Heartbroken

I am heartbroken. I’m devastated.

It happened.

Just like I knew it one day would, but it happened way too early.

My boys asked the question we, as parents, thought would one day come. We had an answer all rehearsed, but “the talk” never goes exactly as planned, does it?

The older neighbor boy exposed my boys to some information that they were way too young to hear.

I guess I should be thankful that they came to us to verify the information.

Still, I’m saddened that we had to have the conversation at all.

Randall took Isaac home from church on Saturday night. I had Asher in the car with me. We put the boys in bed and Randall and I got in bed ourselves and Randall told me that he and Isaac had talked about Algebra in the car. Three days later, Randall confessed what they had really talked about.

Isaac asked Randall the question.

I heard Asher ask Isaac the same question all week long. They must have talked about it at one point before Isaac got The Talk from Randall. I was in another room every time so I didn’t feel the need to answer quite yet, but I heard Isaac ignore the question three or four different times this week alone.

And then it happened. The boys and I were on our way out the door last night. Randall was holding Asher in his arms, saying goodbye, when Asher blurted out:

Do you think Santa is real?

Can you hear my heart breaking?

I replied quickly that Santa absolutely is real. His name was Nicholas and a long time ago he secretly gave presents to needy kids. And we keep his spirit alive every Christmas by giving to people we love. I confessed that Randall and I were the ones who put the presents under the tree, but Santa is absolutely real and you can tell everyone you know that you still believe in Santa.  I do!

We also mentioned that it’s a secret you learn, and you don’t get to tell anyone else.

Randall confessed that when he and Isaac had the talk in the car on Saturday, he told Isaac, “Don’t tell Asher, or your mom.”

It was a short conversation.

Asher accepted the news and went on with his evening. I dropped the boys off at my parents house last night and went to volunteer with my 11th grade girls at church.

My parents said they were asking the boys about Santa and talking about the elves and the boys seemed pretty quiet about it all.

I talked to my girls at church about it. We went around the whole circle and each told our memory of the moment we found out that our parents were putting the presents under our trees and signing Santa’s name.  It’s a defining moment in every kid’s life.  You never forget the moment you learned the truth about Santa.

I honestly had to blink away some tears.

I was told years ago to pay attention to tears. Your emotions tell you what’s going on in your heart. I’m really trying to figure out the root of my devastation of this simple conversation I had to have with my boys.

I think it represents the loss of magic at Christmas. I think it’s the loss of childlike wonder at it all. I think that conversation last night means the loss of a huge piece of childhood. As I listened to my 11th graders tell their stories, the majority of the girls were in third grade when they found out for sure. Isaac is in second grade and Asher is only 5! I am so angry at our 5th grade neighbor friend! He stole my kids childhood!

I don’t know how to have Christmas anymore. I don’t know if I should leave some gifts unwrapped (because Santa doesn’t wrap his gifts). I don’t know how to talk about presents with my kids. I don’t know if we should not visit Santa this year. I don’t know how to do Christmas!

I know there are a lot of Christians out there who never emphasize Santa because they fear that their kids will lump Jesus in with all of the other fictional characters we talk about.

I guess there is still wonder and magic and mystery about Christmas. I guess I can emphasize the truth about the indescribable event that happened 2000 years ago that we celebrate every year. Maybe I should be sad that we’ve never looked at the virgin birth of a perfect son who was fully human and fully God with as much wonder as we look at a fictional, albeit jolly man in a fuzzy red suit.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with Santa. I’m his biggest fan! But maybe our Christmases are just going to be different from now on but not for the worse.

But for old times sake.  Here’s Santa through the years:

I’m convinced he’s the real one.

Just last year my boys sat in Santa’s lap as he read their cards and wish lists together.

 

<tear>   <sigh>

 

O Holy Night

Raise your hand if you love Christmas music!  /

Raise your hand if you can hardly stand to hear a Christmas song by December 26th. /

It’s just the same 20 songs over and over and over again.  They are some of my favorite songs, but I do get sick of them.

I’m not there yet, though!

But I wonder how often I gloss over the songs that once were written with so much meaning.

We sang a number Christmas carols at my Bible study this morning.  A few of the phrases I’ve sung so many times really stuck out to me.

One of them was in O Holy Night.  It’s probably my favorite carol.  The music is so hauntingly beautiful that it may overpower the significant lyrics.  Read what they say:

It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth.

Long lay the world in sin and error pining;

Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.

The author of these lyrics was Placide Cappeau.  In 1847 he understood what occurred to me just last year.  People had been expecting a Messiah for centuries and in the past 400 years, God had been relatively silent.  His people lay brokenhearted until this night.  A baby was born in the most humble of places and hope spread across the world.  When he appeared, everything made sense again.  I can only imagine that for centuries people doubted God even existed, that he would really keep his promises.  But now the soul felt its worth.  Life had meaning again. A thrill of hope spread across a weary world.

I can see how that kind of hope makes you want to fall on your knees.

 

In the third verse Cappeau wrote shockingly, liberal phrases for his time:

Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother.

And in His name, all oppression shall cease.

