How to snore (roar) like a woman 

I am woman. Hear me snore. Roar! I meant roar. Or not. Whatever. Because I have no cares to give today. I gave them all up in the last few weeks. I gave them to a bout with pneumonia. I gave them to the ache of a move. And I gave them to the cooking of the nuggets and the slicing of the strawberries. I gave them to the praying over the traveling husband. And I gave them to the washing machine. And the swiffer. I gave them to tight deadlines and tight bank accounts. I gave them away when I realized it’s now a thing to wear crop tops all the time. And the realization that the shorts that are so short are stilllll a thing. (I mean. So short. I cannot.)

I remember knowing my whole life that my mom always had dried potatoes on her fork because she never sat down for an entire meal. She was always hopping up to grab one more thing. I don’t know who told me that. But, I never forgot it.

When I became a woman it was around the time I embraced motherhood. I think. I can’t be sure. Becoming a woman after being a girl for so long is a tricky thing that happens in fits and bursts. It’s soaring and crashing. It’s not a pretty business. Or at least it wasn’t for me.

My body went to bed one night a girl and woke a woman the next. My soul took a few decades to catch up.

A few years ago I was on the phone with my mom and admitted the thing new mothers keep quiet about. Life felt suddenly and entirely unfair. My son was more than a month old and I hadn’t sat down uninterrupted and eaten a great meal. And on this night it was going to happen. It was all set to happen. 

Steak grilled. Fork and knife in hand. One piece sliced. And then the baby cried. Then I think I secret cried. And then I fed the baby. Because breast-feeding. And then I ate.

I told my mom the next day my woe and she said the thing so gently and so seriously about being a mom. “You get to be the mom.”

With my momma and son. Both have taught me in different ways what it means to be a woman.

You get to be the mom.

It shifted my entire way of thinking. And then a month or so later as I lamented my inability to balance chairing a gala with a baby a few months old and working she said the second profound thing I discovered as a woman: “There is more than one person who can chair a gala. But, there is no one else who can be Wilder’s mother.”

And maybe it was then that I became a woman. Because being a woman is about saying ‘no’ to what the world tells us matters and ‘yes’ to little people with no vocabulary. It’s about saying ‘yes’ to school supplies and ‘no’ to manicures. It can be saying ‘no’ to a promotion you desperately wanted and ‘yes’ to responsibilities you never asked for.

Women have this impossible task of changing the world without letting it swallow us whole.

And sometimes we’re tasked with doing so without ever leaving our house or given enough time to wash our face and brush our teeth.

There are days I want to put on an apron and bake all the things and others I want to march. Maybe it’s because I’m secretly a commitmentphobe or my empathy meter is out of whack. But, I’ve never seemed to be able to commit fully to being one certain type of woman.

I worked from home out of necessity for some time. And later realized I can’t imagine doing one or the other in its entirety. I couldn’t imagine the work away from home baby going to childcare full time. And I can’t imagine doing the no work outside the home thing either. I want all the things.

There were times I paid a heavy price for not choosing one or the other. But, ultimately it’s a choice I would make again.

Most of the choices I’ve made because I’m a woman have centered on a leap of faith that made sense once taken. And this is not an easy way to live.

There’s the moment in a League of Their Own when Tom Hanks tells his star player that the “hard is what makes it good.” I always hated that line. I hated the idea that something just had to be hard. That there was no escaping the connection of the task with how hard it would be.

And that’s the way of being a woman. Of being all the things that it means to be a woman. It’s hard. Tough as nails hard. Makes you bone weary hard. Because at the end of the day we must be all of the things. Because we can.

We get to be women. One of my dearest friends often says she’s coming back as a man. And to be sure, men can and do change the course of history. But, not in the ways women do.

We have a capacity to effect change across multiple platforms. At the same time. Last year I heard a quote about changing nations specifically by force or, for example, invading a country via military force and working to set up a model for democracy or a different way of life. They said that in order to change the culture, you must reach the women.

Women may be far less frequent to make laws, and we’ve certainly never had one as our commander in chief. They are in the position of CEO far less often. Get paid less. The list is endless and very real. But, here’s the truth we must never allow anyone to rip from the grasp of our weary paint chipped fingernails: we shift culture.

