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Monthly Archives: December 2012

“Dragon Tales and the water is wide, pirates sail and lost boys fly, fish bite moonbeams every night, and I love you…”

My precious Malachi,

Five years ago today, you were born in a small village in southern Ethiopia. I don’t have a picture of you as a very young baby, but I imagine coffee with a bit of cream skin, big curious eyes, wisps of those curls that I grieve for every time you want to cut your hair, and those same lips. I don’t know many things about the first eighteen months of your life, but I know you were loved, both in your homeland and across the ocean. The first picture we have of you is bittersweet-

Milkyias October 5

Sweet because it’s the first glimpse we have of your beautiful face, but difficult also because you look scared, confused and skinny. I remember deliberately not looking at your arms in this picture because I didn’t want to cry in front of your brother and sister if you looked like you were starving.  The next picture we have is after you’d been in Gladney’s care for a while, and you look much healthier and happier-

Mally2

Baby, when we got *the* phone call, I was shaking so hard I could barely answer the phone! Our caseworker, Natalie, told me we’d been matched with you, and I gathered your brother and sister up to go up to church to get daddy. I didn’t notice until later that I had two different shoes on and your sister still had a swimsuit on! Daddy and I traveled to come get you, and it was one of the best moments of my life…and also one of the scariest. My first thought when I drove away from the airport and began to see the city was “How am I going to be able to give him any of this?” My second thought was “Can’t he drive any faster??” which trust me sweetheart, he couldn’t. We were lucky to dodge the people and goats and sheep enough. We got to the guest house, and they asked if we were ready for you. We said yes, and as we were waiting, I found myself fixing my hair, looking in the mirror…as if an 18 month old baby was going to care about my hair. You’ll learn that girls sometimes do strange things when they are nervous. I saw Travis walking down the dirt road with this tiny boy in his arms. In those moments, you think you will think something profound and life changing, but I’m going to be honest, I thought “he has pink socks on.” Travis handed you over and you and I just stared at each other.

Malachi April 23

Precious boy, you had this expression constantly for a good three days. Except when I would try to hand you over to daddy and you would just cry and turn away. We don’t think you had seen many white men, especially not bald white men, but daddy was patient, and by the third day he won you over with the help of a pinwheel toy. Oh how the tables have turned as you are stuck to daddy like glue now. That first day, you sat completely still, not moving and not making a sound. You were so still that we double checked with Gladney to make sure you really could walk! The first night we put you to bed, you just stared at us, then rolled over and went to sleep. When you woke up the next morning, you looked so surprised to see us lying next to you, like you were thinking “You’re still here?!”

london day one 048

Yep. We’re still here. Three and a half years later, and sometimes I forget you weren’t always in our family. You are the stereotypical baby of the family- doted on, a bit spoiled, the class clown. You have a thousand silly faces that you love to display at all kinds of inappropriate times.

bluebonnet 2bluebonnet 4

blubonnet 3bluebonnet 1

You are so many things, Malachi.

You are daddy's shadow

You are daddy’s shadow

     

You are a feeler

You are a feeler

You have undoubtably the best hair in the family

You have undoubtably the best hair in the family

You. Are. Trouble.

You. Are. Trouble.

You are the levity, and the first thing your brother and sister think of in the morning

You are the levity, and the first thing your brother and sister think of in the morning

You are cherished

You are cherished

You are adored

You are adored

You are mine

You are mine

Happy birthday, my sweet boy. Can’t believe you are a “whole hand old”. Promise me that when you are a teenager, you will still randomly say “Mama, I gotta tell you something. I love you.”

Love,

Mama

“What can I give him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb, if I were a wise man, I would do my part, yet what can I give Him, give Him my heart…”

Merry Day after Christmas!  I’m looking out at the bits of shiny paper, empty boxes, and listening to the giggles of three happy overstimulated children. I’ve stepped on countless legos and tiny dinosaurs. Last night I tucked Selah in and was instructed that her new doll, Lily Ann, needed a kiss as well. My body is tired, but my heart is full.

