Bergman's Bruisers

A Look Into My Life Of Raising Four Rough
And Tumbly Boys

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Struggle Is Good

After Christmas as we were driving back from Ohio, with the kids all asleep in the backseat, Steve and I recapped on our trip.  The conversation turned into a lot of me complaining about the kids. 

"Can you believe Harrison fussed on Christmas day?!"

"Did you hear what Gavin said to so-and-so?"

"Cannon was so mean to Henry!  He tried to choke him!"

On and on I went, and although Steve chimed in also, it was definitely more me fussing than him.

After a pause he said, "I know our kids can be bad, but they're just kids, and, man, I love the crap outta them."  

Why do I forget that so often? They are just kids.

I remember as a kid the stupid things I said and did.  I remember the impact it had when an adult or peer scolded or corrected me.  It took those struggles to learn the dos and don'ts of life.

In the fifth grade I went up against another girl for a part in the school play.  I just knew I was a much better fit for the role of Aphrodite.  I did end up getting picked and as I walked back into the classroom I walked up to her, pointed my finger, and said, "Ha! In your face!"  She immediately started crying and ran out of class.  I was eleven years old!  Eleven!  I should have known better.  It took that experience, that struggle, to know I never wanted to make someone feel like that again.  That's not to say, since then, I've never hurt anyone's feelings, but, it certainly has never been intentionally like it was that day.

Or in the third grade when I tricked my friend into combining our Halloween candy and keeping it at my house.  I selfishly knew that keeping it at my house allowed me to have full access to her goods.  I was stealing!  

Or my aunt's wedding, age six, I was the flower girl who refused to smile in any pictures.  Her pictures are beautiful-- minus a bratty flower girl scowling in the front row. I don't remember why I was mad, but I was six, so in that moment all that mattered to me was me and how I felt.  It took me probably into my late teens to learn that I'm not the most important person. I'm really sorry about that one, Aunt Pat.

In the second grade I was irritated by a girl who was clearly the best drawer in our class and told her she was terrible at drawing.  I hated art, even then, and was so frustrated that this girl came by it so easily.  The other girls were then mean to me because I was mean to her.  That was a struggle to learn to art of group friendships. 

I could go on and on.

Why do I feel the need to spare my kids those struggles?  Those struggles are what helped make me into who I am.  I can't expect them to be adults when they aren't. I have to be the adult and learn to work through my embarrassment of seeing them behave that way and know they are kids learning through their own struggles. 

Struggle is Good!   I Want to Fly!

Once a little boy was playing outdoors and found a fascinating caterpillar. He carefully picked it up and took it home to show his mother. He asked his mother if he could keep it, and she said he could if he would take good care of it.

The little boy got a large jar from his mother and put plants to eat, and a stick to climb on, in the jar. Every day he watched the caterpillar and brought it new plants to eat.

One day the caterpillar climbed up the stick and started acting strangely. The boy worriedly called his mother who came and understood that the caterpillar was creating a cocoon. The mother explained to the boy how the caterpillar was going to go through a metamorphosis and become a butterfly.

The little boy was thrilled to hear about the changes his caterpillar would go through. He watched every day, waiting for the butterfly to emerge. One day it happened, a small hole appeared in the cocoon and the butterfly started to struggle to come out.

At first the boy was excited, but soon he became concerned. The butterfly was struggling so hard to get out! It looked like it couldn’t break free! It looked desperate! It looked like it was making no progress!

The boy was so concerned he decided to help. He ran to get scissors, and then walked back (because he had learned not to run with scissors…). He snipped the cocoon to make the hole bigger and the butterfly quickly emerged!

As the butterfly came out the boy was surprised. It had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. He continued to watch the butterfly expecting that, at any moment, the wings would dry out, enlarge and expand to support the swollen body. He knew that in time the body would shrink and the butterfly’s wings would expand.

            But neither happened!

The butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.

It never was able to fly…

As the boy tried to figure out what had gone wrong his mother took him to talk to a scientist from a local college. He learned that the butterfly was SUPPOSED to struggle. In fact, the butterfly’s struggle to push its way through the tiny opening of the cocoon pushes the fluid out of its body and into its wings. Without the struggle, the butterfly would never, ever fly. The boy’s good intentions hurt the butterfly.

As you go through school, and life, keep in mind that struggling is an important part of any growth experience. In fact, it is the struggle that causes you to develop your ability to fly.

As parents our gift to our children is stronger wings…   

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas 2013

We spent this Christmas in Ohio.  It was a quieter, sadder Christmas than we've ever had.  It was hard to find joy when we were one family member short.  Losing someone you love unexpectedly and, in your mind, too soon, really challenges your faith.  To make sense where there is none, or even harder, to make peace with decisions that were not your own but impact your life so greatly.

From the time I was little I've heard in church that we do not know the number of our days.  We are told to live each day to the fullest and love each other like it's our last day here.  Hearing those words so often it's easy to become numb to it's powerful message and the day-in-day-out monotony of life leaves us to assume tomorrow is a sure thing. The loss of Zac has left me thinking about that powerful message and questioning if I do live my life to its fullest.  I think, in his short twenty-five years, he lived three lifetimes-worth of adventure and excitement.  In struggling to find a way to honor a life that was cut too short I have come to the conclusion that the best way to honor Zac is by living my fullest life.  A life that is filled with good and love. A life that he'll be proud to watch me live from heaven. A life that, if today is my last day, I can be proud of what I've accomplished--what I've left behind.

