Stories


I had the great pleasure of witnessing my parents’ send-off party from the church where my dad has pastored for the last seven years.   Yes, this congregation was so sweet to honor their pastor…and honor, they did.  The fact that my parents’ service to the church warranted a party speaks volumes about them, but the spirit in which it was carried out speaks volumes about the church.  Both my mom and my dad are so far beyond the spectrum of “good” that they are spectacular.  They are so spectacular that most people cannot identify the magnitude of their worth.

My dad is a scholar.  He does not deliver the kind of sermons that are full of sensationalism where the primary goal is to evoke an emotion.  His messages are reasonable and scripture-based.  Through that reason and scripture, he inspires.  He also requires himself to walk the straight and narrow path.  I never considered the possibility that my dad would reveal poor character;  that wasn’t him.  He conducts himself by a simple code of ethics.  “Rule # 1: Do right—always.  Rule # 2: Don’t do wrong.  By the way, we define Rule # 1 by what God says, not by what people say.”  I remember that when I was a child and a teenager, I believed that he was not getting adequate credit for his intelligence nor his integrity.  As a child, I was frustrated because I lacked the capability of articulating such an oversight.  As a teenager, I took pleasure in poking holes in other teenagers’ unfounded insults (apparently, teenagers are a tough crowd).   There were, however, many teenagers who recognized his scholarship.  One teenager commented, “It’s like he knows the whole Bible!”  Yep.  It’s like that.

My mom is industrious and nurturing.  If there’s a job to be done, she’s the one to spearhead it.  There’s a great likelihood that the task will be accomplished ahead of schedule.  My husband calls her the Energizer Bunny—she keeps going and going and going.  At my wedding rehearsal, the officiates joked, “Well, when I saw a schedule down to the minute, I knew Beverly must have a hand in this.”  My mother does not have a mere area of expertise; she determines to BECOME an expert on whatever is set before her.  Whatever her hand finds to so, she does it with ALL her might (Ecc 9:10).  She also puts her heart into the people in her life.  She generously gives of herself.  I think that these two characteristics make her a fantastic pastor’s wife.  She meets needs.  She fixes what needs to be fixed.  She loves.

Maybe I am partial, but I think they are a dynamic duo.  Until this church where my dad pastored these last few years, I felt that no one seemed to have the wherewithal to recognize their significance.  I am so happy that I have witnessed a church who can see it!  They are gems.  They’re not diamonds in the rough, they’re in plain sight where everyone can see them, but it is a wonderful cluster of people who chose to see them.   It warms my heart.  This church has been such a sweet blessing.

This church had a sweet spirit of comradery and respect.  They have volunteered to minister to the community with a heavenly love.   These people look for ways to minister to the community.

Several years ago, I was disgusted at a different church because they fought my father tooth and nail when he tried to extend a welcome to a different ethnic group than the majority of that church.  He insisted that the Gospel is for everyone and the new group ought to be welcomed into the church with open arms.  However, as soon as he resigned from that vile flock that refused to be led, the church required the new group to leave.   That was NOT the case in the last seven years though.  This church not only accepted diversity, they encouraged it.  They have diligently extended a welcome to varying ethnicities, socio-economic statuses, ages and abilities.  They just love people.  In fact, my mother said that the identifying factor that made her want to be a part of this church was the cohesive love that  every generation showed to the others.

When my mother had a double knee replacement, two of the staff wives came to visit.  I sat there during the visit being so grateful that she had such wonderful women in her life.  Beth and Stacey are such good women.  They are so genuine and beautiful from the inside out.  She had a whole fleet of good women surrounding her in that church.  I’m so glad that she has had virtuous women to breathe strength into her when she felt weak and respect and lift her up when she was strong.

My dad had a strong support system too.  He has relied on his amazing staff and uncommonly capable laity.  As my mother says, “Our people are REALLY GOOD people!”

His youth director, Kevin, was a lay member who became staff.  I’ve known Kevin for more than half of my life because he was my Sunday School teacher when I was a teenager.  He and his lovely wife didn’t even have teenagers back then!  They faithfully took good care of us.  They were unbelievably positive, even though teenagers, as aforementioned, are a tough crowd.  I can say from firsthand experience that the youth department is led with an undying love and faithfulness.  (As an adult, I’ll throw “persistence” into that mix!)

