Saturday, April 30, 2011

A great race

Had a great race this morning.  Beautiful weather.  Huge crowd.  Amazing friends.  Worthwhile cause. 

And I beat last year's time by 2 minutes and 18 seconds.


I am awed by my friend Sandra.  I trained hard for this race for two months and still had to walk short increments.  She got away from me right out of the gate and I never caught up.  She hardly trained!  She's amazing.

She waited with our families for me at the finish line.  She's cool that way. 

A lot of other friends cheered me on through the finish too.  Some passed me during the race, trying to drag me with them.  Others were screaming my name as I picked up my pace for the last 10th of a mile.  Thumbs up, fist pumps, and crazy smiles.  My family with their signs.

My son...who prayed last night that I would win...with his ready hug and a whisper that I was a winner no matter what I placed.

Kids fun run.


Lots and lots of friends.


It was a great run.


Friday, April 29, 2011

Run the race

In a little over 24 hours, I will check-in for the 5K I have been training for since mid-February.  I ran this same race last year, and limped home with runner's knee... which was followed five weeks later by a severely pinched nerve in my back.  I didn't run again until two months ago.

This is the only race I've ever run outside of high school track.  It's for charity.  Proceeds benefit HIV/AIDS infected and affected orphans in South Africa.

I didn't pick this race because I felt a special connection to those who will reap the rewards of our registration fee.  My church supports the race.  Many of my friends participate.  It is so close to home that, in years past, the route has actually taken runners in front of my house!  It's practically a social function.

But two weeks ago, I gained a little perspective.  Connection.

While I never knew my birth father...I ultimately lost him to AIDS.

My runs were already becoming spiritual, but this news ratcheted that up significantly.  As I train, I can't help but think of those who cannot run anymore because their bodies have been ravaged by illness.  I cannot help but picture dying mothers who are worried about their children that will soon be orphaned.  As I anticipate the race - the pictures of South African orphans, the South African flags, the sheer number of runners who have turned out - I know the connection there is between those children a world away and me.  I'm right here - in this community - and I represent some of the cost of AIDS.

My father's circumstance was likely different than many of those in impoverished South Africa.  My father died of an illness that his recklessness made him vulnerable too, and that recklessness came out of a painful childhood.  One not much different from my own...  I am so thankful that God has led me in a different direction.  He has spared me so much of what my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins have journeyed.

As I run tomorrow, the race will be personal.  I will run with the knowledge that pain leads to devastating behaviors and consequences.  That AIDS ended my father's life and with it any chance to know him.  That my father left behind two children who never knew him and still do not even know one another's identity.  That mentioning my father's illness is so close to taboo, that some family members are too ashamed to talk about it.  That shame leads no where good.

I will run with worship music playing on my iPod.  I will listen to words that praise God for his power, strength, faithfulness, grace, love and sovereignty.  I will run with the word "DETERMINATION" or "DISCIPLINE" written on my hand, as I will need reminded to keep running.  He has only given me this one body - this one life - and He has laid the road out before me and will equip me to run it.

"Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!  All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.  So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing.  I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified."  1 Corinthians 9:24-28

In the study notes of my Bible, in reference to 9:25, it says (in part):  "Say no to friends or situations that lead you away from Christ.  Say no to casual sex, saving intimacy for marriage."  How's that for perfectly timed and relevant?

I praise Him for his mighty work in my life, and the promises and direction found in His word.  I praise God for people who generously show up in support of people they will never meet.  I praise God for the little revelations that connect humanity around the globe.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Grammar 101

I may just be really cranky because I have a little cold and am sleep deprived, but I'm feeling snarky about grammar today.

I am not the grammar police, but I was one of those kids who corrected people all the time.  You can see how that made me ultra-popular.  Nowadays, the only people whose grammar I correct are my children.  (Is that sentence even grammatically correct?  It sounds weird.)

The incorrect use of "I" and "me" is driving me crazy today.

Two basic rules:
  • When listing names, the reference to yourself goes last.
  • When deciding between "I" and "me", take everyone else out and say the sentence back to yourself to see how it sounds.

Me and Tonya are going to dinner.  WRONG.  Tonya and I are going to dinner.  Put yourself last.  (I could totally work a Bible lesson in right here, but I'll resist.)

Granny sent a gift to Tonya and I.  How does "Granny sent a gift to I" sound to you?  WRONG.  Granny sent a gift to Tonya and me.  Ahhh...  So refreshing to hear you say it the right way. 

