August 2011

Today, my little LuLu turned seven.  Now that she is seven she has rejected all things pink and princessy, and asked for turquoise cupcakes with either dolphins or peace signs on top. Dophins? Heck no. But I thought that surely even I, the craft-impaired wonder, could manage a peace sign. Um, I was wrong. When Lucy saw the cupcakes, the conversation went something like this:

Me (trying to sound enthusiastic) : “Look Lucy! They have peace signs on top!”

Lucy (confused): “Oh.”

Me (again with the forced enthusiasm):  “See, I made them out of frosting! Aren’t they cool?”

Lucy (more confused): “I thought they were going to be made out of candy.”

Me (enthusiasm fizzling): “I know, I tried, but it didn’t really work out”

Lucy (hiding her disappointment): “OK”

Me (enthusiasm dead): “Sorry, honey.”

There is no time of year when I feel more compelled to apologize to my kids for my lack of crafty skills than on their birthdays.  I seem to be missing that gene that other moms have, you know, the one that compels them to scrapbook and make their own Halloween costumes.  It’s just not there.

And I have struggled with feeling inadequate as a parent because of it. Really.  It’s hard for me not to compare myself to other moms in this area. All it takes is a quick visit to Facebook for me to see I’m not measuring up. I don’t sew or knit. I don’t make bows, headbands, burp cloths, bibs, nursing covers, monogrammed baby wipe holders, jewelry, cards, t-shirts or gifts for my kids’ teachers.  I don’t even like play-dough.  Sheesh, my kids are lucky to have crayons!

But over the last five years, I have realized that I am actually, creative. My creativity just comes out in a different way.  It is in the form of words. I tell stories. And more and more, I appreciate that this is how God has made me. And as I grow more and more into this creativity God has given me, it becomes easier to see the ways that my kids benefit from it in a really unique and wonderful way.

This summer, we were at a playground in Avila Beach. Our kids took the cement boat and dolphins on that playground and turned it into a story. Josh was the ship captain and the girls were his crew. They were on the stormy sea when they found two lost dolphins that needed to be rescued. Luckily, Lucy was an expert dolphin trainer. The best part was that they drew the other kids on that playground into their story. By the time we left, there were at least 10 other kids trying to rescue those dolphins.

So sure, I can’t Mod Podge to save my life.  And Lucy didn’t get the cupcakes of her birthday dreams. But tonight she went to bed wanting to tell me a story. And there’s nothing lacking in that.


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I was dragged kicking and screaming into becoming a runner. My husband Rob, who is a relentless distance runner, would encourage, nudge, and ever-so-gently suggest that perhaps I would like to start running? I came back (not always as gently) at him with every excuse I could think of:

 “No time. How would we possibly fit another running schedule into our life?”

“It’s boring! Give me a team, a ball, a net, a goal of some sort and then I’ll run around.”

“Um, do you KNOW that we have four kids? I already spend all day running in circles!”

At some point I realized that Rob’s obsession with running was not going away. It was not a phase, or a temporary fascination like the time he bought all that lacrosse gear and ran up and down the street yelling things about sticks. For like, a month. And I began to think that it would be fun to have a pastime we both loved, besides watching re-runs of The Office.  So I opened up to the idea of running.

As I thought about it more, and started to understand what I had been passing up, I kicked myself. Wait, you mean, I get to be alone?  And, hold the phone, I get to put on my ipod and listen to something other than Barney’s Greatest Hits?   And all I have to do is say, “Honey, I think I’d like to go for a run today,” and Rob will totally rearrange his schedule to make it happen? Um, yes please.

I can’t say that I love the actual running part. It’s hard. But I have grown to love the feeling that you get when you’ve pushed yourself just a little bit further than you thought you could go. And that feeling in your muscles, that good kind of ache, that is relieved when you finally collapse into bed at night. And that big bowl of ice cream that you get to have because you ran 3 miles that day. Yeah, I like that part.

So I’m out there. Even in the 100 degree summer heat here in Clovis. I have a new hobby. So thanks darling hubby for dragging me. I don’t know that I’ll ever really stop the kicking and screaming, but at least I’ll be kicking, screaming…and running.

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Someone, somewhere, at some point, said something that goes a little like this: You have to write a million crummy words before you actually start to write some good ones.  So I thought I’d better start purging those million words and get to the good stuff. Malcolm Gladwell, in OUTLIERS, says, “it takes 10,000 hours of purposeful practice to become expert at anything.” So, like a musician plucking her strings, or a pitcher throwing her arm out in the bullpen, I give you this blog. And hopefully it lands somewhere north of crummy.


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