The Clear Head
One Wednesday afternoon, several years ago, Tim came home from work about 5:15 which was typical. He told me upon his arrival that he was going to go for an afternoon run (about 2 miles) before dinner and church. Our Wednesday evening church services at that time started at 7 p.m.. In a somewhat spirited way, my response to him was, "Uh-uh! I don't think so! We do not have time for you to run 2 miles, eat dinner, and get a shower before we have to leave for church. There are just too many things to do on Wednesday afternoon for you to go jogging. Tim then replied, "Well, I just wanted to clear my head for a while." After having a somewhat difficult day with 4 children at home, I replied, "A clear head? A clear head? What right do you have to a clear head? NOBODY around here has a clear head!" ha!
Note to readers - At that time in my younger adult life, it could probably be said of me that I was a little bit more animated, a little bit more high strung, a little less patient than I am now. I'm confident that I overstepped my boundaries at times with Tim out of lack of patience and general frustrations of being a mom with 4kids. That's something that I'm not pleased about. But Tim and I have lived to laugh about some of those past frustrations and have remained happily married for 27 years because of his patience.
Tim reminded me often that I had the most difficult job there was, that of being a mom. If you are one, you can relate. It's a difficult, 24/7 job. You never get away from it...but 99.99999999% of the time, you wouldn't change it for the world. It's just where you want to be. If you're not a mom, but are married to one, take some time to let her know how important her job is. When she's having those days that are frustrating, encourage her in her role. Trust me, she needs encouragement just as you do. Realize that you and the kids are her cheering squad and it just might be that if she doesn't get it from you, she won't get it at all. You'll be surprised what a little "propping up" can do for her overall outlook on not only today but tomorrow.
The Tupperware Drawer
July 2, 2010
My kitchen was a sight! There was Tupperware strewn all over the floor and Nate and Aaron were both kneeling down in front of the large, pulled-out drawer trying to figure out how to get it unlatched and removed. Mikayla, who was 5, was standing over them with a snake-light flashlight trying to "shed some light" on the matter.
After no luck with their Dad talking them through it, I was given the phone and chatted with Tim for a while. This had been our first chance on this particular day to talk, if I'm remembering correctly. We usually caught up on the day's events during our evening phone calls when he was on travel. The next thing I heard was Nathan saying to Aaron, "If you touch me, I'm going to slug you sooooo hard!" Apparently, Nathan had decided to try to reach back behind the drawer and get the bowl and when he did, his arm became wedged between the top of the cabinet frame and the top of the cabinet drawer. Aaron's remedy to the problem was to grab hold of Nate and pull. Now, 1... 2... 3...pull! I looked around and my first thoughts were, Oh my goodness!!!!! How? What? WHY? Oh no! Tim's not here! Am I going to have to call 911? How on earth are we going to get his arm from behind that drawer???? Nate was sitting there looking pretty helpless and in just a little bit of pain with his arm stuck and dangling from the elbow down behind that ginormous drawer with a younger brother just waiting for the go-ahead to pull and a younger sister continuing to hold the snake light overhead. Oh if I had only known about America's Funniest Home Videos at the time!
It took a little while, but after some gentle pulling and pushing and repositioning of Nate's arm, he was finally able to pull it out from behind the drawer. He said that he had gotten it stuck because his forearm was so big. He had just previously started doing some weightlifting. I laughed. He was 14.
After Nate got his arm loose, I decided to try a little something myself to remedy the matter. I jerked and jerked and jerked on that drawer! I guess I was trying to jerk it out of the cabinet. Nathan said I was crazy. He probably was right. I was fighting with a drawer. That day, I let that drawer get the best of me and my patience.
Sometimes, when we get to the end of our day, we pray that God will give us another one to do better 'cause we surely didn't use the one that He had given us very well. That was one of those days.
Help Me! Your Dad is Going to Kill Me!
