Saturday, December 3, 2016

This was a first. . .

Normally I am a pretty rational and level headed parent. Normally,  I am the parent who welcomes disappointment for my children in certain circumstances because I know that disappointment is part of life. I believe this is a lesson best learned early. I know disappointment is how we grow and make ourselves better.  I am usually the first Mom to say toughen up and get over it. I usually refuse to let my kids even say the words "that's not fair".  I tell my kids that not everything in life is fair and they should learn it now.   They know if they want something they have to work for it until they achieve it. I am the parent who hates sports leagues that don't keep score and give participation trophies past a certain age.
Today,  was the day that something changed...
Let me give you a little back story first.  You probably know that Emma is heavily involved in taekwondo and Judo. Yes, my kids kicks butt if I do say so myself.  She's worked hard and is currently 2 belts away from her black belt.   She has gone from 2 nights a week training to sometimes 3 or 4. She joined the demo team because she likes showing off her skills. She also joined the Dream Team. Dream Team is a special team for kids 8 and up to start learning to be leaders in class. Dream Team kids start to take on a bigger role. Emma asked if she could join in May even though she wasn't 8. She'd been doing TKD for a year and a half at that point so she was given the go ahead.   She attended her Dream team classes faithfully each week since May.   She only missed a few class here and there for vacations and things.     Dream Team kids also test, like a belt test, for their place on Dream Team.   There are several levels of achievement within Dream Team each having requirements that grow more difficult as you move up. Let's just say it's a big deal and to an 8 year old it's the world.
Emma has been studying her TKD handbook to learn her terminology, forms, and curriculum. She has really pushed herself. Today, was test day!  She happily got up and showered at 5AM. So she could be on time. The test was from 7-12 and judging by the red faces  and smell of sweat in the air at the end; I'd say it's pretty intense.  Emma was testing for her first "level" on Dream Team which typically means a new uniform.   The Dream Team uniform looks very similar to a black belt uniform and until today I had no idea just how much it meant to Emma.   So, here's where this gets complicated.  When you test for Dream Team and are above a certain belt level you simply aren't given a uniform because you will be getting a new black belt uniform within a year.   I had explained that to Emma a hundred times before today.  I assumed when I dropped her off that she knew, understood and was ok with this.   Parents are not  allowed to stay and watch the testing process but I assume she worked hard for 5 hours because she was one hot little girl when I got there.   During the super cool ceremony at  then end where they let each student know if they passed or not Emma was announced as  having passed. She proudly walked down a line formed by all of her fellow students and shook hands with all the Masters, Instructors, and Team Leaders.   Somehow there was a breakdown in communication and Emma and her friend were given uniforms and told to change. Emma did what she was told and emerged from the changing room with a new uniform on. I'm clearly confused because this wasn't supposed to happen. Maybe I missed something?  Emma, ran back to the mats to join her class beaming with pride.   This is when the mistake was discovered. Emma was then told that she couldn't keep the uniform because of all the reasons I mentioned before.    Everyone was so kind, caring and encouraging to her. Everyone tried to make her feel better but it didn't work. She came to me sobbing.   I knew ahead of time she wasn't supposed to get the uniform so I tried to remind her of that. She looked at me with her sad blue eyes and said "I know Mom. I thought that they made an exception for me and Ellie because we worked extra hard and never gave up. Just like they let us join before we were 8. Just like our black belt philosophies."    Again, rational me tried to tell her to get over it because rules are rules. She said to me, "I know what they're saying Mom about getting a black belt uniform soon but THIS uniform is different. I earned THIS one too!  They're not the same. I worked for this like I'm working for all my belts. I have nothing to show for my hard work now. I won't be a black belt for almost a year."  I was so moved my her words that I cried with her.   I cried for her!  This was a disappointment that she truly couldn't understand. She used the logic that I've always taught her and  this didnt seem to agree.   In her 8 year old brain she sees her Dream Team and Black Belt uniforms as something totally separate. They don't connect for her and in her head they shouldn't.   They are both separate achievements that she is working toward. The uniforms for each achievement may look similar but in her head they represent different things. You can easily become a black belt without doing Dream Team,  why should she be limited to only one uniform.   As I helped her change she continued to give me her reasons for being upset. She said that because other kids haven't been training as long as her and are lower belts she feels like she's being penalized for training longer. She said she couldn't start Dream Team earlier because of her age so this was not fair. After all she'll be a black belt before she turns 9!
Normally, this phrase makes me come unglued but as I listened to her reason and logic tears fell for her.  I was sad that this was a disappointment that I couldn't make better. Maybe I cried because for once I knew she actually listens when I talk because she totally got what I had taught her. She thought  in those moment when she was given a uniform that her hard work had more than paid off. She thought that despite the belt rank rule she had earned that uniform. Taekwondo is the first place she has seen hard work and determination pay off and today she felt betrayed by it. She felt betrayed by me too and that made me sad.
As a parent this was a tough day for me.  I taught her this lesson about hard work and determination and one mistake blew up in my face. The mistake wasn't intentional at all and I'm sure no one anticipated how it would play out in an 8 year old head.  I'm sure no one anticipated that she would think that one exception to a rule meant there could be more.   I know I didn't think she would assume she could do so good that they would bend the rules.  When I asked why she would assume this she said, "at tournament we were supposed to get Eagle, Dragon, or Tiger in our groups.  Ellie and I were so good we both earned Eagle.  No one had to get dragon!"    How the heck can I argue with that?  That's pretty deep thinking for an 8 year old.
This was a first for me. I've been betrayed by my own logic and parenting.   I'm sure this isn't the first time she will be hugely disappointed and nothing I say will make it better but this might be the first time I listened to her and share the same disappointment now that understand where it come from. 
If I have learned anything from her involvement in martial arts I have learned that this will not stop her, it probably won't even slow her down.  I will hurt for awhile and I will allow her to hurt as long as she needs too.  I know that her instructors and leaders will work to lift her up and encourage her.  I know that they will keep  pushing her.  I just hope this disappointment doesn't damage her sweet innocence and trust for the future. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Normally I write about my kids and the wild things they do. But today I want to write about me.   I want to write about all the cool things that have happened over the last month or so. It's really been the culmination of God's work over some time but it's amazing to stand outside myself and see all of this come full circle.   Warning; this is long because I have to give you lots of background to make my point.

