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To Help OR Hurt

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  I have a story of my son who loved to swing on the monkey bars and an analogy of our decisions to promote and encourage change for the better.


ARE WE HELPING OR HURTING? Years ago when all five of my children were under 9 years old, Stan was traveling heavily and only home a few days every couple of weeks. It was summer, hot and we had been cooped up too long. I packed up the kids and we headed for a local park they liked to play at. I held the baby and watched the kids play.

My son Devin’s favorite thing to do was to cross the monkey bars. He swung easily from bar to bar, almost flying as a 6 year old can. As he came to a bar towards the center, he grabbed hold, and apparently the weld had broken, permitting the bar to twist. Devin fell to the ground when the faulty bar gave way. Upon hitting the ground he bit clean through the skin between his lower lip and his jaw, as it was sandwiched between his upper and lower teeth leaving a wide, open gash. Providently the park was next to the school my mother-in-law Meredith worked at, so we all hurried there. She kept the baby and I took the other 4 kids to the hospital emergency room.

The receptionist checked us in, then a nurse escorted our little group to a small room to wait for the doctor. When the doctor came in and assessed the situation, he asked me to hold Devin on my lap while he numbed the area so he could stitch it up the gap. Like any parent, I dread those times when there is no way to help our children avoid inevitable pain. As the doctor numbed the area Devin would try to talk, to which the doctor would remind him to hold still so he could make nice stitches with as little scaring as possible. Devin mumbled, “My hands, my hands”. I looked at the doctor and him at me. Possibly Devin had a concussion? Repeatedly he continued to say, “My hands, my hands”. When the doctor was finished I asked Devin if he was ok and could I put him down off my lap.

The other 3 kids were getting restless; opening the drawers and getting into other things in the little room. He said yes, and as I put him down I realized I had been squeezing his little hands so tightly as I held him, that they were completely white! In my nervousness over the situation I had inadvertently forced all the blood from his hands! That is why he kept saying, “My hands, my hands”.  

Maybe we can learn a bit through this experience when difficult situations and decisions come along:

  • Am I stifling and squeezing too tight?
  • Am I allowing for change to happen, even if it will hurt?
  • Am I making the situation worse by getting involved/too concerned?
  • Am I overstepping my bounds?
  • Am I allowing consequences to happen that will be a benefit though difficult now?
  • Am I doing the ‘hard thing’ though it is the ‘right thing’?
  • Do I love enough to step aside and permit pain and discomfort, though it will allow monumental positive changes in the near, or far, future?

 As we deal with family and close friends, our actions, decisions and involvement can help – or hinder, growth, change and progress towards a healthy emotional life of joy and happiness. Sometimes it takes a bit of pain to repair, or alter, a legacy to make it one to emulate and follow.  However difficult,  we each have the power, and the responsibility to bring good to the lives of those around us.

Copyright Carrie Groneman,  A Mother’s Shadow, 2014

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.




Mom Moment

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Mom Moment

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Fast, Free, Friendly……Service?!

Have you ever had ‘one of those days?  Or should I ask instead, how recent was the last time you wanted to pull the covers up and stay in bed?

Years back, not long after the birth of my fourth baby, our little station wagon thing, it was one of those new untried vehicle models, which we should have known that time and testing by others is the way to go; consequently it was always having issues.

The vehicle had broken…again, my husband Stan, was out of town and I needed to have it repaired. I called the repair shop we went to at the time, explained what the car was doing and asked what time openings they had. I was given a slot which was late in the day, close to dinner and when the older kids were out of school (all too young to leave at home alone). I inquired if there was anything sooner, and warned them about my bringing all four kids.The man on the phone was kind and said it would be no problem and looked forward to seeing me later that day.

I fed the kids a mini dinner after school, packed them in the car and hurried over to the repair shop.

This particular repair shop had a very, very (VERY) small lobby, with maybe 3 chairs squished at the end of one wall, a tire display of 4 or so real tires, a candy machine along with a counter for the employees which could only hold a cash register and pad of paper due to it’s size.

