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 Just a Phase They Say

When children are small, they go through phases.  They go through the “Terrible Two’s”, the “Terrific Three’s” and so on.  We all know about the Terrible Two’s if we are parents.  Well, I will tell you that for some of us, two year olds can be quite pleasant.  I rather enjoy them, actually.  They are exploring the world around them and learning about who they are and how they fit in.  They are learning how to be independent most of all for the first time in their young, little lives.  Some two year olds are prone to tantrums.  I will tell you that I was lucky that out of my 4 children, only 1 child did something even remotely close to the tantrum throwing that other children did.  Instead, she would get frustrated and curl up into what we termed, the ball of fury.  She wasn’t loud about it, but her curling into this ball where her legs twisted into this knot was rather amusing.

When children grow older, around 9 or 10, they start learning more “adult” things.  They test us just a little bit more. It’s always interesting when you suddenly hear more mature words and ideas coming out of your child’s mouth.  Your innocent, or formerly innocent, child! It always happens when they think you can’t hear them.  Luckily, they don’t understand most of the new knowledge they are acquiring, but soon enough, they will.  Thus begins the tween phase, AKA, the brat phase.

The tween phase of childhood is one of the most challenging phases in parenting besides the all intensive teenager phase.  Your formerly innocent, lovely, and sweet child suddenly and quite unexpectedly becomes mouthy and will say, or attempt to anyway, just about anything and everything just to get under your skin.  It’s great.  It’s like they just have to press every button you have as a parent in order to prepare you for them entering high school and their independent stage.  They are simply trying to break those apron strings a little more while trying to fit in with the crowd.  Middle school and junior high are the roughest time for kids.  No one feels like they fit in no matter who they are.

And then it happens.  The teen years.  Do they ever end?  The mouth, the teenage angst to grind, the know-it-all attitude from hell.  And it goes on and on and on.  They are growing and learning so much at this stage and want more than ever to break away from home life.  They have no idea how good they have it at home.  They don’t have the experience that life has to offer yet to make really great decisions.  So, as parents, you pray that you’ve trained them well.  You pray that they know how to behave in public, that they remember their manners and to bathe frequently.  You really do a lot of praying at this stage of parenting.  You remind yourself frequently that this, too, is just a phase.

Eventually, kids grow up and repeat the life cycle themselves.  They get to learn the joys of parenthood just as our parents did.  Parents get to curse their children with that famous curse “Just wait till you have kids of your own.  I hope you have one just like you.” The phases continue and life goes on.  We as parents get to spoil our grandchildren and send them back to their parents saying, “well, they’re always perfect angels for me!” I, personally, look forward to those days ahead, and I consider myself lucky to have some pretty good kids.




We All Have Faults

Image result for human faults

While talking to my daughter tonight, I was reminded that I do indeed, have many faults.  It’s not that we spent our phone conversation discussing faults or, in fact arguing.  We had, by contrast, a delightful conversation. I love my daughter very much but we don’t always get along.  In fact, I have to say, she’s much happier living where she is now than when she was living here at home.  She now lives with her dad.  The reason, you ask? The answer is me.  I am the reason.

I have said before that I am a work in progress.  I have so many faults I don’t know where to begin.  It was my oldest daughter’s recommendation that I open up about my faults to show you that I’m not some pretentious “fake” person who writes about things and pretends to some perfect person.  Those people don’t exist.  So, I will tell you, I have a hard time admitting my faults.  This will be difficult, but I thought this was a great idea.  It’s a great way to grow as a person.  You are my audience and I appreciate you.  I appreciate any input you have to help me along this journey of growth, too.

As I said, I don’t admit my faults well.  In fact, I really suck at admitting I’m wrong most of the time.  I’m opinionated.  I’m obstinante. I cry easily and I yell when I’m upset, a lot.  I don’t just yell, I yell really mean and often hurtful things at the people I love.  I’m trying to work on this, but it’s so hard.  Why am I like this?  God, what I wouldn’t give to know the answer to that.

Image result for human flawsI hate that I get so upset so easily.  I don’t remember always being like this either.  I used to be very easy going.  I used to get upset, but over time, I guess I developed this terrible habit of yelling when I’d cry and say hurtful things because I was hurting.  How awful I feel too. I have to say this is my most hated trait about myself, especially since most people see me as this bubbly, happy person on the outside of my house.  They don’t see the hurt, evil, mean me.  And I am very mean when I’m angry.  The problem is, when I’m mean and angry, it’s always because I am feeling like I’ve been wronged somehow even when it isn’t true.

I take everything that my family does personally.  If the kids don’t listen, it’s a personal attack on the kind of mother I am.  Stupid, I know, but there it is.  If my husband doesn’t want my affection because he is exhauseted or not feeling well, then I’m too fat and he doesn’t love me anymore.  See, somehow, it’s my fault.  I am the cause of my problem and what my family doesn’t know is that I already know that I am my own worst enemy.

I’m working on being kind.  I’ve always been kind to others.  It’s one of my best traits.  Now, I have to work on being kind to myself, especially when I’m feeling hurt or angry.  I’m working on being kinder to my family, but sometimes that’s really hard.  I find it reallyl hard to have unrelenting patience with the kids when they just can’t seem to listen the first time they are asked to do something.  “Please” is something I’m learning to use when I ask them to do a chore, but often it doesn’t seem to get them moving any faster.  I do beat myself up over it later, after I’ve yelled at them, but I hope I’m improving as a mom.  I screw up daily, but I’m human.  God help me please.  I am only human and I’m learning every day.