Let me start back when Fred and I first became Fred and I.   You see we were young, dumb, wild college kids.  We did everything young dumb college kids do.   I met him on a sort of blind date at a gay bar. Yes, you read that right, I met my husband at a gay bar.   That's a whole different story, for a whole different blog. We dated for a while and decided toward the end of college that we'd been dating long enough we should probably get hitched. So we did. I moved from my parents house to his tiny one bedroom apartment with all my worldly possessions and a 4 year old special needs daughter. At this point Fred had already accepted Maddie as his own and we planned for the future. Church and God didn't really factor into our plans. It wasn't that we didn't believe in God we just weren't really worried about what God had to say about our lives. Did I mention that we were young and dumb?   We just carried on through life doing our own thing. We worked opposite shifts for a while to make sure someone could be with Maddie. Sure it wasn't fun but she was our life.   We moved to another city,  it didn't work out so back home we came.  Eventually we decided we might want to have another kiddo, so we decided to get to work on that. Emma Catherine joined the Rosebush clan on October 9, 2008 and we were the Rosebush party of 4.   Things were good!  We continued living our lives according to what we wanted to do.   We even got the sweetest surprise in 2011.  We were going to welcome another baby to our family. I was pregnant once again.

Our lives would change drastically on January 17, 2012 in a way we were never prepared for.   I started my day like any other day. I got up, got dressed, kissed my husband, kissed my girls and went to work. Hours later into my work day got a call from a frantic, screaming, incoherent Fred. He asked me to call 911 because he went to get Maddie out of bed and she wasn't breathing. I don't know why he called me instead of 911. The only explanation I have is that he was in shock and my number was on speed dial. I called 911 and left my office. I don't even know if I said anything to anyone. I just left in a full sprint. I was nearly 8 months pregnant so I'm sure it was more of a waddle.  I left my job on Chamberlain Lane and headed toward PRP.   I called Fred back to see if EMS arrived. He didn't answer,  a policeman did. This poor policeman asked me to pull over and I refused. I told him I wasn't stopping until I got home to my family. He politely suggest that I stop for a moment and I refused. I asked him to just tell me what was going on. He said the words that I had dreaded since Madison was born. He told me over the phone, while driving 80 on the Watterson, that my daughter was gone.   There is no way to be prepared for that. All the breathe in my lungs left me instantly and a piece of my heart died. I somehow managed to ask how Fred and Emma were and he said they were ok. I hung up. I screamed at the top of my lungs in my car. I cried. I called everyone I could think of and some how managed to tell them all that Maddie was gone. I have no idea how I got home. NONE!  I was on autopilot.   When I got home I was numb. I couldn't speak. I couldn't think. I just sat down. I was met with probably 5 police officers who were nothing but kind to me.   They even called one of their chaplains to come sit with us.   The paramedics were worried about me because I was obviously super pregnant and my blood pressure was through the roof.   Everyone was so kind that day.   The next few hours and days were a blur as we prepared to have a funeral for our child. It was rough. I don't know how we made it,  I really don't.  People were in and out and so very helpful and I was probably a fat pregnant jerk because I was so consumed with guilt and anger that I didn't appreciate any of it.

