*Disclaimer--Let me start by saying that if I'm dropping any P's it's because my son did something to my keyboard and now I have to really mash on the P to make it work.*
Today I am being reflective. I watched a show about a girl who is Audrey's age and was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. Can you imagine? She is one of the youngest kids to get that diagnosis. They played a video that the parents took at home when they were trying to figure out what was going on with her. It was absolutely heart-breaking. The dad was laying beside her holding her as still as he could while the little girl thrashed and screamed as her hallucinations demanded that she hurt herself. She was begging her parents to make it stop and all they could do was watch and hang on. Today, they live in 2 separate apartments in the same complex to keep their other child safe. The parents take turns staying with each kiddo. It just made me think about how thankful I am that my kids are healthy and happy.
Then I logged onto Blogspot to update and do my usual complaining about my life and my kids. I follow another blog written by an amazing mom who started it when her first child was born. 11 months later, their little girl was diagnosed with cancer and died within 17 days. Now the blog is a celebration of Cora's life and a testament to the faith and love of her parents, who are passing their February with festivites for their son, who turned 1 in January, and remembering the anniversary of the death of their daughter.
THEN, I checked out my friend Michelle's blog. I'm not sure if I've ever heard her complain. She's the kind of person that you gravitate to like the sunshine. Always happy, always smiling. She has a son Audrey's age and a daughter Katie's age. Their little girl is just like Sam. She never slows down! Michelle gets tired, sure, but she's still smiling. Her kids are her greatest joy and her blog reflects that. It's full of pictures of her beautiful family and words like, "love", "blessings", and "happiness".
So, I decided to take a much-needed page from Michelle's book and talk about all the wonderful things in my life instead of just griping all the time. I know, I know. I'll be back to normal soon, sarcasm and all.
First, glory be to God for bringing me this handsome husband of mine, who not only puts up with my daily mood swings, but lets me handle the checkbook. Sucker! I'm so grateful for him because he's way smarter than I am so he's got my back when I'm being oh-so blonde. He also keeps me strong. I don't like to think too hard and, as we all know, I'm extremely lazy. He challenges me to be better. He's very manly, so when he's at home I know that I never have to squish my own spiders, open my own pickle jars, or take out the trash. Oh, wait. Scratch that last one. I'm so glad he sticks around! Except when he leaves his dirty laundry laying around, then I wish he would go away. (See, I knew I couldn't do this without any snark at all. I'm so predictable.) He's generous and so very thoughtful. There have been several times when I picked out what I thought was a great gift for him and then he gives me something so thoughful, so genuine, that I want to run back to the store because as it turns out, my gift wasn't that good. Best of all, he made me a mother. I could never thank him enough.
When I found out that I was pregnant with Audrey I was so scared and excited all at the same time. Someone once told me while looking at my swollen belly, "She'll be easier to take care of in there than she will be out here." I was a little offended. Did she think that I was going to be a bad mom? She doesn't even know me! Thing is, she didn't have to. She was right. From the moment my water broke, my life got exponentially harder. The thing she didn't say was that I would never regret it. What no one can exlain to you before you have kids is that no matter how hard it is, or how tired you are or how bad a day you are having, or how sassy your kids are, you will still love them to your very core and be willing to trade your life for theirs, no questions asked. And all it takes to wipe out that horrible day is one tiny voice saying, "I love you Mommy." That's it. You think you know this before you have kids, but you don't KNOW it.
Audrey and I have butted heads since the day she was born. She always wanted things her own way, beginning with sleeing habits. During the day, that kid would sleep anywhere. Once she even fell asleep on the living room floor while I was vacuuming. But at night, the stubborn little thing wanted to sleep right on my chest. We tried all the tricks to get her to sleep in her own bed with to no avail. Finally we gave in. She slept with us until she was almost 3. Even after Katie was born. Today, at 7 years old, she's still so stubborn I could scream. The foot stomp. The eye roll. The sad tears. The sassy attitude. That sly smile. I could never have imagined that these would be blessings, but they are really. They will serve her well. When she's married. She loves being the oldest and being in charge, but she also is sensitive sometimes and likes to be held like a baby when we're playing. I think that she gets tired of the grind of being the responsible big girl. And I think that we forget that. I have to remind myself all the time that she's just a first grader. She's so good at being bossy and is so helpful to me with her siblings that I take it for granted. I always expect more of her than the other two and that's not always fair. Her strength will serve her well as a grown woman. I just don't want her to grow up too fast. I love that she loves to laugh, and she's smart as a whip. She's funny and is quick to make friends and she's mine. She's gonna do big things one day.
Katie gives me headaches of a different kind. The hurry-up-and-wait kind. Katie is the kind of kid that when people meet her, they want to take her home. She's quiet most of the time and shy when you first meet her. She likes to snuggle, but she doesn't need to be in your face all the time. She'd rather sit and play by herself. She loves to sing her made-up songs and talk nonsense. She has a great imagination. She's also smart, but doesn't love school like her big sister does. School isn't on "Katie-time". They have an actual schedule-what?!-and tend to stick to it whether she likes it or not. She's our sensitive soul and is always the first to share with anyone, even if it means that she won't get any. I worry about her. I worry that she will care more about other people's feelings and needs that she will get taken advantage of and maybe lose herself in the process. But God could not have chosen a better person to be sandwiched between Audrey and Sam. I want to always protect her and never let her believe that she's JUST the middle child. She's much more than that. I think she will be a fantastic mommy and/or be a nurturer of some sort. A nurse, a social worker. One thing is for sure, she will have a job where she can make her own schedule! No one else will tolerate her 15 minute bathroom breaks.
Sam. My little man with a BIG personality. How many times have I said that he's broken me or that he makes me want to go back to work? I should feel like the luckiest woman in the world that God thought I was strong enough to be his mommy. I spend most of my time with Sam just trying to survive the day when I should be embracing it. I think part of my problem is that after his sisters, I'm just older and more tired. He is soooo busy! He makes me tired just watching him. It's fun having a boy after having 2 girls. He's so different from them. Vince and I are in stitches most of the time we are with Sam. We laugh when we probably shouldn't. On the other hand, a lot of days I can't handle him. His active personality is beyond my mothering abilities. At this point I'm just trying to keep the kid alive. He is exactly what I wished and prayed for when I was pregnant. I wanted a boy so badly. I got it. He is all boy. Guns, motorcycles, daredevil, loud, fast. Those are all words that I would use to describe him. Maybe he'll slow down as he gets older and maybe he won't, but I know that he will always have the key to my heart. He loves his Mommy, even with all her shortcomings and the fact that she can't shoot straight. He deserves for me to try harder. They all do.
I have so many things to be thankful for that I can't begin to list them on here. God has blessed me beyond measure to be sure. I don't know why, but he thinks I deserve it so I should try to live up to that and do the best with what I have. With all my heart.
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