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Making New Memories

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My last post probably seemed a little bit on the negative side of things.  In typical Megan fashion, I have to follow-up with a brighter message, because, thank goodness, that is how my heart works!  I had a wonderful thought tonight while laying in the pop-up hunting blind tent in the boys’ room.  We were up there telling stories by fake candlelight and I just felt super happy and warm in my tummy.  We had roasted hot dogs and marshmallows on the woodstove, gone out for a night hike, and were now getting settled in for a camping adventure in their bedroom.   A few days prior, I had been having severe doubts about our life, our isolation, and whether it was good for us, the kids, etc.  As I sat in between the kiddos, telling camping stories, I realized that we were making memories.  SO much of who I have become was shaped by the memories that my parents made with us.  We camped, we hiked, we had adventure upon adventure, we were read to, and sung to, and loved beyond belief.  It does not really matter where we grew up or what our experiences were, because we were loved, we were surrounded by people that wanted what was best for us, and we had parents that believed in making memories.  I am certain that it was not as fun and exciting for my parents as it seemed for us.  I have so much more respect for my parents now, as we attempt to make these memories for our own kiddos.  It is hard work, and not always very gratifying.  I questioned my sanity at 10:45pm when the kids were still squirreling around in their tent whispering to each other.  But I know that no matter what happens, no matter where we are, or what we are doing, we will be making memories with our kids, and they will be memories that help shape the people that they will become.

 

 

A Season for Love

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Last night, we were finally laying down to sleep after a two hour adventure to put together a Fire Station for the boys to have on Christmas Day.  It was after midnight and we should have gone right to sleep, but we lay awake talking about the boys, about being parents, about things that we wished for our kids.  I made the comment that if I could have any present in the whole world for Christmas, I would ask God to make me the parent that my kids need me to be.  I get angry sometimes; I yell sometimes; I get impatient; I do not always nurture their spirits but I get frustrated and say things that I shouldn’t.  As we lay in bed, talking about Christmas, I finally verbalized what I have been thinking about for a long time.  Just make me the parent that they need.  Just do that for me, God, and I do not want anything else in the whole world.

This afternoon our oldest son was jumping up and down, begging for me to go on a walk outside with him.  I didn’t want to.  We were all still in our pajamas at 4pm in the afternoon on Christmas Day.  I reluctantly put on our younger sons shoes and coat and we trudged outside for ‘an adventure’.  We walked the length of the field, down to the edge of the trees.  I walked beside my younger son, holding his hand in mine as our oldest ran ahead of us, constantly narrating out loud his interpretation of the world around us.  I was overcome with love for these boys, for this moment, for the chance to walk with them and reflect on our life, our property, our path.

So many times in the past four years, I have had people speak to me about the ‘seasons’ in life, and specifically how this was my season to be a parent.  They were referring to the fact that this is my most important job right now, and one that I need to be completely and totally devoted to.  This is my season, and like it or not, this is where God means for me to be.  I never quite grasped this idea, because I wasn’t sure that this was a season that I WANTED to be in.  Not to say that I did not want to be a parent, but I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be a parent to the exclusion of everything else in my life.  As I walked in the field, crunching through the snow, holding my sons hand, I suddenly GOT IT.  This evening, as the new baby lay sleeping downstairs in the bouncy, I took an extra 20 minutes to sing to my youngest son in the rocking chair and hold him until he fell asleep.  Then I read some extra books to the oldest, and tucked him into bed, and finally, I sat on the couch with my husband on one side of me and the sleeping baby girl on the other side, and thought about seasons.  It doesn’t matter if this is what I thought it would be.  It doesn’t matter if it is what I want to be doing every minute of every day.  What matters is that right now, for this brief moment in their lives, I am their everything, and they NEED me.  They need me to be present.  They need me to be loving.  They need me to be patient and kind and nurturing.  I have finally, after four years and three kids, figured out that there is no room in my life for selfishness.  It serves no purpose.  My kids did not ask to be here, it was a choice that we made and now it is my season to give all my love and life to them.  I cannot promise tht I will not yet get impatient with them, or angry, or say things that I shouldn’t, but I finally get my purpose, my season.  RIght here, right now, my days are meant to be spent sitting on the floor playing games, or singing songs before bed, or brushing teeth, getting clothes on wiggly bodies, and holding hands while we walk in the snow. Instead of thinking about all of the other things that I could or should be doing, I just need to be present for them and given them all of my love.  Thank you, God, for giving me the only thing that I wanted for Christmas.  Thank you for finally opening my eyes to see what a precious and important job that I have been entrusted with.    Thank you for the chance to love them- may I continue to grow and become the parent that they need, and the parent/person that YOU want me to be, instead of the person that I think I want to be.

