Mom has the Kindergarten Blues, never mind 4th grade, or middle and high school blues

I can’t stop time, try as I might.

My heart is crying today, it has been sad for weeks now.
I am sad because my last child,
my baby,
is going to Kindergarten.

I am not ready.

We have been a team for the last few years, the two of us, best friends she tells me, all day together, lunch dates together, stage painters together, chick-fil-a play place together, going to dance together, shopping together, road trips together, napping together, reading together, playing together, lunch dates with friends together.
Always together.
But today we will no longer be together all the time.
My heart is sad.

In my whole adult life I have had a little one with me, twenty three years I’ve had my own little ones with me, babysitting full time before I had my own children, and sometimes babysitting after I had my children.  I have never been alone.  Oh sure in the first forever years Tuesday was grandma’s day, so most of my kids spent Tuesday with Grandma, laughing, playing, and indulging in things that mom’s just do not do…
But not this one, she has been with me, always.
Every Day.

I love her school, (I’ve loved it since the first one started in 2000) I adore her teacher and her para, she is named after her gym teachers wife, three of her siblings and a cousin will be on campus with her.  She is loved by her dad’s assistants, she invited them to her birthday party, the lunch ladies fed her cookies and goldfish each musical season, they filled her with enough chocolate milk to float away.  Her siblings friends are her friends (or so she thinks)There is no lack of love for her, transitions is hard for her, but she will be loved.  I know it.

As I read to her last night she smothered me with kisses, when we prayed together I cried.

I prayed for this child for the months she grew in my womb, I prayed for this child when she would forget to keep her heart beating in the NICU, I prayed for this child when she would not grow, I prayed for this child as I nursed her and rocked her each night.  And tonight I prayed for this child as she starts her new adventure.
I pray that God will use her in a mighty way, that she shows Jesus love to others, that she is friendly and kind to each child no matter their color or ability, no matter if they have light up shoes or mismatched socks, I pray that she will learn to love letters, then words, then books.  I pray that she will be excited for chapel, and Bible time in class.  I pray that she will obey her teachers, all of them, and not just when she feels like it, but all the time.  I pray that she remembers the number 12, that she remembers when counting it is 8, 9, 10, 11, and please don’t forget 12!  Because 12 seems to be our nemesis.   I pray that she makes good choices, that she follows others who make good choices, or leads by making good choices, I stressed about good choices to her, because we don’t always make good choices.  I pray that her heart listens, loves, and learns.  I pray that her feelings don’t get hurt, that she does not skin a knee and please don’t let her tummy hurt.  I pray that she is not the only other child to throw up in her teachers classroom (the first child being her sister) I pray that this year she is kind.

The 4th grader is anxious, she had a wonderful teacher last year who loved her, prayed for her, and cheered her on, but some things became a struggle and she is nervous about those things being a bigger struggle this year.  I love her teacher so much, when I read her welcome letter I cried with joy. Fourth grade seems to be a difficult year for my children, and she is already anxious about it.  She snuggled a little longer tonight when we read, and I felt her hot little tears drip down my arm as I prayed for her, and this school year.  She cannot tell exactly what makes her nervous, but she keeps telling me her tummy hurts.  She is my glitter girl, she leaves a trail of happiness like glitter dust all around her, she makes my heart smile.  So when she is anxious it makes me sad for her, I cannot calm her fears, but we talked about the ONE who can.  We prayed for a calm heart and a great year, we prayed for obedience, and listening ears.  We prayed for her teacher, and the other teachers she will have.  Most of all we prayed prayers of thanksgiving for her smart mind, and her strong body, for her kind heart, and sweet spirit.  I will miss my little girly who walked around all summer with a book in her hands.

Middle school jitters have my sweet E with an upset stress stomach ache, we prayed for gentle stomach, we prayed for friends, and good choices, we prayed for classes, and teachers, (and the Lord knows who I meant even though I called them the wrong names.)  She cannot find her gray sweater, and her lunch box seems to be missing, but her locker is ready and she is taking art.  My sweet girl is growing up on me, and we are surviving middle school.  I knew we would!