It may not happen in one march and you may not even agree with half of what people are marching about. I don’t always agree with everysinglelast thing of it. I find myself not agreeing entirely with much of anyone. Except for the girl who sings Oceans.

We may find ourselves left out of boardrooms or out of that area that’s happening above the glass ceiling. (I assume they’re up there with cigars and burning money for fun. Or maybe just napping.) But, we are the undercurrent that moves nations.

We shift culture even when we lack the capacity to roar. We shift culture with a million whispers and eyes that can melt a man’s face when cut just so. We shift culture with night after night of reading The Shy Little Kitten. We shift culture by teaching our little men how to be kind and brave. We shift culture by teaching our little ladies how to laugh without fear of the future — not because of who is or isn’t in office, but because they are daughters of a sovereign relentlessly loving God who had them each born for a time such as this. (And that includes you, at whatever age, dear woman.)

We live in a time that requires us women be more steadfast than ever. The world will never stop trying to twist who we should be. And we must do more than just resist. We must shift the culture.

We shift culture with every board meeting we show up to (even with secret dried yogurt on our lapel) and with every rock, rock, rock of the rocking chair.

I am woman. Let me snore tonight. For tomorrow I will wake and do something far more frightening than roar. I will wake, put my mascara on, my head down and work. I will wake, feed the baby and shape the character of the next generation. I will wake and I will never really sleep again.

I am woman and I won’t do you the service of warning you with a roar. I am woman and you’ll never hear me coming.

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Remember when 

My son is five. He has an excellent memory. Both short term. And long. I know this because of one of his most favorite things to say: remember when. It is equal parts hilarious and a lesson in how very much we are all centered on our own worlds. 

“Mommy, remember when I was four?” (His birthday was less than a month ago.) He remembers that time he saw that elephant up close but was too scared to pet it. He remembers that I forgot my keys yesterday. He remembers where my Bluetooth is today.  

“Remember when we got ice cream yesterday and it dripped on my face? That was so funny!” “Remember when I snuck up on you?” Yes. Because it was five minutes ago. 

He doesn’t have a concept of life before he was born. Evidence: When my sister became pregnant with her third child with her husband my son asked when he got to go to the wedding because: “before you have a baby you get married.”

Me: They were married before you were born.

Wilder: I wasn’t invited!?

America. Remember when. This morning I have read and seen and heard enough quotes and claims of how our country has NEVER BEEN MORE DIVIDED. In the history of ever whoa is our nation never has it been so divided. Never has race been so tender and heated a topic. Never have so many groups at one time claimed they didn’t have a voice (while all screaming in all caps all the times on social media and talking in the stores and worshipping at whatever establishment they see fit).

America, remember that time we had an actual war. The one where blood was shed. Where weapons were more than an unfriend button. Where people died. Not relationships. Not civility. Actual human beings died. Lots of them.

America, remember that time vast people in our country thought other people should own people. Remember that time people spit in the faces of students trying to go to school. Remember that time people thought women shouldn’t vote. Remember that time people thought it was totally acceptable to say “fag.” Remember that time our country was waiting not hours for the results of a president election, but for a ruling from a court. Remember that time things were settled with duels.

The world is watching, America. And your age is showing. Your self-centered nature is showing.

By many standards we are not nearly the old, old country we like to think we are. And perhaps, we are having a quarter life crisis. Or maybe a mid-life crisis. We can’t know yet because we don’t yet know how long this experiment in democracy will last. Are we nearing the end? Or is this just the beginning?

See, America 2016 there was a country before you existed. Things happened before you were born that shaped what we see as our present reality. Our history is complicated. It is messy. It is real. And it is truly no less complicated and messy than our present.

I’ve heard again and again that there have never been more narcissistic people in our nation than we have today.

I believe it. Our votes are too often a reflection of what is in the best interest of us personally rather than collectively. Our lives are too often a reflection of what is in our personal best interest rather than the kingdom. Personal comfort above all else. Personal gain at all cost. 

To summarize the words of one of my favorite pastors (Francis Chan) — we each have entire pages dedicated to our daily lives filled with photos and whatever happenings we see fit.

Our worlds have become very small. It’s an irony what with the massive loads of information we consume. But, social media has created a false sense of reality. 

