Where I Sleep….

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….usually turns out to be in the bed that is currently unoccupied.   This has been happening a lot since the end of the summer when it was decided, and rightly so, that the kids should be sleeping full-time in their own beds.

Ever since I moved here I’ve shared a bed with my granddaughter.  This was OK, and held opportunities for some special little nighttime chats and what have you. Then she ended up wanting to sleep with her mom, and that was OK too.  It was nice having the whole bed to myself; unless of course either Evan or Ryan were having trouble going to sleep, then one of them might join me.  But since  the kids are getting older, my daughter and I decided it would be best for them to all start, and hopefully stay all night, in their own beds once school started.  Laurena is 10 now and becoming more independent.  “I don’t want Nonny to sleep with me anymore.”    Well I can’t really argue with that, as it’s good for her to have her own bed to herself.  So I started to sleep with my daughter, who has a bigger bed anyway.  

One night here recently, Ryan, who is 6, came in to Kate’s room  to climb in with Mommy; I let him have my spotand just went to his bed.  This has happened a few times, and….OK OK perhaps he should just be sent back to his own bed, but, I’m a Nonny, not a husband, so I just didn’t see the need.  He is the only one who still wakes in the night and wants to do this bed-switch anyway.  

What I’ve done when this has happened is first try to go back in with Laurena, but if she’s sprawled all over the bed, there’s just not room for me.  I kind of miss that bed, so I will sometimes sleep there anyway instead of with my daughter.  But then Laurena likes to scoot up RIGHT NEXT to me, and then I begin to get hot.   Once when this happened I went to Ryan’s bed, as he’d already made the move to his mom’s bed.  Not long after I’d settled in there, she arrives with Ryan in arms to return him.  It scared the heck out of her to find me laying there. not to mention my own surprise.  But once again, I get up…and….well I don’t remember where I ended up.

Tonight I go up after everyone else is asleep.  When I get to Kate’s room, I see Evan there.  Ah yes….it was the wolverines.  When Kate was reading with Laurena and I was dressing for bed, Evan comes in announcing that he’s scared that wolverines will come to his bedroom window and look in. Nevermind that we’re on the second floor, or that wolverines don’t live in our town, he’s afraid.  So Nonny talks him down off the ledge only to have him bring up bears.  Bears with red eyes. They too might come to look in his window.  Second floor….no bears in Hixson, TN….no matter.  At this point I go back downstairs, thinking his mommy will help him feel better.  She must have, by telling him he could sleep with her.  

Laurena is right smack in the middle of her bed.  So I guess it’s Evan’s bed for me tonight.  At least I have options.

Psychiatric Help STILL Just 5 Cents

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Vengeance, prejudice, and jealousy.  THIS was what it all boiled down to that day.  Another crisis to be autopsied and discussed;  just another day in Nonny’s world with three kids ages 9, 7 and 5.  I actually love this part of my life.  I have a chance to help sort things out when problems arise, hopefully teaching good negotiating skills along the way, not to mention how to forgive and be kind to one another.   Laurena once gave me the best compliment ever; she said “Nonny, you teach me so much about life!”  She was just 8  then.  My hope is by loving her well now she’ll still feel that way at 13 and beyond!

Let’s get back to vengeance, prejudice, and jealousy.   Here’s what happened:  I come home from doing an errand one morning and was greeted at the door by my mother with terrible news.  Laurena was in BIG TROUBLE.  She had been sent to her room.  Ryan came up from the basement where my computer is and reported that Laurena had called him a “F***ing idiot.”   Apparently there had been a disagreement as to whose turn it was on the computer.  My mother went on:  “I asked her where she’d heard that word.   She said, ‘From Harley’.”    Harley is the  7-year-old neighborhood friend who accompanies the kids and I on most of our adventures.  I knew that this could not be true.  I have been around that child enough to know that this is not how he speaks.   NOTE that I say “I knew this”.  My mother, for some reason, does not like Harley being around all the time or my taking him with us on our adventures.   She said “You know he comes from a rough family.  The kids should not be playing with him so much…..etc. etc.”   See, Harley is named after the motorcycle company.  His dad and mom ride motorcycles.  His dad has one of those long skinny goatees.  His 16-year-old sister is on a roller derby team.  Harley has part of  his head shaved with a shock of hair off to the front and side.  Sometimes part of it  is dyed.  Apparently to my mother, all this makes his family “rough”.    It hurt me to hear her speak this way about this truly gentle little boy.  She was more angry at him then at Laurena.

