Category Archives: Boys, boys, boys

Wish You Were Here

Its been 8 years since I had to say “See you later”.

How has so much time passed?  How can it have been 8 years, when I can still remember every single vivid detail from the day we found out we had lost you?  It doesn’t seem fair that time plays tricks like that- making some good memories feel like its been decades  (like feeling you kick), while I can still remember how I lost my breath when I KNEW we had lost you, and I wanted to shout for your brothers not to look at the ultrasound screen, but I couldn’t find my voice.

Sometimes I get jealous of the moms that can easily name off how many kids they have.  For me, I have the option of either going into detail (which can be akin to picking at a scab until it bleeds) or naming off all but the ones I lost, carrying with that choice the mom guilt of not acknowledging the life- however brief- of one of my kids.

Moms of miscarriages and stillbirths, though- its a completely different club; not better, not worse, just… different.  We ONLY had a “fetus”or a  “clump of cells” or whatever society wants to claim.  Since we never had to stay up late with those babies, kiss their boo boos, worry about fevers, laugh at their silly antics, etc, our babies don’t seem to usually “count” as much as those who’ve lost a child.  Sure, people will say they’re sorry for our loss initially, but after a while, its felt as though we should just “get over it”.  They’ll tell us to “look at the bright side”, or (if we had kids after our loss) they remind us that “if we’d had the one we lost, we might not have the ones we have now.”  Don’t they know that’s ALWAYS on our mind when we start to miss our babies we’ve lost and then hear the ones in our arms call us “Mommy”?  We aren’t wishing we could have one instead of the other; we’re just wishing that there was some way we could have had them all.

And yes, I know what you’re thinking, Christopher- if I’d had your brothers AND you, there’s a chance I’d be more crazy than I already am, and we’d be WAY worse off financially; but to hear you laugh along with your brothers right now- I’d happily live in a cardboard box and eat Ramen noodles until you all graduated.

I know that “everything happens for a reason”- it was my mantra for getting me through those difficult, heartbreaking weeks and months after you were delivered; but despite staring into the eyes of each of your brothers, I still try desperately to understand the reason behind my losses.  I told myself-as I’m sure any mom who’s had a “Rainbow Baby” has- that maybe our new baby might have the cure to cancer or bring about world peace, but then I have to wonder what the world lost out on when we lost you.

See, each pregnancy starts off the same way: you see the “+” sign, and you realize you’re actually carrying another life inside you.  If its happy news. you start imagining what he (or she!) will look like, who they’ll be, what kind of addition they’ll make to your family, how your life will change…

And that’s the only part where I think this club I’m a part of has it a little worse.  Our babies we lost never even had a chance.  I never got to experience your personality, Chris.  You never had a nitch in our family tree, and since you passed at 15 weeks along, we never even got to examine your features to see who you looked like, because -as your dad has said, all babies look like aliens the earlier they’re born.

The only question I most definitely had answered was how you changed my life- and an overabundance of “what ifs”.

I think its time that the world should recognize any loss of life as significant and not something that they should be told to “move on” from.  It shouldn’t be marked as “less than” simply because the world never met our babies.  The fact of the matter is, WE did.  We had hopes for them, visions of their futures; we changed physically and emotionally with the anticipation of meeting them; we saw them squirm on the ultrasound and joked about paying them back for the heartburn and nausea; we felt them kick and just KNEW they’d have a career in soccer.

Shouldn’t that count for something?

Shouldn’t it be normal to acknowledge their due date or the date we had to say goodbye?

Shouldn’t we be able to count and celebrate their Heavenly birthdays without being told to move on?

I AM moving on.  I know time hasn’t stood still, as much as I wanted it to.  I take care of the kids, the house, the pets; I live my life; I keep moving forward; just, sometimes, I want a day to remember a life that was so extraordinarily important that he left a mark on my life without ever living IN it; who’s tiny footprint never touched the ground, but touched my heart; who’s sole purpose, as far as I can see, was to come into my life to teach me that sometimes love means letting go and trusting that God not only knows what He’s doing, but that He’ll fill the hole that was left behind.

Shouldn’t a life that important be counted?