July 11, 2010
One afternoon, I along with the girls were returning home in the van from an errand-running trip. I had stopped at our mailbox on the side of the road before pulling into the driveway. This was not unusual. It was a semi-regular occurrence. One of the kids would just slide the van door open on the passenger side, check the mailbox, close the van door and I would then continue on into the driveway and garage. On this day, though the "pulling into the garage bit" didn't run quite as smoothly as it normally had.
Because the garage was such a short distance from the mailbox, Katie decided not to close the van door but just to leave it in the open position - slid open and latched into that position while I pulled into the garage. Not a big deal...normally...but this day must have not been one of those normal, average, run of the mill days at the Smith house. (Come to think of it, not many of our days were normal, average, run of the mill!)
As I pulled into the garage, the sliding door on the passenger side protruded just a bit farther than what I was accustomed to. I had pulled into that garage many, many times over the previous 10 or so years. I knew how to pull into the garage! I guess I had not pulled into the garage with the van door open before but that wasn't a big deal or so I thought. This time as I pulled into the garage, the van door caught on the corner of the garage door frame and as I continued to pull forward, the van door continued to slide toward the back of the van until it literally came sliding off of the van! Yes, that van door slid right off of the van and fell into the bushes beside the garage! When I realized what had happened, I hopped out of the van, stood there looking at that van door on the ground just saying to myself over and over, "I cannot believe this. I cannot believe this! I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS!!!!!"
I frantically ran inside for help! Nathan, our oldest son and I both went back outside and headed straight toward the van door which was at that point laying on top of my flowers and bushes smashing them to smithereens! I began to try to think of possibilities. How are we going to get that door back on the van???!!! There was a van door on the ground, a tank van door on the ground, my tank van door on the ground! Nate was around 16 at this time and it could probably have been said that my oldest son and I had differing opinions on the matter. He was trying to convince me that it was just not gonna happen. We were not going to be able to reattach that sliding van door, no way, no how! I, on the other hand, was diligently trying to convince him that not only could we get the door reattached; we had to get it reattached or his dad, otherwise known as my sweet husband, WOULD KILL ME!
So, we went to work, together, picking up that zillion pound piece of metal off of the ground and moving it over to where the van was located in the garage. Picture in your mind a 42 year old woman and a 16 year old teen trying to do body work on a car and having absolutely no idea what they are doing. Not a pretty picture, huh? Well, that would have described us perfectly! This was one of those times when I wish I had "strongly encouraged" my kids to take the auto mechanics class at school!
We worked for some time trying to get the van door back on the track that it was designed to be on but after no glimmer of hope, my optimistic outlook began to fade. How on earth am I going to explain this to Tim?
Fast forward to 5:30 p.m. My sweet husband arrived home at his normal time and contrary to what some of you may be thinking, he didn't freak out. He, being the patient, loving person that he is did not have a cow. (Me? I had had enough cows for both of us!) He just went out into the garage and began trying to get the van door back on the van. After working on it for a while with no luck, Tim called a good friend of ours, Steve Cook, to see if he could come over and help. Steve, Marqueta and their kids lived just a few streets over from us and Steve was very much our "go-to" guy for a lot of stuff. Steve could do just about anything. Steve, graciously, agreed to come over and help. When he arrived and looked at the van door, he noticed that a piece of metal, a hinge, had been bent so he and Tim were trying to bend it back to its proper position with a hammer. They were hitting that hinge on the van door hard as it lay on the ground in my front yard.
I went out into the yard where Tim and Steve were so I could check on their progress. Steve, much to my disappointment said that he just didn't think they were going to be able to get the hinge bent back. Oh no! Steve said that the metal that the hinge was made from was so hard they they were having no luck bending it back into position.
What? It won't bend? You've got to be kidding me! That cannot be! So, thinking that I didn't have a thing in the world to lose, I asked Steve for the hammer! I started banging on that hinge with that hammer as hard as I could. I probably looked like a wild woman in my front yard slinging that hammer but that was the farthest thing from my mind. I just knew that I didn't want to have the added expense of taking the van to an auto body shop. We just didn't need that! So, I banged and banged some more and that hinge began to bend. As a matter of fact, it bent just enough so that Tim and Steve were able to slide the van door back on the track of the van.
