family01.jpgI have been reminiscing about the birth and lives of my children a lot recently.

Over the last decade being a mother I have had many little moments of revelation and inspiration that have molded me into the woman I am today.  I have had even more mishaps, failures and mistakes that have jack hammered me into submission.  These were the lessons which beat me down physically and emotionally until I had nothing left but gratitude and awe at my children’s resiliancy and my ability to eventually adapt to motherhood when it becomes absolutely necessary.

I was broken, and continually beaten with the truth that there is no such thing as perect parenting.

When Kaelob was born I feel like I was a child having a child. Pregnancy crept up on me at 19 years of age, newly married and unaware of just how much my life was about to change. We intentionally planned to have an unplanned pregnancy…go ahead take a moment to figure that one out But love, excitement, fear and joy filled our hearts as Eric and I planned to welcome our son into the world and create our own family unit of three.  I had many medical comlications during his pregnancy.  My best friend didnt ever want to have kids because of the things I went through during his pregnancy… I however just skated right on through each complication as if it were nothing.  Pneumonia? Oh itll be fine.  Scabies…wait no Im just allergic to the pregnancy and constantly itching and covered in scabs? No biggie.  Bleeding profusely, narrowly escaped needing a blood transusion and hospital stay… nothing to worry about right?  Strict bed rest until delivering the baby… no problem!

Kaelob was my longest delivery and I flew through the steps without really processing the emotion of it all.  I suddenly found myself with a pink little baby in my arms looking at me so beautifully.  He had my toes and eric’s nose.  I was in awe. I was speachless…  It lasted for weeks.  I kid you not, I sat alone in my room staring at his little face wondering what the heck do I do now?  Do I talk to him? Do I change his diaper now? Am I burping him right? Wow… he looks just like us… that is sooo strange… 

I was a child holding a child and although I felt love for him, I didnt feel like a mother. I wasnt in love with him the way most moms describe in those first moments with their first child.  As time passed and I eased into the role of mother I began to feel that connection and love for him. I began to feel like a mom.

A few years later that bond was put to the test as my son began to show signs that something just wasn’t right.  He was almost 4 years old and did not speak in understandable sentences.  He had his own language which involved very emphatic hand waving and intense facial expressions, yet 99% of what came out of his mouth didnt make any sense.  For so long we all thought it was cute and funny, but didn’t realize the problem that was brewing…  My child was delayed.  There was a communication problem that then led to behavioral problems in pre-school.  He threw tantrums and blew up on the teachers when they required him to follow the structure of the class rather than sit in the back corner playing with toys of his choice. Suddenly my beautiful, charismatic, funny baby boy was getting kicked out of preschool after preschool and his behavior was spiraling out of control.

Suddenly I had to learn to fight.

I had to fight for my baby boy. I had to be an advocate for him, I had to be his voice.

I fought for almost an entire year to get him the help he so desperately needed. We went to doctors, we went to therapist, we went to counselors, psychiatrists, neurologists, and occupational therapists!  I took parenting classes and participated in programs involving social workers coming to the house and coaching me via earpiece in my ear, I studied every pamphlet, book and info I could that had potential to help my son find his way in this fast paced world that offered so little compassion to a child crying for help.

I just sat in on one of many IEP meetings I have for my son, who is now thriving and growing in a program that offers one on one instruction and wonderful therapies for all of his sensory needs.  They commended me on being “present” and “informed” and I thought… isnt that my job? They thanked me or knowing my son and being organized.  I sat a moment and reflected on the memory of when my son was first born and I felt so lost and confused.  How things have changed since he came into my life.  He taught me how to find the will to fight against the odds for what you know is right, He taught me how love something so helpless and innocent, he taught me how to be a voice for my child and find the words they could not.

He has taught me how to be a mother.

Haylee was intentionally intentional. 🙂  We had been discussing wanting to grow our little family, started counting dates and well… doing whatever it is ya do when your trying to get a bun in the oven!  Go figure, that very next month we learned we were pregnant with our second child.

I felt seasick pretty much the entire pregnancy, minus the joy of actually seeing dolphins or smelling the wonderful salty air.  I also was rewarded with an overly strechy  pelvis.. I kid you not, the doctor told me that the excutiating pain I was in was caused by a ligament stretching “too much” so every time I moved, sat, walked, rolled over… I felt like I was going to die.  I remember having to practically crawl to the bathroom five times a night in SO much pain!

She taught me so much about patience and strength even before she came into this world.

Her labor was relatively quick and “easy” with respect to all that goes down when delivery a 9lb baby… but let me tell you, the moment I laid my eyes on her she was beautiful.  I was in awe, but I was also in love.

From day one though, let me tell you, Haylee has marched to the beat of her own drum… That little girl broke every rule I had set, she challeged everything and any sliver of routine I had set with Kaelob… thinking I could simply carry that over into motherhood with two babies… forget that! She set the routine, she made the rules, she thought she had all the answers! Suddenly I was scrambling to care for a newborn as if I was a first time mama trying to figure out how to burp and make bottles and get laundry done all over again. Oh, not to mention caring for a struggling toddler who needed his Mommy in every way possible.

She challenges me every day.

Haylee  challenges me to find the joy in motherhood… specifically when nothing I say is right and she has no problem telling me exactly how wrong she thinks I am… every time.  It is exhausting being as specific as her fast working brain requires.  She is one heck of a smart cookie and I have to be on my toes all the time or shell knock me over and take of runnin.

Haylee challenges me to dig deep and embrace the little girl I wasn’t allowed to be.  She embodies every ounce of girlieness, sass and spitire that was beat out of me as a child.  I wore my brother’s hand-me-downs and wasn’t allowed to ask for new pink frilly dresses because there was never a reason to wear them. I was constantly lectured on being more respectful or punished for talking too much…. I cringe every time I hear echoes from my past coming out of my mouth and I see the tears in her eyes and know: I have to be better. I have to embrace her for who she is.  I may not be able to understand it, I may struggle to enjoy sharing some of the hobbies she thoroughly enjoys…

But I am challenged to be a mom who encourages those interests and unique personality traits that make her who she is.

I am challenged by her daily to be a better mom.

Peytne Dawn showed me the miracle of making a family whole.  Although I go through moments of baby fever she teaches me continually how beautiful it is to see the miracle in watching your family grow and complete each other.

watching Haylee blossom as a big sister…

watching Kaelob swell with pride as a protective big brother…

listening to the girls sing duets, dress each other in fancy princess dresses and accessorize with every piece of jewelry they own, and dance around their room with such joy…

Peytne has taught me how to love fully and embrace each moment as a family.  She is so laid back, funny and joyful.  She can embrace whole heartedly playing a zombie dinosaur game with her brother… full sound effects included, then moments later request a barbie princess movie to watch and then melodically reinact with her sister as a stage performance for all their stuffed animals.  She is willing to do and try everything at full speed.  She taught me to see the beauty that comes with building your family and watching the bond develop between siblings.

I feel pride, I feel joy, I feel complete as a mother.

 I truly feel the lessons I have learned the last 10 years of being a mom and the personal growth I have encountered is beyond anything I could have ever expected.  There are some days I forget I haven’t even entered my thirties yet… there is so much more to learn, so much more growth to prepare for.

But One Thing Will Never Change…

I am a Mom.

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