After everything settled down I was so angry at God. How could he take Maddie away from us?  In fact I was more than angry,  I was pissed!  Why would God bless us with a sweet little boy on the way and then take Maddie away?  Why didn't I get to say goodbye?    I had not time or use for God. I was angry. I'm not sure why I was so angry at God since he really had no place in my life in the previous few years. I'm not sure what I expected or why my anger was directed at God.

Fred and I carried on with life the best you can when you lose a child. We welcomed Jaxon in March of 2012 just 6 weeks after we buried Maddie. It was so bittersweet to welcome a new baby while mourning the loss of another. Again, I'm not sure how we made it.

In the fall of 2012 we thought it was important for Emma to have some normalcy in her life and hang out with other kids her age so we enrolled her in preschool. We sent her to Christian Academy of Louisville, where she continues even now. While at school she would learn Bible songs and Bible stories. She would come home and tell us these stories and ask us questions. She started to ask to go to church. Again, being the angry pissed off person I was I wasn't really interested in going to church but I thought it might be good for her. So Fred and I started looking for a church to go to.   I was skeptical and kind of a church snob. Some churches were too big, some were too small. Some weren't friendly and others the friendliness felt insincere. I was frustrated and ready to give up. Until one day we decided to try this Baptist church down the street. We pass it everyday, and they just built a new sanctuary so why not try it. We showed up on Sunday morning with both kids in tow. Neither one of them were super excited about church. We were immediately greeted by a lady named Pam. Pam opened the door for us and welcomed us in. We must have looked really confused because she asked if it was our first time here. We said yes and she asked us if we wanted to take our kids to the nursery.       Now,  if you've every lost a child you start to become  super overprotective of your remaining children. You rarely leave your kids with anyone!  When Pam asked the nursery question it seemed ok so we said sure. She left her post at the door and she walked with us all the way to the nursery. She could have easily just point us in the right direction and moved on but she didn't. I don't know why this was so important  but it was. She seemed genuine and seemed to care that we were there.   Weird,  I hadn't gotten that before. Now, Pam still talks to us weekly at church and probably doesn't even know that she was the reason that we came back the next week. Her kindness that day changed something for me.   We've never left that church. It instantly be came home.

We slowly decided to get involved. We started in the nursery because it seemed only fair I left my screaming boy with them each week I should help out.   We've now started teaching Sunday School, helping on Wednesday nights, and coaching upwards. It's been so rewarding working with the kids and seeing them grow. We've met so many awesome Christian people at Beechland. They've welcomed us with open arms and made us family. Last year when our home was broken into right before Christmas the church rallied around us. We were overwhelmed with financial support and prayer from people we've barely met.  I asked why would people be so kind, the only possible answer: GOD.    This was the first time I really got it.  I really saw God's hand working.

Just this month Emma decided to go forward at church and get baptized.  It was such an awesome, moving, overwhelming experience to see your child make such an important decision.  Words can't express how grateful I am to our church for helping her to this decision.

Shortly after Emma's baptism Fred got a letter in the mail letting him know that some one in the church nominated him to become a deacon.  Now, if you've know Fred for any amount of time you would have instantly laughed at this notion.  Fred and I discussed it and decided that he should follow through on this.  He went through the obvious questions.  Who the heck would nominate me?  Why me?  Do I really want to do this?    I encouraged him to prayerfully consider this opportunity.  I reminded him that sometime others see things in us that we do not see.  I reminded him that he has an opportunity to be a leader in our church into the future.  Like all good husbands do, he agreed with me.  He decided to follow through on his nomination and last night he was ordained a deacon by the church.

