Raising Magnolias

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

My First Time Here

Arkansas Thanksgiving 2012. Best. Roadtrip. Ever. No puppy puke; no kid puke; no clothing changes; no lost shoes; no lost credit cards; no run-a-way dogs; no crying (for me or them), just a little Radio Disney, a few snacks and some Dramamine.

I’ve been doing this for many years now and I’d like to think that I’m getting pretty good at it. But with each new age; each new stage, the game changes and there are new rules. First it was diapers and sippys and pacis and then it was wicky sticks and pipe cleaners and I once even had a project that used this goopy glue stuff (lesson learned). We’ve blown bubbles and finger painted and even made play dough sculptures. Now there are legos and dolls and books and stickers.

And movies. Seriously, I give thanks today for Redbox. 

But each time we head out, it’s like starting over.

Ann Voskamp writes, “Am I making any of the right decisions. I’ve never been here before so how do I know the way?”

And I don’t think she’s talking about road trips.

I know the way to Arkansas, but we are in Arkansas for Thanksgiving, without their dad.

I’ve never been here before.

Coulter and Emma Claire will spend Christmas in South Dakota with their Dad. I will miss the awe and wonder of a 4 year old finding the treasures left by Santa. I will miss Coulter walking down the aisle at the little Lutheran church with his cousins at the Christmas Eve service and everyone laughing because they remember when he was 2 1/2 and instead of putting on the shepherd’s costume, he joined his girl-cousin with the angels and proudly wore his sparkly little halo.

We won’t be together—as a family—for Christmas.

I’ve never been here before.

My parents weren’t here. My grandparent weren’t here.
What the heck…I’m the first generation “here!”

Today on the drive emma claire was watching a movie. All of a sudden she just starts giggling….hard giggling…and she says, “Mom! Did you hear that? That girl said ‘I need to trust my instincts’ my in-stinks!”

More laughter. In-stinks! It’s the funniest thing she’s ever heard and Coulter tries to explain that there’s no humor here.

“Emma claire…its not stinks, it”s stincts….It just means to do what your gut tells you to do.”

And it hits me and I give praise for the in-stinks and the instincts and that feeling in your gut.

That feeling that is the Holy Spirit

Yes! Yes! Yes!

I’ve never been here before and acknowledging that; remembering that, is grace and I start to giggle with Emma Claire and we laugh and we laugh and we laugh and I’m not sure what’s funnier….the fact that Emma Claire thinks in-stinks is so hysterical or the fact that Coulter is so frustrated that we are laughing at something that is obviously so.not.funny.

I’m a 40 year old single mom of  two navigating our first holiday season as a “separated family” and I’m thankful for this word. I’ve never been here before.

How can I possibly know the way? There’s only one Way.

I can lean in; lean hard; listen to His voice and learn to trust my instincts.

My in-stinks! Get it? See? Come on, you know you want to laugh. 🙂

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