Raising Magnolias

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

Archive for the month “April, 2014”

I killed the Easter Bunny

I outed the Easter Bunny.

I felt pretty good about it on Sunday.

Confident, even.

Today I’m feeling less confident, super guilty and completely paranoid that I’ve crushed her imagination and stolen a little piece of her childhood.

I do the mother-guilt thing really, really well!

I should’ve been Catholic.

Anyway, as most of you know I love Santa Clause. I’m a staunch defender of the big guy and I think he has a valid role in the Christmas story.

I get that the flying reindeer is a bit of a stretch, but come on. It’s a real person.

He’s a man.

With a wife.

I love him so much that when Emma Claire “happened upon” ALL of her Santa presents (Santa doesn’t wrap. Good grief. Hale No, he doesn’t wrap,) so when she came across them, and when, bless her heart she told me that she had found all of her presents, I went to walmart in De Queen, flipping Arkansas on CHRISTMAS EVE to buy ALL new presents so as not to destroy her innocence and child-like faith in the unseen.

Yes. I love Santa.

But the Easter Bunny? Seriously? A Bunny that hops from home to home and lays eggs or hides the eggs or whatever it is that he does and I just don’t really get the whole bunny and egg thing and so this year I filled the eggs in front of my children.

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It’s the night before the resurrection. Jesus is still in the grave  and I cannot think about bunnies.

Unless the bunny is dead.

And coming back to life. To save, you know, all of human-kind.

OK.

So.

Single parenting is hard. Single parenting during holidays is super-hard and I gotta tell you,  I’m a little tired of pretend characters stealing all of my thunder.

But I’m not an Easter grinch.

I filled baskets. Fun baskets. Emma Claire’s basket had beautiful rocks (because for some reason, rocks, and I quote “are very special to her” and I filled them with nerf guns and water guns and Emma Claire got her own because I know how upset she gets when she’s left out of “boy” games and there was candy and a really cool water bottle and she woke up Sunday morning, sprang out of bed and ran to find her basket.

And there was joy.

But after church. After “Up from the grave  He arose” and after “Christ the Lord has Risen today” and after Pastor spoke about Peter before and Peter after and how our lives are to be dramatically changed because of this day and yes, after all of this Emma Claire came home and complained that the Easter Bunny didn’t bring very much.

Coulter defended him, ‘OH, Emma Claire, yes he did. He brought a lot.” This is a little out of character for Coulter, which gives me the distinct impression he’s fully aware that a bunny did not hop into our home the night before.

I let it go.

Half and hour later, tears well up into her eyes and she says, “Mom. You forgot to give us anything for Easter.”

I learned recently to always respond “to emotion with emotion”. So, instead of giving her the whole, Easter is not about you getting gifts mom-answer, I pulled her onto my lap an I said—

“Emma Claire. Can I tell you a secret? The Easter Bunny did not leave this basket for you. Easter is about Jesus and the bunny is just a fun, silly way to celebrate spring. The Easter bunny doesn’t know that rocks are special to you.

Your mom knows.

And the Easter Bunny doesn’t know how you like to have your own nerf gun.

You mom knows.”

She looks up at me, two and two makes four, and says, “Oh.Well, is Santa Clause real?”

I answered honestly. Santa will still come. He will come because he brings gifts to celebrate Jesus’ birthday but Easter is nobody’s birthday.”

She hops off my lap.

“OK, mom, but I may want to talk about this again later.”

Sure thing, Emma Claire.

My lap is always open.

So, I don’t know. What I did was either completely selfish and self-serving or it was the right thing to do.

Or maybe both.

All I know is when she thought that I had forgotten her, I needed her to know that I hadn’t.

And I would never.

Forget her.

Well, except at church. I did forget her there.

But only once.

I thought she was with Jenny. But, ya know, she wasn’t.

She was alone. At the church.

And I was at Runza.

And I also forgot my friend’s daughter at school this week. There’s so many kids in my van sometimes, that I feel like that family from Home Alone. Remember when they count off before vacation, and the wrong head got counted and well, it’s sorta like that.

Except I didn’t fly to Paris.

Mostly because I can’t afford to fly to Paris.

And if I was going to forget a kid and fly somewhere it would definitely be to the beach.

But.

You know what I will never forget?

I will never forget the look on Emma Claire’s face when she realized it was her mom who had gotten her those special rocks.

And I will never forget her meticulously placing them, one-by-one into a vase for safe keeping.

And I will never forget Coulter coming upstairs with a Starwars lego-man hanging from a lego-cross with lego-chains and a spear at his side, “Because, do you remember mom? That’s how they checked to see if Jesus was really dead.”

