Review: Small Talk: Learning from My Children about What Matters the Most

In our house, there is one word that can be used at any time, as long as it’s not used by itself.

Whatever.

It’s an innocent enough word, but left to stand by itself, it can be relational harmful. Using this word often signals a premature disengaging that, if said often enough, can cause a wall between two people. In a house full of know-it-alls (how did this happen? Jesus help us), this word is the equivalent of a curse word.

I don’t even remember the context now, but for some reason I let the W-word slip. Ada, startled all of a sudden, looks right at me and says, “Mom, did you use that word in a sentence?” At first I felt indignant- how dare my 3-year-old challenge me in my usage of the English language? I’m the mom, don’t I have the right to say whatever I please? But, with the next wave of thoughts, I recognize my lack of respect with my words and quickly admit my error and began mending the situation.

I’ve been learning from my kids these days that just because I’m the parent and have the so-called “power” in the relationship, I still don’t get to break the rules. I don’t get to show disrespect or use relationally hurtful words that my children aren’t allowed to use with me or one another.

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In her new book, Small Talk: Learning From My Children About What Matters Most, Amy Julia Becker writes about some of the important things that she has learned from her children, whether it be in the van on the way home from school, observing her kids during an after school playdate, or on the back porch eating dinner. She writes in the introduction:

This book is a series of reflections from my past few years of parenting…it is not a how-to guide. It is not filled with advice. It is, I hope, a word of encouragement that good things can emerge out of the hard but ordinary everyday moments. It is, I hope, a reminder that on those days when you wonder if there is any meaning in the dishes and disputes and diapers, you are not alone.”

In this book, Amy Julia travels the path of friendships, traditions, beauty, disability, baptism and everywhere in between in a way that leaves the reader feeling encouraged, contemplative, and with an eagerness to listen a little more closely to what comes out of the mouths of our babes.

While Amy Julia is a great writer and thinker whose writing has been published in the New York Times Motherlode blog, the Atlantic, Christianity Today, etc., in this book she stumbles upon what all of us parents come to know eventually- some of our greatest learning, our deepest theological musings, our most potent catalysts for spiritual transformation begin with an interaction with our children.

To learn more about Small Talk or about Amy Julie Becker, you can read her blog, Thin Places or connect with her via FB or Twitter.

Thanks to BookLook books for the review copy in exchange for an honest review.  

 

Review: Zondervan Plush Bible, NIrV

A little over a year ago, for Asante’s 6th birthday, we presented him with his very own, full-text Bible. I had done quite a bit of research and we had ended up settling on the Adventure Bible for Early Readers, NIrV, which he’s enjoyed. As I’ve been searching for one for Aly, one thing was for sure- I’d again purchase a NIrV (New International reader’s Version), which is very friendly towards young readers. Other than that, however, remains unclear.

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Zondervan has just put out the Plush Bible (NIrV), which has a cute sparkly pink cover that is a little bit furry and has exactly the kind of flair that a 5 or 6 year old girl would get excited about. The binding of the Bible is well done, which is important for little ones for obvious reasons!

I was a bit surprised that the inside of the Bible was very traditional– it would look like any other adult Bible that you pick up (no colorful inserts, no pages at the beginning of each book to tell the overall story, etc.). I know that some people are minimalists in that department, so it’d work out great for them, however, my early Bible days is filled with using those developmentally-appropriate inserts to guide me to passages of Scripture that would become blatantly applicable to my daily life. So, while i think the Bible’s translation is perfect for young readers who are ready for a full Bible, I think the plainness of the inside might be geared towards those older kids (high school students?) who want the flair of a sparkly pink Bible.

Thanks to Booklook Bloggers for providing this Bible in exchange for an honest review!

Review: Not Yet Christmas (an Advent reader)

The season of Advent begins in one week- and while many of you have the resources that you are planning to use for this upcoming season, I know that some of you are totally procrastinating and have no idea if you’re even going to do this “Advent thing” ;). If this is you, I’d like to introduce you to Not Yet Christmas: It’s Time for Advent by J.D. Walt, who is the current sower-in-chief of Seedbeed, a Wesleyan resource hub that puts out really great resources (books, videos, blog posts, curriculum, etc), sowing seeds of the Gospel and resourcing the global Church. Once upon a time, J.D. was the Dean of the Chapel at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, KY, which is how I first knew of him, and later Seedbed.

