Tag Archives: Parenting

He’s My Father Too!

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I love having friends who challenge me and push me to think deep thoughts that I haven’t pondered yet.  For me, a good friend has plenty of conversation that leads me to Jesus.  I like hearing what is happening in the hearts of others.  Last week we got together with some really good friends of ours for dinner.  Of course the conversation turned to Jesus and the lessons we were learning from Him.

We were discussing how some missions families were struggling financially and some were blessed.  Our friend said, I think about it like this- we both have the same Father, right?  Well if my Father chooses to bless my Brother, then I can rest assured that my Father will also take care of me.  We don’t treat all our children the exact same way because they don’t need the exact same things.  We take care of our children in the way that we feel is best for each one on an individual basis.  If my Father is good to one of His Sons, then He will also be good to me because I’m his Son too.  But His goodness will look different in my life from how it is revealed in my Brother’s life.

ice cream2And it’s true.  As parents we don’t treat all our kids the same way.  When I was younger, my little sister was struggling with her weekly spelling tests.  My Dad motivated her by promising to take her out for ice cream if she got 100% on a test.  She studied hard each week to earn her weekly ice cream date with Dad, and I don’t think she ever missed another word again.  I, on the other hand, would not have been so highly motivated by ice cream.  I didn’t NEED ice cream to encourage me to study.  Our Father didn’t love me any less or my sister any more.  He just knew what each of us needed to become the best version of ourselves.  This is how our Heavenly Father treats His children as well.

I’ve been thinking about that all week.  Not that I had begrudged my Brother any of his blessings, but it changed my perspective about both blessings and trials.  Both come from the hand of God and both are given to serve a purpose.  I don’t always know God’s purposes for sending hardships, but neither do I know the purposes for blessings either.  God does what He sees as best for me.  I can rest assured that I lack nothing when God is my Father.  I have all I need because He is watching over me and treating me as a unique, beloved daughter.

Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/light_seeker/7802339114/”>Viewminder</a&gt; / <a href=”http://foter.com/Amazing/”>Foter.com</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>CC BY-NC-ND</a>

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I don’t have to like it…

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Recently God and I were locked in a battle of the wills.  (Of course you know who won.)  As I squirmed under his thumb, I felt him speak to me in that Fatherly tone that he often uses with me.  He said, “You don’t have to like it, you just have to obey.”  

Now clearly I would be assured of a greater blessing if I submitted with humble faith to the thing that I didn’t understand.  But God and I were beyond the point of tender prodding and gentle leading.  I had gone through all my whining “Whys?” and settled into a defiant pout.  Now all he could do with me was to pull the “Because I said so” card, the Parental Ace.

I go through this with my own children sometimes.  They whine, “I don’t want to brush my teeth.”  You don’t have to like it, you just have to obey.  “I don’t like peas.  I don’t want to eat them.”  You don’t have to like it, you just have to obey.  I don’t always explain my reasons to my children for the very purpose that learning to obey a parent will help them learn to obey God when he is also silent about his motives.  Sometimes children just need to trust that the grown ups know more than they do.  And sometimes I need to trust that God sees things that I don’t see.

I’m still not happy about what I know I’m supposed to be doing.  I still don’t understand it. But I have grimly set my face towards obedience, like Jonah plodding towards Ninevah with whale vomit pooling in his shoes.  I don’t have to like it.  I just have to obey.

Last night I prayed, “Lord, change my desires.  Give me your desires.”  And immediately I felt my cold heart begin to melt a bit.  This is going to take some more praying and more submitting of my desires, but I think I’m learning little by little.  I still don’t understand, but I choose to obey.

Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/slightlyeverything/6086714262/”>slightly everything</a> / <a href=”http://foter.com”>Foter.com</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>CC BY</a>

A Vaccination for Adolescence

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Why haven’t they developed a vaccination for adolescence?  Why bother searching for a cure for cancer when only a certain percentage of the population will ever get?   Better to focus on something we all go through at least once with our own raging hormones and often go through again when we have children.

