Raising Magnolias

Because it's never too late for happily ever after…

Acting Four!

“You must become as little children….”

In line at the bookstore buying a gift for a special friend, Emma Claire starts to whine. But I want a present. I need a present.

Hu? You need a present?

Come again?

My heart starts to pulse quick as I gently remind her of the 4-day extravaganza that was her birthday. I remind her of the presents and parties and cakes and she looks at me and I remember. She’s four.

And as the books were sliding across the scanner, the Lord reminded me.

Somedays we all act like we’re four years old.

I was pulling into our driveway. Road-weary and travel weary and having to say goodbye to my children in a McDonald’s parking lot weary, and well, you know that feeling when you’ve had a wonderful time away and yet you are so very happy to be home again….

Yeah, well, it was the opposite of that feeling. Forgetting so quickly the joys (and gifts) of the weekend and brazenly, and bodly with a touch of whine (that’s whine; not wine) asking, pleading God for more.

Somedays we all act four.

And then I looked up and saw my neighbor in the backyard. And his wife. And the other neighbor. And the other neighbor’s wife.

Doing yard work. My yard work.

I flushed red; embarrassed that they think I need the help and it’s a big yard and I’ve never done yard work and I do need the help and I’m grateful for the help, and I walked around back and they are pulling down vines.

Wait, what? Not vines? Trees sprouting from fallen seeds? Weeds with posinous leaves?

Um, OK.

So they filled my garbage with sticks and posonious berries and trees growing wrong and I flush red again.

I should be doing this. No, wait. My husband should be doing this.

Women’s lib-stuff only goes so far with me. I think we’ve been through this before.

Men should open the door. Men should pay.

Men should mow.

The end.

But  since the only men around here are busy pulling vines and I since I will not be defeated by a little grass and well, sure,  I may have thought the poisonous berries where beautiful ivy vines, but, whatever, I’m a strong, independent single mom of two, and glory to God, I can learn to mow. 

I read the label that says “EASY START” and I think “easy start, my A#$,” and I pull.

And I pull again.

And I pull harder.

And it starts.

I push.

It dies.

And I pull again.

And I kick the mower. And I kick it again and I say under my breath (well, sorta under my breath and sorta out loud with a high-pitched squeal,) “ERRRRRRRRRRGH”!

Because somedays we all act four.

I feel tears spring up and I will not cry over grass, well, at least not again, so I go inside.

And I eat chocolate.

The next day, I ask my neighbor for help. He’s already sharpened the blades and oiled the puller-thingy and cleaned out some kind of box so I’m so embarrassed to ask, but he comes over and he smiles shy and asks, “Did you check the gas?”

And I laugh because my husband would’ve asked the same thing and it would’ve been a very fair question. And I remember quickly the joy and I remember calling him once because my car had broken down and I remember him coming to my rescue and bringing gas.

Whatever, men should also pump gas.

But I’m learning and I’m trying and I actually had remembered the gas.

And then I laugh harder, and I think enough already with the learning!

Last week, I was running. In the rain. In 4 inch heels. And this is shocking, but I fell.

Hard. And I bled.

A lot, a lot.

And my mom says to me, “I guess 40 is as good a time as any to learn that you shouldn’t run in heels.”

And I wanted to cross my arms and stomp my feet and I wanted to say, “Well, I’m tired of learning!”

Well, actually, I think I did say that, but  whatever,  I didn’t stomp my feet.

Eventhough I wanted to to. Eventhough that’s what you do when you’re four.

And that night (the night after the mowing, not the night after the falling,) I went to bed and I pulled out a box of scooby-doo band-aids and I pulled off the stickers and doctored-up my  ankles and my knees and my ego and I rubbed my hands sore from the easy-start mower and I gave thanks for the lessons.

I gave thanks for the growing and the learning and the teaching and the knowing and I know the most painful lessons learned; the most painful lessons still learning are the ones that bleed on the inside and that band-aids alone can’t touch and scooby can’t heal.

And then, missing my little ones, I went to Coulter’s room and took the blanket off his bed. And I curled up tight.

And I smiled remembering God’s word that we must “become as little children” and I thought Hallelujah!

Because somedays we all act four.

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