Sorry.  This just drives me crazy and today I'm showing my true snarky colors.

Zach and Luke, I probably won't forget to teach this to you... but if I do... please heed my advice here and get this right.  Use "I" and "me" correctly.  I thought I was so brilliant always using "you and I", but then your dad pointed out (about 10 years ago) that I had it wrong about half the time.  There's more than one grammar-fanatic in this house. 

And  please don't say ATM Machine.  It's redundant.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Great job, Dynamite!

Six weeks of U5 soccer flew by.  Our season ended on Saturday.

We ended on a high note.  It's always great when kids play soccer with smiles pasted on their faces and a spring in their step.

Always great when your child scores a goal in his last game of the season and then looks at you like he's a rock star immediately after. 

Always great when Coach lifts his player into the air at mid-field after a goal.  What kid doesn't like to fly a little during soccer?

Always great to run through a human tunnel.

Always great to be a part of the team huddle (which includes your big brother because he's convinced his your Assistant Coach).  GO-O-O DYNAMITE!!

Always great to get a medal.

Always great to play with friends...even when your best friend is out of town on Easter weekend (we missed you, Joel!).

Always great when Coach also goes by Daddy.

And always great to kick your ball all the way back to the car.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A very happy Easter

Yesterday was Easter.  The message at church was about how we have salvation through the cross and power for life through the empty tomb.  The resurrection.

Every believer acknowledges that Christ's crucifixion saves our souls, but often we underestimate God's power to change our lives here on earth.  More than anything, we limit God by imposing our own limits on what we're willing to do.

For the last six years I have really fancied myself as a person completely open to God's work and change in my life, but in the last few months I've come face to face with the truth - I severely limit God.  I can love a complete stranger, but family terrifies me.  I have been so hurt by certain people that I had simply deemed all family untrustworthy and kept them all at arm's length.  For a time, this was necessary...but now it's just selfish preservation from what I fear might happen.

I've written about this sort of thing several times recently, but yesterday I was just so moved and overwhelmed by God's promises and faithfulness to come through if we'll just get out of his way.

These have long been favorite scriptures, but these different translations and emphasis really captured my attention.

Jesus said "I have come that you may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (till it overflows)." John 10:10

"I have strength for all things in Christ who empowers me.  I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses inner strength into me."  Philippians 4:13

"What is impossible with men is possible with God."  Luke 18:27 

"I have raised you up for this very purpose of displaying my power in you, so that my name may be proclaimed the whole world over."  Romans 9:17

"For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power."  1 Corinthians 4:20

Because of God's dwelling within me, I have the power to do the most difficult things imaginable.  For me, these most difficult things involve reconciling relationships that were once very painful. 

On Easter Sunday, an empty tomb was found.  Jesus had been resurrected.

Synonyms for resurrection include:  renewal, resurgence, revival and rebirth.

Like my Lord Jesus' resurrection, my Heavenly Father wants to see a revival within my family.

I waited until Friday to invite my family over for an Easter celebration.  It took time for me to get up the courage and get over my overwhelmingly selfish desires to be right rather than happy.  But I did call, and they eagerly accepted my invitation.

Because God has been working so diligently on my heart...restoring me and empowering me to love people I previously did not even like, this happened.


I celebrated Easter with my family for the first time since I was a child.


We dined on hot dogs and chips - on paper plates - but this year goes down as the most memorable and joy-filled Easter ever.

God is giving new life to these relationships.  And I am finding that all the "peace" that came with distance, pales in comparison to the love and happiness that surrounded us on Saturday.

I praise God that everything that is impossible with men is possible with Him!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Stepping forward in spite of fear

Not a day passes that I don't think about my dad and my grandparents.  This is often prompted by the sound of our mail truck pulling up to the mailboxes across the street.  After he pulls off I head to our mailbox, praying that today's the day my grandmother will write.  Still, no word.  I wonder if she thinks about me everyday too.  I wonder if she's read my letters and understands my heart.  I try to make sense of what would cause a grandmother to choose silence rather than a relationship with her granddaughter.

And I wonder about my grandfather.  Was he just having a conversation with a long lost family member when we talked last week, or does he realize that I'm every bit as much his grandchild as the other 14 grand kids that he'll have over this Sunday for Easter?  People automatically love unborn babies.  Does my grandfather feel that sort of love for me, even though I'm almost 37 and he's never known me?