Last week I invented a new word to describe my middle child in her pre-teen mood:  “Attitudy”.  It can be either an adjective describing her in this phase or an adverb describing her actions.   It is a good word.  It accurately describes how I feel about eye rolls, a sassy tone of voice, and sullen pouting.  The word has kind of a bathroom quality about it.  Only a potty word can accurately capture the essence of the tween.  Yes, Attitudy is a useful word, and you’re welcome to use it too.

Maybe instead of searching for a medical option to cure adolescence, we should look into some kind of residency program, like a cross between summer camp and an insane asylum. We could call it… Boarding School.  It’s got a ring to it.  “Attitudy Academy”.  What do you all think?  All in favor of Boarding School for the temporally insane pre-teens say AYE!

Lord help us.  No wonder in the Bible we often see young teenage Bible characters out in the fields tending the sheep.  Probably they were just disrupting the peace of the home too much, so their parents sent them waaaaay out into the fields.  They needed to be alone and to blow off some steam by throwing rocks at giants and such.  I’m just hopping this one doesn’t sell her sister to a band of traveling Midianites.  (I’ll have to make a mental note to steer clear of anyone traveling by camel.)  

Although not Biblical, the story of Sleeping Beauty is making a lot more sense to me now:  just put her into a coma until we can marry her off.  Well, maybe I’ll have to keep searching for that vaccination for adolescence.

Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/twodolla/4192187548/”>twodolla</a&gt; / <a href=”http://foter.com”>Foter.com</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>CC BY</a>

On a Short Leash

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I was raised in a pastor’s home.  That makes me a PK, a Pastor’s Kid.  Some people say that Pastors’ kids are the worst kids they know.  In some cases, I would agree with that, but in my case I have to disagree.  I was a pretty good kid, wanting to please my parents.  But even then, I have always felt like God has kept me on a very short leash.  Even when I WANTED to do something bad, I never got away with it.  I got caught every time!!

For that reason, to this day I am a terrible liar.  Wait, I mean I am terrible AT lying.  Even if I try to tell a lie, people can see through me every time.  This means that I cannot for the life of me keep a secret from my husband.  He just looks me in the eye, asks me a direct question, then laughs at my NON-poker face.  George Washington has nothing on me!  “I cannot tell a lie.”

So it kind of bothered me when I was younger that I didn’t have some fantastic testimony of being saved out of some horrible, rebellious way of life.  As a matter of fact, my testimony is kind of dull, in comparison to others.  But one year I went to a camp for pastors’ kids and my perspective changed.

At the camp, other PKs were giving their testimonies about how they had gone through some kind of rebellious period and how God brought them back.  I was having testimony-envy until an older girl took the microphone.  Very simply put, she said, “I have never had a time of rebelling against my parents or God.  I have loved the Lord ever since I was a little girl.  My testimony is the evidence of God’s power to KEEP me.”  And my world was shaken!

God has kept me.  He has carefully watched over me ever since I was a baby.  He has guarded me from bad company.  He didn’t let me run wild.  He has hedged me in to keep me on the path that He chose for me.  Yes, my choices have been more limited, but my heart has not grown hard through sampling the “delights” of the world.  Like a precious and valuable exotic flower, I have been kept in God’s greenhouse, sheltered from the frost and wind.  I have been kept.  How awesome is that!

In God’s power, I can brag.  I am not the only one who has been kept by God.  Think of David, Joseph, Moses, Samuel, Mary, Timothy who were all kept from a young age.  God is powerful and able to preserve you from evil.

“From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.”  Psalm 22:10

“For you have been my hope, O Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth… Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.  Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.”  Psalm 71:5, 17-18

Mom’s losing it!

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I’m not a perfect parent.  Actually I would hate to meet the perfect parent because I would probably hate her or him out of self preservation instincts.  I’m not a perfect parent.  I just screamed at my 5-year old… then she made me laugh.