He got a lot of flak for these words.  Cappeau was a Frenchman and though slavery was rare in France in the 1800s, there were many slaves in America when he wrote these words.  A few short years later, our country would go to war over slavery.  I can only imagine how the oppression Christians have dealt throughout history in God’s name breaks His heart.  “Truly he taught us to love one another.”  May that lyric burn in your heart this season.

 

 

The lyrics to this song, but more so – the promise Jesus fulfilled that Holy Night, make me want to fall on my knees.

I pray that you pay attention to the words that you sing this season.  Feel the depth of their significance.  May there be moments when you enthusiastically mean what you sing, if you can get any sound out at all.

 

 

 

I’ll dissect more carols in the coming days.

All Season Long

Christmas season is officially upon us. We are less than a month away. My Christmas shopping is mostly done. Each year I seem to take on a huge DIY project. This year is no different, but hopefully will take less time.

I’m always doing my best to slow down and take in every moment of the Christmas Season. I want to savor every moment of joy with my family, every second of magic and wonder surrounded by twinkling lights and glorious scents.

Christmas has always been filled with magic for me. Magic isn’t the right word. Not hocus pocus illusions, but wonder and awe and…

I think our speaker this weekend at church gave me the word for it.  It’s indescribable.

Ben mentioned that the word we translate as “indescribable” was used only once in the Bible.  It’s in 2 Corinthians 9 that Paul gives thanks for the indescribable gift of grace which comes through Jesus.

When the God of the universe became human… there just aren’t words to describe that event.

Why God chose to send his Son to die, so that we could live… the whole act is just… indescribable.

That’s Christmas for me.  I can tell you about the warmth I feel in the glow of twinkling lights.  I can tell you about the joy I experience when I see the delight in my boys’ faces.  I can tell you about the contentment I receive when I’m surrounded by family and friends in a number of get togethers that will happen in the next month.

But the whole of the Christmas Season; the magic of it all, is just indescribable.

So Ben reminded us to soak it up.  Chew our food, savor each moment, and enjoy it.

Christmas is busy.  Things have to get done.  Houses need to be cleaned and decorated, gifts need to be bought, wrapped, and given.  For me, savoring the moment means I’m going to view my favorite things about this season through the lens of the indescribable gift of Jesus.

When I’m decorating my tree with my boys this afternoon, I’m going to thank God for the gift that they are to me.  I’m going to remember how Mary, Jesus’ own mother, sat back, took in the moments she shared with her baby boy, and cherished them in her heart forever.

When I’m thoroughly enjoying baking Christmas cookies in my kitchen, I’m going to slow down and savor the moments.  I’m going to thank God for his provision.  Not only does he give me my daily bread, but sugar and butter as well.

As I shop for, wrap, and exchange gifts this year I’m going to remember the gifts that were given to a little boy that would foreshadow the reason he came to this earth.  And the ultimate gift that was given to me because of his life, death, and resurrection.

I am dearly loved.  And so are you.  And I’m going to bask in the light of that thought all season long.

 

Somewhere Out There

Tonight is Pie Night.  Kirklands across St. Louis County are making pies and gearing up for their favorite night of the year.

And I’m over four hours away at Tablerock Lake.

But I’m not missing out on anything.  Tonight is the very first Littleton Pie Night.  I’ve forced 12 Littletons to make their own pies and stuff their faces with them tonight after we eat ham sandwiches.

So in honor of my first pie night away from home.  I wrote this little song.

Somewhere out there beneath Missouri sky
Someone’s making a pie and eating it tonight

Somewhere out there someone’s baking a crust
And filling it to the very brim in that big somewhere out there.

And even though I know how very far apart we are,
The Littletons are making pie just like you from afar!

And when the last ham sandwich is eaten here or there
It helps to think we’re seeing pie galore with some to spare!

Somewhere out there if Pie can see us through
Then we’ll be together somewhere out there
Out where dreams come true.

And even though I know how very far apart we are,
I’m wearing my pie necklace, hoping you are from afar.

And when the night wind starts to sing its lonesome lullaby
It helps to think we’re eating pie till we think we’re gonna die!

Somewhere out there if pie can see us through
Then we’ll be together somewhere out there
Out where dreams come true.

Happy Pie Night everybody!  May all your dreams come true.

Pie Night Parody

It occurred to me while I was driving to the store today to pick up the last few holiday ingredients, that I should take that awful Rebecca Black song and turn it into an awesome Pie Night song today.

Last year, I wrote a beautiful parody of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.  This year I wanted to do something similar.

This is how far I got:

7am, waking up in the morning
It’s a good day, time to get up now.
Gotta thaw dough, no time for cereal
We’re makin’ pie today, cutting dough into leaves
Stirring fruit filling, watching out for little thieves
Stealing tastes here, licking spoons there
Gotta get it in the oven, then straight to the Frigidaire.

Gotta make a fruit pie,
Gotta make a cream pie
Gotta make my mind up
Which pie should I choose?!

It’s Pie Night, Pie Night
Gotta eat pie on Pie Night
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to Wednesday, Wednesday
Pie Night, Pie Night
Gotta eat pie on Pie Night.
Everybody’s looking forward to this Wednesday.

