Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Long Before Carrie Bradshaw, There Was Silva

Silas graduated from Kindergarten today.  I don’t remember my Kindergarten graduation; I just remember going on to first grade.  But when I graduated from sixth grade, it was a much bigger deal.  We had a graduation ceremony and I received a very special gift from my parents.

A nameplate necklace.

My aunt Hasmig designed my name, using the Armenian alphabet, in very simple but beautiful lettering.  My uncle Souren, a jeweler, created it.  Gold.  Uncomplicated.  Stunning.

It was 1985.  I was 11 years old.  It was the most valuable and beautiful thing I owned.  I wore it often.  I still do.  In fact, I wore it this past Sunday.

It’s just a thing.  A piece of jewelry.  I’m not even a jewelry person; most days I just wear my wedding ring.  But every time I look at it, I am instantly taken back to AGBU Elementary School.  To Mrs. Ripley’s sixth grade glass.  To feeling so special opening that gift from my parents.  To answering strangers’ questions about what the necklace spells out.  Silva.  Armenian.  Valuable.

The object?  Definitely not as valuable as the message.

OK, I’m getting off my shoebox now.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Lightness of Being

This morning I drove behind a guy on a motorcycle.  It’s been a long time since I’ve been on a motorcycle.  I couldn’t help but envy the guy, freely flying through the breeze.  He was wearing boots, a neon green jacket (on a motorcycle safety trumps fashion, but come on, there has to be something more stylish out there), and a helmet.  Nothing else.

Nothing else?

I started to think about the stuff we carry around.  Why do guys need so little?  They barely need one pocket, while ladies carry around a small valise for even the quickest jaunt.  I instantly felt weighted down.

To follow are the contents of my purse:
1.            cell phone
2.            ear piece
3.            wallet
4.            two Pull Ups
5.            case of wipes
6.            Michael’s coupon
7.            lip gloss
8.            compact
9.            small mesh bag of crayons
10.        two granola bars and four packets of gummy snacks
11.        Nivea skin crème
12.        mints
13.        mini-notebook
14.        4 pens
15.        tube of kids’ sunscreen
16.        two Table Toppers
17.        nail file
18.        antibacterial gel
19.        business cards in a case
20.        antibiotic ointment
21.        band aids
22.        hair elastic
23.        water bottle
24.        two thermoses (water for the boys)
25.        keys

To follow are my husband’s carry-items:
1.            wallet
2.            cell phone
3.            keys

Seriously?  Maybe I do carry more than just the bare necessities.  Maybe I do subscribe to the “just in case” lifestyle.  Maybe I wouldn’t need the majority of these items if I didn’t have kids.  Or maybe I just like my valise.

I’ll have to hold on to it extra-tight next time I’m on a motorcycle.

OK, I’m getting off my shoebox now.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Keep It Together

I’ve had enough.  The news of the Terminator’s marriage being terminated has pushed me over the edge.  There are relationships breaking down and falling apart all around me, and it makes me sad and angry and desperate and frustrated and, yet, grateful for the health of my own marriage.

And then there’s the devil, with his evil grin, doing the happy dance.

Marriage is not easy – it’s a lot of hard work, every single day.  It takes effort to constantly think of someone else, to regularly sacrifice for the other person, to bite your tongue as often as necessary.  It takes practice to be selfless.  But when both husband and wife are being selfless, the other gets fulfilled and no one is left empty.  At least that’s the plan.

I know what the Bible says about cheating and divorce.  I know couples who have been in and out of Christian counseling – for years, sometimes.  I know of wives who want to make it work while their husbands don’t care, as well as wives who walk away while their husbands beg them to stay and keep trying.  The lack of mutual commitment to the sanctity of marriage is mind-boggling.

I believe that marriage relationships need to be aggressively and proactively guarded and protected.  Be aware of your relationships, especially of those with the opposite sex, even if they’re Christians – Christians fall into temptation just like everyone else.  Be careful of how you dress, what you say, who you’re with.  Be certain that the things you say and do can not be misconstrued or misperceived.  Sometimes a situation that is seemingly innocent (a meeting over coffee in a public place, driving together to save on gas) can give the illusion of sin – and open a door to temptation.  Avoid it.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that it can’t happen to you, that your love is too strong.  Love is a feeling – it comes and it goes.  Invest in your marriage, keep your collective eyes focused above, communicate often (even when it’s awkward, annoying or uncomfortable), and stay committed to the vows you made on your wedding day.  It will be worth it.

OK, I’m getting off my shoebox now.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Sappy

I appreciate Mother’s Day.  It’s lovely to reflect on our mothers, and on motherhood.  But really, one day does not cover it.  Motherhood is time-consuming and all-consuming.  There are no breaks, no time off, no slow days, and no vacations.  Once a mother, you are always a mother, from the inside out, awake or asleep, with or without your kids.  It never leaves you.  You don’t want it to.

Gifts?  Flowers?  Brunch?  Forget it.  I got home-made cards this morning, a sink full of dishes, and fidgeting in church.  And I LOVED it.

I labored for three days with Silas.  James kicked me awake from my sleep for the last five months of my pregnancy.  I’ve been peed on, spit up on, licked, bitten, thrown up all over, and gotten poop under my fingernails.  I broke my toe on James’s bouncy chair.  I’ve been poked and prodded.  I’ve learned to make do without privacy.

I’ve cried out in frustration to Jayson, insisting that I need a break and begging him to take me away somewhere, only to blubber before we’re at the end of the street that I already miss the boys.  My brain never shuts down on what the next meal will be or what they’ll wear tomorrow.  How to entertain them.  How to teach them.  How to model good behavior for them.  How to protect them from the evils of this world.

I love being a mother, with all the crap – literal and figurative – that comes with it.  And I don’t need a sappy holiday to remind me of that.  But I will forever treasure the cards their sticky little hands designed – “Happy Muthrs Day. I luve you!”  I love you, too, Silas and James.  And I always will.

OK, I’m getting off my shoebox now.