Letter to Myself….and to You

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This is a letter that I would write to you, but cannot seem to say to myself. It is me, of course, but I will write it in the third person, maybe in the hopes that some of it will sink in eventually…..

To the mom in the tile section of the hardware store:

I love you. You are wonderful.

It doesn’t matter that you are sitting on the cart looking dejected while your kids are running barefoot up and down the aisle.

It doesn’t matter that they are building a house out of sponges and wanting you to ‘blow their house down’, while you wish you could disappear into the inventory.

It doesn’t matter that store employees keep asking if they can help and you just tiredly ask them if they can babysit while you pick out tile. All you want to do is to pick out tile.

It doesn’t matter that they keep walking nervously by, wondering when you are going to leave with your unruly children.

It doesn’t matter that you feel like a total loser as your children run around screaming and acting like wild animals in a zoo.

I love you because I KNOW that you are a good mom.

I love you because I know that you have high expectations and set high standards for your children, even if you cannot make them live up to them.

I love you because you get up every day and try your hardest.

I love you because you are doing something very hard.

It really doesn’t matter that you feel like you have lost total control of your life.

It really doesn’t matter if you question every day if you are qualified for this job.

The fact that you ASK, means you ARE.

I watch you push your cart out of the store, with barefoot, dirty children in tow, piling your purchases in the back of your truck, and I know that in spite of your fatigue, in spite of your deep fear of failure, in spite of your complete embarrassment at how your children act EVERY TIME you go to the hardware store- you will still read them bedtime stories, you will still sing them to sleep, and tuck them in after they drift off after an hour of whining about monsters.

I know this, because you are me…….

To The Mom of a Child With a Behavioral Disorder

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This post is as much for me as it is for you, because I need to hear and believe the things I am going to say.

You are a good mom.
You didn’t make this happen.
It isn’t because you didn’t love him enough.
It is okay to fiercely love your child and not always like them.
It is okay to want to bang your head on the wall when you hear other people rave about their easy children.
It is okay to cry.
It is okay to get angry.
You are not a failure.
You are not alone.
You are a loving, patient, kind person.
You ARE the best person for the job.
You ARE their advocate.
Sometimes they hate you.
Sometimes you hate them.
Sometimes you yell at God.
Sometimes you yell at your child.
Often, they yell at you.

And it is still okay.
And you still are a wonderful mom.

Sometimes you cry when you think too long about it. You want your child to be perfect, to be unharmed by life’s tragedies. You want to be enough for them, to be able to comfort them, soothe them, hold them. But sometimes you can’t- because they can’t let you, or won’t let you. And it is okay to feel all of these things. It means that you are human. It means that you are trying to do the best you can every day, every hour.

Sometimes you have good days. Sometimes you don’t. Sometimes it feels like a success to have one good hour out of the day. You find yourself stretching to give them a gold star, and you don’t feel like you deserve any at all. But you do….

Sometimes you feel like it is an impossible task to avert all of the mini and major meltdowns in a day. Sometimes you feel like you have it down. Sometimes you just want to get away, to run, to have peace, and quiet. Sometimes you feel like supermom, and sometimes you wonder why you ever became a mom at all.

Sometimes you sit and watch them sleep because it is the only time they seem peaceful.

Sometimes you don’t want to go out because you are afraid of what might happen. Sometimes you want to go out because you can’t imagine another hour stuck in the house with this raging little person.

