Posts Tagged With: Being better

Ours for the Leaving

A balmy 75 degrees. Finally a beautiful day. After being cooped up inside for what seemed like an eternity, this change from the frigged, windy winter weather was more than welcomed. I buckled our oldest son, seven months at the time, into the stroller, tucked a blanket around his body, and off we headed on an adventure. He smiled and squealed at everyone we passed, and I was sure that a little walk around this beautiful, sunny, warm world was just what we both needed to lift our spirits.

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Not long after our walk began, we came across two women who took interest in my blue-eyed boy, although not with the same exchange of pleasantries and adorations I had become accustomed to over the last seven months.

“What on earth are you doing out here with JUST a blanket? That poor boy is going to catch cold! He needs a coat. Are you his mother?”

As they walked away obviously disgusted with my happy, smiling son’s lack of winter clothes on that (75 degree, warm and beautiful) day, I was completely crushed. What I had thought would be a fun bonding experience with my son turned into a glimpse of one of the harsh realities in the world of parenting.

Seven years and four kids later, I have learned that everyone has an opinion about how you should raise your children. And occasionally, despite your very best efforts to do things the right way, one of those “everyones” decides that you need to know exactly what you are doing wrong.

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After seven years and four kids, I’ve also learned another truth: I’m really, really lousy at accepting criticism.

Being a parent, I am completely convinced, is one of the most humbling experiences a person can ever have.

Let your child cry it out. Get your child the minute he cries. Co-sleeping is a wonderful experience for everyone involved. Don’t you dare co-sleep, studies show that’s a bad idea. Feed them rice cereal at 4 months. Wait, feed them avocados at 6 months. Heck, babies don’t need anything but milk until they’re one. Time outs or spankings or counting to three. Breast or bottle, public or private, cloth or disposable. Epidural or natural. It even begins before the baby arrives!

Out of the 7.125 billion people on Earth, not a single one of us are the same. Not a single one of us thinks exactly the same way, has the same idiosyncrasies, concerns, priorities, or personalities, and, that being the fantastic and wonderful case that it is, not a single one of us will parent exactly the same. Nor should we.

Sometimes those comments, right or wrong, can really sting. As moms, the way we parent becomes a part of us. We love our children, we want them to grow into good, kind, loving, normal human beings, and we feel like we are trying our hardest to do what’s best for them. Sometimes those comments are meant to be malicious, to be offensive, and sometimes they just aren’t. But always, always it is our decision how we will take them.

“Certainly clumsy, embarrassing, unprincipled, and mean spirited things do occur in our interactions with other people that would allow us to take offense. However, it ultimately is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me. Indeed, believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false. To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else.” — David A. Bednar

That sting of my first encounter with the realities of opposing opinions in parenting is gone. Looking back, it seems almost silly that I took offense at the opinion of those two women. But sometimes other opinions do sting, and sometimes I have to remind myself that offense is mine for the leaving…If I choose.

Dear mothers, let’s remember that we are all doing our best. Let’s help each other, love each other, and above all encourage each other. And, when something must be said, let’s do our very best to be tactful and kind.

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And dear mothers, when someone tells you something that stings, try not to take offense. Remember all that you do right, and, if needed make some changes. Because, chances are, you really and truly are doing wonderfully.

“May I say to mothers collectively, you are magnificent.” Jeffery R. Holland

In a world where taking offense is so often our first line of defense, I hope that we can instead choose to learn from each encounter and move forward. Oh my, what an incredibly difficult thing to learn! But today, today I’m going to try.

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Sometimes

Sometimes I worry. I worry that my children aren’t eating enough vegetables. I worry that I will never get caught up on laundry. I worry when my son’s bus is 15 minutes late dropping him off from school, that he will pick his nose in public, that he will never be the best at reading. I worry that my boys will spout off embarrassing family secrets to their teacher or classmates, that they sometimes forget to brush their teeth after breakfast. I worry that my boys will never find nice girls, or that they will find them too soon.

I worry because I’m a mom, and that seems to be my job.

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Sometimes I read the news paper and I worry. I see news about wars, scary things. I see sadness and despair. I worry about the future my children will have.

Then I see articles online. Other parents worrying too. They write about their concerns and their thoughts, their values, only to have it thrown back in their face by other worrying parents.