Last night we attended the ordination service for the new deacons.  There were 5 awesome, faithful, Christian men who stood in front of our church last night and gave their testimony.  I mean, really awesome men!  I wasn't really prepared for how emotional their testimonies would be, including my husband's and I know his!  After all the men spoke, their wives were invited to join them, and the church lined up to pray with each man (and wife) individually.  It was so powerful.  If felt so awesome!  It was amazing to see the entire church come together and lift these guys up.  It was moving to see and hear how much Fred (and myself) mean to our church family.  It's weird when you're just cruising through life, doing what you feel like you should be doing, you can touch people.
I left there feeling energized and touched, probably more faithful than ever.  I'm so proud of my husband and look forward to awesome things to come for him.  I felt that he joined a brotherhood of amazing men last night and I can't wait to see the positive things they do for the church.  God is blessing Beechland and my family.  I'm so glad I got to see that last night.

Friday, July 8, 2016

School has been out for over a month and in another month school will start again.   Time flies when you're having fun I suppose.
One month from today is the back to school drop in at the kids school. We will be dropping off the supplies and meeting teachers. I know the teachers that Jaxon will have because they've been around awhile.  They all know him as well because he's been in the preschool program for awhile. Emma's teacher on the other hand is a complete wildcard. I know nothing about her. I feel like I should greet her with a gift.  You know,  welcome to the best second grade class of your career kind of thing. We love our school because many of the kids have been together since they were 3. They have grown up together. This means going into a new grade with a new teacher it's usually the whole class vs. the teacher before she even knows it. This year is particularly exciting for Emma because this poor teacher will have Emma, her BFF Macie, and BFF Ellie in the same class.   This is the first time the three amigos have had the same teacher since they were 3.   This should be fun. I am only a little concerned about this.  You see, I once witnessed Emma and Macie lead a revolt against their soccer coach over a water break. They led the team in protest and poor Coach Terry knew he'd met his match in those little girls. Emma and Ellie have been in TKD so long together their hands should be registered as deadly weapons.  They constantly try to one up each other in a funny 7 year old way but if someone else tries to pick on the other they team up together.     The three of them already know everything about everything and they will gladly tell you this. Most of the time they're pretty convincing too.    
In all seriousness,  it's really great to be part of a small school and watch the same kids grow up year after year. It's fun to watch their group dynamics change and grow. They are a tight knit little group. All of the kids are growing up to be kind, compassionate, well spoken, and opinionated little people.  Given all the negative things going on in the world at this time it's my hope that one day these kids could change the world.   So I'll pray for this new teacher. I'll pray for wisdom to fill their little heads with knowledge. I'll pray for strength because she's going to need it. I'll pray for her spirit as she guides these sweet kids in God's word. Last,  I'll pray for patience because they will test her.   She's  helping to shape to future so may God bless her and protect her, as well as all teachers everywhere this school year.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Happy Wednesday!

I'm not sure how you kicked off your day but mine started with a psychotic screaming 4 year old that didn't want to go to school. When I asked why he didn't want to go, his response was that it was stupid.     He said he wanted me to go away so he could sleep!  He screamed like I boiled him in acid and ran around the house. I wrestled him into his shirt and shorts. He promptly removed them. I finally got his shirt back on but he refused pants, socks, and shoes. I gave up and had Fred carry the little lunatic to the car. He had to fight him into the car seat and that took about 5 minutes of blood curdling screams. I'm sure my neighbors loved us this morning!      Finally, about halfway down the street my half dressed kid calmed down and admitted defeat.   Once we got to school he was a happy guy and we could finish getting dressed!  He went into school like nothing had happened. Seriously this kid hates mornings. 

I thought, wow my day can only get better from here.  Right?  Well my work day was pretty uneventful. Which in my line of work is unusual and a welcomed change. Time passesd quickly until it was time  to pick up captain grumpy pants from school. I headed out to pick him up and my normal 5 minute drive turned into 25 minutes each way. I really don't know what they're doing on St. Andrew's Church Road but it needs to get done quickly because this detour is ridiculous!   When I picked Jax up he wanted to go to GG's house. When I informed him I had other plans the banshee returned. He screamed, cried, and yelled most of the way home. Yay!  

