Wednesday, May 13, 2015

growing up.

I sat in the fourth grade classroom blinking back the tears that were threatening to come. My mind kept drifting back when I was the same age sitting in a similar room watching "Growing Up and Liking it"feeling so awkward and uncomfortable. I remember my own mom sitting in the back of the class as we  heard about new concepts like menstruation and ovaries and something called a "period". Now I was here with my daughter watching a video about puberty and the changes that are happening and will come, exchanging nervous giggles and bashful glances between us and fighting off bawling right there in the back row. How can we be here already? Sure, I see the signs all over the place that adolescence is coming but really how are we here!

Moses came home from school that same afternoon and announced he too had watched his 6th grade videos on puberty and how babies were made and I was struck again by the reality of the new season we are in. After dinner Moses asked if we were having anything for dessert. When I answered no, Moses always looking for a reason to celebrate suggested we go get ice cream to "celebrate growing up". He said it with bashful smile and I laughed and responded, "So you want to celebrate puberty?

So we did just that. We all piled into the suburban and headed to our favorite local ice cream shop to celebrate puberty. Everyone ordered a cone and sat down at a picnic table. Silas licked his ice cream and then looked at me curiously, "Mom, by the way, what is PUBERTY?"

I am glad we celebrated! Sometimes in the midst of preadolescence meltdowns and new changes in parenting I can loose sight of the reality...they are GROWING up! It can be sad at times but also really awesome! I am excited to see what this new season brings. I love seeing their passions and interests developing. Hope wants to be a doctor and loves to nurture. Silas loves sports and wants to be a football or baseball player and a dad. Sarah aspires to be a writer or artist. Moses from a young age has dreamed of being a builder. I don't know many 11 year olds who already are developing their business cards. And Eden, who knows what awesome things that girl will do. It is exciting to think all that the future holds for these kids who call me "mom".

It is definitely reason to celebrate.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Don't give up.

Twelve years ago on a Sunday in May I remember sitting in our little green Jetta crying. We were on the way to somewhere and Mark wished me a Happy Mother's Day and I burst into tears. I was six months pregnant and extremely uncomfortable in my own skin. I felt out of control with the ways my body was growing and stretching. I was excited to finally feel kicks of life from the baby growing inside of me but I just wasn't sure I was ready for all that being a mother entailed. I vaguely remember Mark looking at me helplessly and trying to encourage his hormonal wife that everything was going to be okay. 

Fast forward to yesterday and a hormonal mom on the verge of a breakdown. Mark was photographing all day so I was solo. We had just come off of a very busy week and a rough couple days of parenting two preteens. We decided to go to the library and then the grocery store with a couple other small stops in between.  It seems simple enough but I realized I am out of practice (or maybe they are) of navigating five children in public places. By the time we were at the grocery store they were hitting meltdown status...and I am not talking about the three year old. I am trying to get the few items I needed while quietly trying to herd my small posse through the store without making a scene. 
It started because I didn't buy the popcorn chicken that someone wanted and a domino effect started
 Can we get ice cream? No, not that kind of ice cream! She's pushing me! Why can't we get Doritos? You never get what I want! 
Someone hit someone so they stepped on that someone's feet and now there is loud commotion from the dairy section. We are almost at the check out when a woman in her late 70's stops and says, 
"0h honey I have been there. Hang in there it will be okay." 
I stopped, smiled and thanked her and kept walking.

Now we are at the checkout and they are pushing and shoving and still whining about the popcorn chicken and I am trying to smile through clenched teeth. The woman approaches me again,
 "I am serious about understanding. One day at the grocery my kids were acting crazy, they started climbing on the huge display of soda and the whole pile fell down and some of the bottles broke and there was soda everywhere. It gets better though. It will be okay." She smiled at me and then as she was walking away turned back and said, 
"And don't think it is all your fault".

I stood there with tears in my eyes trying not to bawl.  I choked out a "thank you...we are having a rough day" and then bent over to start unloading the cart before I lost it right there in aisle 6. 
The angel woman was speaking hope in place of my fears. This mothering thing at times has me feeling like I did that first mother's day. There are still days I feel unprepared for all that motherhood entails. Heading into the teen years makes me feel like I am learning to be a mother all over again. There are a lot of new and scary changes and I feel like a fish out of water learning to swim. And in the midst of the challenges of parenting there are times of regret or feeling that I am messing them up. And tears, lots and lots of tears.

This morning as we sat down to eat breakfast together Eden prayed, 

"God help Mommy have a good mother's day and help her not to cry. AMEN

I looked at Mark, "Did she say help Mommy not to cry?"
And we all laughed all how true that prayer really is some days.

Motherhood is hard but also the best job I have ever had. A good morning hug from Silas, an "i love you" with a sloppy wet kiss from Eden, a mother's day card from Sarah, breakfast from Moses and laughing with Hope makes it all worth the hard work and tears.
I am learning daily to give myself grace for where I mess up or lose it and pray they know how much they are loved. I didn't feel prepared twelve years ago crying in that Jetta and I didn't feel like I had it all together crying at the grocery store yesterday but God has given me what I needed and He will continue to.  I can trust Him. It may look messy but I need to remember I am not alone....and "it will be okay".

Writing is therapy. I write, the kids bike, Mark takes pictures. :) 
(Excuse me, I am still in my pajamas)

Happy Mother's Day!