When Your Babies Grow Up

I’ve been thinking a great deal about when my kids were little these last few days. I remember bringing them home from the hospital and wondering who each would become as they got older. As parents, we all have hopes and dreams for our precious children. Some of those dreams may be realized but often times those are our own dreams unrealized. Some parents seem to live vicariously through their children trying to release their own dreams often to be disappointed later when their children become who they are truly meant to become.

When my children were brand new, I held them each in my arms and wondered at the amazing miracle that had been bestowed upon me. I had become a mom not just once once, but four times! God must trust me a lot, I thought. I had a job to do to raise them and to do a decent job is a daunting thought for anyone. When I brought my first daughter home, I couldn’t believe they let me leave with her. What did I know about being a mom? I was 26 and married, and a nurse, but what if she was truly sick? What if she had cancer? How would I know? Yes, that was my thought when she was 4 days old. She and I cried in the rocking chair in her room as I thought this. I was so scared that something would or could happen to my precious baby girl and I couldn’t protect her. 

That baby girl is 20 now and no, she never had anything we couldn’t handle. She has had plenty of battles to face, but she has come out of them stronger and better. She’s one strong and amazing young woman. She is my fighter. I’m proud of her and the woman she is becoming.

My second daughter was always the worker. Even as an infant she knew her own mind and didn’t hesitate to make it known. She was not an easy infant but as she learned to speak very early, she used her large vocabulary to assert herself and she quietly worked for what she wanted. She is my worker bee and peace maker.

My third child was born a girl and grew up as a girl, but never felt comfortable as one. If you aren’t familiar with the term transgender, in today’s society it refers to one born as one gender but feels like the other gender. In other words, they feel like they were given the wrong one at birth. This is my third child, born a daughter, now my son. He is sweet, hilarious and so talented! His artwork is incredible and his ability to figure out music on the piano is amazing! 

And before anyone judges my child or me, step into his shoes for a moment. Would you choose a life where you were different from your peers? No you certainly wouldn’t. You wouldn’t choose to live in a body that didn’t fit who you felt like you were on the inside either. Before you judge others, think of the life they are living. My sweet, funny, shy teenager would never choose to be judged or ridiculed because this isn’t really a choice. It is who he is, not who he chose to be. He is shy and doesn’t enjoy drawing attention to himself. I am proud of my son who used to be my daughter. I am proud of who he is and who he will become down the road. 

My last son is all boy. He was born that way. He is just 9.5 years old and is rambunctious and sweet, wild and snuggly, crazy and huggable all at the same time. You can let him outside with clean clothes on and he will come in filthy 5 minutes later. He has my heart. He drives me crazy. He is a conundrum. What will life bring him down the road? Who knows, but I will do my best to raise him to be the best man he can be. 

Children are a wonder. God’s gift for us to raise and cherish. We are blessed to share life with them and have them. I am truly blessed to have my four amazing kids. How incredible and special each one is and how unique yet similar they are too! It still amazes me when I look at them that they are mine. I will always see them as those little sweet baby faces. I will always remember the sleepless nights and 2 hour feeds, but they’ve grown up so fast. Where did that time go?

It’s a Birthday Coffeeshare Weekend!

I celebrated my birthday on Friday and what great friends I truly have. My friends took me out for dinner minus one of my besties who was trying to get her pool closed for the year as well as not feeling great. We had a blast! The 5 of us are out hearts out, fixed all the world’s problems over food and good wine and just had such a good time together it was hard to say goodnight when our evening was over. I am so truly and utterly blessed to have the very best friends in the world. Thanks to my T for managing to throw it all together and make it a memory that will surpass some of the other birthday memories that were not nearly so pleasant. 