In a wonderful turn of events GG got home earlier than expected and invited grumpy over so he didn't have to endure another one of Emma's taekwondo classes.   This gave me some welcomed one on one time with my #1 girl. We had a dinner date to McAllister's (where kids eat free M-Th after 4pm) before heading to TKD.   As we were leaving we walked out the front door and headed to the car. Hold on, where's the car?  Oh crap, someone's stolen my car!  Emma taps me on the side just before my panic really kicks in and reminds me that we parked on the side of the building and went in the side door. Ooohh, duh, I knew that!  False alarm!  Who misplaces their car?  Apparently, this girl!  

After TKD I got to my mom's to pick up Jaxon. When I get there he is firing on all cylinders.  He's bouncing off the walls and super loud. I notice he's drinking some sort of red liquid. My mom says, in a very serious voice, "I just gave him Hawaiian Punch. There's no caffeine in that.  I don't know why he's so wired."  Ummmm because one cup of Hawaiian Punch contains about 57 cups of sugar!  Ok maybe not 57 cups, but a lot of sugar!    Oh boy this should be fun to settle down!  

We get home and the kids do their usual fighting routine until I send Emma to bed and take Jax to the bathroom to brush his teeth.   As I am brushing the 57 cups of sugar off of his teeth he attempts to tell me something. I didn't understand much of what came out of his toothpaste filled mouth but it must have been funny because he started to laugh. In his hilariousness he managed to spit toothpaste right in my eye. Have you ever had toothpaste in your eye?  Let me tell you that it BURNS!  It burns like nothing I've ever felt.   Water doesn't help, it just spreads the burning out. Eventually after water, rubbing, some tears, more rubbing and more water the burning subsides. If I'm blind in the AM we can blame the sensodyne.   

FINALLY,  I get the sugared up little monster to bed and can find a few minutes of peace. I actually have some work from today left to do BUT I'd rather share my day with you. I hope this made you smile and now I'm going to bed. Looking forward to what craziness tomorrow will bring. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Warning:  This is partially your standard mushy, lovey dovey, over the top anniversary post. It may contain some things that you didn't know and hopefully you'll find it a little funny 

     Once upon a time I was a 19 year old college girl.  I worked,  went to class, and took care of my daughter. I really didn't need a lot of distraction in my life because my life was already complicated enough.   I had a friend named Hamit that insisted he knew a guy that would be perfect for me. He suggested that I go out with him and a group of friends one night to meet this guy. Finally after a little persuasion I caved and agreed to go.  I was the youngest of the group and the only one still under 21 at the time. Everyone wanted to go to a bar where they could drink, dance, and hang out, but since I was underage our choices were limited.  They decided the best option, was a gay club. What better place for a straight girl to meet her future husband right?    I went and met the mystery guy. We hit it off instantly. We started dating shortly after and I eventually fell in love with this guy. He was kind, caring, fun loving, and the most stubborn man I've ever encountered. I thought he'd be a worthy adversary and a fierce ally for life. Thankfully he fell in love with me too!  He not only fell in love with me he fell in love with my daughter as well.  He jumped into the role of dad without hesitation and that made me love him more.  
    Our relationship was never perfect and it had many ups and downs but eventually he asked me to marry him. I had one condition on this request:  we had to wait until I graduated from college to get married.   He agreed to this condition and I agreed to marry him. I was barely 21 at the time and he was 26.  Someone should have probably called is crazy. Some people probably did behind our backs. I mean, let's be real, you really don't know crap about yourself at 21.   
    We got married in a little country church about a month and a half after I graduated from college.  I put on a fancy white dress,  took my daddy's arm and headed up an aisle to marry this guy that I met at 19 years old, at a gay club, on a blind date.  Even saying that sounds crazy!  He was at the end of the aisle wearing a tux, smiling, and nervous. His dad was there with him waiting to walk us through our wedding vows. We smiled, repeated words, held hands, exchanged rings, were pronounced husband and wife.  We sealed our new union with a kiss. We had no idea at the time where life would take us but we were young, dumb, and blissfully in love. I don't think we really considered that all the rich/poor, sickness/health,  good/bad times things would ever actually happen.   
    Our journey definitely has had all of those things. We've fought. We've cried. We've laughed. We have experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. We've traveled together to awesome places. We've made so many memories together. We've some how managed to grow into productive adults. We've experienced the birth of two amazing children and sadly endured the loss of another. We've held on to each through it all. There are days when I would like to strangle him in his sleep and I'm sure there are days when he'd like to pull out my tongue. He frustrates me more than anyone I've ever known but I can't imagine doing life without him by my side. 
   So on this day please know that I'm thankful and blessed to be his wife.  I love this crazy beautiful ride we're on and wouldn't change it for the world. Thank God for blind dates and poor choices because this one really worked out!  

