Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Disclaimer:  If your feelings are sensitive, please just stop reading now.  I have had this on my mind and heart, and this is the place I can spill it.  If I don't get it out in the open, I may very well implode.  So for my own sanity and mental health, here I go.  You have been warned....

I feel like somewhere along the way, my hypothetical train has jumped off the track.  Not bumped a little.  Not slid to one direction.  Not slowed down.  Jumped completely off track....

If you know what Kevin does for a living, you might find this analogy appropriately comical.  (He is the plant manager at a railcar repair facility and has a sign hanging on his wall that says "Still plays with trains".)

At the last "amen" of practically every worship service, I find my self heaving (not breathing....heaving) a sigh of relief.  The root of this is simply the thought that runs through my mind.  "We made it through another service."  My spirituality suffers because of it.  I think, "Why do I even bother to be here?" My sanity suffers from it when I think, "Why is it so much easier for that parent??"  I know this is not right or correct.  I should be strong enough to get through it with grace and style, and I should always know that I am there teaching, at the very least, the basic principals of simply assembling with the saints.  You may not agree with this or think it is right, but that is just how I feel...

I read a blog recently that was titled Not Carpe Diem.  The basis of it was the fact that every mother before those of us with young children begging us to enjoy every moment of the day-to-day life that we will miss so much when it is over because it goes by so fast.  I get that.  I do.  But as this woman said, can you really savor every moment?

I have two very energetic, vocal, borderline-hyperactive young boys.  Plus, they have been raised on a farm.  That basically means there hasn't been very many moments of "Be sure not get close to/in the street" or "Be quiet or the neighbors will hear you!"  There is lots of mud playing, top-of-your-lungs screaming, running wild, pig pens, dog chasing, peeing-in-the-yard (after all, what better way to potty train than to let them pee in the grass?) boy "stuff". This is not refined.  This is frowned upon by lots of people.  But this is what we do.  It's what empties the most energy, and frankly, I enjoy the ruggedness of it too.  It's surprisingly slower paced than most people get to enjoy.  You can witness so very much of God's creation right here in the yard, and I can sit and think about how it might have been years ago in simpler times.  It is my life, and Thank You, God, for that...

However, it makes "life in town" a little more difficult.  It is harder to sit still in church.  It is harder to be quiet in the grocery store. Still and Quiet are boring. (I'm just guessing that this is what goes on in their minds.)  I find myself frustrated, upset, patience-worn, and stressed.  I don't think anyone would say, "Be so very happy that these children are fighting in the car!"  I don't think there is a perfect parent on the planet. If you claim to be, you, my friend, are a liar. :) (Said with love of course.)

The fact is I enjoy, love, adore, and am unbelievably grateful that God gave me these three beautiful, healthy, passionate, frustrating, annoying, lovable, amazing children. Aside from my husband, these are my three greatest blessings in life.  I appreciate the opinions of others, but I beg you to keep it to yourself. (Not "you" specifically reading this post...) 

Here is the way I see it:

God gave these children to me.  There are lots of people who, in my opinion (which they don't ask for), shouldn't be allowed to have children.   However, I take my parenting responsiblilties very seriously.  My children are not always never quiet.  They are not always seldom well behaved.  They cry sometimes because they don't want to go to church again.  They cry because they don't want to leave church to go home.  They touch everything.  They are annoying.  But these are my children.  If you had been lucky enough to have received them, you could have done it however you saw fit.  But the truth is, in this life, they belong to me.

Admittedly, I don't do it all right. In fact, I very seldom do something right.  We really are stressful just to watch, much less spend any time with.  But at the end of the day when I hear things like "Mommy, I need a kiss right now or I will DIE!!", "You are my best mommy ever!" and my child comes to me, gives me a hug so tight it hurts and says "That was because it's I love you day!" I have somewhere done at least a few small, but very important, things right.

