Thursday, October 27, 2011

That Moment

It's those moments, those little moments, that connect us all. The ones, that when mentioned, causes everyone to nod their head in sympathetic agreement. And I'm not referring to the great defining moments of life. It's not the baby-being-born-that-made-you-decide-to-love-only-one-person-moment. Or that instant-you-decided-to-stop-drinking-and-give-yourself-to-God-and-change-your-life-forever.

No, not those moments.  But, the little ones that we barely discuss except while in the presence of our closest friends. These are THOSE moments.

You know......

The moment you're sitting in your car and you're attacked by a fly; but no one sees the brutal insect, so to the outside world you appear to be having a seizure.

That moment......

Or the moment you're already running late for work and you've discovered you're completely out of deodorant. So, you rub the crumbs under your arms and decide to keep your hands by your side all day.

Don't play. You know it's happened.

It's these little moments that shape our character.  It's the embarrassing yes-I-know-I-just-shot-food-out-of-my-mouth-across-the-table-at-you-but-let's-pretend-it-never-happened-because-I-really-think-you're-hot moment that shows us, and others, what we're made of.

Some people choose to pretend like these distressing moments never occur to them. When asked, these people....the ones that deny that anything that would cause their cheeks to darken into a burgundy and make them turn their heads......vehemently deny any moment like these exist.

Really? Seriously?

You've never sat down to pee and discovered in mid-stream that you were out of toilet paper? What did you NOT do in the moment that DIDN'T happen to you? You mean to tell me you didn't get up, pants around your ankles, and waddle over to get more t.p. only to be discovered by your kids/girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse/roommate/aunt/uncle/second cousin on your mom's side/neighbor visiting to borrow some milk?

Really? It must be nice to have an endless supply of toilet paper on the roll.

Some people even go as far as cringe at these type of moments. But, I embrace them. I live for them. These are the times that prove to me that God has a sense of humor. Otherwise, how else can you explain the moment you realize you're unable to open the child proof cap on the medicine bottle, but your kid can?

Those are the times you just gotta throw your head back and laugh. I have alot of these moments. Some seem to only happen to me; but when I share them, others laugh and that just warms my heart.

Like, for instance, the moment I'm standing in line to get food and a nice man calls me beautiful.....only for me to sneeze on him. I politely wipe the mucus off his shirt and walk away.

Or that moment I got excited knowing I just got paid only to discover the bill collectors are faster than I am.

Or that wonderful moment on a Friday morning. You know that moment....we've all had them. It's been a long week. The alarm clock has already sounded. It's 6:30 am. The kids are arguing in the other room instead of putting on their school clothes like you've instructed them to. You finish getting dressed and sit on the edge of your bed. You realize, at that moment, this is about as productive as your going to be all day.

It's those moments. Those little moments.

How about the moment when you are walking in the parking lot and head straight into a parked car that you swore was not there a second ago?

And, then there's always my favorite, the moment I decided to smile flirtatiously at the guy standing in the self help section of the bookstore only to trip over my own feet and fall face first on the ground.

Sometimes I think: "Only me." Then I wonder, are there others? Are there others out there that are familiar with that frustrating moment of hearing your kid ask a thousand "why" questions from the backseat of the car? How many of us, for a brief second, envisioned ourselves driving into a tree, and turning around to scream: "Because Eve ate the friggin apple! If she hadn't, you would know why and wouldn't have to ask ME a thousand flippin times!!!!"

It's that moment that you bend over to tie your shoe only to accidentally let one rip in front of a group of strangers that ties us to the person standing in line in front of us at the grocery store. I promise you, it's happened to them too.

Or the moment you have your hands full, ready to head out the house, everyone is in their coats and gloves, only to be told by the youngest child that they have to potty. You lovingly take them to the bathroom, but in reality, you really wanna make them hold it until their tiny bladders burst.

It happened. You thought it. Don't judge me.

These are the moments of life. These moments ARE life. And in these moments, we need to find the laughter. If we don't, if instead we get upset and say really bad cuss words that would shame our fathers, then when life hands us the big ones....the big moments that tests our strength and resolve, those moments will break us.

And I refuse to break.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Conversations with The Read Head 7.2

When I arrived home from work today, I could tell something was on The Red Head's mind. She has a way of letting me know she needs me, but holding back until she feels the time is right. I try to give her her space whenever she desires it. I understand that she processes things. She's like me. When something is truly troubling her, she has to sort it out before she presents it for further examination. I get that.

I get her.

This evening, while the 4 yr old was gleefully playing in his bubble bath, The Red Head and I sat at the dinner table. She picked over her dinner and drank some milk. I was eager to get to the bottom of what was troubling my beautiful 7 yr old.

"Momma," she began. "Did you know a girl got shot yesterday?"