One Sunday, I told the music director, after the frustration of getting three small children ready for church (moms, can I get a witness?!), “You sure know how to put a person in a good mood!”  The call to worship was always a strong, positive force.  Furthermore, there is an uncommonly high ratio of men in the choir.  That speaks to the willingness of the men in the church to do whatever is asked of them.

In fact, there is an uncommonly high ratio of men who are willing to do ANYTHING for the ministry.  Good leaders!  There are women who create cohesive community projects from thin air.  Good spirit.  Good people.  Really good people.  They are truly a BODY of believers.

I owe this church a huge debt of gratitude (first and second hand).  Thank you!  Thank you for being such a wonderful flock.  I am so blessed by your faithfulness and your ability to see the value of the dynamic duo!

Within an hour of posting yesterday that “Damsels in Distress” ought to let men be the knights in shining armor, my car, Harold, had leaked out all of the power steering fluid that I gave him the day before. I checked my voicemail (when I wasn’t turning with two hands). There was a message from my dad. He knows a guy—a guy who can fix my leak. He was calling to schedule delivering the car to the guy.

When he heard that I was driving a particularly grumpy Harold, my dad insisted that I stop, get a ride to work, and let my husband drive the car to him. After all, I might not be able to make the turns. So, I acquiesced, taking my own advice.

However, after work, my husband picked me up (power steering fluid in hand), took me to my car and instructed me to drive his car home. My knight in shining armor had come to rescue me upon his white horse (or…um, brown SUV). He was rescuing me from the perils that might befall me—the perils that my very first knight in shining armor anticipated. In my mind, I had met the “damsel in distress” quota. Apparently not.

When we got to my car, I grabbed the fluid, popped the hood, opened the reservoir, told my husband not to grab my rear end, and poured in the fluid. Not rocket science. My husband unnecessarily put his hand on the hood. He was annoyed. He chuckles when he’s annoyed (That annoys me.). He indicated that I had pushed him out of the way. He said, “Well, I guess I’ll just hold this hood up for you (it stays up on its own) since I don’t have anything else to do.”

Sigh. All this talk about not disrupting the chivalry and I can’t even back out of my own husband’s way.

I must say, though, that I am a very privileged girl to have so many knights to come to my rescue!

I am pleased to announce that chivalry is not dead.

While I advocate that women ought to be as self-sufficient as possible, I firmly believe that women should accept well-intentioned chivalry with gratitude.

My car, Harold (Harold is a ‘93 Grand Marquis who I love dearly, but he sometimes behaves like a grumpy man beyond his prime), has afforded me many opportunities to experience this.  Harold has two minor issues: the power steering is leaking and the wiring to the battery is loose.  So, it is not uncommon for me to have to pop the hood and add power steering fluid (I’m giving up and going to get that fixed by the way) or manipulate the wires long enough to engage the battery so that I can start him.  I can do these things.  So, at least a couple of times on each campus where I work, I’ve popped the hood and fixed the problem at hand.  Usually, a male passerby will ask me if he can help.  It seems to be slightly disturbing to them that there’s a blonde in a skirt hovering over an engine.  Though I’ve usually fixed the problem before they can ask if I need help, they have the same instinctive look in their eyes.  It’s as if they have the inner dialogue, “Me man. Me build things.  Me help untrained lady.” It’s an attitude that is genuine and truly warrants praise.

I am reminded of another instance.  In 2004, four hurricanes ripped through our state.  Hurricane Charlie hit when I was 8 days post-partum.  The day after, we found that our large hickory tree had molted like a sick bird all over the yard (no damage to the house).  My husband and I (my 9 day post-partum self) were dragging branches from the backyard to stacks in the front by the street.  My father in law and two brothers in law came to the house with a truck to cart off the downed branches.  I didn’t feel like I was exerting myself (my midwife disagreed), so I continued to drag branches through the yard.  I was enjoying not being cooped up in bed, but getting to stretch in the warm sunlight.  Then, I noticed that the three men who were not my husband tensed up and slumped their shoulders with a peculiar anxiety.  What’s eating them?  Then I realized that it was me!  I said to my father in law, “Are y’all acting weird like you’re afraid to pick up large things because I’m a girl?”  His eyes lit up as he said, “That’s very intuitive of you.  Maybe you should go inside and tend to the baby.”  They became highly efficient.  I think I might have heard them sing a few verses of Stout-Hearted Men.

