To begin, a classic Parker moment:
January 15: 4:40 a.m.--Mrs. Parker sits straight up in bed, awakened by the sense that somewhere in the house, there is poo. 4:43 a.m.--Mr. Parker constructs makeshift poo runway from old beach towels. 4:44 a.m.--Two boxers make use of said runway to escape pooey crate. 4:45 a.m.--Mr. Parker: "Do you hear that sound under the laundry room?"
Mrs. Parker: "It sounds like Hildy (cat) is under the house and mad about it."
Mr. Parker: (shakes head) "No, not Hildy. A kitten. A young one...What do you want me to do?"
Mrs. Parker: "I guess we could go back to bed...sniff...and pretend we never heard the pitiful cries of a tiny kitten that is looking for its mother...sniff...where is its mother? It's freezing outside!"
Mr. Parker: (sighs, shoots knowing expression)
Mrs. Parker: "Do you think it's orange?"
Mr. Parker: (dons old sweatshirt, grabs flashlight, heads for crawlspace access)
Next, change is in the air:
February 17: Exciting, bittersweet times at the Parker house. Matt will be moving to Arkadelphia, Arkansas in a few weeks to serve as the student minister at Second Baptist Church! The kids and I will join him at the conclusion of the school year. We are so proud of Daddy and excited about what the future holds, but we have shed many tears for you, our BBC, Sam Houston, and Corsicana family. Please pray that God will provide a job for me and the right house for us, as we will be praying that he brings the right people to serve, teach, and love the precious ones we are leaving behind.
March 22: We are overwhelmed and humbled by the sweet sendoff we received from our beloved Believers Bible Church family this evening. It is the perfect reflection of what I believe BBC does best--loving people for who they are, drawing them close to Jesus, being completely real, and laughing a lot. BBC, we will always love you!
On God’s provision:
April 16: A few weeks ago, I posted a request for prayer as I was walking into a job interview. Thanks so much for praying, friends. I just received word that I have now officially been assigned the music teacher position at Perritt Primary next year. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Concerning the repeated road trips to Arkadelphia:
May 10: After dragging all four wee Parkers to the bathroom of the Whataburger in Sulphur Springs, I was standing at the counter when I heard a spilling sound and discovered that LUV's "leakproof guarantee" is a scam. I managed to pay and seat the older three at a table with strict instructions to yell, "This is not my mom" if anyone tried to take them and scurried to the car to change Meg. She flopped around in the front seat like a caught fish, screaming loudly enough to draw the stares of onlookers in the parking lot. It then took me five more minutes to locate my keys ("Did you EAT them?!" I shouted to the baby.") Meanwhile, the older three had already chugged one serving of Mountain Dew and were going back for seconds by the time I returned.
I'm not sure if our loved ones in heaven are really taking the time to watch us here on earth. But if my Aunt Jo was tuning in just now, I am positive she was laughing her giant derrière off.
May 31: I made it through final contests and final concerts without turning on the waterworks. I was not prepared for the flood of emotion running down my face as I take down my artfully arranged spheres (which the students dubbed "art planets"). My time as Sam Houston's Mrs. Parker has been filled with beautiful things. It is hard to believe that by this time next week this period of our lives will be in the rear view mirror.
On adjusting to Arkadelphia life:
June 27: The girls' bedroom rug is soaking wet, Miles has cried his eyes out, and it's all my fault. Because I was raised in the suburbs. Also, I have poor impulse control. As Mariah was preparing to take a bath in the master bathroom, I glanced out the window. "Holy cow! It's a DEER! In the FRONT YARD!" This amazing news was so important, Mariah dashed upstairs to tell the others, which would have been great if they weren't already taking showers. Merrilee evidently rinsed her hair, threw open the curtain, searched for 2 whole seconds for a towel, and then decided that could wait. Just as I discovered the footprint/puddles on the floor, Miles stumbled into the room, eyes closed, hair full of suds, sans towel and wailing, "Aaaaaagh! My eyes! My eyes!" He had run straight from the shower without stopping to rinse. We peered out the window (well, those of us who weren't squinting in anguish) only to discover that, of course, Bambi's mother was gone.
Or maybe she was hiding in the bushes and laughing at the soggy, naked little people in the window.
Concerning time with Matt’s parents:
July 5: I'd really prefer that none of you hear this story of my mom fail, but since Matt has had to wipe Dr. Pepper spittle off the dash of the Sequoia, and since he claims it's my fault he spit-taked (spit-took?), he insists that I tell you.
Mommy: "Let's take a few minutes to discuss the behaviors and attitudes we expect you to demonstrate with your grandparents while we are in Paraguay. I think we can skip the part about consequences, since you are, by now, well-acquainted with those."
