the week where honesty destroyed me, and then fixed me

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself;

it’s thinking of yourself less.”

– C.S. Lewis

hello, and happy Monday people! sorry it’s been a couple of weeks since a posting. with my grandma passing away, and the travel that ensued to be with my family, I feel like I lost a week. I had a cruddy flight path for my return home, lost a ton of sleep in the name of catching up with my siblings, and then had to hit the ground running come Monday morning. no, no it wasn’t pretty.

my last week was a bit of a rough one. travel may have exacerbated it, but a lot of it was brought on by my lazy-bad-selfish-self. I was understandably tired on Monday; I gave me and the kiddos a bit of a break, napped extra long, and thought I’d be back to normal by Tuesday. Tuesday I tried to bake all of our breaded goods for the week. I made honey wheat bread; banana bread; snickerdoodles; and baked oatmeal.

failure. absolute fiasco.

the honey wheat bread was burnt, due to my lack of attention to it in its final stages; I made the banana bread with self-rising flour, omitting the salt [per online instructions] – we threw it away almost as soon as it came out of the oven, it smelled and tasted so bad; the other two were fine – yea. so, I was batting .500 and super upset with myself, for the time, ingredients, and money wasted. throw in a few tantrums by the babe due to his own exhaustion, and a fight with the kiddo because she was emotional and you have a rotten, no good, horrible Tuesday.

did I mention, it was awful? because it was awful. and horrible.

after mediation from Dr. M [who is awesome at this, because it maybe happens all-too-often between me and the kiddo], two things were revealed. Sophia needed to learn that a lot of the things she was saying, whether she realized it or not, were incredibly rude and bossy. [hence me boiling over and yelling in my attempt to make her understand. my way TOTALLY worked]. she acknowledged, once she was calm, that she had been rude and would work on her tone of voice.

and then came the killer. and I quote, “Sometimes, I ask Mom to play with me, and she says, “Not right now, I’m busy.” she keeps working, and I miss her. I want to play with her.”

ding, ding, ding – we have a winner for the most honest, poignant comment that has ever crushed a mom’s heart.

Dr. M acknowledged it honestly & correctly, especially as he’s told me the exact same thing for the entirety of our relationship – “Yeap, your mom gets in go-mode, doesn’t she?”

I don’t know what it is about kids, who speak such an honest truth that leaves you heartbroken and breathless, but that also drives you to better yourself. perhaps it’s because, especially with your own kids, you know they have no ulterior motive. it was just such an honest reflection of our relationship; that in the name of being a “good mom”, I was shuffling from one activity to another and missing what I was really trying to foster; a slow afternoon, reading books or playing in the park, baking together, coloring many, many pages, or building with Legos.

Dr. M is fabulous at this. so often, I see him not doing what he wants to do [i.e., playing video games, reading comics, watching his shows] in the name of the kids, and wrestle them until they’re breathless or build fantastic Lego creations that necessitate photo documentation. he doesn’t have a lot of free time during the school year, and yet what he does, he willing gives to the kids.

maybe it’s a “I’m-never-separated-from-you-so-I-need-to-find-a-break-when-I-can”; that’s partially valid. but guess what? I don’t home school and my toddler takes a 3-hour-nap daily. I have downtime.

what I needed was an attitude fix; I need to be intentional with my kids, and simultaneously realize I am not going to accomplish all that I want in a day. I need to reorganize what my priorities are for the day [i.e. THEM], and not see them as nuisances who mess up my to-do list. plenty of the things I do during the day are for them, and they are good things and things that eventually need accomplished. but some can totally be shelved to a day when everyone is in a good mood or when I don’t have five different errands/appointments/grocery store runs to knock out.

and if that means buying store bread, in order to tickle Gabe more often or intentionally doing the dishes in the morning so I have time to go to the park with Sophia, then that’s what I need to do. I’m intentionally staying at home, so that we as a family are not stressed out, raggle-taggle bunch, and so they have a parent at home who is always there for them. it’s time I fully embraced that role, and not begrudged my “time being wasted” by block building or book reading or bath time. because it’s obviously the opposite of that, and I want to better than that. I need to think of myself less, and focus on this adorable kiddos for the time that I get them.

we’re cool, by the way. the other awesome thing about kids is that they’re typically quick to forgive. that night, she helped me make dinner and we read two chapters of “Little House in the Big Woods” together. and the next day, we went to the park and I didn’t lose my temper quite as often.

yea for the small wins!


Grandma Betty: 1930 – 2013

“we cannot understand. the best is perhaps what we understand least.”

– c.s. lewis, “A Grief Observed”

Friday was a sad day for the Applewhite family. we were all notified in the middle of the day that Grandma wasn’t doing well; she had been in and out of the hospital for oxygen issues, and we thought it might be just another quick visit.

sadly, it was not. she passed away that evening, surrounded by her kids and kids-in-law. it was startlingly fast, and I know everyone was grateful they took note of the urgency in the medical staffs voice to be by her side. my parents made the trip down to Wichita with urgency, and her son and daughter in town where there for her, as well.

I had just received a letter from her, not two days before. she was sad – she had recently been moved from her retirement apartment to the skilled side of her community; she had to give up her kitty, and was sad about the adjustments. she had said she would be fine, and move on. my response was half-written, and not yet mailed – feeling sorrow for such a big move and sadness for losing her newest companion, cutely named Kitty.

personally, I’m incredibly grateful I made time to see her in July. while visiting family & friends in KC, my mom & I drove down to Wichita for an afternoon lunch and visit. she met li’l G for the first time, seeing him in all his crazy toddler wonder; she saw Sophia, growing into herself and producing incredible art; I got to see her for the first time in almost two years before I drove back out East. we spoiled ourselves and grabbed NuWay, with their horribly-delicious-but-so-awful-for-you burgers & fries. [worth it]

if you’re in Wichita this weekend, her service is on Saturday. if you’re not, I’d appreciate it if you’d keep my dad and family in your thoughts/prayers/good wishes. below is her obituary, and service information. feel free to send some love her way, to my family, and her friends.

“do not let your hearts be troubled. you believe in God; believe also in Me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

John 14:1-4