I miss you, Christopher Scott.  Now, forever, and always.

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Happy Mommy Day to Imperfect Mommies Everywhere

Today at church it was brought up how differently being a mom is today compared to past generations, with all the ‘in your face’ expectations that we have now.  It used to be that you’d only hear advice/criticism from those closest to you (other than the silent judging from the strangers you might encounter on the street or at the store), but nowadays we’ve got all the Internet to tell us how badly we’re doing and how we could be (and should be) doing things/parenting/ life in general better.  Strangers on the other side of the world can suddenly become Cyber SuperParents, boldly exclaiming from the comfort of their computer chair (or table at Starbucks) how you can-nay, SHOULD- do all.  the.  things.

Its gotten to the point that, even those you know IRL (that’s “In Real Life” in computer speak- don’t you feel more knowledgeable?) will post carefully crafted pictures and posts to depict “The Perfect Life”- when you know full well that their life looks NOTHING like that.

I know.  Don’t try to lie.  I’ve been there.  I even have all the photos I DIDN’T post (because they weren’t “perfect” enough) sitting on my phone/computer because I can’t bare to delete them…because they’re pics of my boys, and my boys aren’t perfect and I love those silly, imperfect photos… just not enough to share with all of my Facebook world because, come on- my boys look dirty/silly/not posed/are picking their nose/my mom-skills could possibly be judged based on how they look or what they’re doing.

Which brings up why in the WORLD we have people on our social media sites that we even try to call “friends” if we question whether or not posting something will get us judged, but that’s another topic for another day.

Someone told me once that they only post the good stuff to social media because they don’t want anything negative to pop up in their memories, and I get that, but -for me- sometimes I LIKE to see the struggles I’ve gone through because it reminds me in that moment of all it took to get to where I am NOW.

I should also point out that, even when we don’t talk to our kids constantly about how they should look or act or anything (you know- healthy self image and self esteem and all), what kind of a message are we sending when we take for-freaking-ever to take that perfect shot JUST so that everyone we don’t know personally will ooo and ahh over it.  Honestly.

If we’re constantly told as moms (and dads) to “enjoy it while it lasts because it goes by so fast”, then shouldn’t we be posting about more than just the perfectly posed Instagrammable moments?  I’ve never heard anyone ever say,”Enjoy it while it lasts- it goes by so fast- except for the bad times.  Don’t worry about enjoying the bad times- like when the kids are throwing a fit or whatever- you’ll never miss that.”  Actually, I said that to my Grammie once and she wisely brought up that there’ll even be a day when you’ll miss the tantrums, because at least you knew where your kids were.  Now that my boys are getting past the baby stage, I actually have times where I miss those late nights, holding them when they couldn’t sleep, watching HGTV and the Food Network, knowing that I was the only person that could calm them down.

I should also point out that I’m pretty positive that not waiting on the ideal shot until a picture is taken is something that even my boys will get behind, because it means that they won’t have to spend 30 minutes of each and every major holiday morning waiting for all their brothers to just get it together, stop messing around, and for the love of all that is sacred and holy can we just smile already so we can take the dang picture to show everyone how happy we are, dang it?!?!

(Not perfect, but one of my absolute favorite Christmas pics!)

Here’s to all you fabulous, perfectly imperfect mamas out there.  You guys are amazing- make up or not, posed or not, perfect kids (BWAHAHAHA- man, that was a good one) or NOT.  You’re in good company.  I hope you all get the best scribbled cards, special rocks, and fistful of weeds- and maybe even a rollie pollie or 2.

From my Imperfect Brood to yours

Don’t Let Me Forget

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(Image via gagaoverbabies.blogspot.com)

As I sit here, holding your perfect little 9lb 1oz body, a million thoughts run through my mind: “Holy cow- he’s mine!” “You seem so small, but 9lbs is big- isn’t it?” “I’m a mom!  Wait- I’m a MOM?” “How am I going to do this?  I can’t even keep a plant alive.”  And then you yawn and stretch and you grab my finger as if to say,”Don’t you DARE go anywhere mom- you’re mine, and I’m yours.  We’re in this together.”  And I pray,”Please, God- don’t let me forget this moment.”

