Tuesday, February 12, 2008

When No One is Looking...

....someone is listening.

It's so funny that I've sat down at this computer and started five other posts, looking for that sweet release and excitement that comes when I am getting ready to purge some thought and ramble some obscure notion, and yet nothing comes. No, frustration comes when I sit, write three paragraphs and find myself parked in a cul de sac of my brain somewhere with no air conditioning and the windows fogging. If I was a writer, I think that's what would be my version of 'writer's block'. In my case it could be called 'parked in a hot car by myself'.

But tonight is different. I feel emotional and motivated. Emotivated. Versus emotional and unmotivated. I call that laundry. Heh.

Today is Edie's birthday. One year ago today I was holding a brand new girl baby Keefe. I'd done that two other times, but it was different this time...she was precious and pink and nameless. We almost called her Ruby because she was so red. And it took us three days to name her. I think it was almost as painful as labor. Everyone had a name for her and I was bound and determined that NO ONE but her mother would name her. So even if I liked the names being thrown from every corner of the world and every name book in the public library, I was too stubborn to accept any name but one that Alex and I had come up with. So there she was, affectionately known for the first 37 hours of her life as Afafa Ababu. I think that means Second Wife of the First Born in Swahili. Alex and I were looking through the "Baby Names of the World" book at that time. Then we 'stumbled' upon Jean (thanks, Syd) and I knew that would be her middle name....but the first was a huge question mark. I swear if I saw the lady from the birth certificate office one more time, I would have stuck with Afafa Ababu. ;)

I've always named the babies, thanks to my husband bowing out from his "I'm gonna name this one" campaign. He loves all of their names, though, and is grateful that his wife is a naming genius. ;) Anyway, we took home Eden Jean one year ago tomorrow and our lives are amazing with the addition of two more ovaries. Edie's had several nicknames throughout the last twelve months: Needie Edie, Meatie Edie, Edie Beedy, Weeeedie Edie (in the airplane swing in the back yard), Greedy Edie, Speedy Edie, and my favorite Sweetie Edie. She is a precious, happy little baby that loves and adores those big sisters of hers. And today she is One.

I decided that since her birthday party was Saturday and she already ate a piece of cake that was the size of her head, the girls and I made brownies. Bellies up to the counter, the girls were ready for mixing and pouring and I was ready, too. I was calling my Dad to wish him a happy birthday as well (thankfully, I NEVER have to get my Dad a gift for his birthday since she was born ;) and things were loud and crazy. My Dad and I were on the phone for a while, sharing our memories from one year ago that moment and trying to have a conversation over the screaming and yelling. We said our goodbyes and I hung up the phone to help the girls make some brownies. But I didn't. I accidently didn't hang up the phone. And Dad was listening.

Two raw eggs, 1/4 cup of milk, brownie mix, and 1/2 cup of veg oil. In a bowl. In front of a two year old and a four year old while a one year old (to the hour) screams bloody murder in the background. What happens next?

Charley grabs a handful of raw egg. Mama screams. Charley puts the raw egg directly into her mouth. Mama screams louder. Mama explains that raw eggs can make us sick (though I once heard Martha Stewart say that she has never heard of ANYONE getting sick from raw eggs). Charley says she's sorry. We continue the brownie making process and move on. I continue to tell the girls to keep their hands out of the mix and out of their mouths. Realizing that this is s MOST unrealistic expectation (especially as direct descendents of the Pasley family), I pull the bowl away and tell the girls to step down. Then I hear whistling. I glance over at Soph and she hears it too. She says it's the alarm. Then the phone starts that super loud car alarm wake-you-out-of-a-drunken-stupor noise. I go to the phone and call back Dad and ask him if it was him. He says yes and then I ask if he was whistling. He was, trying to get my attention to hang up the phone. We were both laughing so hard at how funny that whole thing was. Then he says...."what did she put in her mouth?" I was a little confused for a second and then I realized that I was screaming at my baby and he wanted to know what for.

I was instantly worried for what he'd heard. What did I say? Did I snap? Did I say something that was unfair or wrong or abusive in some way? Did I embarrass myself? Was there a word or intonation that would have disgraced me as a mother?

I'm not sure. I'm not sure if I said or did any of those things. But I certainly have. When no one was looking, there have been times in my life that I cringe to think of. I have embarrassed myself. I have embarrassed my family. I have embarrassed my husband. I have shown complete disregard for honesty, integrity, and truth. I have seperated myself so far from my true purpose that I lost all direction and headed straight for failure. I made decisions that had horrific eternal consequences. And most of that time, I thought no one was looking. I thought no one was listening.

And yet, Someone always is.

It is easy to put on the pretty face, to be wrinkle-free, to talk the super stay-at-home Mom talk. When there are witnesses, self control seems to be at its peak. When there are listeners, only good things are said. When there are eyes watching, the picture of me is retouched and that gaussian blur is softening those hard, cruel lines that are really there. But when I am "alone" the real me comes through as an impatient, loud, screaming Mama who always said she wasn't going to be that way.

And the lesson I learned tonight is that Yes, Julie, Someone is always listening.

He has listened to every bad thing you've ever said, and every sin you've ever committed and every F-bomb you've dropped in the church parking lot. And yes, He's also watched as you've tenderly held your seizing baby, and screamed out for His healing. And yes, He's watched you sin and grieved with you at the loss you were feeling from the space between you. And he's heard you scream "WoHoo" and "Halleleujia" at the top of your lungs in the middle of a church service for what He's done for His people.

So yes, He's always listening and He's always prompting. He's showing me that fearing man more than fearing Him has continual consequences for me. And I am praying tonight that I would hear Him whistle to me through the phone line of my life to say He is here, He is real, and He is in love with me. With or without the blur.


Sydney said...

Jewel, you are a great mom and the girls are going to grow up and realize how much you love and care for them. Try not to beat yourself up too hard -- unfortunately it is the conscious of a perfectionist that you are trying to rationalize with; I for one can sympathize. Take it from one perfectionist to another: you're awesome.

Jessica said...

that was very well said!
Would you mind if I added your blog to mine?
Jessica Pruitt

kate said...

If it makes you feel any better, I chased my kids up the stairs last week carrying a wooden spoon and yelling. And, yes, I mean I really chased them--like some kind of monster. Can we say, "Psycho?" I'm right there with ya! I love your writing--it's so honest and it's great! Thanks for the friendly reminder that we are never alone.

Emily said...

Whew. Kick my butt, why don't you? Thanks for the reminder. I'm going to need it in a few hours when we all roll out of bed and try, for once, to get where we're going in one piece and on time... whistling, eh? Yikes. And thanks. :)

Jenn McPherson said...

Hi Julie! Okay, my blog is pitiful compared to yours. I think I should send you my 9th grade english blog and have you "spice it up" a bit! I have heard great things about you through Deb & feel like I know you. I would LOVE to meet you & your girls & photograph you! I am an amateur, but I love it!! Let's plan a get together soon!

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Anonymous said...

I have only one second - gotta tend to some other stuff - but I LOVE THIS BLOG! I LOVE YOU! And I don't really even know you....


Jennifer Sampson

Anonymous said...

God is good. I just finished setting up for worship practice and I sat down and asked God to give me something before I began to prepare my heart to lead the band tonight in what will be Sunday morning's worship experience...and wouldn't you know I ended up here! Thanks so much for writing Julie! You're anointed! Continue doing what you do because, as you just wrote, and I experienced....He is always listening!