Posts Tagged With: love

 
 

One-kin-stine

I have never met a one-year-old that I didn’t find completely and utterly adorable. Their pudgy sausage fingers, their squeals of delight, their hilarious interpretations of new words that will, for better or worse, follow them the remainder of their lives (raga-lo-li-lo-li will forever be on our menu for busy Tuesday nights!) One-year-olds are, without a doubt, the best.

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Unless…

Unless, of course, you happen to take a one-year-old to the grocery store. Hell hath no fury like a toddler who has had enough of the canned tomato isle. King Soopers is a dark and lonely place for a mother who dares to venture to get food with a toddler in tow.

Today happened to be such an occasion for my four boys and me. Despite my inner conscience screaming, “Nooo! Don’t do it. Have you forgotten last time?  Is there no other way??” I loaded them up and off we went. As expected, not two isles in my one-year-old went Dr. Jekyll on me. By the yoghurt section I was carrying him potato-sack style with his hands flailing to reach the string cheese on the other side. By the time we miraculously reached the checkout, I’d been the gracious receiver of no less than seven “Wow, you sure have your hands full!” Five “FOUR boys!? Oh, you poor thing.” Two “Bet if you tried for a girl you’d just get another boy.” and one “Oh, Mama, go buy yourself some flowers. You deserve it.” Not to mention numerous eyebrow-furled stares.

Minutes later as I wrestled my toddler into his car seat and the other boys unloaded the bags out of the cart, I thought about how those grocery shoppers had just witnessed my sweet, little one-kin-stine  at his very worst. No doubt about it, he was a monster for those 45 miserable minutes.

But in those two-second exchanges, they missed so much. They missed ten adorable, pudgy fingers. Fingers that learned to snap when he was just nine months old. They missed how he loves dogs, how he won’t even say his brothers’ names, but can say Howard (our English Shepard) almost perfectly. How he thinks his big brothers are hilarious and loves to steal their toys; how he loves to jump on the trampoline and would spend every waking moment outside given the opportunity. How he climbs on everything and loves to ride in the laundry basket when Mom does the laundry. They missed his big, toothy grin he gets when his dad gives him piggy-back rides and how his brothers always fight over who gets to sit by him every single time we get in the car. He refuses to wear shoes and he’s ticklish on the bottoms of his feet. They missed that too.

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Essentially, they missed that he really isn’t a monster. Not at all.

But I didn’t. I didn’t miss for a minute that these four crazy boys make me one incredibly lucky mom. That when I look at them I feel blessed far beyond what I deserve. And I never ever want those boys to think I forgot. So next time a fellow grocery shopper acknowledges me and my wild brood, I’ll smile and, in all sincerity say,

“Yes. And I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

 

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Categories: children, Family, Motherhood | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Glimmer of Hope

I’ve always loved a good old “good triumphs over evil” story. Where the unlikely hero wins, the good guy gets the girl, the dragon is defeated, the treasure is returned to the deserving and rightful heirs. Who doesn’t love a happy ending?

When our first son was born seven years ago, I struggled. Having a new baby in our home was so exciting and new, and I was completely enamored with that tiny infant. But after years of going to school, working, and all sorts of being incredibly busy, I suddenly felt like life had screeched to a stop. Overnight my life became driven by naps and nursing. My contributions to society seemed minuscule, if they existed at all. Those long days were just that: So incredibly long.

In order to break up the day, I decided to read The Hobbit out loud to our new baby while he nursed. When we finished The Hobbit, I decided to tackle The Lord of The Rings. By the time my son was 6 months old I had brainwashed him into being as nerdy as his parents (and I have high hopes that I was successful in my efforts).

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Those long afternoons with my newborn seems like a lifetime ago. Back then as we read, in my mind the evil was contained inside those pages, or at least merely lurking in the shadows. Whether it’s because I’m more aware, or whether it’s because the world is a scarier place than it was back then, I’m not sure. But unlike those days seven years ago cuddled on our couch devouring page after page of adventures in Middle-earth, the evil seems much more tangible. It no longer lurks in the shadows, but openly recruits, displays it’s intent, and waltzes through the streets demanding attention. And unlike back then, I can’t skip ahead to the last few pages just to be sure that Bilbo makes it back to the Shire or that Frodo does in fact destroy the ring.

And sometimes, like the sad news this week in Europe, it feels like evil is winning.

On countless occasions as a mom I have wondered what life will be like for my kids. With technology so incredibly accessible, facts and information merely a search away, morals and lifestyles changing, and a world much different than the one I was raised in, I occasionally wonder if I’m even cut out for the job of teaching these boys. Evil seems to be penetrating so many facets of their lives, and I feel overwhelmed by the responsibility to teach them.

But truth is, evil isn’t winning. It didn’t win yesterday, it won’t win tomorrow. We might not be able to thumb through to the end and take a peak just to be sure, but we can take a look around and see the good. The unlikely heroes, the small acts of kindness, the love. In the desperation and sadness, there’s always glimmers of hope.

