Monthly Archives: December 2010

"I left you a note"

I just finished writing Josh a note on the counter that–I hope–he will see tomorrow morning. And I couldn’t help but laugh at myself.  Even though Josh and I got a babysitter (thanks Tim and Marsha!) two nights in a row this weekend, we still pass each other like ships in the night and can’t often fit in a conversation before one of us heads to bed.

I’m recalling several mornings or afternoons in the past 4 years of conversations like this:

me: “Did you pick up that thing from that place?”

Josh: “What thing from what place?”

me: “Gah! I left you a note!!!”

Or….

me: “Are you excited about tonight?”

Josh: “What’s tonight?”

me: “I left you a note.”

Josh: “I didn’t see it. What did it say??”

what I WANT to say: “It said that you’re blind and that I’m surprised your clothes even match because obviously you weren’t using your gift of vision…otherwise you would’ve SEEN my note!”

what I ACTUALLY say: “we’re going out to eat tonight with so-and-so. we need to leave in 5 minutes. Quick! Go shave your neck and throw on some cologne and a different shirt.”

Marriage really is hilarious, and I love being a part of it.  Lately I’ve experienced the wake of other relationships of people close to me shaking–even erupting. And even though my marriage to Josh still has blind spots and weaknesses, I’m so grateful that I can write a note as silly and yet as common and normal as this:

And better yet, I’m sure the coffee will be on when I get up and the Mazda will stay very clean.  And I hope the notes that I write to Josh when we’re ninety–when I’m up late sewing quilts while he hobbles to bed early to wake up for Bible Study–always open with #1 and close with #10.


Happy Birthday, Nolan!

If you don’t have a sibling that feels, really, like an extension of yourself, then I feel sorry for you.  If you don’t have nieces or nephews that you love as much as your own children, then I’m sorry for you as well.  Ever since my sister told me she was pregnant with Lillian, my heart has been expanded to love the children in my family as if they were mine. By the time Jack got here, I already “had” 2 other children, Lilly and Molly.  I do love him differently, specially, beautifully, but I honestly can’t say I love him more than my nieces and my nephew.  Sara and I have talked endlessly about the possibility of us living closer, entertaining every possible scenario. But it seems that we’re both where we’re supposed to be, and there’s nothing we can do about it until God reveals other plans.

Until then…we can get together as much as possible, especially when birthdays come around.  Nolan James was born (almost) one year ago. Because he feels like he’s “our fourth child” (1. Lilly 2. Molly 3. Jack), his arrival didn’t come with trumpets and kazoos.  But he completed the Gilding family so beautifully and perfectly, teaching his older sisters to be gentle and helpful, giving Jesse promise of football games and playing catch some day.  And in some ways, he completes our family too because he and Jack will inevitably (forcibly?) grow up to be best friends. There is so much to celebrate about this handsome little man!!!

And here are a few reasons why we’re so glad he’s here! Love you Nolie!

Christmas is Weird

Lately I’ve been giving things like this a lot of thought:

Recently I posted on Facebook a question similar to this one: If you aren’t celebrating the birth of God’s son this Christmas, then WHAT is Christmas about?

Are you celebrating sweaters?

 

Or eggnog? Or wreaths? glittery balls that we put on trees inside our houses? Or poinsettas? Or Holiday sales? Seriously.  When you take a step back and think about it, Christmas is weird. Especially when it has no central purpose other than “good feelings” and family obligations.

The responses to my Facebook post weren’t much, but one person actually wrote “time off work”.  I can’t think of a more selfish thing to celebrate (not that time off of work isn’t needed or deserved), but considering what should be celebrated, to say our culture is off-track seems to be a bit of an understatement.  And we’ve all heard phrases like “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”, and we sing hymns every year that–although they are about the most glorious story to ever be told–are so familiar we might as well be singing our ABC’s.  We go buy-crazy for other people (and, admittedly, ourselves), completely forgetting we’re supposed to be mirroring the generosity and awe the Magi had toward Christ.  These things have irritated me in Christmases past, but there are a few reasons why I’m deeply frustrated this year with all-things-Christmas.

1. My own participation is most frustrating of all.  I bought a $30 comforter yesterday for…my guest room.  Believe me, I’m not pretending to be exempt from the selfishness that results from Christmas shopping.

