Epic fail.

I have discovered through much trial and error (MUCH trial and error) that sometimes I am really bad at loving the ones I love.  Take last night (and trust me, you can have it), when I was stressed out because I left my homework for the last minute.  My fault, entirely, and yet I took it out on my sweet hubby.  Poor guy hasn’t had a free day in two weeks, and yours truly snapped at him because he had the nerve to lie down on the bed and watch something mindless.  This led to going to bed angry (I know, I know…you’re not supposed to.  Reality check, folks.  It happens.) and this morning as we rushed around getting ready to leave, we did it in silence.  This is the only kind of silence that I don’t like…this disconnect from my sweet hubby.  I ended up in tears at work, and when you work with high school students, and you’re crying, they immediately assume that the world is ending or something.  Not sure why, since these same students can stand at my desk flipping through a box of Kleenex like it’s a Rolodex and sobbing hysterically…but as soon as I even LOOK like I’m crying, they all want to take my temperature, make me lie down and alert the media.

I wish I knew why, when I’m having one of “those days”, I immediately lash out at the ones that I love the most.  I’ve tried the whole “lashing out at random people on the street” scenario, but it’s not very satisfying.  The madder I get, the worse my Spanish gets, and so I end up yelling at them and not making any sense, and they just look at me like I’ve lost my mind, which is probably not too far from the truth.

I guess it has something to do with forgiveness.  The random guy on the street who just got his head handed to him by the crazy white woman doesn’t care.  And to forgive, you have to care.  I know my sweet hubby loves me.  Sometimes I don’t know why, but I do know he loves me.  And he will (actually has already) forgive me.  That doesn’t make it right.  I don’t get to keep taking out all of my frustrations on him, just because he will take it, and keep loving me.

I’ve got some work to do on me.

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”  Romans 7:15

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You know you’re a missionary wife when…

So I’m over here: http://www.kellyskornerblog.com/ today and she’s talking about ministry wives.  So of course I’ve got to say something, because I always have to say something.  Or at least according to the Sweet Hubby I do.  Therefore, without further adieu (I’ve always wanted to say that)…

You know you’re a missionary wife when…

1) The local grocery store (or what passes for a grocery store) gets a shipment of some random product that you would never even look at if you were in the US, and not only do you buy 25 of them, but you call all of your missionary wife friends and let them know exactly where to find them…so they can go buy 25 of them too.

2) Someone leaving the field can sell you 3 boxes of instant pudding that they’ve had in their pantry for 5 years…for $10.

3) The thought of sending your child back to suburban Ohio for the summer nearly undoes you because of the DANGER, when this same child spent Carnival weekend in the jungle surrounded by…jungle things…and got there by sailing down a piranha infested tributary of the Amazon river in a dugout canoe piloted by a 12 year old kid.

4) You get highly offended if you walk into a friend’s house in the US and they don’t have your picture on the refrigerator.

5) You’re lonely.  Investing in friendships becomes a scary thing, because the last 10 or 15 or 35 times you’ve done that…they’ve left.  It’s easier to keep everyone at arms length rather than risk another goodbye.

6) You spend furloughs trying to make your children behave because missionary kids have “that” reputation, and people are going to know that it’s completely undeserved.

7) That missionary kid reputation is TOTALLY deserved…and your kids prove it.  People invite you back anyway.

8) You walk into a Costco in the US and immediately lose your ability to speak.  You just walk around with your mouth hanging open mentally asking yourself why someone would possibly need 350 rolls of toilet paper at one time.

9) You wouldn’t change your life for the world…or you would fly home on the next available plane.  It just depends on the day.

10) You’re afraid to say what you’re really feeling most of the time, because someone might think you an ungrateful wretch.  Which…sometimes…you are.

11) You forget that buying a whole chicken here means just that–buying the WHOLE chicken–and scream EVERY TIME you find the head and feet.

13) You see issues like immigration differently…because those people have faces and names.

14) You can work a Walmart and pack a suitcase like nobody’s business.  Weight limits?  PLEASE.  These airlines have NO IDEA who they are dealing with.

I love being a missionary wife.  I’m not complaining.  Don’t take it that way.  Because…well…see #10.

I am that mom…

Today there was an article on the Yahoo about a couple that accidentally left their three-year old at Chuck E Cheese after a birthday party, and didn’t even realize it until they saw it on the 11:00 news that night.  Horrifying, right?  Friends, I AM that mom.  That could SO happen to me.  I trained my children early to stay close, because I am so scatterbrained that I could easily go off and leave a child in Walmart, and not realize it until Dan asked me that night just exactly how many children we have again?

I keep telling myself that my mothering skills are just getting better and better, but really…who am I kidding?  For instance, we SHOULD have a schedule around here.  A nice, neat schedule, where we eat at the same time every night and Patrick gets his homework done BEFORE he spends three hours on the Wii and doesn’t get to bed until 9:30 and then has to be dragged out the next morning yelling “It’s not FAIR!”  Instead, we eat when I manage to drag myself off of the Facebook or the Pinterest and figure something out for dinner.  Patrick gets to bed at a rather irregular time EVERY night.  About once every two weeks or so, he crashes and sleeps for hours, just to catch up, and then we start over.

