I am way behind on my blogging…I have completely missed my goal of writing at least once every other week. To the few of you that follow us…I’m Bbaaacckk…for today anyway! Thank you to those who actually read and encouraged me to get back on the horse!
Friday is our last day of school here! At that time Baby #1 will be officially going into third grade, Baby #2 into first grade, Baby #3 into junior kindergarten, and Baby #4 will be just over 15 months old. It is true when they tell you that time flies after children are born…it really has. The beginning and end of each school year always hit me pretty hard. They are a staunch reminder of how fast my kids are growing up and encourage me to reflect on my role as their parent.
As I look back on time passed, it makes me sad to recall the many mistakes I made as a new parent and annoyed by some ill-decisions I make each day. I find it hard to break the cycle, if you will, when it comes to child rearing, and repeatedly fall for the endless ploy that somehow there is a perfect parenting style to be found. Although I know there is no such thing as a “perfect mother”, it frustrates me that my grace can be lacking, my pace is sometimes hurried, and my tone is sporadically harsh. I feel like my efforts to conform to today’s idea of family perfection (ie. a perfectly healthy and active lifestyle, beautifully adorned and well-behaved children, a meticulously decorated home, and a high social presence within the community and among friends) are often thrust at my children and therefore periodically setting unrealistic expectations for them.
Obviously, these are my issues…and I’m working on them!
If you are like me, you sometimes may find yourself to be overwhelming to yourself…yes, you read that right. I constantly question ALL my decisions based on current research, others’ experiences, my preferences, and the list goes on. If you can believe it, occasionally my past decisions based on all the above criteria turned out to be just plain wrong! The experts were wrong! I was wrong! How could I get something like research or data completely incorrect?!
And sometimes I just can’t get past the control I lose yearly as each child grows a little older and a little more independent of me. I question whether I did enough to instill a sense of faith, worth, respect, loyalty, confidence, humbleness, and kindness. I miss their former reliance on me and the abundance of affection they once shared.
From time to time my example at home is poor…I can’t always maintain a perfect home, keep up with our laundry, make time for each child alone, and I am pretty sure my husband and I haven’t had a date without the kids or other obligations during this past year and beyond. There are days when I don’t get to the shower, let alone look respectable to a chance visitor.
Sometimes I wonder what my children actually see when they look at me. And if I happen to snap at one of them over something petty…well that just has to be an ugly sight.
To you, my Little Ones, you amaze me and have changed my life forever. You are why I awkwardly strive to be a better person and a more competent mother, and why I question my motherly example on a daily basis. Despite the flaws I carry with ME regularly, I could not be happier with how YOU are turning out. Here is what I see in YOU:
Baby #1, my oldest, my Golden Boy and our Supervisor… The potential I see in you astonishes me. Although I absolutely love how well you follow the rules at home and adore your respectable nature, I hope someday you will not follow our rules so literally and be courageous enough to step outside of your comfort zone and take a chance. I pray that you will never lose your sense of kindness and determination, and that people will continue to find peace with you and your loving spirit. Please do not take others’ criticism to heart. May your strength always be your obvious love for all people.
Baby #2, my only girl, Bunny as I call her… Every challenge I ever faced as a child I see in you. I feel your quiet nature and lack of confidence. You desire more than anything to love and be loved. I hope I am always brave enough to share with you my mistakes so that you are spared of their consequences. May we as parents continually encourage you to let your beauty from within shine out, as beauty like yours is not something you can buy, but is something shown to others. I feel special to be one of the few people to know the real Baby #2. Let your light glow amongst those who appreciate your soul.
Oh Baby #3, or Bear Boy, my challenging one… Fortunately for you, stubborn is found on both sides of our family. Luckily, though, your funny ways make up for the tests you give me daily. I love your fiery side and rash spontaneity, however please don’t let your fun override your intellect. Under all that independence sleeps an intelligent boy full of ideas and beautiful animation. Use your personality for good and seek those who want you to succeed. My momma’s boy, you are. Don’t ever let life dull your spunk. Your outgoing nature takes over every room.
My newest Love, Baby #4 or Baby Boo… I sometimes wonder how we got so lucky to have you placed with our family. You are my patient one; your perseverance amazes me. You love all kisses and hugs, and only you would be so gracious as to enjoy my singing. I love how you gaze at me like I am the most amazing human on the planet. I continually pray that I will be enough mother for you. That I will have the strength to be your forever advocate and warrior, and provide you with sufficient faith and hope to get you through challenges that lie ahead. Keep passing on that smile-it is contagious!
The blessing to be called Mom by four very different children, all with varying gifts and challenges, is humbling. Even when I am at my worst, I look at them and know that tomorrow is going to be a better day. My kids keep me determined and soft. When they look back one day, maybe they will see that my love for them was complex; that I wanted them to live in a beautiful, clean, and organized home filled with family and friends, but this balance was sometimes hard for me to find. I hope they understand instead that our cluttered, modest home and occasional searches through clean laundry piles were such so that I could get them to an extra activity or play group. Recalling our sometimes hurried life, may they smile and miss the chaos and love they had at home. And when they only rarely get to spend alone time with Mom or Dad individually, may they be grateful for the moments we spent TOGETHER, as those times are few and far between too. Our challenges and struggles I am beginning to embrace…
I’m slowly learning that there’s no need to be perfect to be a good mom; that it is better to influence my children with my presence and best efforts at home. Therefore, it is important for them to see me accept my own personal imperfections and failures; may my affirmation and resolve give them the courage to confidently live their own lives imperfectly, contented, and determined. As this school year comes to a close, I am at ease letting SOME of my previous insanity regarding our children’s upbringing slide so that we are able to enjoy life to its fullest in our home. As much as I long for the ideal life so eloquently implied by other bloggers, I cherish the reality I have here and am thankful for OUR REAL, perfectly imperfect life. Someday maybe my kids will relish in their past too!
A related thought…
“You are enough. Not because you did or said or thought or bought or became or created something special, but because you always were.”