As for the sophomore, I forgot I only have 3 years left with him, I am trying to get him to promise to live here forever, to not go away from home, he is not in favor.  We prayed thanksgiving for his strong legs, and healthy heart, we prayed for stronger friendships, and healthy mind to learn quickly, and study better.  I am heartbroken that I only have 3 years left before we take him off to college, I know how fast those 3 years will go.

Summer flew by, it always does.  Back to school shopping is complete, except for the sketch book we need for art.  Lunch boxes are labeled, and backpacks are ready to go as we start our new school year.

Lord please let them be kind, let them be kind, please let them be kind.

So as you see little children walking into school with backpacks as large as their body, know that some of their mamas are losing their best friends today.  Because we know it will never be the same again.

Go hug your kids, they could use your love today
jen

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Christmas in One Word

Christmas this year in a word was hard.
Said Child 3, “it feels like it never really happened, because what we were all waiting for did not happen.”
This is because the man-child, who is now really a man, but will always be my child, he had a work emergency, that became a ‘all hands on deck’ kind of emergency, and that meant all vacation plans were canceled.  He had, if you remember, moved off to the big city, bright lights and all.  He does some sort of computer work.  I cannot tell you exactly, and that is only because I don’t exactly know what he does.  Just computer-something…  I know he travels around for his work, to places like Paris in the spring (for 3 weeks) and that his job is important.  Anyway, way back in June he went in to ask for time off, knowing that he was low man on the totem pole, he went in asking for Christmas week off.  Christmas is his favorite holiday, everything from the familiar movies, tot he belly dancers on the city parade.  So for him to plan ahead from June to Christmas, is not surprising.
He had a work emergency, which was bigger than we imagined, he spent the entire week of planned vacation time working.  Our hearts were crushed, we held out hope even to the last minutes of Christmas eve.  We broke the sad news to our kids, who all were heartbroken.  We reminded them that this was God’s plan, and not our own, and that we can be sad, and cry, and that it was okay, to feel these emotions.  I put up a quote from Desiring God on my Facebook page,  “Tears are not the enemy. Tears do not reflect a lack of faith. Tears are a gift from God that help to wash away the deep pain of loss.”- Desiring God  I hope I guided my children through the time of brokenheartedness, in a loving and trusting way.  Sadness comes for a moment but Joy comes again in the morning, grief and sadness are all part of what makes us human, unique and in God’s image, we can embrace them not hide them or squelch the emotions we are feeling.  We pushed on with our Christmas plans, we had some face time with the man-child, and we were able to see him for a minute, not hug or hold him, but to see him.  I think if we had known from the beginning we would have been prepared for this. The surprise left us so unprepared, raw and unprotected from the grief.  So this Christmas held joys and cheers and happiness, but it was hard.
Very Hard.

God is good, and faithful, and we celebrated that!  Go hug your kids, they need your love
jen

No More School Portraits

So with this being our senior firsts, and student lasts year.  We had to schedule R for his senior portrait for the yearbook. With only the senior man-child reminding me to make the appointment I was not annoyed,  was never stressed.  Oh sure it makes me very sad, and for the record I did cry, but then those of you who know me, know that I cry at every emotional thing, so it should be no surprise that these are his final yearbook pictures and I cried.

The same photographer who took C’s pictures, took O’s pictures and now R’s pictures.  The office location has changed 3 times, if that stays consistent than they have 4 locations to go to before we are done.  While I knew exactly where the other locations were, this one was in a former abandoned building and it took a wrong turn, around the wrong block, in an-up and coming neighborhood and back to where I started from.  After a U-turn we had arrived.

The photographer gave R the white shirt and coat, both were too short for him but since this is not our first photo-rodeo we were not concerned.  This picture makes me smile every time I see it, not sure if it is his bare legs or bare wrists, but it just makes me smile!
After getting a dozen shots in about 5 minutes we went upstairs to view his pictures.She made quick work in helping R with choosing the poses and the final picture for the yearbook.  As with the older kids, I let the senior pick their picture for the yearbook.  I sat and watched his man-child face flash on the screen I flashed back to his portraits from over the years,  the gummy baby smile, the gap tooth grin, the awkward middle school picture, the more confident in himself high school pictures, and now we are picking out senior pictures.  How did this happen?

