Can I Please Have Another One?

“She’s so perfect. I’d go through it all again right now to have another one just like her,” I said to my then husband while still laying on the surgical table right after seeing my first born daughter. I had a very hard time having that child, but seeing her, here, in the flesh, made everything right. She was perfect. Blond hair and blue eyes. Eight pounds and 12 ounces of absolute love all wrapped up in a tiny bundle for me to love for the rest of my life. How could life be better? I wanted a second baby and I wanted one soon. 

Life with our newborn was blissful. She was the perfect baby. She wasn’t fussy and rarely cried. She was such a happy girl. I loved being a mom more than anything in the world. She was my world. I wanted more and I wanted more now. Unfortunately,  my now ex-husband was very happy with one. would he come.around? Ever?

One year after having our first daughter, I finally got the begrudging okay to start trying for number 2. It took several months to get pregnant. At one point I knew I was pregnant but the pregnancy didn’t take. All the symptoms were there. But if I had been, I wouldn’t have the daughter I have now. And I wouldn’t want anyone besides her. She’s special. 

I got away with having baby number two despite his misgivings about another baby but she has been such a joy I can’t imagine life with our her. She wasn’t the easy baby her sister was. In fact, she wanted what she wanted and would make it known until you figured it out! 

As she grew into herself over the years, she has been nothing but joy. she is such a diligent worker. she’s always ready to conquer the impossible with grace and hard work. My life has been so blessed by this child and she continues to bless those having the pleasure of knowing her. 

Recently, she started her pre-med/sociology studies at St. Louis University. She loves it there and works very hard. She is very involved with a service program called Camp Kesem which provides a week of camp to children whose parents are suffering from cancer. She has been on the fundraising trail so that these kids are really able to attend such are really great experience are able to just be kids for a week, leaving the problems and worries of cancer and home for a week. She’s still trying to raise money. The cost of camp is free to these kids so all the money must be raised by others. if you would like to help her and these wonderful kids, just click the link, https://donate.kesem.org/fundraise?fcid=791355

I’ve never been prouder than  I am of my children. I often thank God for allowing me to have such amazing kids, but it could have ended with just one. Thankfully, I persisted and got number two. They will all do great things, but I got away with having number 2, my mini-me.
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This has been a Finish the sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence was “I got away with…”

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!

When Your Child Leaves for College

Just yesterday we got our second daughter settled into her dorm room at her chosen university. What a joy to see such an already accomplished young woman begin her transition into college life. Was it difficult as her mother to say goodbye to my precious baby girl? You betcha! But knowing she is just beginning her journey into a whole new world full of great new exciting experiences helped me get through it. Her joy kept me steady throughout the day, too.

Sending a child off to school for the first time is scary for both parent and child. It is important to remember that you aren’t losing your child, but instead you are helping them realize their dreams and aspirations. Sure the dynamics of your house will change. I’m down from four kids in the house to two, but when they all come home, it’s as if they never left. The love and laughter is there. The loudness is deafening but would we have it any other way? I think not!

Having two daughters who have gone through this experience of moving away to college I’ve learned a lot. Hopefully, my experiences will help others going through this. Just remember that each child is different and will experience it differently. That, I believe is key.

Having said that, I will tell you that even with my daughters’ roomates their experiences were different. One daughter was ready for us to leave once she was unpacked and we had gone out to eat. She also ended up wanting frequent visits from me. She wasn’t happy where she was and eventually changed majors and schools. The other daughter knew how she wanted everything to be, wanted to do it herself, but wasn’t in a hurry for us to leave. One roommate had parents that hovered, a lot. The other roommate had her parents leave and she took care of herself for her dinner on the first night. As I said, such individuality among the students.

For the students, let your mom hover a little bit. They need to feel useful because you are growing up and will be on your own for the first time. Mom wants to show you her love on move in day. Just this one last time. It’s important for her. 

Moms need to let their student set up the room as they want it. This is their space, not yours. They are needing their independence so let them assert it today. Don’t stand in their way. I had to learn this. I got it right with number 2. I am ever the work in progress.

No matter how prepared you think you are, Wal-Mart and Target are your friends. You will need a trip there for those things you didbt think of. Things like a scissors, ice cube trays, command strips, a broom or a clock to put on the wall. 

Go out to eat as a family when it is all done. Make it special. Yes, you’ve spent all this money on college and the supplies needed to get them there, but even if it is just McDonald’s or a pizza, spend that time together, exhausted as you will be. It is totally worth the effort. It is a memory you will treasure forever. That’s what family is all about.