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J.D. begins this reader with a call to Christians to stop complaining about the consumeristic American culture “stealing Christmas” from us (how dare the store clerk say ‘Happy Holidays’ to me!), but instead, to just live the season wholeheartedly ourselves. “Let’s joyfully embrace the fact that we will do Advent in the midst of a culture that loves Christmas but doesn’t really understand it. But let’s not be mad about it. We do no live in a Christian culture. We live in an American culture…Jesus is not competing with Santa” (vii). It is out of this vein of truly celebrating Advent and living Christ-centered in the midst of whatever else is being celebrated around us that J.D. writes each of the daily readings.

Each reading begins with a piece of Scripture that speaks towards Jesus’ second coming. I think this focus is a bit unique for many Advent devotionals– most of those I have reviewed over the years tend to be mostly focused on Jesus’ first coming to the world without a whole lot of emphasis on the future. After the piece of Scripture, J.D. writes a bit, often not more than a page of text, and then ends with a poem written by a team of poets from around the country.

One of my favorite days is Day 17: It’s Time to Recalibrate our Pace. The reader slowly reads through Psalm 25, and then our thoughts are turned to the thing we all do best– waiting. J.D. challenges us to consider why we despise waiting so much, and then asks this question- “What if the ‘paths of the Lord’ are more about pace than destination? What if our days became exercises in waiting on the Lord, as in, ‘for you I wait all day long.’ How about we take all those occasions in the coming days where we find ourselves waiting and we consider in the midst of it all that we are waiting on the Lord” (38). This devotion hit home because not only is the Advent season about waiting and anticipating and waiting some more, but also the achiever in me is far too often tempted to not wait around for something to happen, but to seize ahead and MAKE something happen. What does it look like for me to wait upon the Lord and rest in peace?

Some strengths of this reader include:

  • J.D. writes with a perfect mixture of grace and exhortation. If one is not challenged by this devotional, then the reader probably isn’t reading and listening close enough.
  • I appreciate the brevity of each day’s readings. The reading is not very long, and the content is quite potent, giving the reader something to carry with them throughout the day.
  • The poems are a great addition. I’m not a huge fan of poetry, mostly because I don’t want to slow down and spend time on it. But, the season of Advent comes with a necessary slowing, and the poetry is a literary reminder to do that each day.

Thanks to Seedbed for providing me a copy of this reader in exchange for an honest review. I’m thankful to be using this as part of my Advent journey this year!

 

 

Review: Unwrapping the Greatest Gift

This year for Advent our little team is using Ann Voskamp’s Unwrapping the Greatest Gift family devotional. What’s different about this devotional than other traditional Advent resources is that it widens its focus to include the whole story of Scripture instead of only the Christmas story. I’m pretty excited with this alternative because it goes along nicely with Jake and I’s attempt this year at helping the kids learn the big story of Scripture.

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Part of the using the book involves making a Jesse Tree. Ann says that, “to make a Jesse Tree is to trace the family line and heritage of your own forever family- the family of God.” So each day we’ll use this book to:

  1. Read a portion of Scripture.
  2. Read a family friendly devotional written by Ann. The devotionals are 2-3 pages long and are really well written. If you need something to compare it with, I would say that they have the same feel as the Jesus Storybook Bible.
  3. Talk about the story (she gives a couple questions).
  4. Do an activity. She gives a couple options, so we’ll do what we want and skip what we don’t. Some activities require some preparation, but many do not. For example, one of the days she says to “Turn off all the lights in the room except the Christmas lights. notice how the darkness makes the light seem even brighter. Thank God for being your light, even in the dark times” (76).
  5. Finally, we’ll hang up a paper ornament onto our Jesse (Christmas) tree that goes along with the Scripture that we read. The paper ornaments are free (downloadable from her website with a code in the book), but there are also real ones that can be bought from incourage.me. While I’m not a huge fan of the style of the ornaments, they’ll have to do for this year. I’m throwing around the idea of having the kids draw their own ornaments some of the days.

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The pages of this book are beautifully illustrated, and the writing is powerful. Ann does a wonderful job at pointing us towards Jesus and the good news of the gospel that so many of us need to hear again and again and again.

As for the age range of readers, I’m guessing that my almost 4 year old will possibly lose interest at some parts, just because of her age and attention-span, but I think that my elementary schoolers will be very interested.

