This Is My Life

I have missed my regular blogging over the past couple of weeks. This August has been and continues to be busy! Please bear with me as my posts are hit and miss this month. The plan is to get back in my groove after Labor Day!

I’m doing (academic) diagnostic evaluations for many in my local home school group. I am trying to get all that done before school starts! I enjoy testing kids to see what they know. Just to toot our own horn a little bit, these students are rocking the tests. Those of you that know me, know that even though I was (and continue to be part time) a public school teacher….I am in love with home schooling. It has been a great experience. I enjoy the flexibility that comes with home schooling.

My son leaves for college in two weeks. There is so much to get done in that two week period. I have lists on top of my lists of things to get done before his big move. The other night my son invited me to go out with him to the movies. We had opportunity to talk, and laugh together. The times spent with him are bitter sweet, because I am acutely aware of how things are changing for us. He is no longer my little boy, but my young man. I am extremely proud of all that he has accomplished in his young life and know he will go on to great things. In the meantime I need to make sure that he has detergent and dryer sheets, extra long sheets for his dorm bed, and warm clothes since he is heading north! Sigh…..I will miss him.

On Saturday we adopted a new dog from the local shelter. Rocky is a year and a half old….and still very puppy like. The shelter said he is a Boxer/Collie mix. I am beginning to think they were wrong. I think he is a Boxer/Lab mix. Our two other dogs, Ace (senior) and Lonnie (middle aged) don’t know what to think of this young, teen, dog. He is a whirlwind. He gallops around like a horse and if one happens to be standing in his “zone” as he goes flying by he/she might be knocked over, much like getting a strike at the bowling alley! This morning while feeding our other animals, Rocky wanted to show his love for me. He jumped up and put both paws on me. (We are working on NOT doing that.) Paws that were muddy and damp from the morning dew. Paws that left two large, muddy paw prints smack dab on my……..chest. I have on a light colored tee shirt. I don’t feel like changing, because it will only happen again until we train him to not do this. So, I’m going to Wal-mart with paw prints on my chest.

This is my life.

I hope all my readers are having a peaceful and happy morning. I think of you often, scattered all across the continents. I wonder what it is that you are doing while living your lives. We are all so different, and yet so much the same.

 

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M is for Mommy

A pregnant woman

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Mother. Mommy. Mom. Mama. Mum.  The names of  motherhood.

Being a mom—A job. A privilege. A calling. An adventure.

Sometimes scary, sometimes funny. Other times sad, most of the time, happy.

Loving a child, changes one forever.

I decided to pull some motherhood posts from my archives….because they are just as relevant today as they were when I first wrote them.

“Lately, I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a mom. I’ve been a mom for almost 16 years now. You’d think after that period of time I’d have everything under control, right? Neatly checking things off my to do list. I suppose I am feeling a little sorry for myself. Umm…… Most days I feel like the BEFORE picture in one of those before/after photo shoots. I wish I could be the AFTER. The mom that has it all together. The one who doesn’t ever worry about a dirty house, teen drivers, late schoolwork, attitudes, boredom, muddy floors, pet fur, or laziness.

I’m not mentally ill. I do understand the difference between fantasy and reality. But, a mom can dream…can’t she?

I must get like this each year. Check out my blog from last January at this time….. My own words come back to remind me that motherhood is a crazy ride, but I’m holding the hand of the One that holds the future–and that makes all the difference.

THE MIRACLES IN THE MUNDANE OF MOTHERHOOD

Motherhood. In my naivete’,I just knew that I’d have it covered. Puh-leeze!  I could do this….after all I KNEW children. I took Child Development classes in high school. I babysat. I majored in special education in college and took myriad number of COLLEGE level courses on the child psyche. If anyone could do this it was me. Supermom at your service. For sure.

Then reality hit. When I say “hit” I mean kind of like a baseball bat. To the head. Ouch.

I had my son in May of 1995. Just 2 days after my 27th birthday. My pregnancy went well except for the 6 week stint of barfing. Morning sickness AND evening sickness. Brushing my teeth even made me gag, but I was a trooper. I was determined to be with child AND have a bright white smile and fresh breath. So, I carried on.

