Monthly Archives: May 2015

The Things We Do For Our Kids

I grabbed my wallet and tried to zip my jacket around my pregnant belly right as the clock chimed 9pm. I sighed, wishing I could just be climbing into bed instead. “Hey Mom,” my son asked as he was dozing off to sleep an hour earlier, “did you remember to get that thing I needed for school tomorrow?” Of course I hadn’t. So there I was, waddling to our car to drive the thirty minutes across town to our local Wal-Mart. 9:00 at night. It had been a busy day already, working on potty training, cleaning the house, pulling weeds, library, meeting friends at the park, cleaning the chicken coop… and now to top it off I could feel a cold coming on.

What I would have given to just go to sleep.

I thought about how my husband had told the kids a few days before that when HE was old and grumpy and senile, they had better happily change HIS diaper and tuck HIM into bed. That night I had rolled my eyes. But tonight…TONIGHT I would agree. “Jeez.” I thought to myself. “The things we do for these kids!”

I drove passed the swimming pool and remembered how I had planned to look into swimming lessons. Not to mention the soccer team our oldest had been begging to join and the library summer reading program I had meant to sign them up for two weeks ago. The summer was filling up fast, and as I drove down the empty, quiet streets, I felt completely overwhelmed.

The things we do for our kids!

My back hurt, my legs were exhausted, my eyes bloodshot from waking up three times the night before with two-year-old nightmares and six-year-old ear aches. My house in shambles because we had no time to pick up the toys. And not to point fingers or anything, but it was all because of three little boys. Three little boys that constantly have us on the go, always demanding our energy and attention.

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And then it hit me. We do so much for our kids. Our days are completely stuffed with kid this or kid that. But when was the last time I had stopped to really hug my boys? I mean a real, honest-to-goodness, not just a good morning or good night hug, but a “wow, I just really, really like you!” Kind of hug? When was the last time I actually got in the mud with them and didn’t think twice about the tracks through the kitchen and the laundry I would have to do later? When was the last time I sat down to play cars with them and saw toys instead of a huge mess I’d have to nag them to clean? When was the last time I knelt down to their level, looked into those sweet, blue eyes and actually listened to those brilliant little thoughts and ideas?

When was the last time I did that for my kids? When was the last time I actually did what they really need, what they are begging for, longing to hear, asking to do? Parents often do so much. But in the hustle and bustle of school projects, sports camps, swimming lessons, park days, and everything in between, do we remember to do the things that really matter?

My back hurt, my legs were exhausted, my eyes bloodshot. But as I walked in the door and the clock chimed 11pm, I breathed in the mess and vowed to do a little more of what really mattered. To give them my time and my love, not just my wallet and my urgent moments of rushing out the door. Not just the lessons, the practices, the play dates with friends, but ME. Their mother. When I am old and grumpy and senile, I want them to happily change my diaper and tuck me into bed not because “they had better,” but because they remember how I had done so much loving them. Because in all that we do for our kids, THAT is what really matters.

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Categories: Motherhood | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Eight Years

A few years ago I met a friend at the park. While our kids played, we chatted about life, about our crazy mornings with getting kids out the door, about the tantrum at the library and the embarrassing twenty minute serenade of Old McDonald in the stall of the Target bathroom. All those topics moms chat about when they get together. Then the conversation shifted. “I was just reading a study,” she started in, “about how the more children a married couple has, the more marital dissatisfaction they will experience. And three kids is where the greatest decline in happiness was seen.” Little did my friend know that we were expecting baby number three.

My husband and I recently celebrated eight years. I will always remember the first time he said the “L” word. It was evening and we had gone on a hike up a local canyon. At the top of the mountain he pulled out a blanket and his little pocket PC (years before ipods and ipads and smart phones and all those gadgets were invented) and we watched October Sky under the October sky. We could hear elk bugling and the stars were so bright. I was too terrified to say it back that night, but I thought it, and I couldn’t get it out of my mind.

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I fell in love with my husband for so many reasons. It wasn’t just the fun, creative dates he thought up like our October sky or the fine china and oatmeal he brought along on a Saturday morning hike. Although they certainly helped. He was kind and thoughtful, he was fun and smart. He made me smile, and I wanted to be with him forever.

IMG_0240pre-wedding 079Fast forward eight years. After yet another night of our crazy whirlwind routine of nagging to get three roudy boys in PJ’s, reading some Dr Seuss, brushing teeth, making bathroom stops, prayers, back rubs, songs and kisses, I stood at the sink rinsing dishes. That man I married eight years prior stood next to me with a towel, drying each pot and pan. The glamor of that October Sky seemed so long ago. Those butterflies, that nervous feeling when he took my hand. Suddenly that conversation with the friend at the park years ago came flooding back to my mind. It hit me that in the eight years we have been married, I have been pregnant or nursing a baby for SEVEN of them (crazy, right??). That’s four anniversaries that have come and gone while I’ve sported a tummy the size of a watermelon. 120 accumulated pounds gained and lost (more or less). Holding my hair back as I sat on the tile floor in the bathroom waiting for the next wave of morning sickness to hit more times than he probably wants to remember. Six-and-a-half years of diapers. Two houses bought, one sold, four moves. Countless temper tantrums, many sleepless nights rocking a baby, definitely not enough Saturday mornings of sleeping in.