Does your family celebrate Advent? If so, what do you do? 

Thanks to Tyndale books for providing this complementary copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Review: Faith Shift

I first decided to review this book not because of the title or content, but because of the author, Kathy Escobar. I recognized her name from another book on my “to read” list, Down We Go. In a world of climbing the business/social/christian ladder, I felt like I needed to read a book like that to balance myself out, and to remind myself of what following Jesus could look like in a today’s world kind of way.

So, I thought, if Kathy wrote a book like THAT, then this Faith Shift one should probably be pretty good.

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Oh and it is. Kathy writes this book for those who are going through a faith shift, meaning what was once comfortable and comforting to you (your church tradition, your core beliefs, your relationship to Jesus, etc.) no longer is. Perhaps it was caused by a slow drift, or maybe something significant happened, but whatever the reason, you find yourself asking a whole lot of questions and having way less answers than you used to.

My favorite thing about this book is Kathy’s ability to explain the spiritual formation process and to normalize it. For many of us, we’ve learned that questions can be dangerous. Have you ever asked a question in a group of people and immediately get shot down because “we will never know the answer” or because “that’s a question that can cause doubt?” I have, and it’s an incredibly uncomfortable feeling. But, what I’ve learned over these past couple years is that questions are actually signs of a growing faith. In fact, it’s an odd thing that it has become so taboo these days, because many of our church mothers and fathers knew that it was a common stage in one’s spiritual formation (p 20).

Kathy breaks down the process into a few sections:

  • Fusing: This is where you first become a Christian and everything is so fantastic. You are soaking up Scripture, you are having incredible worship experiences, you are learning so much and things make so. much. sense.
  • Shifting: Something happens in how we relate to God or the church (p. 38). “We hit a significant spiritual barrier and things stop working in the ways we are used to. Our connection with God wanes, and we can’t seem to pray. Our hearts begin to feel dead. We start to feel resentful. We stop caring about church, and events and programs lose their attraction. We notice inconsistencies in leadership and theology that never occurred to us before. We become ambivalent, apathetic, or feel hints of anger and fear in deep places of our soul.”
  • Unraveling: Also known as deconstruction. Lots of questions. Lots of ranges of feelings. I liken this to what many church mothers and fathers have described as a spiritual wilderness. Henri Nouwen. St. John of the Cross. Mother Theresa.
  • Severing: This is when people cut their ties and walk away. Fortunately, not everyone does this, but it certainly happens.
  • Rebuilding: The slow, careful process of rebuilding your faith.

She goes into depth in each area, sharing her own story as well as stories of others she has interviewed. She provides some ideas for soul care as people are moving through each stage, and is careful to honor where people are at in their faith.

People, parts of this book served as water for my soul. I underlined. I starred. I journaled. I even talked out loud while reading it at times.

I had a hard time identifying with other parts of the book, but that’s okay because it probably means those parts aren’t really written for me. I think readers should be aware that she is pretty inclusive, so if this is something that really bothers you, then you probably don’t need this book. :)

I also think this is an important book for people to read who love someone who is going through a faith shift. As I was reading, I not only reflected on myself, but I also began to understand past friends more. I would read something and say, “Ohhhh. I see. I understand now what they meant when they said _________.”)

So, not for everyone, but essential to others!

You can learn more about Kathy at her website, http://www.kathyescobar.com.

Thanks to Blogging for Books for this complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review! 

 

How to Allow Yourselves Not to Enjoy Every Moment When Not Every Moment in Enjoyable

I’m not sure I can take one more mommy guilt trip. Interestingly, it’s not coming from my husband, my kids, or my friends. But through other “gospel-centered” mommas.

Here’s the most recent example from the Gospel-centered Mom: How to Enjoy Every Moment  When Not Every Moment is Enjoyable. She says:

“If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” (Isaiah 58:10-11)

Moms don’t have to go far to find those who are hungry and afflicted. Do we think of meeting their needs as “pouring ourselves out” for them? It’s the opposite of holding the unpleasant stage at arms distance. It’s fully embracing it.

Our children are probably not “hungry”, neither are they “afflicted”. My dear moms, you are doing an incredible important work when you are at home with your babies, but you are not doing this kind of work that Isaiah is talking about. Please friends, let’s not co-op Bible passages to sooth ourselves.