Again, it’s not that I think that women should be so unlearned that we have no choice but to be the damsels in distress, but if we absolutely refuse ever to be damsels in distress, we remove from men the ability to fulfill the innate desire to be the champion and receive the gratitude subsequently.  It has been my experience that more productivity takes place if I can just back off and prepare to say thank you.

Let me clarify that women also have instinctive behaviors.  We just call ours “nurturing” instead of “taking care of business.”  For every time that I hear, “are you safe to drive?”, I will say, “may I get you something to eat?”

I will certainly say that it is in my best interest to be a damsel in distress…sometimes.  It should always come with a thank you though.  My sister used to say, “She who does not say thank you for a door opened no longer gets doors opened for her.”

My son, age 7, has started impressing me in a new way.

As a toddler, he used to impress me with his articulation.  As a kindergartener and a first grader, he impressed me with his ability to consume arithmetic, algebraic, and geometric ideas and respond intelligently.  I am told that he ought to have received more praise for those things, but I apparently didn’t understand the magnitude of his performance because he is a firstborn and I had no other children to compare with except my own childhood.  Having no understanding that I ought to discover a child’s strong suits and cater to those, I catered to my own strong suits that I saw in him.

However, recently, he has been impressing me by exhibiting a maturity beyond his years that he didn’t learn from me.

He had been faithfully attending rehearsals for the church Christmas play since August.  During finals week (where I was giving the final), he had a required rehearsal.  That evening, while I was giving a final and my husband (who has been the one driving him to rehearsals) was required to go back to the school where he works and run the sound for one of their Christmas plays (he had to ask a grandparent to watch our three children during the performance) , my seven-year-old son had no way to get to that rehearsal.

Sunday arrived and a kind person informed me (I had been at work for all of his other rehearsals and was much less equipped than all of the other moms) that I needed to return my son for church no later than 3pm for the last rehearsal for the play at 5:30pm.  Though the other one had been billed as a final rehearsal, this was apparently the FINAL final rehearsal.  We reorganized and spread our family over two counties and three locations to get him there on time.

My son was told that he was not allowed to perform because he had missed the single previous rehearsal.  Certainly the staging that they practiced in that one rehearsal was too hard for him to master in the two and a half hour block.  By the way, his staging consisted of “stand in this one spot.”  A child of 130 IQ might not be able to handle that?  Anyway, I was expecting to have to console him extensively.  He merely remarked that this was disappointing–not shedding a tear.

During the performance, his auntie asked him to sing all the lyrics from his seat so that she “could hear them.”  He, as opposed to the children on stage, didn’t have the benefit of reading the lyrics or watching the instructors, but sang his heart out from his seat.  I didn’t feel the need to have words with the powers that be because my husband and brother-in-law certainly filled that quota.

My son told me later, “I’m sorry that I didn’t get to perform for you.”  I responded, “I am so pleased with the fantastic attitude that you had that I think that I am MORE proud of you for doing a good job from your seat than if you had performed with the group.  This way, I got to see what a wonderful kid you are too.”

On another occasion, I had wound myself up and  as a result, I was spinning like a top through my kitchen.  In the middle of my frustration, my son put his hand on my shoulder and told me, “Mom, I really love you.  I think you’re great.  I just wanted you to know that.”  He has learned how to diffuse my frenzy instantly.  He must have learned that from his father!

Finally, he had very specific ideas about what he wanted for Christmas.  I gave him a budget (his budget was more than his toddler sisters’ combined budget) and took him shopping.  He picked an item, but upon checking the price, he realized that he wasn’t going to be able to afford both of his items and stay within his budget.  He paused for a moment.  He looked kindly into my eyes and said, “That’s okay, Mom.  This is enough.”