Our wills, our determination can be very beneficial to us. We can determine in our minds to do something and our will in that matter can be so strong that we will allow nothing to stop us from doing that! When we lived in Denver, my pediatrician once told me that our will, our mind, our determination can cause us to do things that we ordinarily wouldn't physically be able to do, like lift something very heavy off of a child who is in danger. Our will, our determination, our mind can at times, overcome insurmountable odds! Mine has not always done that but I surely am grateful that it did this time.
Mom, Did I Ever Tell You About the Time That...
July 17, 2010
One weekend, the kids were home for a weekend visit from college life. We were sitting at the dinner table carrying on normal conversations. (Yes, it is possible to have normal conversations with your children at the dinner table. If you're not there yet, hang in there. You'll get there.) One of our kids referred to a time in middle school and said, "Mom, did I ever tell you about the time....". The immediate thought that came to mind was not one of comfort. It was one of "Oh my - not sure I want to hear this!" But, without slowing down to give me a chance to wrap my mind around all of the possibilities, he proceeded. "Mom, did I ever tell you about the time that I got a paddling at school?" Paddling? Did he just say paddling? I'm confident it wasn't paddling. I misunderstood. My ears were not clearly hearing what he was trying to communicate. "What?", I said. He responded, "A paddling - Did I ever tell you about the time that I got a paddling at school?" After picking the lower half of my mouth up off of the floor, I replied, "No, I don't recall your bringing home that little tidbit of information when you were still in school here! A paddling? *****Smith !" With every word, I'm confident that the pitch of my voice got just a little bit higher. It was at this point that a little smile came across this child of mine's face.
Back to my question. "What did you do to get a paddling?" He revealed the cause of the infliction of pain on his backside. "I laughed." Now, I realize that those two words make up a complete sentence. It has a subject and a verb. But I knew that there was no way that it was a complete answer. I KNEW there was more to the story than that. "What? You laughed?"
It was then that I was given just a little bit more information to fill in the missing pieces to this paddling puzzle. It seems that this child and a buddy were laughing...a lot and had been doing so in a previous class. When they arrived at this particular class, the teacher asked them to stop. Well, the laughing had already reached maximum proportions and was going ahead full steam. There was no stopping it. That's probably stretching it. If someone were holding a gun to their heads and said stop laughing or I'll shoot, they probably would have stopped. I think we've probably all had those moments when we've started laughing at something and couldn't stop. (It usually happens at the worst time and place like school or church!)
On with the rest of the story... When the kids didn't stop laughing, they were sent to the Assistant Principal. At most middle and high schools, the Assistant Principal is not the nicest member of the school faculty. As a matter of fact, he/she is usually the disciplinarian. He's a "no bones about it" sort of person. He doesn't smile a lot and most of the kids know that they really do need to steer clear of him if possible.
Upon arriving at the Asst. Principal's office, these two kids were asked why they were there. They replied to him that they had been laughing. (Now, you just have to wonder if this man at the time didn't scratch his head just a bit, and think, huh? Laughing? Aren't there just a few more serious infractions that we need to be dealing with than laughing? ) But then I'm sure he probably also thought that it had to be more than just laughing or the teacher wouldn't have sent them down to him in the first place. Time to get down to the nitty gritty. Time for the punishment to be doled out for such an infraction. "You have a choice, boys. You can either have after school detention or a paddling." The decision was an easy one for the Smith kid. He knew that there was no way he would take the after school detention. That would mean he would have to stay after school. If he had to stay after school, that would mean that mom and dad would find out! Easy decision! No staying after school for him! So, the Smith kid took door #2 - pain infliction to his backside as his prize, I mean punishment on that day. I'm sure it didn't feel good at all. I'm also pretty confident that he probably didn't laugh a whole lot in that teacher's class afterwards either.
Years later, I guess this Smith child thought that it was safe to reveal his well kept secret at the dinner table. I guess he thought that surely the statute of limitations on double punishment had run out. Tim and I just kind of shook our heads still in disbelief. You never know...you just never know.
