Almost Here

We've been counting down the days till school is over-at least I have two boys that have been counting and one that will probably be a little sad to leave, if he would ever admit that.  We have a fun summer planned-I think I have found the right balance of short morning camps a few weeks for the boys, and lots of down time where they can swim and play and hang out.  Hopefully lots of hard work for the older ones. It won't be a perfect balance I'm sure, it never is, but hopefully after this many years of parenting I have a better chance of finding that happy medium. Some years with babies it's better to do nothing, other years it works to find those activities to wear them out and get them up and at it in the morning.

Andrew ran and won class president.  It is interesting how some kids just have the guts and desire to do these things and others do not. So far there has been a little pattern in our family. He was so nervous the day he had to give his speech-he said the nervous feeling was 1000 worse than the play and he felt sick all day and couldn't eat lunch.  

Of course (I'm saying that because it seems like these types of kids work this way?) he didn't have his speech written, typed or practiced till an hour after bedtime the night before.  (I bite my tongue because procrastination makes me so stressed!) I had already fallen asleep putting Janey to bed and I woke up in the middle of the night with that feeling of forgetting something-I realized I felt this awful guilt for not working on it with him or listening to him speak.  What if when I woke up he hadn't finished it or it wasn't ok?  I know everyone else was either tired or busy (exam week, Jeff working a bunch) so he was on his own (and in line for computer time to boot) that night.

That morning, I saw the draft on the table and read it and just had a good laugh. It was perfect, 100% him all the way through.  Once again I am reminded of one of the benefits of having a big family, minus the guilt we moms always feel when it doesn't seem like there is enough of us to go around-there is really a rare chance that I get to helicopter parent or smother anyone.  It's a big lesson in DIY for the kids.  

Here's the second half of a rough draft-it's a boy-version of Summer Wheatley's Napoleon Dynamite speech-Flaming Hot Cheetos vs. Bonne Bell dispenser?  Maybe that's why I adore it.

I waited with trepidation at the end of the day-he had instructions to borrow a cell phone as he was riding with friends around town right after school-and PLEASE let me know if he had won or not.  I had butterflies that hour before and then was so happy for him.  And I let everyone in the family know, and then I thought about the kids running for student council that didn't win and felt a pain in my heart.  

This is what I have found with the kids growing up-we moms all feel each other's pain-the pain we feel when our children face an obstacle or a set-back.  I've had enough of them-from dating break-ups (the worse both ways), to not making anything (team, etc) for years, to the big game loss, etc.  We are all in this together.  As many joys as there are in the younger years, after jr high we moms really ride an emotionally rocky road sometimes.  I always say, "I've already been through this once when I was growing up myself, why do I have to go through it all over again?"  Six times!  There is so much joy in the moment and then letting go and saying little prayers during the hard stuff.  We feel their joy and their pain as moms.  I want them all to be ok.

Soccer is finishing up-a rainy season with way too many make-up games at the end while the sun is setting, but ready to be finished for sure.

My grocery buddy.  I was thinking of how when I had babies, I'd try to go as long as possible between jaunts to the store (never made it much more than a week) and now I find myself going 2-3 times a week-I have more time and no baby in a car seat and more big kids eating lots of food.  I can plan 1/2 week out at a time and it's easier for my brain to do that now.

Abbey is studying abroad for 6 weeks and I'm so happy for her-she worked hard for this and is having the time of her life.  Another lesson in DIY-I have NO idea how to pack for these things and we laughed because Isaac is no help as he shoved a bunch of things in a back pack the night before he left for his trip last year.  She figured it out herself and then had to readjust when we completely forgot about the weight of the suitcase (thankfully early that morning and not at the airport and only because Jeff had said, "this is way too heavy!" and pulled out the scale.) My advice was to bring comfortable shoes and a lot of black and white clothing so it all matches. That's all I had to give her.  She started in NYC (which she loved) and then headed to Athens (which she loved) and then to Paris (which she was on the fence about for the first couple days and then said she loved) and now Berlin, Venice, Florence, Rome, and Madrid.  

Mostly we get photos of food with "It's awesome here!"
 I have to admit it all looks good enough to travel many miles for.

Isaac is turning 23 this Friday!   
I can't help thinking about how long ago that seems (I was just 25 and had been married 9 months) and how wonderful and life-changing that first baby is-and really really hard too.  When people ask me how I do "it" as I've had each baby, I always say each baby is hard in his or her own way-each one brings a life change for me (and the whole family!)-a metamorphism of some type that I needed but didn't know it then.  A huge learning experience. 