He had no idea that I had found the other items on his wish list for a great deal in October!  In a season where I was trying to teach my children about the perils of materialism, his sweet attitude nearly made me break character and raise the ceiling on his budget.  Nearly, but I didn’t want to squander the educational momentum.  He was still pleased on Christmas morning.  I have never enjoyed seeing him light up on Christmas morning like I did this year.

I always knew that my son would impress me, but I assumed that being proud of him for the KIND of person he is would come much later.  I’ve heard of this dance that mothers and sons perform where they are constantly redefining their relationship as the son learns how to be a functional and reasonable person, where who protects whom slowly changes over several years.  While I understand that there is much more morphing and redefining to take place in the next few years, I am astounded that he has enabled me to look into his eyes and see the man he will become in only half the time before I expected to have that revelation.  I am exceedingly grateful for any opportunity he gives me.

I was sitting at the computer deep in thought, wearing my glasses, unwashed hair, yesterday’s makeup (yeah, don’t ask), slouched, and not feeling great.

Darling Husband: You’re beautiful.
Me (assuming that he was being sarcastic): Whatever, shut up. (not looking up from my computer)
DH: I’m serious.
Me: There is no evidence to support your claim.

Later…
DH: You’re beautiful.
Me: That’s getting annoying.
DH: What do you mean? You’re ALWAYS beautiful.
Me: “Always” is much too lofty a claim. You see, you’re a pretty person by nature. You’re pretty about 95% of the time. Your “not beautiful time” is only limited to about 5%. I, on the other hand, could only claim your description 13% of the time. 13% is certainly not “always” and it certainly isn’t now.  In fact, 13% is kind of generous. I’m aware that though I am the girl in this relationship, I’m not the pretty one. I’m okay with that. I’ll stare at you.
DH: You’re …(calculating in his head) 87% a dork. You say that I have rose-colored glasses, but maybe you’re just wearing cloudy shades 5% of the time.
Me: Wow. You’re going to contest the mere 5% instead of accepting the 95%? Your hyper-optimism just killed your argument.

I know that I should just accept the hyper-optimism as a gift, but the lack of reason begs for a rebuttal.

 

When I was a kid, my parents never doled out money. (I take that back.  I had a $1/wk allowance starting at age 9.  When I was 11, it went up to $2/wk.  It stayed that week until I was eighteen.  A couple of months before I got married, I told them that while I appreciated the gesture, the $2/wk made me feel a little guilty. When we went to a theme park, I had a $5 allowance for the trip.  They did not buy an item, they gave me a budget.)  Even as a child, I understood and appreciated the logic of not succumbing to childish whims as my peers’ parents did. I remember being out with another family and the other child wanted a treat.  She asked her mother for the money and received it.  She asked me why I wasn’t following suit.  After all I had money in my wallet and my mother was available for the asking.  I said, “Nah, it takes too much out of my wallet and it won’t last that long.”  I didn’t even bother asking for it.  That wouldn’t be reasonable.   I’d say that my parents had a great policy.

Now, I have three children and have been married for ten years.  I’m twenty-nine years old.  These days, my mother occasionally says, “Here, put this money in your grocery budget.”  Frankly, I’m baffled each time.  Baffled, but certainly accepting!  I guess the lesson-learning period ended when I was eighteen.

My dad said, “Bring your car to me.  I’m going to have the brakes fixed.  I bought the parts.  Now, here, take my truck.  You can drive it to work.  It needs gas.  Here’s gas money.”  “But, Dad, thanks—but I’d pay for the gas to get to work anyway if I were driving my car.  I can pay for gas.”  “Eh, whatever.  Here take this gas money.”   This is a car that my parents bought a year after my husband and I had made the decision to make it with just one car.

While I find this puzzling (as in “who are these people?  I think I grew up with a different set.”), I am certainly appreciative.  In fact, I think that they raised me to be more appreciative now.  I am glad that my childhood vocabulary included words like frugal and budget while my adulthood vocabulary includes words like philanthropy and generosity.

