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May 26, 2011

Bat Decapitation and Being a Cute Cactus


I think it’s interesting when people don’t own their stuff, their junk. Like when I find out friends of mine, 30-year-old-accountants and other voting taxpayers, sort-of-almost admit they think Justin Bieber is cute. Is this a crime? Is this creepy? They can barely mask the fact they know every word to One Less Lonely Girl but it’s like they’re hiding pot in their purse. Or when friends of mine skirt around the part of their day when they visited McDonald’s: “We woke up, ate organic Wheaties flown in from Portland on the backs of electric albatrosses, had an exercise-filled morning tilling sustainable community gardens. Three of them, in fact. AFTER LUNCH we went home, re-enacted Jesus blessing the children with me being Jesus and my children being, well, the children…”

But you know. You know they just slammed a quarter-pounder with cheese.  

People need to own their stuff. Like today: I own the fact my pointer finger has had the entire nail ripped off it for two days now, and yet my other fingernails are approximately ½ inch long all around, creating a reverse guitarist effect where instead of an eerily long thumbnail I have a raucously short pointer nail. Have I had time to trim them? Yes I have. Have I lacked the work ethic? Right again.

There, just being vulnerable. Just owning the things I’m not proud of.

But at what point should you really be ashamed of things? When do your quirks and lovable moods become…well…sin?

The other evening we were having dinner and all seemed right from the outside looking in, but Gordon and I had been at odds all day. This stemmed from our early morning episode where basically he was being a self-sacrificing Jesus-follower and I was being a Housewife of Orange County. It took me all day to apologize, and the best I could do was, “I’m sorry I was so grumpy this morning.” Grumpy. The name of an adorable dwarf, an adjective you give you bears in fairy tales.

Grumpy is really a term of endearment for the mangy pet named Rage.

Rage was really never part of my emotional vocabulary until I had kids. Something about the physical demands, lack of sleep, and total absence of common decency just insults me on every level, degrades my humanity and makes me want to stand up for my rights! As an image-bearer of God! I have a RIGHT to a good night’s sleep. To be respected. A RIGHT to be allowed some time to myself. This is about HUMAN RIGHTS! I deserve the protection of the United States Government as a refugee.

(Or at least to be coddled by the Neighborhood Watch.)

I don’t know what kind of person you are. Maybe you’re a night owl, maybe you rise with the dawn and on the wings of eagles, as the prophet says. I do neither. I sleep as much as possible, like a mole. In the days before parenting I had time to drink three cups of coffee, crack my pocket Oswald Chambers and maybe catch a little Psalms before heading into society. Man, I was nice.

Now my morning begins, even before I’m conscious, with: “Mommy I pooped!”

So I ask: Wouldn’t you be grumpy? Don’t I have a RIGHT to be grumpy? Isn’t grumpiness sort of adorable? Can’t I own my grumpiness like I own my pesky stretch marks or my still-in-the-gym-rotation sorority t-shirts? (Especially if I’m not doing any actual PHYSICAL harm to my kids?) What’s wrong with a little banging around the kitchen, a little huffing and puffing and scowling and biting off Gordon’s head (like Ozzie with the bat) from time to time just to keep him in line? Won’t it show how much I’m really sacrificing for my kids, how hard it is being a mom?

Won’t my misery prove my love in the profoundest way possible?

 (For more from Julie, visit her blog at












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