I see people fighting, spewing hate at each other over social media. Aren’t we all wanting the same thing? One might want to teach their daughter to respect her body and protect her from lustful boyish eyes. The other might wish to teach her daughter that her body isn’t something to be objectified, that she isn’t responsible for the inappropriate thoughts of others. Both well-intentioned, both wanting what is best. I see moms, women I respect, bashing each other for differing opinions on vaccines. Both arguing the same underlying cause: the health and safety of our children. But the passion of the argument and disdain for each other is thick. Such disgust on both sides, both sided by people I love.

It makes me sad.

Aren’t we all on the same team? Aren’t we all just worried parents? Aren’t our goals, our hopes, our passions, to raise good, kind children in a scary world? A world where some are killed for what they choose to or not to wear. Where health is a matter of whether or not they will have anything to eat that day or clean water to drink.

In a country where we are blessed with the opportunity to express ourselves, to make choices based on our beliefs and feelings, I feel like maybe sometimes we should put differences and arguments aside and realize we are so blessed. Many are not as fortunate as we are. Maybe it’s time we helped each other out, lifted each other up, and supported each other in the things we can agree upon.

Maybe, as worried moms, here’s somewhere we can start:

  • Teach our children to be kind and compassionate. Example is the greatest teacher.
  • Create a home that welcomes others–particularly our children’s friends who may not get love and care anywhere else.
  • Fortify your marriage–a union based on mutual respect, kind gestures and words, and understanding.
  • Help our children recognize their potential. Build them up, not break them down.
  • Allow our children to experience consequences. Help them to realize the gravity of their decisions now so that they will recognize them later when the stakes are so much higher.
  • Spend real time with our families.
  • Teach our children that their worth isn’t found in the mirror, their closets, wallets, brains, or friends. Definitely not in the number of heads they turn. That no one, no matter what, should be objectified for any reason.

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Let’s support each other along this path, because as parents, we need all the help we can get. It’s scary out there, and there’s so much we cannot do alone. We owe it to our kids and their future.

And when we have realized all we have, maybe we can find ways to reach out to those who do not have the freedoms we seem to be taking for granted: the right to express ourselves through speech, through dress, through decisions of what is best for our children. Theirs is the real fight worth fighting. And maybe when we work together, instead of hating, we can make a difference.

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Having Children Ruined My Life

It’s no secret that R, our first son, came as a surprise. Sure, my husband and I rarely (if ever) admit to it, but all you would have to do is simple subtraction to figure out we had only been married a year and a few months when we brought that little guy into the world. I suppose some people plan it that way, but we had just barely graduated from college. We were young. And I was terrified.

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Let me tell you about how my life was going to go. I had it so carefully calculated. We would graduate, move, find awesome jobs, and I would teach for five years before we started our family. We would travel the world. Oh, the places we would go! We would have lots and lots of money saved up, my husband would be successful, I’d be happy with my accomplishments. I could then stay at home for the next 10 years until our kids started their education. I would do it all. At least that’s what I had planned.

Before we became parents, we would sit in church and watch the little girl twirl her pink, frilly dress up and down the isle. She’d squeal and scream, making the prayer impossible to hear, and her parents would stare at her with glossy, exhausted eyes. We would walk home and talk about how we would NEVER let our daughter do that when we became parents. Yes, our children were sweet darlings that never disrupted or disturbed anything while they were still only figments of our imagination.

Then we brought that baby boy into this world and my little, perfect life was turned upside-down. I never taught. I graduated and tucked that diploma away in a box and in the back of my mind. Ah, well. Maybe someday, I’d sigh. Nights were nothing short of a nightmare (and I thought I didn’t sleep much in college!), and we lived in a small, plain apartment with obnoxious neighbors because we had no money. At the park the nannies would scoff at me, a young, clueless mother who obviously had done nothing with her life before having a family. While they talked about their future, about their planned trip to Cancun with their fiancée next month, my extent of packing never went far beyond diapers, a big, fat tube of Desitin and fishy crackers.

Having children ruined my life.