I made a pickle sandwich.  I’m not pregnant—just throwing that one out there.  I chose pickle because it’s a little late to eat and I wanted something flavorful but not densely caloric.  This thought process reminded me of my mother-in-law.

My in-laws remarried in their late fifties.  Shortly after their second honeymoon, my mother-in-law made herself a bowl of ice cream.  Being somewhat hungry, she made the wise decision of filling up on something less caloric first.   She chose pickles, a worthy option in my opinion.

Just then, my father-in-law walked into his home and beheld his bride holding a large pickle in one hand and a bowl of ice cream in the other.  With his calm southern drawl, he grinned and asked, “Is there something you’d like to tell me?”

Dear mind of mine, get organized.  Think.  You need to put thoughts in their places the same way that the kids’ toys need to be placed in the appropriate baskets.  When either is disorganized, negativity runs rampant.  Organize all of your thoughts and put the negative ones away so that you can see the obvious positive ones lingering.  There is an abundance of positive things to ponder.  Find them.

To combat my own sour mood, I’ve been recalling some reasons to be optimistic. One particular story inspires my gratitude. In the middle of this story, some women at work asked me why I was so down, I told them that I didn’t have the Romans 8:28 story yet, and I’d rather wait to share when I found the good ending. I sure found that good ending, but it took a year and a half.
Four and a half years ago, what I believed to be chaos started.

We were supposed to buy a larger house (it was almost guaranteed that we would get the house at a great discount), so we put the majority of our furniture, most of our clothes, family pictures from the wall, and our dishes in storage to stage and sell our house. Though the house that we were going o buy had been on the market for a year and a half with no one else interested, it received its first offer the night before ours. So, even though we didn’t get the house, we had put all of the time and expense into storing so much of our stuff.

My husband called me at work and told me that he was standing in ankle deep water in the kitchen. Both cars were broken. While I was sitting in the waiting room with my mother while my father had colon surgery, I was enumerating all the things that were piling up that we couldn’t pay for. I listed that I had some sort of health issues and I couldn’t afford to go find out what it was. She asked, “Are you pregnant?” I said, “That’s highly improbable. I’ve tested negative and I haven’t exhibited the good health to make that possible.”

After my dad was out of surgery, I went home and sat in my living room next to my refrigerator and my stove (they were in there because the kitchen had to be gutted). I opened up the list of financial burdens that I had made. I asked the Lord to take away this burden list. I could at least take solace in the fact that we had a lot of undamaged furniture that was still in storage.

The next Sunday (Easter morning), I used the other pregnancy test that came in the two pack. I used it with the intention of talking to the midwives (preferable to drs) the next day and telling them, “See? I took another test. Since it’s negative, can you determine what is wrong with me?” It was positive. As a side note, at church that morning, we told my husbands’ family one by one as they sat down for the service that someone on the pew was pregnant. The rest of the row was men. We followed each person’s eyes all the way down the row and back up before they settled on me.

A couple of weeks later, I told my husband that I couldn’t scrub spots off of the linoleum on the bathroom floor. Maybe the spots were underneath. The restoration (pre-reconstruction) crew was finishing up the last little bit of work drying out the kitchen. They came back to assess the bathrooms. Long story short, both bathrooms had to be gutted. There was mold from pipes that had leaked. Shortly after revealing the mold I was a pregnant woman with a 104 fever. We had to stay at my parents’ house and at my in-laws’ house because our insurance company said that our house was perfectly livable (no kitchen, no bathrooms, toxic mold) and we should just put a porta-potty in the front yard. That sounds reasonable for a pregnant woman and a potty trainer, right?

The insurance adjuster was back. We were now on a first name basis.

I had to put a new transmission in my car.

By summer, we missed having our own home and our own space. We had worn holes in all of the welcome mats. We tried to stay at our own house. We left the made a nightly trip to Target or Wal-mart or Publix to get a little something to eat, and use the restrooms. Our son (then 3) would run outside yelling “potty!” no matter where we were. I apologized for him several times insisting that he was not accustomed to running water.

Our insurance company and our reconstruction company had a verbal disagreement (understatement). So, the construction company left our home (unknown to us because we had gone back to living with family) with the floor missing from the master bathroom for a week. A family of rats moved in during our absence.

