Posts Tagged With: parenthood

 
 

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

Mom Days

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5:02. Baby cries.
5:04. Get baby. Feed baby. Really, really hope (but highly doubt) he will fall back asleep.
5:30. Diaper explodes. Everywhere. Change diaper, baby clothes, mommy clothes and sheets.
5:45. Relish in the fact that kids are still sleeping. Think of all that can be accomplished in the next hour alone with the baby!
5:46. Kids are awake.
6:00. Eight boxes of cereal on the kitchen table. Three hungry boys. Get three more boxes out because “none of these sound good, Mom!”
6:15. Orange juice spill.
6:16. Clean up sticky mess.
6:18. Cereal spill.
6:19. Clean up crumby mess.
6:30. Try to cram eleven boxes of cereal into the pantry.
8:15. Lunches made, teeth brushed, homework done. “Go get your socks on! The bus will be here any second!”
8:18. “Ahh! No time for Legos right now! Get your socks!”
8:20. “Seriously, you are going to miss the bus!!”
8:21. Two-year-old on the toilet. Leave two-year-old to take older kids to the bus. Instruct two-year-old to “just stay right there. I will be back in two seconds.”
8:22. Bus rounds corner. Hugs and kisses. Bus starts to stop.
8:22:25. Hear two-year-old screaming at top of driveway. Turn and see a completely naked boy racing down driveway swinging footie pjs above his head.
8:23. Smile because neighbors must think we are completely crazy by now.
8:30. Diaper explosion #2. Change diaper, baby clothes and mommy clothes. Again.
8:35. Search for missing two-year-old, find him in bathroom with camera. Check camera and find incriminating evidence (see below).

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8:36. Have a nice little chat about climbing on bathroom counters.
9:35. Grocery store. “I buckle myself, Mom! Don’t help me!”
9:45. Finally convince two-year-old to take some assistance in buckling.
10:22. Dairy isle (furthest section from bathrooms). “I neeeedd to use the baaaathroooommm!”
10:24. Hold stall door shut for singing two-year-old. Smile at other bathroom goer.
10:25. “Mom! I makin’ poopers! Yay, Mom! I made a pooper! Let’s have a party! Oh boy. (Grunt) It’s a big one!”
10:26. Give a slightly embarrassed smile at other bathroom goer going to wash hands who will no long make eye contact (she must not have kids).
12:00. Pick kindergartener up. Baby and two-year-old asleep. Awkwardly carry car seat and sleeping two-year-old across front lawn, up the stairs and to the kindergarten hall. Feel like arms are most certainly going to fall off because together they must weigh 347 pounds.
12:30. Lunch.
12:35. Spit up everywhere. Change baby clothes, mommy clothes, and clean carpet.
12:40. Fold clothes and listen to the kids playing in the living room. Smile and feel very blessed because kids are playing so nicely.
12:45. Comfort two-year-old because brother poured a cup of soapy water on his head.
3:00. Sister calls to confirm weekend plans to get together (four kids plus two equals six. Wonder if we are gluttons for punishment, but put that thought out of our minds because getting together with cousins is the best thing in the world. Bring on the chaos!).
3:10. Hear toilet flush. Five times in a row, really fast. “Mom, water’s comin’ outta the toilet!” Say goodby to sister.
3:11. Find an inch of water covering bathroom floor and an empty toilet paper roll. Clean up water. Start another load of laundry for wet towels.
4:00. 2nd grader home. Sit at top of stairs and wonder if they will ever grow out of tussling.
4:20. Break up the tussling because two-year-old doesn’t appreciate wedgies. Wonder if it’s bedtime yet.
5:00. Start dinner.
5:08. Baby wakes up from nap, needs to eat. Feed baby.
5:15. Send kids out to run around the house 10 times.
5:20. Send kids out to run around the house 10 more times.
6:00. Give up on attempt at a fancy dinner. Make waffles.
6:30. DAD’S HOME!
6:32. Make feeble attempt at some adult conversation.
6:33. After seven times of being interrupted, give up all attempts at adult conversation. Talk about Star Wars instead.
6:50. Wash dishes while dad tussles with the kids. Smile because, no, they will probably never grow out of tussling.
7:30. Bed time. Tooth paste explosion all over counter and walls. Clean up blue sparkly paste. Brush teeth, pjs, books.
8:00. Lights off. Drink of water, 32 stuffed animals, songs and tucked in. Stand in doorway and look at the four beautiful boys that make life so crazy. Wonder I will ever make it through an entire day in the same clothes I put on that morning, wonder if the neighbors will remember my son streaking down our driveway on their drive to work this morning, wonder if we have enough leftover waffles for breakfast in the morning, wonder if I will ever have time to actually make what I plan for dinner. Wonder what we ever did before kids.

image8:10. Thank God that I get to do it all over again in the morning.

