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Posts Tagged ‘mothering’

Joel and William

Joel and William

It’s hard to believe my youngest will be turning four in two months—he’s growing up so fast. In the midst of the busyness of raising children, it’s difficult to imagine a time when there aren’t little ones about, but now I find it’s just around the corner.

It’s been my goal for these sixteen years of childrearing to treasure the time with my children. I’ve often failed in this. There have been seasons when my focus has been elsewhere. But God has been faithful to remind me that the time is short with my children, and to draw my heart back to delighting in the simple joys of mothering.

During this time of raising children, I’ve experienced more pain and more joy than I ever thought possible—and if I had the choice I’d do it all over again.

This is life—raw and uncontained—where I’ve discovered the depths of love in a thousand acts of devotion, from a droopy sunflower handed to me from a chubby fist to heart-shaped cards found hidden in my suitcase while away from home.

Were the sleepless nights worth it? Yes! Or the horrifyingly embarrassing moments when my children have vomited in restaurants or knocked over shopping carts? Yes—worth it even then.

Tonight we went out for Chinese food and several times my three-year-old, Joel, had us all laughing. At one point he belted out, “I need champagne!” (He meant chow mein.) After our meal he was handed his very first fortune cookie. Everyone was reading their fortunes when one of my sons asked Joel where his fortune paper was. “I guess I eated it,” was Joel’s solemn reply. I’m afraid I laughed long and hard at his deep sigh. (His big sister soon made it all better by giving him her fortune.)

I’ll miss having a three-year-old around! It’s always at this point—when my youngest is two or three—that I start begging my husband for another baby. But I promised I wouldn’t ask him again, and I am content with my six wild and wonderful children…but I’ll still miss having a little one to make me laugh.

I’m enjoying every stage—teaching my six-year-old to read, being startled when my eleven-year-olds jump out of dark closets to make me scream, watching my thirteen-year-old blossom in her first part-time job, learning chemistry along with my fifteen-year-old—but I’ll never have another one, two or three-year-old again.

And so here I am—making a recommitment to…cherish the moment.

 

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Photo credit: Datapro

Mothering is tough. It just is. I struggled with discouragement most of today. It was a beautiful day, but inside me was a storm. I was feeling overwhelmed by the bickering and grumpiness of 6 kids. I finally went for a long walk and talked to God and poured out all of my frustrations. The air, the sunshine, and the prayers cleared my head until I could face my family again.

I love being a mom, but I choose to love it. It’s not all sugar and spice. One thing that I’m grateful for is that I’m not alone. I have the support of family, friends, and readers. And most of all, I can rely on God’s promises. I was reminded of that again as I read this story from my dear friend Christine. Be blessed!

 

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I’m awake, but I don’t want to open my eyes.  I know what the day holds for this mama when she gets up. Laundry. Fussiness.  Dirty dishes. A grimy bathroom–lying in wait to greet me.

Despair.  I don’t want to move, yet I must.  I must fight. Maybe some time in the Word will refresh my soul.  The words I read are true and my mind knows it, but my heart is numb.  I read “His mercies are fresh every morning”

Now the stillness of morning is gone, and the children are rising like the sun. Bright. Ferocious. Intense. Tears are spilling on the floor over breakfast preferences, and little ones are refusing their mama.  I want to run.  Why is the fight so hard?  I know his mercies are afresh, why can’t I feel it?

I want hard evidence, I want to feel, I want to know His grace is sufficient.  I run.

Leaving my cares inside our little bungalow, I rush outside.  I feel urgency, maybe even panic.  Must feel, must know.  How do I know it’s even morning?  I can’t even see the sun rise.  Buildings all around block out its awakening and warmth.  I climb.  Must fight for joy and sanity.

I find a way.  Sure it’s not conventional but it will work.  Haphazardly, I climb on top of the freezer chest, balancing on two plastic containers.  Must find a way.  My body pulls my weight up, and I have made it. I can see the hard evidence.  I can feel the warmth.  I can see and know His promise.

I feel hope.  I don’t care what the neighbourhood thinks.  This country girl needs to pretend she’s not in the city.  I soak up the sunrise atop our small shed, and know that His Mercies are fresh every morning.

 “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Lamentations 3:22-23

 

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Echo Lake

Echo Lake

We all have them, those little quirks that make us unique. Some of my “quirkiness” rose to the surface last weekend, and I’m still shaking my head.