He made an excellent choice in his picture, but as he says, “it is not like I was choosing a college”  Oh mercy!  (BTW my flash really made all the white things bright!  it is not actually this bright for real)

Interesting enough the day of his pictures FB did a memory share and it was #1’s senior picture day.  Facebook memories can really catch you unaware.
How can that be 4 years ago already?  Which is why I say time moves so fast.  So go hug your babies and tell someone you love them!
jen

Another (almost last) Porch Picture

I don’t know where to start,  I have written this post in my head for over 2 weeks now, but I realize that if I keep putting it off, time still moves on, I can’t stop it, even if I avoid the post commemorating it.

His last first day of school.  His almost last porch picture.
(that comes next fall when he leaves for the University of his choice)

Another senior,  another last first day of school porch picture, another last first day of school.


I swear I just took this picture his first day of Kindergarten, his first day was delayed because his building was not yet completed, I was thrilled with a few more days of time with him.  He was not so thrilled.

When he was a newborn all pink and scrawny in my arms, I did not think his senior year would come so fast.  Oh sure the little old ladies at church would come and pat my arm and say “time goes fast mama, time goes fast.”  I did not believe them, I was tired from lack of sleep, I had 3 kids 4 and under, I was wearing dirty clothes, smelled like stinky diapers, and had a stack of laundry on the sofa, I needed to bathe at least 1 if not 2 of those kids, as I wondered how many times you could serve mac n cheese before it was abuse.  In fact time was not moving fast.  It was holding still, like the movie Groundhog Day, only way less funny and without snow or a big party.  Then just as suddenly it was racing along I could not stop it.  Every day, even over the last few summers time raced me and time always won.  It wins every single day.

The moments are so long, the science fairs, (More than one by choice.  His choice) and cross country meets, (Only one year.  My choice) the homework, and field trips.  But the years are short, he just started kindergarten, now he is starting his senior year.  He was just singing his little heart out in elementary programs, he was just playing at recess, he is now filling out college applications, applying for scholarships, and going to hang out with his friends.  I don’t know when it happened.

I can’t believe this is his last year home.  And the very sad thing is, I know the change, I know how our family will be different without him.  I know how very much I will miss him, his help, his jokes, his hugs, and his desk lamp shining too late in the night.  I sit here and cry thinking about how very different HOME will be when he goes away to University.  And I just don’t like it.  At. All.

He is becoming the man God wants him to be, he is growing both physically taller and Spiritually stronger.  He asks the hard questions, he seeks out truth, and he stands for what is right.  He is not going to be stopped.  He might get knocked down in the future, but he will become stronger for it.  I realize that from his first day of kindergarten, 2 weeks late, that his school, his teachers and his class mates, have all been preparing him for his future.  Now that he is a senior it is the last chance that his educators have to prepare him for his next steps in his future.

He has already been accepted into one University on his list.  He has a few more that he is looking into.  When I got the text announcing his acceptance I cried, and I know I will cry so much more during this time.

This is it.

I realize how significant this year is, how much time I have left to show and tell him the things that are so important.  I want him to know how very much he is loved, how very proud we are of him, and how exciting the future will be as he continues to seek God in the very future that is taking him away from home.

He is loyal and loving, committed until exhaustion, and will not back down for what is right.  PS adores him, when he is busy, and cannot play with her, she cries when he shuts the gate to the boys hallway, she commands for him to come play with her.  He folds his 6’3 frame into a small person chair to play kitchen with her, while he works on homework, she serves him pizza and demands play doh balls.  He watches shows over and over to watch them with J for his first time.  He helps the little girls when they don’t want it, but need it, he helps with understanding homework, and he complains about messy bathrooms.  He shares my food anxiety, and my love of the beach.  He shares his fathers quest for knowledge but not his love of sports.  History is exciting to him, and he shares the This Day In History facts with us every day.

So this year I will cry a whole lot more, I will hug him and scratch his back, I will appreciate his weird humor and political comments.  I will seek time out with him, letting him be who he is,and appreciating this last little bit with him.  I know how fast this year will be and I don’t want to miss it.

His last porch picture for LCS.
His time as a student there is so close to ending.

