Monday, April 2, 2012


Trey & I go through a lot of paper towels.  Between the paper towels, Reagan's diapers, & Trey's affinity for styrofoam cups, we are the people who inhabit tree huggers' nightmares.  Throw in Trey's NRA membership & the fact that our firstborn is named after Ronald Reagan, & I bet our names are on a list somewhere.

But, I digress.  The paper towel rolls flow like a river in our house, partly because Reagan creates genuine messes, & partly because I am as anal retentive as they come.  Here's a few of her most recent creations:

A yogurt/cheerio bonanza:

A red popsicle (note that red popsicle stains everything in its path, including the child eating it):

As much as I hate food messes, they're almost always easy to clean up.  I always think about that Bounty tag line, "Life's messy; clean it up."  Kudos to the ad people who thought that one up, because it's certainly the only paper towel ad slogan with which I'm familiar.

Life is messy, & most of the messes can't be easily sopped up with a few paper towels, & this is, I've discovered, a source of great consternation not only for me, but for other young mothers.  For the past few months, I've attended a ladies Bible study on Wednesday mornings.  We're all married & have young kids, & as I've listened to them share, often hearing someone else verbalize my own thoughts, the overarching theme that has emerged is that we all struggle with a desire for control that, if unchecked, can become crippling.  It's nice to know that I'm not the only young wife & mother who wants to play puppeteer, but, nonetheless, it's a desire that can have dire consequences.  Often we discuss our greatest fears, and all of them boil down to situations in which the tenuous control we think we have over events & people in our lives is stripped from us, which would basically reveal the truth that we never had the control we were clinging to in the first place.  We talk about our prayer lives, & one day, a wise member of the group stated that she used to constantly pray that "such & such" would not happen.  You can fill in the blank with all the things we "pray away,"  - cancer, death, etc.  - & she stated that now, while she prays for her loved ones' health & safety, she always prays that no matter what happens here on Earth, she will one day be reunited with her husband & kids in Heaven, where there will be no need to pray the fervent prayers for safety every mother knows by heart.

In my three decades, I've witnessed situations over which I had absolutely no control, or rather, I was smacked upside the head & reminded of the powers that war for control, namely, the Lord & Satan.  A cousin who died at twenty, a dear friend who died young, leaving his two-year-old fatherless, my parents losing their parents, my friend's marriage imploding through no fault of her own, leaving her to pick herself up after being dealt a hand I wouldn't wish on anyone, my aunt diagnosed with breast cancer . . . this is my list, but we all have one.   We like the illusion of control we have when things are going well, but it is an illusion, and it's an attempt to fill a need that only faith & trust in God can fill, trust that, regardless of what happens (which we have no control over, anyway), all things work together for the good of those who love Him.  That's all things.  All things, even the ones Satan throws our way.  Jesus died a cruel death on a cross, which was the ultimate victory, seemingly, for Satan, but Jesus rose, because there was a greater plan in place.  All things.

I know I will reread this blog in the future.  Here's a small glimpse into the future.

This is Reagan doing her imitation of the Occupy protestors after being denied her daddy's cell phone:

If she sees these pics in the future, I'm betting her dad's socks & crocs combo will embarrass her far more than her behavior.

Believe it or not, having a child is helping me slowly let go of some my controlling (anal retentive) tendencies.  I do clean up the food messes immediately, but at night, I get in bed now (rather than straightening all the toys, finding the puzzle pieces, etc.).  I am still anal about some things, but, I've always been a big proponent of self-awareness, so it counts for something that I am aware of my tendencies (right?).  I pray that as Reagan ages, I learn when to exert my control, & when to relinquish it & allow her to make her own decisions.  Striking that balance is going to be perhaps the greatest feat I'll endeavor, especially if she hasn't inherited her father's passivity.   

For the better part of the past year, I've been writing a book.  It's nothing earth shattering, just a little fictional world I've created where I spend time when the mood strikes.  I don't know that it will ever see life outside my MacBook (but still, that's a good life), but if it's good for nothing else, it's teaching me that one way to safely exercise my need for control is to write.  I've created characters, & they do everything I want, say everything I want, & go exactly where I will them to go.  If I want two people to fall in love, they do.  I create messes in character's lives, but take great joy in painstakingly righting wrongs and restoring order.  It's a bit of a power trip, but I think it helps me let go a little in the world of nonfiction, where I only control myself, a skill I continue to fine tune.  


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