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Mary Biever | One Writing Mother | Tag Archive | Family
Tag Archive - Family

Spawn Day?

As soon as I read what my teen had written as a birthday greeting on a friend’s Facebook wall, I nearly collapsed to the floor in a combo grand mal seizure/stroke.

“Happy spawn day.”

Where did he come up with this? What was he thinking? Then the dreaded:

What will other parents think when THEY read what MY kid wrote on Facebook?

I dashed to the intercom and paged Richard, “Get here right NOW!! Emergency!”

He raced up the stairs to find out what catastrophe had struck. “Look at that post! Talk to your son right now and get him to delete it. I can’t talk to him about spawning!”

He read it and told me, “Spawn means something different to a gamer. In video games, when you get a new life, it’s a spawn day. The status if fine. I’m not talking to him.”

So it ended. I resigned myself that all the other parents who know nothing about gaming would congratulate themselves that they were doing a better parenting job than the Bievers.

But then I got to thinking.

Don’t we want spawn days in life? If a spawn day is like a second chance day, then I’m glad to get them when I can. Maybe I can’t undo every mistake of the past.  Consequences last a lifetime.

However, I can forgive the problems of the past and make peace with them and spawn a new outlook in the present. Even if the same problems hit that have hit hundreds of times before, I can resolve to look at and repond to them differently.

When I change me and make who I am right now more giving and forgiving, I can change my whole world.

Which reminds me of a lesson I taught teens over and over again when I used to teach religious education classes on Sunday mornings:

God gives us room for second chances. No matter how badly we mess up, He’ll be there to listen and love us when we’re ready to ask.

I know I’ve made more than my share of mistakes. Even so, I got the chance to begin now, reinvent myself, and build a better life.

Thank God.

Today is my Spawn Day. It can be yours too – if you decide to make it happen.

Here’s to second chances! Cheers!

Your Cat's NOT in My Cradle

“Cat’s in the Cradle,” by Johnny Cash is my parenting theme song. With a twist. (hint – play while reading this blog)

He sings of making bad parenting choices and his son’s repeating that pattern. That doesn’t have to happen. I don’t repeat the patterns of my childhood.

Instead, I sing, “I’ll be nothing like you – your cat’s NOT in my cradle.”  I deliberately chose a better path.

My family – my children and my husband – have and always will come first.

Struggling to survive the “childhood-that-wasn’t” shaped my character. However, I chose how I would use it. 

Your childhood script can be flipped with hard work.

By the grace of God and with the support of a wonderful husband who’s spent the past 20 years gently loving away the rough edges, I changed. Once a scared but tough survivor who managed on my own since age 18 with long hair and short skirts, I had moved 26 times in 24 years when we first met. Sometimes I had slept on friends’ couches or floors when I was between addresses. 

My husband helped me become a wife and mom. We built our family together – talking, laughing, and sometimes arguing our way through family dinner hours, laundry piles, teen angst, and carpools. We have a good time now.

I have neither anger nor regrets about the past. At the end of Genesis, Joseph tells his brothers that what man meant for ill can be used for good by God to help others.

How can God use my terrible experiences of a lifetime ago? I can help young people struggling in their own stories, reach their hearts and tell them life can be better. As Corrie ten Boom once said, there is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still. We are not alone. There is hope.

Because of where I was, my life and family now is doubly precious. Instead of being trapped in past problems, God sent a husband and friends to help me write my own song.

Your cat’s not in my cradle.  I’m not just like you. My kids aren’t just like me.

The cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon. Little boy blue and the man in the moon…my children had a childhood.

Stories that start sadly can change and get the happy ending. Mine did.

It’s our choices, not the cat in the cradle, that determine the outcome of our lives.

The Un Christmas Letter

Today’s blog is a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Letters Past in my Family Parenting Adventures….

1998 - I took my kids alone to Disney on Ice in a strange city.  I bought my son, age 2, a harness. He was a running escape artist of locks and carseats.  When we went to the bathroom at intermission, I hooked his harness to the bathroom stall’s coat hook while I went to the bathroom. He unlocked the bathroom door, grabbed his sister, body slammed the door, and tried to escape. The harness hook caught him, while the bathroom line of women stared, wondering what I was doing with my children. An hour later, he broke the harness.

2000 - My neighbors laid a new concrete driveway. All the neighborhood kids played in my yard, and I took them all to watch the cement mixer, admonishing them not to walk in the wet concrete. All the kids behaved until it was time to leave. My son tried to run through the concrete for a shortcut and got 3 steps in before realizing he was ankle deep in concrete. A cement worker picked him up, hosed off his shoes, and redid the driveway.

2001 - My son, age 5, played an actor playing Batman by tying a jump rope to our slide to do the Bat Climb. The rope got loose, he fell, and he broke his arm.

2002 - My daughter, age 8, walked into Borders, angry because I told her I didn’t have enough money to buy her a new book. So she went to the children’s area clerk and loudly said, “My parents don’t allow me to have books and won’t buy me any.”

2004 - My kids sat with a Congressman at a fundraiser while I worked the kitchen. My son, age 8, won a lemonade chugging contest with a friend while he sat there – he drank 20 glasses, while his friend only drank 18. That year, at a banquet, kids shared what they were thankful for. Other kids were thankful for animals, flowers, and family. My son? “Thankful for my guns.”

2006 - My son, age 10 handcuffed himself and a friend to a sculpture at a college art exhibit and sat to see how long it would take me to notice. (half an hour)

My Christmas letters are the story of our family – not just the accomplishments, but the full picture. They remind me why my hair might have turned grey if I didn’t color it.

And why I have laugh lines – I wouldn’t trade a single moment.