We were now coming up on Thanksgiving and I was great with child. We finally settled with the reconstruction company. Our house was reassembled. Then, we started working with pest control to remove the rats. Between us and the pest control, we caught 5 of the 6 rats. After our daughter was born, I heard scurrying in the kitchen. I turned on the light just in time to see the tip of a nasty little tail run behind the dishwasher where there was apparently a hole that never was completely sealed. Then, I heard it scream as it happened upon the neighbor’s cat that was waiting for it. It was the most repulsive and pleasing sound! I love that cat! The next morning, we sealed that hole and never had that problem again.

We spent the next several months trying to dig out of the financial hole that the reconstruction had created. I told my mother on the phone that I had prayed about it and I had a peace about the house. I said that the Lord said that there was going to be something that was unexpected, but all-encompassing—something that we never would have seen coming.

On June 2, 2008, I finally had a chance to return an item to a friend who lives close to where I work. I couldn’t meet my husband to pass off the kids before work, so my mother agreed to watch them. After work, I got a frantic call from my husband. “There’s been a fire. Please come quickly.”

There were several fire trucks and neighbors piled in the yard. My husband fell asleep while writing a paper. He didn’t intend to fall asleep, so he was in the living room away from the fire instead of in the bedroom next to it. He woke up to the sound of the master bathroom’s mirror exploding. He gathered picture albums and the box with birth certificates and passports and ran out of the house.

My husband didn’t have to get the children because it just so happened that they were at my mother’s house. He wouldn’t have been able to get them.

We saw the fire start again three more times. The house was a total loss. The Red Cross was called into help. They were phenomenal.

In the aftermath, the insurance adjuster said, “The fire trashed your house. It’s a good thing that I have all of these pictures from when your house flooded. I can recommend that you get the total value of your policy.” Bless that wretched flood!

The insurance company who had been so unpleasant during the flood was merely tired of us and didn’t question anything.

We put in an offer and had it accepted for our new home that was a brand new foreclosure hours before it was on the market. The realtor said that our timing couldn’t have been more perfect. When we moved in, we unloaded our undamaged furniture and put the family photos on the walls. Between the generosity of our church, the school district where my husband works and our storage unit, all of our needs were met.

I was confused, but God was omniscient. I was powerless, but God was omnipotent. Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

In the last three years, when I’ve developed a bad attitude or tried to usurp the control over my life again, He reminds me, “Haven’t you figured out that I can take everything from you and still take better care of you than you can by yourself? You’re as foolish as the children of Israel who had the audacity to complain and worry even after I parted the Red Sea!”

 

I have long described myself as missing the “girly” gene.  I mean, I am female, but I’m missing that innate desire to exhibit “girl behavior.”  I still don’t understand the draw of it.  I don’t understand the desire for behaviors that other women seem to be born with.  It’s like those posters at the mall that look like a bunch of squiggly lines and if you stare at it long enough, a picture will pop out at you.  But there’s always that one guy who stands there saying, “I just don’t see it!”  I’m that guy.  I’ll see women doing things that they feel compelled to do and it never would have occurred to me to exhibit that behavior.

When I was a child, I didn’t want to play with dolls.  I understood that I was a girl and I was supposed to want to play with dolls, but I couldn’t figure out why.  Dolls didn’t DO anything.  Other little girls carried dolls around with them, but it just seemed like arm clutter.

I remember once asking my mother how to swaddle a doll.  She very sweetly and slowly relished the opportunity to impart her motherly knowledge (which is natural for her).  I think I disappointed her, though, when I replicated in super speed, handed her my swaddled doll, and ran off to play with my blocks and matchbox cars (neither of which I believe are masculine toys, by the way).

My family compares my teenage years with my sister’s (my sister also has the innate girl gene) when they say, “We told Alison, ‘Go wash off some of that make up!  We are not going into church with you looking like that!’ But we told Courtney, ‘Young lady, you had better go put on some make up!  You look awful!  We are not going to church with you looking like that!”  I must also point out that my sister’s teenage years were in the mid 80s with all its neon glory and mine were in the 90s during the grunge era.