I had big dreams, plans, aspirations, and ideas that were dashed to pieces when that little boy entered our home. But as we prepared for him to come, loved him, held him, and imagined all the wonder and beauty in the world we had the opportunity to help him experience, something truly magical happened. A new life was set before me. A brand new one that I never could have imagined for myself. My once-flat tummy was now adorned with stretch marks. Marks that represented a tiny human I had the marvelous ability to grow inside me. I didn’t get to travel the world, but I got to witness a miracle. I got to see the wonder of everything through the eyes of a brand-new baby. I got to experience a kind of selfless love that I truly believe only a parent can feel. I slowly realized this life, it isn’t all about me. I found I didn’t have all, if any, of the answers. I didn’t care if the other moms “oohed and awed” at my resume and life’s accomplishments, or even scoffed because that resume and those accomplishments didn’t exist. It no longer mattered.

Having a baby was humbling. So incredibly humbling.

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Instead of walking home from church talking about how WE would never let our child dance and scream down the isles, we found ourselves locking empathetic eyes with the parents wishing we could help, but secretly deep down saying to ourselves, “twirl on little princess! You’re drawing attention away from our toddler howling for us to draw a ‘hooker’ (and by hooker we are hoping surrounding congregation realizes he means a truck hitch) with his ruby red crayon. Not to mention our youngest with the colored pencils up his nose.” Our real children, unlike our imagined ones, weren’t perfect. We were certainly not perfect, and I’m so thankful we had the chance to find that out.

Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if we had waited. If life had gone exactly as I had imagined. I wonder if my life hadn’t been ruined by little ones if I would have been as incredibly happy as I am now.

Maybe.

But what I do know is that what happened was truly a blessing. That having children when I did taught me life lessons I may have never learned otherwise. Should everyone have surprise babies 15 short months after marriage? Is having a career and traveling the world before settling down a bad idea? Of course not! But if God sends you down a different path than you had always dreamed, know that your life may be ruined, shattered to pieces, only to be replaced with something far greater than you could have imagined yourself.

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A Little More

The hostess slipped two menus off the desk. “Right this way, please.” I smiled to myself as we passed by the high chairs. That’s right, two. No high chairs for us. No crayons, no kiddie menus no over-priced macaroni, no bibs. Just a table for two. I could count on one hand the times in the last three years my husband and I had been out on a true, blue, honest-to-goodness date. You know, not the ones that involve doing dishes together after the kids are asleep then watching the much-anticipated episode of Downton Abbey. An actual date!

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That day I had spent crunching numbers. My husband had spent the day attempting to do his work while making dozens of phone calls to the county. Our septic system has been on the fritz since we moved in, and that week’s batch of laundry seemed to have done it in. Like all unexpected expenses, I can’t say we were any too thrilled about this rather large project, nor the amount it would cost. Financially we would be just fine, but it certainly wouldn’t be convenient. I could think of dozens of ways I’d prefer to spend our savings, but so goes life.

We dropped the boys off at our friends’ house for a fun pizza and movie night and continued our conversation of worries in the car. Spending money on dinner seemed a little silly considering our newest rather large expense looming in the near future, but we had planned it all week, and this was an outing that we rarely had a chance to take.

We settled in the booth and vowed to not talk any more about that blasted septic system and just enjoy our night away. Instead, our conversation turned to our kids (what else?) and then to the kindness people have shown us and how we want to be more like them. From our friends offering to watch our kids for the night, to grandparents and aunts and uncles who do so much, to the small acts of service we’ve witnessed over the years. As we were getting ready to leave, the waitress came to our table. “Would you like any dessert?” We shook our heads and thanked her. “Well, you are all set to go. That couple over there paid for your tab. Yes, all of it. You can just go when you are ready.” I turned away hoping the waitress didn’t see the tears welling up in my eyes. The two generous people were slipping their jackets on and briskly walking to the door before we could catch them. I had read about things like that in the paper, but to actually be the recipient touched me to the core.

Out of all the couples sitting in that restaurant, why had they chosen us? They didn’t know about our unexpected septic system expense or that we rarely got a chance to go out as a couple. They didn’t hear our conversation about selfless kindness, but they gave us yet another example of goodness to add to our list.

A little more. It’s amazing what a difference a small act of kindness can make. It doesn’t have to be money. Share a little more smiles, be a little more patient, say a little more kind words, listen a little more closely. Give a little more love, offer a little more help, be a little more conscientious. A little more. That’s all it would take, just a little more every day. We have no idea what story is hidden in each person. We don’t know what they are experiencing. Why not show them, give them, just a little more? I’m grateful for wonderful examples of kindness I have so often witnessed. To that kind couple who slipped away at the restaurant on Friday night before we could offer our thanks, your kindness warmed my heart.

