Let It Go!

Yes, I know you just sang that title in your head. I am so sorry. However, I need your complete attention. Do I have it now? Good.

th-1A new step in parenting was braved today… It’s been years in the making. There was lots of sweating, heart pounding, pulse racing… all done by Mom. If you haven’t taken such parenting steps yet, let me tell you there is no preparing for the sight. Seriously, there really is no way to prepare for the feelings that run through you as your baby drives off alone for the  first time.

Yes, I thought I was ready. I was one cool cucumber as he got his permit (though driving with a first time driver is unnerving). Maybe, dare I say, even excited at the promises of another driver to help with school runs, practice runs, store runs and general aspects of just getting things done.

On the day of his 16th birthday, we ventured to the land of sloths, otherwise known as the dreaded DMV. Upon our arrival, we discovered a two hour wait before us, putting us right on the start of his one class he felt he really should be present for that day. Sigh. We left  and figured we would be back the next week. But life… and play rehearsal/performance… and soccer practice… and homework… and… and… and suddenly we were into June without a license. It’s summer people. Enough.

You wanna know what put him into gear to actually go? We found a car. An affordable car. His car. And it sat in our driveway. And he drove it with parents inside. Suddenly that license looked like a need to the boy.

So back to the sloths… Early. Before they opened, we were outside their doors waiting. And waiting. And waiting. For 30 minutes beyond their listed operation time. I have no idea what emergency necessitated the delayed opening. Maybe equipment wasn’t working. Maybe a coffee run. Maybe they were slowly telling jokes and laughing while the rest of us stood impatiently outside their door.

Once we were extended The Golden Scepter of the Open Door, prefinished paperwork made for short lines and a quick exit. Let there be much rejoicing in the kingdom!

That is until the child, this baby moving in a near man’s body, walks out the door with keys in hand, and you stand at the door and watch. Yep, he’s actually getting into the car. Without you beside him. Yep, he’s actually starting the car. Without you beside him. Yep, he’s actually backing up. Without you beside him. Yep, he’s actually pulling out into the street… WITHOUT YOU BESIDE HIM!!!

thAnd just like that, he’s out of your line of sight. Off on his own adventures. It is a good thing, you must remind your pounding heart and queasy stomach. It is a good thing. Letting him go is a good thing. You have given him the keys he needs to do well. This is his chance to prove it to himself, and the world. He’s got this.

And when he texts you pictures of another car like his in the parking lot of the mall, you will breathe a little easier. And when he pulls back into your driveway, you will breathe fully again. It is a good thing, Mom. Really. Let it go.

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A love for soccer

So I’ve been kicking around some thoughts, and have decided I need to actually throw them out there. See, I’ve been reading how Americans don’t like soccer, and how they never will. Even to the point of they shouldn’t, as this is the downfall of America… And all I can think is, “Ugh.”

I have played this game since I was in the 3rd grade (and that was a long time ago…). I played through high school, and into college. My love for this game is deep. I will be honest to say I’m not a huge fan of watching… it makes me want to play! I want to be out on the grass. I want to feel the ball in my hands (I have played keep since 9th grade) or at my feet. I want on the field! Not because I think I’m all that and a bag of chips, but because I love this game.

In high school, I was not a fan of football. AT. ALL. Then I started dating a guy who actually played football, and my world opened up. I began to learn what it meant to play football. I began to understand the calls. The drive. The skill. The effort. I began to appreciate what it takes to play football. And I began to enjoy it. I don’t play football, but I have a love for the game today I would not have had. (Thank you M.D. for taking the time to teach me.)

Golf has always been boring to me. Until the last couple years, when my husband has been learning the game. I’m now starting to appreciate all it takes to put that little ball into that hole. I am enjoying his love of the game, and learning to enjoy watching how the stance matters. How little tweaks effect where the ball goes. And I am enjoying taking a swing or two…

My point? You have to understand something to appreciate it. To learn to like it, you need to know what’s going on. To understand the skill that goes into weaving a ball through other bodies, from one goal to the other. To see the chess like beauty of give and take as teammates work together to get the ball to finally fall into the net. This is not brute force. You can’t run people over. You can’t hit them. This is a game of finesse. Of quick touches, curving balls and well timed placement. Of keepers conducting a symphony being played in grassy, sweaty notes.