And three (almost four) of the most incredible miracles we have ever witnessed. And we witnessed them together.

IMG_3720And while we stood there sharing those pots and pans, recounting the funny things the kids said that day, our worries about M starting kindergarten, about work, about all that accompanies that mundane married life we share with our little boys, I realized my love for that man had changed. Three (almost four) kids and all that stress, chaos, and craziness it brings later, I wasn’t dissatisfied. I was filled. I was filled with awe at the father than man had become. I thought about how I fall in love again with my husband every day when I see him wrap his arms around our three little boys. When I hear them ask me, over and over and over and over again, “When is Dad gonna be home?” When he tickles them and wrestles them to the ground, when he hits them with pillows and elicits giggles as he chases them around the dining room table. When he gears them up with work gloves and somehow miraculously motivates three eager helpers to pull weeds around the house. When he talks in his best pirate voice and six blue eyes are fixated on the colorful illustrations on the pages in his lap. I fall in love again and again when I see him being a dad to the boys we get to share together. It’s an entirely different kind of love. Having children hasn’t wrecked our marriage, it’s made it so much more. I had no idea eight years ago that this is what I would be capable of feeling for that man I married.

HPIM1548  IMG_0380 I realized that over the eight years we have shared as a married couple, I don’t love him like I did then. It just isn’t the same as it used to be. It’s no longer about two, it’s about SIX. It isn’t just about a husband and wife, it’s about a mom and dad. It’s seeing him, that man I fell in love with over eight years ago and promised to spend eternity with being a man far greater than I could have ever imagined. It’s waking up in the morning and feeling so grateful to be next to him, loving him, raising our boys. Together. And it is amazing.

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Then…

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…And now

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“Marriage is more than your love for each other. … In your love you see only your two selves in the world, but in marriage you are a link in the chain of the generations…” —Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Categories: Family, Marriage | Tags: , , , , , , | 16 Comments

To Be Needed

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5am. I hear a little whimper outside the bedroom door. I groan and roll myself out of the comfort of the covers. I turn the knob.

Mommy?”

That little, froggy voice fills the quiet of the morning as he pulls his doggie by the neck with one pudgy hand and places the other in mine. I lead him to my bed and help him in, his head rests in the crook of my arm. Within a few moments his breath is steady and his eyes flicker in and out of dreams.

He sleeps away those wee hours of early morning, but now I’m wide awake. My mind races with thoughts of laundry and kindergarten registration, homework folders and what to send in lunch boxes. Groceries, overdue library books, bills, birthday gifts for friends, swimming lessons…I slide my arm out from under that little dozing noggin and slip out of bed.

Mo-om! I don’t have any pants to wear!”
“Check the laundry room,” I holler back. “And look under your bed for that library book. You have library today!”

“May I please have some milk? Mom, can you cut up my waffle?”

“He wants YOU to change him.” My husband holds a very stinky toddler out with two arms and gives me a sympathetic look. Secretly I know he’s relieved. From across the room I can smell that this one is going to require lots and lots of wipes and possibly a quick soak in the tub.

“Hey Mom, will you check my math?”

“Check this out, Mom. It’s a rocket. See these wings? That’s for…” My mind trails off to the spilled milk under the table. “…and see, Mom? See how this bends here, and this folds like this… MOM! Are you listening to me?”

“I don’t like that apple sauce, remember, Mom? Can you pack me the other kind for lunch?”

Mom! He’s singing that song again!”

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I am MOM. I’m mom in the morning when our little family is going a million different ways, I’m mom in the evening when dinner needs to be made and the baby needs held. I’m mom in those quiet hours of the night when someone has a bad dream. I’m mom for the dirty diapers, the skinned knees, the teeth brushing, the muddy floors, the finger-printed windows, the tug-of-wars over the cheap toy from the dentist’s office. I’m mom when it’s convenient, I’m mom when it’s not.

IMG_3791But someday I’ll still be mom. I’ll be mom when they are no longer making finger prints on my windows or filling my days with laundry and trips to the playground. I’ll be Mom when they call home on Sundays to say hello, and I’ll probably long to hear those early morning whimpers again. When they visit, I’ll wish I could turn back the clock and hear them tell me about their Lego rockets and missing library books. I’ll stand on the porch and wave goodbye as they drive away, and I’ll remember those days when I’d wave to the yellow bus and see that little boy face in the window, sitting in a seat that nearly swallows up that little body.

Right now they need me. What a beautiful thing to be needed, to be the one they cry to when things aren’t going quite right. To be the finger that pudgy little hand grasps. The one they trust with their stories, their waffle that needs cut, their scrapes and bruises.

To all the moms out there, the ones who are in the throws of being constantly needed and the ones who have memories of those days long ago, Happy Mother’s Day. What an amazing responsibility we have to fill the needs of these little ones then watch them grow. Ours is a role unlike any other. They need us. The world needs us, and that is an incredible, beautiful thing.

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Some mothers I’m so very thankful for.

...and another mom I'm so very thankful for.

…and another one!

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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