Learn Your Place.

 

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I don’t remember when I learned this phrase. “Learn your place.” It isn’t the most pleasant. It doesn’t sound all that kind. It smushes down, instead of raises up.

It says, “Figure out where you fit and then sit there. And don’t raise a fuss.”

My dad is a fuss-maker. He never learned his place. He is a farmer’s kid, raised in Missouri, worked hard his whole life. Attended night school. Ended up in a job that was way beyond what he ever expected simply because… well I think he was replacing a guy that left and he was the only one around and so, boom, he’s doing a job he doesn’t really know how to do.

And he never once blinked an eye. I think that’s because he never learned his place.

Also, now he makes more money than some small countries. And he lives in the same house and still wears clothes that were made in the 1970’s. I am not kidding. Look for him mowing the lawn and there’s some shorts there that might have celebrated the bicentennial.

He doesn’t like a fuss about him. But he is a fuss-maker.

I wish I could be more like him in this regard. If there is an injustice or a problem or someone who needs some truth directed his way? My dad is the man for the occasion.

Yet, also, he is so soft hearted. But you would never know it under all the John Wayne.

I have been thinking how Dad never really gives in. This world says so many different things – “Adjust. Do enough to get by. Just give in. Don’t shake it up. Don’t ripple those waters. Give up on your idealogy – it’s useless. While you’re at it, give up in general – all is lost.”

And so on.

I think Dad hears this a lot and each and every time he says, “No.” Sometimes that is paired with other specific and very zingy words, but we’ll spare those here.

You see, he never learned his place. God said instead, “You’re with me, son. That’s your place.”

My dad has courage.

And so does my mom, for being married to him all these years. But, don’t even get me started there.

Wow, this post was going to be about something else, but look where it ended?

With my dad. Whom I love. He is my hero.

Linking up with Five Minute Friday today. And yes, the theme?

 

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Throwback Thursday: Z is for Zoo. Of course it is.

When Momsieblog started, waaaaaaay back in the day, I created my own, very special, full of snark, Alphabet Book for Parents. I was amazed by how many ideas I had, even for the letter Q, and how many extra ones I had to archive, never to see the light of day on Momsie. You poor readers. I mean, S is for Snot is a charmer, for sure. I wonder now why I never posted that one?

Anyhow.

Here is my Z. For you. #TBT !

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Well, we’re finally here.  My Z for you.

And then what? For those of you in the know, there is no letter in the alphabet after Z.  So, it’s time for me to pack up my blog and head for something new – like interpretive dance.  Or perhaps a degree in the philosophy of The Simpsons.  (This one really exists; click here.)  Or, I could see if Gwen Stefani needs a backup singer…

JUST KIDDING. I’M NOT GOING ANYWHERE.

I got material to share, folks.  It’s not like the letter Z was going to stop my kids from acting nutball.  Or the internet to stop providing me with stuff like this:

 

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You are stuck with  me, my friends.  Stuck.  Like litter at the bottom of the cat box stuck.

But I digress.

 

Recently my family ventured to the skating rink for an all church skate extravaganza.  It was epic.  Here are some of my observations:

1. All skate rinks have the same carpet.  Stare at it too long and it’ll give you a seizure.

2. All skate rinks have the same guy, kinda circa 1970’s, possibly with a comb in his back pocket, who smoothly manuevers the skate rink like a BOSS.

3. All skate rinks should not try to attempt any food items other than packaged Twizzlers and maybe a chocolate bar.  Hotdogs?  A risky business.

4. All skate rinks have bathrooms with sloped, tiled floors that reduce you and your toddler to nervous laughter because why just go to the potty? Why not try to add a couple triple sow-cow and limbo lessons in that bathroom with a five-year old who has questionable aim?

5. All skate rinks have to do the limbo. It’s a cruel, cruel world.

 

One other observation:  I haven’t skated since, well, probably college, and I am just not very good at it.  BUT – our pastor?  He was ON POINT.  He almost gave the moustached, 70’s guy a run for his money.  He just kept smoothly gliding about without a care in the world, which makes sense, because Jesus, you know.

I was a bit envious.  At one point, I pushed my four-year old out of the way so I could grab onto my husband’s hand/hair/arm to keep me from planking on the skate floor. And you do know, don’t you, what planking with skates on ends up becoming, right? Just one, long, humiliating, stretchhhh while small children roll by, until your nose breaks your fall.  I think the words, “Don’t worry about Red! He’s closer to the ground – he won’t fall as hard!” were uttered.  Evidently skate parks kinda bring out a rather grim Game of Thrones mentality in me.

Again, it’s a cruel world.