I’m going to say something that I think might get me kicked out of the minimalist club, but I love the gift aspect of christmas. I love all of it, the searching, the shopping, picking gift wrap and bows, and seeing the face of the person who opens it. One of my love languages is gifts, and I’d like to take a minute to virtually hug all of you gifters, because sometimes it’s hard to be a gifter in this world. On one end of the spectrum you have the commercialism of christmas, and the pressure to buy something just for the sake of buying something. Gifters hate that.  The idea of running out to Target to just grab *anything* to bring to Uncle so and so makes gifters feel icky. We want thought and planning. We want to feel KNOWN. We are not concerned with cost, as long as the gift is personal and makes the person feel known and loved.

On the other end of the spectrum are the grinchy people who hate gifts and joy and fun.  This philosophy sounds good on some level because it uses the argument that there are starving people so why should anyone get a waffle maker? How can we spend time on tying bows when we could be building a water well somewhere? Who cares about legos- don’t you know about the war in Darfur?!  And really, how can you argue with any of these statements?  Gifters can fade into the background, because who wants to be the person who meekly says “but I really just wanted to get you a first edition copy of Alice in Wonderland because one time you said that was your favorite book as a child…”  Gifters can get shoved to the back of the cool spiritual line, and walk around feeling a little bit guilty over their love language.

I’ve gotten some very meaningful gifts over the years. (and some not so meaningful ones- and a word of caution- be aware if you have a gifter in your life as a spouse, child, or friend. A thoughtless gift can hurt more than you think, because a gift to them sends a message. Think about what message you want to send.)  There was one year that Wes surprised me with a trip to Hershey, PA.  He planned it because he heard me talk about seeing a program on the travel channel about it and how the whole town smells like chocolate (and it does!). That’s an elaborate gift, but Wes has blessed me many times over the years with small gifts that show me love. When he traveled to Ethiopia two summers ago, he organized a series of gifts to be delivered to me while he was gone.  (the best was a dinner date with a friend that I don’t get to spend enough time with).  One time he went to Half Price Books and bought me old copies of Cottage Living magazine after it went out of print. One of the best gifts he’s ever given me is when he set up this trip to Florida so my best friend Kris and I could go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to celebrate ten years of friendship. He and her husband put us in a beautiful hotel and scheduled a trip to the spa. They flew us first class and rented us a pink convertible for the weekend. The last three sentences may have been a dream. Hard to know.

Aside from my husband and children and friends, one of the most meaningful gifts I’ve gotten was when I was around eight or nine. My parents had recently divorced and my mom and I were living in an apartment. Money was extremely tight, and I remember thinking that I wasn’t sure there would be anything under the tree that year. When I woke up that morning, I found 64 presents under the tree waiting for me. My sweet mom had bought me a box of sixty-four crayons, and had individually wrapped each one. To my child eyes, it looked like a wonderland of color and bows. I told that story one time to a friend and she said “I am so sorry, that’s so sad. “, but it really wasn’t.  It really was a lesson to me on contentment, on being creative with what you have, and with choosing joy. My mom could have easily gone into debt to get me a lot of stuff (to soothe my pain and hers). The world makes that coping mechanism so easy. But when I am tempted to worry about if my kids have enough “stuff”, I think back to that christmas.

So today I am standing up in defense of all the gifters out there who either feel pressured to buy unmeaningful gifts because of societies expectations or who feel pressured to not buy anything at all for fear of looking frivolous. Gifts are not evil or dumb or unnecessary. Feeling loved by giving or receiving gifts isn’t a less spiritual love language. I’ll make the argument that one of Jesus’ love languages is gifts! Look around wherever you are right now- how many colors do you see? Walk into a grocery store- how many types of food do you see? Think about music…what an amazing gift! God could have given us the basics- food, water, shelter. But you can’t out-gift God- His creativity and generosity overwhelms us on a daily basis! He is ridiculous in his gifting. He is lavish. He is over the top. He spoils us. He knows us, and gives gifts that make us feel known and loved. And above all this, above all the material, He gives us His Son. And even in this, He is lavish- He could have just given us salvation, but He goes further and offers us a relationship. We aren’t distant cousins, we are sons and daughters! And even more than that, we aren’t sons and daughters of a distant Father who can’t be bothered to play with us or spend time with us, we have a Daddy. Not just a Father, an Abba.