Today I woke up at 5 a.m. as usual to get ready for school.  We left the house 5 minutes late, and we arrived at school 5 minutes late.  I taught all day long.  After school my daughters had gymnastics, my son had an orthodontist appointment, and I had teacher paper work to do.  We got home at 4 p.m.  I made a snack for the girls, put on a movie, and changed into something more comfortable.

I started making dinner at 4:45, but the power went out. We ate at 6:30.  Actually this is just about the normal amount of time to make dinner because in Latin America EVERYTHING is made from scratch.  No “semi-homemade” or frozen dinners here so it takes an hour or more just to make a normal dinner.  After dinner I started the girls’ baths while my husband cleared the dishes from the table.  After baths, I will put Lucy to bed and start taking down the Christmas tree… and write a blog.

So this was my day.  I’m tired.  I’ve been dealing with kid drama all day long.  For example, as I was making dinner I heard screaming- like blood curdling screaming- from Lucy.  I sprinted up stairs and urgently examined the child for blood.  Nothing.  No, she has an owie on her finger from a few days ago and it still hurts.  That’s what the screaming was about.  So by bath time, I’m out of patience.  Yet she dawdles.  I finally scream, “get over here and get your jammies on!  I’m losing my patience with you!”  Actually it was already gone by that point.

So the child, wrapped Yoda style in a towel, hops over to me and submits to being clothed.  Her hands are on my shoulders while I wrestle damp feet and legs into “footie pajamas”.  Then she looked right in my eyes and said, “Mom!  You’re eyes are so beautiful.  They’re BOTH blue!”  The scowl wrinkles on my forehead smooth out as I laugh off the tension of the last 5 seconds.  Then I tossed the child into bed and she was asleep before I could say prayers with her.  She was one tired Kindergartener and I’m one tired Mommy.  Hopefully someday she will forget all the times that Mom lost it.

Odd Mommy Chores

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While most of the time I don’t even give a second thought to the millions of little tasks I automatically perform when in full Mommy mode, this morning I paused to consider how odd some of my chores are.

This morning I folded up all the umbrellas that had been left open to dry on the patio all week long.  I collected up all the shoes and clothing that my youngest daughter (the nudist) had abandoned in the yard and patio all week long.  I restocked the glove compartment of the car with sunscreen.  And I have big plans for scrubbing down a few outside walls that have started to mold during the rainy season (hopefully that will give me some allergy relief).  I have assigned my oldest son to spray the yard with flea killing chemicals… if it doesn’t rain today.

I also hope to fill the humming bird feeders again today.  I had neglected them when I noticed that we were getting a lot of bats flying around the house.  Considering that we have no screen windows or doors and the doors are left open whenever we are home, I don’t want a bat accidentally flying into the house one evening.  But the other day, a humming bird came right up to my kitchen window where there used to be a feeder.  It was like he was reminding me to make him some sugar water. While that may not seem like an odd chore to some people, it does feel odd to me to be taking “orders” from a creature the size of a pack of chewing gum.

Speaking of chewing gum, one of my past Odd Mommy chores has been scraping gum off the seat of the van and washing face paint off the seat belt straps.  I have washed chalk scribbles off of walls and marker off of couches and boogers off of nearly every surface imaginable.  With little ones the house, there is no limit to the odd things that must be washed regularly.

So now it’s your turn.  What Odd Chores have you performed in the line of duty as a parent?

Purity is Better than Poop

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A friend of mine posted a great little story on Facebook the other day and I thought I’d share it with you.  He couldn’t remember where he first read it, so if it was in your book… I’m not stealing your work.  I’d be happy to give credit where credit is due.  My friend wrote:

I can’t remember what book it was in, but some time ago my wife and I read about this man having a teachable momment with his kids.

His kids wanted to go see a movie with some friends of theirs and tried to persuade him to give them the ok. “It’s a good movie, Dad” they said. “It’s rated PG and only has a couple of swear words in it.” Dad contemplated in silence for a momment before saying: “I’ll let you go to the movie, but before you go, you have to let me bake some brownies for you and you each have to eat one.” Naturally, their faces lit with excitement. “Wow, Dad, you’re the greatest” they all agreed.