What are the lessons learned from this one you ask? The obvious one for kids is this. If your teacher tells you to stop, YOU REALLY DO NEED TO STOP. To this child in particular, it was a story that you lived to tell but you lived probably because you didn't tell it when it happened. I'm just not sure how your dad and I would have reacted to that one. Finally, to parents, sometimes ignorance really is bliss.
You Can Call Me Granny
August 1, 2010
|Aaron and his real sweetie, Emily|
Aaron was placed in the TICU at DCH. TICU stands for Trauma Intensive Care Unit. He quickly grew to really like that area of nursing. Aaron said that it was basically one- on-one care. He liked that. He didn't care for being stretched between several patients. As a matter of fact, that is probably his favorite area that he has worked so far.
During the summer internship, a sweet little lady was admitted in TICU. The way Aaron said would describe her the best would be to picture in your mind a little old granny. That would be her...white hair, short, sweet, elderly. As a matter of fact, if I'm recalling the story correctly, she was 88 years old. Aaron said that when she was admitted in the TICU, she introduced herself by saying, "You can call me Granny." So, that's what they did. They called her Granny.
Granny wasn't your typical TICU patient. She was able to speak easily, didn't seemed to be in a lot of pain, and had just a good attitude about life in general. Even though Granny wasn't Aaron's specific patient, he had helped Granny's nurse with Granny a couple of times. Granny took a liking to Aaron. Now, seeing that I'm Aaron's mom, I will say that I don't think that taking a liking to Aaron would be a very difficult thing to do but I am just a little bit biased in my opinion. But 88 year old Granny took a particular liking to Aaron. She even told the other nurses that she thought Aaron was cute and that he was her boyfriend. That didn't really bother Aaron though. He was happily married and a newlywed. Besides, she was 88 years old! She was definitely not a threat by any wild stretch of the imagination!
Granny was being discharged from the TICU and Aaron's work with the patient that he had been assigned was caught up so he went down to help Granny's nurse get her ready to leave the floor. Granny didn't often ask the nursing staff for things; she would tell them...and they usually would fill her request. After Aaron had helped get Granny ready to leave the floor, she turned to him and said, "Now you can give Granny a kiss." Aaron thought, "What? I know she didn't say what I thought she said!" Contemplating what to do, Aaron began to think about the possibilities. What was he going to do? He knew that she didn't have any communicable diseases. There was nothing that she "had" that he could catch, so he thought..."What's the harm. I'll just give her a little peck on the cheek. She's a sweet little old lady, then she'll be gone." So, Aaron bent down to give 88 year old, sweet, white haired Granny a peck on the cheek as she was sitting in her wheelchair before she left the TICU floor. The next thing that happened was not even within the realm of thinking of this student nurse working as an intern at DCH. But, in his own words, "SHE WAS FAST!" Before he knew it, she had turned her head and it was no longer a cheek peck but a full mouth-on peck!!!!! Maybe no communicable diseases but OH MY!!!!
Aaron said that once little old Granny left the room, he immediately went over to the sink and used a lot of soap and water on his face and mouth! Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, washing your mouth out with soap, huh?
According to Aaron, there are some patients that just leave a lasting impression on their nursing staff because of their personality, their illness, their compliance, their grumpiness. Granny will definitely be one that leaves a lasting impression on Aaron as she welcomed him into the world of nursing in a way he never expected...with a kiss!
August 13, 2010
We've all had times when we wanted to just disappear into thin air...times when something happened to embarrass us. It's times like those when we would like nothing more than to be able to wave a magic wand and turn back time 5 seconds!
I’m not sure that I can adequately describe my feelings at the time it happened - my most embarrassing moment that is. I don't believe that there are even words in our English language that I could use to clearly paint the picture for you. Suffice it to say that it was total, complete embarrassment, probably my most embarrassing moment ever (and let me assure you that I have had some pretty embarrassing moments in my lifetime.)