I am betting that I am not the only one who struggles with understanding this, the concept of God as a Abba. Sometimes I treat God like a flawed earthly father, and so I act like a hurt, distant daughter. My prayer is that every time I give a gift and feel love for a person, and every time I receive a gift and feel loved, I will remember that He is the only reason I can love and be loved. And thinking of a tower of wrapped crayons, I will remember that He knows not just what I need, but  treats me like a loved and cherished daughter.

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“All I really want for Christmas, is someone to tuck me in, tell me I’ll never be alone, someone whose love will never end…”

My dear precious girl,

 It’s been difficult to write this week. My heart has been grieving for the world, and it felt almost wrong to write about the silly. It’s okay to do that, sweetheart. There is a time to laugh, and a time to mourn. Lest you think mommy is so wise, God is the one who designed that, not me. If it were up to me, we’d just laugh always…and that’s why He is God, because I suppose if you never mourn, you don’t really appreciate the laughing.

 Last night, daddy and I took your brothers and sister out to dinner and to look at christmas lights. While we were in the car, daddy played a song that he knows will get a narrowed eye from me, but he does it anyway because daddy sometimes thinks it is funny that I cry easily. The lyrics are-

Well I don’t know if you remember me or not
I’m one of the kids they brought in from the home
I was the red-haired boy in an old green flannel shirt
You may not have seen me – I was standing off alone
I didn’t come and talk to you, ‘cause that’s never worked before
And you’ll prob’ly never see this letter anyway
But just in case there’s something you can do to help me out
I’ll ask you one more time
 
All I really want for Christmas
Is someone to tuck me in
A shoulder to cry on if I lose
Shoulders to ride on if I win
There’s so much I could ask for
But there’s just one thing I need
All I really want for Christmas is a family.
 
I guess I should go ahead and tell you now
If it’s really true about that list you have
Somehow I always seem to end up in a fight
But I’m really trying hard not to be bad
But maybe if I had a brother or a dad to wrestle with
Well, maybe they could teach me how to get along
And from everything I’ve heard
Sounds like the greatest gift on earth would be a mom
 
All I really want for Christmas
Is someone to tuck me in
A shoulder to cry on if I lose
Shoulders to ride on if I win
There’s so much I could ask for
But there’s just one thing I need
All I really want for Christmas
Is someone who’ll be there
To sing me “Happy Birthday”
For the next 100 years
And it’s OK if they’re not perfect
Well, even if they’re a little broken, that’s alright
‘Cause so am I
Well, I guess I should go
It’s almost time for bed
And maybe next time I write you
I’ll be at home

‘Cause all I really want for Christmas
Is someone to tuck me in
Tell me I’ll never be alone
Someone whose love will never end
Of all that I could ask for
Well, there’s just one thing I need
All I really want for Christmas
All I really want for Christmas is a family

Now, normally precious girl, I detest christmas songs that are sappy and try to play on people’s emotions. They are fake and I feel like they detract from what christmas really is about. I don’t want to feel emotional and gooey and generous because it’s christmas. I want to BE generous (not just feel it) all the time, because of His gift. But this song is an exception, because this is true. I know, and my heart cries, because I know there are countless kids who are today praying for a mom and a dad. For them, and maybe for you, christmas eve isn’t about opening new pajamas, going to church, eating homemade donuts, and covertly searching the house for gifts. I wondered last night if you’ve ever driven around looking at lights. Do you have a stocking, baby? Have you ever watched “White Christmas”? Do you know the story? 