2. I have a church who is actually demonstrating what celebrating Christmas should really look like.  Last Christmas, Josh and I were just about to begin looking for churches. Engedi wasn’t yet a part of our lives and, really, accountability wasn’t either.  Now I have a church family that is telling the Christmas story in all of it’s gory realism: although Christ was born, His purpose for coming was to die for us. For me. For you.  The fact that the Cross gets neglected at Christmas is disgusting and embarrassing.  And I can see the Enemy laughing Christians every day around Advent where we don’t think about the Cross one time.  I’m really convicted by this this year, and I want to change my preparation for Christmas so it is centered on the Cross, the real reason Christ came in the first place.

3.  I have a child who I’m beginning to teach about Christmas, and I’m not sure I want him to understand it the way I have.  I want Jack to grow up with a real understanding of sacrifice (although I also, as his mom, want to wrap 1,000 gifts for him in goofy reindeer wrapping paper).  Lately, I’ve been picturing waking up early on Christmas morning when Jack is older and going to volunteer at a shelter or soup kitchen before we open a single gift.  I so desperately want Jesus to be the center of Christmas for Jack, which means that He better be at the center for me and Josh as well.

4. I’ve been thinking about how pathetic it is that we buy white frilly dresses (pastel cable knit vests for boys with matching ties) and a big ‘ol ham for Easter Sunday, but Christmas gets weeks of attention by just about everyone. Isn’t that backwards?

5. I celebrate Christmas every year with people–who I love so deeply–who have absolutely no belief in Christ as God’s son.  We give gifts to each other because we love each other, it’s tradition, it feels good, it’s fun; not because we, collectively, are joined in spirit as believers in Christ.  This is not the way it should be, and I’m struggling with what to do about it.  I feel I would have a similar reaction to someone who came to Jackson’s birthday party with no gift for him, no acknowledgment of him, and yet gave small gifts to everyone else there.  If you think about it, it doesn’t make sense.

I’ve never, ever felt cynical around Christmas.  The truth is, I love the holly, eggnog, peppermint, and carols.  I love the shopping, gift-giving, cookie-making, and Santa stories.  I love the feel-good feelings that are around this time of year, how even strangers say hello and open doors for one another.  I love Christmas candy, Christmas movies, and the stockings that hang over my fireplace.  There’s a lot of good that takes place around Christmas, but I’m realizing that the true meaning of Christmas is still under a bushel.

The coming of Christ and His journey toward the cross is the single most celebratory thing that has ever or will ever take place; May we all rejoice in this gift this season by interrupting our spending, routines, and conveniences to show the world just how great of a gift He is.

 

 

Three Winters

Jackson made his transfer to his big boy bed this past weekend, and I’m still in shock that the experience has been so seamless.  I thought I’d have to rock him at night, gently explaining the newness of this massive bed, kissing away his tears of fear.  We introduced the idea of a “Dinosaur Room” weeks ago, and I think Jack was so amazingly excited to have dinosaurs…in his bedroom…that the idea of a big boy bed just didn’t seem like that big of a deal.

 

But, something has definitely changed for me, and I think that I need to get used to this idea as a mother: things will be a MUCH more emotional experience for me than they ever will for my little boy.

Although I do feel more and more relieved that the baby stages are more deeply anchored in the past, there will always be things that I ache for. I was looking through pictures, trying to find a picture from 2 Christmases ago, Jack’s first Christmas, and noted that I have about 10 pictures from Jack’s first year where he looks this gleefully happy:

 

Most of his first year pictures are of a very disgruntled, frustrated baby. But by Christmas, we were able to get the best Santa shots.  I remember putting that hat on his fat little head, thrilled that he didn’t have the coordination yet to pull it right off.  I was making faces at him to get him to laugh and, man, he did!

Then I came across this picture from last year, when he was 1 1/2. His cheeks still have the baby-ness, his hair is still fine and wispy.  He’s still preciously out of proportion, and he’s still entirely and beautifully dependent on me. He was cautious of the snow, coming to realize that he had no interest in being uncomfortably cold.

 

 

So…in 1 year…how did I get HERE???

 

I just can't help myself sometimes!

 

 

I’m in shock.  The past 2 months have shown such obvious growth.  Jack wants to snowblow the driveway.  He has entire conversations with me (even if his “f”s are still “s”s).  His legs are hardly chubby.  His eyes even have the teeny-tiniest bit of wisdom in them. Even as I write, he is pretending to talk to Uncle Ben on a banana.  He wants play guns and he wants to shoot things.  He is starting to color within the lines.  I’ve been SO convicted to slow down and soak in every bit of his two-year-old-ness so I never, ever forget how special these little days are with my little man.