You think it’s easy? You think it’s boring? I would challenge you to play a season. Or at least talk to someone who does. Begin to understand what it means to be off sides. Or how hard it is to actually hit the ball with your head. Will you love it? Maybe. Maybe not. But I bet that you would appreciate the beauty of it more than you do now.

And you might even enjoy it!

I Love Bethie?

I started this life (well, the part of it I can remember, anyway) the athletic type: strong, confident, probably even cocky. Somewhere along the way to having 6 kids, I turned into Lucy Ricardo! I find myself in situations where I just shake my head and wonder “how did I end up here?”

How did I end up with banana, avocado, and marker on my walls? How did I end up with fingernail polish on my bedroom floor? How did I end up changing diapers for 15 years? How did I end up running to three different schools while trying to keep a baby on a schedule? How did I end up with 6 people calling me Momma (or Mommy-o, as seems to be the current favorite)?

I have written about some of these moments, like the cat tree, the Gatorade, the baby powder… sometimes my life feels like one big mess. And not usually one I actually create… though I do that pretty well, too. In my head I, all too often, see Lucy stuffing chocolates in her mouth and think, yep… I’m fighting a losing game, too!

I am sure some of this is to smooth away that cocky side of me that thought I could do it all. Some of it is just to keep me humble. Some of it is just to make sure I can laugh at myself, something I did not do well when I was younger. Mostly, I think it’s so I can truly appreciate these words from a 9 yr old boy, “Mommy-o, I love you!”

What Are We Doing?

It’s 2012. We have made huge progress in so many areas. A computer in nearly every home. For that matter, a computer in nearly every pocket (oh, and by the way, it also doubles as a phone!). TVs bigger than most people’s windows…

And yet, on other things we seem to be stuck or even going backward! Sadly, these seem to be on things that are really important. I mean, who cares how big your TV is when someone’s life hangs in the balance?

I just read about a sweet little girl who is fighting such a fight. Who is being told she just has to wait to die because her skin is black. Does that make you angry? It should if it were true. But if it were true, you would hear about it everywhere you turn, the radio, the computer in your pocket, that bigger than your window TV…

No, the reason she must wait to die is not the color of her skin. It is something just as uncontrollable for her. It is her brain development. Her mental capacity. Her “quality of life.” Does that make you less angry? It shouldn’t.

It’s 2012. How have we not learned that kids, even if they have “issues,” believe what they are told? In the eyes of the woman carrying the baby, that’s what the unborn child is, a baby. In the eyes of the dr. it’s just a bunch of tissue. In the eyes of this dr, this little girl is just not worthy of his time. In the eyes of her parents and those who know and love her, she’s their princess, worth everything they have. Who do you think she believes?

I have a nephew. In the eyes of his first-grade classmates, he’s handicapped. In the eyes of his parents and those of us who love him, he is a smart-as-a-whip satirist who makes us laugh. All the time. And he knows it. And he’s probably the key to curing the disease that will kill you if you don’t let him grow up to fix it.

What will this little girl grow up to be? Maybe a great scientist or maybe just a simple ray of sunshine in someone’s life. We may never know if this dr has his way. Welcome back to the stone age.

You can read about her here. Now, go kiss your kids, and tell them what they need to hear. They will believe you.

Hey, hey, hey…

I’ve previously written about what nicknames mean to my family. (If you missed it, click here to catch up!) Yep, I have my Boo Bear, my Booga Boo, my Baby Cakes, my Sugar Bear and my A’gator! They all have some flavor and meaning to my little Momma heart.

Imagine my concern when the only thing I could get A to call her baby brother was… Baby! I was so concern… well… if I’m honest, I was flat out terrified!

