A few days ago, Carter had his first little playdate! A sweet mama that I used to teach with called and invited us for an indoor pool party day :) She said "oh - it'll be great, we'll just throw the kiddie pool in the kitchen and lay out some towels!". Ha.
After I told her I thought she was slightly crazy, I told her we'd be there! We (well...not really 'we' - because Carter had no idea where we were going) were SO excited and looked forward to it for days!
|I know. The arm rolls. The belly. The fact that he's poking Sylas with a toothpick umbrella. |
It's all too much!
|"ohhhh yes - this is the life.....someone bring me my lunch."|
And after every decent pool party, there must be ice cream. Carter's first cone - and of course he loved that, too. Didn't take him long to figure out how to hold and chomp.
I had so much fun being with these two experienced mamas. Loved me some adult time.
And I learned something. I learned that it's okay. It's okay if we make a mistake. He's our first - and we're bound have our fair share of 'ohhh - why did we tell him that?!' or 'why did we let him do that?!'.
And he'll survive. And we'll survive. And it will be okay.
Carter also attended his first high school basketball game recently. The youth group that Jake & his brother lead at our church went on an outing to this game - at a school for 'at risk' boys. It was 'Pack the Gym' night, and let me tell you - I was sad to see that the gym was definitely not packed. It made me realize that in most cases, other than the staff that works at this school, these boys just don't have the support that struggling high school boys should have.
So - at the beginning of the game, we were 'those weird attendees who clearly have nothing better to do than scream for kids they don't know on a Tuesday night'. By half-time, it was like a real basketball game. Everyone was cheering, people were clapping....there was actually life in that gymnasium. It's been a while since we've been to a competitive game, and it reminded me of some things. One - that I'm married to a sports fanatic. That guy who cheers loudest - riles up the refs - leaves the game with a sore throat.....yea, that's my husband. And it reminded me that THAT is something I love about him. It's called passion - zeal - determination. And Jake has a whole lot of it.
It also reminded me that I hate thinking that people are mad at me. I know, weird to get that from a basketball game. Let me explain, before you think I'm a nut. Jake cheers - loudly, and some fans...well - some fans just aren't into that. That's okay. Jake also says things like "come ON ref - HE WAS TRAVELING!! Call TRAVELING!". Refs don't like that so much. Other fans don't like that so much. Even other fans from the same team sometimes don't like that so much. I usually nudge Jake with my elbow. And he throws me the look like 'what?!'. And it makes me want to hide under the bleachers sometimes, even though I usually just laugh it off.
Why?! Because I hate feeling like people are mad at me. Even total strangers. I hate it. It sounds ridiculous as I type it here - but I hate feeling like people are angry with me. Because if they're angry with me, they might discard me. I know - if they're strangers, then what does it matter?! I don't know. And I'm not sure where I'm going with this. I guess this basketball game has brought about an emotional awakening within me. Okay - officially nuts.
Back to the game. Carter. Ohhh Carter. I thought I'd have to funnel a steady stream of Cheerios into his mouth if I wanted him to sit through the whole game. I was so wrong.
I think we have a basketball fan on our hands. Carter was enthralled. His eyes followed the ball from side to side. When the youth group kids did their twinkle fingers during the free throws, Carter did twinkle fingers. When we clapped and cheered after a point was made, Carter clapped.
By the end of the game, Carter was signing 'traveling'. I am dead flippin' serious.
Little boy loved the action. He loved the attention he got from all those middle & high schoolers. He did not love the pizza afterwards, but that's another story.
Bottom line - it was a good night. And I walked away refreshed. As I sit here and plunk this out on my little keyboard, the Lord is reminding me why Jake 'does' this. Why he devotes hours each week to planning that he could be spending with his wife & kid. Why he is at church every.single.Wednesday without fail when he could be developing a selfish hobby instead. Why he can be found hanging out with the kids on Sunday morning when he could be having other meaningful conversations with adults. Why he has spent countless nights over the course of our relationship planning events - activities - outings when he could be planning events - activities - outings for US.....
Because it's not about us. It shouldn't be about us. Ever. And if it becomes about us - or what we want - or what works for us - or how we might be more comfortable - or what might be easier - or what might be more beneficial for us - well, then we're just not cutting it. I would count that as a fail. Total fail.
I don't ever want this life to be about us. Jake's life verse is John 3:30 - "He must become greater, I must become less.". Perfect. During prayer on Sunday one of our elders said "Less Gary, more God.". Perfect.
Could you say you need less of you and more of Him? Lord have mercy - yes, yes, and YES. A whole lot less of Ashley.
So, look where all of that rambling took us. I feel like I've just enjoyed a cup of coffee with my favorite gal pal. Thanks, pal. Enjoy your day. Let's do it again soon - coffee is on me, next time.
One Thing I Know For Sure: Less Ash, More God. For sure.