Happy Mother’s Day

Motherhood can be summed up in one word: kids. Without them, I would be enjoying sleep and eating snacks alone. With my kids, I enjoy yelling fun phrases like, “Turn that down!” and “Take off your shoes in the house!” and “Who finished up the toilet paper and didn’t replace the roll?” every week.

Being a mother is hard. At least so said my children when I asked them what they thought it was like to be one. Perhaps I’m not doing a very good job if they unanimously claimed that it must be hard, stressful, and exhausting. Or perhaps they are the problem… 

There was some acknowledgment from one that it must be mentally taxing, having to make decisions galore each day, and maybe even fruitless, since no one listens to me, according to another. I was told by yet another child that the learning experience that is motherhood is likely filled with highs and lows. While one offspring assumed it was rewarding, another one told me that I was sad as a mother! Yikes! For clarification, this child is not my favorite. Just kidding! The sentiment behind that statement was that there must be times when it is sad for me, not that I put forth a pretty pathetic showing as a mother (whew!) . At any given time, however, I suppose either could be true.

I do not have profound take-aways from their responses, but I did learn a valuable lesson about asking my children open-ended questions. There is truth to each statement, though. Sometimes, as a mother, you want nothing more than to be “seen”. For your work to be noticed. For the tough bits to be recognized. For validation, even, when the going gets rough. But I also know that I do not want my children’s memories woven with misery. 

I am certain the happy times far outweigh the difficult times. I am sure there is sweet communion between mother and child more than there is discord. Certainly they do their chores without being told more than when they need constant reminding. Ha ha, that was a joke. Only a Super Mom could manage that kind of training. 

Speaking of super moms, I am definitely more than a little annoyed that out of all the attributes my mother passed on down to me, being as awesome as she was and is at being a mother isn’t one of them! As a child, many of her sacrifices and talents went right over my head. Now that I am a mother, the realization of all she did and the exhaustion with which she must have done it explains why she let me get married at 19! Joke’s on her though because I still need her and she still is a better mom than I’ll ever be. Thankfully, Mom continues to exemplify patience, wisdom, and love to her grown children and we are absolutely blessed because of her mothering.  ♥️

I love my children. I love helping them, teasing them, watching them grow and thrive, being with them, and hiding my snacks from them. I love them even when there are times I do not like them (rather, what they are doing). I love hearing them laugh and witnessing when they work, play, or learn together. I love telling them to do their chores. I love that they give me hugs and want to sit next to me. I love being their mother. 

It is unclear how hard I work, or how exhausted I am, or how stressful it is at any given moment, but in the words of one of my Neanderthal children, “Mom work hard, because Mom love offspring, but rewarding, because offspring love Mom.”

State of Being

Not to brag or anything, but I made it through last week. This is an achievement for me because right smack in the middle of the week I was sideswiped by piles of emotion. Not only was it surprising, it was also unexpected and sudden. And it was tough. By ‘tough’, I mean since I didn’t expect the level of emotional turmoil, I wasn’t prepared. And by ‘not prepared’ I mean I’m not a boy scout, so how could I be?

Remember when I mentioned that Isaac had three weeks left in his high school career and Jake was three weeks away from the midway point of his college years? Last week brought that countdown to zero. Remember which child is trying to bring us within dollars of the family cap on our insurance? Although last week’s appointments will undoubtedly add place values to our deductible, it was the diagnosis that felt ruinously exorbitant. 

Despite the prestigious name, at James Way Academy, most of your K-12 years go by with little fanfare. There is no Kindergarten graduation ceremony where you don an adult-sized shirt with the year of your twelfth grade grad date emblazoned on the front. There is no stepping up ceremony for a fifth grader entering middle school. There isn’t even a fun, first-day-of-school themed breakfast in August or a last day of school movie marathon with candy from your teacher and piles of returned school work to take back to your mother who actually just handed it to you, and that’s why the desk is covered in papers and the next transcript isn’t put together yet, but I have all summer for that and this part wasn’t really supposed to be about my shortcomings, so we’re going to have a graduation ceremony for Isaac later, okay??

All that to say I was shocked by sentiment regarding Isaac’s last days of high school. We all know that if you blink, you miss it. It is such a strangely oxymoronic thought: you were present for the whole thing, yet you turn into a puddle of mush at the idea of all that’s done and gone. While I often pine for the earlier years, it has been wonderful and hard and messy and awesome to see Isaac develop into the young man that he is today.  In not much more time, we will be launching our second arrow, but you’ll have to excuse me if I’m holding my eyes wide open.

Meanwhile, Jake is down there in Jacksonville, crushing year two.  By the time I’m finally done muddling my way through composing this post, he’ll have received all of his second semester grades and will likely be on the road homeward. I know he would agree that the realization of being halfway through hit like an October hurricane in Florida, fast and furious. As a homeschooling family, we don’t have anything special planned for this milestone either, but it is exciting and I did find myself overly emotional about it, like an October hurricane in Florida, mortifying and out of the blue.