I would love to have an exercise schedule.  Yeah.  Like that’s going to happen.  My friend Jen is moving back to the US in a couple of months, and I’ve bought her exercise bike.  It’s recumbent, which I’m pretty sure means that I can lie back and pedal while eating a bowl of chocolate ice cream.  I’m looking forward to this–in fact I’ve already started practicing eating the chocolate ice cream, just so I’ll be really good at it.

I love a clean house.  I NEED a clean house.  I get nervous if the house is a mess.  I’m nervous a lot.  Before we moved to Ecuador, we sold approximately 90% of our stuff.  We now have about 3 times as much as we started with.  There is stuff EVERYWHERE in this house.  And I can’t seem to get rid of anything, but I really can’t stand for it to be lying around getting in my way, so there are little piles of stuff everywhere.  Getting in my way.  I’ve tried getting rid of stuff, but my ADD kicks in, and I end up emptying my closet with the intention of getting rid of whatever doesn’t fit, but then I find that blue sweater that I’ve been looking for forever, and then I need to match up my socks (I only have about 6 pairs) and then I decide that I should try everything on just to make sure that it really doesn’t fit anymore so I end up with everything thrown out of my closet onto the bed, and my Fibro kicks in and I need to go take a nap.  Dan walks in and starts to ask me what in the world I’m doing and am I planning on cleaning it up, and I end up with my hands over my ears going “LA LA LA LA LA!” so that I don’t actually have to address that question.

You all DO understand why you really need to pray for my Sweet Hubby…don’t you?

Rationally speaking…

Now that I’ve stopped bawling and gotten back to my old semi-rational self, I wanted to clarify a couple of things.  I am well aware of Patrick’s learning issues.  My issue with the guy on Friday was not that he chose to focus on the learning issues so much, but rather that he chose, after spending a very short amount of time with Patrick, to let those issues define who Patrick is. I am well aware that ignoring or denying Patrick’s learning problems will only hurt him.  What I will not do is let Patrick use those issues as an excuse for not becoming the man that God has called him to be.  And people like the guy on Friday, who immediately assume that Patrick’s issues cannot be overcome, will cause him to end up naked on the couch eating Cheetos when he’s 35, and blaming me for it.  Not happening.

We don’t know what the future holds for our little guy.  After I wrote that post, I received emails, comments and FB messages from dear friends, whose children had at some time or another, been “defined” by an expert.  And every one of my sweet friends, without fail, let me know that even though they wanted to “slug the guy in the face” they had chosen to ignore what had been said, and to let their children grow up without the labels that society wanted to give them.  This is what I want for Patrick.  Whether he ends up being a brain surgeon, a fireman (his current dream, along with working at Extreme Response with Daddy) or decides to pump gas for a living, I want him to be able to do it knowing it is HIS choice, not something he’s doing because someone, somewhere, told him that he would never be good for anything else.

We have all been created with gifts and talents that are given to us by our Creator, to use for His glory.  Just because someone says we don’t have any value doesn’t make it so, but our children are fragile, and they might just believe one of those people one day.  And I think we have the right to slug those people in the face (I didn’t–I kind of like my job, and the administration frowns on slugging people–even if they desperately need it) or at least give them a piece of our minds.  No one has the right to take away a child’s future.

Kids: they dance before they learn there is anything that isn’t music.  ~William Stafford

My sweet boy.

I had a meeting today with “the specialist”.  It is to my credit that I did not rip his head off of his shoulders.  He administered a test to Patrick that was supposed to tell us how to better work with him, to help him succeed.  Instead, I get a 3 page document, telling me all of the things that Patrick CAN’T do, and WILL NEVER be able to do, and we need to leave the field, and I can’t homeschool him because he will be such a drain on me, and they don’t know if he’ll be able to continue at the Alliance, and didn’t he hear something about maybe the Ecuadorian government opening a school for “children like Patrick”.  I just about lost my mind.  This is my CHILD that you are talking about like he’s a lump of something you just found on the bottom of your shoe.  This is my BABY, who has beaten the odds so many times.  This is PATRICK. 

Two hours later I get Patrick’s mid-quarter progress report.  The lowest grade that the child has is a 90%.  I talked to his classroom aide this afternoon.  She is a good friend of mine, but she wouldn’t hesitate to tell me if Patrick wasn’t doing well.  She told me that they started fractions.  And Patrick understands them.

Here’s the problem.  My sweet boy has been labeled by the “experts”.  He is going to fight that label for the rest of his school days, because someone thought it would be a good idea to give him a label.  I’m sitting here crying over the labels that my baby will have to wear…because someone thought they knew him well enough to give them to him.  I’m so angry.  Patrick doesn’t get to find out who Patrick is…because someone else has already told him.  The guy today told me that Patrick is going to be bullied, and that he is going to know soon that he is “different”…and that the other kids won’t play with him.  I wanted to run screaming from the room.  Instead, I sat there and listened.  isn’t that what you are supposed to do with “experts”?  Don’t they know everything?

You don’t tell a child what he can’t do.  Because he will believe you.  You tell him what he CAN do.  And you help him learn to do the other things.  My only saving grace this morning is that Patrick wasn’t included in our meeting.  Because contrary to what the “expert” thinks, my little guy understands what you say.  TO him and ABOUT him. 

Caution:  Mad Mama Alert.