I hear laughing (which is sometimes suspicious with boys), and I look in your room to see the two of you acting like whales- stretching up high while standing on the bed and “diving” onto the floor while making splashing sounds.  I grab the camera to record the moment, but deep down I know that watching a video of this years from now won’t be the same, and I pray,”Please- don’t let me forget.”

Its been a long day- it usually is when you’re a stay at home mom, or a mom at all, for that matter- and I’m watching the clock intently, willing it to move faster.  I look over to the living room and I see your 3 year old self, rocking out to The Backyardigans, complete with fantastic break dancing moves.  I think to myself,”This is what keeps me from selling you on EBay.”  You look at me, smile, and say,”Bee boop- I am a robot!”  I sigh, and pray,”Please, God- don’t let me forget.”

You’ve had a long day- we both have, but somehow it seems to have been harder on you.  I guess its tough being a toddler.  15 meltdowns, no nap, and a world record cry-fest, and you’re looking like you’ve gone a few rounds with a prize fighter- drained, red eyed, snot nosed, and ready to collapse.  What I wouldn’t give for you to finally pass out so I can relax!  You look at me, take take my hand, lead me to the rocker, and say in a shaky voice,”Hold you.”  I pick you up, gather your once-smallish body onto my lap, and listen as your breathing gets deeper.  I stare at your perfect face with the freckles I love sprinkled across your nose, much like your brother’s.  I can practically see the moment when your tired body finally gives in to the exhaustion, as a small smile creeps onto your face.  I breath deep, knowing that tomorrow will probably be the same as today and I pray,”Please, PLEASE, don’t let me forget this.”

You’ve got 3 older brothers with busy schedules; a busy mom and dad; and yet you smile through it all.  I can tell you’ve been watching me intently today as I’ve been cleaning the disaster that is our home, and suddenly I hear your tiny voice say,”Sit with me.”  I’ve still got floors to vacuum and counters to clean, but as I’m about to say,”In a little bit”, I realize I’ve been saying that to you all day.  Cleaning IS important, but I realized that all day I had been saying,”Cleaning is more important than you”, so I sit down.  You grab hold of my hand- much like your oldest brother did those many years ago- as if to say,”You aren’t going anywhere.”  And I don’t.  And I pray again,”Please, God- don’t let me forget.”

Its been 6 years…

Grief

Grief: n. noun; 1.  keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret.  2.  a cause or occasion of keen distress or sorrow.

Loss: n. noun; 1.  The fact or process of losing something or someone. 2. The state or feeling of grief when deprived of something or someone of value.  3. A person or thing that is badly missed when lost.

My own definition: Grief: 1.  something that can sneak up on you anywhere, at anytime from anything and has the power to hit you like a Mac Truck going 1000 miles an hour.

Grief is a strange thing, and the things we can do to ride the waves can be even stranger to anyone not experiencing our particular grief.  The two definitions I gave don’t say a single thing about time limits or how people should react to each, but it astounds me sometimes how people who’ve never been through it will interpret each one.  It also blows me away how people will unintentionally give values to that which was lost, even though those same definitions don’t state that the person or thing of value that was lost must have any particular value to anyone else.

6 years ago, at 12:10 a.m., I said “Goodbye for now” to my son, Christopher Scott.  He was 15 weeks along when he passed, though I didn’t find out until I went to an appointment at 19 weeks.  Initially, everyone gave their condolences and was there for my husband and I, but -like most people who’ve never encountered this situation themselves- they gave our grief a timeline and a value.  I was told things like,”He’s happy and whole in Heaven now” and “At least it happened before you got a chance to get to know him” and-

Actually, no.  Let’s stop at that one for a moment, shall we?

Have you ever been pregnant?  Even if it was a surprise pregnancy, tell me that you didn’t envision his or her future.  Tell me you didn’t talk to him or her.  Tell me- if you have other kids- that you didn’t wonder what features they would all share and picture them all playing together.