Fillin’ plates, Filling plates (Yeah)
Stuffin’ Face, Stuffin’ face (Yeah)
Yum, Yum, Yum, Yum
Looking forward to this Wednesday.

6pm sharp gotta eat some ham
Not too much gotta save some room
Yum, Yum, lick your thumb
You know what it is.
I got pie, you got pie
20 more pies to the right.
I got pie, you got pie
Which pie is next?

Should I choose a fruit pie,
Should I choose a cream pie
Gotta make my mind up
Which pie should I choose?!

It’s Pie Night, Pie Night
Gotta eat pie on Pie Night
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to Wednesday, Wednesday
Pie Night, Pie Night
Gotta eat pie on Pie Night.
Everybody’s looking forward to this Wednesday.

But the song was way too awful to continue.  The verses didn’t make any sense and I had to listen to the song to figure out what she was trying to do with the lyrics.  It was awful.  Maybe I’ll come up with a better parody for tomorrow.

These Boys

Isaac came home from school yesterday and for some reason, he looked like he had aged 6 years.

I am so in love with these boys.  We’re definitely in a new phase of life.  They are both in school and my time with them is so short.  I get these boys when they are tired, hungry, and needing to get rid of a whole lot of pent up energy, but time is passing too quickly for me to dwell on the negatives anymore.

These boys are sweet, smart, full of energy and they each hold my heart.

In a season of gratitude, I am so thankful for my two boys.

 

uh… I think I just picked a dried booger off of the key board…

 

sigh…

 

What was I saying?  Gratitude!  Yes, Thank you God for my sweet, rambunctious boys.  May my time with them be well spent before they’re old and gone.

 

 

 

The Butter to my Bread

Asher was in a school musical this morning.

He played Bread.

And wore a turkey hat.

It was the cutest thing I’d ever seen.  I love these plays.  They’re ten minutes long and the kids are so stinkin cute.  I could not wipe the huge grin off my face, and I may have shed a tear or two when 60 five-year-olds started shouting to the music about turkey and “punkin” pie.

Adorable!

Asher Jay, you are the butter to my bread and the breath to my life!  I love you, Sweet Boy.

Perspective

Parenting is so hard.

I know I don’t have to tell you that. There are so many roles to play.  I can be a nurse to my kids.  I can be their cook, their chauffeur, their entertainer.  I really don’t mind being their housekeeper.  I love to be their teacher and friend.  It’s the parenting part of parenting that I just am not good at.

I feel like I’ve tried every theory possible to “train up a child in the way he should go.” But I feel totally helpless sometimes.  We have many good days, but I seem to constantly question my parenting strategies.

I read this a while back. And I’ve read it many times since.  It was eye opening for me. And I’m using it now as a point of reference.

It’s all a matter of perspective.

I can choose to think that I have a difficult child who is driving me crazy in constant battles of will, or I can choose to see him as a child of integrity who isn’t easily swayed from his own viewpoints.

I can take each situation as a lesson to show him how to respect his elders (i.e. fight with his elders), or I can give him opportunities to make wise decisions and be responsible on his own.

I can break his will and teach him to be obedient, or I can foster a relationship built on mutual love and respect.

This article was completely revolutionary for me.  I still have no idea how to put much of this into practice.  I say that my boy is completely opposite of me and I don’t understand him.  In truth, though our energy levels and social attitudes are very different, our interests and personalities (read: strong wills) are very similar.

I think what I’ve needed most is just a change of perspective.

 

God, help me to step back and look at the big picture of parenting.  I so often feel like I just need to make it through the day.  When maybe I should be focusing on a brighter side.  Establishing a relationship with my boys, not just disciplining or rewarding each behavior.  Push back my feelings of helplessness and give me hope for our future.  I need clarity and specific ideas how to set my boys up for success.  I need patience and peace to handle the crazy that is two energetic boys.  Thank you for the personality that you gave my boys.  May they grow and perfect their strengths; Isaac standing up for what he believes in, and Asher caring wholeheartedly for the people around him.  May they use their strengths to do good in this world and make it better than they found it.  Help me to be a good mother, a wise mother, and one that my boys want to stick with and run to in good times and bad.

But…

Yes, I’m still tired.  Asher came home from school yesterday shouting a new word he had learned from our neighbor boys.  Ugh.

Yes, my boys wear me out and drive me crazy.

But… Isaac and Asher,

I will never tire of hearing the sound of your laughter.

I will never tire of playing with you.

I will never tire of your honest questions.

I will never tire of your beautiful creations

Or your wonder at life and the world around you.

I will never tire of your voice

Or your smile.

I will never tire of the way your cheek feels in my hand.

I will never tire of your endless imaginations.

I will never tire of holding you close

Or tucking you in every single night.

I will never tire of looking into your bright blue eyes.

I will never tire of watching you succeed.

I love to see the pride it brings you.

I will never tire of seeing how you love each other

And your dog.

I will never tire of reading to you

Or hearing your stories.

I will never tire of holding your hand.

I will never tire of exploring with you.

I’ll love you forever, my two boys.