Tuesday, September 16, 2014

When they shut you out…and what Mama says to do about it.

Mama had told me about The Teenager Phase long before I reached it. We read hints of it in books, heard other Moms talking about the symptoms of this phase and how to reach their kids who seemed to draw up and in, further and further from plain sight. Sure, they could be standing there, but they seemed so far off. They were cold and distant from the warm children those mothers knew them as. It was a dark, mysterious cloud I determined against from the time I heard about it. I would never be like that.

Around twelve or thirteen, I began to feel a strange pull of sensations.  Curious and almost intrigued as to where they'd lead me or what they meant, I gave them their head.  They were feelings of suppression from the higher ups - Mama, Daddy, Preachers. They were the desire to Be apart from what defined me. Apart from my upbringing, apart from the people associated with me. During this time, I felt much embarrassment - discovered the powers of that force for the worst, and found myself being ashamed at my family, my clothes, my hair, body and church. I wanted freedom. I wanted to be someone important. None of this, I was convinced, could be found in what I'd grown up in. My parents, but my mother, especially, was holding me back. She'd keep me from experiencing my life to its fullest pleasures, and for this, I felt resentment building. I gave these thoughts their lead, letting them pull me on in whatever direction they willed. What I didn't realize - or want to realize - was that they were not leading me anywhere; they were a wedge in the form of "Freedom", which was being driven between my relationships, and especially with Mama.

My life grew, changed, molded. God got a hold of me and broke a very hard heart. Still, remnants of a deep seed kept their hold, as they always will when a person is not committed to rooting them out.
I kept a coldness toward Mama for years. Only in the past few years have I worked through it, growing more and more in awe of the person my selfishness kept me blind from seeing. That curtain is drawn back more each time as my eyes are continually accustoming to the amazing person she is. She teaches me many things on a daily basis. I've written her words in my book, I've asked her advice, I keep studying what makes her great.  Feverishly I write and rehearse and think of what she's taught, because there is much more to learn from her than I can in a lifetime.

She was never one who things just came to - except for amazing balance on bicycles at 1 year old and winning the beauty pageant at 4 years old, when she would have rather have been racing around the yard and playing in mud. In high school she worked hard for good grades, to make friends and to do well. She wasn't the beauty queen, she wasn't popular to the popular kids and those good grades didn't come easily. But she was determined. Mama has always been determined. She recently told me something that has made such sense to me.  It made Mama and her ways, make sense.
"My homeroom teacher wasn't popular on his own merit, but he had a saying he kept up on his board that said, 
'They formed a circle and shut me out; 
But I formed a larger circle
And shut them in.'

 I've seen her do this over and over. Every cold look, every stiff hug I've given, every clipped answer to her compassionate, inquiring one.  Every time I've treated her without respect, been moody and unkind, I was baffled by this circle, which she quietly drew around me, then filled up with her love, her compassion and forgiveness. The thing I never figured out, was how she never treated me the way I did her. What would my life have been like if she did? How different it would be - and I would be.
Not until that day when she recently related her homeroom teacher's advice, did I realize what she's been doing all these years.  She's been shutting people in with love - no matter how many times she's shut out, she only draws the circle bigger.

If you have a Mama who's done this for you, Thank her.
If you're on the outside of the circle, be brave like she is, and draw the circle bigger.

Thank you, Mama. 
Thank you for your example.
Thank you for changing my life, one kind word, one prayer, one circle at a time.

I love you,


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Mama's Words... my own thoughts, and the state of the blog.

I've found it amusing when people ask, "So how was your trip home?…", or "How are you enjoying being home? What is it like?" ... Dear people. I love them to the hilt, but I never can decide how to answer. My verbal thoughts point blank would be along the lines of, "Home…feel…how do I feel…well…uh, you mean this burning of my throat? the heaviness inside and feeling of choking? The sudden bursts of crying - and then wondering why I'm doing that at all, because I'm so ridiculously happy being married to my amazing man…? That's how I feel."
But of course, you don't say that. I reply in terms that can be understood "Great! Good to see everyone. Sure - kind of strange after such a big change."
Every bride who's moved from a wonderful home has felt a little this way, I think.
 It's been two months - two wonderful months that I've been married. Two months of discovering how much laughter, pleasure, sweetness, mixtures of joy and sorrow, adventure, comforting companionship and beauty there is in marriage. Two months of change. Two months of unpacking, meeting new people, seeing new places, figuring out how to thrive 1200 miles and 20 hours away from what I've always known as home.  I feel raw. Raw from change. It's unrealistic to say I don't miss home; but I also see, plain as day that I've been given the beautiful beginnings of a home, a family, a new life.

She was sitting across from me at the booth. I'd had a lump in my throat all week. Now was my last day home, and Mama had set aside some time for "Real Talk". She was saying,
"...Sort of like what I've said, 'Don't wait for normal,' well,  Don't wait for tomorrow to settle your home and make it what you want. Another big thing to remember is that we are not promised tomorrow. You have to Endeavor today.

These two months I've gone back and read every scrap of advice I could find from Mama and others, but especially Mama.
"It's time to get your hammer'n nails out and get busy.  Get busy on what you can do."
So here's to a new phase of life, and doing what I can, today.

This morning I heard the sink running, plates and pots clanging. JB was washing my three day pile up of dirty dishes. I've been blessed. No matter what, I've already been blessed.
A man like that comes straight from the windows of heaven.

Mama and Abe

i know our cats just gotta wonder sometimes.

our band, of one night in which Abrum played his favorite Ranchero music, and we three girls danced around for half an hour, then followed Abe outside with yips and howls.  

yes, law. Mama's peach cobbler. 

JB, my Man. 
my gift and husband and best friend.

{While this blog will remain mostly for entries concerning Stories of the Grey Submarine, I will, as I have been wont to do in the past, enter my own thoughts and updates, when the notion takes me.}