 
Oh my girl, I long for you. My arms ache and my eyes don’t run out of tears. And this morning, as I fought back the tears watching your brothers and sister open their new pajamas because I want desperately to wrap you in a glittery frilly nightgown with your favorite princess, it occurred to me that there was a point when Mary felt this way. She was a lot of things, but she was a mom. A broken, human mom. And I imagine, as most moms, she liked to give her children things just to see them happy. I don’t know for sure, but I wondered this morning about how Mary felt after Jesus left to be with God, promising to return again. I bet her mama heart recalled when He learned to walk, or His first loose tooth, or different celebrations. And I suppose her arms ached too, and her eyes filled with tears because she missed her son, and longed to be with Him. She probably thought back to that night in the dirt and dust, surrounded with the most meek of circumstances, when her whole world shifted as she looked into His face. Do you know this story?
 
Baby girl, you have bows and dresses and soft, warm pajamas waiting for you. You have two brothers who will fiercely love and protect you. (they will also annoy you). You have a sister who loves like the ocean, vast and deep and overwhelming. Your daddy, oh precious, your daddy. You have no idea how you’re going to be loved by this man. There are aunts and uncles and grandparents waiting, and friends who will love and take care of you like you are one of their own. And more than that, you have a story waiting, and I can’t wait to tell it to you. It’s not a pretend story (although we have lots of those for you too!), it’s a true story. It’s THE story.
 
Merry Christmas, love bug.
 
Love,
Mommy
 
 
 
 
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“You who live in heaven, hear the prayers of those of us who live on earth, who are afraid of being left by those we love, and who get hardened by the hurt…”

To my children,

The question “how?” and her sister, “why?” dance around ears and mouths today…news reporters stare into cameras with somber eyes and shaky voices…a president cries while addressing the nation…and I am awake tonight. Babies, I came into your room to watch you sleep, knowing that tomorrow I will be taking a tiny piece of your innocence away. Please know that tiny piece is precious to me and I don’t let go of it easily. You don’t know how much I wanted to come get you at school yesterday, take you home, feed you ice cream and surround you in the bubble wrap of mommy-ness. I find myself kissing your heads today, like the smell of your hair is somehow a tonic to what hurts, what has snuck in and bruised my heart.

Let me tell you why I choose to unwrap you. This world babies, it is so fallen. It aches and groans, and shudders under the weight of sin and pain and death and destruction. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that. Sometimes it feels like surely any minute the weight will cause it to cave in. And this is it- this is the time where you go one way or another. You wait in pain or in hope. We have a rescuer.  Oh, my sweet loves, even writing that sentence is mixed with pain because oh Lord, Lord…why those tiny ones? Why wasn’t your rescuing done the way I think it should have been? When I sent you all to school for kindergarten, I spent the first three months anxious- would you get lost? Would you be scared if it stormed? What would you think if a bigger kid pushed you? Did you miss me? I can’t- I literally can’t- imagine the parents who swallowed this anxiety to send their child to kindergarten and who came home yesterday without them. Sometimes we pray “Lord, be with them and comfort them” , but in this I pray “Jesus, just keep them breathing” because I don’t know if I could remember to breathe.

Babies, there will be a day when you have to separate yourself from what we teach you to decide if it’s true. There will be a time when you will not just see our pain at tragedy, you will experience it yourself. A time when pain will cut the breath from you, and your faith will move from head to heart. That can’t happen in ease. A time when I won’t have an easy answer, when my hugs and kisses won’t be enough, and when doubt will creep in. A time where maybe the idea of our Rescuer will make you confused and maybe even angry. Babies, I don’t shield you from this because I want you to see that I’ve taken that journey, and chosen to believe. When that moment happens for you, I don’t want you to think daddy and I don’t understand, that we’ve never questioned Him, that we’ve never groaned and wept.

My heart aches, but my how and why has changed. It’s not how or why it happened, it’s how and why can someone survive this without a Savior. It’s not pie in the sky, it’s not an easy answer, it’s not a christian cliché, it’s a real relationship where you can scream and cry and fall into His arms, knowing that you don’t get all the answers, but you can rest in that He has them.

Babies, nothing…nothing is bigger than this.