Moms, as mundane and sometimes small our job seems to be, as little as we feel our contributions are, we are not merely maids and nannies. We are mothers. We are raising the next generation, a responsibility more incredible and noble than we realize. Our influence much more far reaching than we could ever imagine.

And we are equipped with the strongest weapon of all: love.

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We, in our little acts every day, are giving rays of hope. What we give to society is faith in a bright future, the assurance that evil will NEVER win. So today as you fold the laundry and change diapers and make dinner and read those bedtime stories, as you build the blanket forts or rock a sleeping baby, take courage. Know that what you are doing does make a difference. As you zip those little coats and tie those tiny shoes, you are dispelling a thick and menacing darkness. You are giving hope. It may not seem like it at times, but we are on the front lines.

And, best of all, we can take heart in knowing that because of that first Easter Sunday so very long ago, good will triumph over evil. It did then, it will today, it will forever. I believe when we carry out our role as mothers, when we teach and love and care for our children the very best we know how, we are fighting on His side.

It’s a scary world out there, but evil won’t win. This too will have a happy ending. Keep fighting, because I have absolutely no doubt we are on the winning side.

Categories: children, Motherhood, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Unfinished

M came down the stairs this morning in pants that would have been fantastic for some clam digging on the beach. I could have swore that just yesterday I had to roll up those same pants to keep them from dragging on the ground. I used to cringe when sweet ladies at the grocery store would stop me and whisper the old cliché, “Oh, they just grow up so fast!” I’d wonder, does she not realize she is the sixth person to tell me that in this visit to the store??

IMG_20150905_151926_298Then suddenly I blinked and there stood a five-year-old in his clam diggers and over-sized backpack ready for the bus.

In my closet I have boxes and boxes of fabric, each carefully labeled, “Black dress,” “R’s quilt,” “Quiet book,”Giraffe growth chart.” Fabric all cut and waiting, some pieces even sewed together. In the garage sits wood sanded and queued to be built into a shelf, a bench, a frame, a spice rack. Ideas penned in notebooks lay scattered all around the house for a picture book, another blog post, a letter to a friend. Bookmarks keep spots in dozens of started and unfinished books. Clothes fill my closet waiting to fit again, for when I will set aside the time to run and get rid of this lingering baby fat.

Recipes I want to try.
Songs tucked away to be learned on our neglected piano.
A guitar untouched for years.
Pictures waiting to go in scrapbooks.
A list of friends I would love to call and hear their voices again.

Unfinished projects. Sometimes I feel like my life is made up of dozens and dozens of unfinished projects. Skills I would love to learn, chores only halfway accomplished, hobbies and ideas and dreams started and set aside. All waiting. For tomorrow. For the weekend. For when the baby stops fussing, the kids are fed, the spilled cereal is swept, the tickle war is over, the scrape is doctored, the kids are in bed.

IMG_20150909_152418_320And there stands my not-so-little-anymore boy in clam diggers that I’m almost positive fit him just yesterday.

There will come a time when I no longer have the interruptions of spilled cereal to clean. These little ones will eventually brush their teeth without help, and they will no longer beg for the momster to set aside yard work and chase them around the trampoline. Slap Jack will eventually loose its appeal, and scrapes will no longer need mom’s kiss. And when that day comes, when I suddenly have the time for all the projects I’ve started and set aside, I hope I never look back and feel like they, these sweet boys, were yet another unfinished project because I was too busy trying to finish all the others.

IMG_20150921_143823_871They grow up so fast. Their pants seems to shrink from one day to the next. But projects can wait. Someday, moms, the time will be ours. The nights will be longer, the little chatter that fills our homes will come much less often than we wish. And all those unfinished projects will fill our time. But now, now is theirs. Now is about slap jack and monsters and spilled milk. Now is the greatest project, the most amazing adventure we will ever embark on. And I’m sure we will never regret making sure that this one isn’t set aside, put on the back-burner, forgotten and left unfinished. Because, moms, in everything that can wait, this one can’t. Let’s give our today to them.

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Categories: children, Family, Life Lessons, Motherhood | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Sibling Love

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Having a new baby in the house is always such an exciting, wonderful time. Exciting, wonderful, magical, surreal, exhausting, frustrating, confusing…and adding three older siblings into the mix, well, amplifies ALL of these emotions by about 1,324,067%. I can’t tell you the happiness that surges through me when I see my two-year-old quietly singing a sweet lullaby to the baby and gently rubbing his newborn hair. Or when our seven- and five-year-old tell the baby stories and make him smile. Thank goodness for those moments, because the other extremes sometimes exhaust my patience. Having a new baby I’m convinced has had strange effects on my dear boys’ listening skills. In fact, sometimes I’m pretty sure they must hear something entirely different than the words coming out of my mouth. Let me demonstrate. Maybe all you mamas and papas can relate…

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M as a baby and R as a toddler…

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Baby T with M.

When I say…
“Please don’t wake the baby.”
They must hear…
“Go sit by the baby and pat his head and rub his feet and wiggle his ears and wipe his nose. That will help him sleep better for sure.”