We feel utterly securely connected to the whole big huge giant world. And, yet, we are the dictators of our own feeds. We friend our friends and like-minded people. 

On my iPad it keeps asking me to choose a customized feed of news. Customized feed of news. What brand of truth do you want today, Madam Elliott? Because truth is entirely negotiable.

People think nothing of saying things like “Oh, I don’t like to read about that because it makes me feel (insert not positive feeling here) so I will just unfriend, unfollow.”

Long before social media we collectively began turning our eyes from the “boring” details of politics and civic happenings. And then one day while watching the Real Housewives of Jonesboro or another Kardashian apply lipgloss and roll their eyes we tuned back in. And it was too late.

Our news became entertainment because we demanded it be so with our attention, our ratings, our dollars. We were far too bored with straight black and white facts. We wanted some panache. We didn’t want facts that required our thoughtful analysis based on our knowledge of history and context. We wanted people to do all the work. Like baby birds we sat back and allowed people we trusted to analyze and regurgitate the facts. And we wonder why watching two “news” channels nationally gives us two different Americas.

Facebook itself from my limited understanding uses how and what we search, how and what we comment on to organize what we actually see in our feed. It’s all created an illusion that the whole big complicated messy world agrees with us. We are the masters of our own universe.

Today I am sad at the state of so very many things. I am hopeful, however, because who I am rests in the true master of the universe. I am secure, however, because my treasure is securely resting in a place where moth and dust, rust and rot, elections and political rhetoric, plunging markets and warlords cannot lay one single finger on it.

I am sad for a country that over and over and over again said “I’m voting for the lesser of two evils” and acted so very perplexed at how we got here. A gross display of our lack of self awareness is evident when we stood aghast at the ticket yesterday.

Take a look in the mirror, America 2016. Take a look at the lineup on your television and the magazines at the grocery store. I’m talking to the blue and to the red.

They are both complicit in a culture that praises greed, self indulgence and makes money on the backs and the breasts and the bodies of women … and men.

Last night one analyst in favor of Clinton said the thing many people have been saying for years “how do I explain this to my children?”

It’s the same way my mother explained things to me again and again and again as a child. Our values do not change based on what’s popular.

I will do the next right thing. Many, many people I know prayed fervently leading up to this election oft quoting this beautiful verse in Chronicles: “And My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

We want a land that is healed? If so, it didn’t end when you woke up today. It started.

The need for healing begins today. Many believers didn’t see that one coming. And today, my prayer is that they open their eyes to a watching world. Far more than the right to have an abortion or not, rising healthcare premiums or the freedom on this earth is at stake in our nation. Eternity, believer, is at stake for those who do not yet believe. 

So many people were thrilled to have the election “over” without awareness of what a victory from either side would look like. Like an ax pulled back ready to fall I’ve been watching and knowing that any hurt we thought existed by the impending results was just the preview. Last night the wounding began. It didn’t end. No matter the results last night there is the wounding.

The healing doesn’t come from demanding people stand for a song or get behind who you voted for. There’s a word for that and it’s not democracy and it’s certainly not something I see in the words to God’s people in Chronicles.

If you want to radically change our political climate, our current culture, whatever button you pressed yesterday is a grain of sand on the beach.

If you want revival for our nation, it is time to do the hard thing. Like love humans the way Jesus commanded (not asked) us to do.

The greatest test of democracy is this: giving voice to those with whom you disagree. The greatest test of honor is this: accepting facts when they are inconvenient to your cause. 

May America 2016 show the world that we are a place that can foster both. We never have been a country that demands we all agree on all matters. And when we become a nation that does so we won’t just “remember when” about the history of our nation … we will “remember when” we were a nation at all. 

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The rising flood, a rising people

In the story of the three men and the fiery furnace we are told after they are delivered from the fire — a fire so hot it incinerated the men who tossed them in — that not only were they not burnt they didn’t smell of fire.
They. Didn’t. Smell. Of. Fire.

Today your house is likely flooded. If not, you know someone. More than one someone. And their house is flooded.

Their heart is breaking. And your heart is breaking for them. My heart is breaking for them.

It’s really surreal.