Earlier in the day, I was blessed to go pick up my beautiful daughter from school and take her out for lunch at a great diner! What a truly fabulous gastronomic adventure! If you are ever in St. Louis and looking for a superior diner atmosphere to partake of, look no further than the loop. Fitz’s diner is phenomenol! The burger and the fries! Plus homemade sodas and floats that will absolutely bust a gut! We shared, and did not finish, a black forest float made with their black cherry soda and rich chocolate ice cream! Yummy! 

The best part of that was spending time with my girl! I missed her do much! Catching up on everything is so important in the grand scheme of life. A bond between a mother and her children can not be broken. Well, not in my case. My oldest sweet daughter even came home.

I didn’t get to see her until yesterday, but it’s so much fun to hug my girls. I miss them so much. She bought me the cutest clock and it matches my living room colors perfectly! 

I always say I will always love my kids even if I don’t always like what they do. I say this often to my youngest when he is driving Hubs and I crazy in the evenings over the old homework issue. Most of the time it’s been a lot better, but there are those nights when he is just so tired and we have both worked all day. When that happens, homework time leads to a screaming banshee child and it just stinks. Homework generally gets deferred to 6 am the next morning with me and then he’s like a brand new kid. This weekend he’s been terrific though. He even spent the night at his friend’s house and had a wonderful time doing so.

I have been on a baking kick lately. Its all about muffins. Cinnamon apple muffins more precisely. I make them from scratch. Although I prefer larger pieces of apple in mine, the family prefers the pieces to be diced very small. The tops are dipped into butter when the muffins come out of the oven and then into a mixture of cinnamon sugar. My 15 year old have me the greatest compliment ever. He said they were the best thing he had ever eaten. How cool is that for a mom to hear, especially when it’s not heard very often from a picky eater!

So that’s what going on in my neck of the woods. What’s going on in yours? You know I love to hear from you. Today I’ll be making homemade granola and some pumpkin muffins for the family! Family and food. What more could you ask for? Well… Maybe hockey and football…but that’s another story for another day! Take care and have a great day!

Fathers and Sons

When the kids drove your spouse crazy and you don’t know what’s going on, it’s like a bomb has gone off in your otherwise peaceful home. At least that’s what it feels like I’m mine. Life happens when things get crazy sometimes. My house is no different than anyone else’s. 

Tonight was one of those nights and my husband’s temper flared. All I know is that while I was in the bathtub, my 9 year old came and poked his nose in to tell me dad was mean and a big dummy. Meanwhile I heard more interesting comments coming from my husband’s direction aimed towards the boy. What is a mom to do? Well, calm the boy and yell that the hubs is not saying very nice things.

Lord give me strength to get through this. That’s my prayer for these little occasions and somehow I always find the strength to muddle through and figure out what happened. Tonight was different though. I enjoyed my bath and let them get through it without meddling too much. I have no idea what the madness was about and furthernore, I don’t care. I’m chalking it up to hubs being tired and therefore cranky and the boy, well, he’s just a typical 9 year old boy.

I suppose for many, myself included, it’s so difficult to be that strong parent with the golden touch when you’re tired. Some people are just naturally prone to being tired. Luckily, I’m usually not one of them, but I have my moments. Sometimes we’ve just had a bad day and unfortunately sometimes our kids just know which buttons to push. I know my 9 year old certainly does. Luckily though. He is resilient like most kids. The two resolved their issue without me which makes me so happy. Then move my hubs has for his son is immense. If only kids realized that love earlier. I think they get it sometimes, but it’s hard in this extraordinarily busy and crazy world we live in. 

The moral to my story? Well, I suppose as mom’s we try to fix everything. Its just what we do. Sometimes it’s okay to let them fix their problems all by themselves without getting involved. They can do it and it will strengthen their relationship in the long run.

Ugh! Calgon Take Me Away!

Ever have a day, a week, a year where you just want a do-over? Or maybe just hit the delete button for so many things that have happened? This year has been it for sure and although I’m not feeling like hitting the delete button today, I could sure use a bubble bath, candles, some expensive chocolates, wine, a vacation lodge in the bahamas. 