Categories: Family, little boys | 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 Woman Standing at the Doors of the Clinic: Maybe if She Knew

I’d never pulled an all-niter in my entire life. Not even during dorm life in college. As much as I tried, I knew as I pushed the sheets off my legs and stared at the ceiling that sleep was not going to come that night.

4am, the city still fast asleep. A 25-minute drive that seemed to last an eternity. “Please, let’s just make it to the hospital,” I pleaded. I did NOT want to give birth to our new baby boy in our car, and during those agonizing 25 minutes that felt like a real possibility.

At 7:02am we had our first glimpse of our fourth little boy. I counted his fingers. I counted his toes. I took in all that sweet eight pound newness. Those gray eyes, that matted down reddish hair, the button nose and that wrinkly skin. All so amazing, all so new. All nothing short of a miracle.

photo courtesy of katiejanephotos.blogspot.com

photo courtesy of katiejanephotos.blogspot.com

Four babies later, the incredibleness of bringing a little human being into this world has not diminished. Each time I have been completely enamored at each little detail of that tiny body. The mind-boggling complexity of it all, the beauty. Everything. It is amazing.

My emotions this week have been raw. As I hold this tiny little boy in my arms, I read about other little ones who will never have a chance to live. Who sadly will never get a glimpse of this world. Whose life was so abruptly and horrifically ended before it began. I couldn’t even finish the news articles. I honestly felt sick. I held my little baby in my arms and felt his warmth, wishing those questioning expectant mothers standing at the clinic doors could just feel it too.

If maybe they could just hold their baby, feel the warmth, count those toes. Maybe instead of seeing a burden they would see a most amazing blessing…If not a blessing meant for them, then maybe for someone else.

I have never had to face the pain of not being able to conceive a child. I have never lost one before he or she was born. But I do know others who have struggled and who have mourned such loss. I have watched as friends and family wish, hope, dream, plead, pray, and cry for that child that never comes, or that comes but has to go far too soon.

If those standing at the clinic doors could see that longing in these mothers’ eyes, maybe they could understand the power that they hold to change an unfavorable situation into something incredible. Though that child might not be a possibility for them at the time, that child could bring infinite joy to another family. A family that has longed for that baby to come. They could give a gift so incredible. An act so selfless. Is that not more desirable than the alternative?

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Back in college for a summer I worked at an activity and skills center for children with special needs. The children ranged in age from 8-21, and their disabilities ranged from moderate to very severe. It was by far the hardest job I have ever had, but it was also one of the most rewarding. The mothers and fathers of those participants were the most compassionate and amazing people I have ever met. If you were to ask them about raising a child with disabilities, they would tell you in a heartbeat that it was worth every second. They would tell you about love deeper than anything you have ever felt. I’m sure if you asked, they would tell you about how terrified they were when they found out their child would never lead a normal life. They would tell you the sadness they felt, the worry, the anxiety for their child’s future. Not to mention their own. But they would tell you they would never go back. Not for a second. When they chose to bring that life into the world, despite the difficulty they would face, they were brave. They were selfless. And they learned about love in ways others may never know. Maybe if those standing at the doors facing similar situations could see, could know. They could make such a difference. Those parents to those special spirits are heroes in my eyes.

I don’t judge these women. I feel so much sadness for them and the questions they find themselves asking. I have no idea what those women face. I don’t know their reasons for standing at those clinic doors. But I do know that there are others out there that would help them, love them, and support them. I see no love and compassion from a company willing to crush the little life that mother is growing inside and sell the parts as if that baby were a wreck from an auto salvage.

As I count these tiny fingers and toes again and again and hear that little cry, I wish more than anything those women standing at the clinic doors could hold their precious babies in their arms and do the same before they make a decision. I can’t help but wonder if their decision would be left unchanged.