Yes, Coulter. I remember.

 

 

 

 

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I came across a letter that I received a while back from a woman who I do not know. She writes:

I have come to anticipate your blogs. I believe you’re someone I would enjoy and feel honored to call a friend. I read your blogs because you make me feel and laugh and, well sorry, but also as a cautionary tale and sometimes I am filled with dread.

Her marriage, no longer fulfilling. A life of pretending and sadness. She’s worried about “sharing her children” and wondering if she could bear having her “ex pick up the kids and drive to another house across the city.”

She asks.

How do you bear it?

Are you happy?

Will you be soon?

The past couple of years are in many ways a blur and while I remember receiving this note, I can’t remember if I responded.

I wonder how she’s doing. What she decided. What’s she’s having to bear.

I want her to know that I am happy. At least the world’s version of happy.

I smile a lot. I laugh more than I cry.

But happiness is fleeting and circumstantial and with divorce comes a permanence of events and arrangements and it makes for a hard-happy.

So maybe what I want her to know is that I have joy. The joy of the Lord is my strength an at the heart of my family, there is joy.

How do I bear it? Simply this:

I have no other choice.

And, I’m embarrassed to say, many days I don’t bear it at all. I crumble under the weight.

Do you have a different choice? Then make it.

Last week I rejoiced with my friends who are embarking on this journey. I rejoiced with friends who are not rejoicing themselves. But I only do so because for them, this is victory.

Freedom.

And there is no.

Other.

Choice.

Do you have a different choice? Then make it.

And if you don’t have a choice?

If you are being abused?

Emotionally.

Verbally.

Physically.

Neglected.

Have you been abandoned?

Then there is no choice. And you will bear it—

The hard-happy.

For that simple reason.

You got no other choice. (Add a little southern drawl with that.)

Last week, I worried that I came across as a cheerleader for divorce and I don’t want to be cheer for divorce. I want to cheer for women.

For my friends.

For my sisters in Christ.

Divorce is hard. And ugly and there are days that I still wonder—and dream—and play the what might have beens.

Ann Voskamp says we have to fight hard for the joy.

For our children.

For ourselves.

And I’ve fought hard and I’ve watched friends fight hard you never get “over” it and you never get “used” to it.

Whatever your “it” is.

It just becomes a part of you.

And who I am kidding? You don’t bear it because it’s unbearable.

But then there was Jesus. And Easter. And glories of glories, He bears it all.

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Today I was praying about my book. Mostly, I was praying that I would have the discipline and the time and the opportunity and in my praying came this:

I want to write a book that points to Christ. I want to write a book whose pages are filled with hope and humor and that will ultimately lead the reader into their own journey of healing.

Currently, I’m working on the chapter outline. And I’d like your help. You know my story. You have walked this story and lived this story and yes, I need your help.

Name a chapter.

Think about my story. Think about the stories I’ve written and I’ve shared and name a chapter for me.

Maybe I’ll have contest or something. Oh yes! Bribery works! I’ll have a drawing and there will be a prize and I have no clue what that will be, but let’s pretend that the prize is going to be awesome!

But, in order to play along, you must give me a chapter idea.

How do I bear it? You.

Your prayers.

Your encouragement.

Your village-help.

You.

You’re already part of my story. Be a apart of my book.

Chapter #1.

Go!

(Please comment on Facebook, comment here or you can email me your ideas at myra.katherine@yahoo.com.)

Now, take  a look at some of these joy-filled smiles. (Yes. That’s a picture with me and a very handsome man and yes, those are happy smiles.) 🙂

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Too Young To Understand

I was flipping.

Page after page.

Divorce.

Broken families.

Broken lives.

And I heard an author put it this way. When you get married and you say vows and you make promises and it is a covenant between you and God and your spouse and yes, when you get married, it is like super-glueing two pieces of paper together.

Now.

Just try tearing those papers apart.

The pieces. The mess.

And almost daily now, Emma Claire will ask me if I can marry her dad again.

And I want to take the two pieces of paper and I want her to see just how impossible it would be.

But I’m flipping and reading and I stop short.

There’s a picture of a boy. Six, maybe seven. Just the age Coulter was when his Dad and I separated and above his blond head (again, much like Coulter’s) there was the caption.

“All they’ll tell me is ‘You’re  too young to understand’.”

How many times?

Those.

Exact.

Words.

But it’s true, I think. How can I ever explain the glue and the paper and the vows and they are too young.

This boy is looking down and he is looking hopeless and I read statistic after statistic and I wonder all over again, how is it that this happened and how is that we’re here and I make a silent commitment to myself and ultimately to my children.

I will never.