Jumping from keeping my eyes dry and open (‘I’m not crying, you’re crying’) and getting blindsided by nostalgic emotion, I was also able to experience relief mingled with light devastation, thanks to the latest findings regarding Caleb’s health. Relief that the fourth doctor we saw finally diagnosed the issue; relief that we weren’t going crazy, and it was what we suspected all along; relief that he will get the right care moving forward. The light devastation comes from the fact that while there are treatments, there aren’t really any cures. It comes from the fact that he has to deal with this on a daily basis. 

The juxtaposition of relief and devastation wreaked havoc to my emotional state, much like the aftermath of a category two hurricane. Part of me wanted to drown my sorrows in a pint of ice cream and another part of me agreed.  But Caleb remains ever cheerful through it all, and I know I can learn a thing or two from his joyful disposition. I think that’s an emotion I could manage!

To recap, I have nothing to brag about, the least of which is my ability to handle feelings, but

I had Anna, she’s just so great, she helped me get through the tough times. I truly can’t express my forever gratitude for her, she’s so sweet and incredibly good-looking! I wish that there was two of her because that would mean 2x the greatness. Anna really couldn’t be better, unless of course, if she tried-because Anna can do anything. And that pretty much sums up everything you should know.

(That’s what I get for always asking anyone if they’d like to write a post and then walk away from the computer. But we all need a bit of levity in our lives, right? It’s cheaper than a pint of ice cream, anyway.)

I Know Nothing

As I sit here with my hands hovering over the keyboard, I cannot think of a single thing our family has done in the last two weeks. I mean, I know we didn’t just sit on the sofa all day, twiddling our thumbs, silently contemplating whether pink and red really do clash, but on this Sunday afternoon, I have zero recall on anything that has occurred in the last 14 days and certainly nothing jumps out as being especially interesting or exciting. Perhaps this is a sign that by Lord’s Day afternoon my brain is damaged goods and I should reschedule the day of the week I post. Because of this, please proceed with caution. Who knows what I’ll say next; it’ll be a surprise for us all.

I do know that Caleb found himself at the bottom of a pile of extremely eager seven and eight year olds as the pinata finally broke open, spilling its contents all over the ground around him, and the father of the birthday boy had to pull him out before he was trampled. Though safe from being crushed, Caleb decided to pit his socked feet against our carpeted stairs and lost the battle, sustaining a very badly hurt appendage. Might it be broken? Maybe? Do I want to bring him back to the Allan’s private and personally funded orthopedist? Not exactly…

I know James checked a book out of the library called Backyard Rockets. While I won’t say that James doesn’t use his brain, there are signs everywhere that his head is in the clouds. I can only assume the detritus of paper, tape, matchsticks, empty bottles, baking soda, and cork littering the house and surrounding grounds means he’s having a blast. Unbelievably, no one has been injured through James’s attempts to launch his creativity, but I don’t recommend you try them at home. 

I know Anna made me laugh every day and was recently mistaken as a 14 year old by someone and sadly, I can see why. Where did my little girl go? She has taken her love of gems and fancy rocks to new heights by joining a rock climbing club and counts down the days and hours until the next session. It’s hard to keep her grounded, but at least this is a solid experience.

I know Ellie. I also know she enjoys working at Chick-fil-A and takes after her Aunt Heather in bringing home as much food and candy as she can for her siblings. I also know I have to go to the restaurant during each of her shifts to keep all the boys at bay. Don’t worry, Ellie, I’ll wear sunglasses. I’m mostly kidding. Besides dodging boys, Ellie dodges mornings as much as possible, preferring the status of night owl over the early bird.  When she does rise and shine, she does it with all the grace and beauty of a capuchinbird.

I know Isaac has three weeks left of his senior year of high school and I cannot believe that is a fact. He’s just about made up his mind on whether or not to do his laundry today, so I think he’s ready for college. He was accepted to each institution to which he applied, and if he applies himself some more, he just may accept one of the institutions.

I know Jake also has three weeks left until he’s halfway through his university years, to which Anna says, rather indignantly, “there’s no way he’s halfway through; he’s already done,” because she misses him, I think.  I just told Anna I thought of a few more things I could have updated you all on, such as the sports awards event we attended at the local Christian school where the girls play volleyball and basketball. She said, “That’s something you could write about for Jake.”

“But he wasn’t even at this one!” 

“You’re right; he missed out,” replied my cheeky girl, “and that’s something you know about Jake.”

I know Danny is the best and thanks to a mid-April storm has a much better working knowledge of a generator’s carburetor and how easy it is to flood it and if that happens your house has no running water and then you find out how much your wife enjoys auditioning for the role of Caroline Ingalls.

I know I am not Caroline Ingalls.