This is one of my favorite little clips on kindness. I hope you can take a second and watch it!

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Love Through the Coughs and Wheezes

It’s 2am and my head rests on your stuffed giraffe. I shift uncomfortably on the floor next to your bed and listen to your breathing.

Steady.

Finally steady.

The coughs and wheezes have subsided. I breath a sigh of relief. Your poor little body just needs to rest, and I pray that your tired eyes will stay shut until the sun rises through your window. I rest my hand on your forehead and stare at the ceiling. I’m not going anywhere.

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Remember that night your little tummy couldn’t hold anything down? I know, it would be hard to forget. I changed your sheets twice and made sure the water was warm before I lifted you in the tub to rinse off. The clock said 1:20am, but it didn’t matter. My mind said I had a little boy…an exhausted, sick little boy who needed his mother. It didn’t matter that my tummy was anything but settled that night too, or that a dentist checkup and playing with friends filled our calendar the next morning. It didn’t matter. That night YOU mattered, and I wasn’t going anywhere.

We sat in the waiting room for what felt like hours, You cuddled into my lap, holding my neck and never letting go. The fever just hung on, and your limp body had taken enough of the heat. You didn’t know I was hanging on to you too, never wanting to let go. I needed you, your warm body, your gentle hug.

My son, this is motherhood. When your heart belongs no longer to you…but to little boys that carry it everywhere they go. At 2am my heart is still yours, my eyes locked on your tiny frame shaking with another cough. It’s yours as I change your sheets when I feel like I can barely move, it’s yours in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. Always yours. Because motherhood doesn’t stop when the sunny days are over. It doesn’t end when you clock out. It’s the late nights, the early mornings. The four loads of unexpected sick night laundry, the rescheduled day with friends to go to the doctor. And it’s love through it all.

Dear moms. This job is not always pretty. It isn’t always fun, it isn’t always relaxing. But could you imagine it any other way? Could you fathom not giving your heart to these little ones that need us so much? This job, this chance, it’s messy. It’s stinky, it’s busy, it’s gross. It’s anything but glamorous. And it is truly amazing to have your heart taken so far beyond yourself that none of that matters.

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I hope your family is making it through this winter in good health. If not, hang in there, Moms! You are amazing. Soon the sun will shine and the ice will melt, the colds will go away. And that love will be all the sweeter, when we hear laughter instead of wheezes!

Categories: Motherhood | Tags: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

My Happy Place

I’m typing this one-fingered on my iPad (something that drives my husband crazy!) from the rocking chair. My left leg bounces up and down and my fingers run through a two-year-old’s blonde hair. His blue eyes hidden under heavy eyelids and long lashes. A rare moment I seldom get to enjoy, but today…today I will. The dishes wait, the toys strung from one room to the next sit. This. Nothing in the world could compare to this.

For the past few weeks I’ve been thinking about “my happy place,” thanks to my dear friend Marla who writes a beautiful blog, Pendulum World. After being challenged by another blogger and writing about hers, she challenged me along with a few others to write about mine. Let me first tell you about Marla. I’ve never met her in person, but she has a way of making you feel like an old friend. She writes words of encouragement and often reminds me of what this life is really all about. I’m so thankful for her friendship and how she has touched my life.

Last year for the 100th day of school our son was asked to bring in 100 of something. For days I proposed ideas as we sat around the dinner table and watched as my husband’s face twisted in mocking smirks.

“How about we make a treasure box and paint it, then fill it with 100 gold coins? You could wear a pirate costume when it’s your turn to present. Eh?” Brilliant.

Now, here’s just a simple example of how my dear husband and I are complete polar opposites (for what it’s worth, we are living proof that opposites really can attract!).

My husband smirks. “R, Mom is crazy. Here’s a $1 bill. Take it in and say it’s 100 cents. Easy. Done.”

“So typical!” I’d think. “Sure, take the easy, straight-forward route. So engineery.”

Our proposals went back-and-forth for days. Finally a decision was made. R put together a cute little photo album with a title on the front, “100 People, Places, and Things I Love.” Each photo protector held a picture of someone or something near and dear to him with a label of what it was. I was a proud mama, and even my “this project is way too frilly and time consuming” husband thought it turned out pretty darn cute.