At first it was so sweet… see my kids are talkers. Which is good! Except, maybe, at 6:30am – I’m no morning person! Do know what happens in a house with 4 older siblings who are talkers? Yep, they do all the talking for her! So when my baby girl walked into the hospital room, climbed up on my bed, and laid eyes on the little cuddly bundle next to me, she threw her arms open, fingers grasping in a “give me give me” fashion, and SAID, “Baby! Baby! Baby!” my heart melted! When, two weeks later, she was still walked into any room he was in and she would say, “Mwha, mwha. Baby. Baby!” because she wanted to kiss him, I loved it! But when 2.5 months later, if I said, “Say Hi N!” she would say, “Hi Baby!” I began to think he would be “Baby” the rest of his life!

Then my hubby, N and I made a trip to Phoenix for a conference. On the flight out there, I looked down at that sweet baby and thought, “You sweet Boo Boo!” And there it was… the nickname I thought wouldn’t come… Oh, yea of little faith!

I tried it out over the weekend. He would smile so sweetly at me… I told the older kids when we arrived home… and they all seemed to think it was pretty cool… Then I looked at my sweet almost 2 yr old, “Hey, A, say hi Boo Boo!” and she smiled, waived whole heartedly right in his face and said, “Hi Boo Boo!”

Yogi would be so proud. I know I was.

Welcome Home
Welcome home Boo Boo!

Hey Honey, guess what…

These and, I’m sure, other words have been used to tell my loving hubby about the expected bundle I currently carry. I’m mean, when you’ve done this 11 times, what else can you say. (Go ahead, rub your eyes, clean out your ears, whatever you need to do, YES, I said 11…)

No, not all 11 have gone all 40 weeks. No, I don’t have aspirations to be a rival to Michelle Duggar. But I still get looks from the nurses when we start doing ultra sounds, or when it comes time for the birth… and then I have to go into, we have 5 kids, 2 boys 3 girls and we have had 5 miscarriages, all around 6-7 weeks… and no, they don’t really seem to be less shocked then you, they just have better poker faces.

I find it funny that each pregnancy is as different as each child is. From cravings and feeling ill to the movement of each child, each has their own personality from the very beginning. Sometimes the differences comes down to the anatomy: for each boy, I have had major cravings for tomatoes,, had lots of morning sickness and dealt with Gestational Diabetes. These issues makes the girl’s pregnancies a breeze for me – the girls have given me WAY more drama after they were born than before.

How did we come to this point? Well… sometimes I ask myself the same question. And sometimes I’m not really sure of the answer. I wanted 4 kids. Two girls and two boys. And along that road, we lost 5. With three, and dealing with the last 3 miscarriages, T told me he could be done. Three. I knew that I knew that I knew, I was not done. It was big stress for us for a while. Then my sweet K came alone and I was GOOD! T, however, held that sweet little bundle, looked at me and said, “I think we need another.” Um, what??? Who are you and what did you do with my husband??? And in the middle of THAT conversation (which lasted two years) I became pregnant with A.

Then watching those 4 sweet kids welcome A (and hearing then 2 yr old K tell 9 yr old J, “Don’t touch MY baby!”) T began to question… at first to himself, then with friends and then with me, “Who are we to tell God no?” Come again? Six??? I signed up for 4, remember??? Again, in the middle of THAT discussion, T turned 40 while on a business trip. I made the trip to the city he was in to surprise him for his big day. And we came home with a surprise for us…

So we will welcome number 6, boy #3, into the family in July. And as of right now, I don’t know where the road leads. Right now, I’m just trying to get through the last month. Stay tuned for further updates!

Time Flies

How did I go from November 2010 to June 2011??? I can tell you, it went fast!

When I wrote my last post, I was in the middle of planning a surprise for my hubby’s 40th… he was at a conference in CA, and I enlisted family and friends to cover me and take care of our kids, and I flew to CA to be able to spend his birthday with him. Well, long story short, God had ANOTHER surprise in mind…

When we finally arrived home (a good 12 hours late after sleeping in the Denver airport), our then 5 yr old daughter told us she had a dream that night, a dream that I was pregnant. I laughed. So did God. About 4 weeks later, I found out, in fact, she was right. All I could think was, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” 40 and pregnant????