You KNEW them.  You knew that at a certain time every single day you’d get sick, and you’d joke that your little bean was already putting you through the ringer and promise them that you’d pay them back.  You knew every poke and prod and eventually could pinpoint what part of their body was working to break your rib.  You knew when their witching hour was and wondered if it would be the same once they were born.

You KNEW them.

I knew my son.  I knew he’d probably look just like his 2 older brothers and that they’d probably all be wrestling before he was even walking.  I had plans for him.  I pictured his future.  So, tell me again- how was I lucky?

See, here’s where I take issue with everyone’s opinions.  Those that haven’t been in my place- or your place, or anyone’s place that has lost someone.  They think I should conform to those opinions and they make comments that either make me feel foolish or bad about my own feelings.

Its been 6 years.  Ya know what?  It still hurts and causes my heart to break all over again sometimes.  I think about our family dynamic and how he would’ve changed it; how they all would’ve gotten along.  Ya know what else?  In neither of those definitions did they give a time frame.  If you look up the 5 stages of grief, you’ll see: Denial/Isolation, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance.  Do you know what it DOESN’T say?  How long someone will experience each stage.  Or what order.  Or if one of the stages will be skipped.  Or the fact that even once someone has finally reached the “Acceptance” stage, that a song might come on or a certain date will come ’round that sends them right back into the isolation or anger stage.  Or that, years later, they’re still bargaining even though their loved one is long gone- “If I could just have one more minute with him again- just one- I promise…”

Its been 6 years.  I still can’t listen to ‘London’ by Brandon Heath without remembering that I had been singing that song to him the day before I found out he’d actually passed 4 weeks prior.

Its been 6 years, but some days it feels like yesterday.

Its been 6 years, but please don’t tell me -even now- that everything happens for a reason, because I still don’t see it and I likely won’t until the day that him and I are reunited in Heaven.

Its been 6 years.  I’ve been through every single stage of grief multiple times over.  I’m sorry my grief doesn’t fit YOUR specifications.

 

 

Peggy Bundy ruined the vision of the SAHM

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Somebody said once that it must be nice to be a SAHM because all I have to do is play with my kids all day.  In PJs.  And watch TV.
They might as well have added in “eat bon bons and shop”.
Can I vent for a minute? Because it’s been a long couple of…15 years.

I get up every morning and survey the disaster that lies before me while I make some coffee- the ONLY thing that stands between my kids and death most days. Since I had just cleaned the day before, you’d think there wouldn’t be a lot to do, but you’d be wrong. Even if I finished the whole job AFTER the boys were all in bed, somehow the messes are new every morning. And since none of them will own up, we apparently have ghosts, too, which just leads into a whole new slew of issues I’ll have to deal with at some point.


I clean the living room and in 2 seconds (I am NOT exaggerating) it’s destroyed again. The same with the office, dining room, entry way- don’t even get me started on the kitchen and the bathrooms *shudder*.

*side note: when you have a toddler, always flush and NEVER leave the door open. If you have older kids, disregard this and just buy a LOT of bleach.

Cleaning while you have kids, well, people have compared it to shoveling a driveway while its still snowing, nailing Jell-o to a tree, and other things- might I add to that?  Its like trying to build a sand castle near the water’s edge at the beach: try as you might to get it perfect, a wave is always gonna come up and destroy it.  Another example is: trying to dig a hole near the water’s edge- you can dig for a year and that hole is never gonna get any deeper.  What it all comes down to is, progress in cleaning is slow, if at all, when you have kids.  Some people might say,”Then why bother?  Just wait for them to move out”, and to them I must ask,”So, how ARE your friends Mr. and Mrs. Cockroach and all of their kids?”
And, let’s just get this out of the way, the only TV that I get to watch regularly is Nick Jr.

What I’ve mentioned doesn’t even go into the fact that I do all of that while trying to take care of meals; driving to places the boys or I need to go; any appts.; breaking up the multiple daily fights; attempting to keep a toddler alive- which is NOT as easy as it seems.

*Side note: there’s a reason why, the younger the child, the more daycare providers are needed for any institution. You can’t take your eyes off of them. Think about that before asking a SAHM what she does all day, you know, if you value YOUR life.