I won’t put 100, but I thought I’d share my happy place(s) with you through pictures. Like Marla said in her post, being with people I love is where I find joy. They are what makes life full and happy, and I’m so thankful for those who have shared their lives with me. So, without further ado, here are my “people, places and things I love,” or “my happy place.”

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Being with my family

...and more family

…and more family (thanks, katiejanephotos.blogspot.com 🙂 )

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Sailing on our boat

Hiking

Hiking

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Places that bring back special memories

Here, one of the most beautiful places on earth

Here, one of the most beautiful places on earth

Here, because of all the peace, joy, and completeness it represents in my life

Here, because of all the peace, joy, and completeness it represents in my life

Running (and being) with friends

Running (and being) with friends

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Being with my kids

I’m so glad Marla challenged me to think about what brings me happiness. With the start of a new year, I hope we can all look back and remember those people, those moments, those places that we find joy. And this year I hope we can all share our joy with others.

As these traveling posts go, I have thought about some bloggers to pass the “happy place” challenge to. Of course, I don’t want to make anyone feel obligated to do it, but if you would like, I’d love to read yours.

Shape Up Cupcake— Kristen and I go way back to volleyball freshman year of high school, guitar class, soccer, and sleep overs. She is amazing! I feel honored to call her my friend after all these years. She is such a inspiration to me and so many others.

A prompt reply— Torrie has quickly become a good friend. Being in different walks of life, I love to hear her view from where she stands, with adult and teenage boys. Her advice and words of wisdom is always something I appreciate.

Sensitive and Extraordinary— Leila is such a kind person. I have loved getting to know her through her blog and reading her thoughts on raising children. She has been a huge help to me as a beginner in the self-publishing adventure, always answering my questions and sharing her experience and knowledge.

Categories: Happiness | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

By Small and Simple Things

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One of my favorite Christmas traditions every year (and possibly one of yours too!) is curling up on the couch with family and watching It’s a Wonderful Life. Jimmy Stewart in pure 1946 black-and-white splendor. At the end of the movie when the credits are rolling, tears are being wiped away from every eye in the room, I always wonder what it would be like to have George Bailey’s wish…to see what the world would be like without me. What difference has my simple, small life really made?

George Bailey: [George hears a train whistle] There she blows. You know what the three most exciting sounds in the world are?

Uncle Billy: Uh huh. Breakfast is served; lunch is served; dinner…

George Bailey: No no no no. Anchor chains, plane motors and train whistles.

No doubt about it, It’s a Wonderful Life is a Christmas classic, a beloved movie in many, many homes. And maybe that’s because we all have a bit of George Bailey in us. We all want to do BIG things. We want to explore the world, make our mark, leave it for the better. We want to be good at something, known for something, have people remember our names after we have gone. And so often we feel like the whistle blows, the plane starts up it’s motor, the anchor is hoisted, and we’re left watching from the station. But I wonder if we realize, just as George Bailey had the opportunity to find out, no matter how insignificant, how small and simple our lives feel at times, we are making differences. Our lives are intertwined into so many others. We make ripples, and even the smallest ones touch more than we could ever imagine.

Clarence: Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?

I wonder if we could all see, if only we could know what we have done. If only we knew…

I think who I have become is ultimately a collection of small moments I have shared with others.

I think who I have become is ultimately a collection of small moments I have shared with others.

If only Mrs. Chamberlain knew. An awkward tom-boy with a hideous bowl cut and no self-esteem was completely changed in her third-grade class. If only she knew how many elementary ed professors read about how every child deserves to have a teacher like her, who gives them a chance, believes in them, and loves them.

If only Regina, the owner and boss of the best family-owned burger joint around, knew. Those who have worked for her over the years would all agree she taught us far more than how to make a killer Ladybug shake or count back change. She taught us about being kind, giving people a chance, and serving others with a smile. Always. She taught us to truly care about others and think more of them than of ourselves.

Yeah, we lost almost every game. We weren’t the best in the league, but we loved soccer. We loved it because we had amazing coaches. Their pep talks when the score board read 5-0 might have seemed to fall on deaf ears, but their encouragement went far. To this day we are all changed because they taught us to love the game, to be a team, to have fun and be good sports…even if we could never seem to get the ball in the net.

If only friends from long ago knew. If only they could feel the way their simple messages, phone calls, letters, have made me feel on a bad day. If only they realized how much their friendship has meant to me over these many, many years.