My son was born 2 1/2 weeks early according to the doctors. I blame it on the fact that the evening before he was born we had a tornado in Knoxville, Tennessee. The barometric pressure dropped and I think it messed with my uterus. I’m just sayin’. Except for being born with a little jaundice, which to be honest I thought looked like a nice tan, the delivery went well  and my son was beautiful. Of course I had an epidural so there wasn’t much pain…just a lot of pushing. My husband was a big help and to give the man credit…he put up with a lot. (the fact that I had back labor before getting the epidural—well, that is another story.)

Now, at this point I was exhausted but happy. My son is a joy. I’m happy. He’s happy. My husband’s happy. We’re all happy. Then it hit. Reality. My epidural wore off and I was sore like I had never felt sore before. After several hours I decided I could get up and use the restroom. The nurse told me she would have to go with me. I told her I was a shy pee’er and I wouldn’t be able to go if she was in the bathroom. I tried to convince her I’d been peeing my whole life, and at 27 I had the procedure down pat. She told me I could pass out because of something to do with the epidural having worn off, blah..blah…. I told her that was silly. She finally agreed to stand at the other side of the door, with the door cracked open. I grudgingly agreed and went to sit down when, yes you guessed it, I started to black out. The nurse caught me just before I cracked my head on the bathroom floor. I vaguely remembered her yelling for ammonia…and my husband in a confused state asking why she wanted to clean the bathroom? This is my life. I should have known that I had just embarked on a journey that was NOT going to be a piece of cake. Only a few hours into motherhood and I was already passing out.

The next few years consisted of me listening to my little one struggle to breathe when he got bronchitis. Staying up all night and staring at his chest. Watching it heave up and down. Knowing that his tiny body was so fragile…yet, so resilient. After that scary time, it never happened again. Thank you Jesus. Then at 2 and 1/2 he was with his father, outside, when he decided that he’d get on the picnic table. He fell and cut his head on the seat of the table on the way down. Head wounds. Lots of blood. A father in panic mode. A trip to the doctors office. Stitches. I came home from work that day to find my handsome son looking like he had just took a few rounds in the boxing ring. Bruised with stitches marching just above his eyebrow. So attractive, and just in time for his preschool picture day!  That following Easter we decorated Easter eggs. Fun stuff. I made the mistake of telling my toddler that we would eventually eat the hard boiled eggs. One evening he got into the fridge when I was on the phone and preceded to eat the egg with the shell still on it. He came into the living room a few minutes later. His face, teeth, tongue and hands, all a nice pastel shade of blue. I began to freak out thinking that my baby was exhibiting symptoms of some rare disease. Until, he informed me, “Mommy, the Easter egg is good.” At that, I burst into giggles and attempted to scrub my little Smurf back to his normal skin tone as I explained that egg shells are not the part of the egg that we eat, even if it did look pretty at the time.

Over the years there were the good times and the difficult times. Bedtime stories, hugs and sloppy kisses, birthday parties. Lots of laughter and tears. Family vacations, and him holding my hand. Church choir, camps, video games, and silliness. Those of you that have sons know what I’m talking about.

When my little boy was 4 his father, my husband, was diagnosed with an incurable heart disease. He died a mere year and four months later. You can imagine the sadness. We had only just started and it was over. Just like that. Standing at my husbands grave, that cold gray day in November 2000…I felt a little hand grab mine. A little voice coming out of the body of a 5 year old, but seeming so much older and wiser said, “Mommy, don’t cry. This is only Daddy’s body here. Daddy is in Heaven with God.”  God spoke to me that day through my son. He wanted me to remember the promise of  John 11:25 “I am the resurrection and the  life. He that believes in Me, though he dies, yet shall he live.”  That day I was reminded that out of the mouths of children can come great wisdom.

The next five years were filled with normal life kinds of things. Church, school, vacations out  West, family get togethers, sleep overs at friends houses, spelling tests, and math homework, goofiness and seriousness. All of life in a big jumble. We were doing okay….me and my sidekick.

