Friday, April 15, 2011

Hugs, for Pete's sake.

Having two teenage boys living with you can be challenging.

They lived a whole life before we ever met. And although it's a life I would have changed for them - rescued them from if I could have - it was the life the Lord had for them and it's shaped who they've become.

Kids who've grown up in the inner-city have lots of defenses. Walls they've constructed over time to protect themselves. They can be merciless to one another about clothes, haircuts, and shoes. Mommas, and teeth. And often, innocence is regarded as weakness. Boys especially don't hug or hold hands and Dea and Darius are often at a loss when Graham gives them a big hug when they walk through the door or when he wants to hold their hand walking around Six Flags. Often, they respond with, "Naw, man. That's gay." Or, dude. That's fruity."

So, the other day, when my boys said the same thing to each other, we had a long talk. (the long talk followed me telling them to stop calling each other 'gay' using my outside voice. I may have popped a vessel.)

After I'd calmed down, I explained to both my little boys that brothers hug, and there's nothing sexual about it. It's a hug and it's innocent and it's one of the ways we demonstrate love. So, please, stop classifying innocence as something other than what it is.

That afternoon, Graham, who's my most demonstratively affectionate, went to Dea. "Dea, it's time for your daily hug!" Dea said, "Dude, guys don't hug. That's fruity." Then, Graham did what I should have done long ago. He said just matter of factly, "Dea, your my brother and I'm gonna hug you. It's not fruity, it's just what brothers do."

Hours later, I got a text on my phone, "MaMelissa, tell Graham I'm sorry I called his hugs fruity. They're not fruity."

And Graham's smile could have lit the city.

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;"

1 Peter, 1:22-23

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Love and Duct Tape

Last Saturday night, I had the privilege of celebrating my sixteenth wedding anniversary with Trey.

Our anniversary was actually Friday but that night was spent bowling and eating at CiCi's in celebration of Dea's birthday. Nothing really says romance more than bowling a 48 and eating at a pizza buffet. I do enjoy the Diet Coke at CC's, though. I'm not gonna lie.


The sweetest thing was Thursday when, in front of several of his staff, Trey put his arm around me and said, "Tomorrow, I get to celebrate 15 years of being married to this beautiful woman." For reasons totally known to both of us, he has blocked out an entire year of our marriage. It was year one. And it was not pretty, friends. Not pretty at all. In fact, I remember meeting other newlyweds and being convinced they were totally lying when they said their first year of marriage was absolute bliss. I may have even screamed "LIAR" to their faces once or twice.


I somehow stopped getting their Christmas cards shortly afterward.


Weird.


Anyway, the Lord has a funny way of taking all our expectations and 'I deserves' and flipping them on their tails only to show us His way is better, and more beautiful, and stronger than we could have ever imagined.


So last night, when I almost cut my finger off opening a bottle of wine - don't ask, I never said I was coordinated - and I got a little lightheaded, I looked right at Trey and he knew he'd better take charge or his bride was going down. I can deal with a lot of gross stuff but for some reason, deep cuts to my own appendages make me all whoozy and light-headed. Once I sliced my finger deep opening a package of bacon - I also never promised you I was a healthy eater - and the only person around was a 6'3" teenage basketball player named Ollie who almost fainted himself. I personally think it was more over the realization that he wouldn't be getting breakfast anytime soon rather than my gushing wound.


Speaking of breakfast, how's your's treating ya right about now?


Anyway, my husband of 16 years took the corkscrew from my hand, took me upstairs, doused me with Bactine - even blew on it so it wouldn't sting, and bandaged me up.


Unfortunately, I didn't have any bandaids which begs the question, "What kind of mother doesn't have bandaids?"


This one. My excuse? The last box I bought was emptied in 6 minutes by children wanting to look like they'd been to war. 'Cause when you're facing automatic weapon enemy fire, you're sure hoping your medic has some Dora bandaids on hand.


That's when Trey got all resourceful on me and got 'er done with some paper towels and duct tape. I like the fact that he sometimes uses miscellaneous household objects to mend his family instead of rushing them to the E.R. Graham has an ever so slight scar to prove it just at his hairline. One summer evening, he hit his head on an electrical box at a baseball game and Trey super glued the cut together, patted him on the shoulder and said, "There you go, buddy, now let's get back in that game."


He doctors us all with nary a wince, or getting all queasy and weak-stomached, or making fun of me for my ability to inflict serious, serious injury upon myself with a dull object.


That, folks, is love.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Oh, hello.

Hi!


Er, I mean, hey.


The dog ate my computer.


Actually, that's not true. My computer is actually larger than one of my dogs and the other one wouldn't do such a thing because although she's ugly, she's my favorite. You know, you can say that with dogs - but don't go picking favorites with your children. Even if one of them asks just after the other three have been fussed at for fighting violently over the clicker because one wants to watch Cake Boss and the other two want to watch Top Shot because Colby Donaldson is a fine and engaging host.


On that note, a friend of mine recently pointed out that, when you totally lose it and go all crazy-mom, and you yell and the ground shakes, if you just call it fussing, it kinda pretty's it up a little.


"Oh, I just fussed a little."


Really? Your head spun.


Uh. Huh. Fussed.


Anyway, in all honesty, for about a week, I totally forgot that I actually had a blog. Then, I remembered and had so much to talk about that I didn't know where to begin so I just skipped another week and now, here we are.


Crickets chirping...


Seriously, we've had a time. There were fun things like a couple of Thursday's ago, my friend Kasey brought a group over from Shreveport to help out at Mercy Street for the night. We had some last minute music mix-ups for our new Intersections program so Miss Jacque and I, for a moment, told the girls they might have to lead worship. (Sometimes we like to jack with the visitors.) Then we sang for them just to prove that a total singing misfit and someone with a fabulous voice could work together in beautiful harmony.




Don't tell Miss Jacque I called her a singing misfit but really, of the two of us, isn't it OBVIOUS?


And may I also add that this video makes very apparent to me that living amongst lots of beautiful people with great rhythm and mad dancing skilz for eight years has done absolutely nothing for my personal ability to either dance or carry on in any sort of sensical rhythm.


And did you notice I'm wearing my two favorite accessories? My cowboy boots and my seven year old child who I think was hanging on to me trying to make her nightmare of her momma singing in public stop.



Then there were some not-so-fun things like my genius idea that I needed a new bathing suit for summer. For the record, I also like to scrape my fingernails of chalkboards just for kicks. Let me just ask you something and I want you to answer real honest-like. If every store I go in has the absolute most unflattering lighting known to man, it is reasonable to assume that, in fact, I might be the problem, not the lighting?


I didn't think so.


And, did you know that if you skip three classes in four weeks or ten classes in six months in a DISD high school, and you ignore the court date set for you, they will actually come and get you out of class, handcuff you, and take you to jail just like they say they will on those court papers that you ignored? And then, your guardian will have to leave a meeting and come get your hiney out of the Big House. And he will not be happy with you. Not happy at all.


A little bird told me that one.


His name was Darius.