If only the kind lady at the grocery store realized how far-reaching the effects of her simple gesture of allowing us to go ahead of her at the checkout counter meant. Not just to the hungry, crying baby and the exhausted mother, but countless others who I have shared her story with. I want to be her someday when I don’t have the anxious kids in tow.

If only…if only Mrs. M knew how scared my son was to start the first grade. How he didn’t like to read, how he despised writing. How he has blossomed and reads every night, writes stories on the bus, and talks about her at every meal. She is his hero. She is MY hero.

He’s only the custodian, but Mr. Mike creates ripples. The kids love him. The way he teases them in the lunch room making each one giggle with delight. He makes a difference. Every single day. They will remember that forever. If only he knew.

If only each one of us could know.

Each day, each moment, our small actions touch others. Sometimes in very big ways when we don’t even know it. We may never do really big, grand things. We may never have an audience of millions, have stadiums or buildings named after us, or have our photo on the cover of magazines or in books. We may never be the best. But life really is wonderful, and you and me, all of us, even in our small and simple ways, make a difference.

Clarence: You see, George, you’ve really had a wonderful life. Don’t you see what a mistake it would be to throw it away?

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The Terrible/Wonderful Twos–Loving Whatever Life Throws Our Way

Our youngest son recently turned two. TWO! Every time I’ve had a two-year-old I can distinctly remember thinking to myself, “Could I possibly love this kid any more?? If I could only freeze time, I’d freeze him at this age, right here, right now.” I LOVE two. It is my favorite, favorite, favorite age.

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Yesterday was a moment I would have froze if I could. We were putting Christmas decorations up, and N (that cute little two-year-old), enthusiastic about all the festiveness in a way only a two-year-old can be, grabbed the angel from a Melissa and Doug nativity set and ran to my husband. “See, Daddy? See? This Mommy! Mommy a angel.”

My heart turned to mush.

Obviously he’d totally forgot about how I was the meanest mom on the planet an hour before for not letting him try a bite of the uncooked chicken I was cutting up for dinner…

While I would freeze each of my children at the age of two for eternity if I could, There’s no doubt in my mind that the “terrible twos” are real. Oh, so very real. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” It was the age of pure joy, it was the age of temper tantrums. It was the season of laughter and squeals, it was the season of never-ending potty training. It was the time of ‘do it myself’ (hooray!), it was the time of ‘do it myself’ (ahh! No!!). Two is, without a doubt, a paradox. It’s a year thick and thin with inconsistency.

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But, the more I’ve thought about it, maybe that’s just life. We live in a world of ups and downs. Mountains and valleys are ever present in all of our lives, wether we are in the thick of raising a child in the terrible/wonderful twos, or if our children are states away with families of their own. Some mountains in our lives may seem so incredible they touch the skies, some valleys may seem so deep we feel we may never rise again. Regardless of where we find ourselves, a lesson I learned years ago from a talk has stuck with me.

“Come what may and love it.

“…every life has peaks and shadows and times when it seems that the birds don’t sing and bells don’t ring. Yet in spite of discouragement and adversity, those who are happiest seem to have a way of learning from difficult times, becoming stronger, wiser, and happier as a result.” —Joseph B. Wirthlin

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Having a two-year-old around again has reminded me of that advice. Most days are the absolute best. My mountain seem higher than the clouds. Others, well, I’ve simply had to remind myself to laugh…

“The next time you’re tempted to groan, you might try to laugh instead. It will extend your life and make the lives of all those around you more enjoyable.”

…and “seek for the eternal.”

“Because Jesus Christ suffered greatly, He understands our suffering. He understands our grief. We experience hard things so that we too may have increased compassion and understanding for others.” –Wirthlin

Whatever our lives bring, I hope we can tell ourselves, “Come what may, and love it.” I hope we can laugh at our blunders, at the little frustrations, at the uncomfortable situations. And when our valleys are deep and we are too far down to laugh, may we look up and seek for His help. Only through Him can we be made whole.

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Categories: children, Life Lessons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

You Are Worth So Much More

My dear child. As I watch your big, blue eyes fade in and out of dreams there’s so much I want to tell you. It’s been a long day. Somewhere between spilling your second glass of orange juice at breakfast and your fit in the middle of the yogurt isle at the grocery store you seem to have misplaced that sparkle in your eye. Your block tower really was amazing, probably one of the best I’ve ever seen. I’m sorry that last piece on the top sent it tumbling to the floor. And time-out for teasing your brother isn’t much fun. Believe me, I know. But do you know something?