So Dad buzzed about the kitchen and whipped up a batch of brownies. When he’d finished, he called out to the kids and they all came running in anticipation of their mouthwatering treat. “Now before you take a bite,” said Dad, “there’s a small catch: When I mixed up the batter for the brownies, I added in a little bit of cat poop from the litter box. But it’s just a little bit and won’t hurt you if you eat it so go ahead.” All the kids were overcome with shock and disgust as Dad explained. “You see, kids, the movie may look like a real good movie and may even be enjoyable. But having just a little bit of swearing in it is like having just a little bit of cat poop in your brownies. It looks fine and exciting on the outside, but in the end it will put something ugly and distasteful inside of you.”

Like if you agree with raising children in purity.

Well, when you put it THAT way, yeah, purity is better than cat poop brownies any day.  As a former youth pastor’s wife, I love a good illustration.  I have at least a dozen illustrations about purity, but I hadn’t heard that one yet.

The little things can have a powerful influence!  A little yeast works it’s way through the whole loaf.  (see Matthew 13:33)  Teaching our kids to “draw the line” a good, far distance from the edge of disaster is never a wasted effort.  We are super careful about what movies we watch, what books our kids read, who they hang out with, and what they put before their eyes.  (We also don’t allow them to eat any poop.)  You know, it’s the little things that define a character.

Peeling myself apart from my children

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When my son Taylor was little I used to rock him to sleep for both naps and bedtime.  (That was when I only had one child.)  I remember one hot summer afternoon in Minnesota when I was rocking my diaper clad little one on my lap.  As I readjusted his weight on my legs our sweaty, hot skin stuck together.  “Oh, you’re sticking to me, Taylor.”  I commented.

He smiled and repeated, “I’m a sticker.”  Man, he was a cute little… sticker.

When our kids are young, they act like they are a part of you, like a second skin.  And if you’re doing parenting right, someday you’ll have to pull that “sticker” off of you and let it be a separate thing.  After all, our goal in parenting is to raise them and release them.

But shortly after the first kid came along I found myself losing my personality to the identity of my child.  Suddenly I was just a mom, like a million other moms out there.  I think a lot of moms go through that.  I didn’t give up much of a career to become a parent, but I did give up something that I valued even more than that.  I gave up my privacy and my creative space.  I quit painting and drawing.  I just didn’t have the time or energy or creativity or the space to work anymore.  I found other outlets for my creativity (like quilting and gardening), but it wasn’t the same.

For over 10 years, I didn’t do any art.  Then one day when we were in Language School in Costa Rica, we decided to go to the children’s museum with our neighbors.  San Jose has a pretty cool children’s museum.  We all enjoyed our time wandering from room to room touching and experimenting with everything.  Soon we stumbled upon the art room.  They had child-sized easels set up around the room and prints of famous masterpieces mounted on wooden “canvases”.  The idea was that the children would try to copy the masterpieces.  None of our kids had any interest in this room, but as I picked up one masterpiece print, the whole world slowed for me.

As I starred at the Van Gogh in my hands, the stream of time slowed around me and I was aware… wholly and completely aware… of my soul.  I was UNaware of the world around me, but my soul and this work of art locked together.  It was like recognizing an old friend across a crowded room.  I felt a quiet, closed door in my soul creak open.  A lost room was found again.  And then I knew.  I knew that I had neglected my soul when I set aside my art.  It was time to peel myself apart from the children and find myself again.

Searching for “the zone”. It’s the time when my soul opens up and the world around me fades away. When I AM and I CREATE.

It took me several years after that experience to finally pick up a paint brush again.  Language learning, international moves, health issues and cancer all blocked my best intentions.  But I knew it was something I needed to do.  In the same way that you peel off the hot, sweaty clothes before you climb into a cool shower, I needed to peel myself apart from my identity as a mom.  I needed to refresh myself.