Time for Nonny to do more investigating.  I didn’t like what I was hearing at all.   Talking to Laurena, I learned that Ryan had lied.  She only called him an “idiot”, not the aforementioned “f***ing idiot.”  That’s quite a difference.  I asked her then why she blamed Harley.  She just hung her head and complained  about how he goes everywhere with us.  See, her good friend Riley lives across the street from Harley but  generally goes places with her mother during the day and so she doesn’t see her as often.  Harley is taken care of by his 16-year-old roller derby sister, who sleeps really, really late each day AND, says Harley “….forgets to make me breakfast.”  Of course I always feed him, and love doing so.  But I digress.  What it came down to is that Laurena is jealous of Harley getting to go everywhere with us but not Riley.  I was glad she confessed what was REALLY bothering her–nevertheless, she had blamed something on Harley that he didn’t do.  I told her what her Great-Grandmother said as a result of her pointing the finger at Harley and how sad that was.  Jealousy.  It was jealousy that prompted  her to cast blame on an innocent person.  Discussion of this followed, especially regarding how blaming Harley led to someone else blaming him further for just existing.

Now on to Ryan.   He’s only 5 years old but knew this:  If I say that Laurena used the “F” word, then I KNOW she’ll really get into trouble!  So he lied about what Laurena really said.  Now it must be noted here that Ryan has used the “F” word before, to the shock and horror of all, so he understood the magnitude of the word.  Vengeance.   Ryan was seeking to get revenge for the conflict over the computer with his sister by lying about what really happened.  Laurena was sent to her room straightaway without a chance to share her side of the story.  I am pretty sure Ryan was pleased with the outcome here.

Now that I know what really happened, I confront Ryan with Laurena’s version of events and he confesses that she did indeed only call him an idiot.  I then gather both children and we go to Grandma so she can hear the truth.  First of all, Laurena did not use the “F” word, and second, Laurena did not learn the word “idiot” from Harley.  I have to say that later when I heard what actually DID happen with regard to sharing the computer, I had to concede to Laurena that it did sound like Ryan behaved like an idiot, that is, in an “utterly foolish” way.  Still, we discussed other ways for her to express her frustration than to call anyone an idiot.  So Grandma heard the truth, expressed her disappointment and disbelief that they would do such a thing, then went on her way.

Now about prejudice:  the whole incident revealed something sad to me.   Just because Harley’s family appears to be different, my mother pre-judged them as being “rough” and by extension, unworthy.  I feel sad even typing this.  All I can do going  forward  is to  model a different way to see people, and highlight for Laurena,  Ryan, and Evan what results when vengeful and jealous feelings are acted upon by lying about another person.  Especially when prejudice exists.

I’m glad I live here.  Because I do,  the doctor can always be “IN”.

Can You Please Not Sing?

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A phrase commonly heard whenever kids and adults are in a car together, Evan spoke these words to me as we drove to church the other night.   Then he asked if I would stop conducting; someone might see me.  Am I not allowed to have ANY musical fun in my own car?  I told him I did not care what other people thought, and told him I wasn’t conducting anyway. I was playing percussion.   Or some other instrument.

This concern over “conducting” began with Laurena when she reported “Riley and McKenna were at a stop sign and they saw you waving your arms around!  It was so embarrassing!”  “Oh no,” says I.”   “Think of it as just adding to the mystique that is NONNY.”  McKenna and Riley like me I know it.  The parents might think me odd, but then again I bet they have their own silly things they do too.