I love you. I’m praying that when I am tempted to be petty, to be selfish, to be annoyed with your teasing and questions and mess, I’ll think of the mommies and daddies who are screaming for please, please just one more minute with them. In a few hours, I’ll tell you about this and I will hold you, grateful for grace, grateful for peace, and grateful that Jesus rescued me a long time ago.

Love,

Mama

http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFNB2oVcNgg

“The sharp knife of a short life, well I’ve had just enough time, so put on your best boys, and I’ll wear my pearls…”

I’d like to consider myself as a “fun mom”. I make snacks for the neighborhood kids. We play in the rain. I make green pancakes for St Patrick’s day. But from now on, no matter what I may do in the future that brings my children joy, I will have forever secured the title of WORST MOM EVER. Let me explain…

When Selah broke her pinky, I felt so bad for her that I bought her a blue betta fish named “Blueberry”. She loves the color blue and is in love with her fish. On the way home from the pet store, we discussed that fish aren’t exactly expected to live for a long time, so she needed to prepare herself for the fact that she will outlive Blueberry. She decided to go ahead and plan his funeral- it included daddy preaching, her singing Taylor Swift’s “Never Grow Up”, and at least I envisioned Wes and me taking the bowl up to the roof and lifting it above our heads for the neighborhood children and squirrels to see while “Circle of Life” played in the background.

We’ve had Blueberry for about three weeks. We went out-of-town this weekend and came home to Deadberry. Luckily Selah is easily distracted so I didn’t have to concoct some sort of marine version of Weekend at Bernie’s. But Wes and I talked about it, and we agreed that Selah isn’t in a place to handle a dead fish right now. We just moved, and her world has been in a lot of turmoil, and while Selah is a really fun and flexible girl, she also doesn’t always deal well with change. So while I swore I would not be the parent who replaces Fluffy four times over, I found myself driving to multiple pet stores, trying to find Blueberry’s doppelgänger. I am a good mom. I drove to FOUR pet stores. Let’s all just remember that, okay?

Apparently, blue fish are rare or on strike or something because no one had anything except red bettas. At the last store, there was a blue fish with red on the tail and fins. I thought- okay, my choices are to break this child’s heart right before Christmas, or somehow figure out a way to make this blue and red fish okay. And because I am a fun mom, I thought- what if our elf, Jomalah, painted her fins to decorate her for christmas? That’s fun, right? It’s cute, and sweet, and IT’S FREAKING WHIMISCAL PEOPLE. It was, perhaps my best idea ever.

I brought the fish home, hid it in a cabinet, and waited until the kids were asleep to bring it out.

photo (23)

I imagined that she would skip down the stairs, gaze lovingly at her fish, giggle merrily at the antics of Jomalah, and we’d all sit down as a family to eat our breakfast of homemade pancakes.  What I heard was this-

Silence. Gasp. Wailing.

I came down the stair to see Selah collapsing, tears running down her face while simultaneously shooting Jomalah betrayed glares. I tried to soothe her- “Oh look sweetie! Jomalah decorated Blueberry for christmas, doesn’t she look so pretty??” Selah replied- “No, she looks HORRIBLE. I don’t want her to be red, I want her to be BLUE!!” I look over to find Benedict Arnold over in the kitchen, laughing and smirking his I told you so look. I gather her on my lap and tell her I am sorry she’s sad, but I think once she calms down, she will see that Blueberry looks so pretty for Christmas and now matches the house. She wails and hyperventalates some more and then chokes out- “Okay. But the day AFTER christmas, I want her back to BLUE.”

I go upstairs and begin preparing my speech for the annual Send your Kid to Therapy Awards, and Wes comes upstairs. I began to list ways we could fix this, like-

I could go search the other fourteen pets stores I didn’t visit and find the blue fish, switch it, and leave an apology note from Jomalah on her pillow.

Create a tiny waterproof Taylor Swift costume for Blueberry so that Selah will see that dressing up is FUN.

Take Blueberry out, try to paint her fins with some sort of waterproof blue paint.

Photoshop a picture of Taylor Swift saying her favorite color is red in hopes that Selah will then accept a red fish.

Blame this entire debacle on Dr. Seuss.