Oops, sorry, I meandered off for a moment. The point being that we all have those times where we need to destress! 

I’m not sure about you, but my life is hectic enough with just my 2 remaining kids at home, working and the house. But so much more is added on to us nowadays it seems. There’s carting everyone around and work and… homework.

Homework takes up my evenings with the boy. It just never seems to be finished. It isn’t for lack of trying either. I seem to lose him just when it’s time to pick up the other kid! Grrr. Getting him back to task is nearly impossible!

On days there’s lots of homework it makes getting dinner nearly impossible! Did I mention the ADHD issue? Today is one of those days and somehow homework is relegated to me because I have better luck with him, but not when there is this much.

I’m not sure how my mom did this, but I do know that my brother and I were independent. We did our own homework. When did this change for kids? When did it change that husband and wife couldn’t spend any time together because of homework? Calgon please take me away! I need a vacation and it’s only the second week of school!

ADHD and Homework

Every kid struggles with homework at some time or another but kids with ADHD suffer every day just to get work done. How do I know this? My son has ADHD and I know this nasty beast for all that it is. Now. I will tell you, unlike many others with this diagnosis, my son does not have behavioral issues. In fact, at school he’s an angel according to his teachers (can they come home with him), but home is another matter with behavior. Hubs and I see a child that can be defiant at times despite some of the consequences but normally they do the trick. 

School is the biggest hurdle we have. I love my son dearly, but there are times that he and I could go rounds in a rink when it comes to getting his homework done. This evening was no exception. I met with his teacher, known for being a “hard” teacher but an excellent teacher for him. She has gone of experience teaching 4th grade. Her biggest input? The boy is disorganized and already behind. Not what I wanted to hear, but we have a plan.

The assignment notebook is the key. The big thing is basically beating it into boy’s head that this is his school bible and every little thing must be in here. His teacher and I are going to write notes back and forth to make certain work is being done. She’s going to make sure things are sent home too, at least for now. She are going to whip this boy into educational shape.

Step two? Medication. Yes, I tried to see if we could get away without it, but after today’s conference I feel that is a no brainer. Boy needs it to focus on the task at hand and what kind of mother would I be if I didn’t provide him with medication that will help him. Would you not take medicine for your high blood pressure? Exactly. If there was ever a boy that needed help focusing. This is the one. 

This is not easy for him or for us as parents. It is painful every day to watch your child go through such a struggle. I’ve always believed that God only gives us the crosses we can bear, so somehow we will all bear this one. It breaks my heart though to think of him struggling when others get the work done so easily. Be is very bright but it is locked away in a disorganized brain. If only I had the key.

Ah Back to Work and Normality

This morning as I ventured out the door to make the trek to work, I felt as though I was never going to get this new job figured out. So many things to learn and relearn and I’m not getting any younger. It’s not that I’m beyond learning new things, it’s just that I seem to need such repetition to get the things I learn into my thick skull! Yes, that’s right, my thick skull. 

You see, I have done my former job for so long that I could do It in my sleep, except for the driving, but I knew how to do it so well. Now, I’m faced with new challenges everyday that take most people surely less time to conquer than it takes me! That’s what I’ve told myself anyway.

Overall, I like my new job. I enjoy the challenges immensely, but my brain hurts. I like computers but good grief there are at least 2 ways to do everything at my new job and sometimes I get so confused when one person shows me one way, then someone else comes along and insists I do the same thing a different way simply because it’s easier for them. Lord, please help me! I will get through it though. I know there will be an end to my training and I will be out on my own soon enough! God save us all!

At home, the youngest 2 kiddos are adjusting to life back in school. We have new rules in place and they are both in bed at 9. Yes, my 15 year old included. Homework is the priority but chores, too, must be done. It is a work in progress but hopefully will manifest itself by a successful school year. There will always be exceptions along the way. I know that. This isn’t my first bicycle race. 