She's referring to a 15 yr old student that was shot at the local high school. My alma mater in fact. We live out in the country, and so far we have been pretty lucky in that most of the troubles that plague the city schools have not touched us. But, the 21st century and all its new found concerns finally caught up to us. They came and kicked down the protective wall that we had built so long ago.

"Yes, baby. I heard about that. Is that what's bothering you?"

"Kind of." She wouldn't look at me. Keeping her eyes on her plate, she took a deep breath. "Is she going to die?"

"I don't know. Nobody knows. All we can do is pray."

"Is that why you tell me not talk to strangers? Is that why I can't leave the front yard? Because there are mean people who will shoot me?"

"There are mean people everywhere," I told her. Brushing the hair out of her eyes, I was able to get a quick glance from her before she put her attention back on the untouched food.  "My goal is keep you safe."

"But, she was at school. Why wasn't she safe there?"

And I have no answers for that. It's a question that every parent faces: How do you keep your children safe when even our schools are no longer safe places for them?

Better yet, how do I explain this to my 7 yr old?

"Do you think that girl had nightmares, Momma?" She looked at me with deep brown eyes. I could see the worry settling in. I hate to admit it, but she is a worrier.

"What do you mean? Do you think she dreamt she was gonna die?"

Frustrated, The Red Head shook her head. "No, I mean, do you think she ever had bad dreams? I have bad dreams a lot. My dream catcher isn't catching them.  I don't think it's big enough."

"Everyone has bad dreams. The girl that got shot had them. I have them. And you will have them from time to time. Do you know what faith is?"

She nodded.

"Don't put your faith in a dream catcher. Put your faith in God. Say a prayer whenever you have a bad dream. The Lord will pull you back into sleep and it will be a peaceful one."

"How do you know?" She asked me.

"Because He does it for me all the time," I answered.

"Momma, that girl that was shot....... Do you think she's having bad dreams right now?"

"No, sweetie. God has His hand on her. And no matter what happens, there are so many people praying for her, He will take care of her the way He sees fit."

I could see a puzzled look cross her face. Sometimes I get caught up in trying to explain God, that I forget to use the simplest terms possible. But, I don't know of any simple way to explain a being as awesome as He is.

"Just realize that God is going to take care of her. Even if it's not the way we want. He knows what's best. Do you understand?"

She nodded and hugged my neck. Later on, as we were saying our prayers, we threw in an extra one for the young girl whose life took a tragic turn.

And then we said another prayer against any bad dreams.

Conversations with the 4 yr old: Apraxia Style

Apraxia of Speech: A severe speech disorder characterized by inability to speak, or a severe struggle to speak clearly. Apraxia of speech occurs when the oral- motor muscles do not or cannot obey commands from the brain, or when the brain cannot reliably send those commands. Children with apraxia can be helped significantly with intensive speech therapy.

So, now that you have the definition of Apraxia, let's look at a typical conversation with my 4 yr old who has the disorder.

We are driving home from the park this afternoon. Both children are equally pumped up. High on adrenaline, they are talking and laughing back and forth. Me, well I'm exhausted from working, mothering, and basically being me. But, that's a blog for another time.

The 4 yr old decides he needs a question answered.


Yes papa?


Hmmmmmm? to be a bus ridah or.......ride a car?

Tomorrow your grandmother will pick you and your sister up from school.

I mean, not dis monin, but de uder mornin dat comes aber dis mornin when we have to......


Not dis mornin dats already passed. But da next dis mornin. When we go to skool. And we have wunch. Aber dat. Whut will happen?

You will be a car rider. Your grandmother will pick you up. Do you understand?


You mean aber dis mornin dat is aber dis mornin when dat passes she will pick us up?

Yes. Do you understand?

.........more silence.......

Papa? Did you hear me?

Yes ma'm.

Do you understand?

...........and some more silence.......



Do you understand your grandmother will pick you up tomorrow?

You mean not dis mornin but da mornin aber dis mornin? Dat mornin?

When you get out of school, she will pick you up.

You mean aber I eat wunch? When da dis mornin comes aber dis mornin? When dat happens? Grandma will pick me and sistah up from skool?

Yes, baby. That's what I mean.

Ohhhhh. I hope she brings juice.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Teddy Bear

My dad brought the stuffed animal to me on my third day in the hospital. My dad is like that. He knows what will comfort you even when it seem like nothing will. He approaches in a thoughtful manner. Careful to gauge your demeanor before he asks any questions. At that particular moment, I was laying in a hospital bed with IV's hooked up to me. Wires were leading to my chest that told the heart monitor what my heart rate was. The covers laid over my midsection, which was beginning to reveal my six month pregnant belly. My eyes were red and puffy from all the crying that I had been doing. Daddy didn't say a whole lot. He just handed me the teddy bear then took the chair next to the bed.

