The Final Mylestone (subtitled: It's over when the skinny boy plays the recorder)

Lately, I recoil at the idea of writing here like a skittish old cat, not trusting the sound of my voice, unwilling to venture even one foot forward. So I pad back into the shadows, waiting for a clear coast or a courageous surge. Neither of which seems to be forthcoming.

This won't be a dramatic goodbye. It isn't a screeching halt. The stories I've told here are the slow dripping sand of an hour glass. It's been a very long time, and we've had a good many stories. I just think it might be time to turn the glass over, to start again.

More than five years of life I've simmered here in words, boiling it all down in search of substance, like a pound of beans that soak and spin and cook for hours on end. Eventually, the water evaporates and the beans grow tender. And you can't leave the burner on forever, not unless you want to ruin the beans and stink up the house. You guys, these days my words are at most a mist, and my heart is fall-apart tender. It's just time.

After I figure out how to preserve the blog in print for my own benefit, I plan on taking it down completely.  It might as well be purged from Google search results before the kids hit their teen years and need therapy. Really, I think my recent discomfort with this space is almost entirely driven by the need for more anonymity, a little shawl of it for me and a complete cloak of it for my children.

Whether with the help of ink or the internet,  I'll continue to write. And if you're so inclined, you can follow any future online writing here. (It's really just a placeholder right now--not much content yet. But I've set it up so you can subscribe via email or a reader, and then when I get going again, you'll hear about it automatically.)

This is probably the part of the show where I should get all weepy and sentimental about the very last milestone on Mylestones. Because we know it's not over until the fat lady sings and the sappy mom cries.

But I hate to be so cliche, so I fired the fat lady and cast a skinny eight year old boy to play us out with a jaunty tune on his recorder. I'll spare you the audio and just tell you it's Hot Cross Buns, and it would totally make you cry.

The End.


And then I played doll house

Even with my own children, the two people in the world I am most predisposed to love, even with them I fall so incredibly short.
If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal....Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 
Yesterday I startled myself with the sound of my own voice, sharp and exasperated, volume rising with every word. I don't even remember what I was yelling about, only that it was maybe the fifteenth power struggle of the day and I was so over getting lip from my stubborn six year old.

After our collective meltdown, I kept hearing that passage in my head (yeah, that one, the "love chapter", the cliche wedding reading, the one I like to quote to my kids when they aren't being nice to each other). And somewhere in the hours that followed I came to a humbling conclusion.

I don't love my children. Not consistently. Not the way I should. 

Sure, I adore them and enjoy them. I find them delightful at times. I would go to any length to protect them. I'd die for them, if it came to that.

And what's ridiculous is how I say I'd give my life for them, yet I struggled to give my daughter just thirty minutes of my Sunday to play doll house. (Have I mentioned how I hate playing doll house?) I became irritable and resentful when their needs and requests conflicted with my own. And I'd rather not give examples, but suffice it to say: my heart wasn't patient, and my voice wasn't kind.

(By the way you guys, falling flat on your figurative face? So not fun. I don't recommend it.)

I can correct their behavior, even quote verses while I'm doing it, but have not love. Clangity clang clang.  I can feed, clothe, read, drive, teach, listen, speak. But if I do it resentfully, irritably, impatiently, without love at the center. Yep. Clangy McClangerton.

So I asked my little girl to forgive me. I told my son I'd messed up, that I hadn't modeled what love was supposed to look like, that I 'd been selfish and impatient.

They forgave me, like they always do.
I told them I loved them, so, so much.
And then I played doll house.

Just writing today, with Heather. 

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