The scales of just…

I’m headed somewhere really wonderful. (for me and the members of my family it’s pretty wonderful anyway… For you, it might not hold any sort of magic. That’s ok.) In the interim however, while we wait to go to Wonderful, we’re sort of stuck in somewhere a little less so.

By a little less so, I mean that for us it pretty much sucks significantly hugely. For someone else, it could be their Wonderful.

Now that we got that out-of-the-way, life for Gen and I is pretty much a series of images from our hotel room. It’s one of those realities that seemed dreamy and wonderful, in abstract thoughts and day dreams, but in reality is not. Allow me to share what our week days, thus far, have looked like…

- We bought the electronic banking version of Monopoly and played that.

- We’ve watched wedding shows on TLC, (her thing, not mine).

- We’ve watched Wife Swap.

- We’ve swam, but they have the STRONGEST amount of Chlorine, EVER.

- we’ve read our kindles.

- We have had deep talks, silly talks, stupid talks, bickering talks…

- She has done homework.

- I have looked at a magazine.

- I have tried to write.

- Our mini fridge has frozen EVERY SINGLE THING we have bought to have for lunch, since we are trapped at this hotel all day, in the middle of nowhere. (let me tell you, a frozen turkey sandwich is enough to make me NEVER eat another sandwich, and the frozen salad may have permanently killed the enamel on my teeth.)

- our microwave does not actually heat anything.

- our internet does not stay connected.

- the elevator keeps threatening to break with us in it…

- We have 12 cable channels, and most of them have crime shows on. ALL. DAY. LONG.

- the hotel has some sort of construction/remodel happening so there is equipment and HIGH levels of noise happening all day long. There is no escaping it.

- I have not had a vegetable in 5 days.

I totally realize there are real problems happening and none of these are. I am absolutely aware of that. I’m not so shallow to think this is the height of all issues, but it’s been a bit of an inconvenient (and eternally long) week. It’s not all bad though… like they have really amazing blueberry muffins, and possibly the nicest/most helpful hotel staff ever.

And let’s face it, comfort food and personal kindness make up for a whole lot of annoying inconveniences…

I’m tempted to say “Just a few more days until Wonderful”, but the truth is, it won’t be all that either. It will be pretty Wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but I’m sure there will be disappointing moments, and tensions, and sadness and goodbyes too. {which suck way worse than any of these silly frustrations here in Less Than} The best thing I can do for myself is simply to be present, all present and invested in the griefs and the joys of every moment and appreciate when life seems to strike a balance.

The blue board…

I sit, almost paralyzed, as I watch my youngest daughter make decision after decision that only takes her farther and farther down a path akin to self destruction. Naturally, at just fifteen years old, this is all in the name of some high school “friends”. She made the decision long before she even entered through that big metal door, back in September, that the kids she met would be the suns her world would orbit. We, her parents, saw the scary potential in that. This sweet, tender hearted, compassionate and impressionable freshman girl was ready to live for whomever gave her the time of day and agreed to fill that fantasy shaped hole within her.

Over the months, since September, a few of these kids have changed a little. We’ve also seen that not all of her choices have been bad ones. She’s not a bad girl, but she has been willing to sacrifice herself for the sake of a few minutes being connected to popularity, no matter the cost. Fortunately, to my knowledge the cost hasn’t been grave. Yet. Of course, as with all school aged stuff, the drama is strong and nauseating.

Sadly, my husband and I stand on this threshold of our lives now and realize the end result we feared is upon us. While she isn’t pregnant, or a drug addict, or anything severely as blatant as that, she has traveled far down a negative path and has made it clear that her “friends” are the only people she cares about, and obviously they are the only ones who care about her… (Now, these friends do fit within those categories, sadly)

We’ve tried to talk to her. We’ve spoken in illustration, metaphor, love, reward, discipline, consequence and any other language we could dream up- but it became clear that to our audience we may as well have been Charlie Brown parents, Wah- Wah- Wahing our way through desperately trying to reason with a child who is sadly cast in the part of her own worst enemy.

