Vitals: This post is not about the boys, but once I realized what God was doing to me (or I was doing to myself, depending on how you look at it), I decided the story was worth the ink.
Last weekend, God had mercy on my humble state and sent us a baby sitter. Thank you God, for my babysitter! She is an adult (teens no longer fill the bill), and a mom, and a special ed teacher and she is wonderful!!
So, Bill and I had our first date since ….well, in a long time. We had a great dinner and then we decided to go shopping.
This was a mistake.
This was a mistake.
Bill (whom I love) competes in triathlons and he has mentioned that I might compete as well. He has also joined a local health club and he has mentioned that I might join as well. Just mentioned it, mind you. He didn’t actually sign for me on the dotted line; although he did create an account for me at “setupevents.com” and bought me a combination lock, just in case. This was not a problem. You see, there was no reason for me to join the health club. I didn’t have a decent bathing suit, sports bra, running shoes or anything else I could think of to mention.
So, after our large and remarkably filling dinner, we went to the sporting goods store to buy me a bathing suit.
Do you know that if you go shopping at a store (other than Goodwill), there are fitting rooms with huge mirrors that take up a whole wall? Now, let me just say here that I am 45 years old and I’ve had three children. It’s all over. Really. Yet, for some reason, I had agreed that a good ending to our date night was to stand in front of a giant mirror (that I’m certain has some sort of distorting curvature around the middle) and try on bathing suits.
What was I thinking? I haven’t stood in front of a mirror like that since I tried on wedding dresses, which was all well and good when I was 25, but let me just say right here and now that I don’t think it’s right for stores that sell bathing suits to have great big mirrors that take up a whole wall, especially if they might be used by 45 year old women on date night! Stores should have ONE fitting room for “Childless Women Under Thirty” and other, separate fitting rooms for “Middle-Aged Moms.” Furthermore, the mirrors should get smaller for each decade. I’d say the room for the 40 to 50 year-olds should have something from the waist up (like the mirrors in MY house) and by the time I have to do this again, when I’m 65, all I will really need is hand mirror. At 90, I want those ½ inch by 3 inch mirrors that come on the side of expensive lipsticks. Why has no one thought of this?
The next day was Sunday and I was still depressed. We started going to a new church. I can’t see any reason to drop my kids off into a room full of strangers for Sunday School, so I decided to stay with them for the first few months until they get to know the teachers and the routine etc. etc. I’ve also been able to see what they are learning and get to know the kids in the class (SO cute). Well, God had mercy on my pitiful state a second time that weekend, thankyouverymuch. Not that He owes me anything, of course...But we all know that He was well aware I was going to have to face a full length mirror in a bathing suit the night before. It did cross my mind that He could have sent something like a flat tire and saved me from that….visual.
Anyway, as we were standing up to go to some activity, a little second-grade girl came over to me and tugged on my shirt. Then she looked up at me with blessedly sincere eyes and said, “I think you’re pretty,” and ran away (I am not making this up). I threw my hands in the air and yelled, “HA! Take THAT Dick Sporting Goods!” Then I went off to find her and explain about Maybelline.
This wasn’t enough to negate the reality of the night before, but I was grateful (Thank you God, for near-sighted eight year-olds) and it was enough that I felt the jinx of “Face Your Reality Weekend” had been lifted and I was back to living in safe, blissful ignorance, without the dangers of wall-size mirrors.
However, there were more nuggets awaiting. You will remember, “man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.”
I can’t remember what disaster came my way on Monday, but Bill was on a business trip so it was just me and the kids. It was probably the general din of homework, neighbor kids, fatigue and poor parenting that threw me off. I can’t remember exactly (not like I remember the mirror and the eight-year old), but I do remember that when dinner time came, I was in trouble. I don’t always plan ahead when it comes to meal times. This was not a problem when the kids were little, but I have two growing boys (12 and 13) and they are starting to complain about cheerios for dinner—OK, not really complain, but their eyes get a sort of crazed, hungry look about an hour after “dinner” and I know I have to do something more.
Anyway, I was in trouble and just as I was about to dive for the old stand-by (spaghetti), there was a knock on my door. One of my friends was standing on my porch holding a full hot meal: lasagna, warm garlic bread, and brownies for dessert. As I stood there with my mouth hanging open, she explained that she had just come from a funeral. A man in her church had died and they were expecting 90 people but only 30 showed up. She thought maybe we could use the meal.
You might think that gracious words of thankfulness flowed from my needy mouth. Something like, "Thank you so much for thinking of us!" or "This is wonderful!" But, no. I digested all the information she laid before me: the meal, the funeral, the leftover food… and what came out of my mouth was not a sincere, “thank you” but rather, “Wow. So….. popular guy?”
Then we both looked at each other with blank faces for a few seconds trying to figure out if I had actually allowed such words to COME OUT OF MY MOUTH, and I made an important mental note: don't make jokes about funerals.
Thank God the man wasn’t her relative.
And, there it is. She gave me the lasagna, by the way, so I think we’re still friends. Now I’m left debating whether it’s worse to stand in front of a full length mirror in a bathing suit or listen to myself speak. This is why I like to have a lot of kids around. The mirrors are quickly broken and usually, no one’s listening to me.