An Easter guest post written by my sister, forever matron of honor, and lifelong hero, ALEXIS!
Some Things Change and Some Things Stay the Same
When margaritas call, I usually am very quick to answer that I’m very available and that I’ll be right over. I was really ready and willing to hear their call on the Thursday of Spring Break this year.
I had been planning to meet up with one of my best friends from college, Ashley and her children at The Lot, the east Dallas bar and restaurant that has a sand pit and an arcade. I lost J.W. there once when he was barely walking and I’m pretty sure Wesley was bit by a spider there that sent us to the doctor, but I still go and highly recommend it because of two very important words – “kid friendly”.
So, Ashley and I have been drinking margaritas together since the beginning of our friendship. Abuelo’s huge swirls, post work session at Harold’s/pre-game for a night out. On the Border nights with the Harold’s girls. Chimy’s in Lubbock, I think, knew us by name. Also, Ashley was the first person to take me to Mi Cocina in Dallas and introduce me to the mambo taxi. We also worked together for a stint after college and those days were filled with grabbing a couple margaritas together at Gloria’s on an average weeknight. #healthy #wise #youth
That being said a margarita with Ashley during Spring Break 2K18 seemed appropriate, like “you know, things change – we now have 5 kids between the two of us – BUT, some things stay the same – like here we are just having a good ol’ margarita catching up, like we always have.” Things like that make me smile and take me back to my mid 20’s. I mean I don’t want to go back, the present is good, but it was a simpler time, which of course, I thought was very complicated at the time. But it is complicated deciding how you will live off of your income of 25k a year.
Back to now –
We arrived a little early. “We” includes my two sons – Wesley, age 5 and J.W., age, 3. I was extra fried from a full week of Spring Break motherhood.
********May I just insert here – how mother’s home school, I do not know. Like their entire life is Spring Break except they have to teach their children things at the same time. Home Schooling moms – the true MVP’s and don’t even get me started on Single Mom’s. Why am I capitalizing their titles?? I don’t know – they deserve it tho. ************
The boys and I had done some fun out the the norm activities during Spring Break 2K18- The Fair Park Aquarium, The Arboretum, various parks, but by Thursday afternoon my mind was numb from splitting up fights, answering questions, saying no and just the general business of parenting. So as the boys ran around The Lot and I waited for Ashley, I took the liberty of ordering a margarita alone and exhaling the tension, just a little. I love my children, I mean it doesn’t need to be said. But, children are so very loud. If you don’t know this, you heard it here first. Children are loud. But also amazing and I smiled watching my two wild things have fun at The Lot while being loud from afar, where I can both see them and drink tequila. I did a luxurious thing of sending a couple texts and I may have even checked my email without the request of “Mom, WATCH ME!!!” and it just felt like a tiny vacation. I mean very tiny. But Ole anyway!!
Ashley arrives and we have the best time catching up. Her kids are sweeter than ever and it’s just so good to see her and get to know her little ones too. J.W., my 3 year old, tries to pull his pants down at one point and pee in the sand pit with all of the other children and I usher him into the bathroom. This is very typical J.W. behavior, well probably very typical 3 year old behavior. We get to the bathroom and of course he declares that he doesn’t have to go. SIGH. Okay, that’s fine, I’m in here anyway, I’ll just go. He’s opening the stall as I’m trying to go and I completely forget that my phone is in my back pocket and down it goes. Into the toilet. And it was fully immersed and it starts blinking to a black screen and I’m just like NO, don’t you do this phone. Do I have this phone backed up?? NO. Is anything on the iCloud?? NO. I cannot lose this old phone. I start to realize there is so much on this phone. These phones. The love/hate relationship, but the truth is, I am so connected and dependent on this iPhone SE. That’s right it’s not the 6,7,8 or X, just Apple’s basic SE. Which is neither here nor there, but should be said because people sometimes still think I have like the iphone 3 and it’s entertaining for everyone. Strangers have told me I need a new phone. It’s fine I’m fine.
And then it hits me – this is soooooooo Spring Break of me. But in the worst way. Like Spring Break circa 2002 when I jumped in the ocean in all my clothes in Padre, probably after bonging a beer at 11am. But in my pocket was my Nokia with the butterfly face plate that my parents had bought me when the checked me into the dorms before rush. This knot began to form in my stomach, like here I am 34 years old with children, but yet still finding a bonehead way to break my phone during Spring Break. If some things change and some things stay the same – couldn’t this be one of the things that changes??
