I don’ wanna….

Do you ever have those moments when you look around, see numerous jobs that need doing and just think, “Nah…I don’ wanna?” I know – it’s a bit embarrassing to know that you look, feel, and sound about 4…or 14…but still, that’s exactly what is going through your head. Oh. You don’t have those moments. It’s just me. All the time. Shoot. (Which is not the word that I’m really thinking, but is the one that I’m writing anyway. Even though I SO don’ wanna.) I’m doing lots of things that aren’t high on my list, and I’m ignoring things that would be higher on my list if only I had a little bit more mental energy. So school lunches are getting made, laundry is getting washed and folded (though rarely put away, to be totally honest), dishes are getting done, and everyone is being fed and put to bed at night. Other housework is suffering. It just is. I started a new job last Monday, and now am away from home from about two to six every weekday afternoon. I like my job – I’m an after school care worker at our church’s early childhood center – but I have less time and less energy than I did before and I wasn’t getting the housework done before. And I’m almost sorry about that.

I also have the bigger don’ wanna moments. The ones where I dread telling my kids to do something because I know it’s going to be a fight, and I know I have to win, and I just don’t even want to go there. I get to be the bad guy parent most of the time, especially now that Adam is out of commission so much of the time. It is so…tiring…. I made a comment to the kids the other day that something wasn’t worth fighting over. My darling boy, who is way too much like his mama, replied, “Everything is worth fighting over. Hashtag: everythingisworthfightingover!” (Everything is also worth a hashtag. He’ll be a menace on Twitter one day.) This is the philosophy by which he lives: everything is worth fighting over. He has an opinion on everything and wants to be right all the time. Did I mention that he’s a little like me? Sigh. My mother didn’t even saddle me with the mother’s curse (“Someday I hope you have children who act just like you….”), yet it worked…in spades. I am so tired of the endless cycle of asking/telling/instructing followed by crying/yelling/disobeying followed by crying/yelling/punishing (yes, I know, I shouldn’t cry and yell) followed by more crying/yelling/disrespect leading to more disbelief/punishing/banshee-ing culminating in submission/obedience/sniffles and deep breathing/exhaustion/wine. Couldn’t they, just once, you know…OBEY? Because it isn’t just the one who is so like me that is fighting me. Darling daughter is also a fighter. Or a manipulating sneak. Still…not a submissive, compliant model child.

So I don’ wanna. I forgo grown-up-ness for today. I will henceforth proceed directly to napping. Because I already have a caffeine headache from all the coffee I’ve ingested over the last week and I just need to relax. Bring on the soaking tub, candles, and wine. And please: nobody need me for a few days, okay?

 

P.S. For those who tend to worry: we’re good. Last week was great, even with my new job and the new school year starting. I’m just tired.

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Grandma

Aleph Mary Kaneer, née Pittman

Today my grandmother went home. She was ready. It never sat well with her that her younger sisters went before she did; and after Grandpa died three and a half years ago, a part of her never came home from the cemetery. She was a care-taker. But there was no one left to care for. Well. Not no one. In fact, her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and yes, great-great-grandchildren number over 50…without including spouses…which we do. So with family that in four generations ballooned to close to 100, she is missed by many. She is also missed by nieces, nephews, in-laws, church members, and all the other people she cared and prayed for over the years. And we all wish she was still here to care for us. We all have favorite memories, favorite foods, favorite quotations, and favorite images of her. Facebook is positively bursting with pictures of my grandmother, who never owned a computer. And I’m so glad to share her life and death with my family that way, because I can’t go to her funeral. She would understand that I have to take care of my husband and children. I’m pretty sure she liked Adam better than me anyway! He is a pastor, after all. I was a smart-mouth. (You know, before. Not now. No, never.) She missed those of us who couldn’t see her often, but she loved us the same. She prayed for us and worried about us…and when we came, she cooked for us and read Bible verses to us. And occasionally reminded us not to run into oncoming traffic…when we were 20. She never sat down. Never. Not even to eat. She would try, but then someone would ask her to pass something and she would run to the kitchen to get more. Though we were never out. The plastic-covered table (there were lots of kids around) was always full. Chicken and rice, fried chicken, sliced tomatoes, butter beans, green beans, peas of all sorts, green salad, ambrosia salad, jello salad, okra, pears, figs, water melon…these are just a few of the things that graced the table over the years. We all had our favorites. The house was often full too – especially if someone was visiting from out of town. The kids were always outside playing…unless they were me – I was trying to hold the baby (there was always a baby) and listen to what the grown-ups talked about. I was often sent outside…and told not to go in the street. We played on tire swings, shot arrows at targets in the pasture, hit baseballs, softballs and volleyballs, did handstands, cartwheels, and handsprings, and generally acted like…Kaneers. When someone got hurt, Grandma the nurse patched us up and told us about the illnesses of all the people in the extended family and in her church…we had generally never heard of them in any other context. That was Grandma’s sphere of influence: home, health, church, and family. And we all know and love each other because of her tireless efforts to make their house a home. Where I’m quite sure she never sat down. Go in peace, Grandma. We’re still praying for each other, for your sake and our own.

Truth

I don’t always like being a mess, and I really don’t like others to worry about me when I’m a mess…but I don’t really mind at all that people see my messiness. It does make me sad that some of my friends and loved ones don’t like that I show those less than together bits…but I am constantly reminded that there are other friends and loved ones out there that love those bits best. Maybe because they identify with them, or because they are reminded to pray for me and others, or because it makes me seem accessible. I can’t really know all the whys and wherefores, but I have been told several times in the last few days that my honesty is refreshing and that it is appreciated. So I’m glad. In turn, I feel refreshed after a good trip with the kids to see some of my family and friends in Athens, Georgia. (Which is, by the way, the BEST college town in the country – if not the world.) It was so good to see and be encouraged by our loved ones there, but even more importantly, it was a great time with my kids. We’ve had some good times this summer, but most of them have been so hard. This wasn’t without it’s difficulties, but everyone was trying to love each other well. Okay, maybe the kids weren’t trying very hard with each other, but with everyone else, they were good. And I successfully navigated a couple of emotional minefields with each of them. Especially with Ethan, who has been a warhead ready to explode for weeks or months. It was such a relief.

Then Kara lied to me this morning. Because showing her messiness and being honest isn’t really in her 9 year-old wheelhouse, at least not yet. So here we go again. Teaching a lesson that has been taught and learned before. About obedience. Honesty. Integrity. But that is okay. Those are still the lessons that I’m relearning too. And it is nice to be facing them from a position of hope rather than from the depths of woe.

Cancer still sucks and I still wish all of this was over. I know the depths may come back and reclaim me for a time – it may happen lots of times. But for now, I will enjoy the the hope. Because I know, even in the depths, that hope is what is true: hope in Christ that all of this will pass away. And it is also true that there is real beauty amidst the horror in anything. Even cancer. The beauty of the love and support of those around us. And the depth of joy that comes when real woe is banished – even if only temporarily – is something I would never have known without cancer. So, like the goblin king in the movie Labyrinth, it has no power over me. And poof. The nightmare ends. Sort of. For today at least.

Our daily reality doesn’t match our eternal one very well. I guess it never does, but that is more evident to us right now. It is difficult to put into words something that covers the two disparate, but equally accurate, truths. I have hope and am not defeated, but must fight dirty to stay that way. How can we already be conquerors and also need to prepare to fight? How can Monday be so hard when the weekend was so good? Why are my kids right back to where they were…because now the other one is fighting me too. Why did it take long enough to write this that the situation changed? Sigh. Because this is life. And in truth, it’s messy and broken. But it’s not the only thing we know to be truth. So here I go.