Merrilee: "You can say that again. Hey, did you know that sometimes when you're about to yell at us for lying or something, you sound like an engine on one of those big trucks?"
Mommy (not in a yelling voice, I swear): "You don't say...well, did you know that sometimes when you lie to me you sound like a criminal?"
Cue spit take. Moms of facebook, I'm sure you feel like all-stars now.
July 25: Had a fun time celebrating my in-laws' 45th wedding anniversary at our house with a large group of Matt's family tonight. 45 years, people!
Concerning two important developments:
August 18: After a year or so of searching and asking hard questions, Merrilee trusted Jesus for salvation a few weeks ago. Today her daddy had the privilege of baptizing her. It was a special morning.
August 20: In other news, Parker Cottage is officially under new ownership as of 8 a.m. today. We hope the new owners will make as many happy memories there as we did.
On becoming Mrs. Parker again at a new school:
September 9: Sometimes when it's Monday, you might feel a little sleepy on the way to school. And then maybe one of your little friends might disagree with you concerning a certain classroom expectation. And he might even stage a protest in the form of, you know, biting you on the arm. You might do your best to maintain your positive outlook while choking down your kale salad and unidentifiable puree of other vegetables, even when you are tempted to sneak a bite of your colleague's lunch while she's distracted by some kid howling about her dropped jello. You might drop your megaphone on your foot during afternoon dismissal duty. Once you finally get home, your husband might discover that there is no vegetable broth to complete the sweet potato/roasted red pepper bisque from the meal plan.
Then, if you're lucky, he might look deep into your weary eyes and say something beautiful.
"It’s a sign. God wants us to eat at the Cracker Barrel instead. I'll load up the kids."
Remembering the puke-ocalypse of 2013:
October 22: At 4:30 a.m., Merrilee appeared beside our bed to inform us that the vomit contagion had once again reached our house. I camped out on the couch so I could be ready to help. At 5:30, I heard some noise upstairs and went to investigate. Behold, it was Miles Parker sprawled on his rug in footie pajamas, not vomiting but instead reading Captain Underpants.
Miles: "Oh, hi, Mom. I'm almost to my favorite part."
Mom: "That's good, but what are you doing up so early?"
Miles: "Well, I heard someone flushing the toilet many times, and that made me think of underpants...you know, like Captain Underpants? So I just had to read this book." (laughs heartily at his own joke)
Concerning college town life:
November 12: For my friends who don't know, Arkadelphia is a two college town. The campuses are across the street from each other. This weekend those two colleges will meet on the gridiron for the annual Battle of the Ravine, preceded by the annual week of pranks and/or vandalism. Our house is situated right between the two stadiums.
Instead of turning on the nightlight at bedtime, I opened the blinds.
Mariah: "Wow! It's so bright in here. Are those stars?"
Mommy: "Why, no. Those are the blazing stadium lights of two universities who are each attempting to avoid filing an insurance claim. Sleep tight."
File under: the more things change, the more they stay the same.
December 22: For several years now, the Parkers have gone caroling to friends and neighbors during the Christmas season. The wee Parkers are quite comfortable singing in front of folks. This year, they began jockeying for creative control of our set list and voicing. The following conversation took place as we were attempting to rehearse during the drive to house #1:
Merrilee: "Mom, why don't you sing the harmony, and we will all sing the melody."
Mom: "That sounds reasonable."
Miles: "Why can't I sing the harmony? I am good at making harmony."
Mom: "It's true that you invent some intriguing "harmonies". They're so interesting that I think you're ahead of your time. Let's maybe save those for next Christmas."
Mariah: "How come we never sing The Twelve Days of Christmas? Let's do that one."
Daddy: "Because we don't want people to catch cold from standing on their porch forever. And we want to be invited back next year."
Merrilee: "Okay, everyone! A one, and a two, and a..."
Mom: "Hang on, sis. Getting us started is still my job."
Merrilee: "Why can't I do it?"
Dad: "Because there can only be one director, and your mom is most qualified at this point. Also, you were counting us off in the wrong meter."
Miles Parker wins the award for most memorable caroler tonight. We were enjoying the hospitality of our minister of worship/administration and his wife, the jr. high principal.
Principal (who is not terribly old and seems to be in perfect health): "Maybe I'll still be at Goza by the time you get there, and we'll see each other all the time."
Miles, pensively: "I don't know...will you be alive then?"
There you have it, folks. Merry Christmas to you and yours! Thank you for your continued interest in our lives. We pray God's richest blessings for you in 2014.