But besides that, us SAHMs do this job willingly. Why? Because we’re crazy, masochistic, and we prefer that if anyone is going to screw up our kids, well, it’s gonna be US, dang it. No one is going to take our place- not even in their therapy sessions later.  We also don’t get any benefits of any kind.  We’re all kinds of crazy.  Or hard core.  I’ll go with hard core- sounds better.

I know you’ve heard it, but most people rarely think about exactly WHAT SAHMs have to deal with all day- I know I never did before I took on this job (and make no mistake- it IS a job).  Heck, even women that used to be SAHMs and then went back to work outside of the home forget what we ACTUALLY deal with.  I think its kind of like that amnesia that we get after we give birth- if we could remember the pain, its very likely that the human race would cease to exist.  Its a survival mechanism.  Or something.
So, the next time you see a SAHM, think twice about asking her what she does all day or, GOD FORBID, try and tell her about a great work from home opportunity you’ve heard about since she has SO MUCH time on her hands.
Oh, who am I kidding?  If you’re a SAHM, you understand everything I’ve said and are nodding you’re head.  If you aren’t, you don’t get it, likely never will, and you’ll continue to think that we live the easy life and that your job is harder because, well, the government pays you to do it, so it MUST be more important.
I tried, at least.

Your Sparkly Life is Blinding

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(Image courtesy of Google & Norman Rockwell)

I’m sorry, but we can’t be Facebook friends anymore.

Its not you- its me.

Well, actually, its me being jealous of the perfect life you portray.  EVERY.  SINGLE.  DAY.

Normally, I can try and be happy for you.  I WANT to be happy for you.  I LONG for the feelings of genuine pleasure when I see your posts of your perfectly portrayed life.

I’ve even told myself to “fake it til I make it”, but today *sigh* today was the last straw.

Today- after I found cat food dumped into the toilet ; found cat litter (and poop) strewn about the bathroom floor; dealt with a toddler meltdown of epic proportions because I wouldn’t let him suck down an tube of Oragel; listened to fights over video games that started before any sane person should get up during the summer; stepped on THE SAME BLOCKS I had already told the boys to pick up 50 TIMES today; and then found my purse, with all its contents scattered over ever inch of my bedroom floor- I logged onto Facebook and got a virtual punch to my gut from your post.

There were your sweetpeas, like a  Norman Rockwell painting, in all your perfectly portrayed glory, doing something perfect-

And I just can’t deal.

I know- I’m behaving irrationally and making hasty decisions.  I’m blaming it on lack of sleep since- while your little darlings slept through the night with visions of sugar plums dancing through their heads, allowing you to wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed enough to go get a fancy coffee after eating a hearty, homemade, organic breakfast and then get in a workout sans kids- my night and morning was a TAD less smooth.  I went to bed with a toddler who took up half my space, got woken up in the middle of the night by a kid who had a nightmare and wanted to sleep with us, too, and then realized that my small amount of space had grown even smaller with the addition of the family pets.  I was then woken up WAY too early, made coffee myself, justified my coffee as my breakfast since that was all I had time for, and prayed for nap time.  And while your husband gets normal days off, mine works EVERY SINGLE DAY, so getting his help isn’t an option.

So, yeah- I’m tired, and bitter, and jealous, and MAYBE acting a little childish- call it a side effect from dealing with 4 imperfect boys in all their imperfection.

You’re a nice person- sickeningly so- but I’m just not mature enough to be happy for you 24/7- but, at least, I’m mature enough to admit to that.

And maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe your life isn’t perfect.  Maybe, like most of us, you’re just posting the highlights, and you keep your dirty laundry hidden away; but, while your highlights include you being crowned Miss America for the 5th time in a row, my highlight reel might sound more like,”Yay!  I made it through the day without any kid poop incidents!”  Which also leads me to believe that your dirty laundry is just that- you have a load of dirty laundry that *gasp* you haven’t done in 3 days… because you were building a house with Habitat for Humanity.

I’m honestly NOT a “misery loves company” kind of girl, but your sparkly life is blinding me.

Like I said, its not you, its me.