I sent him a quick email after we talked last Tuesday.  I just sent a family photo and my contact information.  He'd already told me that he's not a writer but that he's up for phone calls anytime, so I don't expect a great deal of email communication.  I'd thought he might at least type back "Thanks, nice picture."  Something to reassure me that he's willing to make an effort and that it's safe for me to step towards him.  But there was nothing...  Till today.

He emailed me.  Still not a word, but he attached a family tree.  It's just information about his parents and siblings - marriage and birth dates, full names, and causes of death.  Nothing personal, but it's something.  He had to have thought of me to find the document, scan it, and email it.  But then, he could have just been doing a favor for a long lost family member seeking out ancestral information.

This whole idea of building a relationship with people who have never reached out to me is scary.  I can honestly see why people don't do it - people in their shoes and mine.  We have to take a leap of faith to care about each other and express that care.  I take that back.  I already care, it's expressing that care that scares me to tears.  I fear feeling humiliated if I express a desire for them and they don't want it; yet I know that it takes courage, grace and mercy to seek those who have (in appearance at least) rejected and abandoned me.  My impulse is to feel as if I need to have faith in them - in their intentions and desires, as if I need to trust them - but if I wait to trust them first, then it will never happen.

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7

It's not faith in people that I need; but the knowledge of who and whose I am.  I came from my mother's womb, but God placed me there.  He placed me into the care of my mom and dad, but He's actually my creator.  My father.  The one I belong to.  That is something no one can take away from me.

It is crazy how it feels as if everything in my life has led to this.  Do I or don't I go out on this scary limb to reach my family?  God has done a tremendous work on my heart; perhaps so that I can be the one to courageously reach out so that He can restore wholeness and connection to a family that has long suffered without it.

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.  In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:  who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!" Philippians 2:3-8

As I studied this a few weeks ago, I thought about all of those who have realistically voiced concerns about how I might be hurt by my family's rejection.  But I feel so called by the Lord to reach out to them, and so reminded by this verse that Jesus loved us so much that he died on a cross.  Am I above Jesus?  Am I to live a life of self-preservation?

For me, the answer is no.  Additionally, rejection - should it come - will not be anything I can't handle.  There is no question that I will rebound should something go not-so-great.  This is all scary, yes.  I have to rely on the Lord for direction and courage at every turn, but I truly believe that these efforts at reconciliation is exactly where God has led me. 

I know He is God and can do anything...but I just don't know how He has the time to intricately orchestrate each of our lives.  My...  How he loves us!


Update:  Bud has emailed me five times today.  Four have had ancestral documents attached without a message in the body, but one was a short email...  He signed it "Grandpa".  That one word - the word of his choosing - feels so intimate and familiar.  I feel so wonderfully full of hope.  I thank God today for Bud's timing and kindness; and I pray for vulnerability and sensitivity for both of us, as we wade into this unknown territory of expressing concern for someone we do not yet know and trust.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

An important announcement

....and we couldn't be happier!

Awesome project

Everyone in Zach's class had a silhouette made at school.  Isn't it awesome?

I love the clues that he gave regarding his identity.

The clues weren't necessary to identify him though .  Everyone immediately recognized the spiky hair.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

the Dynamite

We're more than halfway though soccer season and I haven't even mentioned it yet!  Bryan is coaching a second team this season.

Meet the Dynamite.

Six kids, ages 4 to 4 1/2.  Explosive fun!

It's funny to hear the conversations between parents and players.  "It is okay to steal the ball here.  You want to steal it from the other team."  "A little shoving is okay, but don't do it to knock someone down or be mean."  "Run as fast as you can.  Get to the ball before the other guy does!"  And to hear parents talking amongst themselves, "All these years we've been teaching him to be considerate and must be so confusing to hear a different message while playing sports!"

The boys are coming along nicely, each at his own pace.  They are finding their inner-competitors, running hard, figuring out what they're supposed to be doing on the field... all while enjoying a game with friends.  I love having another budding athlete in the house.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

1 hr. 26 mins.

As Bryan left for work this morning, he informed me that Luke had been up sick around 11pm.  There would be no school for Luke, and no run for me this morning.  Luke slept in a little, but woke up sick again.

If it weren't for Luke being sick, we'd have been long gone when the phone rang at 9:04am.

The caller ID read E. Anderson.

When I left the voice mail for him yesterday, I'd hung up confused and frustrated.  I hadn't expected to leave a message, so I felt like I was blabbering on and on, making no sense at all, and I might even have talked so much that it cut off before I could leave my phone number.  I didn't really think he'd call me back, so I began to prepare myself with a little anger to take the sting out of one more rejection.