I’m excited about the changes we’ve made and the best part to report is that Mr. 9 year old only had his homework fit once so far. He’s decided that it has to be done and the sooner it’s done the better! He also wants his teacher to be happy! I will continue to use this tool as much as I can. 

Working less is a blessing for me. I may have much less money but I will have happier kids. I think happier and more successful kids are the best goals I can achieve in my lifetime. 

There Are Days…

Have you ever had a day that you just didn’t want to come? I have and today was one of them. I’ve been off work for two and a half months.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy my job, it’s that I don’t know it that well. You see. I just started it about 6 weeks before I had to have major surgery and now I have to relearn the things I only barely learned in the first place!

Getting back into the swing of things for these first few days is hard enough when you know a job, but add to that the stresses of sending the kids back to school, the extra driver now away at college, and relearning or just learning things for the first time and it is exhausting. The good part is, I made it through my first day! Hallelujah!

I know things will get easier, but brain fatigue is a real thing, people. My brain felt as though it has run a marathon and read a 1000 page textbook on calculus today. Believe me, that would be pure torture for this soul!

To add to the mayhem of the foggy brain, coming home in was greeted by my son, my lovely 9 year old who hadn’t touched his homework. The kicker was the sheer amount of homework this 4th grader had this evening and the tears and gnashing of teeth it took to just get him to touch the books! Yikes! We never had anything like this when I was in 4th grade! He had 2 Social Studies pages, Reading, Science and Math! That is a lot for someone that age. 

Them there are the things that still need to be thought of like dinner. Hubs was great and made it tonight. That was so nice and much appreciated. Next up? Getting the boy ready for bed and things ready for tomorrow. Never a dull moment in this house. Just another day in the life! 

Depth of a Complicated Child

What do you do when your formerly easygoing child suddenly just begins to drive you crazy? Yes, it’s happening here. The depth of this is serious. He no longer finds joy in doing anything that involves leaving the house.

Not wanting to leave to go to the activities he’s loved all this time worries me. One minute he is fine but soon it’s followed by “please, sell my equipment”.  Or whining incessantly about not going to a certain activity. You might think we would be the parents that overschedule activities, but, alas, he has two for the whole summer. He believes quitting is an option.

So, what is a parent to do in this case? How do you get the world’s most headstrong child to go and follow through with the activities he personally chose to do? This is a very stressful time. This child signed up for VBS, a 3 hour a day, Monday through Friday event. He went 2 days and threw a fit for 40 minutes this morning making him miss the 3rd of 5 days! He even enjoyed the first 2 days. I’m saddened and lost with this child’s behavior over this one event, but at a loss for how to fix it. Hubs and I are so worn out.

We will figure it out, but it has to be soon. I feel like I’m failing this child which hurts more than words. Discipline has always been interesting with him. He’s tested us. Believe me, we have done time outs, sent him to his room, taken away privelages. But this is different. When a child no longer wants to participate in the things he likes to do, something is wrong and I will figure it out…whether he likes it or not! He’s unhappy and we will get to the bottom of his problem.

Cowardice

Being courageous is a scarcity in this day and age. I can be courageous but I wish I was more courageous than I am. I’m faced with many challenges these days. Some of them I face head on with grace and dignity. Others, well, I find them very difficult.  I’m just human afterall. I think that’s what it is anyway. A product of all that I have been raised to be mixed with my environment. 

Today’s society scares the heck out of me really. It is so vastly different from the world I knew as a child. Back then, I knew where I stood and times were easier overall. I was also sheltered and naive. But really, times were much simpler with no social media, no mobile phones, no computers. We had landlines and got together with our friends. We went to the movies, went outside, just got together and really talked to each other when we were teenagers. Our fun was listening to music and collecting band posters from magazines. There was the dawn of MTV and music videos.

