Little things matter. Along the way you discover they weren't so little after all.

We’ve moved – you should move with Us

This is extra funny if you used to wear harem pants.

This is extra funny if you used to wear harem pants.

This blog has been a lot of fun. So much fun, in fact, that I decided to try and give it a more professional look and greater functionality (don’t I sound like I know what I’m talking about?). I moved the blog so it now has a shorter web address, a cute header, and plenty to get your brain and heart going. I’d love to have you come along, so please click on over…

http://tclarson.com

You’re invited to travel with me to the new site

I’m just about ready to move this blog over to a new site. That means I will no longer post here at Love, Laundry, Faith & Family. It should happen early next week (if everything goes according to plan…which it rarely does).

I’d love to have you come by the new space. You can find it at http://tclarson.com . I’m also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TCLarsonWrites , amongst other social networks.

If you are a fellow WordPress user and you’ve clicked “follow” you’re the one I’m most concerned about losing as I transition to the new site. Would you consider subscribing via email?

Here’s a little video farewell, and I look forward to seeing you over yonder at the new site.

Freshening Things Up

If you stop by this blog in the next couple weeks, it will probably look a bit different around here.

I’ve been working to make this blog let me boss it around more. Since I don’t know fancy code stuff, I’ve also been trying to find ways to do this without losing my mind. I’ve purchased a domain and right now some software is in the process of being installed (and with that, I’ve exhausted my computer language lexicon).

The address will probably be a bit different.

I’m considering a change to the title.

Don’t panic (I’m talking to myself here).

Overall, it should be pretty painless for you, dear reader. However, I have a couple requests.

Would you please consider subscribing via email?

I’m worried that if you haven’t subscribed with your email address, I will lose the pleasure of your company. If you have the blog delivered to your email, we won’t skip a beat. There’s a little button on the right hand side of this page, and it’s pretty straightforward to subscribe. I won’t flood your inbox — I usually only post twice a week (and lately it’s been less than that).

Have you had a chance to “like” my Facebook page for the blog?

There’s a spot to do it over there ———>

If you could take a second and click the like button, that would be great. I try to put up entertaining videos and other fun stuff from around the web. You can also find other cool people like you, and we can all hold hands and skip down the path of life together.

Thank you!

Thanks for reading and being a part of this collection of random thoughts, victories, failures, experiments and life in general. I hope you’ve found encouragement and a safe place to share. That’s what I’ve found through you!

Peace to you,

TC Larson

That Mom is Me

I am that mom.

I am the one who emailed the teacher to verify the start time of the event at school…and still showed up thirty minutes late.

I am that mom — the one who didn’t RSVP to the classmate’s birthday party until the morning it was scheduled to happen.

I am the mom who went to register  my child for the enrichment class two days after the deadline because I didn’t take time to read the informational letter. I’m also the one who apologized my way in.

I’m that mom, the one who got the phone call from the kindergarten teacher asking if I’d be there soon. It was Mom’s Day, and my daughter was waiting for me. I walked in and all the moms were sitting on the floor, each one with a child next to them or on a lap. All except for my daughter who sat at the foot of the teacher while she read a book to the class. My daughter. Alone.

I’m the mom whose kid had toothpaste down the front of his shirt, the one whose kid wore boots at school all day long because he forgot shoes and I didn’t think to check his backpack. When he got home, his socks were soggy.

I’m that mom — the one who thought she had enough time to get milk and bread from Target. I was still a few minutes from home when I watched my child’s bus come towards me on the road. Again, my daughter. Again, alone.

I’m the mom who had to air out the house because the stove burner was left on for hours. The flame had gone out, but the knob was still set on simmer, natural gas seeping into the kitchen, out to the dining room and down the hallway.

This all happened last week.

I’m that mom, and I know it.

/////

Have you seen me? You know you have. You know there’s someone like me, someone who is that mom to you.

That one mom who always seems to come charging in late, disheveled, discombobulated.

The one who makes you feel think, ‘Well, I may not have it all together, but at least I’m not like her.’

Do you know how much it sucks to be that mom?

A lot. It sucks a lot.

Contrary to how it might appear, I’m not a total flake. I’m not checked out, I’m not “smoking too much weed”, I’m not a train wreck, not a disaster. And I’m not a bad mom.

