I feel like I just sat down and visited with my friends over a cup o Joe (I’ve always wanted to say that). Thanks for sharing your thoughts. This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately because we’re faced with it weekly. To all you Moms with little ones, just wait! I remember being shocked at invitations for sleep overs for my Kindergartner and play dates with people I’d never met before. I’m not a popular mom with these parents, but that’s okay with me. My kids know we don’t do sleep overs and they accept the rules. Because I think deep down they know it’s all out of love. And remember, It’s okay to say, “No, thank you.” Oh, and thanks for making me feel not so paranoid after all.
Can we talk a minute?
I don’t love play dates. Is that bad?
Just felt like I needed to get that out. I feel much better now.
My kids love them, though. And so we make dates to play, carefully.
During the school year, my kids are away from me for nearly 40 hours a week. When they get home, besides homework and studying for tests, we have karate once a week. And church. And you know, dinner and Wii bowling tournaments, together. My kids also miss seeing one another during the day and they like to play and catch up after school.
And, did I mention I miss them?
So there’s that. And then there’s the worry.
My kids enjoy playing with their cousins and with friends from church. We know a few neighbors, but we definitely enjoy our privacy, so we keep to ourselves some. And classmates? Other than an occasional snippet from the classroom, do I really know what these kid’s homes are like?
Am I the only mother who worries about my child playing in a neighborhood home of someone I hardly know? I can’t help but wonder, “Are their guns in your home, pit bulls, pedophiles?” I’m just saying.
Did you know that over 40% of homes with children have a gun and many of those guns are left unlocked or unloaded? I ran across this info from the A.S.K. gun safety campaign (Asking Saves Kids).
I have good friends who think I’m a little paranoid. And, I’m sure they are right. Their kids spend several afternoons a week in play dates and seem safe and happy.
And now, with summer here and loads of free time, I know the doorbell will be ringing.
My nature and personality demands some guidelines:
1. I schedule play dates about once or twice a month for each of my older kids (this gives me time to plan and gives my kids an incentive and something to look forward to).
2. I do not do ‘spur of the moment’ play dates because I feel pressured by an acquaintance at my front door.
3. The friend plays in my home first. I want to know the kind of relationships my children are developing.
4. I make sure I can answer these questions: If there are guns, are they locked away and out of the reach of children? Do they have scary dogs? What does my gut instinct say about this family? Will they be cared for and be safe without me?
So, what about you?
Food for the Soul:
“But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children- with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.”- Psalm 103:17-18
Welcome to this week’s Sincerely ‘Fro Me to You Carnival. If you want to join in, you can read the guidelines here. A flashback giveaway next week for linky participants!
I have always loved drama. As a young girl, I would spend hours crafting plays.
When I got into high school, I joined the drama team. It was pretty pathetic. Mainly because I was an untalented introvert with a love for the stage, not exactly a dynamic combo.
But I continued to try out for school plays. I landed an understudy role. (Which commits you to a lot of work, no glory and a sick dream of the true actress getting hurt, so you can take her place.)
I did land the role of a ghost with two lines when I was a sophomore. The director reminded me at every practice to ‘get into my character.’ I had difficulty with this.
You know, since I was alive.
My junior year, my church drama department took a chance on me for a huge part in their annual play.
I just new this would be my big break.
And although this a part I hope I never play again, it was a true moment of glory.
Because I was born to be a star.
Okay. Let’s hear it!
I was raised in a strict, religious home.
We rarely missed church and I got saved on a regular basis.
You know, because I didn’t want to go to Hell. It was dangled over us because it was the destination for the sinful.
Oh, yeah, it was one of those churches. And boy, could I tell you some stories.
Looking back, I don’t have any huge regrets for my upbringing.
Because, I turned out so swell.
But when I became a parent, my hubby and I decided we wanted grace to be the prevalent theme in our home rather than condemnation.
And so, we strive to teach our children to obey out of love for God and love for others. Not because there’s a deep, dark hot place for those who don’t.