After 5 years of widowhood God brought another man into my life. A man that understood what I had gone through. Our experiences were similar. He had lost his wife a few years before. We were kindred spirits. No one wants to join The Widow/er Club, but death doesn’t ask if one wants membership. It just gives it to you.

We married in 2005. Along with this marriage I got another son and two daughters. Just as I thought I had the whole being a mom thing under control…. then reality hit. AGAIN. These children had lost their mother. My heart broke for them, just as it had for my own son at the loss of his Daddy. How does one be a mom #2?  There is no manual for it. Believe me, if there were one I would have read it. A LOT. How does one mother the motherless? I wasn’t sure how this would happen. What do I say? How do I act? What if they don’t bond with me? What if they hate my guts?  Then what?  God, in His infinite wisdom spoke to my heart.

“LOVE THEM. ADOPT THEM IN YOUR HEART. THAT IS ALL YOU NEED TO DO.  Dawn, you are my adopted child. I bought you for a price. You were redeemed and now you are mine. I love you because I choose too. Do the same for them. They need a mother’s love…not to take the place of the mother that they had….but, to show them that I am God and I will take care of them. I am their provider.”

You know what? God is good. All the time. Even in motherhood. Even in widowhood. Even in life. Even in death. Even in trauma. Even in calm. Through bloody noses, or skinned knees, through arguments, and “it’s not fair!”. Through hugs and kisses, school and projects. He remains good when I’m having a great day or when I’ve just been awarded “the worst mom of the year award.”

I like to believe that I am much wiser than I was back in my twenties. When I thought I had motherhood all figured out. When I had my own motherhood map all planned. Motherhood is messy, and chaotic, and fun, and sometimes broken. I am thankful in the midst of all my mom mess-ups that I am holding the hand of the One who promised me that He has a plan for me and a future with hope. A-men.”

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”   Jeremiah 29: 11-13 NIV


At Faith Barista we are talking about moms and motherhood today. Won’t you join us?


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Don’ts For Girls–A Manual Of Mistakes

A mother plays the guitar while her two daught...

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This past Saturday, my daughter and I went to do some antique shopping in Mount Victory, Ohio. I love this type of thing, and can “get lost” for hours, if left to my own devices. I collect antique books. Most of my books are school books from the turn of the last century. On this particular trip I came across an interesting little book called Don’ts For Girls-A Manual Of Mistakes, written by one Miss Minna Thomas Antrim. The book was copyrighted in Philadelphia by the Henry Altemus Company in 1902. From the inscription in the front cover of the book it was given as a Christmas present in the year 1907. When I see inscriptions such as this, I often wonder what the young lady that received this book looked like, or acted like? Obviously, her parents wished for her to be a proper young lady.

This small, hardback book is packed with little nuggets of wisdom, along with some statements that make me giggle. Some of these verses are so foreign to me, being that I was born in 1968–and by that era, times were most definitely different! In my mind and imagination, I picture a twelve year old girl, on the verge of young womanhood…one from a proper Victorian family. On Christmas morning she opened this gift from her parents, and vowed to read the book from cover to cover.

As she gently opened the book and turned to the first page, this is what she read…

*Don’t be ashamed of your parents. They may be unlearned and dull, but they gave you the chance to become what you are. Honor them before all men.  ( I read this to my daughter, and she laughed. I do not wish for her to believe that her daddy and I are unlearned and dull, though I do like the honor part.)

* Don’t neglect little deeds, while dreaming of great ones.

* Don’t be a prig. Girls who are never a little foolish, are always deadly dull. (I like the word prig. I think I might start using that. Can I bring the word, prig, back?)

*Don’t chatter. Babbling is baneful. Gigglers should be punished by solitary confinement. (If one is going to giggle, do it in private!)

* Don’t regulate your behavior by geography. Be as modest at the sea shore as at home. ( I love this one. Anyone that has been to the beach lately knows, that some young ladies need to be more modest–allowing everything to hang out is not pleasant for us that are forced to watch.)

* Don’t be good because you must, but because you should. ( Amen. Enough said.)

