[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.

Dear Morning Me:

Dear Ang in the morning:

You are smart, capable, and nearly finished with this tremendous feat that you have worked so hard to complete over four-plus years. Criticism is supposed to be constructive, so build from it and don’t let it crush you. (I realize you find that difficult to do; I’ve known you your whole life, but trust me.) Right now, you are too tired and too sensitive.

Your dissertation committee is supposed to challenge you, because they want you to conduct & write the best research project possible. It just feels crappy right now because you feel like they are picking on you. I don’t think they are, so don’t take it personally.

Get some sleep and then hug the kids good morning, one by one. Then, go and enjoy a cup of coffee at your weekly ladies’ Breakfast Bunch life group in the morning and appreciate a new day.


Sleepy & Cranky Ang

2014 Word

I’ve finally figured out what my word is for this year: Set.

As in: On your mark, get set … go!

I don’t quite know what the “go” part looks like yet, but the past few years have been building up from “on your mark,” and now I feel like it’s time to “get set” and wait for the launch whistle.

dolphin kickI remember years of swim meets — my main race was backstroke — and hearing the announcer call out: “On your mark!” We would pull up into a loose crunch position on the board. “Get set!” and we’d pull up tighter and hold, legs quivering in anticipation to launch. “Go!” then thrust up and backward into the water, hands entering first, then head and arced body already rippling in a dolphin-kick motion. I would go about halfway down the length of the pool underwater before I came up for air. A few strokes later, it was almost time for the flip-turn. Count strokes from the flags overhead, then flip and twist, kick off from the wall and launch back toward the other side.

Competitive swimming was exhilarating and challenging … kind of like how my life has been for the past several years, now that I think about it. The loses were tough. Miscounting strokes and charging head- or shoulder-first into the wall was really painful. And yet, touching the finish line a fraction of a second before any of the others is a rush like nothing else I can describe. Knowing that you gave it your all … and you won … is amazing.

This year has a lot of potential. Lord willing, I will finish my doctorate in just a few short months. It’s possible that I may also have a new job opportunity(ies) later this year, but that remains to be seen. The majority of my kids (3/5) will be finished with elementary school this year. I’ll have TWO teenagers. I’m renewing my efforts to lose weight and stay healthy. Who knows what else the future holds? Whatever comes down the pike, I’m going to “get set” and be ready to fly.