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

Practice Makes Perfect

Some days I feel like my kids have two volumes: loud and super LOUD. Most days I feel like they have two speeds: fast and out of control. And occasionally I just feel like I can’t keep up.

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I honestly can’t remember at what point I lost it. It might have been after the explosion of chokecherry syrup all over the floor. It could have been between the “Mom, can I hold the baby?” “But I asked first!” and the “But Mo-om, I didn’t get to yet!” fight that never seems to take a break. Or maybe it was when I walked in their room to find the freshly folded laundry piles I’d hoped they would put away scattered hither and yon. It really could have been when I glanced down into the family room to witness our two-year-old Evil Keneviling it from the top of our futon to the couch 6 feet away. Or during the pillow fight that ended abruptly with bonked heads and two boys in tears. But no matter when it happened. Fact is, it did. I lost it.

IMG_1690Countless times since becoming a mom I have found myself praying for more patience. Begging that I won’t go crazy, and asking for forgiveness for those all-too-often times I do. Some days after negotiating with a non-negotiable two-year-old and pleading for a truce between two brothers that know exactly which buttons to push on each other leaves me completely exhausted. I pray for patience. For what to say, what to do, how to put out this fire or that.

I pray wanting a solution, a quick fix. But Heavenly Father must know that practice makes perfect because my answer often comes in that form: a chance to try again. And again, and again, and again, and again.

He answers me with that quiet prompting, “pick yourself back up. Keep on trying, you can do it. Practice makes perfect! You’ll get it one of these days.” And I step back in the ring.

Motherhood is a choice you make every day, to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is…and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.” –Donna Ball

It’s so easy to feel like we do everything wrong. Over and over again. It’s so hard to forgive ourselves, to pick ourselves back up and practice that patience we so desperately want and need. But someday, if we just keep trying, I think we can get it right. And it’s my prayer every day that my kids won’t be too much worse for the wear because I had to practice so much.

In those moments that I just can’t keep up, I am always grateful for the chance to try again. I’m so thankful that children are forgiving. Most of all, I’m thankful that I have been given this great opportunity to practice patience on four amazing little boys. Boys that have two volumes and two speeds. Sometimes I feel like they give me more than my fair share of opportunities to give it another go. But then I get that quiet nudge, “practice makes perfect! Pick yourself back up. Keep trying,” and I remember I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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Categories: little boys, Motherhood | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

What to maybe try to avoid saying to someone about to have a baby…

Yesterday at church a friend approached me to apologize for a comment he’d made last week. “Wow, you’re looking longer than you are wide!” He had said, noting how incredibly pregnant I looked. His wife was mortified that he would say such a thing and was worried he’d offended me. Honestly, I hadn’t given it a second thought. Fact of the matter is, I AM pregnant, and my belly is getting rather huge. He only spoke the truth: this little baby certainly has made me longer than I am wide! So being offended hadn’t even been on my radar. My husband got a laugh out of it.

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People seem to always have something to say to a woman about to have a baby. While I’m not easily offended and have never felt ill feelings about what people have said during those nine long months, I have heard quite a few great comments during my four pregnancies that have made me laugh. In case you happen to encounter a woman carrying a sweet bundle in her tummy, it just might be wise to steer clear of these lovely comments, because I suppose you just never know how she’s going to take it when in that large and awkward state!

Wait, how many kids do you have already??

You have THAT much time left?? You poor thing!

You know what causes that, right?

“Oh, don’t you just LOVE being pregnant?? I just loved being pregnant so much.”

“Well, I wasn’t going to say anything, but now that you mention it…”
(Maybe “oh no, honey, you don’t look like a hippo in that dress!” Would be a better choice)

“I know food doesn’t sound good to you right now, but please don’t forget that the rest of us still enjoy eating.”

“Oh my goodness, are  you really THAT far along?? I had no idea you were even pregnant!” (Interpreted as, “Well, what do you know! I just thought you were gaining an awful lot of weight and letting yourself go.”)

“So…was this one a mistake (or surprise)??”

“No thanks, I’m still SO full from dinner! But if YOU are really hungry, you go ahead and eat that five scoops of fudgey triple-swirl peanut butter ice cream.”