Years ago, when the kids were 1, 3 and 5, I remember looking in the rearview mirror as we drove along listening to the last song on Michael W Smith’s Christmas CD and there they all were, waving their little arms, strapped into their little car seats, CONDUCTING just as their Nonny was.  It’s the type of song one can’t help but CONDUCT.   Give it a listen and I’m sure you will instantly start conducting yourself.

On this particular CD we have our favorite songs and we proceed through the CD in order.  Ah it’s just heavenly, and sharing it as I have through the years with my 3 little wonders makes it all the more so.  When I drove Laurena to Preschool lo these many (6) years ago we listened to an Amy Grant Christmas CD that included “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” after which Laurena asked “Nonny, who is Joyful?” Lovely moments for a Nonny. I think she was too short at the time to notice any arm waving I might have been doing.

Then there’s Caedmon’s Call and their CD….um…let me go look…hang on….oh yes it’s called Chronicles.  And again there are favorites that we methodically go through.  It’s been THE favorite for years. The kids have given names other than the ones given by the writers to some, for example, there’s the one they call “The Piano Song” while another is “The Girly Song.”  Over time I have gotten them interested in more songs than the three we started with so it’s more interesting FOR ME, nevertheless, I can’t complain when they are all three singing “All my life, you can have all of my life….” to Jesus Christ, at the very top of their lungs, and saying “Again!”  when it finishes. Not to mention that I get to explain the stories behind lines like “I saw Peter putting away his sword. He  won’t fight no more.”   They were spellbound as I told them about the night in the Garden of Gethsemanae, Peter cutting off the soldier’s ear, and the healing  touch applied lovingly by Jesus right after.  Opportunities, opportunities…..always opportunities to pull the kids into knowledge of the Lord.

Also opportunities, opportunities to conduct, play instruments in the air, and sing as we listen to my favorite music in the car.  Just maybe with a little less enthusiasm when they’re with me!

The First Church of Panera

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The feeling washed over me as I sat:  this is why I came.   Looking at those 4 children, sitting around the table at Panera, Bibles open, I was reminded once more “This is why I came.”

It’s well-known among my friends that I like going to “the first church of Panera” now and again to have my Bible study time.  This morning, however, “they” wanted to come too.  And Harley had just shown up as well.  Harley is not my grandson–just a neighborhood friend we love and usually take everywhere we go but was I up for 4 at Panera?  For my Bible study time?  “OK, OK, OK,”  I relented.  “Harley, do you have a Bible?”  “YES I DO,” he nods in expectation.  “Then go get it.”  Soon he’s back and we all pile into the van.  I grab a family devotional book on the way out thinking someone might like that as well.

I park and realize that MY Bible and my study tools are in MY CAR, not in the van!  Ah well, there we were.  No turning back now!  So much for my own Bible reading!   We scurry in and with their $2 budgets the kids make their selections, receiving their own plates.  Such excitement over that!  Nonny takes the longest because SHE gets a bagel toasted 2-3 times but finally we all sit around the table.  Bibles are open.  The two 7 year-olds are early readers; the 5 year-old has the picture Bible.  Still, with reverence, they look through the pages.  After a time I open the family devotional book and choose the story of Ishmael and Hagar.  There’s an angel in it–thought that’d get their attention.  Introductory questions are asked.  Children respond, the story is read and we talk.  One more story (another angel):  Jacob and his dream about the stairway to heaven.  More questions.  Then I ask Laurena to read from Isaiah 43–just the first few verses.  The younger ones are challenged to find the word “God” on their pages.  Harley finds one and hands me his Bible–I read the passage.  Then Laurena wants to sing a song she learned at VBS.  Ryan, not to be upstaged, sings Jesus Loves Me.  Then Harley remembers a song from church camp about being a sheep.  He struggles to remember ALL the words but gets through it and we are delighted.

Can you picture this?  Can you envision how lovely, how beautiful, how precious this sight is? As I sit and observe their eating and their talking  I remember—I reflect—then I rejoice– -in this visual aid before my eyes.  Even with all the unusual circumstances of my coming and  my personal situation even now I am overcome with peace and joy.

Yes, this is why I came.