The last real conversation we had about this, prior to leaving for vacation, was that in a heartbeat she would choose her “friends” over us. I wanted so badly for her to understand what happens with those high school friendships most of the time…

My freshman and sophomore reality was that I had friends which my own world also revolved around, in a deeply intimate and tragic way. Unlike her tale, I did not have a family in my corner, nor did the majority of my friends, and so we sort of became that for each other. It was often destructive and unhealthy, but it met needs, soothed the soul and made us feel tethered where nothing else did. I had shoe boxes filled to the brim with heavy on emotion, co-dependent notes and drawings. I often made my own reckless and self destructive decisions to please these people who were my everything. In the end, my experience may not be so different to other freshman/sophomore years.

At one point, {I don’t remember why} All of my friends wrote notes and sketches to me on this giant piece of uncut blue matting. Even as friendships changed and my then-boyfriend and I eventually broke up, that board become this sort of totem for me. Regardless of where I was, or what was happening in life, it somehow symbolized that I did have some worth and a place in this world. Even as I maneuvered through adulthood, the majority of those friendships long gone, the blue board remained pristine and unscarred. Should a corner get bent or nicked, I’d be devastated.

In time, the Blue Board’s power over me faded some but it still held some magic, well into my thirties. Then, the blue “wall” of Facebook emerged and faces behind those words and signatures friended me. At first it was this amazing exercise, but with it eventually came a lot of silly drama and petty childishness that I realized my life had no place (or interest) for. The very first time I saw the effects of this bleed into my family life, specifically my marriage, it was a no-brain decision to unfriend a whole bunch of people and accept the fact that I was an adult, and happy to be one.

The funny thing was, about a year and a half later, when we packed up our house to move across the country, I stumbled across that blue board in my attic. Would you believe seeing it brought a small smile to my lips, a slice of gratitude to my heart that I’d had some love in my youth, and then I myself folded that giant thing into a small square and packed it in my memorabilia box.

I hope someday she’ll see on her own that she is worth more than what some kids who only seem to want to encourage and bring out the worst in her, believe she is worth. I hope somehow she will begin to realize the bigger picture beyond the “fun” of the right now bad decisions before it further negatively affects her future. In the meantime, whether she likes it or not, I’ll keep on believing in her, loving her, and wah-wah-wahing until my face turns blue too.

April already…


I’m thinking I need to work on how stressed out and consumed I’m getting at the end of the month… I am just not making my goals very well… Here it is, already the seventh and I’m just getting this to you. Sad.
- work on editing, rewriting and polishing my manuscript. Still. Forever. UGH.
- continue to try NEW things, all year. I’m not complaining…
- quality time with some of my most (absolute favoritestesestestestestestest) people.
- paying a visit to my favorite {cheap} decor store!
- baby snuggles… they are good for the soul.
- Ginormous road trip across the middle of the country. 60 + hours of car karaoke, Smart Water, audio books and pit stops. *sigh*
- swimming! Lots of chlorine in our hair, fo’ sho!
- spending every day this month with showing my husband with love and gifts as we gently walk him through the last 40 days of his 39th year.
- eating at some of our favorite place, and doing some of our favorite things that Michigan just doesn’t have.
- A quick visit to Amanda’s. The best way to wrap up our trip, hands down!
- I’m focussing on more intentional reading (less fluff) throughout the season of Lent.
- after Lent confession: I need some absolute fluff because my brain is feeling a bit fried and I am mega-behind on my book goals. (that Lent sacrifice has been a challenge!)
- journal more.
- Be more graceful.
- A surprise. I’ll keep you posted. Give me about a week, maybe a week and a half and I’ll let you know…
- Writing challenge project for my online writer’s group.
- Jesus Feminist
Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist
Tales from a Blue Bike
Storyline By Donald Miller
- finding, DIYing or renovating a table for our bedroom. (still. No luck. I’m so picky!)
- regular gym workouts, post this trip…
- in the meantime, swimming and treadmill…
- Continuing with my fitbit flex. We had a bit of a rough patch, but I believe we’ve working things out.
- doing better on my water intake. I’ve slipped. (preferably, NOT while swimming. Ha!)
- get a massage!
- continuing with our intentional date challenge, hopefully managing one this month, which will put us a bit behind.
- Celebrating 20 years since I first married this amazing man who is my partner and incredible husband!
- Double dating with our two favorite people on the planet! We could eat tv dinners outside of a 7/11 and it would be fabulous, we’ve missed them so much! A year is far too long between get togethers with your life’s greatest assetts!
What about your April?