Monday, May 26, 2008

I Hate This

I hate being sick, if I know someone has a stomach virus, strep throat, or goodness help us lice, I run....quickly. I didn't run quickly enough and we have 2 and counting (3 including me) fighting a stomach bug. What am I supposed to learn? hummmm....glad I am not pregnant with a stomach bug. Today what I learned is that the world of the Pike's will turn for at least two days with momma and 3 kids in bed. The children will eat (something), people will pull together and in a few short days it will be as if I never laid in bed begging to die a quick death with the fellow ill ones. We had a sleep over Friday (after a trip to the zoo), and I think that the combination of lack of sleep and a bug that seems to have hit families across the city we were bound to illness. Did I say how much I hate stomach bugs? Someday, my children will remember the sick days, they already have memories of the flu season, and strep, they aren't eewweeyy fun memories, but they do say that they remember cuddling and being loved on through the days. It is important to me that the kids feel loved, especially when they are sick, it is such a vulnerable time and everybody hates it. I know we will survive this and move on but today I hate it. I am glad however that we have each other. I am grateful for my Sweet Donnie, who gets up with icky kids when momma is already down for the count. I am grateful the well ones help out and I am bracing myself for the next round1/3 down 2/3rds to go....

Monday, May 19, 2008

Old and New

I have friends, old friends. The friends aren't old, that would make me old, they are friends I have had for a long time, a life time. I saw one of the two friends I have had for most of my life this weekend...I was crazy happy. Crazy is relative in our home, remember? My friend, called and said she was coming in town and would stop by later, but would call first. She didn't call first. She marched right in and said she didn't call first because she knew I would do things to get ready. She is an old friend that knows me well. It is important and uneasy for me to have a friend that has seen it all and knows at least the sketchy details about every part of my life. It makes me vulnerable, she doesn't just read the stories, she was part of many of the stories or had a front row seat for some of the stories. During the hardest years of my life she was just a kid, like me, unaware. As adults she has come to know more. She has been their in my sadness, confusion, and grief. She has painted my walls, held my babies, and we were in each other's weddings. She is more my sister. A new thing I heard, that she said, my old friend gave me a new thought. She said she thought I was brave. She said tht out loud to one of the kids. I don't know if I ever knew that. Since the cradle she has known me and I didn't know she thought I was brave. I like that, I am honored. Brave isn't a word I would use to describe myself, maybe I do things that seem to require bravery, that is because I often don't think first of the risk...I just live, with all my heart. Maybe that is crazy not brave. I like Brave. She reminded me the last time that she was with me. My friend didn't say"you were really loosing it", she instead said "you were distraught," it was at daddy's funeral. When I was really loosing it a few years ago, she listened, maybe with question, but she never let me know. She brought our family cookies many years ago, some crispy and some soft, she is thoughtful like that. I named one of our daughters after her, I would be proud if she becomes a woman just like my friend. I looked at her daughter, I felt that I should look in the mirror and see myself 5 again, I was looking at my former playmate. Some of the places we spent time are torn down, others are unsafe. My friend still safe, always safe, just the way friends should be.
Find an old friend. Catch up, enjoy, they may need it, or maybe just enjoy it. Be encouraged.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


More often than asking us why we do what we do with our family, now a days we get asked how.
How did you get through 6 pregnancies? Well I only had 5 full term pregnancies (twins) and the way I got through them was thinking about what was to wasn't easy as some would believe, I worried constantly at times( I dealt with miscarriages between most of my babies), I was sick, and mean. I would fall asleep while reading aloud the children, just because I had all the children didn't mean that being pregnant was easy, I chose to suffer is what some would say. How did you deliver them all? One at a time, some easy, some hard, some healthy, some not, some face up, most not, some after 3 days of pain, some after a few with an epidural the rest not. How do you keep up with the laundry? We don't, the kids help and they are great and getting better, but we have more fun things to do. How do you afford them, very carefully and with some things that others find important, we give up for what we find important like Florida and Chicago trips, but it hasn't always been this way....we have had to ask for help when they were all young (and never assume we won't again) and we learned that God uses other things besides just a job (though Jobs are important). How do you deal with what people say about you? People are mean some times and critical, Donnie laughs and I cry ( a lot), then I laugh. What about dishes? We kill dishwashers so I listen to children complain while they wash. What about food? It is expensive and occasionally we have slim weeks, but again priorities...I will buy Nutty Butty bars and do with out cheerios if the mood strikes me and not one of us have been proclaimed nutritionally unsound....sometimes we eat what we don't like(cabbage soup or egg sandwiches) and learn to like it till we have more money. I guess the big answer to how is this.....(DRUM ROLL PLEASE)..... I require life, I needed life, I wanted, longed for and believed that life would and could heal almost anything, that after many days of pain and upset, the lives of children, my children would change the world. This is how, this is how I fold more socks, use a credit card for groceries, buy a big ugly 12 passenger van that uses too much gas, stay in a neighborhood that isn't always great, because the life affirming hope that children offer to the world everyday is worth it. I don't and won't take living out loud everyday for granted. It is a must, I require it like air. I want more ever day and am never satisfied. I have 6 children who are being raised the same way, wanting more life. I wanted to have as many vibrant, sweet, hopeful spirits as God would give me to make up for the pain and the loss and the untrust. It happened. Even when I don't feel like it, life surrounds me. Not for everyone maybe, but just what was needed for this spirit of mine. I don't do it because it is easy, it isn't, I do it because my very soul required me to send hope to the universe and the hope I will send is the experience of life in our children. That is how.

