Don’t Sneeze on Me

Sometimes I feel daunted by all of the things that Avery and Lily need to learn. It’s an absolutely endless list. Every day I’m attempting to impart some new lesson to them, like:

  • Don’t sneeze in my face
  • Don’t suck milk into your mouth only to spit it out
  • Don’t purposefully throw your cup and then say “uh oh”
  • Don’t chew on shoes
  • Don’t eat Vaseline, no matter how delicious it may be
  • Don’t stick your finger up my nose and start scratching, likewise for my mouth
  • Don’t lay on top of your sister’s head lest you smother her with your body
  • Don’t bite your daddy, or anyone else for that matter

Those lessons are pretty small in comparison to the major ones, such as:

  • Love the Lord with all your heart
  • Love your neighbor as yourself
  • Bless those who curse you
  • We all fall short of the glory of God
  • Do not judge others
  • You are your sister’s keeper
  • Forgive others, because you are forgiven
  • Obey your parents!!!

We all know that no parent has ever taught any teenager anything ever in the history of mankind, so I have about eleven years to get it all in their little noggins. I’m so encouraged when I see Avery and Lily learning something new. They love making kissing sounds, waving goodbye with both hands, playing peek-a-boo, and pushing their walking toys around the living room. I’m immensely grateful for the friends and family in our lives who will impart many of life’s important lessons to them.

This morning I was thinking of lessons I learned from people other than my parents. I will never forget my Aunt Julie teaching me as a little girl to always moisturize my neck and hands. Your face may look great, but if you neglect your hands and neck, they will betray your age. My 3rd grade teacher, Ms. Earls, taught me not to be too hard on myself after I got a “conduct mark” for talking in class and then cried about it. It was the single conduct mark I ever received in all my years in Elementary school, and I’m thankful that Ms. Earls gave it to me. My12th grade teacher, Mrs. Coonrod, taught me how to use my voice in my writing. She taught me how to bring myself into my writing and that the writing would be an extension of me. She helped me reclaim the love I had for writing as a child and find the joy in it.

My grandma, Momaw, taught me many lessons, some of them terrifying. For example, if it is too difficult to eject the beaters from your hand mixer, simply fill your sink with soapy water, submerge the beaters, and then turn on the mixer. She noted to make sure you do not touch the metal beaters to the bottom of the sink, or else you could get electrocuted. Sage advice, I dare say. She also taught me that to change your life you have to take some risks. She left her home, a farm in central Texas, as an 18 year old and traveled to the big city of Houston. She got a job at the Federal Reserve, made friends, learned how to navigate the city, checked hats at the Continental Club in downtown, and danced with the military officers in town during WWII. She also trusted Christ, met my grandfather, and then brought him to church. Subsequently his brother and sister accepted Christ and their families after that. Momaw took a big chance getting on the bus as a teenager, but I’m glad she did. She shaped the lives of generations. I clearly took a lot from her lesson, since I moved to Belgium right out of college, where I met my husband, and then brought him to church. She and I also both have twin daughters and live on the same street! Life is funny that way. I took in a lot of lessons from Momaw even though I didn’t realize it at the time.

I look at the people who are in our lives now and wonder how they will shape Avery and Lily. I hope they provide wonderful guidance and advice about how to avoid electrocution.

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