"Any news today?" he asked me. 

I shook my head no. Fearful of more tears flowing, I kept my eyes on the TV as I continued to flip channels. Recognizing my need to stay quiet, my dad flipped open the newspaper and began to read. We stayed that way, him studying the paper and me focusing intently on the screen, until more people arrived to ask the same questions that I didn't have any answers to.

Three days prior, I was at work. Sitting at my desk, I always kept one hand on my belly and the other on my keyboard. I was diligent in doing my "kick counts". These were little movements the baby made as it twisted and turned inside me. The doctor told me to keep a log of how many kicks per hour I felt. Every flutter, punch, kick, and somersault my child did, I recorded it in a notebook. Hoever, that day at work I had nothing to record. Nothing was going on inside my still small belly.

My baby wasn't moving.

A visit to the hospital confirmed what I already knew. Something was wrong. My little baby's heart rate was so fast, that the machine could not keep time with her. Unable to count the beats, the numbers on the machine flashed before my eyes. I was admitted. More tests were done. And it was finally determined that the baby's heart beat was so fast that it was unable to pump blood properly. Fluid was backing up into her stomach, around her heart, and in her brain.

"Your baby is going into heart failure," the doctor informed me. He spoke softly as I tried to fight back the tears that were spilling out. "If we don't move quickly, we will have to deliver. It's way too early."

I agreed with their course of treatment. Heart medication was given to me to slow her heart rhythm. But, it also affected mine. The second day of the hospital stay doctors were called to my room. My chest hurt. It was beating at such irregular intervals that I began to panic. I was moved to the ICU and stayed there for four more days.

The day my dad brought me the teddy bear, I had prayed harder than I'd ever prayed before. People from the lab entered my room at around 4 that morning. They were greeted with a tearfully praying woman. Not knowing what to say, they quietly took the vials of blood that were needed, and exited out of the room quickly.

I tried to shed my tears in the morning, before anyone came to visit. I had to be strong for my boyfriend, who was beside himself with worry. My mom would call and cry as she asked if I was going to lose the baby that people never thought I would ever have.  Day in and day out, the doctors would come and tell me what the heart monitor already showed me. The heart was still beating too rapidly to be effective. Time was running out. More medications were given. More prayers were said.

And through out it all, I clutched my teddy bear and hoped that I would be able to hold on to my precious baby until it was time for a safe delivery.

It took eight days for the medication to finally work. On the ninth day, I was released. Armed with enough prescriptions to rival any old person, I went home to pray away any panic I was feeling. The second trimester gave way to the third. I was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief when I saw that my duet date was fast approaching.....

........and leaving......

At 41 weeks, my doctor decided to induce. Carrying the overnight bag that I had packed way back before my first stint in the hospital and my trusted teddy bear, I gleefully checked in. Twenty-three hours later, my induction turned into an emergency c-section.

I won't go into details about that. But, let me just say, a c-section minus anaesthesia is not something I would recommend.

My beautiful Red Head was born on July 3. She weighed in at 9 lbs 10 oz. She was 23 inches long. A cardiologist from Chapel Hill was on hand for her delivery. But, he was never needed. There was nothing wrong with my precious baby.

God answered my prayers.

Now, seven years later, I sleep with the teddy bear that my dad brought me that day. I hold on to it every night. It still lends comfort when needed. Sporadically, my youngest will sneak into my room to steal it out from beneath my resting arms. He knows the power it holds.

Every so often, Shelby will ask me why at my age I sleep with a stuffed animal. I am always happy to tell her the story. I use it as an example of God's power within us. Of how, through prayer and faith, we can make it even when the doctors tell us we may not.

I love my teddy bear. It is, by far, the most precious gift ever handed to me. I just wish my son would keep his paws off of it.

Monday, October 10, 2011

My Pow Wow

 I was not meant to worship God sitting behind a pew, listening to a man dressed in a robe, reading from a book. That building, with its mortar and brick, is not my church. It is not my place of solitude. It is not where I was built to go and give thanks and honor.

The drums are my home. The beats signal to me when to start my worship. They call to me and bring me to my feet. They lift my spirits and carry my soul out towards the heavens.

It is the singers that I hear. Their words preach to me the true gospel as the Great Spirit so intended it. Their melodies echo a time, long ago, that my soul still longs for.

I see the dancers, dressed in their regailia, dancing to a beat that keeps time with my heart. I feel pride, as I know they do, for our culture. Our birth rite. Pride and honor as we look at one another, knowing that the blood that runs through each of our veins is the same.

The spectators are the congregation. They sit on the bleachers, in chairs, or stand on the outside of the circle. They watch the movement. They hear the sounds. They know, as I do, that this is a sacred place.

This is my place of worship. My place of honor. My church. My Pow Wow.

Copyrite Wes Chavis 2011