and here are some wonderful things the boys did, ....

Kid 1 got up early on his day off school to take a trip with his high school jazz band to a local Head Start preschool - where about 100 kids celebrated The Week of the Child and loved to hear how talented these big kids are. There's Kid 1, front row, far left.  Guitar player extraordinaire.  

Kid 2 made this mom proud when another mom told me how her son considers my kiddo to be a "stand up guy".  I love that.  And y'all, I am open to receive compliments about me or my children 24/7.

And Kid 3 - bless him, is a friend to all.  He's been the assigned big kid watching over our little next door neighbor a few times lately and he takes his job very seriously.  Proud of him for always being such a sweet friend.  I see the hand of God at work in this kid every day.     

It's the little things that add up to the big. 

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