I am (lucky for me) a stay-at-home mom.  I get to be there for my kids.  I get to annoy them more than alot of other moms get to. ;)  I get to drop everything for the smallest reason just to experience their lives with them.  I hope, when they have children of their own, they remember me being there with them in the most important moments--and all of the not-so-important ones, too.  I also hope that they allow me to experience life with their children as much as I can, too.  When I became a mother almost 13 years ago (?!?!?!), I didn't take it on as a project until they were out of high school, or college, or married with a family of their own.  I took it on for the rest of my days on earth.  God willing, I get to be here for many more years of this.  The frustrations, the heartaches, the pulling-out-my-hair times, and all of those WONDERFUL moments mixed in with it...

Now, if you will excuse me, I need to investigate why they are yelling so loudly in the yard that it sounds like they are killing each other after I have already been out there once to tell them to stay out of the mud.... :)



Steve Drew said...

Hey Cheree, I must say, this resonated with me right away (atleast the part regarding church). I had forgotten what it was like to have kids in worship with us. I always wondered how any of the mothers could possibly be getting anything out of worship when their focus was on their children the whole time, whether it was trying to just keep them occupied or just flat out trying to silence them!(= I had a hard enough time paying attention. I can't even imagine handling boys!

The churches we have been part of after departing from the cofC have all had seperate worship and lessons for the kiddos during the adult worship. It is greatness!! We can worship and study on our level without distraction while the kids get to worship and learn on their level. I realize none of this helps you and your situation, but your post just reminded me what a struggle and distraction it used to be for us as well. I'm certain you are not alone!

D'Ann said...

Hey Cheree, the words to a song that talks about Eve come to my mind. Eve was the first but she won't be the last! You are where my generations has been and I remember all of your feelings, even the country versus the city! You hang in there and know that you are doing what you are intended as tiring as it gets. Don't feel alone and don't keep things to yourself and get too discouraged. I remember being so grateful that I didn't have to work outside of the home every Sunday morning when we got in the car and I said "Everybody get a smile on your face", as we drove to worship! Love you

Anonymous said...

I personally think you do a GREAT job with your kids in church. As far as worshipping....well, God knows your heart, and it is God that gave you this job of raising those kids, and He is also the one that gave them those (loud) personalities that is hard for you to handle in church. This all will pass in due time and I'm almost willing to bet you will be missing those times when you had to spend so much energy during church to make sure they don't do something during the service that is LOUD and embarrassing. I know it might be crazy coming from someone that doesn't have children, and never did have little children to deal with in church, but I sometimes wish I had little ones to expend my energy on during church. I missed out on that activity.

Lisa Crane said...

Ah, Cheree...I have known you, literally, since you were born. I was one of your first Bible class teachers. I wish now that I could just give you a hug and assure you that "doing church" with kids gets better. It does.

People have forgotten it (because she's practically a paragon of virtue at church now), but when Chloe was a toddler, I often felt like I was bringing a demon onto hallowed ground! She cried, she wouldn't sit still, she pitched temper tantrums, she was noisy...I seldom heard a sermon until she was about five years old.

Now? Now I can listen to her answer questions in Bible Drill -- things I don't always know or remember. I can watch her sit with the younger kids on "Miss Cindy's Pew" and encourage them to take notes, and set an example of how to behave in worship services. I can hear teacher after teacher tell me what a joy she is to have in Bible class.

My point? It does get better. It does get easier. The example you are setting today will have the same far-reaching effects as the example set for you by your grandparents and mother.

So hang in there, Susie Toni Cheree!

Anonymous said...

Hi cuz!!
I think you are a great parent! In fact you are awesome! I hope I can be as great a parent and person as you when I get older. You have impacted have impacted my life so much! You are like a big sis to me! :) I love you tons and miss you tons even though it has only been one week since we have see each other! Hope you are recovering from Florida!! : P Love you more~Your favorite Cuz ever Mattie
P.S now I know where Byron And Collin get the inquisitive gene from :)