Sometimes you give in because you are just so exhausted. Sometimes a cartoon is the only replacement for entertainment that you can offer.

But always you love them. And always you want the best for them. And always you would do anything to protect them. And always you would fight for their well being.

You are enough.
You are what they need.
You are their mom because God knows what he is doing and they need you as much as you need them.
It is not easy .
It may never be easy.
But it is what was meant to be.
Somehow, someday, you will be able to look back and see the gifts that this little life has brought into your life.
You will see the joys, the triumphs, the successes and you will be glad.
You will be glad that God gave you this amazing, powerful, wonderful being to look after for a little while.

Mother’s Day with a Side of Poo

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So, before I had children, I always thought I had this whole Mother’s Day thing down. I go out, buy a card, or chocolates, or flowers- some visual reminder to my mother that I think she is wonderful and I want her to remember how much she has given me and how thankful I am for all of her undeserving, unending love…… Then I became a mom.

I really do not remember either my first or my second Mother’s Day- but this year will not easily be forgotten! I woke up this morning at the usual Early ‘o’ Clock and made some french toast for boy number one. Boy number two had a mid-morning nap while we ate our french toast and drank our smoothies. I was able to trade with my husband at around 9:00am and take a nap while he hung out with the three-year-old. The rest of the day went pretty much the same as every other day- there were no noteworthy special events to remind me that this was in fact, a day to celebrate mothers. The afternoon was hot and we decided to put the pool up in the backyard. While it was filling, my husband and son splashed around and had a grand old time. Our son, for the first time in his almost three years, decided he would finally try to pee somewhere besides a diaper. Him and my husband stood side by side in the back yard, aiming at flowers. This was a monumental event and really was a wonderful gift for Mother’s Day- less diapers in my life will always be a good thing. He nodded in serious understanding while we explained to him the importance of trying again before going inside. I was just getting the hot dogs ready for the grill and the baby was beginning to fuss when the boy came walking around the corner with poo dripping down his legs. Awesome…….. Apparently, he decided to take a poo in the garage. And so why am I bummed about changing diapers? Bring on the diapers, I think to myself as I am scrubbing crusty poo off his legs. So the veggies got overcooked, the baby screamed for 15 minutes, and my husband ended up with a pile ‘o’ poo on his shop floor.

At the end of the day, when I am supposed to be reflecting, I guess, on this whole Mother’s Day thing, I am thinking how really sweet this day has been. It has been chaos, it has been screaming, it has been laughing, and playing, and napping, and peeing on flowers, eating hot dogs, cleaning ketchup off chins, time-outs, discovering new things, and to sum it all up, a pile of poo on the floor.

Isn’t that really what this Motherhood thing really is? It stinks sometimes. It is the hardest thing I have ever done. It challenges me in ways that I never imagined and makes me see all of my faults, all of my flaws. It makes my heart melt to see how they look at me anyway, how they love me anyway, how they accept me no matter what I say or do or whether or not I deserve it. It makes my days rich to see all of the things they learn and makes my senses full to experience things as they do. And when it is all said and done, sometimes it just all comes down to a big pile ‘o’ poo to make me see all the wonders of being a mom……………

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A Snowy Winter Day

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I had the bright idea to make the short drive to a friend’s house with the two and a half year old and the six week old to attempt a sledding adventure. My husband was at home napping away a cold and I thought it would be ‘fun’ to get out for a bit. AM I CRAZY??? We drove the fifteen minutes to her house and got out, donning all the best snow gear. The baby was bundled up in a sling and the toddler was jumping around with excitement. We went down the hill ONCE on the sled and the baby started screaming just as the toddler started to cry and insist that he was all done. In utter defeat, I climbed back into the truck to have a snack with the toddler and try to pretend that I wasn’t completely disappointed in this total failure of a sledding fun day. I was about to make the decision to bail when my friend’s husband knocked on the window and said that his two older kids were coming out to play.

