Monday, May 23, 2011

The UnaPopper

They say that art imitates life...or is that life imitates art? Nonetheless, art and life collide. This is best demonstrated by the comparisons my work environment has to the television show, The Office. I've written a couple of blog about a faux pas ala Michael Scott and another about all the reasons I work at Dunder Mifflin. Another recent "episode" happened at my workplace that was a definite sitcom in the making.

Many of us at work enjoy an afternoon snack of microwave popcorn. I have personally developed an affinity for Orville Redenbacher's organic microwave popcorn, especially the Salt & Cracked Pepper. There is a talent to popping microwave popcorn. You can't always trust that little "Popcorn" button on the microwave. Most of the time you need to monitor your popcorn as if it were on the stove top popping in a pan. One fateful Friday afternoon, some popper decided to make a tasty snack...but, alas, it went bad quickly. In no time at all the office was full of smoke and the smell was wafting throughout our cubicles. Although I have come out with some burned kernels in my past, this popper was not me.

The evidence of a major burning was so prevalent that we were concerned that something serious was going on. One of my co-workers headed in the direction of the smoke and found the tar-like bag of burnt popcorn tossed in the garbage with the smoke still rolling. He immediately threw the bag out the side door and went to retrieve a fan to start circulating the smoke outside. This reminded me of that Office episode when Ryan started a fire by microwaving his lunch. But the hilarity had only begun.

After this incident, and the fact that we didn't know who had committed the crime, our CFO decided to send an email to the company as a reminder of proper food preparation procedure. The greatest line ever in a company email appeared as a public service annoucement: "So, remember, please pop responsibly." Priceless. The humor in my everyday life is simply amazing.

We have donned the culprit with the moniker - "The UnaPopper" - and we have yet to uncover their true identity. But, we have a great story to share, fodder for an upcoming episode, and the remains of a crinkly bag of burnt popcorn that the birds are still feeding upon outside our building.

Friday, May 06, 2011

The Non-Mother Mother's Day

This year, the way the calendar falls, we have a string of holidays - Cinco de Mayo, Kentucky Oaks Day, Derby Day and Mother's Day. Now, two of those days apply mainly to Louisville residents, but nonetheless, the week has been replete with reasons to celebrate. I feel like I need to make up a holiday for Monday just to keep the excitement going.

As I was praying and thinking this morning, I was dwelling on all those women who aren't Mothers, like I am. Mothers' Day has never been quite the challenge to me, even though I haven't been a mother, until the first year I lost my Mom and endured that holiday. It was tough. You see, my Mom was an amazing woman. Anyone who knew her could be assured that their life would never be the same after meeting her. She touched so many people in so many ways - emotionally and physically. And, she herself struggled with being a Mom. My parents waited 18 years to have their one and only child - me. Mother's Day holds a special place in my life because it was on that day in 1974 that I decided to make my decision to follow Christ publicly and take that next step of obedience towards baptism. As a thinker (even as an 8 year old), I was slow in making that commitment after many questions and inward thinking, and listening to pastors and teachers. It was the greatest decision of my life and making that public on Mother's Day seemed fitting since my Mom was so pivotal in my coming to Christ.

So, back to the discussion at hand - women who have never been Mothers. I'm sure there are many out there who never desired to be Mothers, so the day isn't a bit challenging. But, I know there are plenty out there who long to be Mothers and just never have had the opportunity or maybe never will. They overflow with feelings of nurturing that go unfulfilled. For them, I hold a special place in my heart. As I grew up, I just figured one day I'd marry, we'd have children, etc. But when I got older and the marriage thing hadn't happened, and the biological clock was ticking louder, I accepted the fact that I'd never bear a child. I know all you biblical scholars out there will remind me of Abraham and Sarah, but whew, a baby at 90 isn't my preferred way to motherhood. Unlike marriage, which I still long and hope to experience one day, motherhood isn't a burning desire for me. I thank God for aligning my heart to His Will in that way, knowing it is His Protection from me grieving what I do not have.

Lest we get mired in the downer of those of us that are non-Mothers, let me speak a word of encouragement. If you fit that mold, take heart. There are so many "children" out there for you to spread your love. I am more than blessed with "children" that are not my own that I have loved on and nurtured throughout the years. There is something safe for a young person who loves their own Mom, but just wants to talk openly with someone like their Mom without the bias of their own Mom's perspective. Being in that role of a non-Mom, helps me retain the 'cool' factor, but speak the truth as their older, wiser (hopefully!) friend. I didn't change their diapers or know every fault they have, or every quirk...or even how messy their room can get. But I see in them someone with potential and growth that their own Mom may see, but due to the daily routine of care and feeding, it gets clouded. A Mom who can achieve a balance there is a Mom worth shadowing. It's that balance that is a challenge for Moms and I admire those that do it, and do it well.

On this Mothers' Day, if you find yourself motherless - either you have no Mom, or you aren't one yourself - love on some young one around you who needs that nurturing. I hope to do that myself but before I do, I'll reach for that book of Family Circus cartoons that my Mom gave me not long before her passing. I'll read through it and read every note she left on all the pages making reference to our personal experiences as a family and how funny they were. My Mom was the greatest and if I can be just a slice of who she was, I'm grateful.