This required other kinds of peeling as well.  I had to peel myself off the couch and go buy some new art supplies.  I had to peel myself away from the internet to engage in my real life and cast about for ideas to paint.  I had to peel myself off of the day and to decompress- setting aside work, laundry, chores, and lesson planning.  And finally, I had to peel the onion around my feelings and get to the essence of who I am and why I want to… no, NEED to paint.

I love my kids, no doubt.  So it took me years of peeling away the layers of guilt, and exhaustion, and good intentions that crusted over my unfulfilled plans to find the time and the place to say MY TURN!  “You kids have had enough of my attention all day long, now it’s MY TIME.”  I peel them off of me in order to find me again, just me.  And though they take a layer or two of me when they peel away, I think my kids will one day thank me for peeling myself apart from them… and freeing them.

One of my most recent paintings… Poppies.

My Boy is turning 16

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When I look at old pictures of my first born, I think of the first 5 years of his life.  When I found out that I was pregnant with a boy, I got a little scared.  I didn’t know much about boys.  We only had girls in my family.  So I started talking to other moms of boys and asked, “What’s it like to be the mother of a boy?”  Turns out, it’s great!  Taylor was my little buddy, spending all day every day tagging along with me.  He was my only child for 5 years.

Around age 3 he jumped ship and wanted to spend as much time with his Dad as possible.  One day I was standing in the kitchen making dinner while my husband was down in the basement working on the furnace.  Taylor bolted behind me carrying his little plastic tool box.  “What are you doing, Taylor?”  I asked as he headed towards the basement door.

In the most excited tone of voice he announced, “I’m gettin’ mad with my dad!”  And then I knew what was going on downstairs.  I heard big, manly-tool clunks and little, plastic tool tinks and I knew that Taylor was imitating Josh blow for blow with his little plastic hammer.  He was also imitating more than the motions, he was learning how to be a man.  How to be responsible.  How to be a provider.  How to try his hardest and do his best.  How to be self controlled.  How to be strong.  How to love God and his family too.

Model Train Day at Augustana Senior Housing with Auntie.

When Taylor was around Kindergarten age, my sister was working at a Senior Housing Facility.  In the evenings she taught ceramics classes.  One night a week, Taylor and I would go to ceramics with the old people.  They just adored him!  (I’ve always called Taylor an “Old Lady Magnet” because as a baby he would make flirty faces at the Grandmas in the grocery store.)  At ceramics class he would sit perched on a stool and would paint away on his projects while the old folks asked him questions and chatted with him.  One guy road a Segway around the campus.  Taylor was so impressed with that.  So one time the man let Taylor stand with him and they road down the hall together.  Taylor still talks about that!  When we moved away, the ceramics class all signed a special plate that they painted for him.  He still has that.

Driving Grandpa’s gator

Taylor has always been fascinated by anything transportation related.  Since the age of 3 when he learned that you have to be 16 in order to drive a car, Taylor has been counting down the years.  He went through a long Thomas the Tank Engine phase (which I absolutely loved!).  He collected Hot Wheels cars and spent hours lining them up in rows like a parking lot.  He learned to drive “the gator,” which is like a golf cart for lawn work, at his Grandparents’ cabin.  He has begged to drive anything since he could talk!  And now the time has come.  He’s going home to Minnesota in a few weeks to take Drivers’ Ed and get his permit.  He’s finally going to drive… legally.

I’m really proud of Taylor.  I like the person he’s becoming.  I’m proud that he’s MY boy… OUR boy.  He’s been a wonderful kid and he’s turning into an amazing young man.  Everyone who knows him feels that he’s a uniquely sensitive kid with a kind heart and a mature thoughtfulness about him.  I have had so many of his teachers stop me in the hall at school to tell me how much they enjoy having Taylor in their class.  He makes an impression.  He’s a godly young man.

Happy 16th birthday Boy!  We love you and are so excited for the independence you are growing into.  The future looks wide open for you!  Spread your wings and fly!