When I say…
“Let’s play a quiet game, the baby is sleeping.”
They must hear…
“I know the perfect game to play. Run through the house like a maniac and scream as loud as possible. That sounds super fun now that the baby’s finally asleep!”

When I say…
“Please don’t even touch the sleeping baby.”
They must hear…
“Would you please put your peanutbuttery cheeks as close to his as humanly possible so that you wake him up with your peanutbuttery breath?”

When I say…
“Could you please run upstairs and grab a diaper from the bathroom? We’re all out down here. And try to be quick, he kind of exploded.”
They must hear…
“Could you run upstairs and grab a diaper? Wait. Scratch that. Can you make him a space ship out of Legos instead? That’ll really save the day with this mess all the way up his back.”

When I say…
“Do you want to pick an outfit out for the baby this morning? We have that church activity, so try to find a cute one.”
They must hear…
“Hey, can you go find that one outfit that will serve as perfect blackmail material when he’s 16? Since we’re going somewhere nice we want to really make an impression.”

When I say…
“I’m going to nurse the baby. Bring over some books and we can read!”
They must hear…
“I’m going to nurse the baby. Now would be a perfect time to pretend mom is a human jungle gym.”

When I say…

“Uh oh. Cover your cough so the baby doesn’t catch your cold.”
They must hear…
“Oh, no! Instead of coughing right into the baby’s face why don’t you suck on your finger then stick it in the baby’s mouth. That’ll do the job of spreading germs much faster and more effectively.”

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The good thing is that the baby will forgive and forget. And besides that pesky stuffy nose his brother so generously shared with him, he’s no worse for the ware. In fact, I would venture to even go so far as to say that he might possibly be the luckiest little boy in the world because he has three brothers that incessantly want to give him love. As crazy as it can get around here with three older brothers, there really is no better playmate, no better friend than a sibling.

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Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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

When I Feel Weak

N, our two-year-old, burned his hand on our stove last week. I’d been fixing dinner early that day and he was being my little kitchen helper, mixing and measuring ingredients into the bowl at the table. The burner had been turned off only minutes before, and out of the corner of my eye I saw N pull the stool over. Everything was in slow motion as I dropped the knife I had been cutting with and rushed over to my little boy. It was too late. The palm of his hand had only rested on the hot burner for a millisecond before I grabbed him up, but the deed was done. Immediately under the running tap water blisters began to form. His tears dripped into the sink and pulled at my heart as I cursed myself for not getting to him sooner.

Later that day as he took a nap, I called my sister and cried. I spilled out my heart. I felt weak. I felt like I had failed him yet again. I was the adult, the one in charge, but I felt so inadequate, so lacking, so incredibly weak. His little hand bandaged in gauze, his sad cries played over and over in my mind. “Ouch! Hurt, Mommy. This hand, it hurt.”

Being a mom, being a parent, I’m convinced is one of the hardest jobs in the world. Not because of the late nights, not because of the endless dirty laundry. It really has absolutely nothing to do with the constant demands from little people still lacking patience or the dishes that pile high every night or the diapers that constantly need changed. When I became a mother I expected all of that. I knew full well what the job description entailed. What no one had warned me about, what makes it harder than anything else we do with our lives, is none of that. From the minute we found out we were expecting our first little boy I felt like my heart had been taken from me and would never be given back. I experienced emotions unlike I had ever felt before, from the most extreme joy to the most intense worry and pain. Their hurt is mine, more strong in my heart than any pain I have felt for myself. Their disappointment, their excitement, their successes and failures. Their happiness gives me gladness I never knew could be felt. THAT. That is what makes this job the hardest. Our emotions run in extremes and rest on these little ones.

IMG_1010On that particular day I felt weak. I hate feeling so weak. I wanted more than anything to take away his sadness, to put on a magic salve or give it a kiss and make it all go away. I felt like millions of mothers feel every day. So often we feel like we have to be strong, but we’re afraid there’s no strength to muster. We want to put on a brave face, tell them everything will be fine, but inside we’re scared too and want nothing more than to stroke their hair and take it all onto ourselves. It’s a hard job: wishing, hoping, loving, feeling and emotionally giving our all. Loving someone so intensely.

IMG_0997I’m so thankful for a Heavenly Father that knows the emotions I feel. He knows better than I do myself. He understands that complete joy, he sorrows in our sadness. Some days I feel so weak, like when my little two-year-old burns his hand on the stove. But I know with His divine help my weakness can become strong. I know because of Him, because of his love, I can pour out my soul to him and I can pick myself back up. Because of Him I can take on this tough job with strength. Because of Him I can hold my little boy in my arms and reassure him that everything will be okay. Because He is there for both of us, always, no matter what. I’m so thankful that I have been given the incredible responsibility to love and care for these little ones, and I’m thankful He will be by my side when I feel the emotional load of it all is weighing me down.

Because I’m human, because I’m a mother, I often feel weak. I often feel like I fall short. But I know that because of Him I can be filled with strength. And when you feel overwhelmed with the emotional load, I know you can too. He loves us. He will make up the difference.

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Categories: Motherhood | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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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Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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