An hour later, after MANY sled rides down the hill for the older kids, my toddler happily playing in the snow by himself, and the baby sleeping in the sling, we decided to stop for a snack. The three kids sat on the tailgate of my truck munching cheese sticks and Hannah, the older child, looked at me with her big, bright eyes, and declared, “You are a good mommy. They are lucky to have you.”. I could have jumped for joy. God knew that was exactly what I needed to hear just then, and used this sweet child to pass the message along. Despite my earlier anger at my toddler, my frustration with the baby, and really, truthfully, my sadness of a potential failed adventure- I AM a good mom, a good wife, a good friend, a good person. Hopefully my toddler will not remember the moments of anger when I feel like smoke might be coming out of my ears. He will hopefully remember instead the snack on the tailgate with friends, the hours spent building forts, the ‘little adventures’ where we roast hot dogs and marshmallows on our pretend campfire.

I realized that day, as I was driving home after warming up with cocoa in the house with my friend and the kids, that much of what we do with our children is somehow weirdly tied into our own memories. That our expectations and disappointments often have more to do with us wanting to give our kids the experiences that we remember enjoying so much. I also realized, that even if this day HAD turned out to be a miserable failure, that I am a good mom for trying, and trying again, over and over and over, because I love my kids, and I want them to have every opportunity for fun and adventure. Even if they don’t enjoy it as much as I think they should, they will be better people for having the experience, and not sitting at home watching the tele instead…..

25 Things I Never Thought Would Happen

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Some things that I NEVER thought would happen and kind of mildly horrify me still when I read them in print……

1. My T-Shirt would become the perfect burp rag (less laundry, and it already smells like sour milk anyway).

2. It would be acceptable to stay in my pajamas all day, for four days in a row, and not be ill.

3. I could pick a booger out of someone else’s nose.

4. I would willingly wipe poo off someone’s balls and not get paid for it (I’m a nurse).

5. It became normal to watch a movie with my husband and have a pump attached to my chest, and that making cow sounds while doing it still seems hilarious to us both.

6. My husband and I can complete a sentence without pause, ignoring the 60 second long toot that came out of our child’s back end.

7. Now that I mention it, can we complete a sentence at all?

8. I hear babies crying when I turn on the faucet- seriously, don’t you?

9. A shower has become a freak show- either with my toddler opening the curtain every 5 minutes, or with me madly soaping up and rinsing in a crazy rush to get it done before someone NEEDS something.

10. Pooping has become an escape- how long will it take for anyone to notice the door is locked and start wailing on the other side of it?

11. If your fingernails aren’t dirty, you probably don’t need a bath (this goes for anyone in the house).

12. You can gauge how fast to move by the intensity, pitch, and volume of the scream from the other room.

13. Watching my toddler eat food off the floor that might be from sometime this week seems okay.

14. If I eat that piece of chocolate REALLY fast behind the cabinet door- I might not have to share…..

15. There is no longer morning, noon, and night- it is when is naptime? How long until naptime is over? And when is bedtime?

16. I no longer worry about cleaning up a small something spilled on the floor- isn’t that what socks are for?

17. Opening the granola bars at the grocery store before paying for them is totally worth getting yelled at by the cashier- anything to survive the two-year old meltdown.

18. If the diaper isn’t sagging enough to be a third leg- it might survive one more pee.

19. Peanut butter and jelly is okay for breakfast, or lunch, or dinner. Same goes for cheese tortilla or cereal.

20. Clothes can be re-worn based on the sniff test (again, this goes for anyone in the house).

21. I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would tell my child not to hug the dog because he might give the dog fleas. Nor did I ever imagine my CHILD would bring home fleas from the petting zoo…..

22. Sometimes I go to a social function based on whether they have babysitters or not… just to have a little bit of time away.

23. My husband could scare our toddler into moving faster by making a ‘moo’ sound (and subsequently having a toddler that is terribly afraid of cows).

24. My husband would ask if the clothes in the laundry bin were clean or dirty, and sometimes we wear the clothes right out of the bin until it is time for laundry again, at which time, the floor pile gets moved into the now empty bin.

25. I often have no memory of what happens between 8pm-10pm because my husband and I are so fried that we can easily waste two hours on something…or nothing….just to have quiet.

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