Tuesday, January 26, 2010

For my Children

(chalkboard art - compliments of Joseph)

Every night I go into your room to check on you before I go to bed. I see you laying there so sweetly and peacefully. I place my hand on your head and stroke your hair then lean in to kiss your cheek and whisper "Mommy loves you" in your ear. It's usually at this time that the weight of the day comes crushing down on me and the guilt sets in for anything and everything related to mothering that I've done or not done for that day. Guilt for the missed opportunities to show you how much I love you. Guilt for not enjoying every little cute or funny thing you said or did (because I was too stressed or too irritated with all the messes or the bickering to even notice). Guilt over forgetting you're a child and being too hard on you for doing things that kids just do. Guilt over a harsh word spoken or a lost temper that erupted far more than was necessary for that given situation. Guilt over the misuse of my time (however well-intentioned) I allowed myself to get caught up in the "thick of thin things" and I missed those opportunities to share in those simple joyful moments with you my sweet children.

The most hurtful thing is when I find notes that you've scribbled on a little piece of paper or written on your chalkboard that say things like "Mommy's mean" or "Mommy doesn't love me" just because you were punished or sent to your room. Or the times when I tuck you in at night and you roll over to the far end of the bed where I can't reach you on that top bunk because I've hurt your feelings and you're still sulking over being punished. You won't even let me give you a hug and kiss goodnight. It wouldn't upset me as much if I thought you were just trying to get attention. The reason it makes me so sad is because I know you really are hurt and the cause of your hurt is because of my inability to handle your quirky, obnoxious, disobedient behavior. In that moment I know that you really do feel I'm "the meanest Mom" and sometimes there's a part of me that believes you.

Later that evening I leave your room after giving you that kiss on your cheek and whispering "Mama loves you" in your sleeping ear. Another day over, another battle fought. We've both been wounded but we'll feel better in the morning. All will be forgiven; the slate is washed clean and we'll both start over again. You'll come down for breakfast rubbing your sleepy eyes and I'll meet you at the bottom step. "Good morning sweetheart, how did you sleep?" And so another day begins.....

I'll keep trying to love you and parent you the best that I can and hope that my best will be good enough to help us both get through the day with a happier ending. I'll try harder to let go of the stresses and messes and enjoy each of your sweet smiling faces. I will try harder to savor the things you say and do that should make me laugh instead of make me mad. I will try to be the mother to you that I thought was so easy to be......until I had 4 kids.

I'm sorry for everything that I do that does not fit that cookie cutter mold I had designed in my mind. The mother I wanted to be (and once was) before my plate was so full and so much of me was spread so thin. My hope and desire has always been to be the kind of mother that you look back on with the sweetest of memories. I've never wanted anything more than that for you my sweet, precious children. Please don't interpret my shortcomings and inabilities to manage myself as an indicator of my love for you. It hurts me more than you can know that I've fallen from that high place in my idealistic mind and regularly find myself not on that top shelf but in a heap on the floor picking myself up (yet again) and climbing back up to that place in which I want to be. Please be patient with me and know that I love you more than you could ever know. And please Heavenly Father help my children to survive my shortcomings.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Christmas 2009

A random collage of Christmas pictures and memories.....

Christmas Eve at Papa and Grandma's house.

The kids were buzzing with excitement having fun playing with their cousin, drawing pictures, playing Foosball, Twister and being silly. Jacob played musical chairs with Grandma. Benjamin proudly showed off his new reading skills by reading Green Eggs and Ham to anyone who would listen. Lauren dancing and singing with Mrs. Claus and the little snowman.
Grandmas little houses all lit up in a beautiful snow scene lining the shelves in the family room. Eating prime rib for dinner and gorging ourselves on Christmas pie and fudge. Gifts for the kids were so much fun. The boys were fascinated with the football helmet piggy banks and all their other gifts. Laurens was a happy little lady when she opened the tea set and spent the rest of the afternoon playing tea party with Grandma and serving everyone cups of "tea." I was so exhausted from staying up late the night before finishing up on Lauren's dress up dresses (went to bed at 5am and woke up at 8am) but somehow the excitement of the day sustained me- along with the nap I got in the car on the drive home later that day.

When we got home the kids opened their Christmas pajamas amidst Ben's sour face and grumbling that this was a "stupid present." After making and decorating the sugar cookies for Santa we put the kids to bed. The boys were determined to stay up until midnight to see Santa. Their report the next morning was disappointing. They couldn't figure out why they hadn't seen him and then Jacob realized their bedroom window is facing south and Santa comes from the North pole. "Next year I'm sleeping in the guest room (with a north facing window) so I can see his sleigh!" So sweet and innocent. He's 8 this year and I hope he keeps on believing......
Christmas morning was full of excitement as the kids scurried downstairs to check their stockings and see what Santa had brought. Benjamin found the biggest present-(Lauren's dress-up trunk) and crossed out her name and wrote his in its place. Before opening our gifts we knelt in prayer and each of us offered a gift to Jesus written on a slip of paper and placed in a sealed box next to the nativity.

One of my favorite pictures here is the one of Jacob with his arms around Lauren as she holds the crown he made for her. In a recent FHE lesson we talked about gift giving and encouraged the kids to make gifts for each other. Jacob knew that Lauren loved princess crowns so weeks before Christmas he carefully measured the size of her head and made her a crown. He wrapped it up so sweetly and put it under the tree. It was one of the first presents she opened and she loved it. Jacob was delighted as you can see from the picture.

After all the presents were opened the playing began. As did the perpetual munching on stocking candy. Lauren was like an addict unwrapping one piece after another. It seemed like her mouth continuously had candy in it throughout the entire day. A fancy Christmas dinner of turkey and ham with no dress code required. Watching Lauren's new movie (Snow White) with the kids for their first time. When the movie was over the dancing began with Lauren and her Prince Charming (otherwise known as Daddy). That night after the kids went to bed Aaron and I watched The Nativity Story. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this movie. It's become our tradition to watch it every year on Christmas. It always brings the spirit of Christmas into my heart and helps me remember (amidst the craziness of wrappings, gift giving and candy eating) why we celebrate this special day.