And to top it off, we knew the baby would be our third son very early. For whatever reason, boys are SO much harder on me then girls are. So, yep, first trimester was rough. It’s tough to keep things quiet when you feel yucky and you need to pretend otherwise. Adjustments keep us hopping.

We now are trying to figure out the best way to work an 18 month old into a big bed in the same room with a 6 yr old and 3.5 yr old (who doesn’t like to go to sleep!) and change the nursery from pretty in pink to bouncy blue. Our older boys are so excited to have another boy coming. Our girls are adjusting to the thought, (though my 3 yr old told a friend of mine she didn’t “want to be a big brother!” she is now getting excited to hold her little brother.

So, July 29, we will welcome another little one… and it’s coming fast!

Yes or No?

Kids ask a lot of questions. Sometimes without words. Sometimes answering those questions comes down to two words. Yes or No. I think, sometimes, parenting can come down to two types… Yes parents or No parents.

The world is new to kids. They are learning so much every day. One of the things they are learning is will you help them learn or will you not. What do I mean? I mean, sometimes, what they want to do or try gets answered by what we 1) want to do with them, 2) are willing to clean up or 3) are willing to go slow on.

I think our goal as parents (and I say OUR because I need to work on this myself) is to say yes WAY more often then we say no.

I have a friend, when her seven year old son wanted to shave like Dad, found a way for him to do it so he wouldn’t cut himself. She was a yes mom! Another, saw a snow cone maker in the store. She brought it home and let her kids make snow cones. In the house. Her son called it the best day ever.

Yesterday, we were yes parents… we even got the ball rolling! My DH thought we needed an Art Day… so I got up, drove to buy some finger paints, paper and breakfast. He and the kids took some mats from the play room to the back yard. One child drew, and three painted.

Then, suddenly, it went from finger painting to body painting. And we let it. And we laughed with them. A lot. All morning.

Yes is such a positive word. I know there are times that call for a no. I just want those to be the only time I use it. I don’t want to us no because I’m “too tired” to mess with it. I want my kids to have lots of fun times to remember. And maybe a cold shower to clean up!

A Mother’s Broken Heart

I’m sitting here this morning listening to the sounds of a sleeping house and a playing baby… More than slightly amazed that four children and a husband are still sleeping. And I’m thinking about a conversation I had last night… a friend was telling me of someone she knows who just had a miscarriage. And my heart breaks.

I know her pain. Well. I know her loss. Deep. I know her heart break. Personally. Mine heart has shattered. I know the joy of seeing that little stick announce a new life joining the world. I know the extreme disappointment and letdown when your own body says otherwise. I know the feelings of “I may never have a(nother) child. See, I’ve had five miscarriages. Yes, F-I-V-E!

I understand the reality is WE’ve had five, my husband and I. However, I also understand that a child, six or seven weeks in your womb is SO much more real to the woman than the man. The pain he feels is disappointment, a bit deeper than when his team lost the super bowl. The pain she feels is grief. Where there was life, there is no more. There has been a death in the family. And she can’t even call the child’s name. (Though I know of a couple cases of women who have named the children they’ve lost, as a form of closure.)

When I hear of these kinds of things, I wonder how great is the number of women are out there who do not talk about their loss. I’ve learned one in four pregnancies end in a miscarriage. That’s a quarter of all pregnancies! I find that to be amazing. I can only account for this in the deeply personal level of the loss. Since the woman is the only one to carry the child, she is the only one to physically connect with the child.

As my case shows, it is possible to have another child after a miscarriage, or two… (Mine came in groups – two between my two boys, and three between my oldest two girls.) However, even having another child does not remove the pain of the loss, much like a new pet doesn’t make you miss the old one less. This is a case of time being the best healer. If you are in the middle of the pain, don’t rush it.

The one thing a miscarriage does, is highlights the gift of life… it is a gift, not a guarantee. If you have children and have not walked this road, hug your kids a little tighter. Try to see them as the gift to you they really are.