Then he called.

My dad's birth father.

When I answered, he said, "Hello, Tonya.  This is your grandfather."  He sounded so happy!  I'm pretty sure he could hear me beaming through the phone.

We had a wonderful talk.  One hour and twenty-six minutes.  Not knowing what to say at first, I quickly spit out how I'd discovered my father's death and why I was calling, and he quickly spit out how my father died.  Talk about awkward.  I think that neither of us really knew where to begin.

My dad hadn't talked to my grandfather in a very long time (I believe it had been years), when out of the blue he called.  He abruptly said, "Dad, I'm dying."  I can't help but marvel at the natural pull between parent and child.  No matter how deeply his dad had hurt him, he still needed his dad.  On some level, my dad knew much of the same pain and emptiness I have felt.  My grandfather has too.  A month later, my dad passed.  My grandfather found out about it in the local paper. 

My grandfather and I talked openly.  He shared with me briefly about his childhood.  His mother's passing when he was just six.  His father's inability to care for him.  His brother's attempts to raise him, but ultimately him going to live with another family.  He left school after the 9th grade and joined the military, and was then adopted by the family who raised him.  How about that?  He was adopted as a legal adult!  He is a man who is no stranger to the parental hole left in a child's heart.

We talked about his marriage to my grandmother.  Their divorce.  What led to him giving his boys up for adoption.  And I asked....what seems obvious, but I needed to hear from him...."Did you ever come to regret giving your boys up for adoption?"  He does.  There is so much that he regrets.  He is a changed man.  I found him to be honest, humble, and wise.  He recognizes where he went wrong and has since done things differently, but he cannot change the past.  Each of the three children he had with my grandmother are now passed.

In the years since his marriage to my grandmother, my grandfather has built what sounds like a lovely family.  He and his wife have a blended family of six living children and fourteen grandchildren.  One is his biological daughter, and one is a step son with a previous wife -- but when he divorced the mother, he did not divorce the child.  And his wife has four children that he considers his own.  This is no longer a man who walks away from his children.

As we talked, he started one sentence with, "If you are ever up here, I will show you..."  I'm hoping and praying that that means that he will keep in touch and that there is hope for a visit to my father's hometown that will not result in bitter disappointment.  I pray that he actually wants to know me.

On a side note:  My grandfather has no idea how to locate my half-brother.  That part is still a mystery, but perhaps one day a private investigator will fall into my lap and be able to connect him to our father.  I would very much like to meet him one day.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Harder than it used to be

What was once super easy, is much more of a challenge for me now.


I started distance running when I was in the 7th grade.  We were supposed to run/walk a mile in PE class and I asked if I could just run the whole thing to get it over with faster.  When assigned ladders on our 8th grade track team, I asked the same thing.  My track coach didn't really care - in fact, he said he didn't think there was any way I could do it - so I did.  I was never the fastest runner, but I enjoyed it and it came easily.  I eventually dropped off the high school track team, but kept running until I was 28.

By that time I'd come to realize that I ran abusively and to avoid having to talk about things.  I abruptly stopped running - and started dealing with life.  But eventually age started catching up with me and I needed to exercise again.  It took a few years to work up the courage to exercise, but I'm doing it.

I want so badly to run again.  I've been training on a treadmill at the gym since mid-February.  I can actually run with endurance and excitement at the gym, but moving outdoors is proving to be much more difficult.  The hills, wind, varying temps, boredom, my hip, allergies ... and the battle I'm losing with my mind ... are just not working in my favor.

At a mile and a half, I texted Bryan.  "I'm dying."  He jokingly texted back, "Want us to come get you?"  (He never thought in a million years that I'd take him up on it.)  I replied, "Yes" and gave my location.  He showed up after I'd gone 1.9 miles.  I could see my neighborhood as I climbed into the van.  It was all downhill from where I was - it was so doable.  I had thrown in the towel between coughs and fear that I would throw up.  Ten minutes later, the nausea passed.  I'm still coughing a little this morning.  I wondered aloud about the coughing maybe being a problem, and Bryan joked that I should just quit running before I kill myself.

I'm not going to quit, but I sure don't remember it being this hard.  I should mention that yesterday was only my second time out this year.  I should give myself a break.  Just like I tell my kids, everything takes time and practice...and no matter how badly you want to be awesome, it doesn't ever just come to anyone.

I'll lace up my shoes and head out again tomorrow, and hopefully I'll go a little farther - or at least not have to call for a ride home. 