Happy Anniversary my love. Here's to many more.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Have you ever had one of those days?  A day that seems like no matter how hard you try or how organized you think that you EVERYTHING goes wrong.   A day that you just need. "Do over" for. was that day. Today,  I had a colossal mommy meltdown.

Fred has been working his new job now for about a month. He likes it a lot. He feels both appreciated and challenged. This is something he has missed in last two jobs. The downside is that he now works second shift.  This was not a surprise, and it's something we discussed at length before he took the job. I just didn't anticipate how much "quality time".  I would have ALONE with my kids.  I wake up in the morning, get Jax ready for school, and drop him off.  Fred sleeps. Emma wakes up and I feed her breakfast, argue with her about iPad usage, reading time, and chores. Fred sleeps.   I attempt to do some household chores,  on most days I find time to shower, and I do all of this while working my full time job.   Fred wakes up gives me my list of things that he needs me to do and interrupts me at least 20 times while I attempt to work. At some point Emma will ask for lunch and since for some odd reason my kids never ask their father for anything she comes to me!  I will fix her something or give her permission to fix it herself. If I pick the latter then I have to take time to clean up her mess. Fred leaves for work mid afternoon and then it's all me. I have to finish my work day, pick Jax up,  probably still work some, drive to whatever activity Emma has,  keep the house from falling into squalor,  fight both kids to go to bed, and who knows what else.   I do everything single thing I need to do each day with at least one kid,  even use the bathroom. Trust me, in this house someone is always coming in the bathroom.  On most days I make it to bed about 30 minutes before Fred comes home.

I tell you all of this because today I failed at life.   Today,  nothing went right.    Today, started for me on the couch where I woke up  with a sore neck because I gave up my bed to snorey-mcsnorer and Jax the 4 year old bed hog.  I followed my usual routine and managed to get Jax ready for school except I put his shoes in the wrong feet.   The poor guy suffered like that until we got to school and I thankfully realized my mistake before taking him inside!  I came home and attempted to feed myself.   I carefully cut up some fruit, then added some vanilla Greek yogurt. I was going to eat a healthy breakfast. I took  one bite and realized the yogurt was bad. Yay for disgusting spoiled yogurt!  I was super disappointed because I cut up the last of the strawberries and bananas only to cover them in nasty yogurt. Who needs breakfast anyway?   I decided to just pour myself into work only to discover that today I failed miserably at that too!  That story is too long to tell but nothing I did or said seemed right today. Emma had a friend over today and they played so much I forgot to feed them lunch. Seriously, who forgets to feed two kids?  I made myself feel better by blaming them because they never asked for food.  They did snack so I guess that wasn't a total fail.         I went to pick up Jax at school and managed to shut my own finger in the car door.  It's only a little bruised and probably not broken.   I refrained from saying any bad words so I'm actually going to call that a win!   I planned my day so carefully. I moved calls with students and finished up things early to take Emma to taekwondo today since I can't take her tomorrow. I got her ready and rushed both kids out of the house. I somehow managed  to rip off one of my nails while getting everyone in the car. I drove like a crazy person to get there on time. I got there with 5 minutes to spare!  Then I looked at my calendar to discover that I had mixed up the Monday and Wednesday class times and her class wasn't for another hour and 10 minutes!   As I sat in the parking lot, Emma talked non stop about how goofy I had been to mix up the class times. She also decided to let Jax out of his car seat. It was like someone freed a rabid monkey and he bounced around the car like  wacko!  This is when all the stress of the day hit me.   All the balls that I constantly juggle came crashing down on my still throbbing finger.   I sucked at work today. I forgot to feed children. I mixed up the schedule.  I yelled at the kids for no reason.   As I sat in the car getting hit in the head with a flip flop from my rabid monkey I started to cry.   I was just frazzled and tired and overworked. I was spent and I had no more to give;  but it was only 5:30 and I still needed to survive until bedtime.   I closed my eyes and said a little prayer.  I really needed a little heavenly support at this point. Miraculously,  my monkey got back in his seat and strapped himself in and Emma stopped her constant criticism of my parenting today and for once was quiet.   I pulled myself together and took the kids for some food.  We had an uneventful dinner and the kids were actually well behaved.    We finished taekwondo and headed home. When we got home both kids begged to snuggle me.

