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

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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

 

I Need You.

You know the sound of the voice and the urgency in the tone.

Mom, I NEED…

So many times it makes my skin crawl, my ears cringe, and my body sigh… Now what?

Mom I Need…

“Mom, I need you, my head hurts and I cannot stop shaking.” I opened my eyes to see my tall child standing over me, I blinked a few times to be sure it was not a weird dream, I climbed out of bed and found him some ibuprofen.  He was experiencing his first migraine.

When I went to wake the kids for school I heard, ‘Mom I need more Tylenol, my head still hurts.”  J has had a headache for over 2 weeks now, we are trying chiropractic care to see if that is the source of the headache. (Turns out he might have a mild concussion from a basketball game, we are waiting more testing to be sure)

Last week was the 100th day of school for little A.  “Mom I need a costume to make me 100 years older.”  So the night before I was in Party City buying silver hair spray.  We were a little late getting to school, as I was hurrying her along, she replied “Hey I’m a little old lady, we can’t go that fast” I quipped back, “just don’t break a hip.”image

I got a text right after drop off. “Mom I need you to go pick up the pictures from Sam’s Club.”
I dropped the pictures off with O’s Art teacher so they could prepare her portfolio.

Back home both boys were laying on the couches now, trying to watch tv.  R said as long as his head did not change elevation or he did not move his eyes than his head did not hurt.  Sitting down to watch with them we saw C park his dad’s moped in the gate, he came limping into the house.

“Mom, I need your help, I was run off the road and I need you to help me.”  I jumped up to clean and care for the wound.  It was pretty gross, not huge but the 2 spots on his knee are pretty deep,  It is very nasty, and I was sure he would be sore the next day.  He was run off the road by a black Lexis, they did not stop, he crashed into the median, no other driver stopped.  My poor boy had to get his sore, bruised, and bleeding self up off the ground, upright the moped, and then come home for me to clean it for him.  While the road rash is minor on one leg, the left knee looks terrible, it is deep and bruised, bleeding, and will take a very long time to heal, multiple layers of skin were removed.  I am so very thankful that he is okay, sore, bruised and bleeding but will be okay.

“Mom I need my uniform washed”

“Mom I need to go to the chiropractor in a few minutes”

“Mom I need to be at school at 6”

“Mom we need snacks for our trip”

Mom I need…

 I can appreciate that I am needed all the time.  I was reminded that my kids still need their mom for the little and big things.  I was the one the injured kid came to, I was the one who rescued the dirty uniform, and I was the one who made sure they did not need anything before they left for their trip.

It is nice to be needed, I just need to remind myself that I should be thankful that they come to me still, and they all still need me.

Go hug your kids and look for the thankful in being needed.
jen