Fall on my sword and tell her the truth.

Buy her a pony.

As she gathered her bag up for school, she said “I feel like my day is ruined. Not completely. Just a little ruined.”

Let’s all just take a minute and remember the time I had friends dress up like Cinderella and Prince Charming for her birthday party. It doesn’t matter that we had fish sticks at that party. What matters is we don’t ever bring this up again, okay Wesley?

Have a subject or question for Mama Mondays? Go ask someone else, I clearly don’t know what the heck I’m doing. (or email me at brandy.followingbutterflies@yahoo.com

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Mama Mondays- “I know it’s not much, but it’s the best I can do, my gift is my song and this one’s for you…”

“What do you teach your kids about gifts at christmas? It seems like my kids want to buy a gift for everyone in the family and it is expensive and takes so much time!”

What sweet kiddos you have!  Some kids are naturally going to be gifters, and it’s hard when they want to bless everyone, from grandma to the mailman, with a special and unique gift. Mamas, try not to squash this! (especially if you have a boy who does this- his wife will appreciate it!)  Generosity and thoughtfulness are great qualities that you want to nurture, and while you can do this all year round, Christmas is a time when you can really let these qualities shine.

When my kids were very little, I started taking them to the dollar store one by one. It developed into a little special mommy date! I made a list of everyone they wanted to buy a gift for, and we spent time searching the store.  The rule was- they had to tell me WHY they picked a certain item for that particular person. I did this because I wanted them to begin thinking that gift giving is a way to show someone that they are known and loved, and NOT an obligation. I carried a little notebook and wrote down exactly what they said about why they chose a certain item. When it was wrapped, I included the quote with the gift. Honestly, it has been hilarious over the years to see what the kids have picked. Family members have gotten ketchup, racecar driver posters, straws, plastic flowers, cans of soup…my favorite though is the year my brother-in-law got a African-American wedding cake topper from Selah. I honestly can’t remember her reasoning, but I do remember his face when he opened it. It is a fun activity for the kids, and I think it has been a sweet thing for my family to see the kids reasoning in choosing their gifts.

When Josiah and Selah got a bit older (around seven years old), they decided they wanted to do something different. I decided that they could choose (out of some choices I gave them) something they could make, based on their interests and talents. Selah is obsessed with art, and painting especially, so she chose several bible stories and painted a scene from those stories on canvas for grandparents and aunts and uncles. It turned out amazing!  She had fun painting, and it opened doors to really discuss those stories as she was adding details to her paintings. Josiah was really working on his handwriting and spelling, so he decided to make and illustrate books. He chose several bible stories and copied them in his own words, and I took them to Kinkos and had them bound.

This year, because we just moved into our new house, we won’t have time for that kind of intensive project, so the kids will be doing something a little simpler. (Can’t share in case my sneaky family members are reading!). I can share that the kids will be writing letters to each other as their gifts to each other. In the letters, they will encourage them on something they have been growing in or doing really well in this year, what they are praying for each other this next year, and what they would like to do to serve them in the next year. I really hope that these letters will be precious to them when they are older- as precious as they are to me when I see them now.

This works for family members, but for other people, I am going to encourage them to give the gift of time and service. This may be baking a special dessert, or raking leaves, or more letters (can you tell I am a big fan of the written word??).  I talk A LOT with the kids about the whys behind gifts, and examining motives when choosing a gift (how many times have we grabbed a random neutral gift on the way out of the door simply because we felt like we had to bring a gift? I don’t want to teach them that! I want their hearts to be intentional about blessing others, not fulfilling some pointless cultural expectation about gift giving)

What about you? Do you have any gift giving traditions with your children?

Have a question or subject for Mama Mondays? Email me at brandy.followingbutterflies@yahoo.com

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“Well it’s two hearts, one dream, I wouldn’t trade it for anything, and I ask the Lord every night, for just another day in paradise…”

I’m convinced that if children have superpowers, it’s the ability to survive on 26 minutes of sleep and the gift of perfect timing. There is something in them that says “Wait for it…wait for it…throw up NOW!” as you are pulling into the driveway of your great aunt’s house for dinner. They know that an open house at school is the best time to announce that mommy and daddy said the teacher looks like she’s had some work done. Mommy and Daddy have planned a weekend away? Time to develop a paralyzing case of separation anxiety.

