Happy Birthday to You

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Today is your birthday.

As I write this I am wrapped in a blanket with a box of Kleenex beside me while you make supper.

Your foot is so sore it hurts you to walk because you have been working non-stop on our house.

You fell 13 feet into a trench trying to move a bridge so our kids would be safe.

You have put your heart and soul into fixing our home and turning it into our dream.

I have bandaged your scrapes, rubbed your sore hands and told you countless times late at night to stop and get some sleep.

I can’t wait to see your face when you can stand back and see the finished product of all your hard work.

You are the hardest working, most dedicated man I know.

Happy Birthday to you Brett.

I love you.

 

 

 

One Day at a Time…

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I started this blog almost two years ago to try to be a voice for all the mothers struggling with imperfection.

Hating themselves for their mistakes. Not having a clue what to do with a screaming baby, a naked toddler constantly running away, or a pre-teen screaming at you that she hates you.

I wanted you to know you were not alone. I wanted to be honest. To bear my imperfections in the hopes that yours would ease and you would be kinder to yourself. I wanted you to know you were not alone.

And so I ask this question.

It is raw.

It is true.

It is real…

Do you live with a spirited child?

I do.

Do you find every argument, tantrum or meltdown physically and emotionally exhausting?

I do.

Do you ask yourself what you did so wrong to have your sweet baby turn out to be such a horrid person. Even if it’s just for a moment?

I do.

Does every flaw or imperfection you see feel like a mirror to your own?

It does to me.

Does it make you hate yourself a little?

It does to me.

Does your heart break a little on those mornings they doesn’t say goodbye?

Mine does.

I recently read an article that talked about the damage a mother had done to her child in handsfreemama.com. My gut reaction was “How could you possibly do damage to your child? You love her. You care for her.” And then I kept reading and realized that damage happens in so many subtle ways. And I am guilty of many.

It hurts to write that. To fess up and own it. But it’s true.

I am damaging my beautiful children.

I have spent over 10 years hurrying them. Snapping at them. Yelling at them. Sighing at them. Telling them to be better. To fix their hair. To put on a clean shirt. As if that would show I am a good mother.

I know I have also spent 10 years loving them, protecting them, keeping them safe.  But we all know the worst is always in the forefront and the good peeks out from behind, struggling to be heard.

I no longer want the good in me as a mother to be a shadow in the background of a million impatient sighs.

I want my children to grow up and raise their own children remembering their mother patiently waiting for them to zip up their coat, or tie their shoes. I want them to remember hugs when they were angry or sad. Not frustration that they couldn’t just get over it.

I want them to remember that disrespect will not be tolerated. Ever. Not to me, their father or their siblings. I want home to be a haven. A safe place to be.

I want them to feel love. Always.

And it breaks my heart to say it, but I don’t think that has been the case.

I have tried. But not hard enough.

I have let my frustrations with my personal life overtake my life as mother.

I have yelled at my children too many times when I am angry about something else.

I have seen that bewildered look on their faces too many times, wondering why mommy was mad.

And I’m done.

I’ve decided this school year will be different.

Better. Calmer. And since it has to start somewhere, that somewhere has to be me.

I will be better, calmer, quieter.

I will be more understanding. Less impatient.

And it’s working. It takes so much awareness. To remember not to snap. To remember to hug. To stamp down the flare of anger that tells me I have so much to do. To remember to say “I understand”.

And yet, even though I have found myself in a constant state of thinking and self awareness, which is truly exhausting, at the end of every day, I have found myself faced with the smiling sleepy faces of my children.

And I can listen to what they have to say, those sweet moments of whispers where they tell me things so important to them they forgot to mention at supper that they must tell me. And I am not angry. Or done.  I can listen.

I’m not perfect. I yelled tonight over muddy boots on my carpet and two white lies. I yelled a lot.

But at the end of the day all I can strive for, when I tuck my children into bed, is to to be able to say to that I tried to love them more on that day and that I consciously tried not to break them down.

And I will continue to try.

Every. Single. Day.

Oh Wow..

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Tonight I left Brett home with pretty girl and bendaboo to work on the electrical in the house while I took spreeny to football. I came home late and tired, thinking about all things I still had to do to find that pretty girl had gotten Ben ready for bed and made all three lunches for school tomorrow.

And then she told me about the girl who had left school for a year and came back. This girl wasn’t very nice to R and she was really worried about her coming back. My heart was breaking for her the night before school, trying to find the right words to make her feel ok. Trying to make her feel safe and excited about going back to school.