Yes, she’s Mexican and yes, she’s supposed to be that color.

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In the hospital, we were all excited to finally have our little Lulu in the family. Notice that they didn't give me a hospital gown. They told me to change back into my own clothes. Weird.

Today is the 5th birthday of our daughter Lucy, our little Mexicana.  Lucy was born on Labor Day, May 1st in Mexico City.  When I tried to explain the pun that I was in labor on Labor Day, it just didn’t translate well.  My friends just smiled politely at me.

Having a baby in a foreign country was the biggest set-up for culture shock that anyone can experience, in my humble opinion.  It was like having a baby in the 1950s with all the modern technology of the 2000s.  I was totally unprepared for my own intense reactions to “the way things are done” in my new country.  Maybe it was the pregnancy hormones, maybe I was just at the brink of “losing it”.  It’s not an experience I recommend to anyone.  I was just glad that I had done this before in America.  I knew what was medically necessary and what was just local traditions imported into a modern medical facility.

The hospital we chose was one of the best private hospitals in Mexico City, and really, they had all the most modern equipment anyone could want… it’s just that not everyone knew how to use it!  For example, my doctor who had studied in America for a while and finished his degree in Spain, had a new 3D ultrasound machine right in his office.  For each visit, I received a DVD with a copy of his ultrasound exam for that week.  It was really cool… but I quickly got the feeling that he didn’t really know how to read the thing and was just playing with his new toy- testing out new features of the machine each week.  It was amusing, but it didn’t raise any red flags yet.

My first hint that this was not going to be the smooth sailing that I planned was when we had our final visit before our due date arrived.  Sitting in his office he said to me, “So, do you want me to do anything else while I’m in there, like tie your tubes or give you a tummy tuck?”  I sat there with a blank look on my face as I contemplated, “how the heck to you do THAT from THAT angle?”  Not that I was opposed to a tummy tuck, but that’s when it occurred to me that we were talking apples and oranges here.  Apparently in our socio-economic class ALL women schedule a cesarean birth, for the convenience of everyone involved and for the esthetics of being bikini ready just days after birth.  I said, “What do you think you’re going to be doing IN THERE?  You just show up and catch the baby- I’ll do all the work.”  Because he was eager to please his only American patient, he nervously consented.

The night that I went into labor, my doctor was on a plane returning from a conference in San Francisco, California.  He begged me to hold on until he arrived at the hospital.  I obliged.  We met him at the hospital and though he was cheerful (and a bit more excited than I expected a doctor to be) he scolded me a bit.  “See this is why we schedule it, so the doctor doesn’t miss it.”  I thought, “I’m sure I could have managed this without you.”

I DID like my doctor though.  When he was in the room, I was sure to get my own way on every detail.  I wasn’t a diva about the whole thing, but I knew that certain things were not necessary so I refused to consent to them- you do not need to be totally naked nor shaved anywhere in order to give birth naturally.  Then I would hear the nurses in the hall way complaining loudly.  When the doctor left the room, the fear of the nurses gripped my heart.  It really is the nurses that kill you or keep you alive.  I knew that.

Sparing the details, at the hour of delivery I had to point blank tell everyone that I wanted my husband in the room with me- so MAKE IT HAPPEN NOW!  They balked, I threw out my trump card:  That’s how we do it in America.  So Josh was suited up and ushered into the room just moments before the anesthesiologist leaned down to me and asked, “do you remember how to push?”  I smiled and said, “watch me.”  I asked the doctor if he was ready on his end and in one push, Lucy popped out.  When my doctor said “WOW!” very loudly, I wondered if this was the first time he had ever seen that done before.

I didn’t get to hold Lucy, they showed her to me and then whisked her off to the nursery and threw me into a recovery room all by myself.  After about an hour I decided I wanted my baby and started asking for her.  About 6 hours later, someone brought her to me.  I kept saying, “I want to nurse her”  and they insisted that I didn’t make any milk yet.  I counter-insisted, “bring me a baby and I’ll show you!”  What they meant was, women in your social class don’t nurse their babies.

