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Bad Mom


The past year has been one of loss for me and my family. Right now, we are in the midst of losing our house. We are moving in a month - because who wouldn't want to move in the middle of January in Michigan???

I've lived most of this year in physical pain. After rounds of doctor visits (from my family doc to the university hospital), I finally got some answers ... but no solutions. Even the top-rated docs at U of M didn't want to touch the source of my pain.

It was suggested to me that I try for a spinal stimulator. While this seemed like a great idea, it set off weeks of phone calls: pain clinic, doctor, insurance and round and round and round. I'm in the midst of a trial and it looks good, but the permanent implant may be weeks away .... and we are moving.

Then last week, one of my kids dropped a bit of a bombshell. I didn't react very well. It feels like another enormous loss to me. I did a horrible job of trying to make myself understood, and my child reacted with, "You know, you can be a real b*^#%."

Which I can.

Now I have this giant block sitting in the middle of my chest. Some of that block is built from my own sinfulness. Some of that block is the emotional toll all this is taking. And some of that block is the realization that my kid doesn't really respect me.

I've been pondering: do our kids owe us anything? Biblically, they are supposed to "honor" us. What does that mean? It doesn't mean they have to like us. It doesn't mean they have to talk to us. Sabrina Beasley McDonald wonders if ALL parents are due this honor, even if the parents were abusive:
Every Father's Day I attend church with my parents. During these services, the pastor always asks if anyone would like to stand and pay tribute to his or her father. One by one, people share their memories, and each year without fail, a frail little woman, looking weary from a hard life, stands.
Everyone patiently watches as she rises slowly and confesses in a tired trembling voice, "My daddy was a drinking man. He wasn't there much, but when he wasn't drinking, he was a good man … I loved my daddy." The tears well up in her eyes as she makes her way back down to the pew.
 She never says much; there isn't much to say. But she faithfully and sincerely obeys the fifth commandment … even if her father didn't deserve it.
I do not deserve praise for parenting. My children are a gift from God, and they will have to decide for themselves what is due me and my husband. They are still baby-adults, and I hope they will figure things out.

I was reminded last night as I was praying and pondering of Mother Teresa. She loved God so much, yet for some reason He chose not to give her any consolation from that relationship. None. And that should not surprise us - in fact, it should surprise us that any of us get any consolation from God at all. He, after all, does not need us. He has no need to be in a relationship with us. He is not changed by us. Yet, He lovingly responds to us as a parent to a child.

I am no Mother Teresa, nor am I a deity. I am a sinner, and a real b*%#@. I also cannot rely on any person to sustain me spiritually - that is the province of God. I'm still trying to figure that out ... much like my kids, I suppose.

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Crossing Guard

I saw you
today
as you guided
your little man across that busy street.

You were wearing some
big man boots
and
watching cars and lights.

Your little man had on
black sneakers and
a Mickey Mouse hat
that bounced
as he walked.

He wasn't watching nothing but
your big man boots
and
the white stripes of the crosswalk.

Just before
he got to the sidewalk again,
his step bounced a bit
- he hopped over
a spot where the asphalt broke.

You turned to look,
holding out a hand to
your little man.
Not rushed or angry,
just making sure
he got up
on that sidewalk.

Then you walked on,
in your big man boots,
face into a cold Michigan wind,
with the little man behind,
his hat bouncing.