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.
I don’t come to And 2 Makes Crazy often — my life in Poland turned into the mundane. My children grew bigger. My sanity slowly returned. And, yet, despite it all, life really hasn’t slowed. Life hasn’t gotten less crazy #worldpandemic, and, truth be told, we are still 2 — 20 years married now (YIKES) — and we still drive each other crazy. Er. I mean, we’re both crazy. Two and Crazy. Hence the title.
But, through it all, as the world spins, and time seems to fade away, my heart still remains my heart. And that will never change.
Even in a decade.
As October’s golden sun and brilliant leaves grace the skies and grounds – and we head into a month of thankfulness, I remain, forever, indebted to the littlest heartbeat of all for soul-crushingly teaching me the truths of life, delicate life, and love that has absolutely no end.
I have often thought exactly as this woman has so adequately written. This is a tough article that addresses bluntly the difference of unkind vs. bullying. AND she clearly states how not addressing our children’s situations appropriately brings more harm to them than good.
She DOES NOT undermine or excuse unkind behavior. She simply and CLEARLY states how there is a difference and it needs to be noted and children need to be taught how to deal with each situation appropriately for their well being and benefit.
There are so many truths in this, I wanted to underline them all. Since I won’t be doing that for this post, I will simply encourage you (again) to click and have a read.
Here is a quote from the article, but, please don’t take this quote and run. Click on the article and read it. Reread it. Read it carefully. Can you tell I really think it is needed for you to read it?!
“Someone can be insensitive, thoughtless, immature, mean and even aggressive without it being bullying. And it’s important to make sure children understand that. Here’s why: For the rest of their lives, our children’s happiness at home and success at work will be determined by how well they can navigate relationships and resolve difficult issues. If we write every unpleasant encounter off as bullying, we don’t prepare them well. At a minimum, we are modeling misdiagnosis…”
Listen, we just had the most adorable and awesome and BEST interns in the world literally leave our home less than a week ago. These ladies were seriously the BEST!
And I know my home is NEVER empty. Like ever. Like a day after they left, we had a friend of Adelyne’s in our home for TWO days. Not one. Two.
The week before the interns left, we had another friend of Adelyne’s PLUS the interns.
People were sleeping on the floors…Couches…Kitchen tables. Bathtubs.
Okay. The bathtub was an exaggeration since it was literally our only ONE for nearly 10 people. Unless a garden hose counts as a washing tub? Or a quick dip in a lake or hot tub?
If so, then I have 3 extra washing rooms in near proximity (smile and wink).
But I don’t think they do.
Let’s get back to the sleeping situations of our home.
Tomorrow, we have a different friend of Adelyne’s spending the night. Then two nights after that, we have Rich’s sister and her family spending the night—which will make 5+5=10 under our little farm house’s roof.
And one bathtub. (Oh, wait—that’s right: garden hose, hot tub, and nearby lake—three extra cleaning basins)
I do have a point with this…
MURPHY’S LAW, Baby!
Here as I have been handling large masses sleeping in ever nook and cranny of my home—I was getting all “laissez faire” about proofing my house.
“Baby proofing,” you may think?
“Fire proofing,” may be your next guess.
“Storm proofing,” you may try for a third time—and this one plus flood proofing are actually LOGICAL guesses considering a huge storm did some pretty nasty damage on our house last year and our basement floods. Like ALL THE TIME (don’t worry—we are still working on water-proofing that one before winter).
The answer to both storm and flood, however, is still NIE.
Ever since my husband and our friend found the existing holes on the outside of our house a few months back, filling them, our house has been scratch, poop (unless you count stinky children), and food packaging hole free.
HEAVEN ON EARTH!
For some of you, heaven on earth may look a little differently…but, for me, heaven on earth has looked like a mouse-poop and chewed home free!
It truly was a glorious — albeit SHORT time.
Last night, however. Last night it ALL came crashing down.
I was in a moment of solitude. Just me and the TV.
What should have been peace was filled with scratch, scratch, scratch.
I sat up!
The scratching stopped.
I relaxed. I am just hearing things. Slightly insane, right? Perhaps a little paranoid, eh?!
I take it back! I am NOT INSANE (please, tell my husband)…I knew it!
I heard it. It was like a bad record playing again and again and again.
And then my movie is ruined. My forthcoming sleep is ruined. MY NIGHT IS RUINED!
Thank you, MICE!
So, today…after HORRIBLE dreams (smile and wink), I went on a mouse walk around my house.
I know the signs of infestation. I know the poop. I know their favorite crevices.
And THAT is when I spied it…
The popped trap.
Now, I noticed this popped trap a couple days ago, but when I peeked at it, I didn’t see a mouse. So, I just ASSUMED (and you know what they say about assuming) that the trap popped because something fell on it or it was faulty. Hence I ignored it.
But what I could not ignore the last couple days was the STINK in our house.
Now, to be fair, we have kids. So, I’ve spent the last three days shouting lovely encouragement such as, “You stink! Take a shower! Make sure you flush the toilet! Peeeeeewwwww—-eeeeeeee!” Yes, I am a lovely mother like that.
On top of that, to emphasize my stinky children, I have been abusing Febreeze. Like literally spraying it all around the house. Like multiple times because my kids smell like the pig-farm of summer.
Or DID THEY???
Now, in what is VERY OBVIOUS hindsight, I realize that I may have overreacted a bit (extremely unusual for me, btw, just as my husband)…
We went on a tubing ride in the Ionian Sea, and the loveliest lady that owned the little “surf-type shack” loved asking these questions…
So, I thought a moment and told her my husband was not Polish, he was 100% American, but he is a pastor. So, in a sense, I guess he is a businessman in the “Business of God” — to which she beautifully proclaimed with her Greek enthusiasm and delightful accent, “The best business of all—the business of God!”
And then she reached her arms over her head and spread them across the sky and said, “God overall!”
We all wholeheartedly agreed and traipsed into the lapping waves of the sea, where we hopped onto a UFO-type raft and allowed the Greek captain of his small speed boat pull us haphazardly through the sea where we screamed, maybe cried a little…laughed a lot and Adelyne belted, “Kumbaya, my Lord! Let me live!”
The ride ended much to our mutual disappoint and actual thrill, and we went back to collect our items from the Greek Surfing Lady and we all proclaimed, “God bless you,” “And you!”
And smiled one last smile before we trailed down the beach, leaving footprints in the sand, to enjoy our last sunset in Peloponnese…
Greece, we agree, one God overall.
Thank you, beautiful country, for a sun-kissed delightful week with my precious namesake and firstborn.
I saw the paintbrush of God every evening in the sunsets and the stroke of his perfect clarity each time I looked out at His blue seas!
And to you, our perfect surf-shack lady, thank you for reminding us that being in the business of this amazing painter and God is TRULY the best business of all!