My 12 Days of Christmas

Since my true love should know that I’m allergic to birds & therefore cannot accept the traditional 12 Days of Christmas, I took the liberty of writing my own wish list. 😉

1 steaming hot bubble bath
2 hours of quiet
3 tweens not arguing
4 broken things repaired
5 glasses of Malbec
6 months of teenage auto insurance
7 loads of laundry
8 errands run
9 mismatched socks paired
10 shoes that still fit
11 trips to the grocery store
12 dishes washed

Merry Christmas! 🙂

[Single] Parents Night

Our church youth leaders hosted a Parents Night event tonight, which was partly a meeting to discuss upcoming activities and partly getting-to-know-each-other time. We split into two smaller groups for Q&A, and I was the only single parent in attendance, which made me the odd man out. It wasn’t as terribly awkward as it could have been, but I still felt a little self-conscious. I knew one of the couples in my group already, which helped me loosen up. Some of the questions were silly, and others were more serious and/or spiritual. It was nice to get to know some other parents and youth leaders better, which was the point of the activity.

I’m really glad I went, but the whole day has brought my single-parent status to the front of my mind, as if it’s tattooed across my forehead.

A dear friend was going through a really tough situation earlier today, and as we talked about it over the phone, she made the comment that I’m stronger than her because I’m independent. (Those weren’t her exact words, but I think it captures the gist of what she said.) I appreciate where she’s coming from, and I realize she meant it as a compliment, but sometimes I think it must be more difficult to be dependent on someone. I don’t really know what that’s like, beyond my growing-up years at home.

I read in the Bible and hear pastors teach about biblical roles in a marriage, and I don’t disagree with the concept, but I have seldom witnessed it firsthand. (That’s not to say that I have no godly marriage examples in my life, but I’m talking about a situation similar to my own, where the wife works outside the home and there are more than a couple of kids in the house.) Truly, I would like to not have to make all of the decisions and pay all of the bills, in addition to other daily chores like cooking, cleaning, sorting mail, grocery shopping, driving kids hither & yon, and household repairs. It’s just that I’ve had to do those things for so long (yes, for the most part, even during my marriage) that I’m not sure what it would be like to have someone to share the load. On the other hand, I want my ideas, opinions, and intellect to be valued in the decision-making process, as well. Being submissive doesn’t mean (or shouldn’t mean, that is) being bossed around.

For example, I heard a preacher on the radio this week who, I suppose, thought he was being funny as he talked about husbands and wives, and he made the comment, “Thank you, ladies, for cleaning up after us.” I thought to myself, “Are you kidding me? Clean up after yourself!” It is not ok for my kids to leave plates & cups sitting on the dining room table. The older three have rotating chores that include loading & unloading the dishwasher. The younger two take turns wiping the table and sweeping the dining room & kitchen floor. Are they still messy? Of course — they’re kids — and I bark at them 24/7, it seems, to pick up after themselves. My house is far from pristine, and I have bad habits that I need to adjust, as well. But to pick up dirty dishes left by a grown man too lazy to take them to the sink?!? I don’t think so.

I don’t recall anywhere in the Bible where it says that a woman should clean up after a man. Some people may think that perhaps I’m too independent for my own good, but if that’s their interpretation of biblical submission, then I may as well stay single forever.

Punk kids

Some punk kid flicked a lit cigarette at my windshield as I slowly & carefully drove around his group of friends standing in the middle of a neighborhood street in the dark. I dropped my kids off at home and then drove back to the block where he was. He and another kid had started walking down the street, so I rolled down my window and told him that I didn’t appreciate him throwing things at my car.

He snapped back, “I didn’t throw nothing at your car.” I resisted the urge to correct his grammar and said I knew he did, and he needed to act his age. He said, “Dude, I’m more mature than you are.”

I was thiiiiis close to coming back with, “That’s DR. Dude to you, punk,” but I told him to cool it off unless he wanted me to find out who his parents were and go talk to them. He shut up, and I drove back home.

Our neighborhood is a pretty peaceful area, which is perhaps why tonight’s episode rattled me like it did. I’d like to think I scared him straight and hopefully didn’t just make him more mad. It gave me flashbacks to a kid named Vernon in my childhood neighborhood. Looking back from a grown-up perspective, I can see that Vernon must have been a very troubled boy in desperate need of mental health services, but back in the day, I only saw him as a menace. He used to throw mayonnaise jars at people’s front doors and even went on a Christmas light cutting spree one year. It’s a wonder he didn’t get electrocuted. The last I heard of him, he was allegedly scheduled to go to juvenile, but his family moved seemingly overnight and left town. I hope he got some help.