Being a Mom in 2017

This year holds a lot. My oldest baby will turn five this year. Five. She’ll start to kindergarten in the fall. Gray will cut more teeth, learn more words, and discover new physical abilities. But being a mom of two little ones in 2017 is so much more than the big milestones.

It’s waking up with a sinus headache at 3 am and finally conceeding to the need to get up, eat some crackers, put on some peppermint oil, and take some Advil. It’s walking in and turning on the Christmas tree that needs to be put away because its soft glow is so calming and simply peaceful.

It’s a tiny zebra left on the automan and an airplane on the couch. It’s homeschool papers spread on the bar next to travel agency work and Christmas gifts that still need to find a home. It’s looking past the chaos to feel the peace within about the parenting decisions we’re making.

It’s the memories. Oh the memories. From just a few hours ago – of cuddles with my sweet girl and her telling me I’m the best mommy in the whole world. Of my precious boy saying “I wuff you Mommy,” totally on his own as I laid him into his bed last night. And from ten (how could it have already been TEN?) days ago, when I woke early and anxiously awaited their waking and running down the stairs to see the gifts that Santa brought. Oh the peace that comes in those joyous memories.

But being a mom of two little ones also comes with lots of struggle. They both are working hard to discover who they are, and both of them have strong wills and are willing to fight hard for their independence. I know this will grow them into strong, responsible, world-changing adults. But it pulls at my heart when their wills conflict, and fighting insues. It tears at my insides when they go against my gentle requests and I have to get stern and yes, even submit punishment that sometimes in my frustration comes out quite a bit too harsh. In those moments I fight hard to find the peace I wish they were fighting for, and not against.

And it’s not just them I feel I battle on a daily basis. It’s the laundry and the dishes and the crumbs of food and playdoh and pieces of sensory bin activities that are just forever plaguing me with task after task. It’s the responsibilities that go hand in hand with working from home, homeschooling preschool (that isn’t really PREschool level anything), and the desire to do more of my own hobbies and just never. Finding. Enough. Time! And yet, I still find ways to carve out time for the things I want to do- the things that bring me peace.

In the past, I have selected a word of focus for the year, or purposefully not selected anything for various reasons. But this year in 2017, I am choosing to focus on peace. It’s something I pray for our world, for our nation, for our state and for our city. But most of all, it’s something I pray for our family and for my heart. I pray that in the midst of the struggle, in the midst of the clutter, in the midst of the wonderful, that I would always be able to stop and find peace. Contentment with what I have been given. Joy in the blessings- even the sorrow. And that I would be able to bring God’s peace into our family in a calm, gentle way that also displays His strength and His power, that my children and my husband might see in me just a tiny glimpse of Heaven’s peace.

Maybe this is why I’ve always had a negotiator personality. Maybe this is my time. Like the great queen of ancient Persia, Esther, this is the time God has called me to stand up and be that peaceful negotiator that He made me to be. For such a time as this.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  John‬ ‭14:27‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Here’s To The Moms…

Here’s to the moms who get up every day and head off to work, and those who get up and stay home to work.

Here’s to the moms who drink coffee, and those who don’t.

Here’s to the moms who have one child, and those who have two, or three, or four, or more.

Here’s to the moms who have babies they have never held.

Here’s to the moms who breastfeed, and those who use formula.

Here’s to the moms who babywear, and those who don’t.

Here’s to the moms with piles of dishes and mountains of laundry, and to the ones who have someone to take care of the piles of dishes and mountains of laundry. (I admit I’m jealous!!)

Here’s to the moms who are Ms-Fix-It, and those who don’t know a Phillips from a flathead.

Here’s to the moms who drive mini vans, and the moms who drive Harleys.

Here’s to the single moms, and the moms who have a hubby at home for moral support.

Here’s to the moms who believe in corporal punishment, and the ones who don’t.

Here’s to the moms who homeschool, who charterschool, who publicschool, who privateschool, and who unschool.