I went back and re-read this post about Zach learning to play basketball.  The next time I feel discouraged or want to quit, I need to remember that determination is deciding it's worth it to finish what you've started.

"And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us" ~ Hebrews 12:1

"I can do all things through Him who gives me strength." ~ Phil. 4:13

Friday, April 8, 2011


I am just so glad to have boys.

I'll be honest...  I bought a tiny dress when I was pregnant with Zach.  I was convinced he was a girl and was a little sad for about six hours after the ultrasound.  No dresses, hair bows, tights, flowers, butterflies...cherries were a popular print back then too.  There would be none of that, and I was a little sad.  It was baseball season though, so all the baseball clothes, bibs, blankets and stuffed balls quickly diverted my attention.

I was never sad again.

Well, every now and then I'm a little sad when I see Father Daughter dances approaching; but more than anything I'm sad that there are never any Mother Son events.  In my spare time, someday I'm going to put an event together.  Boy-moms from miles away will come.

I digress...

As Zach and I shared a seat at the computer tonight I was reminded of how crazy I am about my boys.  How blessed I am to have them - to be completely outnumbered, yet perfectly in place.  I am so overwhelmingly content and full of joy.  We were doing an online science project together for my biology class.  It was after bedtime.  Luke was sleeping, Bryan was in the basement watching golf.  As we did my our project, he paused, looked at me with sheer adoration all over his face and said, "Thanks, Mom.  Thanks for letting me stay up late to do this.  And thanks for letting me do all the clicking."

God so totally knew what he was doing giving me boys.  Even though I was once a little girl, I know nothing about them.  I didn't do Barbie, baby dolls, or princesses.  I played baseball with my brother, rode dirt bikes, and played kick ball.  I wore a Star Wars t-shirt in my preschool school picture!  Not that I ever liked Star Wars, but I hated everything girlie.  I've always enjoyed math, and science experiments interest me far more than tea parties.  My boys love science and math...thankfully, they're not so wild about tea pots and crumpets.

I often wonder who my boys will be when they grow up.  Tonight it was as if I could hear myself thinking aloud: "Man, I care so much about equipping these boys to one day be wonderful husbands and fathers.  He didn't give me daughters, and maybe that's because the best gift I could give a girl is to raise up a qualified man to one day be her husband."  As a girl, I did not have a qualified man in my life.  I had men who caused a great deal of pain and emptiness.  I felt choked up as I thought about the girls my boys will one day marry and have a family with.  I pray that my boys will be well-equipped for marriage and family - that they will have seen in their childhood home what faith, love, commitment, sacrifice, provision, contentment and joy really look like so that they will be relationally prepared.

Mothering these guys is among my life's greatest joys.  Luke has recently been telling me, "When I grow up, I don't think I will love my wife and kids more than I love you."  I assured him that he will love his wife and kids in a way that cannot even be imagined.  I am constantly awed by the capacity with which God gave humans to love.  And even more awed to know that his capacity is even greater.  And perfect.

"Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it."  Proverbs 22:6

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Thinking aloud

I dropped another letter into the mail for my grandparents on Monday.  I have written them twice in the last 2 1/2 weeks...and the last letter before that was sent in December 2005.  I didn't know it then, but my father had died three months prior.  My grandparents have not responded to any of the three letters.

I realize that my recent letters are very recent and they may be composing their thoughts before responding, but it still begs the question...  What do I do if they don't respond?

I have known for at least eleven years that my father had a son 12-15 years after I was born.  I haven't seriously searched for him for many reasons - one of which is because I don't have one question answered for myself.  Why do I want to seek out someone who is blood related, but I've never had a relationship with?

I can hardly articulate it, but I understand the thoughts that run through an adoptee's mind.  Who did I come from?  How are we similar?  Why did my parent(s) leave me?  Do I ever cross their mind?  Do I matter to them?  Would they like me if they knew me?  Do I have siblings?  If yes, do they know about me?  Do they wonder about me?  Do they know this same lonely feeling of being left?  That last one chokes me up.  It hits one of my nails on its head...  Having also been abandoned by our father, his son is the one person on the planet that I know experienced the same thing I did.  Our dad leaving.  (Although I realize he may have emotionally experienced it much differently, and perhaps he isn't even aware.)

While I do not even know my father's son's full name, of the nearly 7 billion people on the earth, he's the one I don't know but think of specifically and consistently.  He could be in one of my classes or standing beside me in line at the grocery store, and without the knowledge that it's him....he is no one significant.  But if I were to know that he is my father's brother...that somehow changes everything.

