Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Day of Countless I Love Yous

I am not sure what's going on, but I'm certainly not complaining.  This day, I have heard "I love you Mom" more times than I can count and definitely more times than any other day I can ever recall hearing the phrase.  I don't know if I'm just really dominating in motherhood today, or if my natural facial expression suggests I need a pick-me-up, or if someone bribed the children, or if it has to do with the phase of the moon... but, whatever it is, I'll take it.

Here in Krinkeland, we are beyond the phase of sticky arms wrapped suffocatingly around necks, but that doesn't mean we have outgrown the "I love yous."  Never outgrow the "I love yous."  These days, they may be more important than ever.

The family, members within the Krinkeland household and those extended, is busy.  Just busy, busy, busy, going in all directions and trying hard to catch our breath, but we need to be reminded to focus on one another.  In this country, the social and political climates are tense and rocky.  In church, in school, amongst their friends, my kids have so many questions, and most of them do not have answers, at least not simple ones.

We keep discussing.  We keep searching.  We keep pausing and breathing deeply.  We keep taking care of each other.  I LOVE YOU.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Driven to Drive

Has anyone seen this girl?  Armed with a fistful of birthday cash and a newly minted driver's license, I swear I've hardly seen her since the ride home from the examination station.

Amanda took her driver's test yesterday, one the heels of two days of snow and wind, and in an unfamiliar location (because a small town an hour's drive from ours is where she could get in when 60 days before her birthday she went online to make the appointment) and she passed.  What's more, we both survived the day.  That is saying something.

I signed her out of school with extra, extra time to make it to the driver's test, because the weather, and, therefore, the road conditions, had been horrendous.  Also, it's one of those events for which you want to allow a little padding.  When we got to the town, Amanda started touring city blocks, looking for parking lots to practice her 90-degree back-in (or something like that, it's called.)  The practice did not go well, and she was getting more upset as I was getting more nauseated.  I gave the standard advice: Stop freaking out-- you're fine, and we continued on to what my daughter understood to be the testing site, the courthouse.  That wasn't it.  But there was a sign posted on the door with directions to the licensing bureau, about six blocks away, so we went there.  That wasn't it, either.  Our nearly hour-long head start had by this time dwindled to five minutes and everyone involved was on the edge of hysteria.  As the clerk at the second stop mused, "Let's see... how can I direct you..." I said, "Never mind-- we'll put it in the phone," and I did an about-face, flashing a grade two glare in the direction of the dingbat daughter.  It was enough to express my annoyance with her lack of preparedness (as well as my annoyance with my misplaced trust in her) but not enough to make the already nervous test subject come totally unglued.

We made it to the actual testing site with two minutes to spare.  The 100-year-old examiner was the only human in the building, and he barely fit the description.  I handed over my firstborn to him and sat down to pray.  Less than five minutes later, Amanda was back.  She had forgotten an essential piece of paperwork in her backpack.  Heaven help us.  He may not have displayed much personality, but the driving dude clearly had patience-- and mercy.

Amanda passed her test, according to the little carbon-copy form she clutched upon her return.  The tester grunted at me.  We left.

I drove home.

She offered to take Elisabeth to her CrossFit class, as well as anything else that needed doing.  Today was more of the same.  Amanda went to the bank and to a store.  She's already been through the drive-thru.  I am sure the novelty will wear off... And, in all actuality, I am thankful.  I'm nervous, but I'm thankful.  I have so far dubbed this school year The Year of Waiting.  It seems all the Krinkeland kids, with all their interests and activities, have to be in different places on the same days at the same times.  And be picked up from different places on the same days at the same times.  Someone is always waiting.

So that's going to be a definite benefit of having another driver: Amanda will not be waiting.  Wherever she is, she's gotten herself there.

Saturday, March 3, 2018


Today, our firstborn is 16 years old.  Happy, happy birthday, Amanda Noel!  Jesus loves you and Mommy does, too.  It seems like one of those headliner, milestone days, and it is, as I was reminded throughout the day, with texts I received from loved ones congratulating me and asking how I was holding up.  Maybe things will seem more profound when she takes her driver's test (soon) but, the truth is, she seemed suddenly more grown-up when she began high school and has since been steadily drifting toward maturity and independence.

It is what it is-- Amanda's life, progressing as it should.  Today, she is 16.  I appreciate her more with each passing year, as I admire the young woman she is becoming.  I do get melancholy when I think, "Amanda is growing up... soon she will be gone... I... am... losing... her..."  But, then, as though she senses my secretly sinking mood, 16-year-old forgoes plans with her friends (well, she's already made arrangements for next weekend, and the next, drawing out the birthday month) and asks to order in Vietnamese food, watch home videos, and end the night with a sibling hula-hoop contest.

I put these song lyrics on a social media post for Amanda's birthday, and she asked me what they were.  It made me sad because she claims to have a fantastic memory and I played this song every night in her nursery as I rocked her before bed.  The sentiment remains.