That’s gone pretty well.
The other day, my daughter and son were being silly at dinner. My daughter tried to trick us with a story. I started teasing her, trying to get her to tell the truth.
Without thinking, I said, “Oh, you lie, you fry!”
“What?” she asked.
And so I tried to explain the saying I remembered from my childhood. “You know, if you tell a lie, you go down there . . . “ and I pointed to the ground and I laughed.
She looked alarmed.
The more I tried to explain, the more confused she looked. And of course, now I had my son’s attention too.
My kids know we expect the truth and that lying is wrong.
But frying in Hell? That changed things up a bit.
I started to change the subject with my daughter because I regretted my teasing. But my son caught my attention. He had moved from the dinner table and bowed his head.
I nearly laughed when I realized he was praying!
When he finished, he looked at me, shrugged, and said, “I was praying, you know, just in case. I can’t remember if I’ve lied lately, but I don’t want to fry!”
Hmmm…. Maybe that little saying would come in handy, once in awhile.
Food for the Soul:
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”- Romans 12:15
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My hubby’s definition of sexy: Watching me catch a lot of fish.
There are unspoken rules in the country.
I think it’s one of the reasons my kids love visiting their grandparent’s rural farm. Once we get there, we rarely leave.
The farm is isolated and it’s quite a trip to big city conveniences. They raise beef and have two enormous gardens. The days are planned around four-wheeler rides and huge home-cooked meals.
There are blood-sucking ticks, poisonous copperhead snakes and pond fish the size of small dogs. There is enough dirt to fill a landfill and enough wind to keep a thousand kites in the air. For every person at the farm, there are double the amount of mud-caked boots lining the porch. Of course, they are turned upside down to keep snakes and deadly spiders out.
You could say it’s a little different from our normal life.
If you would have told me fifteen years ago when I was contemplating joining this family that I would enjoy this, I would have laughed. Out loud.
But I do. I even have my own rubber boots for the farm. They are hot pink.
There are many rules at the farm, according to my kids. These guidelines were not taught or studied or even spoken aloud. And yet they stand, firmly, like the bulls in the pasture. You don’t challenge them.
From my kid’s perspective:
- You do not change your clothes because they are dirty, mud-splattered, damp from pond water or smeared with cow manure. It is the farm. It is enjoyed more if you are dirty.
- You haven’t really had a successful trip to the farm unless you have a chigger or black gnat bug bite.
- Coffee and sweet tea are offered to children of all ages, especially infants and toddlers who have never had it before.
- Everyone on the farm participates in a tick check every evening after baths. It is a mandatory requirement. If you are lucky enough to have a blood-sucking vermin attached to your skin, you have had a great day and are patted on the back and offered Grandma’s special itching ointment.
- Petting, holding and kissing un-vaccinated farm cats and dogs is acceptable on the farm.
- Pointy sticks that would poke your eyes out at home are perfectly harmless. Watching the baby of the family use said stick to dip in the dog’s water bowl and then lick, only brings laughter from adults.
- Finding a box turtle, carving your initials in its shell and writing your name on it with a Sharpee marker before letting it go, is better than visiting Disneyworld. Any day.
- Traipsing through muddy ponds in rubber boots, crawling under barbed-wire fences, digging the fruit worms from rotten peaches only heightens your farm experience.
- Eating a raw, unwashed onion from your Grandpa’s garden spade is awesome.
- Your Grandma’s home cooking and baking is so much better than your Mom’s that you mention it at least 4 times at every meal while staying at the farm. You also clean your plate and declare asparagus from the garden to be your new favorite food.
- Your visit to the farm is not complete without discovering a discarded, smelly turtle shell or some other animal carcass (a.k.a farm treasure) to take home and place on your dresser for the next 3 months.
- Sitting still through Sunday church with 37 other country church-goers and 9 special songs is not a problem.
- As you drive away in your dirt-covered car, sobbing, you continue until you see your parents get out their calendar and plan the next visit to the farm.