* Don’t be anxious to get “in the swim.” Many drown there. (Many of our young people today, still have this problem. Following one’s peers can prove deadly.)

*Don’t fail to lock the family skeleton securely in the closet when guests are expected. ( Doesn’t this crack you up? I bet a lot of Victorian closets were bursting with bones…but, the key to the closet was kept cleverly hidden:)

* Don’t go anywhere with a young man alone. Convention admits no exception of this rule. ( That would save a lot of heartache, wouldn’t it? 🙂

* Don’t listen to anything revolting. There are things in life that should never be made known to a sensitive girl. ( A young Victorian girl would never make it watching the news these days. Or any TV. Or any movies. Or most books. Or…or….or…..)

The book ends with this last page.

* Don’t begin the day with a sigh, or you may end with a downpour.

* Don’t lament because your neighbor’s garden surpasses yours. Keep hoeing. ( I love this one in particular. Plenty of people in our entitlement society, need to read this.)

And last but certainly not least…

* Don’t fuss. If things never went wrong who’d long for heaven? (Amen, to that.)

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief look into the beginning of the last century. It’s always fun to look back…

Just Another Thankful Monday…

the unmade bed

Image by suttonhoo via Flickr

Click on the Multitudes On Monday graphic on my right side bar to find out more about thankfulness, from those that are overflowing…

Ann Voskamp said in her book, One Thousand Gifts, that it is impossible to worry and give thanks at the same time.

I choose to give thanks. One thing at at time. It makes all the difference.
“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.”   Psalms 107: 1  NIV

*Teenage boys that are taller than I am…who can reach the tall shelves for their mom.

*Deep, almost man voices.

*Hugs , that will never grow old.

*Children telling me, “I love you, Mom”

*Words that make me feel rich.

*Back scratches

*Cozy, warm rugs scattered on the floor

*Glass of orange juice

*Wet dog nose

*Morning quiet

*Sound of my husband’s voice on the phone

*Gray skies

*Rain on the way

*Weather news

*Old hand-made aprons hanging on the wall

*Lanterns

*A rumpled unmade bed

*Warm water to wash my face

*Minty toothpaste

*Warm socks

*Smell of cinnamon in the air

*Smooth, warm wood

*Soft glow of light

*Dog snuggled on his pillow

*Children diligent with school work

*Shelf filled with books

*Comfy couch with pillows

Home

Blood Curdling Screaming Coming From A Cart

A shopping cart filled with bagged groceries l...

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I went to Walmart this morning. I had some grocery shopping to do. I don’t really dig the grocery shopping part, but I love the people watching. That store tends to be a veritable petri dish of characters. Today there was a little girl who kept me entertained. She was a screamer. You know the kind I’m talking about. It started out as a whine. (bless her heart, she was probably needing a nap) Then a “Moooommmmmy!!!”. Mommy ignored her while she attempted to figure out the best buy on breakfast cereal. Girl got louder. Mom, perused the sugar crunchies, and bran cardboard. Girl let it rip. “AAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaa”. I have to say she had a healthy set of lungs on her. I’d say everybody in the entire super WalMart could hear her. She was that good. Such a loud scream wrapped up in such an angelic little face.

As I continued to shop, I periodically heard the “AAAAAaaaaaaa” from some other aisle. I smiled. I don’t have young children, so I can.

I finally was finished with the buying of food staples. My family will be happy that they are not going to starve. I maneuvered my shopping cart into an available check out line— behind two other people. I always pick the slow line. The cashier was personable, but slow. This always happens to me. I think it must be genetic. Can people have DNA that always, no matter what, attracts them to the slowest line in a store? Just sayin’ that I am curious about that. It seems plausible.

Two lines over was harried mom with screaming tot. Girl was stuck in cart while mom unloaded groceries onto the conveyor belt. Girl yelled. Mom gave her “the look”. Girl got quiet. She was probably thinking over her options. I had a feeling that little girl was going to get it when she got out to the mini van. Aaahhhhh…….the joys of parenting. Did I mention that I am glad to be past that stage? (Big smirk….I mean smile.)