We traipsed in.

I handed the man the keys to my car and we sat down to wait. I had brought a few books along with my kids school work, but after an hour or so had passed, the kids were bored and hungry again.

Why is it that children are always hungry unless it’s dinner time?

I tried to do all I could with stories, games and such in the confines of the little lobby; however, sadly for fellow patrons, we were not alone waiting for repaired vehicles. 

I worked hard at trying not to let the kids annoy the other customers, however, entertaining them was now laughable.

I would have taken them outside, but it was wintertime and outside was cold and dark.

Now almost two hours into our wait, my baby wanted to eat, and because I nursed I was really conscious that others there might be uncomfortable, but hey, the baby was screaming bloody murder by now, so I figured they would rather look at the ceiling then at mom desperately trying to keep a blanket over a baby and herself – which I did accomplish successfully feeding the baby!

Kids seem to take advantage thought at the most inconvenient of times.  As I began to feed the baby, my two older boys who were quite bored, began to wrestle and ended up right in the middle of the tire display with the tires on top of them! My little girl was getting hungry, of course I didn’t have any change on me, so here she was, two years old trying to break into the candy machine and letting everyone know that she was “starfing to def’!”

The situation was just awful, but I had asked the man on the phone if it would be a long wait and I had warned him… Finally, blessedly, the car was done.  Home we went.

Not two weeks later, the car broke again. (did I say ‘llleeemmmooonnn?’) Stan was again out of town, and having no choice, nor options, I called the car repair shop. The conversation went something like this:

A man’s deep voice: “Hello.”

“Hello” I said, trying to sound confident, After all I was a paying customer, a woman in control of my own destiny – ‘yea right!’

I wasn’t even in control of what what was for dinner that night.

“Ummm, I, ummm, my car broke again and I wondered if I could make an appointment?” I said.

“Of course ma’am, what’s your name?”

“Groneman”

Dead silence, I’m not kidding, DEAD SILENCE for what seemed an eternity. 

Breaking the awful silence, I asked, “May I come there?”

“Yes…..(not a convincing yes at all), we have an appointment at such and such time”

“But my kids are out of school at that time, so I’ll have all four instead of two. Is there anything else available?” I asked.

Admittedly, I was kinda pleading at this point.

“No” was his reply. 

I could tell he also wished there was another time, or better yet, another shop he could refer me to.

“Just come at that time he said. It’s the silver Reliant station wagon right?”

“Yes, and thank you”.

I almost cried at his graciousness to allow me to come to his shop.

I fed the kids a power snack just before the appointment, strapped them all in seat belts, car seats and other kid safety paraphernalia and drove to the shop. As I pulled up to the front, wondering if I should park or pull closer to the repair entrance, three, and I kid you not, THREE employees came out to my car before I even came to a stop! It was like making a pit stop at the Indy 500.  I rolled down the window (remember it was winter and cold) and I asked where they would like me to park.

“Just all of you stay in the car ma’am” was the answer.

One asked me to trip the hood and all three started working. I leaned out and questioned if they wanted to know what was wrong; they assured me they would figure it out. Probably because they had seen my car more than all the lemons combined that month alone.

One of my boys said he had to go to the bathroom. A repairman heard him through the cracked window, and said, “STAY, just stay, we are almost done”.

Moments later they slammed down the hood, stood back and declared, “It’s done”.

I didn’t even know what they did! I asked how much I owed. Almost in unison the three repairmen said, “NO charge ma’am, no charge. Good-bye”.

I asked to please let me pay for their services, but the answer was again no, with the hint that payment of getting on my way was compensation enough. The car worked great after that for quite awhile, I think four or five months even. Oh well, such is life. Being a parent, actually being a human on this grand planet, we ALL have those ‘times’ whether it be from vehicles or whatever the case may be, it’s nice to know we are not alone.  

Smile, push through and know that someday…it may not be for two decades – or more… but it will be funny.

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.