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Building Bridges

"The best part of waking up is Folger's in your cup!" That jingle plays in my head, sometimes coming out in real life, every morning I pull out the Folger's can.

Yesterday had some sweet moments: I returned from dropping off Kal's friend to find Kris and Kara reading together. All of us love to read, and the best times are when we're doing it together at the end of the day.

Another time was after school. Kal and I have butted heads all his life. It's been so hard to keep control of myself and not blow a gasket at all the behaviors that are training me to be a better parent. Anyway, my friend had a different approach with her extremely strong-willed son to connect with him. She started playing video games with him, and it's building the bridges that they needed.

When I proposed this to Kal--I, the Mom, the Mean Mom, the Mom Who Never Has Fun, who has only ever really played Tetris because stacking and packing is fun--he asked if I was sick. He asked several times if I was sick, if I was okay. Once he realized I was serious, he was thrilled, but decided to be careful not to pick a game that was too gory for me. He's still in shock that I'll actually sit down with him and enter a world that means so much to him.

We build bridges also when we walk or bike around our neighborhood together. Even if we don't talk much, being together in nature is healing for us.

Building bridges with Kara takes a different form: it means so much to her when I serve her in some way: fix a garment she loves or help her clean up her room. Sometimes we watch a chick flick together, or go to Ihop and Claire's. She loves one-on-one time with both Kris and me.

Kal and Kara both still like having us come to school for lunch with them, so we do that fairly often. Besides, it gives me a chance to get to know the kids around them. Parenting is scary.

Kris builds bridges with me by simply asking how my day was, then listening to the story that spills out. It also happens when he jumps in to help with housework, which is often and makes me feel loved.

Communication builds bridges between the two of us. It's hard for me to remember that he can't read what's going on in my head. I've learned that bullet points work better than an entire editorial. We like each other better when we're on the same page as far as the calendar and finances go.

We also love going to bookstores together. Or we go split shopping. You know how lots of girly stores are situated next to manly stores? Best Buy next to Bed Bath & Beyond. Target next to Menard's. Hobby Lobby next to... well, there he just has to wait in the car.

School is delayed for two hours this morning. Icy road conditions from last night. The cars ahead of and behind me were driving at 15mph with their blinkers on. Looked like a funeral procession. I didn't have blinkers on, because that's against the rules.

We stopped at Kroger, but not for French toast supplies, and came out to see an elderly lady carefully walking to her car. I kept my eye on her in case she needed help and to make sure she didn't fall, then thought to pray in general for the elderly in this weather. It's scary to think of being in the cold, on ice, and not able to get up.

Actually, it wouldn't hurt to check in on my neighbors this morning.


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