We are a little bit crazy at our home and I was having a moment – like – Oh, no! We’re too crazy. I hope I’m not setting such a poor example for my kids that they won’t grow to love Jesus. (We are a bit wild 😜)
So, I said to Ada, “Ada, I am so sorry! Do I give you too much freedom or make too many poor mommy choices so that you’ll grow and not love Jesus? Because he’s the most important person you’ll ever meet/need in your life.”
She looked at me and said, “Mom, I love Jesus!”
Just like that.
In all my craziness of life and mommy-ing —- She loves Jesus.
And parenting is hard and greatly imperfect and an adventure. And you always always second guess everything that you say or do.
And most of what you do is slightly wrong 😉
But – Momma! But – Daddy!
Your kid is going to be a-okay.
In the end, we do our best and pray the greatest prayer we can …
May our precious babies love Him.
Because, in the end, He has them way more than we do.
So, we had just returned to America (in the midst of Covid) and were through our quarantine at home – I mean, after all, we had just traveled halfway across the world in the middle of a pandemic …
It was the month of my mom’s birthday – April 2020 – and we also needed a few supplies at the rental where we were staying.
And, let’s just be a little honest, I wanted out of the house. To explore.
To see the world!
So, we hopped in our borrowed car and drove straight to Walmart!
My encounter there reminds me of fan favorite (and my personal favorite) Fresh Prince …
You remember the theme song?
If you do, you can sing our story …
Now, this is a story all about how
My life got flipped-turned upside down (Thanks, Covid!)
And I’d like to take a minute
To sit right there
I’ll tell you how I returned to a town called Chandler
In west Chandler born and raised (Actually born in Mesa)
On the playground was where I spent most of my days
Chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool
And all shootin some b-ball outside of the school (Erie and Knox! AJHS & CHS)
When a couple of shoppers who were up to no good
Started making trouble in my neighborhood —- Walmart that is
I got in one little verbal fight and my husband got scared
He said ‘You’re not allowed’ back in your hood … #chandler
You got me. It wasn’t really a verbal fight. Sparring match. Or encounter of physical form at any time —- BUT —- believe me when I say, Walmart Chandler off of the 202 and Arizona Avenue heard from me!
And this is really how my story goes …
My husband (the better half of the Two Makes Crazy) and I were shopping, birthday shopping, Easter shopping, Mother’s Day shopping —- just generally, masked-up, crazed hand sanitized, shopping without littles or a teen in the mystical land full of all sorts of creatures – called Superstore (aka Walmart).
I found my mom the perfect gift. Yes, at Walmart. It couldn’t have been more perfect for my mom – let me explain why.
If you have met my mom, she is sunshine and delight. She is rainbows. And she is unicorns.
She is laughter and encouragement. The world needs more lovelies like her in it.
And her mom – my eldest daughter’s namesake, Marguerite (aka Tootsie), was laughter. She was a pint-sized miniature granny in a bottle.
She lived a full and extremely hard life. She lost big big big (burying 3 of her children, two as infants, and her husband) – and, yet, still managed to laugh well.
And Tootsie, sweet, feisty, amazing, Tootsie had a fan-favorite toy – if you could call it that.
It was a dancing bear that would dance and sing at the push of a button.
And the cackling laughter of a woman that has lived long would fill the room. Her laughter was loud. It was squeaky. It was combined with lots of exclamations.
And it was infectious.
Even if you didn’t think the stupid, dancing bear was funny, it would take you 2.3 seconds to, all of a sudden, find the obnoxious bear amazing. And you would push the dancing singing paw over and over again – simply to hear Tootsie laugh.
So – when I saw IT at Walmart, I just knew.
It beckoned me.
It called my name.
It was shiny.
It was musical.
It was a unicorn.
And it sang.
It was the perfect gift for my mom.
And, in the nostalgia of the moment, reliving the past while in the present, I pushed the button of this musical, dancing unicorn in the middle of the aisles of Walmart over and over again.
Best of all – it was the VERY LAST UNICORN on the shelf!
I had won.
Best gift of 2020 was going down with my name on it. And I just knew my mom would laugh – maybe not as loud, long, or hard, as Tootsie – but I knew it would bring joy!
And so I placed it in my cart, turned my back, and began looking for a card and bag to accompany it.
Within 2.5 seconds, there was a whoosh!
Like a flash.
So I turned.
Behind me, in my cart, was nothing.
And that’s when the Chandler in me came out and I threw down.
Okay, not literally.
I hollered, very (let’s just leave it at one very and, yet, imagine a very – very – very in there) loudly,
“Oh, COME ON, PEOPLE! DON’T STEAL FROM PEOPLE’S BASKETS! GET REAL!”
With my loud proclamation came, immediately, literally, before I could blink my eyes, a small crowd of curious shoppers.
“Are you okay?”