By the end of the article, she’s telling us that we’re supposed to be content during the season of having postpartum depression. I’m sorry, but this is where my patience with this line of thinking ends.

Should we try to remember the bright parts of our day? Yes.

Should we try to cherish these moments with our kids? Yes.

Should we do our best to be parents (ahem, not just moms) who live less and less selfish lives in order to make sure our kids are loved, cherished, and poured into? Yes, Yes, Yes.

Should we aim for contentment? I think so.

But when we are NOT content, do we need to guilt ourselves and one another? No, we don’t. We can come alongside and encourage one another. And by golly, let’s give each other some breaks! Let’s just not offer: “suck it up sister, God wants you to change your own heart and put a happy smile on your face in the middle of emotionally draining days.” How exhausting is that? Instead, grab her kids, bring them to your house for a day and let her just sit on her couch or whatever her little heart desires. (Sidenote: someone did this for me the other week when I was sick and it revived my body and soul so much. I cried a little because I was taken aback with her love, and then I felt guilty for about an hour, but then settled into this gift and said, “Thank you, Jesus!”)

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In the article (and in other books and articles I’ve read recently), she says that each of these moments, no matter how awful, is given to us by God. That’s not how I read Scripture. I read it that every good and perfect gift comes from God, and that He won’t give us a snake when we ask him for bread. There’s another force in this world, my dear friends, so let’s not be tricked that what is fallen or sinful or evil is a gift from God. It’s not. And some of the things we’re dealing with on a daily basis is exactly those things.

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The gospel is about grace, and about loving God and loving people and loving ourselves. There’s not a SINGLE WORK that I can do that is going to make myself more loved by God. HE LOVES US SO MUCH IN OUR LONG DAYS. Go cry yourself a river. Go take a long run. Go complain to your husband or friend or whoever is “that person” in your life (and then allow them to complain back about their job). Eat a chocolate bar in the pantry while playing hide and seek with your kids. Tell God that you are “so over this mom business and are going to go crazy.” My dear friend, whatever you do, don’t pretend you are in a place you’re not. Don’t feel guilty over wishing your postpartum depression is over. I think God so desires your postpartum depression to be over too. Don’t feel bad for wishing you were through the baby is not sleeping stage, because God created us with a need for sleep, and I think that He will be happy for you when that stage is over too.

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He is not shaking His finger at us, but instead He is with us at every. single. point of those hard stinkin’ days and seasons. Love you, sweet momma.

 

Review: Lean on Me

Community has been an incredibly important part of my spiritual formation. I believe with all of my heart that no person is an island, and that to be healthy human beings, we have to find people and places where we can both be known and also really know others.

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Perhaps reading Anne Marie Miller‘s newest book, Lean On Me, is a no-brainer for me. Yes, community! Yes, vulnerability! Yes, availability! I wondered at first if I really even should read this book since I’m already convinced of these things, but I’m really glad I gave this book a shot.

Anne shares part of her journey with us. She weaves together an honest story about a community that held her up in the midst and in the aftershocks of divorce, anxiety, kinda depression and just struggling to find herself again after the loss of her marriage.  She reveals the good times and the bad times, and also shares what she has learned about community lived out, even in the not-so-perfect situations in life.

This book is part memoir, part pastoral. I think I expected it to bit heavier on the details of her story (I’m super interested in knowing more about her life), but I bet there’s more of that in her book from a few years ago called Mad Church Disease. I felt like some parts of the book felt really overgeneralized and didn’t offer much depth, but then other sections were really poignant.

Thanks to Anne for sharing part of her story with the world- so brave and so needed!

 

Thanks to Booklook Bloggers for providing this book in exchange for an honest review! 

Review: Simplicity Parenting

 

simplicityparentingSimplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids has been on my books to read for well over a year. I’m always drawn to anything with “simple” in the tag line, especially when it comes to parenting, because I’m in constant need of the reminder that less really is more. We as parents can step back, give our kids some breathing room, and that hectic schedules filled with good things typically isn’t the best thing for our kids. Repeat repeat repeat.

Simplicity Parenting, now on my list of must-read books, is written by Kim John Payne who was a school counselor for 18 years and is now a private family counselor in New York. He’s of the Waldorf persuasion, and believes that kids need to play, to be bored, and to be kids (not mini adults) as long as possible. He is convinced that working on simplifying is incredibly important as a first step to this kind of childhood: “By simplifying, we protect the environment for childhood’s slow, essential unfolding of self” (6).