Louisiana knows hurricanes. We know water. I’ve been here just ten years and I feel a sort of veteran about the water thing. It makes no sense for me to feel this way. I’m an absolute amateur with the flooding in truth. But, the high water that comes with hurricanes begins to feel like something that just comes with the territory. Kind of the price you pay for living in such an incredible place.

Frankly, would we all stay with the threat of such imminent horrible hurricanes were this place not so unique and so extraordinary? It’s like the ticket for getting to live in the place that says “laissez le bon temps rouler.” The good times roll here. Even in the this mess.

I’ve seen a lot of resilience in the last two days. A lot of sweat and a lot of tears. And a lot of hilarious jokes and the kind of stamina and sense of humor that comes with living in this place. But, laying just underneath is the pain. It’s the uncertainly.

It’s the truth.

It’s the truth.

It is reality. It’s simmering underneath the Cajun jokes and the praise. The pain of starting over. The challenge of replacing. The trial. This is a trial to be sure. It’s not an easy thing.

And I think again of the fire. In Isaiah 43:2 we are told about both water and fire so closely together:

“I will be with you when you pass through the waters, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you.”

We are told we will not burn up. Thanks to Noah we know that the whole earth won’t flood. But, for many folks tonight the truth is that their whole world is under water. It’s wet. It’s soggy.

Many Louisiana hands are pruned and their hearts are taking on discouragement just the way the houses took on water — slowly and then suddenly all at once. And then as it began to come in, it was as though the tide could not be reversed.

Tonight I pray for strength and I ask that you do the same. Because it’s easy to say “it’s just stuff” and we are safe. But, our “stuff” symbolizes a lot. There’s a reason we hold onto all of it. It means something to us. Our houses are more than bricks and wood. They are our homes and our security and our refuge at the end of the day.

Tonight, I want to remind you that your refuge is in Christ alone. And you don’t have to pay a premium for this all surpassing security. This absolute fortress was already paid for entirely just for you.

In the coming days things may or may not get easier. I do not know what we will wake to tomorrow. But, God does. And in that I find comfort and now I’m back again to the three men in the furnace and their life AFTER the fire. Because we all know there will be life AFTER the water.

And it won’t be the same again.

And this is okay.

It won’t be the same again. And this is okay.

You won’t be the same again.

And this is okay.

So, why didn’t these men smell like smoke? How do you go through the fire and come out the other side not smelling of smoke? How do you go through the waters and sit in the rising flood and not smell of mildew after?

It requires a miracle.

It requires a miracle from the author and perfecter of our faith. It takes a village. It’s going to take people being the hands of feet and doing the hard things for our neighbors and showing them on earth what our Father’s love looks like — lavish and sacrificial.

And so the waters will recede and we will rise. And you don’t have to smell of mildew. No matter what your home looks like as you lay your head tonight, believe that God is able to restore and redeem every single thing that was swept away. Including your peace.

Tonight I pray that this never ending rain does something beautiful. Something you never expected.

I pray it helps us hold our people tighter and our possessions more loosely.

I pray it shows the world (again) that Louisiana is a truly special place.

And I pray above all that you are washed tonight with a peace that surpasses understanding.  

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The late International Women’s Day post

