I Forgot My Sneakers (at the Gym)

I Forgot My Sneakers - Making the Most Blog

Nope.  I’m not kidding.  I got myself all the way down to the gym, opened my gym bag, and realized it.  I forgot my sneakers!

And my sports bra.

And my headphones.

And I had gone out of my way in the morning to make sure I remembered a change of clothes and a pair of socks ready for the gym.

I couldn’t believe myself.

But I couldn’t leave!  The front desk had seen me come in, and they know my face; they know my schedule.  So which would be more embarrassing–leaving right after I came in?  Or working out in what I had?

I decided the lesser of the two evils was just to work out in what I had.

I was sure that everyone was looking at me and inwardly laughing.  But I kept trying to tell myself that I don’t really pay attention to what everyone else is wearing, so maybe I would be lucky and no one would notice…that I was wearing my socks with my flats.  Yep.  Socks and flats.

I have to say, it’s not very easy to take a walk in flats.  Thankfully I didn’t have much time to work with anyway, so I just took a 15-minute walk.  I quickly changed into my flip flops before leaving the building so no one else could see what I worked out in.

This awkward situation reminded me of how unprepared for life we often are.

When I was pregnant with Rapunzel, I had planned to give her up for adoption.  I was 19, unmarried, and was no longer in a relationship with her father (long story).  I was in college and working in retail; I knew I couldn’t provide for her like I wanted, and, having been a child of divorced parents, I wanted her to be a child of a two-parent home.

But everything changed in the hospital after her birth.  Her father arrived for delivery and, the following day, announced that he would not sign the paperwork for her adoption.  My options were slim: I could sign away my rights to the new family I had chosen with the chance her father would fight it and win; then he would raise her (and if you knew his history, you wouldn’t want that either).  Not only that, but then the family would be heart-broken anyway and my daughter would have to try to bond with someone else during a time when she had already developed an attachment to another.  So I made the only choice I felt I had: the adoption was off.

And I cried.

our first night at home - I Forgot My Sneakers - Making the Most Blog

Here I was, 19 years old, without my four-year degree, working in retail, living at home, and single.  With a new baby.  This was not the life I had planned for my daughter.  Or myself for that matter.  I had no crib.  No car seat.  No diapers.  No clothes.  Nothing.  I was so afraid.  And unprepared.

But God gave me the gifts I needed for that time in my life in order to survive.

Friends, family, church members–they came out of the woodwork to support me.  My stepmom picked up a car seat, the family I babysat for gave me a crib and a mattress, and my friends and church sent diapers, wipes, blankets, and clothes–more than I could have ever asked for.

And their support was tremendous.  The first time I took her to church, everyone wanted to hold her.  During her first year, they fed her, rocked her, held her, and loved her.  And they loved me for me–a young, single mother.

WIth their help, and with my own instinct, the Word, and the help of Kevin Leman and Dr. James Dobson, I survived.  And with the help of friends and family, I worked hard to earn my associates degree and provide for my daughter.

God provided what I needed to get me through that difficult time.  And in time, he provided what I wanted the most for my daughter–a father.

That first year, I felt like I did at the gym: in my socks and flats, unprepared, clueless.  But nobody judged me for my preparedness, I worked with what I had, and we got through it.

Are you feeling unprepared today?  How have you been able to work with what you have to get by?

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Good Fathers

father and two daughters

My dad, my sister, and I in the 1980s (I’m the little one)

Today wouldn’t be complete without a tribute to fathers.

I had considered writing a regular ol’ post just because I haven’t for a while and I wanted to catch up, but instead I decided it just wouldn’t be right to post anything different on Father’s Day.

I’m a lucky girl.  A blessed girl.  I have a wonderful father.

Sure, my dad has his faults.  For one, he is generally late.  Secondly, he is a terrible mess (some days I’m not sure where I come from, because I’m a neat freak and he is so…NOT).  And last, he has a tendency not to say things that need to be said.  Like that he loves his daughters.  That he’s proud of us.

If it weren’t for his random acts of kindness, I’m not sure I would know he does.  His phone calls during the day when he’s on a long drive and he’s “BORED” to the cash he slips me when he knows my family is struggling to the times he stops by my office to drop off a Reese’s peanut butter cup or a Pepsi just because…that’s how I know my dad loves me.

But most of all, I know my dad loves me, because he raised us.  From the time I was still an infant until I was ten years old, my dad was a single dad.  Even in the 80s and 90s that was unusual, but my dad did it.  And not just the kind of single dad who had his kids every other weekend.  He was the single dad who had us 24/7.  And my sister and I are 15 months apart.  I don’t know how he did it.  Thank goodness for babysitters and grandparents.

