Homeschool · Hormones · Uncategorized

Minecraft Mom

(How God used hunting zombies with my son to resurrect our relationship)

photo by Bean

My boy was always talkative. He was born that way. Oozing with pride and dripping with first-time mama details, I spoke to my grandmother over the phone. Two states between us, her opportunity to snuggle her first great grand baby wouldn’t arrive for months. She asked if I could put my Bean on the phone with her. So, he could hear her voice. I obliged and then implored my 3-week-old bundle, “Can you say hi, Beanie?” No fibbing, the infant squeaked and cooed at the receiver. The long-distance shrieks of delight, from the other line, startled him. But there was no doubt, Bean had spoken. The chatter swelled from that moment onward.
At 17 months, Bean accompanied me on Christmas shopping trips and had a commentary and a critique about every purchased gift. We spent evenings with relatives, listening to Bean give elaborate, descriptive if a perhaps a bit disjointed, speeches. He made up stories. He produced poetry. He sang. Words, words, words. New. Old. More and more words. It never stopped. His sweet small voice followed me everywhere. Until he was 12. Even then, speeches were still spewed sporadically but they were loaded with accusation and angst, annoyance and aggravation. There were still many tender whispers but the space between them was heart-wrenching. At least for me. And I couldn’t help but wonder, was this conversational cold front hurting him, as well? Our connection was in flux, and that was fine, but we hadn’t yet found our new normal. And it was alienating us both.
One day, after a bout of belligerence, mine, I was shaken and scared.  I wanted these shouting matches to end.  I wanted to be with my son. I wanted to be a safe space for his secrets. I wanted him to know I cared even if things were weird. I washed my tear lined face and decided I was just going to be near Bean. I didn’t have to be in his face just near his space. I deliberately prayed for strength. The strength to let go. The strength to give Bean to God. And then, I walked quietly into his room. Sat on the floor. And played with Legos.
After a few minutes, Bean’s breath grew more natural. The anger had left. His face calmed. His heart softened. And he talked. He built his spaceship and I fiddled with mini-figures. And he talked. I sat nodding and he searched for 2×4 and 6×6 blocks. And he talked. He didn’t delve into the matter of the moment. He didn’t relive our conflict. He didn’t give away his most private thoughts. But he talked. And I listened and praised God.
Episodes like this came at random. But they acted as a salve in our communication. I pondered why but didn’t wait to discover the formula. I just kept doing it. Then at a CHEA convention, I attended a Rhonda Stoppe seminar. My eyes burst from my face when she explained that women communicate best when face to face and men do so better when working side by side. EUREKA!  I understood. Legos were my boys “work” and I had entered into it beside him. Thus, the newfound moments of bonding.
But my boy is no longer 12. Legos still entertain but aren’t the same. Enter in Minecraft. Blocks and cubes. Mines and ore. Sheep and pigs. Sitting side by side, controllers in hand, we build something together. (Or sometimes blow it up!) And we share. And the conversation is growing. What was once movies and toys has grown into books and homework assignments. Sometimes glimmers of dreams and plans for the future sneak in while Steve and Alex dodge creepers. Here’s my favorite part, because these intentional times have made our discourses more comfortable, the conversation doesn’t always stop when the console is powered down. It leaks into daily life. Drives in the car become doctrinal debates. Shopping trips turn into stories of science fiction variety. Asking for help with school work is easier because with the fear of judgment is lessened. Bean knows I’m more interested in hearing his thought process than worrying if he’s getting every answer correct. Our relationship is perfect. Perfectly flawed. Perfectly weird. Perfectly ours. We’re bonding as we’re giving one another space to grow. (As I am letting him be him, the man-child not the infant.) Hard times come. Fights happen. Forgiveness isn’t always easy. Jesus handles the heart. Prayer casts our cares. And Minecraft gets us talking. Perhaps…even one day… hopefully far off…  we’ll talk about girls.
Try it. Dare to be discontent with the divide but don’t be demanding. Meet your boy in his area of interest and just be.  The mom who’s thick skinned. The mom who’s tenderhearted. The mom who’s there. The mom who’s listening. Enjoy being the Minecraft mom.