Here’s to the moms who love the outdoors, and the ones who are couch potatoes.

Here’s to the moms who watch countless hours of kid tv, and those who don’t do technology.

Here’s to the moms who love glitter and crafts, and those who get scared just driving by Hobby Lobby.

Here’s to the moms who have cleaned up vomit, and to those who stood around the corner offering moral support because their stomach just can’t handle the sight.

Here’s to the moms of kids with special needs, and to the moms who can praise God for a “normal” child.

Here’s to the moms on anti-depressants just struggling to get thru the day, and to those who have never once felt the baby blues.

Here’s to the moms not yet sleeping through the night with their newborns… And to the ones remembering those nights as they listen to their children talk about their new baby.

Here’s to the moms who rock their children to sleep, and to the ones who believe in cry it out.

Here’s to the moms who cosleep, and to the moms who watch a monitor vigilantly and listen for sounds of distress.

Here’s to the mom who gets woken up by a child at her side in the night, and the one who locks her child in his room for his own good.

Here’s to the consignment sale moms who buy the best they can at the best price they can, and to the moms who have the funds to buy boutique on their own.

Here’s to the middle school moms whose children are being bullied, and to the moms who have just discovered their child IS the bully.

Here’s to the moms of girls going through puberty.  ‘Nough said.

Here’s to the moms whose child just started driving, and is headed out this weekend with friends.

Here’s to the moms who babies are graduating- from kindergarten, from high school, from college, from grad school.

Here’s to the moms whose kids live next door, and those who live far away.

Here’s to the moms, the aunts, the cousins, the grandmas- the Grannies, Gigis, Mamies, Mimis, Nanas, Nawnaws, Mimas, and Abuelitas.

Here’s to the women who have loved us like a mom and taught us priceless lessons, but whose wombs have never held life.

Here’s to you.  We all speak one language.  “Mom.”  Every one of our children is different, but we all know.  We all understand.  We are connected by a bond of sisterhood.  We are blessed.  We are mom.

Precious Memories

To say I’ve been busy is putting it lightly.  Gone are the days of daily blog posts.  I hope and pray that one day I can get back to them again, because I really do miss writing – and we certainly have a lot going on that I would love to share.  But today I have to write.  I have to do it while the feelings are still fresh – while the memories are still raw.  Before time steals them from me and they are only sealed in photos that will forever tell the story on my behalf.

This past week we drove to see my family for Thanksgiving.  It’s becoming an annual tradition because my grandparents are unable to travel.  In fact, they are unable to leave their assisted living home without special care.  Seeing them this week was bittersweet.  Grandma was very lucid.  Far moreso than what has become normal.  I had some beautiful time with her, and I will forever hold dear the photos of my precious Grandma working a puzzle with my baby girl.  Thanksgiving afternoon, as I sat alone with the two of them, she told me I’m a good mama.  She told me my children are beautiful.  And she and I shared what I’m sure will be one last hug and kiss.

Grandpa was in and out.  Sometimes he knew who I was, and other times he didn’t.  He gave me some gardening tips and reminisced with me about all the things he used to do with his granddaughter – though he didn’t realize that the adult woman sitting across from him was the same little girl in his mind and in the photos he was holding.  We talked about long walks through the woods near their home, and favorite spots.  We laughed about how his granddaughter used to enjoy shucking corn – until she’d find a worm.  I would then throw down the ear of corn and go running to the house!

I told them that even though we live hundreds of miles and 12 hours apart now, someday we will once again have forever together in Heaven.  I pray that they get their wish to go to Heaven together.  And I pray that God in His mercy takes them Home soon.  They are both very human.  They haven’t lived perfect lives.  But they have lived forgiven lives.  And I know that one day we will be together again, though I highly doubt from their current conditions that it will be on this Earth.