Payne identifies 4 main areas in which we can work on simplifying for our kids:

1. The environment: We can declutter and get rid of many of our kids’  toys, books, clothes, etc. so that they can actually enjoy what they have in the mountain of “stuff” accumulating in closets, on the shelves and under the bed.

2. Rhythm: “Increasing the rhythm of your home life is one of the most powerful ways of simplifying your children’s lives.” When kids are familiar with what comes next, they are more likely to be at ease and focus more energy on the work of childhood. Rhythms can be made at waking-up, breakfast, going out the door, the window between school and dinner, and bedtime. Think about your day from your child’s point of view. What’s predictable? What’s not?

3. Schedules: I love that he talks about balancing busy days with quiet days. We do try to do this at our house- if we have a busy week, we’ll make sure that Saturday and maybe Sunday has nothing planned so that we can be at home, play, and enjoy the boringness of life. It really helps the kids to unwind emotionally and get some restful time so that they can reenergize for the upcoming school week. He warns that always packing our kids’ schedule with stuff to do can create an addition to busyness in our kids that many of us are desperately trying to deconstruct as adults.

4. Filtering Out the Adult World: Many of us want to have smart, educated kids who are knowledgeable about the world and what’s going on in it. However, what if the adult information we are sharing with them (or that they are overhearing in our dinner conversations, on the phone, on the news or on the radio in the car) is actually causing stress to them? Payne hosts a conversation about the innocence of childhood, and the importance of our kids’ needing to feel safe in their formative years, as they build their sense of self and the world. Too much information too young can cause anxiety and then behavior issues.

I appreciated Payne’s mindfulness and willingness to push back against the culture of go-go-go and “start getting these kids ready for college when they are in 1st grade”. Parenting and childhood has become a competition in our culture, at the expense of our kids. We can turn the tide if we’re willing to be mindful and make thoughtful decisions about the life of our family!

 

Let’s Read Together

This may be a shocker to some of you but, I must confess. I love to read. I love to read non-fiction mostly, and I really love to read about parenting, spiritual formation, family, women’s issues, and leadership. Many of the books come from some sort of Christian perspective, but I always include some that aren’t.

Can I tell you what I don’t like reading very much? The Bible.

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I mean, in a way I like it. I like learning about God’s character and I love God, so you would think it’d be a natural 1+1=2 equation. But…

I sometimes think it’s boring. I remember being mesmerized by the Scriptures during high school and college. I’ve read it several times straight through and have learned a lot of life-changing things about God. But these days, I kind of have a “been there, done that” mentality.

I sometimes think it’s difficult to understand (and y’all, I’ve been to seminary!). Once I hit the prophets I get confused and it just is a lot of work to understand a simple passage. Did I mention that I have a strong dislike for poetry (mostly because it’s hard for me to understand)? This doesn’t make for a good Bible reading experience for several books of the Bible.

I sometimes think it’s frustrating to read because while I’m reading, I hear all of these voices of past teachers and their take on particular passages. Some of these teachers were healthy and provided useful interpretations. Others were not so healthy and I (or others) have been wounded by their interpretations. I guess you could say that I’ve been going through a deconstruction period, which at times makes Scripture reading difficult for me.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking and praying a lot lately, asking God to give me the courage to approach the Scriptures with fresh eyes, excitement, and a thirst for getting to know Him better. As Charles Yu said this morning during our church gathering, “God doesn’t love us more when we read the Bible, but we end up loving God more.” While I love God, I want to love Him more.

So, I have an idea. Will you join me in reading the Bible in 2015? It’s not about accomplishing or obligations or checking it off a daily list (so breath that sigh of relief!). No one is going to be keeping track of what you read or don’t read. No one is going to guilt trip you when you miss a week because you chose to binge watch something on Netflix after the kids go to bed instead of reading the Bible. Instead, this is about “making room” in our minds, hearts and lives for a fresh look at God through reading the Scriptures.

I’m creating a Facebook group so that friends near and far can join in, if they want, and where we can encourage one another, throw out questions, comments, outside resources, etc at our leisure. If you’re up for it, I’d love companions on this Scripture journey because I might not finish it if I do it by myself! As it gets closer, I’ll offer up a reading plan and some other resources that will hopefully help us to learn and love God more this year. I also am brainstorming ways for this community to be a place where we can share our gifts with one another as we read through. My goal is for there to at least be 2 other people in the group with me (and hey, I made Jake join so looks like I only have 1 more to go!).