I love you.

I love you more than you may ever know. You see, your worth to me is so much greater than a silly glass of orange juice or tears in the grocery store. I think it’s fantastic that you like to build towers. Nothing brings a smile to my face like when you run in, beaming with pride as your magnificent creation teeters in the family room. But that’s not why I love you. Your towers scaling the sky will never hold a candle to the worth you are to me. You may have splashed the sudsy water out of the tub and squirted shampoo on the wall, but I don’t love you any less. Bath or no bath, I love you from the tip of your muddy nose to the bottom of your stinky toes.

My son, do you realize your worth? Your worth does not hinge on your mistakes. It does not fluctuate each day with your accomplishments. Nothing could measure my love for you. It is infinite, like the stars in the sky. Your worth is great because you are my child. Nothing else matters, because I love you and always will. No matter what. Tomorrow is a bright, new day. When the sun shines through your windows we can try again. But remember, always remember, you are worth that same infinite, incalculable amount. I promise, my love for you will never change.

Love, Mom

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…as my eyes beging to fade in and out of dreams, I can almost imagine I hear a faint whisper…

My dear child. Do YOU know something?

I love you.

Your worth to me is infinite, like the stars in the sky. I don’t measure it by how your hair looks or if you lost your temper today. I love you the same wether or not your toddler throws himself on the tile floors of the grocery store in a fit for all to see. Your worth does not hinge on how spotless your kitchen is, nor does it diminish when you don’t feel like you could even compare to the other moms who have it all together. Nothing could measure my love for you. Your worth is great because you are my child. Nothing else matters, because I love you and always will, no matter what. Tomorrow is a bright, new day. When the sun shines through your windows we can try again. But remember, always remember, you are worth that same infinite, incalculable amount. I promise, my love for you will never change.

Love, God

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Categories: children | Tags: , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Preparing our Children for the Weather of Life

Monday Morning R, our six-year-old, slipped on his jacket and sneakers, grabbed his backpack, and dashed down the driveway to catch the bus. 60 balmy degrees. The sun was shining, beautiful fall leaves of red, yellow and brown still hung high in the branches above. As the bus rumbled away, I looked into the sky and saw a dark cloud looming over the mountains. “Boy,” I thought to myself, “I’m glad I talked him out of wearing shorts today! It just might get a little chilly later.” And chilly it got. Within an hour of the bus screeching to our stop fall had all but been dashed to oblivion and winter had boldly taken stage. Temperatures dropped 30 degrees almost instantly and snowflakes as big as ping pong balls fluttered down from the sky. And there my little boy sat in his first grade classroom totally unprepared for what waited outside those big, red doors. His light spring jacket was certainly no match for this winter storm.

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As the two younger boys and I signed in at the front office to bring more suitable clothes for their brother, Mrs. R came over the intercom. “Inside recess today! Make sure to come in winter gear tomorrow so you can play outside!” “Oh good. I’m not the only neglectful mom who failed to check the weather,” I sighed in relief. As I drove back home, I thought about how our family theme this year is to be organized and prepared. Thoughts of preparedness and being more organized filled my mind. I failed at sending R off to school prepared for the winter weather, but what about the weather of life? Had I helped to equip him with the skills he’d need to face the world?

Would he know what to do when someone was being left out? What to say when he needed to stand up for what was right? How to encourage a friend? Stand down from a fight? Had I prepared him for times when friends and peers would say inappropriate things? For moments when he would be the only one with certain beliefs and feel so alone? When friends would tease him or choose to no longer play with him because of his clothes, his freckles, his backpack…the principles he values and holds dear?

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Had I prepared him, taught him, helped him to know?

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Had I said “I love you” enough? Does he know that he matters, he’s important, he’s kind and unique? Does he know that no matter what happens out there, he has a family who thinks he’s wonderful and a Father in Heaven that knows him and loves him more than he can imagine?

Did I prepare him for school today?

It’s my fervent prayer each morning that I have. That when the storms rage and the weather quickly turns, that I’ve helped to equip him with all he needs. Physically, emotionally, spiritually.

How do you prepare your children for the storms of life? I’d love to hear your ideas and thoughts!

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Categories: children | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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