Thursday, August 13, 2009

reflecting on the art of enjoying unscripted parenting

I can see many reasons why life has been designed to be shared with other people. The most recent: conversations. Without a recent conversation that I had with a fellow mom of three, I might not have pondered the following: How to enjoy unscripted spontaneous moments of fun with your children! I use the word unscripted because most of a moms busy day to day verbal instructions are pretty predictable.
“Let’s brush your teeth.”
“Okay, c’mon let’s go.”
“Where is _________?”
“Ugh, we’re running late.”
“Time for _________”
“Clean up your toys first.”
“One more bite!”
I could go on and on………and on. But these short phrases repeat themselves all day long, generally speaking. But “unscripted” is where we moms just don’t really know what is going to happen. We have to let our guard down. We have to be adventurous. We have to boldly go where we’ve not gone before. That scares a lot of moms, including me. Why? I’m not sure but I think we may think that our kids are going to become w i l d if we let them think we aren’t in “charge” and we must keep our serious faces on all times. Oh sure, it’s okay to smile, even laugh, but to just jump off of a cliff blindfolded? Wait. Is that what I’m talking about?
So, in reflecting on how and when these moments occur (which happened the next day after our conversation), I resolved to be more aware of them. Then what? Well, that is of course the tricky part, because it is UNPREDICTABLE. I’m sure that most of the time I totally miss these moments and blow their opportunities for fun with my kids. But I’m praying and trying to be more aware.
Take this morning for instance. I was attempting to make my bed. Now, sometime last week I had a crazy fun idea. We used to play this game with the boys when they were little and they loved it. I threw Brielle on our bed and fluffed the sheets up and down and “made it” with her in it. It WAS fun. Then. Now every time I try to make the bed and Brielle is nearby (where else would she be?) she tries to pull the covers up over her head from the sideline and proceeds to yank them off of the bed that I’m trying to make. It was getting SO frustrating! (these kinds of things happen quite often during my day which is why I’m certain that I “miss” out on a ton of golden opportunities).
I’m saying “No. Leave it alone.” She’s laughing, tugging, messing it up.
“Ughhhhhhhh.” I say.
“Hahahahaha,” she goes.
I stop. I stare at her. I remember. Conversation. Reflection. Here’s my moment.
I pick her up and toss her onto the bed. Covers fly. She squeals with delight! I “make the bed.” Her blanket covered figure squirms with laughter as I ask, “what happened to Brielle?” and proceed to find her. I lay down and giggle with her. She wants to do it again. We play this way for awhile, and I think she’ll never want to stop. Laughter music. Fun sounds. Eventually we will get tired.
“Okay, last time,” I announce. (ugh oh!)
Last time.
“Want juice?” I ask.
“Juice?” she answers.
“Okay, lets make the bed then.” I show her how to “pat, pat” it down.
And we’re off. Filled with the fun we had, and I couldn’t believe she didn’t demand a single thing of me for at least the next hour!
I also couldn’t believe I almost missed that moment with her.
Sometimes I feel so pulled in many different directions - all of them with seem to be worthy of my attention: as a wife, mommy, homemaker, or whatever God calls me to be for Him at the moment, and even for myself (whether with selfish motives or not). But today I realized that while my children’s antics seem to be something that I either get stressed out by, or feel like I need to be the “Mom in Charge” of - it is not always so. They are actually calling me out of my scripted roll, not for their neediness of my fun with them, but to bless ME. These unpredictable moments are for my blessing. Mine! I never usually think of it like that. And they are random gifts from God. I cannot destine them to happen. I can plan the best, most fun, most exciting venture for my kids, but nothing will feel like the joy God can give us rolling around on an unmade bed laughing, tickling, and hugging or whatever it is. It’s like a surprise when we least expect it. Only we have to remember to open it, or we’ll not get to enjoy it.
So, it turns out that what feels like jumping off of a cliff blindfolded is actually more like soaring on wings like eagles. Who knew this? Um………..God.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Refrigerator Pickles

7 C. unpeeled sliced cucumbers
1 C. diced green peppers
1 C. sliced onions

Make a brine with:
1 C. vinegar
2 C. sugar
2 t. salt
1 T. celery seed

Mix vinegar and sugar. Do not heat. (do this before slicing the cucumbers as it takes a while to dissolve). When sugar is dissolved, add celery seed and salt and pour over sliced cucumbers. Store in refrigerator in covered container. Let stand 24 hours before using. There doesn’t seem to be enough brine, but the liquid rises over the next 24 hours, so just watch it do its thing in the fridge. Also, I halved this recipe since my cucumber vines are only producing 3-4 usable cucumbers at a time. I also didn’t have a jar large enough (even for half of the recipe), so I split it into 2 containers. I also used a red onion, not sure if that makes a difference in the overall taste or not.