Speaking of grandparents, the second best man that ever lived is my grandpa.  If you ever wanted to meet a saint, you’d have to meet my grandpa.  I’m not sure if there is a single fault in that gentleman.  Maybe that he likes sweets too much.  🙂  When my dad would go away on business trips, we’d fly out to see my grandparents and stay with them for a while.  We had such fun.  My grandma is gone now, but we still have my grandpa, and I’m so glad my kids have had the opportunity to meet him.  He is a man that everyone admires and looks up to and loves.  I hope one day I can be as good a person as he.

I should probably get in trouble that Prince Charming is not #1 on the list, but at least he’s made the top 3!  As a single dad, my hubby helped to raise his daughters on his own.  While there were certain things out of his control, he certainly did his best to raise his daughters right.  He’s a great disciplinarian (when I am not), though when I go away…well…that’s a different story.  And even though he picks on our girls WAY too much, you can tell he loves them.  His fault is in that he is just like my dad and doesn’t tell them enough.  I just hope they see it in the way that I see it through my dad.  I’ve been blessed to marry a man who accepted my daughter as his own and was crazy enough to have another one with me.

And even though a few years ago, I never would have said this, I have to say Happy Father’s Day to Rapunzel’s father.  His is still very much missed and loved by many, and even though we went through some very difficult times, I have been so blessed to have Rapunzel.  I would not be the person I am today without him.

I’ve had many male figures to look up to throughout my life.  I’m blessed in that.  I know there are many who never have a father.  But I am truly grateful for the fathers who love and support their children and do whatever it takes to be there for them.  As much as they drive us crazy, the world is a better place with good fathers.

How a Penny Taught My Daughter About Diversity

Diversity
All this month, because it is black history month, I have been thinking about how might be the best way to talk to my children about race.  My half-brother is bi-racial, and it’s important to me that my children be aware that God made all of us the same inside no matter how we look on the outside.  I’ve constantly been at work with this whenever we see somebody who is in a wheelchair or who has a visible deformity.

For instance, last week at the post office, we saw a man who had a severe limp.

“Why does that man walk funny?”  Rapunzel asked me, a little too loud for comfort.

I’m not sure if the man heard her, but if he did, I hope he heard my response as well.  I decided to tell her that sometimes people are born that way.  Sometimes, something happens to people–either they get sick or they are in an accident–that changes the way they look, move, or talk.  And that whatever the case, God made us all special and He loves us all the same.

The opportunity came to me on Monday to speak of race, when Rapunzel came home from

school having learned about the penny.  The worksheet she had asked who the president was on the front of the penny.

“Do you know who President Lincoln is?”  I asked (knowing she didn’t know, of course).

“No.”

From there, I gave a brief synopsis of slavery and the Emancipation Proclamation, emphasizing

the fact that our ancestors enslaved other people just because they looked different.

“Do you think God loves us any different because our skin is a different color?”  I asked.

“No,” Rapunzel replied.

“Did you know that Mommy’s brother has different colored skin?”

Rapunzel gasped.  “Really?”

“Yes,” I replied, “And actually, today is his birthday!  He is twenty-three.”

I proceeded to show her a picture.  “Isn’t he handsome?”  I asked.

“Yes, he is very handsome,” she replied, “Can I make him a birthday card?”

So I spent much time and effort looking for fun, cute printables on black history month just so I could teach my daughter about diversity, when really…all I needed was a penny.

When Mommy Goes Away…

…the kids will play.  In this case, 5 of them.  Unless you count the pets–then there are 7.  I hate to imagine what my house looked like while I was gone, but I am told that it was cleaned up before I came home.  (And you should have seen how it looked when I got back!)

I have the feeling that Cinderella fed her two youngest sisters junk food throughout the days I was gone.  I haven’t asked if the kids had baths, but I’m not sure I want to know.  Rapunzel said she brushed her own hair.  I’m afraid to ask if Tinkerbell had her hair brushed at all.  My place at the table had papers all over it, and the counters were a mess.

I’m thankful that, at the very least, they hid the majority of their mess from me.  I’m pretty sure I would be sick from it.  And I should be thankful that they survived three days without me.  You know, a household just can’t run properly without Mom!  (At least that’s what we think.)

I was blessed to speak to my family each night while I was away.  Thank goodness.  I couldn’t have made it through those three difficult days without hearing their voices.  It was a long drive and a difficult trip emotionally.  I’m still not back up to par.  I’m not necessarily tired–just emotionally drained.

Needless to say, I had every intention of posting while I was away, but my laptop refused to hook up to my dad’s wireless, and I refused to write an entire post from my phone.  The letters are just far too tiny and my fingers too big for a full-length post.

But, I am back.  Hopefully I’ll have something of value to post next week.