But if a day should ever come when you really do have a crisis in your life, you’re always welcome to call on me.  We can hide in my laundry room, sit on my oversized pile of dirty laundry, and attempt to block out the sounds of my boys trying to off each other, and I’ll listen as long as you need me to.  Chances are I’ve been there.

And I’ll try REALLY hard not to silently cheer if I see spinach caught in your perfect teeth.

The “Ultra Super Secret” Secret to Parenting

Confession #305: Sometimes I want to prove to those that “know it all”, that they actually know NOTHING by giving them my kids for a week.

I’ve figured it out!

I have figured out the secret to parenting!

Do you want to hear it?

Ok, I’ll tell you.

Listen VERY carefully because if this secret gets around then grammas will lose all power to give “advice” and mothers in law will never again be able to torment their daughters in law with the “correct” way of doing things.

Now, seriously, pay attention because I have 3 kids and I grow weary of repeating myself:

The secret is to stop. 

Stop thinking there’s a secret that every other mom out there got and you were left out.  I’ve got news for you- there’s no secret club, no secret handshake, and the closest thing to a secret password is “Good night”.  Your mom and mother in law DO NOT know more than you.  Sure, they’ve had their kids- and one of them must have been amazing enough to either have grown up to be you or to marry you, but seriously, that’s where their insight stops.  Every child is different, and although they might have gotten their newborn to sleep through the night right after coming home from the hospital, breastfed effortlessly, had all of their children potty trained before they could put two words together, and were able to train all of their children to say “please” and “thank you” by the time they were 2- months, that is- it doesn’t mean squat.  #1, memories fade, and just like fishermen describing the fish that got away, mom stories tend to take on a life of their own the older their children get.  (Need more evidence about that?  Read HERE.)

Ya know, when my boys were born, they latched on the moment they popped out.  Practically jumped on the boob!

Ya know, when you were a child, I had you potty trained by the time you could walk- in fact, you took your first steps on the way to the potty!

You’re going to run into trouble if you don’t get that child to start sleeping through the night.  All my boys slept through the night from the first night they were born- 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.!

Seriously?  Lets stop the madness, shall we?  The secret to parenting- like I said, I’ve cracked the code, people- is to stop denying that its hard and to just deal.  I’m not going to continue to listen to all the advice- if you can call it such- of those that have gone on before me, for a multitude of reasons (not the least of which being that I think most of my forebearers are currently on crack).  Its usually not advice at all, but degrading comments wrapped up in a pretty packaging that shines brightly on their own parenting history.

#2-I’m my kiddos’ mom, and I know my kids and what they are and are not capable of- although someday I’ll probably come up with my own wacked out stories… oh, I’m sorry, “Mommytales”.  I know that no matter how much fun I make his bed seem, the Mini Master will still see it as a punishment and will fight with every fiber of his being to keep out of it. I know that Bug is, well, Bug, and he’s bright and funny, but he also fails to understand that his brothers are his BROTHERS, not his maids.  I know that Camo is a boy- not a patient with ADHD- and no amount of drugs is going to change that.

Well, maybe an amount, but nothing that would be good or legal.

In fact, if I was to pinpoint the ONE thing they ALL have in common?  Its that NONE of them are cookie cutter versions of either of their brothers, and I’ve had to change up my parenting style to fit each one.  Well, that, and I think the exhaustion level has increased.

These are the things that I know.

I think the main issue with parenting is when you have “those that have been there” coming to tell you everything you’re doing wrong.  It begins to make you question your own parenting skills and you start to wonder if there’s something wrong with your kids-or yourself- which actually CAN cause major problems.

I’m just all fired up because, apparently, I know nothing as a mom.  I’m doing it all wrong because my 2 1/2 year old still insists on sleeping with us and the other two are boys- active, forgetful, and rough.

And, to my amazement, not allowing any of them to die thus far doesn’t win me a mommy award.  Heck, it doesn’t even put me into the running for one!

Oh, btw, sorry if you only started to read this because you thought I knew it all.  I don’t.

However, if you’re still searching for the secret, I’m sure there are a multitude of moms, mother in laws, and Grammas out there just DYING to tell you their “secret”…