We moved to our new house this past weekend, which of course meant that my children fell in love with every toy they ever owned and could not even fathom throwing anything out. So like any good mom, I respected their wishes and threw things out while they were in school. Don’t you judge me- my children do not NEED a box full of broken colored pencils. We planned on moving a good portion of our things on friday while the two oldest were in school. I set the kids clothes out thursday night. I packed lunches. I got the backpacks ready. I had a plan.

At about 3:00 am, I heard Selah crying. I walked into her room and she told me that the corner of her sheets had come off the bed and it felt like the sheets were “ripping my skin apart”. I fixed her sheets and she went back to sleep. At 5:00 am, Wes woke me up with horror in his voice. I stumbled in to see that Selah had gotten sick in the night. Not “oh poor thing, you don’t feel so good” sick. This was “Dear Lord, I’ve walked into a theme park of disgust and gnashing of teeth” (Hello folks, welcome to Poopland, admission is your dignity, park closes hahahahahahahahahah that’s funny WE NEVER CLOSE)

At this point, it was almost like looking at a field of landmines- do I address poop covered child, poop covered bed or poop covered floor first? Hello Sophie’s choice.  I grabbed Selah (and by grab, I mean touched her head and tried not to gag) and directed her to the shower. But she still has her cast, the cast that now sported the names of loved ones and poop. We tied her cast up in a plastic bag(I’m quite sure I heard the bag muttering “what the heck? What did I ever do to you guys?”) and got her in the shower. After cleaning her off, we unpack a few boxes to get a towel and she sits on our bed while I google “How to get poop off of a cast”. Folks, the internet is crazy….but I am so grateful for google. I don’t know what my grandmother would have done- would she have just ignored the doctor and washed it with water? Would she have made her child sleep in a barn? Would she have pushed her child into a well and then sent the dog to fetch the neighbors by barking the message? I don’t know but I am so glad I have a tiny computer at my disposal to find the answers to such weird questions.  There are several opinions, so I decide that it couldn’t hurt to combine them. I use a toothbrush and vinegar. I decide to add baking soda to the mix. When I took Chemistry in high school, the only thing I paid attention to was the boy who sat in front of me, so I forgot that whole vinegar and baking soda reaction thing. I poured the baking soda in, then frantically ran to the bathroom as the cup fizzled and bubbled over. Poured it into the sink, looked at myself in the mirror and whispered “Get. It. Together, Butler. You have 30 minutes until the guys come to help you move.”

I scrubbed her cast, sprayed it with Lysol and Febreeze, and began to help her get dressed. As I was pulling her shirt on, I noticed two spots of ringworm on her tummy. I jump up, unpack three boxes to find the cream to treat it, and finish getting her dressed while hollering at my boys to “get in here and get naked so I can check you!” I’m not sure what it says about my parenting style that neither one of my boys batted an eyelash at this request. Both boys were clear, so I then began a very wrong version of Frogger in her room, trying to avoid stepping in anything to get her room cleaned before friends arrived in now 15 minutes because while we have great friends, I am pretty sure they would draw a line with walking into the room of funk. I clean her ceiling fan. You read that correctly. Even today, I’m torn between wanting to know the exact order of events that led to poop being on a ceiling fan and just wanting to close my eyes and make it go away.  I open her window, and walk down the hall. Josiah runs up to me panicked, and says that he needs cookies for school today. I throw open a few boxes, grab a package of Oreos and shove them into his backpack, hoping that the Pinterest gods will forgive me just this once. It’s now four minutes until a group of men show up at my house. I run into our room to get dressed only to realize that one of my children, trying to be helpful, has packed the clothes that I set out for the day.

Moral of the story is we are moved into the new house, Selah is fine, and I’m waiting for my paycheck from the studio of whatever hidden camera show that I clearly was on.

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