 

Motherhood…Are You Ready?

A pregnant woman

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Lately, I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a mom. I’ve been a mom for almost 16 years now. You’d think after that period of time I’d have everything under control, right? Neatly checking things off my to do list. I suppose I am feeling a little sorry for myself. Umm…… Most days I feel like the BEFORE picture in one of those before/after photo shoots. I wish I could be the AFTER. The mom that has it all together. The one who doesn’t ever worry about a dirty house, teen drivers, late schoolwork, attitudes, boredom, muddy floors, pet fur, or laziness.

I’m not mentally ill. I do understand the difference between fantasy and reality. But, a mom can dream…can’t she?

I must get like this each January. Check out my blog from last January at this time….. My own words come back to remind me that motherhood is a crazy ride, but I’m holding the hand of the One that holds the future–and that makes all the difference.

 

THE MIRACLES IN THE MUNDANE OF MOTHERHOOD

Motherhood. In my naivete’,I just knew that I’d have it covered. Puh-leeze!  I could do this….after all I KNEW children. I took Child Development classes in high school. I babysat. I majored in special education in college and took myriad number of COLLEGE level courses on the child psyche. If anyone could do this it was me. Supermom at your service. For sure.

Then reality hit. When I say “hit” I mean kind of like a baseball bat. To the head. Ouch.

I had my son in May of 1995. Just 2 days after my 27th birthday. My pregnancy went well except for the 6 week stint of barfing. Morning sickness AND evening sickness. Brushing my teeth even made me gag, but I was a trooper. I was determined to be with child AND have a bright white smile and fresh breath. So, I carried on.

My son was born 2 1/2 weeks early according to the doctors. I blame it on the fact that the evening before he was born we had a tornado in Knoxville, Tennessee. The barometric pressure dropped and I think it messed with my uterus. I’m just sayin’. Except for being born with a little jaundice, which to be honest I thought looked like a nice tan, the delivery went well  and my son was beautiful. Of course I had an epidural so there wasn’t much pain…just a lot of pushing. My husband was a big help and to give the man credit…he put up with a lot. (the fact that I had back labor before getting the epidural—well, that is another story.)

Now, at this point I was exhausted but happy. My son is a joy. I’m happy. He’s happy. My husband’s happy. We’re all happy. Then it hit. Reality. My epidural wore off and I was sore like I had never felt sore before. After several hours I decided I could get up and use the restroom. The nurse told me she would have to go with me. I told her I was a shy pee’er and I wouldn’t be able to go if she was in the bathroom. I tried to convince her I’d been peeing my whole life, and at 27 I had the procedure down pat. She told me I could pass out because of something to do with the epidural having worn off, blah..blah…. I told her that was silly. She finally agreed to stand at the other side of the door, with the door cracked open. I grudgingly agreed and went to sit down when, yes you guessed it, I started to black out. The nurse caught me just before I cracked my head on the bathroom floor. I vaguely remembered her yelling for ammonia…and my husband in a confused state asking why she wanted to clean the bathroom? This is my life. I should have known that I had just embarked on a journey that was NOT going to be a piece of cake. Only a few hours into motherhood and I was already passing out.

The next few years consisted of me listening to my little one struggle to breathe when he got bronchitis. Staying up all night and staring at his chest. Watching it heave up and down. Knowing that his tiny body was so fragile…yet, so resilient. After that scary time, it never happened again. Thank you Jesus. Then at 2 and 1/2 he was with his father, outside, when he decided that he’d get on the picnic table. He fell and cut his head on the seat of the table on the way down. Head wounds. Lots of blood. A father in panic mode. A trip to the doctors office. Stitches. I came home from work that day to find my handsome son looking like he had just took a few rounds in the boxing ring. Bruised with stitches marching just above his eyebrow. So attractive, and just in time for his preschool picture day!  That following Easter we decorated Easter eggs. Fun stuff. I made the mistake of telling my toddler that we would eventually eat the hard boiled eggs. One evening he got into the fridge when I was on the phone and preceded to eat the egg with the shell still on it. He came into the living room a few minutes later. His face, teeth, tongue and hands, all a nice pastel shade of blue. I began to freak out thinking that my baby was exhibiting symptoms of some rare disease. Until, he informed me, “Mommy, the Easter egg is good.” At that, I burst into giggles and attempted to scrub my little Smurf back to his normal skin tone as I explained that egg shells are not the part of the egg that we eat, even if it did look pretty at the time.