I’ll spare you the obvious actions that followed – phone in the dry rice (actually risotto), phone working (should have backed up that second but didn’t because I make bad decisions) impatient me taking the boys to the Apple store, meeting a really nice black guy named Kendall who worked there (p.s. I talked longer to him than I have my own mother this year (he ran track at KU and is a vegetarian who does resistance training and goes to a church called Calvary)) Kendall didn’t even end up helping me and passed me to Rachel and by then the boys where losing it and I couldn’t think and my phone was dead and she “checked it” and declared it had water damage and I had to make a decision about what to do and just got a replacement because it was the cheapest option. And my head is spinning and the boys want custard at Wild about Harry’s so we go and my new phone works and it has my contacts, but all my pictures since July are gone. Every picture from our Spring Break staycation that we survived. All my notes on sermons and lectures. All gone.
I know this happens to the best of us. I do. I was comforted over and over by my friends and by Robert (my husband who tolerates all the things I break with love and patience) They assured me that this had happened to them even without the influence of a margarita or a toddler in the bathroom and that seriously helped. (thank you guys, I love you.) But, still for nights after I would wake up at 3 am sharp and just have this gnawing anxiety and anger at myself. I was just regretful how I handled the whole thing. Should I have put it in the risotto longer? Why am I so impatient? Impulsive? Clumsy?
I know, I KNOW, there are much more serious problems in the world – like what magazine did Stormy Daniels use to spank Trump with, but I had pictures of my 5 year old with various colors of tulips at the Arboretum and they were gone now. They were on a phone probably already being shipped back to China for parts. I pass by the Apple Store every day and I would have to turn my head to not look at it. It just felt painful. Like a loss of sorts. During one of my sleepless nights lamenting my life’s wrong turns – phone at the top of my list – I told myself – your children are alive and healthy and in the next room, you don’t need that selfie you took with them in October, you have them LIVE every day to make new memories with. This eased me. My life is not on my phone, it’s actually outside my phone and all of this time and energy I was burning over this was pointless and I knew it.
Still a week later I was heavy. I was driving to my Friday vinyasa flow class at the White Rock Y and feeling so burdened, so self involved (looking back) and really just so anxious and bad. Right now in my car I have been switching between Christian radio 94.9, Independent Radio 91.7 and Beck, All the Colors (highly recommend). I put it on 94.9 even though I knew I was in a hardened state, but that’s the thing about God. He will reach you and find you, right where you are.
I couldn’t tell you the song I heard but what I did hear was a lyric- “his blood breaks the chains” I thought I am carrying so many chains right now. Anxiety. Guilt. Regret. Doubt. Anger. Confusion. But,”his blood breaks the chains”. J.W. was with me and I dropped him at childcare and went up to yoga and just kept thinking those words over and over. His blood breaks the chains. His blood breaks the chains. I finally got to the point after sifting through all of my mess of just thanking him for His blood that broke the chains. The prayers just starting pouring out of my head while I was reverse swam diving and planking – thank you Jesus for fulfilling God’s plan to save humanity by dying. You are the relief from these chains I insist on carrying!!!!
Jesus’s death wasn’t perfect, it was messy, it was painful, it was hard on His friends and family, yet God chose this way to show us He is God. All we have to do is have faith and the life eternal begins now and is ours forever in heaven. So this “blood that broke the chains” was for God’s ultimate GLORY. And if I believe that why WHY can’t I believe that God will take my mess and make it have purpose too? He did it on the grand scale, He’s definitely capable of doing it on the small scale of me ruining an iphone. Life is messy. It’s so quick to get messy as soon as we think we have something figured out, but there is purpose in that mess. There always is. Because that’s what God is and has always been in the business of doing.
Then I remembered it was Lent and I thought okay here it is– why we celebrate Easter and here is the HOPE it offers. His blood broke the chains!!!
Oh and those mourned over Arboretum pics. Well, we went back with my husband and took so many more pictures and made the sweetest memories. Wesley was insisting on taking pictures. The boys usually refuse to cooperate with that? J.W. was more of a reluctant participant, but we got many good pictures! So now when I see them in my phone I feel like God is reminding me gently saying, “I’ve got this. You’re going to mess up, but keep coming back to me and I will bless you, even if it’s just with my presence, my plan is greater than you could know.”
These pictures make me think of these verses —
The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone. The new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17
Proverbs 3: 5-6
And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
So, next Spring Break, I could break my phone again? I could drop it in a pina colada, I could shatter it by throwing it across the room?? This could be something that stays the same? Or maybe I will change and back up my iPhone like a normal adult, maybe I’ll buy an Otterbox and maybe I just won’t put my phone in my pocket like I did in Padre or a couple weeks ago. I really cannot predict this. I can only try my best to do better, while knowing I’m an inconsistent human. But, I can look to God, daily, through his word, and know He is that one thing that always stays the same and find peace.
It truly is a Good Friday – Happy Easter to all!!!
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