Monday, May 12, 2008


We deal with lots of stains in our house, stains on clothes, stains on carpets, stains on walls, stains on the inside of a cup. We have food stains, grass stains, blood stains, and more recently paint stains. There are stains that we, ourselves, the person whom something belongs to makes and stains on something that belongs to someone else. I have some stains that I have kept. Weirdly there is the outfit that Martha was wearing the day we did pre-op for heart surgery, with blood stains. I have kept this. It was important I didn't know if she would live. The very day that she was being taken care of for this I took her twin sister for her two week check up. I was told that it wasn't necessary, but I needed to. I needed to take care of a healthy baby, too. I locked my keys in the van, Maci spit up everywhere, the stain never came out of that onsie, it matched Martha's (the one with the blood stains) I kept it, too. I scrubbed a new paint stain out of Martha's dress that Maggie was wearing today, she didn't want to keep that stain, it wouldn't still match maci's dress if the stain stayed....I was successful and the dress is in the washer. Life has stains, life is messy. Some are stains we made and some of the stains of life were because of other people's mistakes and hurts. No matter how hard we work the stains of life sometimes just won't come out, but unlike clothing and carpet, life can't be replaced or thrown out. We must wear the stains of life. Some of our stains are out in the open. Some of the stains are like the ones that only show up in the fluorescent light they shine on your used clothes that are hoped to be sold at the used children's clothing sale. The stains show up brightly and someone says, "unacceptable, not like new, Take it back home. " That is how I feel sometimes. Most of the times I hide my stains, but then the bright lights come out. Someone talks about a holiday, a memory, a something I can't understand why it bothers me and my stains show. Sometimes the tears come, but never predictably so that I know when to exit. But, the tears never wash out the stains, tears are not spray and wash. Sometimes stains are like a comfy shirt or a pair of jeans that I love, that I paint in and won't get rid of. I love them, I take them out and where them often around the house, I cook and clean, I rock kids, wipe my hands and head to Kroger in them, they fit me and I am not ashamed of them, because when I look around Kroger there are people scattered everywhere with the same character of is ok. My stains are ok. I can't wash them out, some of them may fade, but not disappear and for those who never wear stained clothes, who aren't okay with showing imperfections, well that is fine, too. But we all deal with stains.
These are my thoughts today.
What are yours? Be quiet with them and enjoy your stains.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Just a Mom