Over the years there were the good times and the difficult times. Bedtime stories, hugs and sloppy kisses, birthday parties. Lots of laughter and tears. Family vacations, and him holding my hand. Church choir, camps, video games, and silliness. Those of you that have sons know what I’m talking about.

When my little boy was 4 his father, my husband, was diagnosed with an incurable heart disease. He died a mere year and four months later. You can imagine the sadness. We had only just started and it was over. Just like that. Standing at my husbands grave, that cold gray day in November 2000…I felt a little hand grab mine. A little voice coming out of the body of a 5 year old, but seeming so much older and wiser said, “Mommy, don’t cry. This is only Daddy’s body here. Daddy is in Heaven with God.”  God spoke to me that day through my son. He wanted me to remember the promise of  John 11:25 “I am the resurrection and the  life. He that believes in Me, though he dies, yet shall he live.”  That day I was reminded that out of the mouths of children can come great wisdom.

The next five years were filled with normal life kinds of things. Church, school, vacations out  West, family get togethers, sleep overs at friends houses, spelling tests, and math homework, goofiness and seriousness. All of life in a big jumble. We were doing okay….me and my sidekick.

After 5 years of widowhood God brought another man into my life. A man that understood what I had gone through. Our experiences were similar. He had lost his wife a few years before. We were kindred spirits. No one wants to join The Widow/er Club, but death doesn’t ask if one wants membership. It just gives it to you.

We married in 2005. Along with this marriage I got another son and two daughters. Just as I thought I had the whole being a mom thing under control…. then reality hit. AGAIN. These children had lost their mother. My heart broke for them, just as it had for my own son at the loss of his Daddy. How does one be a mom #2?  There is no manual for it. Believe me, if there were one I would have read it. A LOT. How does one mother the motherless? I wasn’t sure how this would happen. What do I say? How do I act? What if they don’t bond with me? What if they hate my guts?  Then what?  God, in His infinite wisdom spoke to my heart.

“LOVE THEM. ADOPT THEM IN YOUR HEART. THAT IS ALL YOU NEED TO DO.  Dawn, you are my adopted child. I bought you for a price. You were redeemed and now you are mine. I love you because I choose too. Do the same for them.They need a mother’s love…not to take the place of the mother that they had….but, to show them that I am God and I will take care of them. I am their provider.”

You know what? God is good. All the time. Even in motherhood. Even in widowhood. Even in life. Even in death. Even in trauma. Even in calm. Through bloody noses, or skinned knees, through arguments, and “it’s not fair!”. Through hugs and kisses, school and projects. He remains good when I’m having a great day or when I’ve just been awarded “the worst mom of the year award.”

I like to believe that I am much wiser than I was back in my twenties. When I thought I had motherhood all figured out. When I had my own motherhood map all planned. Motherhood is messy, and chaotic, and fun, and sometimes broken. I am thankful in the midst of all my mom mess-ups that I am holding the hand of the One who promised me that He has a plan for me and a future with hope. A-men.

Time Doesn’t Stop

Two adolescent couples at the 2009 Western Ida...

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As I was getting ready this morning, a thought struck me. I don’t know why this particular thing hit me, on this particular morning….but, it did.

10 years.

A decade.

I’ll be 52 then.

That’s all true…but, what really hit me is that my kids will be gone. Gone. Gulp.

I talk a lot about my teens. How they are loud, funny, stinky, cute, silly, intelligent, serious, and all around goof balls. I sing the joy of the “empty nest”. And yes, I do think I will enjoy that part of life.

Just not today. I practically burst into tears thinking that 10 years from now I will have two 25 year olds and a 29 year old. Sniff.