I’d been looking forward to the weekend all year. It was the homeschool mom’s retreat at Echo Lake. It’s one weekend a year to spend time with a group of women with similar goals. Invigorating. So much so, in fact, that I couldn’t sleep.

When I’m nervous or shy, I get very animated—obnoxious really. Friday night, we stayed up late talking. One lady read a story about a woman’s experience with bikini waxing. I laughed until tears ran down my face. I made those horrible cackling noises that I make when I’ve lost all control. But I didn’t care. I was having a blast.

We all said goodnight and headed to bed, but I was buzzing like I’d slammed two pots of coffee. I read for two hours before I even tried to get to sleep, and then I laid in bed and turned over every 20 minutes for the rest of the night. I might have slept as much as two hours. Maybe.

It’s embarrassing to admit that you are so excited you can’t sleep all night. Am I twelve? Quirk number one.

I didn’t want to miss a thing, so I got up to run with a lady at 7:00. (I only begged her to walk once. It was a big hill. Honest.) Then I went for a power walk at 10:00. (There is no way I could keep up with some of those ladies. I’m blaming it on my short, little legs.) Then we went for a lovely canoe ride in the afternoon.

I was sore for days. It was a good thing I was so active, though, because we ate amazing food and lots of it. (Thanks, Rebecca!)

I crashed pretty hard in the afternoon. I even went down to my room and laid down for half an hour, but I kept thinking, “What if I miss something fun?” So that didn’t last very long.

That evening we watched a movie and painted ceramic mugs. On my mug, I painted all of my children (as stick people) doing the things that they love. Yes, I was loving every moment of my mom’s retreat, but I was missing my family too.

That evening we stayed up late talking again. One has to soak up these moments, you know. It was after everyone else had gone to bed that I realized I didn’t know where I was sleeping. We’d shuffled the sleeping arrangements to make room for two more ladies. I’d been moved, but I forgot to ask where. Sleeping on the couch seemed like a better option than shining a flash light in people’s eyes and asking if they knew where an empty bed was.

I tried to sleep. Really I did. But I had this unpleasant realization that I’d told my family I’d have my phone with me all the time, and if they needed me they could call. The problem was my phone had died a few hours earlier.

Quirk number two: I’m neurotic about keeping my word to my kids. I act irrational and freak out if situations prevent me from fulfilling a commitment to them.

I gave up trying to sleep. As long as my phone was dead, I’d be worrying about someone being injured and having to go to the hospital while I was out of reach. I padded up and down stairs looking for a cord I could borrow. I went to my van twice—barefoot (couldn’t find my shoes) until I could successfully charge my phone.

By the time I headed back to bed (actually couch) It was 3:00 am. The floor dipped under me like a boat deck. I was dizzy with exhaustion, but I didn’t feel tired. Bad sign. I got about two hours of sleep again.

The next morning, I tried to write a cheque, but it took me a full minute to remember what month it was. I thought it was finished, but I realized I hadn’t written in an amount. It’s not a great idea to hand out blank cheques.

I did question whether I was in a state to drive, but after a couple of cups of coffee I felt more coherent. I said good-bye, prayed for God’s protection, and headed home. The only weird thing I did was stop for the mail. (It was Sunday.)

It took me all week to recover. I do know that it’s pretty ridiculous to go away for a retreat—which should refresh—and come back home too exhausted to function. I’m telling myself that it’s better to know your neurosis than to have these issues and not know about them. Everyone has quirks, right?

Have an awesome weekend!

 

 

 

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Is this Normal?

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Ten years ago, I brought two babies into the world. I prayed for twins and got them. The sense of fullness and completeness I felt as I held a baby in each arm is indescribable.

From the very start Ethan and Owen were completely different in their personalities and yet they’ve always got along beautifully. Even as babies they would look out for one another.

You can believe it when people say that twins are double the trouble, though. Together, those little munchkins could do anything. If they couldn’t reach something, then one would lay down so the other could climb on top. I’m serious! But they’ve been double the blessing too. I don’t regret praying for twins.

We had all the usual birthday stuff today: balloons, fruit faces (see Birthday Crazies ), presents. The kids even convinced me that they should have a day off of school and watched a movie instead.

When Kevin got home from work, he called me outside to see the helium balloons in the back of his work truck. He sheepishly told me that the balloons were cheaper if you bought the theme pack. There were two round spider-man balloons, two red stars, and one awesomely cool—and massive—spider-man shaped balloon.

Somehow the biggest balloon got away from the others, and Kevin and I stared stupidly at each other for a moment as the ribbon slipped out of reach. We watched the balloon spiral in awkward loops as it rose over the house.