photo by Bean

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Tube Tied

Strapped down, drugged, and tired I watched as my husband left the room. I still split open. Him carrying my beautiful Sprout. The pressure of hands diligently putting me back together tugged at my empty belly. I kept my breathing light, waiting for the words that I’d prayed for, I’d begged for. When they came, I was left dumb. “Are you certain you want to do this?” mumbled the voice of my OB, bringing me the opportunity I’d longed for in secret. The opportunity, I reluctantly and painfully, turned down. The room went to work and I asked my anesthesiologist to put my guilt-ridden heart to sleep.
After not desiring motherhood (that’s another story), I’d been unexpectedly swept to my knees with joy, with Bean, my firstborn. I loved him before I was certain he was real. I adored him from the second the double lines appeared on the simple plastic stick. But growing him was not an easy task on my body. At 5 months, I was taken off work and warned to limit my standing time. A wise prescription since I had developed a habit of passing out at work. The next long weeks were devoted to stress tests and monitoring. I was careful but not too worried. Many women I’d known had a worse go of their maternity months. My baby seemed safe at every doctor’s appointment. I was tired, achy, fat and mostly happy.
Then came the birth, 38 hours of panic, pain, and punishment for an emergency cesarean, a newborn with water on his lungs, a frantic husband and family, and even more pain and weakness. I’d nearly lost Bean two times during labor. One of which I myself was in trouble, and prayed that God would have the medical team make Chef leave the room, so terrified hubby wouldn’t have to watch me die. God was more than gracious to answer my prayer and go above and beyond my request. Bean lit up my world and the world of those he touched in an instant. I was charmed and changed and converted. I actually enjoyed being a mother. I thrilled in it, good ababyfeetnd bad, messy and miraculous, fearfully and faithfully. I couldn’t wait to do the whole thing again.
But it took over two years to conceive Sprout. Again, I loved and cherished her as she bloomed inside my body. This time things were better. Until the end of my seventh month, when my heart couldn’t take the excitement or the strain. I, again, started passing out. Though, now, I had a terrified toddler watching me do it. I also began blacking out, while sitting. At 9 months, I was told it was no longer safe for me to spend the entire day alone. My family took care of me. My sister and mother in law visited me often, and let me sleep.
During this time, my husband and mother started to wonder whether another pregnancy would be wise. Even I questioned if my body could carry another baby, no matter how toned and strong I made it before implantation. Loved ones began debating with me the merits of two children having a healthy mother over more children having a sickly mother. Or no mother at all. I understood their fears, but I did not want to relinquish this new purpose I’d discovered. Tubal ligation was casually brought up by my doctor in the presence of my husband. Deal sealed.
So, in the spirit, I prayed. I pleaded. I petitioned. In the physical world, I told my family I would have my tubes tied. They nearly hooted with relief. I signed my consent and filled in all the required forms. Meanwhile, I still hoped If the Lord was willing to protect me even once more, if His plan for me didn’t include my sterilization then I asked one thing of Him. Just one thing. While in the operating room have my doctor ask me if I was certain. I told no one else.
And the question came. A moment of rapture swept over me. A moment I relinquished to fear. The moment after my reply was so terrible and sorrow soaked, I asked for sleep. As if sleep would save me.
Why? Why did I do it if God had given me a Damascus light confirmation? Why did I give up something I could never get back? At first, I blamed my husband. He wasn’t in the room when the question came. I was being submissive and respectful. I was keeping my word to him and my mother. For a long long time, I allowed this reasoning to cover up my hypocrisy. I was embittered and hostile, on a monthly basis for the lack of more children. My poor husband.
It was me. All me. Selfish with the happiness I’d found. Terrified it would be taken away. Unwilling to risk the uncomfortable. I choose to rid myself of more blessing because I wasn’t willing the bear the trial.
Tubal ligation is a decision each woman and her spouse should make in the light of God’s word and His calling for them. I ignored His grace and wisdom. My choice may be the choice God wants another to make for herself and her family. Listen to Him, if it is. But please listen to Him if it isn’t. It is not a choice to take lightly or merely to avoid inconvenient contraception. Allow God to control what only He can truly control. Trust and obey.
For me, every month I hope for the rare statistic. I hope He has made a way for me to conceive again. I mourn for the children I could have carried. I ask the barren to forgive me for tossing aside what they long for. I badger myself for not seeking alternative forms of birth control. (Pills and IUDs are not for me.) I wish I’d researched and found Sheila Wray Gregoire her blog  . There, she clearly lays out multiple forms of contraception. Methods that don’t mess with one’s hormones or heart.
I have never had peace since that one little “yes”. Though I’ve sought forgiveness and know I have it, I struggle to truly forgive myself. I am confident that the Lord is working out my failing to the good of His purposes. I am happy and blessed and my house is loud with laughter. But I will always wonder, I will always pine, and I will always wish I had grabbed tightly to the Lord’s hand and followed.
I know I can’t be alone in my remorse. I also know I am not conventional in my opinions. Neither am I anyone’s critic or accuser. This post is just one woman’s point of view and offering of honesty for my friends who may be apprehensive to share their feelings. For those who may be tube tied and tongue tied, enjoy what the Lord has given and don’t let another adventure slip from your grasp. Hugs to my mom heroes. (that’s all of you) from sarah the coffee jedi

photo credit: sean dreilinger newborn feet – _MG_4072 via photopin (license)License: (license)