I really don’t have that much time left.Truth be told…they are almost to adulthood right now.

And I will miss them.

A lot.

My 15 year old son was just 5, ten years ago. A mere baby. A kindergartner. We had just buried his father the month before. He dealt with a lot for only being 5. I think back over the last 10 years and how quickly time has gone by.

Then I think of how quickly the next 10 years will go by…

Graduation, college, jobs, career, marriage….maybe even grand babies.

I don’t know if I’m ready for the next 10 years.

I want time to slow down for a little while. Please?

More time for holding them close, more time for hugs, and kisses…..More time for goofiness before the responsibilities of life set in….More time of just being together.

 

 

When The Kids Are Away…The Mom Will Play

I am the mother of three teenagers.  To that statement some would say, “What fun!”, others who are more realistic and not on mind altering drugs, would say, “Let me knock you out and put you out of your misery.”  I’m just teasing. I have good kids. Most of the time. Especially when they are all sleeping. Just teasing again. Really.

My two sons and one daughter left for youth camp this week. Actually they will be gone for ten whole days. This has never happened before. All of them gone….at the same time…..for this long of a period. I don’t know whether to cry or do the happy dance. Maybe both. It is very quiet around here without them, but it was a whole lot easier to fix dinner for my hubs and me without three ravenous teens hanging around me while I fix the grub. No blaring video games, no wrestling on the floor, so endless questions that begin at 10 o’clock at night, or hanging out in the bathroom–for forever. I suppose I will have a taste of what the “empty nest” will be like in the not so distant future. Hmmmm…..I think my not so distant future will be very quiet. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

MY TOP TEN LIST OF THINGS TO DO WHEN THE TEENS ARE GONE ALL WEEK:

1. Take a nap in the middle of the day…because I can.

2. Fix dinner when I feel like it, because there are no teens to say, ” What’s for dinner? I’m STARVED! Is dinner ready yet?”

3. Clean the house in the buff. Haha. That caught your attention. I’m not really going to clean the house in my birthday suit….but, I could if I wanted to. I’m just wild and crazy like that. Besides we only have llamas as neighbors. They wouldn’t care.

4. Turn the TV on the channel that I WANT to watch. Leave the room and come back and the same channel is on the TV. No one changed it!

5. Watch every show on HGTV…once again, because I can!

6. Go out and get an ice cream cone. Eat it guilt free. Don’t feel guilty because I am eating an ice cream and they aren’t. After all they are at camp and will have fun. Ice cream is better than camp. At least to me.

7. Sleep like a baby. No worries about who is roaming around the house at night. Invading the kitchen…. and what snacks have been confiscated to someone’s bedroom. Whatever is in the kitchen this next week—will stay where I put it!

8. Take a long, hot bath. Also do this guilt free. The kids will be swimming in a lake this week. Out in nature. I prefer a Whirlpool myself.

9. Enjoy time with my husband. It’s like we are on a honeymoon. Well, except that he works from home and is on the phone and computer a lot. So, he is really busy and all that mumbo jumbo. Maybe I will clean his office for him. Refer back to number 3. (big, goofy grin)

10. Enjoy my week, but look forward to the kids return. After all, we won’t have them at home for very much longer. Time doesn’t slow down for any one. Even if we wish it would sometimes.

Mom-ism’s

I have a book full of mom-ism’s. It always gives me a good laugh. I thought I’d share some today to give everyone a good chuckle. If you are a mom you will totally understand. If you are a son or daughter you will also “get it”.  I have chosen to add my own take on each of these  timeless nuggets of wisdom. Enjoy!

–I don’t know is not an answer! (and if I don’t know the answer either, I will fake it. I’m a mom, it’s my job.)

–I just want what’s best for you. (and what’s best for you is for you to do what I say.)

–If all the other kids jump off the bridge (or cliff) are you going to, too? ( Son, don’t answer that!….especially, if you have a child who would seriously try to be Evil Kneivel. Next thing you know you’re sitting in the emergency clinic.)

–If I want your opinion, I’ll ask for it. (I already know your opinion and I’m choosing to ignore it.)

