Forced To Be Still

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I’m sitting in a local coffee shop while writing this on my iPad. Not an ideal choice, but…

Why, you might ask, am I not on my trusty laptop sitting in my comfortable office?

Welllll. I was relieved to arrive early for an appointment this morning only to find out that I was not ten minutes early. I was actually an hour and ten minutes early!

Ouch! I have so much on my To Do list for today, and I didn’t bring my laptop when I left the house. I planned to head straight home after my appointment and jump on that list. Ugh! I hate typing on my iPad. It believes itself to be superior to my word choices, so I have to keep a close eye on it. Still, I’ll try to make the best of things and use this time well.

People who knew me before my new life of grand-parenting know I’m not forgetful. I’m usually on top of things, but lately my skills in that area have crumbled. Why? As much as I hate to admit it, as we get older, we lose some of that sharp edge. We can’t multitask as well as we did twenty or thirty years ago. Add the rush and chaotic pace that goes hand-in-hand with raising children, and slip-ups are bound to happen. I wish I could say this was the only one this week, but I’d be lying.

Earlier in the week, I promised Victoria we’d order pizza and wings from a place we don’t frequent. She recalls the restaurant fondly from her past life with her mother before things went awry. The best day to do this slipped by. I ran out of time. I told her, tomorrow. That day almost slipped by, too, but I remembered at the last moment, got online, and placed my order. As I drove to pick up the kids, my husband called to say he was headed home. I asked him to pick up the food.

The problem? The location closest to us didn’t have our order. I pulled up my email confirmation and gave him the phone number and address. The website, it seems, selected the “closest” store to us. It wasn’t. We live three miles from the closest. It chose one eight miles away. Getting to that location, due to rush hour, would take an hour.

Before you ask, yes, I did look at the address, but I misread it. They both are close to the same highway. I glanced at the map in a hurry to place the order and go pick up the kids. It LOOKED right. Of course, it wasn’t.

There’s a reason God instructs us to be still. We all need a rest. We all need to recollect and let the pressures of the day fall away. This goes doubly true for grandparents raising grandchildren.

My failure to double-check makes sense to me. The internet indicated I was three miles from the location where it chose to send the order. I didn’t spend but a few seconds verifying it because the distance and address displayed information I expected. Plus, I needed to pick up the children and had worked later than I liked to do on a school day. (After all, the children would have homework that needs to be done, too.)

Our mistakes are reminders to slow down. I’m trying, but right now everyone wants a piece of me. So, for the next few minutes, I’m going to accept this gift of unscheduled time and sip on my chai.

God bless.

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Thanksgiving Prayer for Any Circumstance

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Thanksgiving is upon us. Where did November go?

For that matter, where did this year go? It’s spun by at a breakneck speed in our house.

As you know, there’s a lot of turmoil in our family now, yet we’re looking forward to a lively and family-oriented holiday. Not everyone will be there. It’s part of the life we, and our grandchildren, face each and every day. Maybe that’s why the post I read on the Answers in Love blog spoke to me. The writer is a wonderful sister in Christ, and the moment I read her post, I knew it was what I wanted to share with you.

So, as you prepare to gather with family and friends, whether it’s a time of joy or stress, maybe this little prayer will set the tone.

The Amazingly Simple Prayer that Will Leave You Thankful and Peaceful This Season

Happy Thanksgiving!

Before You Judge the Parent with the Unruly Child

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You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Romans 2:1

Some mornings at our house don’t go well. The grands fight against our routine almost every morning.  It’s the same routine. Every. Single. Morning. So, why is it so hard for them to follow it?

 

This morning, the grands got up and  dressed quickly (miracle of miracles), except for the shoes. With Amari, that’s wear we hit a snag.

“Put your shoes and socks on, Amari.”

“Ok.”

A few minutes later, he’s still sitting in the same place, staring off into space, barefoot.

“Amari, put your shoes on.”

“I need to put on my socks, first.”

“I know. Do it, please.”

After repeating myself three or four times my volume goes up. I try to stay calm, but it’s frustrating especially when I’m busy doing Victoria’s hair at the moment. Her hair takes ten to fifteen minutes every morning. Today, she cooperated, but some mornings, if she’s dragging her feet, she jerks away and yells that it hurts. We take good care of her hair, so it rarely has tangles, but she still acts like it does.

Add that to her brother not putting on his socks and shoes, and it can get crazy quickly.

Then, there’s breakfast.  In my head, I’m hearing the music they play in mysteries when something shocking or revealing occurs…dundun DUN!

Amari would rather talk to Victoria or make some repetitive noise to annoy her. Victoria doesn’t want to talk to him, she’d rather criticize how he’s eating. We tell them to ignore each other, stop tattling, and eat.

Today, I took Amari’s food away before he finished. That’s not unusual.

If there’s anything worse than breakfast, it’s brushing their teeth. How hard can that be? Believe it or not, Amari stands in front of the bathroom mirror forever making faces and messing with his hair. If we forget to check, he may be in there ten minutes without brushing.

If Victoria brushes her teeth at the same time, Amari complains. All it takes is a speck of food in what Victoria spits into the sink, and he’ll probably throw up. He’s an expert on psyching himself out about how gross something is. Then he vomits. We try to keep them from brushing at the same time. Not so easy when you’re running out of time. Today, I made Victoria brush at the kitchen sink. She pushed back but finally did it. Meanwhile, I’m still trying to get Amari brushing his teeth.

So, this morning, we left late. As we started down the road, Victoria exclaimed, “I don’t have my red notebook.”

I turned onto a side street to turn around, asking her where it was in the house. Then, I said, “This is why you’re supposed to put everything for school in your book bag  the night before.”

Her answer, “It’s not a school notebook. I use it to draw in during free time.”

Obviously, I didn’t go back to the house. The neighbor whose car was behind me and now was in front of me probably wondered what my problem was.

Before you jump on and give me advice, that’s not the point of today’s post.

We’re raising two children who didn’t have a morning routine before they came to live with us. They never were on time to anything. I know this because when they visited us, they always arrived late, and I’m not saying a few minutes. We’re talking an hour or more

Whether you’re a grandparent raising children or a foster parent, the rhythm of your household will be different from the one the children knew before. Ours is structured and organized. Theirs was not.

This means we struggle every day with little things. Other families do experience some of these things, but this is how 90% of our days start. It’s not fun.

More importantly, this is just an example of the issues we face. For example, there are stores I will not go into if the children are with me. Why? Because I’m still trying to teach them the proper behavior in a store. They don’t get it, and I don’t appreciate the judgmental looks, and comments, I get from the store clerks. Yes, the store clerks. There are two stores near me that I no longer frequent due to this.

When you see a parent with a difficult child, don’t always assume it’s their fault. They may not be the one who created the habits in the children with them. They may be the ones trying to change those habits.

Cut them a little slack.

Oh, and since some of you are itching to tell me what to do differently in the morning, we already do the following:

  • Pack book bags before bedtime
  • Pick school clothes before bedtime
  • Get up with plenty of time for them to dress, eat, and brush their teeth and have time to spare if they do everything on time. Believe me, they have tons of time.
  • Divide responsibilities between my husband and me when he’s home (he was on a business trip this morning)

Other techniques I’ve used:

  • Timers
  • Reward systems
  • Consequences

So, if you have something different to share, go for it. Otherwise, please don’t.

And please be kind to the person with the unruly child. It’s already hard enough.