Today, we are faced with so much violence and negativity and social justice is everywhere. The prejudices remain and seem to be even worse than ever. I worry about this. I worry about the world and the future for my children. How can we be courageous and not be judged harshly by this world? Its not even me I’m concerned for. Its my family.  The written word van be misconstrued so easily and one can read something into the written word that was never intended. We are opinionated and my worry is that if we are courageous and take our stand for the right and just, will we be the persecuted? I can take it, but to see my children suffer? That would kill me.

So then, would it be better to be a coward and taken the easy road and stick to the mainstream way? Is it better to create a world where good prevails and what is right, even if it means a difficult path, is fought for? I say be courageous. Fight for the good and right path. I will fight with my children and for their rights. 

I don’t always see eye to eye with my kids, but what parent does. In the end though, I have raised fighters. Independent and brave warriors for a better world. The future is theirs to make better when I am gone from this world. For now, I will pray for them and for this world that we may find peace. I pray for them that they find and create the world of acceptance and love which they desire and deserve. In my years experience it does me No good to be bitter or cynical thinking that their goals can not be achieved. I want peace as well. I just wish I could find some peace in the news instead of the violence and unrest in this world. So, you ask if I’m a coward? Yes, maybe I am, but I’m working hard to be brave like my children. It gets harder each year, but I won’t give up. I promise.

Summer Is…

Summer is my favorite season. It always has been. With the exception of this summer, it means swimming, playing outside, spending warm summer evenings with friends and kids outside. In essence, it’s a time for renewal and reconnection that we aren’t afforded while we are stuck indoors on cold winter days.

Summer is a time to play in my garden and watch things grow. I love watching things grow.This year, due to my health, I didn’t even get my tomatoes in the garden and my entire garden looks like a den of weeds, as I’ve been unable to tend my beautiful pride and joy. I do miss sitting there in the mornings to have my coffee, but I hope to be able to tend it soon.
Summer is a time to spend with family. When I was growing up, I was very fortunate to be able to go on holidays with my family. We went to my family’s home in Ireland. I learned to work on the farm and I loved every moment. I not only got to meet my cousins far away, I got to have wonderful relationships with them. I have to tell you that family truly is everything to me. Growing up in a town where I had no cousins, I loved and appreciated those holidays to make the special bonds with my cousins more than you could imagine. Probably even more so since I had no sister growing up. I have only the one older brother who means the world to me, but I always longed for a sister. I saw the bonds with my cousins as if I had sisters for those weeks we were together. I know they couldn’t understand that since they all had sisters of their own, but I treasured their “sisterhood” in those summers more than anything you could put a price tag on.

One of my favorite Summertime activities is to play with my son in the back by my garden while having my coffee in the mornings. You see, he’s a secret agent and I’m headquarters. I’m base command with the computer. He’s going to save the world and sniper the bad guys with his stick rifles. Ah, his imagination. Sometimes it’s an alien invasion. It’s how boys think. You can not change that. He wants to protect and serve. I miss that this summer very, very much. I don’t miss the silly game, I miss spending the quality time with the boy I love most, my boy. He, like all boys, grows too fast. He’s my baby boy and he’s the only boy I have. He’s my youngest child. Now, he’s been reduced to getting things for me This summer. He’s been caring for me instead of the other way around. He’s wonderful too, just like his father. 

Summertime is generally healthy time. This year? Well, it’s more of a let’s not succumb to these wretched pancreatic surgery post-op complications summer. It technically is a get healthy summer, although I’m unable to swim and unable to even walk very far. I’m finally on the mend, I think, provided there are no more complications. I was even able to stay up past 9:30 PM last night. Not much longer, but I’m beginning to heal I think. 

Summer will remain my favorite season. I long to take a nice dip in the pool. I’d love to get on the tennis court. After all that I’ve been through this summer, I appreciate summer and life even more. 

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This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence was “Summer is…” and as usual, our host is the extraordinary, Kristi. Check out everyone else’s posts! It’s always a fun read!