 

So, after the skate party, we all decided to go for ice cream.  This was a fabulous idea because here’s something I forgot: skating is hard work. At one point, I was doing a sassy scissor move and just kept getting stuck with my poor scissors going wider, and wider… Not pretty.  Not pretty at all.  My thighs were angry with me, and only a chocolate malted would help.  And possibly some fries.  To gently assist the Skateland hotdog.

We all piled in the car. It was getting to be bedtime, and we were tired, rather cranky, and overstimulated from that carpet.  But we were going for ice cream! Family fun continuing! It’s just down here a bit!

And then our Favorite Ice Cream Place That We Always Go To just up and disappeared.

Allow me to explain.  We were on the main drag of a rather small city – one we have traversed a majillion times I am sure.  We have passed this  ice cream parlor a majillion and one times.  We knew where it is.  We were going RIGHT there!  It was just down this road a bit!

Until, of course, it wasn’t.  And we ended up driving up and down and then up again looking for an ice cream place that has ALWAYS BEEN RIGHT THERE. IT’S RIGHT HERE.  I SWEAR IT! IT’S… not. Oh, oops, maybe further down?

 

At this point, both toddlers in the back have caught on that perhaps, something is afoot.  They can sniff out tension and trouble like a puppy finding Cheezits in the couch, I tell you.

And so, when that happens, so begins the play-by-play commentary from the back seat:

“Wat doin’ Daddy?”

“Where’s da ice creams? I wanna da sprinkles!”

Daddy, rather grimly: “We’re on our way, kids.  We’re taking the scenic route.”

“Wats a swenic route?”

Daddy:  “This is.”

“What’s DIS?”

Daddy:  “The scenic route.”

“WHAT’S DA SCENIC ROUTE?”

DIS. IS.”

Both toddlers peer out the window as if to spot an answer to all these troubles, like why they are not eating da sprinkles yet.

Momsie starts to giggle.

“But daddy, scenic route? WHY we are going?”  (My children start to sound like Yoda when they become flustered.)

“Daddy, WHERE IS DA ICE CREAMS?”

Daddy:  “We are taking the scenic route TO the ice creams and that’s final!  I happen to like the scenic route!”

 

I like the scenic route too.  Most of the time.  My children take me on it nearly every day.  We are often all a bit tired and disheveled, mainly from the fact that my boys must run and go and do everything all the time, and it’s hard to keep up, and allow for detours.  But, we are a family. God’s family. And we are on this journey together.

God asks us to take the scenic route.  It’s worth it. It’s not quite what I expected or want all the time, but worth it.

And yes, der will be sprinkles.

 

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A poem for you.

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A lot of times I write the funny because funny is the best answer I have.  You  know I have small children, right? My entire day is questions.  The best answer? The funny one.

But I also sometimes have an answer that’s… (gulp) all poetic and stuff.  Yes, I write stories, and poems.  Mostly about my wee ones, sometimes about me (I am often the backdrop, the setting), occasionally about my father and beloved memories of our farm.  (Well, mostly beloved.  Except for planting potatoes in cement soil gardens when it’s 40 degrees.  Or cutting thistles.  In fields of thistles.  But otherwise… pretty beloved.)

My poem, “A Natural History of Kansas” was accepted recently by Blast Furnace Press. The theme for this issue was “lost things.” I write sometimes (with some solemnity, I fear) about lost things that hurt:  my strength, my ability to fight depression, my youth, my ability to trust, the damn audio book.

I also know that my children are a lost things retrieval system – yes, we lose mittens and books and endless legos, but every day, they retrieve and carefully lay at my feet, dusted off from their sandbox, innocence and joy.

And wonder.  In a gripped arrowhead.

A Natural History of Kansas

Two small savages stand up under a yellow sun.
Sweaty foreheads press together and
their skin smells of old pennies.

“Lemme see! Let ME see!” is the old war cry.
The arrowhead falls to the ground.

The blonde one grabs it with a whoop and glee; he darts
across the yard, running now, head down, small feet a fat blur
in red dust.
The red head gives chase, but he is a small one.
Crying follows.

This does much damage.
Silt and clay offer no ceremony and my
lesson on sharing sputters out.

Hours later, a miracle while hanging laundry.
The stubborn arrowhead is found.
I gasp and grasp its warm pinch.
Brown, pointed piece of flint, it cuts in and strikes a match in me.

My father’s farm. An oak grove.
Silt in the creekbed and there, the sharp shape.
Sunlight dapples my eyes and my father leans in.
Stretching trees and silence and water.
The way it is and was and always should be.

The redhead hugs my legs and bludgeons my toes with his yellowtruck.
He tugs, an impossible weight.

I grip the arrowhead tighter,
its weight impossible, and good.

To read the full submission and bio along with other great poets, click here:

Blast Furnace Press Volume 3