–I’m not running a taxi service. (I’m finding out the going rate for taxis…I will be deducting it from your allowance.)

–Isn’t it past your bedtime? ( I don’t care if you are eighteen. Go to sleep already!)

–Life isn’t fair. (This is an understatement. Go with it.)

–Look at me when I’m talking to you. ( I will stare at you with laser beam eyes drilling through your head, until you look at me.)

–Now, say you’re sorry and act like you mean it. ( I said act like you mean it! Don’t stick out your tongue. Don’t roll your eyes. That’s it! I’m coming over there!)

–Some day you will thank me for this. (Yes, you will! You might be 92 when you come to this realization…but, I don’t care.)

–Some day when you have kids you’ll understand. ( Oh boy! I can’t wait. Grandchildren. Spoil them and send them home for YOU to deal with. Yea!  Revenge is sweet.)

–Were you born in a barn? ( Don’t think I haven’t thought about that. You and the horse could be room mates.)

–What part of NO don’t you understand? ( Am I speaking English…um…yes, yes I am. And the answer is still NO!)

–When I was a little girl… ( I never gave my parents one bit of grief. I was an angel straight from heaven. NO you may not call grandma to verify this fact. What, are you calling me a liar? Go to your room!)

The Children That Changed Me–Part Five

The series that I’ve blogged on for the past several days has been a stroll down memory lane for me. I have had many, many students over the years and more stories than I can possibly tell in just a few short days. Each of my students touched me. Each of them special in their own way. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to meet them. Being a special education teacher has been an adventure. An adventure I am still on. Most of the time when people ask me what I do, I reply “I’m a wife and mom with all the challenges that come with that, a home school teacher, and I teach in special education.” Then a lot of the time I get this response…”Oh, it takes a special person to teach kids like that.” Hmmm…… I’ve given that response some thought.  I don’t consider myself all that special because I teach individuals with special needs. The truth is I feel blessed to have had the opportunity.  It sounds like a pat answer, but it isn’t. I truly mean that. I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination….and there were many days that were frustrating and I felt like giving up…but than again nothing in life of any real value comes easily, does it?

Unfortunately, over the years, I’ve had educators tell me that they didn’t really see the point of having my students in their classrooms. “They aren’t going to learn anything anyway.”   “I don’t know what to do with them.” (As if they were a thing, instead of a person!) At first I found it extremely frustrating. After awhile I realized, if  the teacher could not look beyond the disability to see the child, then it was their loss. Not all teachers were that way. Thankfully, there were many who reached out, worked hard, and met the challenges that special education entails. Both the students and the teachers walked away from the school year having learned something new about each other.  I’ve learned that special education isn’t perfect. It’s a lot of trial and error. Sometimes it’s going back to the drawing board and figuring out something new to try. It’s about not giving up.

One of my greatest treasures of the   “special ed world” has been getting to know my student’s parents. Sure there have been some… um…..how shall I say this, interesting ones.  Yet, most of the parents I’ve met have been good people. I consider it a privilege to know them. Are parents of children with special needs perfect? No. Do they sometimes get angry, or frustrated, or feel sorry for themselves? Sure. They are human. Are they thankful, and happy, and see even the smallest improvement as something to celebrate? Yes. I don’t think parents are perfect. I do think they are real. Many of us will never know the pain of watching our child struggle to eat without a tube. We won’t understand the feeling of knowing that our child can’t be on the local soccer team because he/she can’t walk, much less run. We won’t be able to commiserate about what it is like to see our child struggle to read or write and not have them feel dumb or stupid….or different. Or what about the parent that has a child trapped inside his/her own head, who is smart and funny and creative–but is unable to communicate it, because autism has stolen that from her? Every time, over the years, that I met with a parent I kept this thought foremost in my mind. These parents love their child, imperfections and all. They are requesting my help because they want their child to meet his/her full potential. Whatever that may be for that particular child. They want a chance for their child, just like any other parent. That’s it. So, if there are any parents of children with special needs that are reading my blog today. Thanks goes to you. Really. You are the ones that deserve it.