Like the day I met my father.  He was just a guy in an airport.  Very tall, thin, red headed, wearing a ball cap, waiting beside the elevator...but I knew that we were a piece of each other and that somehow made him familiar - not a stranger at all.

On one hand that seems illogical.  This brother is someone I've never laid eyes on, but there is an instinctive care and concern...perhaps even love.  This pull towards my stranger-brother....and practically-stranger-grandparents is so hard to wrap my brain around, yet completely understandable at the same time.

If I've learned nothing in the last 2 1/2 weeks, I've learned that time does not stand still...and it eventually runs out.  My dad died while I was waiting.  Are my grandparents even still living?

But...again...why do I want to seek out family members that I have never really known, and some who may not even know I exist?  It is very possible that my brother has no idea about me.

I am really thinking aloud here.  Writing helps me process, and having it here ensures that I will not forget this part of my journey.  As if I could ever forget.  There is such a strong pull towards locating and contacting my father's family members...but there is also fear and uncertainty.

If you are reading this and have a relevant experience you'd like to share, I'm all ears.  I'm not looking for anyone to tell me what I should or should not do, but I would love to hear real stories that deal with the heart of what I'm going through.  Remember?  I'm a support group kind of gal.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

If I ever need a pick-me-up...

...I might not check in with Luke.

As he runs across his bedroom laughing in the darkeness, Luke says:  "I just had gas in your face!"

Luke:  "What would happen if you just shaved your mustache off?"  (If I have a mustache, I have no real friends; as no one has ever mentioned it!)

Luke:  "Hey, Mom. I'm sniffing your armpit."

Earlier today someone asked me if I ever felt a twinge of sadness that I don't have any daughters.  I wonder if girls whisper these same sweet nothings to their mothers as they end their day with hugs, kisses, and prayer?

Then...  As we said our final goodnights, he said:  "You're my first best friend, Mommy.  I love you.  Be safe in the storm tonight."

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools - not so much

I don't know quite how to put this...

Most people see Zach as being very serious and almost perfectly behaved.  When away from home, he is very focused, controlled and respectful.  He minds all the rules, dresses impeccably, and has excellent manners.  He is not a child prone to outbursts and distraction, and he gravitates towards others who are like him.  He will play with the "wilder" kids at recess, but if they get "too wild" or break rules...he's out!  He's so committed to "doing the right thing" that anytime he gets to invite two friends to sit with him in private dining during lunch (a special treat he always buys with his Brim Bucks), he always picks the best behaved boys. 

Now, don't get me wrong.  He really lets loose with his family.  He tunes his parents out, he picks fights with his brother, he acts wild and crazy, the noise level is always off the hook, he burps, he makes announcements about things he needs rather than asking politely, he interrupts, he has friends over and they jump on furniture and blast guns at each other for hours.  HE IS NORMAL.  He's just ultra-well-behaved when he's not at home.

But, I really thought that by now he'd have lightened up a little.  I picked up some funny t-shirts at a garage sale last summer...  They have sassy statements on the front.  Mom + Dad = MONEY.  I'm the most awesome person I know.  But he thinks they're not nice.  Not appreciative.  Disrespectful.  Bragging.  Obnoxious.

How could he possibly go out in public with such statements on his shirt?!?!

I bought this one too.

I think it's funny.  His teacher is cool and she'd probably think it's funny too.  But, Zach's not convinced.  We've discussed for months that he'd wear it on April Fools Day.

Surprise, surprise.  He wouldn't wear it this morning.

"But, Mom, of course I did my homework.  It's just not a nice shirt."

So, now I'll pack it away and let Luke have it.

Watch out, world, Luke is gonna bring it!  He's full of sass, comedy, sarcasm, and teasing.  I became convinced when he was just a toddler that the police will one day call me because of a prank he's pulled.  He is not at all prim and proper...  He's a party waiting to happen.

My mom would totally say that Zach gets this from me!  Boy did I use to be uptight serious.  But there's something about delivering a baby, saying and singing very silly things to said baby in public, and dressing in costume, getting on stage and playing musical instruments in front of strangers in children's museums that just changes a person.

You're way cool, Zach.  I love you just the way you are.  And, frankly, I really, really, really, really, really, really love your sense of fashion!  I don't do holey jeans, stained shorts, or shirts emblazoned with catchy sayings or Disney characters either.