At some point the nurses wrapped my stomach and my legs in very tight ace bandages.  I wondered if they could see that I didn’t have any stitches on my stomach… and the legs, well, if I didn’t die of a blood clot then I would surely succumb to heat stroke!  When my feet swelled up and turned purple I took off the bandages.  My nurse about had an INFARTO (heart attack).  I just persisted in telling them that I don’t want them or need them so quit worrying about those dumb bandages!  What they were telling me was that women in my class care very much about looking skinny.

The nurses also told me that Lucy was looking a little pale and I should lay her in the sun.  I told them, “I’m a white woman- this is the color of white babies.”  I couldn’t wrap my brain around that one.  I just shrugged.

In addition to all of this, a lawyer came to our room and filled out the paperwork for Lucy’s birth certificate.  That was very convenient for us, but she was terribly confused when we didn’t want to give Lucy the traditional Mexican last name of father’s family name + mother’s family name.  We debated and then stuck to our guns, we are Americans, she will have an American first, middle, and last name.  It about threw that poor lawyer into a fit.

Later in the day, I found myself all alone in the room.  There was a knock at the door and in walked a tiny woman in a Catholic nun’s habit.  She asked me if I would like to take The Lord’s Supper (Communion).  Being a Christian, I knew what that this was part of the Catholic heritage of Mexico, but it was also part of MY religious heritage too.  I gladly accepted.  She gave me the elements (a tiny cracker an a plastic cup of juice), said a prayer and then I took over.  I grabbed her by the arms and burst out in worship to the Lord- the Spirit just took over me!  I started praying in the Spirit.  This poor woman was clearly shocked and overwhelmed by what I was doing.  But I couldn’t help it, I worshipped.  When I released her arms, she left the room shaking from head to toe.

I needed that moment with God to sustain me for the rest of my time in the hospital.

The next day and a half was filled with more new Spanish vocabulary than my sleep deprived brain could absorb.  Hospitals come with their own language and if you don’t know what a Tamiz is (a lab exam for the baby) or a Dia de Alto (discharge day) then you won’t learn those words any faster when someone yells them at you like you are deaf.  Speaking louder and faster does not explain the definitions.

Eventually I broke down and cried, “I just want to go home!  Someone bring me my baby and let’s get out of here”  After hours and hours of asking the nurses to bring Lucy to me, we finally called the head nurse to our room and asked what the hold up was.  Apparently, no one had told us that we must PAY FOR OUR BABY before we would be allowed to have her back.  Josh had to find the person who had our hospital bill, go down to the administrative office and pay the bill, return to the nursery and show the head nurse the receipt, THEN they would start the check list to discharge me and the baby.  No one had explained this to us.  It did not occur to one person that we did not know the hospital procedures.  Not one person bothered to explain step by step what was required of us.  Live and learn.

Even if someone had warned me in advance that this would be a traumatic experience, I think I would have believed that I could handle it.  The next few months were filled with more culture shock moments than I could have anticipated.  Being a new parent in a foreign country means opening yourself up to all kinds of “helpful” advice and vicious criticism.  You will never “do it right” in the eyes of others if you “do it” the American way.  It’s amazing to me just how much culture is subconsciously packed into the theme of parenting.  But that, my readers, is for another blog another time.
She is a child with dual citizenship.  She is a “Third Culture Kid“.  We have had more trouble than you would imagine crossing borders with this child who looks American but whose passport says she was born Mexican.  It’s just a difficult concept to grasp when the color of the kid is “wrong”.  But through this whole crazy experience, our family was blessed with our Bonus Baby Lucy who is turning 5 today.  It’s hard to believe that we have all survived this long.  🙂  My baby is growing up.  We love you Lucy Lu!

Our friends Nely and Izi visit Lucy on her first day home. We violated tons of cultural rules within the first few weeks of her life. It's amazing the child didn't die of a draft! :0)