To my Children in 2030

To my precious children,

As I write this letter we live in the house you grew up in, which is in a neighborhood of mostly young families and a few college kids. Usually its a quiet neighborhood, but this afternoon, the party next door is raging.

Some girls are bikini clad and sliding down a huge bounce house slide (you are all jealous), while the young men (mostly clothed) cheer for them. There is loud music, lots of yelling, kids walking in our yard, lots of drinking, and hopefully in several hours, lots of designated drivers and Uber rides.

Three of you are ignoring the shenanigans, while your fearless leader and oldest sister is channeling my quiet frustration. She’s pacing and saying things like, “I can’t take this anymore. They are being so loud.” I sincerely hope this is an indication of your future selves, but just in case you find yourselves being normal college kids in the future (which once again, I really hope you’ll be the nerdy ones hiding in the library and making straight A’s or baking cookies with your sweet roommates), here are some things to consider…

First of all. Don’t ever be in a situation in which you have less clothing on than your friends. This will lead only to humiliation, and if it doesn’t lead to humiliation, you need to think of my face in your head, you should be embarrassed. Keep your clothes on, unless you’re all swimming, then keep your suits on. Here’s a rule. In most cases, if a man is cheering for you and most of your skin is exposed, while his isn’t, you have been objectified.

Sweet daughters, I hope and pray that you know how beautiful you are (inside and out). I hope you know that and nothing can shake it. I hope you have enough confidence to wear clothing that flatters your body but doesn’t expose too much to random people. I hope you look in the mirror and realize that you are just gorgeous. Your sexuality is a part of you, and good part of you (a part of you I’d prefer to not think about…ever), but don’t give it away for free. Respect and love are not achieved with your sexuality, but rather with your mind and your confidence and likely your beauty. Your sexuality comes in later, once you have the love, not before. Please remember this.

My precious boy, I hope that you will be a young man who esteems women. You will no doubt, be taught by society that objectifying women is ok. For real. This is still a huge problem in 2016 and it probably will still be when you read this. Issues like this are so sticky and hard to nail down. On the one hand we as women, want to be able to celebrate who we are physically. We want to feel beautiful and confident in that. But on the other, it’s so easy for that celebration to be one-sided. And that is when the trouble starts. When enjoyment is not a two way street, be very wary. Be the man who loves your friends who are girls, enough to respect them for who they are and not only what they look like.  Don’t be that guy who cheers for girls in bikinis while you have your clothes on. Don’t be that guy. Put your swim trunks on and take a turn on the bounce house slide, too!

Kiddos, your dad treated me with so much respect when he met me. He told me how beautiful he thought I was but he also became my dear friend. He never ever once tried to take advantage of me. I always knew that he respected my body and my mind, and I his. Don’t settle for less, my little people.

To all of you, I hope that you are confident enough in yourself to have as much fun sober as you would have drunk. I hope you learn that while alcohol may taste good, it can also ruin your life if you let it control you. Find that balance. Eat, drink, and be merry. But don’t eat, drink, and be trashed. It’s just not even fun. For real. And I’m not saying that as your super conservative boring nerdy mom. I’m saying that because I used to be in college, too, and singing 1980s hairband songs into a microphone that is really just your hand is actually pretty lame. (That only happened one time, dad :):)).

Finally, um. Don’t walk in other peoples’ yards. That’s just rude. Be a respectful young adult, and maybe your friends will follow your good example.

I love you all to pieces and am pretty sure you are the four coolest kids in all the world.

Mom

P.S. Also, wear sunscreen. You won’t have perfect elastic skin forever. Pale is the new tan. Really.

 

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When we Forgot About the Real Bread and Wine

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Remember that Easter when you forgot about the real bread and wine?

The Easter that snuck up on you, the one you waited until the day before to run to Target amidst a frenzy of other frantic parents in the toy aisle, looking for something your children didn’t need to fill a basket they forgot they owned.  But then everything good was sold out, because the early bunny gets the worm. And you settled for some flamingo pjs instead.

Remember that Easter when you forgot about the real bread and wine?

The Easter that so quickly followed winter, you forgot to get new shoes for the kids and you worried that someone would notice their dingy sandals and protruding toes. Someone in Sunday school. Someone who was teaching them about the Resurrection.

Remember that Easter when you forgot about the real bread and wine?

The Easter you meant to learn about Lent, because growing up Evangelical, you’re a little behind the ballgame, but then you let that daily reading fall to the wayside, as your kids climbed all over you and your Bible and coffee in the early hours when you just wanted some quiet time. And you forgot to even start a fast.

Remember that Easter when you forgot about the real bread and wine?

