Friday, May 27, 2011

Five-Year-Old Redheadedness

I have often said that when I had Brooklyn I joined a club and I can't get out.  Apparently, having a redheaded newborn is cause for every person who has ever known, seen or dreamed of a redhead to stop and tell you all about said person.  This is always followed by the oh so popular "Where did she get her red hair?"  I have been tempted on more than one occasion to dye my hair a similar shade just to end the nonsense.  Why can't they just assume her father has red hair and leave it at that??  I digress. 

My sweet freckle faced girl turned five yesterday.  She had a tea party today with eight of her closest friends.  There were actually twelve on the list, but I made her cut a few.  That may be the theme of her life.  This little girl LOVES people.  She always has. 

Brooklyn is sensitive, sarcastic, artistic, ticklish, talks incessantly and hates being alone.  She loves unicorns, butterflies, rainbows, kittens, shopping, diamonds, gold and silver.  She is going to make some man very poor one day!  Her love language is acts of service.  She is very much a middle child and often reminds me of my brother who is also the middle child.  She makes us laugh every day.

At her preschool graduation, whenever someone told her congratulations she responded with "If you say that to me one more time, I am going to wrestle you to the ground!"  She has also coined the phrase "What in the heck of the world?!"  We often hear her telling our puppy "You have to be nice or we are not going to love you anymore." 

If Brooklyn gets into trouble or is upset about something, she will go to her room in tears and proceed to cry/talk to herself.  The conversation goes something like this "Nobody likes me.  I have to do everything myself.  Nobody ever helps me do anything.  This is not fair!  I love everybody but nobody ever loves me."  We are so excited to see what puberty has in store for this one! 

The years go by so quickly and we are doing our best to treasure each moment as we look forward to the next.  It has been an honor to watch our little Brooks grow into such a big girl.  We are excited to see what the next years bring.  Happy Birthday sweet girl!  For breakfast I am eating those freckles right off your nose!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

No Excuses

Last week Adam and I went on a date.  The night didn't require expensive tickets, outrageously priced food or fancy clothes.  We have had those nights, but this wasn't one of them.  This night took us to Target, Walmart, Best Buy and a steakhouse with peanut shells strewn about.  It was glorious.  I didn't take anyone to the restroom during my meal, the seat in my shopping cart was occupied by only my purse, and not once did I have to move boxes off a shelf to remove disobedient children from crawling behind them. 

Halfway through our evening Adam looks at me dumbfounded and says "I am having a really good time!"   Resisting the urge to reach across the table and knock the shock right off his face, I inquire gracefully as to why he seems so surprised.  He goes on to say that this had been a stressful week at work and he just hadn't realized how much he needed to decompress. 

 I have spent seasons of our marriage waiting for Adam to ask me to go out on a date.  The waiting always lead to disappointment and the disappointment left me complaining.  It wasn't until recently that I have come to understand this cycle. 

Adam rarely brings work home, literally or figuratively.  He is steady and not much rattles him.  Because he doesn't let "life" get to him, he doesn't feel the need to get away as often as I do.  Adam is also and "all or nothing" guy.  If we aren't spending hundreds of dollars on the perfect date, he would rather stay home.  After a week with the kids, I would take Taco Bell and Redbox. 

Understanding these differences makes our marriage stronger.  Adam knows that if I ask to go on a date, he needs to make it  I know that when he doesn't initiate the date, it's not because he doesn't want to spend time with me.  He just doesn't feel the need to get away.  It has been said that if you want to know how your marriage is doing, ask your wife.  I am much quicker to feel the disconnect that comes from doing life and so it is my responsibility to give him a heads up. 

All too often I hear people say "What's date night? You get to go out without your kids?  Maybe we'll do that again when they are in college."  To these couples I say,  your marriage can't afford to wait.  Your kids need to see you making each other a priority.  Don't wake up one day only to realize that you don't know the person laying next to you.  Make date nights happen at least once a month.  No excuses.  Budget for a babysitter, ask another couple to trade childcare, or look for honorary grandparents in your church to fill the void.

Beside having date nights, Adam and I take a weekend trip away once a year.  If you can find a way to make this happen, please do so!  A little bit spent on upkeep can save you thousands in repairs.  It's like the Casting Crowns song says "families don't crumble in a day, it's a slow fade."  Take the time to take care of your marriage.  It's more fun than car maintenance.  Trust me.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

In Case You Thought Otherwise

If you had told me at the age of twenty that I was not prepared for motherhood, I would have laughed in your face. I had been babysitting for years.  I cared for 10 infants every day for a year in a daycare.  I was a nanny to a newborn while pregnant with Paige.  I could do this in my sleep.  Kids were my thing.

Motherhood didn't shake me at first.  It took a year or two to realize how far over my head I was in.  Apparently, I'm a slow learner.  The truth is, all the things I thought I was going to "be" as a mom are so much more challenging than I could have imagined.

On occasion, I will have a friend comment on my "amazing patience" or call me "supermom".  Upon receiving such a compliment, I suggest we spend more time together.  Clearly I have given them a faulty impression of myself.   In an attempt to level the playing field, let me give you a glimpse of reality.

  • My patience level is nothing to admire.  I should pray for more, but I'm afraid of the consequences.
  • My kids eat breakfast bars, dry cereal, bananas or yogurt for breakfast while watching TV or driving to school.  I NEVER cook for them in the morning!
  • My van is littered with wrappers, cups, french fries, and crumbs.  The back seat has been declared a hazard zone.
  • I yell.  It is my biggest disappointment as a mom and I am working on it, but I still struggle daily.
  •  My children receive no more than 3 baths a week.  Tops.
  • I can not stand noise.  Three children in 1100 sq.ft. make this VERY challenging.
  • On Saturdays, I lay in bed and let the kids trash the living room until I absolutely MUST get out of bed.
  • I often answer questions with "I don't know" simply to avoid explaining the answer. 
  • All too often, I miss the intentional moments.
  • My son has at least one screaming meltdown in EVERY store we enter.
  • I have issues with being touched all day long.
I guess all of that is just to say that none of us are perfect.  No matter how calm or collected we seem on the outside, we may be just a "mommy" short of losing it on the inside.  We all struggle and we all fall short some days.

I love my kids and I don't regret a second of being their mom, but this job is HARD!  No age or job or class could have prepared me.  Not for the challenge or for the impact. 

I'm just a mom.  A mom who is still learning how to be a mom.  After all, I'm only 7 years old.