I was at my usual Sunday morning place - church services. The auditorium was quite full; we had a lot of visitors that morning. The Bible classes has just concluded and the young folks along with their teachers were coming into the auditorium from their classes. We have about a 15 minute break during this time. It gives everyone time to get up and stretch a minute, go to the restroom, get a drink of water, etc. I try to use some of this time to meet any visitors that we might have so I was up walking around. The auditorium of our church building has 2 sets of pews, one on the left and one on the right, with an aisle up the center of the bldg. leading to the front of the auditorium.
I had made my way around and spoken with several of our visitors and I proceeded to walk up the center aisle toward the bench that Tim and I usually sit on. Tim was talking with someone about half way up the aisle so I just stopped and stood behind him while he carried on his conversation.
The day was great. As I said, we had a lot of visitors which was such an encouragement to us. You see, we are a relatively new group of the Lord's church. We've been in our current church building for a couple of years after meeting at places that we rented for about 2 years. The auditorium was bustling from folks conversing with one another. It was about 5 minutes before time for our worship service to begin.
At any rate, I am confident that it wasn't pretty. And it wasn't one of those things that, as a participant, you see happening in slow motion. At least I didn't. It was fast! Before I knew it, I was sitting in that middle aisle on my backside! (Yes, ladies...at this moment, it is appropriate to feel horrified for me!) There literally was a gasp...an "ohhhhhh" coming from those who saw it happen. Tim turned around, saw me on the floor and was shocked when he realized that I had fallen. (His back had been turned to me the entire time so he didn't actually see what happened.) He helped me back to a standing position, the position I prefer to be in most of the time. With many eyes on me and feeling my face get redder and redder, I waved to the crowd in the auditorium and let them know that I was OK. "I'm fine...really I'm fine.", I said, and I was ...physically. Note to self - Be extremely thankful for deciding to wear an extra full, rather long dress that morning.
Tim held onto my arm and escorted me to the bench. I'm sure that my face had in it's coloring every shade of red that has been and that will ever be known to mankind.
Embarrassed? Oh my! That word isn't strong enough. It just doesn't do justice to how I felt as I sat down.
After services were over, several people showed their sincere concern for me and my physical well being as well as my mental trauma. One of the sweetest, most caring people I have ever been blessed to be associated with came up to me immediately after church and asked, "Are you okay?" as she gave me a warm hug. I knew she felt my embarrassment. There were several who asked if I was okay. Some thought I had twisted my ankle or that the heel of my shoe had gotten caught in the fibers of the carpet. Two people in particular said when speaking to me about the fall..."Well that’s nothing to be embarrassed about! Everyone falls! " Those statements happened to come from men. I think probably that falling for men isn’t nearly as traumatic as it is for women. It's normal for men, teen boys, little boys and even baby boys to spend a lot of time developing an up close and personal relationship with the ground. Ladies...not so much. Most folks were just puzzled that one second I was standing and the next second I was on the floor. I was kind of puzzled too!
I survived that episode that morning and went home for the afternoon but every time "the fall" would pop back into my mind, the same sick, embarrassing feeling would come to the surface all over again. You know that feeling where your heart just sinks and you feel like you have Sumo wrestlers going at it in your stomach? Yep...that was how I felt.
On Sunday evening we returned to Kelly Spring Rd. for the evening worship service as usual. I, of course, was hoping that I wouldn't have to relive what had happened and that no one would bring it up anymore. As I was standing in the center aisle once again talking with some people before church began a kind man, who had visited with us several times asked me in a rather loud voice, "Are you okay from your fall this morning?" I kind of chuckled a bit and said, "I’m fine, really I am. But thank you for asking." He went on to say as he continued in his rather loud voice, "Well that’s good as long as your okay. That’s all that matters."
Those last two sentences that he said all of the sudden made a lot of sense to me. The more I thought about it, the more I realized. Yes, that really is all that matters...that I wasn't hurt...that I was okay.
I received a big old bushel basket full of lemons that day and I didn't even ask for them. I also received some of the sweetest lemonade that I’ve ever had and I didn’t even have to make it. My sweet family in Christ made it for me and handed it to me on a silver platter.