“Let me tell you MY delivery horror story (or my friend’s, or a stranger’s I heard, or one I read about, or…”

And my very favorite…

“Honestly, how hard can it really be? People have been having babies for thousands of years.”

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Categories: Motherhood, Pregnancy | Tags: , , , , , , , | 10 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

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

Those Care-Free Days

20150405_093955I grew up in a house that was a century old. The stairs creaked, it was a little drafty, and when my parents bought it, it needed lots (and lots and lots) of tlc. My parents saw something in that house I’m sure very few could. Their vision of turning that musty, dusty, old house into a home became a reality as they planned, gutted, painted, tore down, built up, and everything in between over the next 25 years. I can’t remember a summer going by without renovations being made.

When I was five years old my dad decided to dig out a basement. On one particular summer evening, I remember slipping inside our back door with my mom and sister to take a break from playing and get a drink. My dad was working below. As We stood in the kitchen we noticed the wall start to move. My mom rushed us out of the house and screamed at my dad from the back yard. There are few things I remember well from five years old, but the image of my dad running up the hill and the house caving in behind him I can play in my mind clear as day. I remember watching the pink sunset that night and the dust settling as my sister and I sat in our yard terrified and my parents rushed around to assess the damage and make calls. Our kitchen and part of the upstairs has fallen in where my dad had been working.

That disaster was the start of the most memorable summer of my childhood. Dirt piles everywhere, tractors coming and going, huge pipes to crawl through. Countless English papers were written about those particular three months of my life for the next two decades. Forget the trips to Disneyland, the vacations to sandy beaches and amusement parks. THAT summer is what I look back on with the fondest of memories.

If you were to ask my parents to honestly recall the events that took place that evening and the months that followed, you would likely get a much different story. While we were romping around playing Peter Pan on dirt piles and unearthing century-old artifacts, my parents were battling insurance companies. I’m sure many nights were spent stressing over architecture plans and building permits while we slept soundly after a full day in the sun. On top of all the stress they were facing, my dad broke his ankle while working on the project. Their adult reality was night-and-day different from ours as kids.

Earlier this spring my husband and I embarked on our own project of rather large proportions. We knew when we moved into our old home in the country we would have to fix the septic system at some point. That point came sooner than anticipated, and, as most projects go, everything that could go wrong, well, did. In a very big way.

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Before it all was destroyed…

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Piles and piles of dirt and sand, tractors coming and going, trees being torn out. Fighting county regulations and praying the inspectors would be flexible, reasonable and kind. I almost cried as I looked out the window the first day to see a muddy hole where our giant, beautiful pine trees once stood.

But among all the chaos comes an entirely different story. Our three boys wouldn’t tell you about the phone calls and the plans, the permits and the worry. Their story begins with the coolest tractors that currently line our driveway and Mr. P, who drives them that let them climb inside and check them out. It’s about mounds and mounds of sand and dirt, running from one to the other and getting so dirty their bath water turns to an icky, brown, thick consistency. I would imagine it would include eating frozen pizza (a time of two more than once, I’m embarrassed to admit) while the water was turned off and mom couldn’t do dishes. THEIRS is a story of a spring worth remembering.

IMG_20150409_144157_614 IMG_20150409_144429_678 IMG_20150409_144343_146Sometimes as adults we long for those care-free days when troubles were simply an adventure. We remember the “good old days” and forget that we are remembering with a child-like view. I have certainly had flash-backs this month as my boys have dug in the dirt and shouted with glee while my husband and I stress and wished I was back on that side of life.

Then I think about my parents. When they tell the story from those many years ago, they tell of the adventure, the little miracles along the way, and the FUN the kids had as we experienced the excitement. As we face adulthood and all the challenges that come with it, I hope we can live vicariously, even if only a little, through the lives of our children. We will undoubtedly have to face the bills, the paperwork, the phone calls and the frustrations, but they don’t. I hope I can look back and remember the joy on my boys’ faces and see moments like this through those innocent, child eyes. As adults, let’s remember to stress the stress, carry the burdens, and pay the expenses. But when all is said and done, let’s let our kids be kids, and let’s remember to try to see the world even if only a little through their child eyes. Because theirs is the story worth sharing.

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Categories: children, House projects | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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