Tonight pretty girl told me how she felt bad for this girl.

How she noticed she didn’t have anyone to talk to.

So she talked to her and sat with her.

She told me she wanted to give her another chance.

And then she hugged me and asked me if I was mad that she did that.

That she decided to forget that someone made her feel bad and do the right thing.

That she noticed someone was lonely and tried to fix that.

I hugged her tight and reassured her I wasn’t mad. I didn’t voice my fear that it wouldn’t work out. I always want her to try to do the right thing. Even if it’s a little scary. Even if no one else is doing it. Even if it might not last.

I want her to always feel empathy over anger.

I want her to care.

And tonight I realized that shining through the screaming, the tantrums, the door slamming and the crying that is a 10 year old girl….is a child with more heart and love than I could ever hope for.

And I’ve never been prouder.

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday to you

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Today is a very special birthday.

A day does not go by when I don’t feel grateful for having you in my life.

You are the most amazing woman I have ever met. You are strong, loving and brave.

For as long as I can remember you have been a constant in my life. There whenever I need you. And it seems the older I get the more I need you.

Your words of wisdom.  The way you back off when I don’t want advice, just to vent. The way my children light up when they see you and hearing Ben call you his best friend.

Watching you teach your daughters and grandchildren how to make lefse.

Your brown sugar in the old peanut butter container just like grandma Alice had.

Hot chocolate and marshmallows for the kids in the morning when we have sleeepovers.

Shopping, pedicures and wine.

Love.

So much love.

Happy 70th birthday to you Mom.

 

10….

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Over the past 10 years I have watched you strive to provide an amazing life for your family. I’ve watched you work late hours and spend hours on your phone.  I’ve watched you struggle with career choices trying to figure out what would be best for our family.

I’ve watched you still make time to play with your kids and make me feel loved.

I’ve watched you bathe babies, throw a football, wipe tears, blow dry your daughters hair, sit on little beds at bedtime and talk about life, pour wine late at night and cook amazing meals for two.

I’ve watched you love and care for this family for 10 years. I’ve watched you make me feel more and more loved every day.

I can’t wait for the day when I’m old and fat and wrinkled and can barely see.

I’ll hold your big crooked hand and we’ll sit and watch the sunset and you’ll tell me I’m beautiful.

And I’ll believe you.

Happy Anniversary.  I’m so glad I found you.

 

 

Breathe

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When I woke up this morning I assumed it would be a completely normal, busy day. I assumed it would end like every other day. Football, kids in bed, laundry, dishes, lunches.

Not for a second did I think that at 5.21 pm I would be standing in front of my daughter, clutching an Epi-Pen and promising her she wasn’t going to die after she inadvertently was served a dessert made with milk. I didn’t think I would be giving her Reactine and holding my breath, waiting to see if that would be all she needed, watching her red puffy lips intently in the hopes that the swelling would go down before I was forced to stab her in the thigh with a huge needle. I didn’t think I would be calling her dad and telling him to get in his truck and get to us asap. I didn’t think I would be looking into her trusting eyes, knowing she was waiting for me to make the right move to make her all better. Nor did I think I would find myself in the passenger seat of my car, staring at my daughter while my husband raced down the highway to the Stollery.

But I did do all those things tonight. In the blink of an eye my pretty girl went from giving her brother guidance on good school behaviour to being afraid for her life.

And now that I’ve showered, cried and tucked all my babies into bed, I am thankful.

Thankful that when my child looked at me with fear in her eyes and asked me if she was going to be ok, I could answer yes. I was holding her Epi-Pen in my hand, the phone was beside me in case I needed to call 911, her dad was on his way to her and I could answer yes, she was going to be ok. And the small what if that is always at the back of my mind in these moments was quickly and forcibly silenced.

Thankful for my mother who took my boys to football and then home to shower and go to bed. I didn’t even need to ask. If I’m a good mother it’s because I have a good mother.

Thankful for my dear husband who came the second I called because he would never let our children go through anything scary without him.

Thankful again and always for the Stollery. And for the new children’s emergency with clean large bathrooms where I sat on the floor and cried for exactly two minutes before pulling myself together again to go back to my child.

Thankful to my daughter, who really is the bravest person I know.

That Epi-Pen that I held clutched in my fist for what seemed like forever never did get used. In what was nothing short of a small miracle, the Reactine that I gave her worked and after being examined we were told we could go home.

And the smile that spread across pretty girls face in that moment, sitting on an ER bed wondering what was going to happen, lit up the entire room. And that was the very best part of my day.