And those changes happen over time and the hard part of them is we don't know where we will end up-we don't know where God wants us to be at the end but we always know what the end feels like.  Like a giant ah-ha moment, getting the answers to a big test, a feeling of contentment and acceptance-huge acceptance of a new normal-from our bodies, to our homes, to our relationships, to our emotional health, just really a shedding of skin and a blossoming into something new and changed and more mature and well...just better.  

And that happens again and again and again through life.  I remember saying to my mom once (it was during the teen years as that is a huge period of growth and acceptance for us moms I think as well as kids) that I wanted all this change to be over and just be at peace and stop learning lessons.  And she said, "Honey that never stops!  You will keep growing and changing and learning till you are dead."  Some of it gets easier, really it does, and then something new will present itself on our horizons-a new life lesson-and there we go again. And not fighting that change, and finding peace through prayer and trust in God-I think that's called grace maybe.  

But what do I know.

But that first one-that love never felt before, wonderful, but heavy.  The weight of that new love is what changes us I think, if we fully accept it as the responsibility it is.  I think some of the messages new moms have been receiving lately, which has changed from a couple decades ago, have been to not feel that weight-to go on and keep "self" as forefront. And also that you need to buy really expensive stuff as baby accessories-or is the baby an accessory to the stuff?  I don't know-but plenty of moms have had babies with a few dollars to their name (me for one).  I have the fondest memories of those "poor" days and my days at home alone with this little guy while I learned how to be a mom-scared to death, and totally in love and finding my way.

My Memorial Day baby-what comes to mind off the top of my head:
-an extremely painful drug free posterior birth that was worth every second
-a tiny but lovely little duplex with huge trees in a quiet neighborhood
-how uncomfortable and nervous I was with anyone holding him and how I couldn't sleep without him next to me
-my MIL bringing me a huge basket of every kind of fruit which was heaven to me
-my mother coming for a weekend in between teaching and how I felt pure panic when she left 
-using change from Jeff's change jar he had since high school because we were that broke
 -strapping him into the front carrier and going for walk after walk
-how hot it was that summer 
-the scale tipping at 24 pounds at six months old, purely on breast milk alone
-because I fed him every two hours around the clock for months and months
-being really really tired
-how everyone commented on how happy and content he was and how much he smiled at them
-how we never ever cried or fussed
-how Jeff was the most helpful husband and a father who was equally infatuated with our baby

Happy Birthday Isaac!


  1. Beautiful post. Thanks for sharing your memories, the stuff of life: the best things.

  2. Congratulations to you son, Sarah.
    What an honor!
    I always appreciate your words of wisdom and inspiration.
    My Madison is overseas...in Denmark...and is coming home soon!
    I miss her terribly, yet am so proud of her spreading her wings and flying.
    These years pass quickly.
    I am happy for both of us that God gave us that one more...to do it all one last time!!
    And Happy Birthday to your firstborn!

  3. Your words have always been so nurturing and exactly what I need to hear. I'm a mom of two boys 15 and 17. I love the way you mother.

  4. Happy birthday to Issac! My son also turns 23 this week...to think, we were both going through this at the same time, miles apart. The part of your post that resonated with me was having that feeling of pure panic when my mom left! I also had a very energetic 2-year old at the time and just couldn't imagine that I could do it alone. But, I did. Now my 25 year old is married and my 23 year old (yesterday) is putting in a contract on a house. Time flies. At least I still have one at home.

  5. When I started reading your blog I had two little boys. I now have five boys ages 9, 7, 5,3 and 20 months. Time does fly and it's hard but fun and so wonderful. Although I am scared to death of the teen years.

    1. Oh wow! That's awesome! Teen years-hard, fun and wonderful too but a very different hard, fun and wonderful than the little years-treasure them so much.

  6. I've been reading your blog for years and I really enjoy your posts. Thanks for encouraging Moms who are making their way through life.

  7. I love how you say "WE never ever cried or fussed"! I know I cried, the baby fussed..thanks for the laugh.

  8. Just had the exact same experience with school elections! My daughter was writing her speech the night before and I could not keep my eyes open to help her. But she won! And I was so happy for her but sad for the shy little girl that went way out of her comfort zone to run. Beautiful birthday message!