Sunday, June 19, 2016

a little character building

First let me say that we all overslept and missed church today because we are heathens of the Grade AA variety.  But I am a believer that God loves us exactly where we are.  Whether that be in Sunday worship or at the Old Navy store in search of that darling jumpsuit I saw on Instagram.  

And today is Fathers Day and Fireman Dave is at the station saving the world.   Because he's a superhero in every way which is exactly what makes him the most wonderful dad to our boys.  

Now onto some wider scale life events....and some advice if I may.  

I have no idea what to say to the losses of late in the news.  The mass shooting in Orlando - no matter what or why you believe it to be - was just wrong.  That's all that needs to be said.  And those people who have enough time on their hands to turn it into something political? Maybe you should use your time to go help.  Visit a survivor and bring gifts, help the families of the lost, donate some energy to an effort that might actually make a difference.  But sharing hate all around or transferring blame to whatever you believe to be the problem, isn't helping.  Solve the problem, don't be the problem people.  

And oh my gosh the politics.  Which you already know I don't get into here there or anywhere.  Like Dr Seuss says in Green Eggs and Ham, I do not like them here or there... I do not like them anywhere.  Which is my standard reply to all the arguments going on out there.   

My advice to you on the subject... if you don't like a particular candidate, then don't invite them over for dinner.  But for Heaven's sake, respect the thoughts of others please.   Good Lord people.  

And then the Disney alligator incident.  Oh my gosh I can't even imagine the grief.  Fireman Dave and I went to Disney World ages ago before kids and had a wonderful time.  But I remember, in my not having a clue about children stage of life, fussing about all the loud kids with Exhausted Disney Syndrome.   Because that's a real thing.  

Then we went back when the boys were little, on the way to our niece's wedding in North Carolina.  Which people always seem to think is funny when I tell them we drove from Texas to North Carolina by way of Florida.  We stayed at the Fort Wilderness Resort Cabins.  And when they took us to our cabin that first day, I put a kink in the Disney way of doing things and declared the cabin to be both unfit and unsafe - because it sat right on the edge of the waterway.  And I plainly asked them about any history of alligator problems - it being Florida and all and there had just been a slew of alligator incidents in and around the area, one being a jogger that got dragged into the water right off the jogging path.  

But they said they had no history of alligator problems.

Said it looking right into my eyes like that snake in the Jungle Book story that hypnotizes the kid into sleep while he coils around his unsuspecting body.  To which I promptly replied, Um, I still need a new cabin please.  Because y'all, I was terrified to have three littles out there, ages 5,3 and 2 as alligator bait.  

I remember Fireman Dave acting all embarrassed at my insistence on the safety of our children in the proverbial happiest place on earth, but my mom instincts were yelling gator danger,  and they won out over husband's embarrassment of my non-conformity. We did, however, go see fireworks on the beach at the resort and gave that no thought of danger because that particular area didn't look swampy.  So I don't want to hear how the parents of that precious little boy in the news were bad parents for letting him wade in the water.  It was a freak thing and that's it.  Bless their hearts for not only dealing with such a loss, but with the meanness of people on the internet putting in their two cents.  

And now onto the latest Walters news.  I spent $600 at the dentist last week  because that WaterPik I bought the boys to use to better clean their braces is apparently going unused in their bathroom.  But I met the nicest man in the waiting room and I wish to goodness I had gotten his full name and contact information.  He was an older man sitting in there waiting on his wife and keeping up with his 11 year old great grandson who they are raising.  He was diagnosed in the past couple of years with diabetes and due to some health problems, had to retire as the maintenance man for a company that owned several apartment complexes.  And he told me how lonely his days have been since his retirement, with his wife and grandson going off to school and work.  And how he misses the people more than anything.  Problem is that God spoke to me a little too late and I wish I had gotten his phone number since I always have repairs that need to be done - and I, too, have had experience in the Department of Loneliness.  That and everybody knows I like to talk as much as it seems he does.  And I can think of no better situation than a good visit while getting my broken shower tile repaired.   

And y'all, we all need people.  I think that's why we had such a nice visit in the dentist waiting room.  I've been plunged into a new state of missing a friend, and he understood.  Thank you God for making my billion dollar dentist visit more pleasant than it would've been otherwise.  

And the biggest news of the week.... two of my kids are juvenile delinquents.  And oh so glad to be able to say two instead of three in that sentence! The two involved remaining numberless to protect what is left of their reputable reputations.  

I had just finished a long day at work, settled into my car with the air conditioner blowing right on my sweaty face, when I picked up voicemail messages.  One in particular involving two of my boys, a school district police officer, and a stolen popsicle. But y'all, the voicemail actually said that my boys had been involved in a theft and my already elevated heart rate skipped a beat and I prepared to post bail at whatever jail they had them in.  

The boys were at the high school participating in a couple of things... a sports conditioning camp for athletes and a PSAT college entrance exam prep course.  Not your usual stomping ground for criminals, mind you. Turns out they weren't the most interested students in the college prep course and after sitting in a four hour lecture on pronouns, they found the teachers lounge and an open box of popsicles.  Each kid in the notorious PSAT gang took one, thankfully not the entire box, then took their prize into a downstairs bathroom where they spent a generous amount of time obviously hiding out from the law.  But everything was caught on security video which is when they met Officer Garcia, who happens to be just lovely.  And of course after the phone call I rushed to meet him at the school where he helped me put things into perspective.  He smiled at me and said, Mom, they could be doing worse.  

And y'all, I had just had that conversation with someone days before.  About how I'm a mom who tries to never say never.  As in, my kids would never do that.  I think the more accurate statement would be that My kids are capable of anything, today just wasn't the day.  

Kids are a work in progress.  Heck, I'm still a work in progress.  And I told the boys exactly that as I took away their phones for the weekend.  I totally get how boring the class was that they were in.  And I completely understand that an open box of popsicles left behind in a school in the summer time looks like a free treat to a kid.  But the popsicle is just the object, not the lesson. 

Our character is showing through our words and actions.  And apparently on security cameras everywhere.  And those are things people will remember us by.  Will we be popsicle thieves or will we be something better? Today being Father's Day, I'm thinking about how my dad, in every situation, talked to me about building character.  

It's building character.  Every challenge, difficulty, problem or opposition was building character.  And he was right.  

My dad was far from perfect.  He drank too much, he was gone most of the time because home for a very long time just wasn't the place most of us wanted to be.  And he lived with a lifetime handicap of scholiosis, short arms and only three fingers on each hand.  And then there was bone cancer, chemo, radiation, multiple surgeries, and loss of his hip, pelvic and thigh bones.  But he still went fishing.  And he still went hunting.  And almost got us killed in a bar one night when he and I went to hear Merle Haggard perform, drunkenly trying to pick a fight with a cocky young man who looked at him wrong.  

But man did he have character.  And he provided endlessly for us without question or hesitation.  And he taught me more about being strong than anyone else I know.  He's been gone 14 years and I wish for lots of things regarding that.   

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