Suddenly, Kevin sprinted towards the house. “I’m going to shoot it down!” he yelled back at me.

I followed him and called to the kids. “Come outside quick and see the spider-man balloon that’s floating away!” Everyone stormed outside, and we watched the balloon soaring higher and higher into the sky as their Dad tried to shoot it down.

I don’t even make this stuff up. My life really is this hilarious.

After dinner, my sugar high kids turned out the lights and ran around in the dark with glow sticks. Then the boys found out that the sticky hands and hex bugs that they got for their birthday were glow-in-the-dark too. The wild mayhem lasted and hour, and I laughed the whole time.

Yeah. My job rocks. 🙂

 

Is it any wonder people thought I had two sets of twins?

Is it any wonder people thought I had two sets of twins?

 

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Every once and a while, I’ll get a glimpse of my life through someone else’s eyes and it always gives me a good laugh. Just today I was visiting with a woman. I noticed a look of shock on her face and then she broke into laughter. I turned and saw one of my 6 year old boys dragging William by his feet. William looked perfectly peaceful as his head wheeled around the carpet. Amazingly the kid has a full head of hair! Now this isn’t a daily occurrence, but I normally wouldn’t bat an eye at it. A casual, “Please don’t drag the baby by his heels,” would suffice. I realize though, that this scenario is a little out of the ordinary for most!

I have received many shakes of the head over the years. I am perfectly aware that many if not most of our family and friends think we are nuts to have so many children! Once as I stood in a store with a 4 year-old on one side of me, a 2 year-old on the other side and a 4 month old baby in each arm, a man approached me. “Please tell me that those aren’t all your children,” he said. I just laughed and said, “They’re all mine.” He walked away shaking his head.

I think that the reason people find it so hard to relate to my situation, is that it out of their realm of experience. They can’t imagine what it would be like to home school five children. They can’t imagine why I would want to. As for difficulty, I don’t believe for a moment that I work harder, or have a more difficult job, than a teacher of 30 students that comes home to prepare meals and help her own children with their homework. I’m biased here, and the teacher might have a completely different view, but I can’t imagine the said teacher to be any more satisfied than me either. What can be more exciting than opening your own child’s mind to the almost infinite world of the written word, or of contributing to his or her love of learning?

One of the reasons I am sharing snippets of my life here, is that I would like to demystify full-time motherhood a little. As for my own experience, it isn’t a drudgery in the least and it can be a lot of fun!

Some of you may be aware of the fact that we had misplaced our science book. It seems that we had looked everywhere. I was seriously beginning to suspect that someone had taken it, maybe accidentally, perhaps as a joke, or maybe I had talked a little too much about our incredible science curriculum and it was swiped! (Okay, I didn’t really think any of my friends stole the book.) I resorted to offering an incentive; five candies to the child that found the book and three for everyone else. Believe me, they looked, we all did.

On Friday I came to the conclusion that I would need to buy another book. I was going to order one that night. I was doing some photocopying and I removed the cover to make it easier. Something caught my eye, “Could it be the missing book?” I wondered. It was! We started science that very night, at bedtime!

We’ve been making up lost time and spent all day Saturday on science. We are studying human anatomy and my response is, WOW. The first chapter was on the cell. I don’t know why I didn’t learn anything in school, but it all seems brand new to me. The children drew a diagram of a cell while I read to them. Then we got to make an ‘edible cell’ with jello and lots of candy. My incredibly wonderful husband went to 2 stores and spent over an hour looking for all the ingredients. (Kevin told me to put that in 🙂 )

The jello was the cytoplasm, m&m peanuts were the mitochondria, skittles were the lysosomes. Three smarties made up a Golgi body. We cut a fruit roll up to make the endoplasmic reticulum and studded some of them with round cake sprinkles to represent the ribosomes. We used tubular sprinkles for centrioles and to top it all off, a Lindt chocolate truffle for the nucleus. Those who know me well, won’t be surprised to hear that I made an edible cell too and enjoyed every bite! Kevin wasn’t interested in making one and even gave me his chocolate truffle. I really don’t think learning gets any better. Tonight we watched a digital animation of the RNA making a copy of the DNA and the chains of protein being formed. Melanie keeps shaking her head at how amazing the ‘simple’ cell is.

Well it’s late. I’d best be getting to bed, after all, tomorrow is another day! I’ll leave you with a picture of one of the “cells.”

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