I haven’t written for International Women’s Day because I’m a woman. And a mom. And a writer of all manner of things with lotta deadlines and a lotta chicken strips to cook.
And so today I’m sitting down now, finally, to talk about us women. And about the woman among women in my life. Wanda Williams. My mother’s mother. Gma Wanda.
There was no one like her. And I believe she changed the world.
And I believe that every single one of us can be a Wanda. If we dared. She lived in a way that by today’s standards would be radical. Unheard of nearly.
Who was she?
She didn’t have a profession. In fact she didn’t drive. My Grandad Virgil drove her everywhere she needed to go. She didn’t rally against any cause with great fervor or fly overseas.
She was a wife. She was a mother. She was a sister. She was a friend. And above all — she was faithful. She was faithful in everything she did. She loved the Lord. She loved her family. LOVED. THEM.
She won the long race. She finished well.
Us women (pointing to myself) spend a lot of time thinking of the ways to change the world. And there is nothing wrong with this. But, when I think about the greatest woman I knew she didn’t do any of the things I aspire to do.
She was a kind of Proverbs 31 woman. (Look it up. Write it down. Pray the Lord makes you one. I do on the regular.)
Wanda Williams is proof that to change the world we must first serve those with whom the Lord has entrusted us.
There are women who are called to go. And they should go.
But, let us never never (never ever) believe that those who are called to stay are doing less.
Motherhood (in all its forms) is a mighty undertaking when done faithfully. Not perfectly but faithfully. She raised humans. Washed their clothes. Prepared their meals. Filled their hearts. Filled their bellies. She filled them by giving of herself.
I didn’t reach motherhood before she headed to heaven. Oh, the things I would like to have asked her. She didn’t live in a generation of blogs, social media, or complaining about children and writing play by plays of birth stories. She didn’t pamper herself, yet she took care of herself with fresh lipstick and perfectly pressed clothes. She was perhaps the most well groomed human I know. I mean with the lipstick NO MATTER WHAT.
I’m sure there are things I write she never would because she was a private person. She wasn’t standing in front of a crowd speaking. She was speaking life into three children who turned out to be three great adults who were properly loved and cared for and taught to love the Lord. Each of them do.
I tell my weary momma friends again and again. This is holy work. This is real work. This is NOT the extra or the distraction. This is THE THING. The raising of the humans.
Never underestimate what properly caring for a child can accomplish. Never underestimate what soothing fevered brows and catching vomit means. Never underestimate what sitting through piano recitals and not getting your hair done because the kids need new shoes means. Never underestimate what rocking babies in the middle of the night means. Never underestimate what staying up in the middle of the night consoling a heart broken teenager means. Never underestimate what it means when you drive the old van so your children can buy that instrument for band and the baseball glove and the cleats. Never underestimate that what you give away to your children multiplies and pays forward and fills them. And sometimes it leaves us drained. And empty. And without what we want. And that is okay.
Women should and must take care of themselves. But, I find our culture to have taken this to the extreme. I know a few martyr moms and ya’ll gotta take care of yourselves.
I also know some moms that sacrifice way too much in order to spoil their kids. Not give them the basics, but go overboard. You know the mom that looks homeless so her child can wear a designer brand shoe or carry a Coach purse? Not okay. Take the whole family to Old Navy and get over it.
On International Women’s Day I am, once again talking about moms. Why? Because the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.
The sooner you believe this. The sooner you take this seriously. The sooner you get faithful in the motherhood. The sooner you realize, sweet momma, and everyone else around you realizes that doing the radical brave incredible thing just may be sitting in the rocking chair the better place our world will be.
Never ever (never ever) underestimate the power of a woman when she becomes a mother. She will fight bears and wound warriors and stay awake for a week and still make muffins. She is the terminator with highlights and heels or yoga pants and a messy bun.
Whether you work or storm the frontlines or stay at home, you are growing humans. You want to change the world? It starts in our homes. It starts by filling up these tiny humans with love and kindness and a passion for wisdom and understanding of the Lord.
There is no special formula for being a Wanda Williams. It requires of us this one thing: our whole selves.