I don't find myself predictably profound or witty. I am not highly educated, I only have a few semesters of college. I am not particular ignorant, but I am not anything extraordinary. During the time that I would have been going to college right after high school life happened (and I survived surprisingly to many), then Donnie happened and following Donnie, six blessings happened, they are my children. I am in every since of the words 'just a mom'. That is ok with me today, I am pleased. WE often are asked why we have such a big family, what were we thinking, how can you afford them, how will they go to college and when will you be able to retire? I don't know, I am unsure, we weren't thinking, and college and retirement will happen at some point. We didn't either one think about having this many children, but they are a blessing. WE trusted God, the universe, what ever you choose to say and for that we were blessed. We have had struggles that have been out in the open and in your face. WE have not lived a neat tidy politically correct life, we have been messy to have as friends or family. We have lost friends and family and frankly better for it. WE have gained friends and built new relationships with other family and better for it. Our children are blessings all of them, everyone of them, the healthy and unhealthy, the happy and unhappy, the toddler and the teenager, the whiny ones and the complacent ones, the children who learned to read easily and the ones who haven't all of them. I adore them. I feel sorry for those who don't adore their on children or see how great ours are. I pity those who think because of where we go to church or how we choose to educate that they are better than children. I am sad for those who don't call and enjoy their voices or stop by and see them because they may seem to talk fast or move a lot. I like fast talkers and busyness, I am grateful they can talk and run and touch things and oh yea.....breathe. There was a time, and admittedly many moments in my current days where I see myself as just an under appreciated overworked mom, but by and large I know that what I haven't been able to do or measure up to, God has done without any worry. The answers I have to the criticism or the hurt that children, mine and others get every day aren't always eloquent, but they are passionate and I do believe in what I do. What I do every day is whole hearted, hands dirty, swallowing my pride, saying I am sorry or asking for help when I need it parenting. I will engage myself in other people's messy parenting when a friend and hands are needed. I won't call a committe or wonder what someone can do to help themselves or advise them to quit having children, I will pledge to do what ever I can to never forget these days, the yesterdays and the ones to come. I will try to keep in mind marker on walls, critical care with a new born, messy beds, stomach virus, negative diagnosis, marriage struggles, and restoration. I promise to listen and not be afraid to share or show my inperfections. I won't clean my house before another mom comes over, no body needs to think I live like that every moment. Life is messy and I will share other folks mess, mine and theirs. Today I am just a mom, I am blessed, I am happy and I am proud. I wasn't prepared for the work, or the pain, I was least prepared for the attack on our character and our faith, but I am full of hope and ready to do what ever needs to be done. I may cry, I may fuss, I may laugh, I may cook, and clean or go back and get a degree....I may loose everything or get more than I ever imagined, but my husband made me a momma. He saw more than anyone else and knew I was up for the job of being a momma. I am just a mom, just a mom, just a mom, just a mom.. Move it around in your mouth, think about it, say it out loud and be proud. I am.
Happy Mother's Day

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Laugh At Yourself.....I am already laughing at you

"Laugh at yourself because I am probably already laughing at you," that is what a dear friend said to me this week. It is friends like this that keep me on my toes.....laughing. We all need friends who are not afraid to laugh at us and with us and we all need to be willing to be laughed at. Sometimes our life from the rest of the world's vantage point is just plain funny. I have know this for a while, but I am afraid that some people are still taken aback when I laugh at myself or them. You see, I just can't be serious about picking out new paint, the state of my checking account or the silly thing that came out of my child's mouth, when I remind myself how much God has redeemed me from and the life I was delivered from. I believe that pain gives us the later gift of laughter. Can I get an AMEN? I was recently confronted with a false accusation I can tell you that I laughed out loud? Well I did, I laughed out loud, because I have done so dern many things wrong, offensive and sinful in my short life that were so out loud and in your face that to be accused of doing something that so would take so much thought made me laugh. There has been a time in my life that I would have cried, manipulated or tried to change this persons mind about what they thought, but on this day I would have none of that. The word of God says to agree quickly with the enemy and that He (God) will be our justification and that he will contend with them (those who are trying to hurt you or trap you), it says so look for yourself in Psalms 35. If God wanted to save the life of David don't you think he cares if we are being falsely accused. You can laugh and find joy, that is the beauty of it, we don't have to take up arms or change anyone's mind. We don't have to manipulate or adjust a situation so that it will be in our favor, God is our favor. This doesn't mean that bad things won't happen, we are promised they will (more on that later, maybe), but we can joy even it. Think about that, don't be so serious, don't work so hard, don't care so much what others think, let them laugh and laugh at your self. Remember if you are a friend I may already be laughing at you.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

More than I knew that I knew

"Mommy, I knew more than I thought I would know when they were asking me how much I knew," that is the profound statement of the day, from one of my sweet children, after they were picked up from achievement tests. I don't know how this will all turn out, I am always surprised by test scores and what my kids know and where there challenges lie. Sometimes I am right on the money, but sometimes I am pleasantly surprised and they know more than I thought they would know when someone ask them what that get the idea. The important thing is this, they are confident and happy, they know more than they knew last year (in most cases), and are becoming their on personal best. As a rule we don't share with the children any of these scores, we have found that it will either give a false since of pride or a false since of insecurity or 'feeling dumb', so we only let them know where they did great or where they may need some improvement. Maybe other families have children whose character as been built up as such that they don't have issues that we have encountered, but alas this is how we do it in our home. Today, it was worth it, all this testing that I hate doing because as she so aptly put it upon entering our home, she knew more than she thought she would know when they asked her how much she knew....and that made her happy.
This is the way will measure success today.
Don't let the numbers get the best of you. Just know what you need to know, learn what the Lord wants you to learn when you realize you don't know it. Enjoy life.