I’m just in a rough patch.

I have enough personal family gunk going on that I have to prioritize what can receive my attention. Some things have to go.

Having never been a detail-lover, I now find they are the first things to escape me. They are de-prioritized without me even trying. And those are just the details I know I forgot — how many have passed me by without me even feeling the breeze they made? I’ll probably find out later that I only knew the half of how badly I was screwing up.

In the midst of this, I am trying to take care of myself as well, trying to make good choices and gauge what ways I can be kind to myself each day. I’m exercising, I’m brushing my teeth, I’m even laughing sometimes. Maybe I’m laughing too loudly, maybe it sounds a tiny bit hysterical, but it still counts.

I don’t need help feeling guilty about how I’m falling short of where I want to be. I can administer enough guilt on my own.

I have to extend grace to myself, the grace I would want to show someone else, but it’s hard. It’s hard to be nice to myself, because I see the ways I can’t do it all, the way I want to manage it alone but can’t. I know what I can usually take care of, and I see all the ways I can’t do it now.

I feel weak, and I hate feeling weak.

I feel looked down on, but as far as I know, the only one looking down on me is ME.

/////

Today I’m trying to give myself enough space to move around my life without knocking things over.

I’m going to give myself extra time to get done the things that usually take me less time but now seem to require more effort.

I’ll feed myself well.

I’ll let myself make mistakes and I’ll see them as mistakes, not as failings.

I’ll ask for help.

I’ll be to myself the person I’d want to be for someone else.

I’ll try to look for glory, for as my friend Kelly wrote, “Glory is most at home in the common, if you have eyes to see.” (You can read her post here: http://bit.ly/1j6DhxJ )

When I come out of this rough patch, as I know I will eventually, I will work to remember what it was like to be that mom. And when I see her, the one for whom the burden of everyday seems almost to much to handle, I’ll pray that she can be gentle and patient with herself, that she’ll see how she can be good to herself in the midst of struggle. And if I can, I will let her know that she’s not the only one.

Eventually, there comes a time when we all are that mom.

Fragile and Sturdy

This month I found a fierce group of women who spur on one another, who support one another, who express themselves creatively. This post comes out of a prompt they offered. Here’s the link if you’d like to find out more: http://www.thestorysessions.com/subscribe/

Unfold

tissue paper

butterfly wings

poppy petals

pie crust rolled thin

Bible pages

confidence

risk

vulnerability

heart

desolation

////

////

I’m tempted to retreat from the day, close in on myself,

crawl back in bed,

detach my brain from my heart,

put a screen in front of my face to dull my mind.

Bad news on top of our new norm pushes me back

away from the resignation, the adaptation I thought I had achieved.

I would rather –

but we don’t get to ‘rather’ and we don’t get to escape, not really.

It comes back to us,

in waves,

in song,

in tear-filled eyes at the grocery store for no. apparent. reason.

////

Even though it is scary and unwieldy,

I try to spread my arms wide,

unfold from my place crouched in fear and self-protection,

where I duck from embarrassment and weakness.

I stand up, stiff and tingling, vertigo around my edges, heart pounding in my ears.

This is real.

This is life.

Life contains in it death.

That I have avoided much of this type of pain is a miracle unto itself.

That I have good men in my life who modeled to me love, commitment and joy, this is a gift.

So I unfold and stand straight to absorb the full weight that could descend with their loss,

until I have to bend beneath the heaviness of the burden, though I willingly bear it

because

it is the weight of love.

Five Minute Friday: Visit

It has been so fun to connect through Lisa-jo Baker’s linkup, Five Minute Friday. The attempt is to quiet our inner critic and allow ourselves to write for the fun of it. Five minutes, no editing, no censoring, just do it. It’s open to anyone, and you can find other posts and details at Lisa-jo’s blog, http://lisa-jobaker.com Here’s my contribution this week.

Prompt: Visit

Three, two, one, go.

A Visit to My Youth

The snow begins falling as we pull into town. The limestone cliffs along the western edge of the road, the river on our right, these indicate our entrance into a portal back in time, back to my youth.