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Empty hands

I feel kind of defeated. I’m not sure when it started really but I know the defining moment of it. It was when I was vomited on. Or should I say at? Defeat juice is what they should call it. The term throw up works when it’s a child because they actually kind of throw it at you.
I know you’re probably grossed out right bout now. Which means you’re not a mom. I remember a dear friend with teenage daughters telling me that being a mom is that bizarre instinct to CATCH the vomit. Just like that. Put your hands out and catch it without even thinking. Tonight I kept saying ‘just keep throwing up this direction’ (otherwise it was the rug and let’s get real my pants were already a casualty and they’re easier to wash than the rug).
So, why am I being all gross and pitiful? Because I think maybe you need to know you’re not alone.
Somewhere there is a mom with a sick child. Much sicker than mine. Much more serious than mine. I never mean to make light of it.
Tonight even this little bout of walking pneumonia doesn’t feel light to me. And in the contrast of pretty much all other things it’s a tiny little blip of nothing. My mind knows this. But, I’m weary.
Last week a dear friend was at home nursing a sick baby and I know she was struggling. There’s something kind of confining about being home with a sick child. There is a blanket of concern that descends and spidy senses go on alert looking for any and all evidence of a change in condition. Turn the monitor on high high volume. Nothing is getting past the momma of a sick child.
So my friend with the sick little one … I encouraged her. I told her something I read once that never left me — something to do with how God speaks so clearly to people from sick beds and in hospitals and isolation and times when you just can’t do whatever it is you think you should be doing.
This business of taking care of babies — healthy and sick — is good work. It’s hard work and it’s pure. And it is the thing that we should be doing. It’s the thing. It is the thing. Even when it’s just holding them in a rocking chair or snuggled on a couch. It can feel like shouldn’t we be doing something else? Like organizing or working or something? Something productive! Wake up. We are doing the thing. We are helping to grow humans. We’re worried about building careers and paying off debts. We’re worried about promotions and growing 401Ks. We are growing humans. What greater work is there?
When I was pregnant and starving (I mean good grief could I be more hungry?) and bone weary at the end of the day I would say “I mean. I’m growing a human here. From like a few cells into like 7 pounds of human!” (Wilder was, of course nearly 9 pounds, God love me.)
So, why are we giving ourselves any less credit right now? At 20 pounds. At 30 pounds. And 40 pounds. At 48 pounds, which is right where I am right now. I’m growing a creature that doesn’t know how to do anything but eat and sleep and look ridiculously cute into a preschooler who can do all the things. And then an elementary schooler. Then a middle schooler. And then high schooler. 60 pounds. 80 pounds. 100 pounds.
We are growing little people into big people with the things they need to flourish. The food for the body. The love for the heart. The encouragement for the soul. The guidance for the mind. All the things that take them from barely walking toward us to confidently striding away from us. We provide them all.
In this house … God provides them all. He puts them right in my hands. Each of the tools. And when He doesn’t? It’s because it wasn’t what I needed. Because it wasn’t what Wilder needed.
Sometimes, I know without a doubt, my boy just needs a pair of willing empty hands. Growing humans from willing empty hands is something only God does. And so, if you’re feeling defeated know you’re doing God’s work. And the best news of all … He grows His children in His mighty, perfect hands. And we never outgrow Him.


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I feel it all

My sweet Iron Man has a tough side …

More than once I’ve seen Wilder walk away with an all too familiar look. I don’t know the word for it. But, I feel it. And that’s the problem with people like us. We feel all the feelings.

When I see that sad little walk and the defeated little shoulder slump, I sigh and I breathe a prayer “don’t be like me don’t be like me don’t be like me.”

One of my favorite writers perhaps best described us as canaries. The birds sent into the mine who would sense the suffocating pollution long before the miners. I am a canary. I fear sometimes Wilder is, too.

I hate it for him.

I don’t recall the first time someone said “you’re sensitive!” But, I know it wasn’t a good thing. It was an insult. And over the years I heard it again and again. I quickly learned to be sensitive is to be weak. I learned to be sensitive is not cool. It’s not the goal. Being sensitive was something to be avoided at all cost.

And then life happened. And I handled it. (Or rather God gave me the tools to handle it.) Either way — this sensitive, feels all the things girl survived .I did more than survive. I did more than JUST survive.

Maybe, just maybe, canaries aren’t so weak …

Perhaps being able to feel so much and still function is its own kind of strength.

And so, I am learning day by day (and sometimes minute by minute) that our greatest strengths can be our greatest weakness. And that which we’ve loathed as a fault just may be one of the most beautiful things about ourselves.

This is what I know now that I wish I knew years ago and these are the things I will tell Wilder if he faces the canary struggle (he’s only 4, there’s hope yet he’ll be a tough little bird):

1 — Strength and tender hearts can live together. Not only can they live together, one without the other can be an unsavory combo. Heartless warriors.

2 — We are not weak. We are just aware. Canaries didn’t die in the mines because they were weak. They died because they absorb more of what’s in the air when they inhale than a human. For every breath they inhale, a canary takes in twice the amount of air and therefore twice the amount of poison. We feel all the feelings. We see the things not everyone sees and then … we feel them.

3 — It’s an exhausting things sometimes, being a canary, but it can be just this way about us that makes us able to reach other people. We notice the things other people don’t notice. We aren’t forgetful about the feelings. We see other people’s pain and it hurts. And this is not a wrong thing or a bad thing.