No matter my shortcomings as an employee, a wife, a mom, or an adult in general; my kiddos still love me. No matter how tired and weary my day, week, month, or year have made me,  I'm still their momma and the center of their world right now. No matter how crazy they make me. The best way to end my day is with them by my side.  

Now they are finally asleep and I've spent an hour typing this blog post on my cell phone I hope that you find it encouraging and possibly entertaining. I'm going to bed now and hoping for a better day tomorrow.

Friday, April 22, 2016

  Tonight she's going on a date.  She's curled her hair and put on her best dress.  She's even decided to wear some heels.He'll open doors for her and hold her hand.  She'll dance until her little feet hurt.  If he's lucky she might even let him join.  She'll smile until her face hurts and giggle the night away with her girl friends.  She and her girlfriends will probably poke fun of their dates.  It's a big night for all the girls.
   She is the center of his whole world.  She makes his face light up.  He adores her.  He's put on his best suit for her.  His shoes are shined and his tie is straight. Tonight there is no one more important than her.  He stands on the sidelines and waits to be invited to join her group of friends.  He hopes that at the end of the night she'll tell him that this is one of the best nights of her life.  If he plays his cards right he might even get a little kiss.
     He's the love of her life right now.  There aren't any boys more important than him.  The way he treats her tonight is the how she thinks girls should be treated.  This how she will expect to be treated by a boy.  One day, another boy will catch her eye.  One day, another boy will want to take on a date. She will expect that boy to open doors, pull out chairs, and treat her like she is the center of his world. She will expect to be treated with respect and cherished as every girl deserves to be.
   She's growing up so fast and the years where her daddy is her hero are flying by.  I love these days but I know in the blink of an eye she will be off to prom, college, and then before you know it she'll be dancing at her wedding.
  But tonight,  tonight, her daddy is her date and she is his little girl.  Tonight, she felt like Cinderella and precious memory was made.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Sweet 16

When you have a special needs child you learn to live by a different set of milestones. When I had Maddie I knew from the get go that we wouldn't be celebrating first steps, first words, normal first days of school. You learn to live in the moment and not look too far forward because you don't know what future holds. You deal with the challenges at hand and start to expect the next challenge. I'm not saying that's the right or wrong way to be its just how you cope.  If you let yourself wonder what could have been it can be a dark place so you just don't go there. You deal with your normal.   You celebrate first laughs,  you create your own milestones, and you celebrate things like this cold didn't turn into pneumonia or you didn't gag on your medicine today. You spend life making memories in the here and now and not dreaming about the future. I guess when Maddie was here I didn't know any other way to be because I didn't have other children. Now I look at my beautiful healthy kids and I do dream about their future. I have so many hopes for what they will become in their lives.  I have experienced those milestones, first steps, first words, first day of school. I look forward, reluctantly,  to first dates, first cars, and graduations. I don't want these to come too fast but at least I know they're coming.  When I had Maddie none of those things were guaranteed,  in fact I knew that the next day of her life wasn't guaranteed.   I didn't dream about her future.  I never really wondered about who she would become one day. I simply enjoyed everyday I had her here.

This week I've been missing her a lot. Her birthday is coming up on Sunday and this one is a hard one.  Well, they're all hard without her, but this one seems harder than the usual birthday. She would be 16 this year and I can't help but think of what that would mean for her.  If she were a "normal" girl we'd plan a super sweet 16 party and would be thinking about cars and driving. I've never let myself go there and I'm not sure why I have this week. I guess maybe it's because I can't believe that I had a child 16 years ago.   Heck,  I was barely driving when I had her!    That little girl shaped my life so very much and I'm so thankful for the opportunity to have been her momma.

This Sunday we're going to have our own brand of Madison celebration. We're going to go eat her favorite thing, CHEESECAKE and share memories.  Maybe we will even even spend a little time  raising some funds for Maddie's favorite charity, Make-A-Wish.   I'm going to really make an effort to be happy and enjoy the day. She wouldn't want us to be sad, who can be sad eating cheesecake anyway?

Happy Birthday beautiful girl. I'm sure your party in heaven is much cooler than any party I could plan.