Go hug your kids, especially you mamas with stinky diapers and spit up on your shoulder.  Sit down and watch your child play, listen to their stories, laugh at their jokes, and join in their land of make-believe. Because I swear to you, that in just a few short seconds time has moved on and you will be watching them fill out college applications.  You will be just as surprised as I was!
jen

I Won’t Feed You Macaroni Ever

Tap time is precious at our house.  I look forward to it every day, and sometimes I look forward to tomorrows nap.

During Musical set work PS did not get a nap.  She usually fell asleep around 6pm and slept until the next morning.  Once the set was done we fell back into nap times,  although she does not always sleep she always gets put in her crib.

Today I heard her telling her baby and her sister O’s elephant Lottie, “I won’t ever feed you macaroni ever.”  I don’t know who does not like the good blue box, but she promises not to feed it to them anymore.

One evening PS found my purse, she opened my wallet and said “mom you have no money in here.”  I laughed and said ‘i know’ she asked ‘where is your money…”  it is the same question her daddy has been asking me for 23 years now…

Go hug your kids, they need your love
jen

 

November is Thanks Giving. Posts of Thankfulness 1

In the past I have posted thankful things for the whole month of November.  I will again be posting the things I am thankful for.  I encourage you to write down something you are thankful for each day of this month.  Put it on here, put it on your calendar, put it on facebook.  Just write it down somewhere!  In this season of political unrest it is important to stop and think about all the things we have to be thankful for.

Nov 1
I am thankful for Keith’s Job. It makes him happy, he loves what he does, he comes home most of the time with a satisfied spirit, sometimes stressed but mostly not. He loves his coworkers, and his students. I am thankful that he can go to work and be happy, I know many out there who have or had terrible jobs. I am thankful for his job

Nov 2
I am thankful that Keith lets me be creative. I need to create, I need paint, and craft, and sew, and Keith is supportive, he listens, he helps fix things when I take on too big of a task (remodeling the bathroom was just too big) he sighs when I have an idea, he rolls his eyes when I come back from hobby lobby, BUT he knows how important it is for me, he encourages my ideas, and helps, and even tho when I get into a project the house falls to pieces, he lets me dream, plan and create. I am thankful that Keith is supportive of my creativity needs.

Nov 3
I am thankful for Keith, he is not perfect but he is perfect for me. He is my quiet, when I am loud, he is my steady, when i am slipping, he is my calm, when I am upset, he is my slow, when I am too fast, he is my confident, when I am undecided, he is my leader when I am lost. I am thankful for Keith.

What about you, can you find 3 things so far to be thankful for.
go hug your kids, time is too short to miss out on a hug from your children
jen

Frederick the Fish

We were discussing O and her fish Frederick, as she prepares for University.  She wanted him to come along, but was not sure the dorm rules regarding live non human things.  Today she informed me that “Mom Good News Frederick can come to the university with me!”  After a few minutes she informed us that her roommate M has a frog named Kermit, one of the other kids asked if Kermit was going to be living in the dorm, I replied I assumed it would be okay if he was kept in a tank, and little A piped up, “yeah you probably cannot bring a camel to college, they spit.”  Since we do not have a pet camel, it is safe to say we are not bringing it to college drop off day.

One day in the van E and little A asked when we were going to go to chick-fil-a for a meal.  I answered either Thursday or Friday for dinner.  They both picked a day, and then proceeded to talk to each other about which day was a better day.  Little A looked at E and said ‘who ever says it the most quiet saying the day, mom will pick’  So back and forth they whispered Thursday-Friday-Thursday-Friday…  Until they were almost silent.  After going back and forth little A told E that she was “too loud, mom won’t pick you.’  E answered back “mom will pick what ever she wants, she does not care what we are saying.”  That girly is correct.  I just smiled and kept driving.  (We went on Friday)

At dinner I informed Keith that the vacuum was no longer working, he prompted me to check the filter to see if it was plugged or not.  R piped up and said, “not to complain but our vacuum really sucks at sucking.”  We all bust out laughing.

What about you, did you take a fish or a camel to college when you went?  I had a plant.
go hug your kids, they need your love
jen