4 — The world needs us. Canaries were kept in cages in mines to alert workers of dangerous carbon monoxide levels. Dead birds meant danger. Us canaries are the warning system — we feel and see the bad thing before it comes.

When canaries are let out of their cages, when we are raised to thrive, we can be fierce little creatures. The kind that feel the feelings and then try to make this world a better place.

The world would be a dangerous place with only canaries. I’m thankful each day for so many people in my life that aren’t this way. That love me anyway. Some that even love me because of my canary ways and not in spite of them.

This world needs all of us birds. The canaries and the hawks and the eagles and the pelicans and most certainly the flamingos.

This world can feel a dangerous place for canaries and for this I am sorry, Wilder. But, as a 36-year-old I have enough wisdom to know this world would be a more dangerous place without us. In the quest for self-improvement, let us never try to erase the bent with which the good Lord made us — even if it’s inconvenient and even if it hurts.

The good news — canaries have wings. And when we’re free to fly, we can soar with the best of them.

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A Whole New World … School Days

Today wilder climbed the crepe myrtle in the front yard with such gusto it was hard not to notice. He informed me (more than once) he was able to climb in such a way because his new shoes made him “so brave.”
They are the shoes for his first year of real school. It’s prek3. But dude it’s a real school with uniforms and a tardy bell.
Every time I think of it I hear that song from Disney’s Aladdin “A Whole New World!” Which is a weird thing I know.
Wilder started MDO at around three months old. Two days a week. I work from home. We juggle. We scream and cry and we live on deadlines and miss important things and treasure small things and it all seems to work. It’s a special kind of living. The mommy and the work and the balance of it all. I am not alone in this endeavor. I never feel like the working moms or the stay at home moms. We are a strange breed.
And so as Wilder heads to big boy school I feel like I do about most things in life – a little bit of both.
The first time I dropped him off at MDO I had already toured it and felt it was where he should be and so on his first day I pulled up to the drop off line and they pulled him out of the car and I drove off singing “free at last” with Lady Gaga blaring on the radio. I knew he was ready. Oh, I was ready too. No tears. I may have done the cabbage patch.
This Monday looms ahead and I feel like he’s ready. Oh, I am too. I think …
It’s a new chapter. A whole new world. The Wilder Life is no joke. It’s all day errrryday. And it’s a gloriously messy hard beautiful life. It’s Wilder sitting in my lap while I write stories. It’s cooking lunch he won’t eat every day. It’s bribing him with my iPhone in dressing rooms. And him holding up dresses for photoshoots with serious scrutiny “sooooo cute, mommy.” It’s snuggling on the couch in the morning and trying to finish 20 hours of work in those six golden precious hours of MDO.
Life feels like a domino game Rubik’s cube Jenga tower most days lining it all up. Monday feels like a relief. A fresh start.
It feels like a beginning. And it feels like an end.
His excitement and my excitement for this new adventure are so woven together I don’t see who feels what. Until today. When his backpack and shoes arrived in the mail (I have an amazon prime problem and am not open to intervention.)
There was this moment I wondered would come where I felt the tug. That “please stop time just for me just for this one moment” moment. The snapshots you take with your heart. He squealed with delight at his new backpack and shoes and I felt a little tear forming.
I think I cry more than most. At the last MDO Mother’s Day I nearly broke down at the first strains of ‘You are my sunshine …’ I could’ve easily weeped openly had I not noticed everyone else appeared emotionally stable. My sister text me about my niece’s kindergarten open house this week saying little always brave Emery was holding her hand with both of hers as they walked the hall. I nearly lost it. I still may.
I thought today of what it would be like to start something so very new. To go into a room of 20 people with a person in charge you’ve never met. It’s kind of terrifying really. And our kids do it over and over. Wilder is thrilled. He has his new shoes, after all. And those make him brave.
The older I get the more I see how brave these little ones are. How fearless Wilder is to try and fail. How freely they show love without fear. How intensely they dive into the world. How brave they are with their hearts. How beautiful their faith can be. Absolute and true.
There are more lessons than I can list garnered from three years as a mother. I’m still so new at it. Yet, some days Wilder seems so very old.
As Wilder heads to his first day of prek3 I don’t know how I’ll drive away. Singing or crying. Probably both. Maybe I need a pair of shoes like his.


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