So, this fall, as the kids go back to school, I have 2 daughters now in college, 1 son in high school and a son in 4th grade. Where does the time go? Out babies grow up and chase their dreams whether we want them to or not. Some of us are lucky enough to be able to let our babies soar to new heights, where other parents will keep their babies safely tucked under their wings because their babies won’t be able to fly like mine can. I consider myself blessed. Someday I will have an empty nest and will have to remind myself that that, too is a blessing. Until then though, I’ll continue to raise my little chicks and do my best to raise them the best I know how to. I will count my blessings to see my older chicks soar to new heights and look forward to all their new stories when they come home.  T

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.

Grateful for Today

What a slow and gentle day. I was able to leave the prison of home again this morning for a while. How lovely to feel the sun on my cheeks! Soft and warm and glowing orb that brings me happiness!

Today’s adventures were thwarted briefly when my boy and I went out to the van. We recently, Wednesday, obtained some new to us furniture which was still in the van. The boy had to take what he could out to make room for passengers. I couldn’t help thanks to my 10 pound weight restriction post surgery. Let me tell you, that 9 year old kid is so strong! Thank God! He removed a ton of stuff!

Our first destination was picking up the 14 year old from school. Why? Because that’s where she was. What a beautiful, sunny morning. She was sending me texts about the bugs that were eating her alive. Poor kid. The boy and I were busy though. The boy was unloading all that stuff!

Next stop, hair salon for a bit of an update and trim. I had the two silly kids with me who amused themselves to no ends looking through magazines at all the hairstyles. All I heard from my chair was a great deal of laughter!

For being such good sports, I got them a McDonald’s breakfast for a treat. We drove through and I knew I was done with my gallivanting for the day. I miss those days of taking off in the morning and just doing things.

There were so many things I would have liked doing, doing but I knew I was pushing it. Sad, isn’t it? But I have to remember that my surgery was only 2 weeks ago today. I’m grateful for not being stuck in a hospital bed. I’m glad this isn’t permanent even when it feels like it. I’m getting there. I have to remember that everything takes time. I will heal in God’s tome, not my own.

As for now, my temp is up again. Stupid low grade temps. It’s the time of day and normal post op stuff, especially with no spleen. I’m exhausted so it’s time for another nap. I never thought I would say, I am tied of napping, but there it is! Have a joyous day, my friends! Love and peace to you all!

As I Lay in my Hospital Bed

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My fabulous babies!

Good evening! Salutations to you all! I am starting to feel a little better from surgery last Friday, but I know I have a very long way to go. There is so much work in the department of my health. Of course that can be a very daunting expectation to dwell on, especially if you are in my current state of altered consciousness! Pain medication is my friend!

I worry about going home tomorrow because there are always things to do! There are meals to plan for as well as pleasing everyone. Well, I have help and my help says as do i, like it or lump it! That will be my new mantra I’ve decided. I’m not catering to the masses after this surgery.

I love my family with all my heart. I’m so proud of the fact my oldest came home tonight to care for me me. She washed my face, hair and my back. She went into nurse mode. I’m so proud of her. My second daughter came up earlier and took care of me too with the baby girl of our house. I’m a happy mama knowing that I must be doing something right.

 

Graduation Day

My sweet girl graduated from high school today. It’s bittersweet for me. I am so proud of her and will miss her so much next year. She’s ready though. She is so smart and so beautiful. I love her so very much. Congratulations to my beautiful Bear in her very special day. And to her boyfriend, Piano Man, who luckily is feeling better after a terrible viral illness that lasted over a week, the last of his high school career, leaving him bed bound and significantly skinnier. I love them both!

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And She Sings

wp-1463862322895.jpgWhat a beautiful day for a Senior Honors Voice Recital.  My daughter, AKA Bear, and 2 of her friends, had their Senior Honors Voice Recital this afternoon and it was so lovely.  The stage was set simply with baby grand and one simply stated floral arrangement to the side, better to focus on the vocalist you know.  My daughter went first and sang like the angel she is.  Well, most of the time.  N and S went after Bear then repeat the sequence.

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What great joy to see them all, but to hear the angelic voice of my daughter while I sat serenely, for a change, in the second row was such a joy.  Today’s word prompt just happens to be sing.  How appropriate for our family.  I can’t tell you how much music means to our family.  It is the beating of the heart of our home.  It is what we go to when we are sad as well as happy.  Music is the glue that binds us.

I’m attempting to attach videos today for the very first time which I guarantee are terrible quality, but hopefully you can hear the voice of my daughter.  I do hope you enjoy even half as much as we did.

https://www.facebook.com/deirdre.conran/videos/pcb.10153714617767428/10153714616527428/?type=3&theater