Here’s to Journeying through Scripture in 2015! 

Open House Drama

While kids were excitedly running around the hallways with their parents in tow, I was trying to find a quiet place to almost drag my limp-because-i’m-angry 5 year old to a quiet corner to get her under control.

Open House. The night when kids and parents are visiting classrooms, getting to know their child’s teacher and classroom and other parents. Oh they got to know us alright.

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To be fair, the night started out well. We visited the Kindergarten class and it was fine. She showed us her book box, everyday jobs, sang a couple songs, and happily helped me choose what to bring for future class parties. Next we visited the 2nd grade class and she quietly looked around the room and listened as Asante explained his various notebooks and what they work on in each. After we left, they both insisted we go see the special rooms. Although little sister was having some tummy trouble, we decided to make a quick stop.

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Some little girl was pounding on the piano in the music room, which of course made Aly want to do it too. It didn’t seem like the appropriate thing to be doing for that little girl, so I told Aly she couldn’t either. And explained why. She was mad, felt like it was an unfair answer, but left the room decently when it was time to go. Not awesome, but at this point, we know how things COULD be and she was trying.

Upstairs as we rounded the corner to start down the hallway that leads outside, Aly spied kids in the gym. With jump ropes. She rushed in, grabbed a jump rope and started jumping. Jumping. Jumping. Not forwards, but backwards. Whatever. I can let her do this, I thought, just for a few minutes. “Just for a few minutes,” I hollered over the noise of the crowd as she jumped away. After a couple minutes, I gave a one minute warning. Then a “3 more jumps and then we go, my sister.”

Rage erupted on that little girls face.

The yells began as we were exiting the gym. “Bad!” she yelled, which she often does when she’s mad, but trying to hold it back.

As we stream into the hallway she begins to unravel. She’s raising her voice. Getting attitude. Doesn’t want me to touch her because “she’s fine” when in reality she’s spinning out of control. I need to get her attention. Parents make room as we move down the hallway. I’m desperately looking for the bathroom that I know is ahead up on the right. Before we get there, she goes limp, I guess in attempts to get me to acquiesce with the grip I have on her. I carry her as best I can to the social safety of the bathroom. I feel embarrassed but I try not to allow that emotion to influence my words to her. I know myself. When I get embarrassed I can say things that would be better left in my head.

We talk. I look into her eyes, hoping that she will see me so that she can snap herself out of the tailspin that just happened. I get her enough under control that we leave the bathroom. She runs ahead of me and out the doors to Jake and the other kids. As we quickly stroll down the sidewalk away from the school, she yells, cries, and refuses to hear us talk to her about her behavior. She covers her ears, saying “I KNOW!” Maybe she does know what we’re going to say. Because this happens more often than it should. Fits. Tantrums. Yelling. Out of control.

I let Jake and the girls go ahead in the stroller and hang back with Asante. The kid who quietly goes along with everything, watching, observing, thinking. I apologize to him- “Sorry buddy, if Aly’s behavior embarrassed you. It embarrassed me.” “It’s okay,” he quickly replied. It’s always okay. He loves his sister so deeply.

We walk home. The moon is full, the sky is growing dark, and the cool wind blows against my face. I breathe deep, trying to process my emotions and get some air. The streets and bike paths are empty, so I relax. No one to impress or to fakely smile for as they judge my daughter or my parenting skills. Asante starts jabbering about the difference between a millimeter, centimeter and inch, and i’m half listening, “mmhmm-ing” at the right parts, but my mind is elsewhere. I’m thinking about Aly and her way-bigger-than-anyone-can-handle emotions. The books I’ve read. The hours of online research. The sensory play we’ve done. The many ways of discipline. The motivation charts. Her sadness for losing control and not figuring out how to tame the storm inside. It’s a lot and thinking about it all often overwhelms me because I feel so helpless.IMG_5056

So I pray. I pray a lot of things. Probably some of them are totally inappropriate and would make parenting gurus and child development experts gasp. But most of them have something to do with begging God to help me parent this beautiful, creative, gifted child. Help me to understand her. Help me to see it from her perspective. Help me to love her well.

 

 

 

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