And the funniest of all —- “DID SOMEONE STEAL YOUR TOILET PAPER???!!!”
Yes, in the middle of a pandemic, you would think that would be a logical thing to get upset about – so imagine the surprise of the other shoppers when I said, “No, my magical, singing and dancing unicorn.”
Their concern for my cart-thievery did not hold.
After all, they did not care about my unicorn the way I did. Perhaps their toys that would dance and sing were not as memorable as mine.
So, they left.
And my cart remained empty.
But, no! I was not done.
I shouted again.
Let’s just say, the volume was ample.
“Really! A gift for my mom! Get real, people!”
And then I decided to do something kind-of stupid. Something that I would tell my teenager to never do – I went looking for a “Cart War!”
After all, they messed with my cart, I was coming after theirs!
So, I left the aisle I was in. I left my husband. I left my empty cart – and I began the trek around Walmart – eyeing everyone’s carts. Seeing if I could find the sneaky soul.
I know how to confront. I am not afraid of a fight. After all, I have broken up teenage fist fights in my neighborhood in Poland by grabbing their ears, as well as chased away bad men that were beating up a homeless man at a tram stop in Poznan.
I have served murders soup in my home.
And I have released my dog on approaching robbers in the middle of the night.
I have watched my daughter surrounded by machine guns at the Temple Mount.
And I have taken money back from a man because he did not deserve it. Literally – opened up his jacket, reached into his pocket, and took it back.
So there is no way that some lunatic at Walmart (I use that loosely, as I am most likely looking like the lunatic here) was getting away with my unicorn.
I mean, fortunately …
My mission was very short lived.
Apparently the cart thief did not think my unicorn worthy of a fight. So they ditched it on a clothing table.
My prize – tossed – haphazardly – in the middle of a pile of messy clothes.
I am sure it had a soft landing.
I picked it up, looked around for guilty faces. Saw none. (Sly thief)
And pushed the hoof.
Sure enough – the song and dance once again filled the store.
And laughter my memories.
Holding onto my unicorn, I found my husband (who did not pursue this unicorn on foot like I did). We made it through the rest of Wally’s World without incident – and the lovely, hard-fought, unicorn…
Well, let’s just say, it made it to my mom.
With a story to boot!
Maybe the unicorn doesn’t make her laugh as loud as Tootsie’s bear. But, with each push of the button, my heart is flooded with memories.
And, now, a new reason to smile.
I was back in my hood.
“What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.”
Lee Strobel, Author of Case for Christ – and many other books, asked on Twitter today (December 31, 2020) the following question –
If you could wrap up 2020 with 1 word, what would it be?
I replied with this one word (my Twitter handle is @adaandmax):
In the words of Author and Public figure/Financial Peace founder, Dave Ramsey, however, his sentiments were that 2020 was a “A dumpster-fire of a year.”
But, if you really stop to think about it, so were many other years.
In 2010 – after years upon years of infertility, we lost our second pregnancy to miscarriage. We had prayed for this baby for 10 years – and God still decided to cradle our loss in his hands instead of allowing us to raise our new babe here on earth.
In 2012 – we watched our son, Maxwell, come back to life —- twice. He tried to leave earth and his family behind multiple times. But – he battled through congestive heart failure, lung failure, blood transfusions, and a coma to remain with us today. Maxwell is now 8.
Through 2012-2014 – my husband and I went through many counseling sessions for the saving grace of our marriage.
In 2018, our eldest daughter – Adelyne (known as Sweet Adelyne) – suffered some form of seizure-like episode at school. Specialists in the neuro and cardiac fields never could figure out what happened.
And, of course, 2020 radically changed our current location – we had to make a last-minute decision: Where would it be best for our family to ride out this pandemic with our high-risk son??? And the answer moved us across the world from Poland to Arizona.
Looking at the question once again, I think the word “Life” perfectly sums up 2020 …
In Ecclesiastes 3, verses 1-8 (ESV), it says:
(There is) A Time for Everything
3 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
In 2020, we have basically seen each and every one of these mentions – all around the world – for nearly the entire year – and, as the world turns, I have made it through.
You have made it through.
Some with new family members – birth.
Some with fewer – the heavy loss of death.
Some with weeping.
Others with dancing. For joy still abounds in the midst of tragedies.
A time not necessarily for embracing (mask up and social distance, people!) – yet realizing what it is we truly treasure – family.
A time of silence.
And a time to speak —-
Especially on behalf of love and peace.
And so, on the eve of this unprecedented year – I would like to offer you these words of encouragement …
Proverbs 3:5-6 says,
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him, and he shall make your path straight …
I think I can say, on behalf of the entire world, we are ready for 2021.
We are ready for life to change.
For joy to increase.
For health to abound.
For healing to take place.
For our paths to go from flipped, turned, twisted, and tossed to be set straight.