Say that.

Again.

It’s lazy answer.

A cop-out.

And I’m done being lazy.

Arriving home from a weekend at their Dad’s, Coulter, Emma Claire and I were jumping on the trampoline. It’s hard work to jump with Coulter because he makes up these elaborate rules and you must follow them and I have to throw a ball, then catch it and then do a cannon ball and then re-throw it and I lost the game of course, probably because I never really understood how points were made but—

Anyway.

Emma Claire ran inside and I saw my chance.

“Coulter,” I said. “This is a little random, (and he looks at me like it’s not at all surprising that I would say something random) and I proceed to tell him that he can ask me anything he wants and I will never answer by telling him he’s too young to understand.

He is young.

And it is hard.

But so is math.

And so is reading

And so is the Creation Story.

And yet somehow we find a way to teach it.

Every year, my children hear the story of the virgin Mary and every year we talk about the birth of Jesus and here we are, less than a week out of celebrating with Palms the arrival of Jesus into the city and there are parades and celebrations and then beatings and crosses and, Coulter and Emma Claire I want you to know that we believe in Jesus as the son of God and yet fully God and oh, by the way he was nailed to a cross and they put him in a tomb and then he woke up and he rose up and he reigns and we can believe in His name and we can call on His name and we are living in a Good Friday world, waiting for our Easter Sunday and what a hypocrite!

I expect my children to understand this? All of this and yet somehow I can’t figure out a way to explain divorce?

I often hear how resilient kids are. They just need to know they are loved.

Really?

Is that all they need?

Or do they need shoes and books and soccer cleats and baseball pants?

Just love?

Or do they need to hear about the paper and the glue and the promises torn in two.

Coulter and Emma Claire were 3 and 6 when we first separated. 5 and 8 when final. Their first understanding of promises and broken ones at that came from the two people they trusted most.

How can they learn to trust in the promises of God if they can’t even trust in the promises of a parent.

So, I’m done.

I’m giving no more lazy answers.

I ripped the paper.

And I’m giving no more cowardly answers.

The super-glued paper.

I keep thinking of how the kids play Rock, Paper, Scissors and they argue and fuss because I can never remember what tops what except that I do know scissors cut paper and paper covers rock,maybe?

Rock, yes.Paper covers it. We are standing, resting, falling pieces of paper on the Rock.

How firm. How sure.

A foundation.

A friend reached out today to let me know that her husband was leaving her.

A friend reached out last week to let me know that she was leaving her husband.

A friend that I invited to lunch today but thought I invited her to lunch tomorrow came to lunch today and I wasn’t there (because ya know, I meant tomorrow) but whatever we talked on the phone instead and she wonders if this will end well and how can this end well and I stammer and I stutter because I have no good answer.

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Today I met a friend. I met someone new that I  just know will become a friend.

And his wife. A friend.

And in re-telling my divorce story he says, “Oh, are you a new Christian?”

And I laughed. And I know what’s he thinking —-bad marriage, got divorced, found Jesus.

Nope.

Found Jesus. Had Jesus. Have known. Jesus.

Got divorced anyway.

And since he’s a new friend I decided to leave out the part where I heard the voice of the Lord on military and Bell asking me when I was going to do “the hard thing that He had called me to do.”

Most people don’t believe that the voice of the Lord will tell you to get divorced. 🙂

And to be sure, it’s a failure that I still feel deeply and yet with in light of the stories that have been shared with me, I’m going to say something that no Christian momma should ever say.

I rejoice.

I rejoice with them.

The husband who cheated and rejected and lied and defeated.

Her.

The husband who brought fear instead of faith and blamed and called names and how long are we called to live in a home that has become a cell; a living hell and yes! I rejoice with them because I know that there is refining and redeeming and renewal and that the Lord does not require us to stay when we have already been left. In word. In deed.

I rejoice because I know coming out of the fire there is joy.

Hard.

As.

Hale.

But, yes.

Joy.

Walk through the fire, my soon to be single mommas and lean hard, lean fully into the arms that do not fail and remember that God promises we will see the “goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”

That’s today.

That’s now.

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Coulter didn’t have any questions at the moment, so I’m off the hook for a while longer. Reading and snuggling later that night, though Emma Claire told me she was sad about the divorce. We talked about how God promises to work all things (even bad yucky things) together for our good and she tried to ponder that for a while. Finally she looked up at me and said, “Mom? You know how we give money to God? Can I make a cross on Sunday and put it in the plate so that when the money gets offered up, he will see my cross?”

Resilient?

Not so much.

Covered by His grace.

Hale Yeah!

All they need, is to know they are loved?

No.

They need Jesus.

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