This is a time before marriage, before children and before the surety of routine and day to day, a time before we thought we knew it all. We didn’t know what we didn’t know…and so we asked stupid questions that, looking back, were the wrong questions but they were all we had at the time. Details about a tree falling in the woods and who would hear it, an appreciation for our hands we couldn’t articulate and it came out tinny and small in our ears.

I visit my youth and I laugh too loudly with little care for disturbing, free abandon leaking all over the room and exuberance splashing onto the people around me. You are the best, you are the funniest, you are the wittiest, most interesting person I’ve ever met and I only have attention for you…until someone else draws me into their conversation and then it begins afresh.

Here children have no trouble in math, they have no bad dreams at night, they don’t ask questions I can’t answer.

Here husbands don’t need their needs accounted for, their relationship attended to, their vibes unpacked.

There is only freedom, warmth, expansive inclusion to the whole restaurant, and this witching hour only lasts until the stroke of midnight. Then my nearly 40-year-old head is on the pillow, my visit over and I return to reality.

There you have it. A hacky five minute post, but it is something rather than nothing. Do you have locations or people that launch you back in time? Situations when you find yourself acting as a younger version of yourself? Tell us about it in the comments below, we’d love to hear about YOU.

Timid Civil Disobedience

Here’s the part where I tell an embarrassing story about myself.

Gulp.

When I was in ninth grade I went to Chaska High School, Chaska being a town west of Minneapolis, Minnesota. At the time it was way out from the Twin Cities, and was borderline rural. Lots of cornfields and open spaces. Prince had his big Paisley Park mansion/studio in the area and we used to see if we could find it…on foot.

Before coming to the area, we had only lived in Minneapolis. Not in “the hood” or anything but I was in public school and was around lots of different kinds of people with many different backgrounds.

There were lots of kids for whom English was a new language,

kids from southeast Asia,

kids from Caucasian backgrounds and

African American kids,

Kids with hyphenated names and kids with Americanized names.

(The luckies got to have two names, while I was stuck with mine, unable to change it to Billie like I wanted.)

We were all part of an equal mix of the elementary school experience.

There was no one who was off-limits for friendship on the basis of color — the off-limits were determined by who was mean or ate boogers. Gross, but true.

When we moved out of Minneapolis, the experience was jarring and very different. Diversity was so natural that up to that point.

-Cue the embarrassing story.-

So I was in ninth grade. It was 1989. I think I was in science class. I’d been sitting there — palms sweating, heart racing, — waiting for the teacher to call my name for attendance. I knew what I wanted to do but I didn’t know if I’d be able to make myself do it. What would people say? Would they understand? Would I get in trouble?

It was Martin Luther King Jr. Day and there was no assembly.

There were no posters.

There had been no discussions, no required reports, no broadcasting of any famous speeches or reading or famous letters.

There was no marking of remembrance or respect for the life of this great man.

I didn’t care if we got a day off from school. I just wanted there to be some acknowledgement that he had made a difference, a monumental difference in the way we conducted ourselves everafter.

And there was nothing.

So I sat there, waiting for the teacher to call my name.

Then he did.

The room was silent.

I stood up. I gathered my books. I told him that I had to go, that I had to go to a birthday party for someone very important to me.

Somehow I had the idea that the holiday was chosen to mark his birthday, which was actually on January 15, 1929. The legislation that was signed into law in 1983 marked the holiday on the third Monday in January and was supposed to begin being observed by 1986. Find out more here: http://bit.ly/1jblo0n 

I picked up my books, walked out the door and down the hallway until I found my locker. I put away my books and sat on the cold tile floor until it was time to go to my next class. My statement had been made.

No one walked out after me.

The teacher didn’t chase me down. There was no follow-up, no meeting with a school counselor and I got into no trouble.

I don’t remember if I went to my other classes. I must have, because I didn’t have a car and so couldn’t have left school. I only remember walking out of one class that day. I remember being scared but feeling that someone must do something to get attention on the issue. The administration should know this was important and they should be teaching about Martin Luther King Jr, even if there were no kids of color at the school — it was even more essential to teach about him so that the discrimination of the past wouldn’t continue to be the unspoken norm of the present.

Telling this story, I realize now that my actions did not result in any external changes. The only thing that happened was something in myself.

Do you have any memories specifically tied to Martin Luther King Jr.? What impact do his teachings and life have on the way you view the world?


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