My husband’s aunt always has a clean house and ample seasonal trinkets.  I am baffled how she can do that and everything looks clean and cohesive, but if I attempt the same thing, my house looks cluttered.

My friends have the girly gene too.  My friend, Lauren, has been trying to dress me and give me hair instruction for years.  My family truly appreciates her efforts.  I still need lessons.

My friend, Hannah, is the perfect hostess.  Hannah reminds me of a “Cathy” tv special (at 2:45 - but without the judgement) I saw when I was a kid.   Cathy’s mother comes over to see her, grabs a plate out of the fridge that holds only three peas, waves her hands wildly, and reveals a beautifully dressed turkey.  That’s Hannah.  I see her moving, but I have no idea how she makes things materialize.  I can identify that everything she touches turns to gold and I can usually follow her logic, but sometimes she says things that baffle me.  For example, she said, “I’m really into white pumpkins this fall.”  I understand that one can change preferences over time.  I understand that one can have different preferences seasonally.  What I don’t understand is the implication that she will like something this fall and know that she will like something totally different next fall.  I’ve seen her wave her hands wildly in front of my sad centerpieces and wall décor and the end result looks so much better with the same set of materials.  How?  Okay.  Thanks.   Do it again.

Though I get “girl cred” for a lot my behaviors, none of them are really motivated by my inner girl.

For example, I crocheted a hat (with a big ol’ flower) while I was talking to students yesterday.  Crocheting is regarded as a motherly skill.  Really, it’s just fidgeting and patterns.  I like fidgeting.  I like patterns.  Crocheting is a way to keep my hands busy (instead of taking the students’ pencils and doing their homework for them) and to keep me patient.  I’m not really crafty.  

I prefer skirts.  This doesn’t stem from any femininity, but from the conundrum of why men choose to wear pants all the time.  Truly, a full, long skirt is a tent of freedom.  Men have NO IDEA what they’re missing.  Togas and kilts.  I’m just sayin’.

I birth at home instead of going to the hospital.  Two reasons.  1) Hospitals are for sick people.  Having a baby doesn’t make me ill.  So, I don’t need to go to the place for sick people where it’s more likely that I’ll end up being sliced and diced.  It’s just not logical.  2)  Why would I want to PACK a bag and GO somewhere?  I’m already having a baby.  Isn’t that enough doing?  Can’t you come to me?  Healthy birth – there’s no place like home.  I also exclusively breastfeed.  It’s the healthiest thing I can give my human infant.  But there’s a better reason.  IT’S FREE.  Yes, I know that it’s bad that I rank the reasons in that order, but I do.  For these two things, I’ve been called “Granola Mama” and “Earth Mama” at work.  Nope.  It just seemed to be the reasonable things to do.

Furthermore, I love my children, but I’m not partial to every child.  Moms (assuming that I possessed the every-child-is-wonderful-I-just-love-being-around-children-so-much gene) have asked me, “Don’t you want to hold the baby?”  Nah.  I’ll hold the baby so that the mother can go do something, but I don’t understand holding someone’s baby for the sake of holding a baby.  If there are enough people around who truly want to hold the baby for fun and this gives the mom a break, I’m not vying for my chance to hold somebody else’s kid.  I don’t get it.

I wear lipstick to work.  If I don’t, I hear my mother in my head telling me that it’s unprofessional not to.  Frankly, I don’t keep open containers of makeup in the house.  There’s only makeup in the car.  If makeup takes more than 3 stop lights, it’s taking too much time.  Efficiency is a preferable professional skill.

I bake, but that’s because I can bake cheaper and better than store-bought.  I’ve also learned to compensate for my poor hostess skills (dinner is ALWAYS late) by setting out a tray of veggies/fruit or a crock pot of soup.  I’ve been credited for serving multi course meals, but I’m just too unorganized to get dinner done on time.  My dad said of my food, “Haven’t you ever heard of cornbread and collards?  I’ll probably like your food, but I can’t ever pronounce it.”  So, I cook, but that’s not the same as being a good hostess.  It helps to mask the insufficiencies though!

Sometimes I do girly things, but I have concluded that I am really just a poser.  I’m okay with that.

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