 Zac, me, Jon.  Summer 2008
Zac is the tallest person in our family and I'm the shortest.
I'm not even sure he was finished growing in the picture!

Our family has grown to such numbers that when we all go home we stretch the homes to capacity.  It was time to make a change, and this year the change kinda fell right into place.  Four of us went in together to buy a house in Versailles.  It's an old, old house, about 134 years to be exact.  It's the perfect location for us out-of-towners in that it's right in town, giving us close proximity to everything around us.  It's across the street from the famous Sweet Shop and even shares a back alley with Sideliners Bar and Grill.  It needs some minor updating (think wallpaper paneling, drop ceiling, and mauve sinks) but it will house for us all and will make for a fun place to just be a family. 

It seemed like a no brainer to call our new place, Zac's House.  We don't want Zac's name to be one that isn't spoken; we want his name, his memory, and his life to be thought of and said daily.  Zac was a happy, fun-loving guy who always had a good time.  Those are all the things we want Zac's House to embody--happy, good, fun, and love.  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Black Ice

I was sitting in church a few Sundays ago and the pastor was telling a story about a parishioner who sold semi-trucks for a living.  My ears were immediately perked, both sides of my family have made a lifetime of either buying, selling, or driving semi-trucks.

The pastor said in the winter, when business was the slowest for this guy, he would often drive hauls from Texas to Kansas.  The toughest part, the parishioner told him, was if you found yourself driving over 'black ice.'  The man said there's nothing scarier than looking in your side mirror and watching your trailer coming to meet your cab sideways.

The pastor asked him, "What do you do when that happens?  How do you fix it?"  

The man said, "Well, the worst thing you can do is stop.  You don't put on your breaks.  You keep your hands on the wheel, look straight ahead, and hope that the trouble behind you straightens itself out."

Those words resonated with me.  It struck me because of how much worry I put into things that either work themselves out without my help or ultimately I have no control over.  That worry that can leave me paralyzed, stopping my life, and keeping me from looking ahead. I realized (or am realizing) I'm not the fixer.  I'm not the one who has to figure everything out and make it right for everyone.  I'm not in control.  My job is to keep my hands on the wheel, heading in the direction God has put me, and trust that the trouble behind me stays behind me.  And, if when that trouble comes to greet me I have to continue to trust and know that God's plan for me isn't one that I write but rather one that I live.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

An Interview With An 8 Year-Old

1. My favorite color is GREEN.
2. My favorite toy is nothing.  I don't like toys
3. My favorite fruit is a Granny Smith apple.

4. My favorite T.V. show is Sponge Bob

5. My favorite thing to eat for lunch is a peanut butter and grape jelly.

6. My favorite outfit is my Minecraft t-shirt with jeans.

7. My favorite game is Zombie Cafe and Minecraft.

8. My favorite snack is Nutter Butter.

9. My favorite animal is a horse.
10. My favorite song is 'we are young' by Fun.
11. My favorite book is Cpt. Underpants.

12. My best friend is Gabe and Drew
13. My favorite cereal is Cookie Crisp

14. My favorite thing to do outside is play soccer.
15. My favorite drink is water and Sprite.
16. My favorite holiday is April Fools.  It's just funny.
17. At bedtime I like to take nothing but books. I'm a reader.
18.  My favorite thing to eat at breakfast is cereal, of course.
19. On my birthday for dinner I want Mexican food.

20. When I grow up I want to be first a waiter then a builder.  Like someone who builds stuff, like houses.
this first, 
then this..

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Blankie Love

Although Harrison has since put his Blankie away, never to be slept with again, at one point in time he loved his Blankie just like his brothers. Cannon adores his Blankie that my friend, Nancy, made him. 

The day he was born we wrapped Cannon in his special blanket 
(note Steve's hospital band)

Two and half years later, sleep is not found without his blankie by his side or under his head.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Boy Knows What He Wants

Gavin and I are snuggling and hugging and he's squeezing me extra hard and I say,

Me: "Gavin, how did I get so lucky to be your Momma?"

Gavin: "I dunno."

Me: "I think the only person who is going to be as lucky as me will be your wife one day." She will be lucky if the saying holds true that you can tell how a man will treat his wife by how he treats his mother.  Gavin, by far, seeks my affection and approval more than anyone else in our family.

Gavin: "Ew, I'm never getting married."

Me: "I promise you will get married one day." I'm hoping to get him to a reasonable age before he gets married.  I know this boy, he is going to fall hard and fast for a girl!

Gavin: "Well, when I get married will I still be able to come over?"

Me: "Yes, of course! I hope you and your family come to visit often."

Gavin: "What if my wife doesn't look very good?"

Me: "What do you mean?"

Gavin: as he's touching my hair "What if she has short hair like a boy?  I really, really don't want her to have short hair like a boy.  I want it to be loooonnnnggg."

Just so we're clear--at the ripe age of five Gavin knows he does not want this:

 And would much rather have this...