I love them both dearly, and I’m so glad that Becca is old enough to (even if only vaguely) remember them.  I’m also so very glad that we were able to bring a few minutes of happiness into their very dreary, forgetful world.  Our week was far more than just spending time with them, but these are precious memories that will never be repeated, and I will cherish them always.gma gpa collage

Perfect… Or not.

So I have this picture in my mind.  Always.  Of every scenario.  I can see the perfect, and then I can see the worst case scenario.  Usually, in my life anyway, what happens in reality falls somewhere in between.  So reality is somewhat unknown.  And it’s the fear of the unknown that holds me back.

I have to learn to let go. The phrase “Let Go and Let God” often seems so trite.  And yet, it’s scary how accurate it is.  In our lives as parents, in our careers as business people, in our relationships as friends… If we just would let go of all the fears that are holding us back and just let God direct… Wow.  The possibilities are limitless.

I never planned to have a gifted child.  I mean, yeah, the smart kid who enjoys school would be a plus.  Ya know, a teacher’s pet like I was- high achieving, reach for the stars kinda kid.  But gifted?  Nope.  Never dreamed of it.  Because I was too busy imagining the what ifs of having a child with a major learning disability or dreaming of having a kid who floated through school on a cloud.  

I never imagined I’d have a three year old who could read.  Like genuinely, pick up a brand new book, open it, and read 95% of the words inside.  I was too busy worrying I might have a third grader who couldn’t read, or planning how much fun it would be to teach my three year old about shapes and colors and play little matching games to realize what my reality could be.

Some people might think it’s the most proud, bragging sort of thing for me to call a spade a spade and say that Becca is gifted.  But that’s because they don’t know.  They don’t feel the pain. They don’t see the anguish.  They don’t know my fears.  They don’t see her tears.  

She knows she’s “different.”  She is socially aware.  She sees the kids her age, and then she sees kids much older, and she knows where her brain belongs vs where her body belongs.  She struggles. And because she struggles, I do to.  

I wrestle with just letting her do “whatever” and continuing to teach her new things.  But I’ve come to a realization.  It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.  She wants to learn.  She has a drive and a desire to learn more and more.  I have watched this week as she was devistated to realize she doesn’t understand the concept of rhyming… And seen her find every rhyming game on her Kindle, request every Super Why episode that involves rhyming, play her rhyming game, work her rhyming puzzles, and ask me a million times in a day, “Does ____ rhyme with ____?”  She WANTS to understand.  She WANTS to grasp this concept that has somehow managed to evade her thus far.

Because she wants to learn, I will teach.  If it kills me, I will teach her.  She may be stubborn.  She may be strong willed.  She may have sensory issues out the wazoo.  But I love her more than any other human in this planet (altho her Daddy comes in an extremely close second!!), and therefore I am more than qualified to teach her.  God placed me in every training class in college, every bit of research on my master’s, every student I ever taught in public school- they were all training me for THIS.  To be her mom.

(Not to mention Grayson, who seems to be coming right along in her footsteps speaking in two-four word sentences and recognizing a couple of the colors already at 13 months.)

So am I perfect?  Heck no.  Is this “unschooling homeschool” perfect?  Far, far from it.  But it WILL be the perfect place for my kids with His help.  And we’ll get through every step of the way – whether we be here at home, in a public, in a private, in a charter, or in an online school.  

I don’t have this mom thing all figured out.  I know I’m a pretty big screw up most days.  But I have figured one thing out: I’m in love.  The man I married is the most amazing man in the world.  And our children are beautiful.  These three humans are so precious to me.  I can’t imagine life without them.  Perfect, worst case scenario, or reality- I’ll take them any way they come.

I look forward to loosely planning our fall and sharing with you as I set up our themes and work with Becca to create our goals!  I hope you’ll check in with my Facebook page to stay updated on the latest ideas!! 

I’ll be back!

Whew.  Life is more than a little crazy around here lately!  I just haven’t had a spare moment to type up all the wonderful things going on!  Don’t worry.  I’ll be back.  It’ll just be a few days before I get a chance to sit down and write!