Friday, October 31, 2008

I'm Moving... Kind Of

UPDATE: Apparently there is still a glitch in blogger's custom domain feature. I have chosen to use my address again until it is sorted out. I will let you know when my new domain is up and running. For now, I am staying here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Inflatable Death

It bobs around on our neighbor's lawn with a gigantic axe and frightens my innocent children (and the dog). Behind it is an array of severed heads hanging from tree limbs and impaled on wooden posts, all draped in faux spider webs. It is irritatingly festive if you are a psychopathic serial killer.

Which I am not.

I have to sneak up behind the stupid thing and unplug the air pump before Toby will walk by. I encourage him to be brave while explaining how it is not a real person, just a blown-up Halloween decoration. But it doesn't seem fair. Reality is very elastic to him and I toss truth and illusion around in an ironically confusing jumble. This ugly, scary thing he can see is not real. The invisible, silent, elusive God is.

"God is bigger than those scary things," I say as I whisk he and Charlie past the skeletal hand reaching forth from its bloody grave. He looks at the grave skeptically and I know I failed the writer's highest calling: show, don't tell.

At night we say our prayers as he crawls into bed. "Where is God?" he says unphilosophically, as if asking for the nearest bathroom. "God is everywhere," I offer because I can't think of an unlousy answer. He sits up quickly and looks at his mattress in confusion. "Am I squishing him?" Excellent question.

No dear, mommy is.

I've been a Christian so long that I barf out illogical religious rhetoric when I don't know what to say. Which is a lot. Toby is bright for three and I can see doubt on his face. Maybe it is my own reflection. Inside, my heart longs for God-- the God who satisfies, the God I used to trust. But an inflatable Death looms in front of my eyes and I can't reach the plug.

My boys are precious and I want them to know a powerful, real Savior.

God, start with me.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What. Am. I. Doing.

It bothers me that we are out of dryer sheets but not enough to go to the store. I sent the boys off to school this morning in staticky clothes and hoped that Charlie wouldn't get sent home for his oozing, crusty eyeballs because I am really busy. Sort of. Two days ago I sent off my first query letter and now I am chained to my email inbox compulsively clicking "check mail" every nanosecond. The magazine has six weeks to respond. My finger is already tired.

And by respond I quote from their editorial guidelines: "Each article idea will receive the attention it deserves." Ouch. I feel sorry for my poor little query whimpering in cyberspace all alone.

I promise I will not junk up Tales From the Running Mama with the tragic epic of a wanna be writer, however, since a lot of you are going down this same road, I thought you might like a little update here and there. So, if you ever wondered what you are doing thinking your writing has actual monetary value, I know exactly how you feel. I am thirty years old now, and my seventh grade self I would kick me if I didn't try.

And trying is pretty exhilarating.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Being A Man

Every little boy wants to know that he is strong, that he matters. Only a man can tell him. Thank you, thank you for loving my boys and not leaving them to wonder...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Boys and Girls

I didn't miss the finer points of Anatomy in eleventh grade. How could I have known that physiology is only the leafy display of a towering, deeply rooted tree? What I saw in the lab, casually dissecting a formaldehyde-soaked cat cadaver while smoothing the pleats on my cheerleading skirt, were just symbols that shroud a deeper truth.

Its me and him. And we are the same because he is three and I carried him not long ago, not long ago at all. I knew there would be a day that he suddenly noticed, anatomically speaking. A moment when I shrugged my shoulders and admitted with a lump in my throat that he'd probably known for awhile. I imagined an awkwardly encoded conversation regarding the important "parts". He would be old, you know, years from now when I am ready to let him go. Years from now. Instead, I realized that boys and girls are different long before "parts" have any relevance and letting him go is happening now, in a slow frenzy that I will never be ready for.

Since school started, there has been Ava. She captivated him with her brown-eyed beauty. He mentions her freely while talking about storybook time or music class. His teacher stopped me the other day to tell me all about their chase game on the playground (which I found positively un-funny).

I decided to ask him about her. Tell me about Ava, I said. His eyes gleamed and it hurt me a little. He told me about sitting beside her at chapel, and asking her to be his friend. He told me about the toys they play with in class and what they make in art. He narrated conversations and pointed out the matching color of her hair in a picture book nearby. He told me about the rescuers. The game where Ava is in trouble and he saves her day. Mommy I save Ava, he said, like I am Fireman Sam.

His hands are chubby and he hasn't grown into his wide sparkling eyes, but he already feels the desire of a man's heart to be the hero. You are not a man! I want to say. You are my little boy! That is how I want it to stay. Let's go play trains, because I want you to need me forever. Years from now, we will talk about grown-up things and then you can go search for your princess and save her day.

Years from now.

Later we sit together in the big chair because it is storming outside and he is scared. "You are my favorite girl, mommy" he says with his head on my shoulder. I can smell his head smell. I kiss it slowly, and wonder how something can fill you with so much pleasure and pain at the same time.

Toby, what a man you will be.

(Years from now.)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Can You Believe This??

It has only been two weeks. The doctor said he is healed and he will have NO scars. Amazing.

God is good.