Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Time Out

It's been a long two weeks.  That may be the understatement of the year.  Twelve days at home with sick kids.  I don't even have the words. 

What I can tell you is that after a run like we've just had patience is running on empty.  I have been nurse, short order cook, cleaning lady, laundromat, and comforter for 288 hours straight.  Tonight I hit my breaking point. 

I won't bore you with the play-by-play, but it basically involved three kids, lots of mud and a garden hose.  I lost it.  Now, I could say that an eight year old knows better than to smear mud on the sliding glass door or to spray her brother with the hose in 50 degree weather, but, as my mother reminds me so often, "she's only eight".  Should she do those things? No.  Did she deserve to be yelled at? I don't think so. 

I am so grateful that tonight my attitude didn't get in the way of my guilt. (As it often does.) After starting some mac-n-cheese, I called the girls out to the kitchen and apologized for my actions and asked for their forgiveness.  The smiles on their little faces said it all.  This mattered to them.  They needed to hear that I was wrong and that I was sorry.  Because I was. 

I don't tell this story to pat myself on the back.  If you were standing in my backyard at 4:30, you would certainly know better.  Instead, I hope it encourages us to say we're sorry.  To be honest with our kids and admit our mess ups.  They need to see that we aren't perfect and that we need grace and forgiveness just as much as they do. 

Also, I hope today has reminded me to take a step back.  Stop taking this motherhood thing so seriously.  I'm not suggesting that we eliminate boundaries and consequences, but I do hope that our focus to "raise" our kids doesn't demand they act as grown ups.  Does a little mud on the glass really hurt anything?  Couldn't I just let them enjoy the moment?  Ask them to clean it up when their done?  Wouldn't it be great if we could miss something every now and then?  Give them a chance to cut a corner or make a mess without immediate consequences?  Oh, how I would hate to have someone tapping me on the shoulder every time I screwed up! 

Maybe for the first time, we can allow our kids to see us for the mess-ups we really are and we can let them do the same.  Who's with me?

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Big 8!

Yesterday, Paige celebrated her eighth birthday.  I am completely overwhelmed with emotion when I think about that little girl.  Our journey has not been an easy road.  She has all too often pushed me to my limit and then, knocked me right over the edge.  I have spent the past 8 years crying, praying, yelling, and questioning.  I am not qualified to raise this little girl.  She needs so much more than I have to give.  And yet, God continues to remind me that we were made for each other.  This little girl is EXACTLY who I need.  And she needs me. 

My emotion does not come from a place of sadness or frustration.  Oh, those have had their times, but this emotion comes from a place of gratefulness and pride.  Not in the job that I have done, but in the young lady Paige is becoming and the lessons she has taught me along the way.  Her story may just be beginning but it already screams of the One who has great plans for her life.  I am so grateful to be a part. 

Paige has an insane love for books and she reads fast (just like her mama).   When she puts her mind to something, she is focused beyond interruption and will not take no for an answer.  She is natural leader in her classroom and makes friends with nearly every student.  Paige thrives on quality time and just tonight asked if we could have a date because it feels like she doesn't get to see me very much when she is in school.  To which I obviously said yes.  Paige also began taking gymnastics this month and is loving the opportunity to get out some energy and put some of her natural talent to use.  The child is fearless and strong.  Oh, how I pray the mats are thick!

Paige has grown by leaps and bounds this year.  The meltdowns and fits that plagued our home last year are now just a random occurrence.  The little girl who used acting out and baby talk to get her way has matured into a child who asks for what she needs and explains her feelings....most of the time.  Our shy and easily embarrassed 1st grader became a 2nd grader who sold over $700 worth of candles to win 2nd place in her schools fundraiser.  Calling friends and family and talking with neighbors all on her own. 

If you haven't gotten the gist by now, I'll sum it up for you.  I am beyond proud of my baby girl.  She has taught me that my job as a mom is not to control her actions but to teach her to be responsible for them.  She has taught me about grace and love and patience and self-control.  I can't even imagine what the next 20 years have in store!

Happy Birthday, Paige!