Remember when you fretted over all of the traditions, just like some Pharisees you know, and traded the part about freedom and resurrection and sacrifice and Jesus and love for guilt.

Remember that Easter when you forgot about the real bread and wine?

And then you remembered-bread: God coming to Earth, born in a stable, living as a servant, and dying as a criminal…for me, for you.

Wine: the blood spilled to break the bond and loose the chains, the same chains we often keep ourselves shackled in.

The real bread says, you are free, you are forgiven, and you are redeemed, whether you keep the Lent, or buy the new shoes, and do or don’t do all the things culture and religion demand that you do. The real bread and wine is full of grace, abounding grace and that’s the only thing you’ll ever need.

Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where’s thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!

 

 

Hi, I’m Mommy Hoarder

Do you have trouble getting rid of your stuff?

Let’s form a support group.

Hi, I’m Anna and I am a neat freak hoarder. My house is in order. My floors are not sticky. Everything has a place. BUT I have too much of everything.

Unlike me, you might be on the messier side…or you may be WAY neater than me. BUT…are you hoarding stuff? Let’s see.

1. Old Jeans/All of your pre-baby clothes. Your jeans range 5 sizes (including maternity), and some are so old that they are cycling back into style (i.e. all of my bell bottoms-woohoo!!). Your boobs have long since fit into your favorite empire waist dress from your single days, but it’s still in your closet, hob-nobbing with your new clothes, because someday…someday. Old heels-let’s not even go there.

2. Stuffed Animals. You have stuffed animals coming out of your ears, even though your kiddo(s) have just a few they like. There are so many more, regulated to baskets and shelves either because they are 1. really cute (I’m talking to you, Ikea and Anthropolgie toys everywhere), or 2. Someone special gave them to you (the hand-me-down bunny from my sweet elderly neighbor). You are paralyzed, when you try to purge, because you feel bad for the person who gave you/your kid the toy (what if they find out??) and you also secretly feel bad for the toy (Velveteen Rabit Syndrome, VRS-it’s a real thing).

3. Ziplocks.  You finish whatever food was in a ziplock: let’s say a bunch of Costco Pecans. You have no plans in the super near future to buy more pecans, but throwing away a not super dirty ziplock irks you. So you throw it back in the pantry, to wait to be used again. When your husband finds said empty (albeit crumby) ziplock, you let him curse an extended family member whom he believes to the culprit, without correcting him.*

4. Gift bags/tissue paper. After an endless slew of baby showers and kid parties, by now you probably have something like 50 BUH-zillion bags and a stack of slightly crinkled tissue paper that could reach the moon. Sing with me: “We are never ever ever ever, running out of paper or gift bags!”

5. Kid Drawings.  You’ll never forget that first perfectly ugly craft Kiddo #1 brought home from church circa 4 years ago. You loved it so much, you left it enshrined amongst the ABC refridgerator magnets and 2011 Chrsitmas cards until it’s edges furled and its color faded. But now things are out of control. You can’t stop your small quiver from sneaking printer paper from the office and their adorable “Mommy and Daddy on a date” drawings are slowly and overtly taking over the walls, the table, the floor, and sometimes the doors.  Don’t even talk to me about ripped out Dora coloring pages and broken crayons. It’s madness, I tell you. MADNESS.

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Very first craft ever

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What the heck is this? Why do I still have it in my house?

6. Baby/Kid Clothes  You had a baby of one sex, then another of the same sex, then one of another sex. And even though you’re finished with your baby factory ways, that little blue 18 month GAP dress is too adorable to part with, as are all the rest of your children’s old clothes. Maybe all of the stuffed animals can wear them??

7. Pregnancy Sticks You got so excited that your pee stick(s) had that coveted little pink line that it immediately got stuffed in your dresser drawer, instead of the trash. Then you accidentally got sentimental about it. Everytime you saw it there looking back at you when you got your socks out, it whispered, “Oh….remember, this was the night…you found out…don’t throw me away, I’m so special,” and you wiped some tears. Lost in your mommy sentimentality you forgot to think, “hmmmm. I peed on that, and then didn’t wash it off.” And then you stuck it back in the drawer and kept on saving it.

8. Sippy Sippies Everywhere. Face it, you run the dishwasher every single day, so why do you have 17 sippy cups with coordinating (and missing) tops and straws for 2 kids? You can barely shut the sippy cup drawer and you find them all over the house, car, and stroller. Sippy Cups (shakes fist in air!)

So…who’s up for a garage sale/art show? Except for those Pregnancy tests and ziplocks, that is! Throw those suckers away!

*Sneak Peak: 5 Common Daddy Hoarder Practices (saving fast food cups everywhere will be there-can I get an AMEN?).