Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Redefining Me

Ever have that sinking suspicion that you're turning into the very stereotype that you wanted to avoid? That was me yesterday when I dropped Isaac off at playschool. Without much family nearby to help out, Kent put aside some money to be used for weekly daycare for Isaac. The 4-5 hours once a week allows me to get to my doctor appointments without abnormally high blood pressure. I can also get the numerous blood tests done, get my hair cut, mop the tile floor without fear of a small boy cracking his head open on it, etc. It's been a huge blessing, but not without it's difficulties.

Initially I had a huge amount of 'Mommy guilt' as if being a stay at home mom meant I had signed my existence over and wasn't entitled to time off. Then there was the constant anxiety of scarring my child .. "Mama didn't want me once a week and left me with strangers" ... Not enough material for him to write a future memoir about, but something that might make him insecure. He did cry for the first while every time I left. That plaintive 'Mama' was enough to send mallets of guilt pounding at my head and heart. I'd pound back with, "It's good for him, he needs the socialization, I can't possibly sit around for an hour with him and do a blood glucose test, etc". Slowly over time my head won over. I could see that both of us were better for the small weekly break.

And then the coin flipped. We'd drive to 'big-boy school' and Isaac was excited. He'd get out of the car and want to walk in, dragging his own backpack with him. He'd no long want to hold my hand as we went in and the constant clinging and kissing was replaced with a quick peck as he went for a favorite toy. What happened ... had I suddenly become replaceable?!!!

Yesterday I had to fend off the impulse to grab Isaac and ask him, "Aren't you going to cry because Mama is leaving?" It's kind of sick in a sense, not that I want him to be distressed, but I did want to know that he missed me. Suddenly I was the insecure one.... was I needed, was I loved ...

I had always swore that when I became a mom, I wouldn't be the one who's entire self was defined by her children and how they responded to her. The mother who had to hear from her grown children at least 3 times daily. But I'm beginning to realize that this 'lifetime calling' is more a part of me than I think. It's kinda like your appendix, you're not sure what it does for you, but you sure as heck start to miss it when it's causing you pain and needs to be removed.

I think what it is, is that I'm redefining myself. I am more than Flo, the avid book reader, dancer, art lover, runner etc. I am a Mother ... and not just to Isaac and to the little girl soon to be .... a Nurturer, a Lover (in the deepest and closest way to Godlike Charity), a Friend and a Creator. I suppose this sounds all rather arrogant, but in reality it's humbling because I have yet to realize the impact of what I do and to treasure it for what it is. The power to touch lives holds and ties us down a surely as gravity does.

Speaking of Mothers, we were able to arrange a family celebration for Kent's mom's birthday. I applaud how she has done her best to raise 7 beautiful children (especially my husband) under less than ideal circumstances. Happy Birthday Mom, please know that you are loved.

Isaac was loving the cousin time!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Birthday Blessings

For those who read my blog regularly (I like to flatter myself in thinking there are just a few! ;0) I mentioned at Isaac's birthday how birthday celebrations were so small and inconsequential growing up and how I've come to view them as a celebrations of life and always worth making a small fuss over. I've been thinking more about it since and for once in my life I'm not afraid to announce that it's my birthday and I'm proud to say so! For those who know me well, any sort of fuss that landed me in a spot light usually had me in tears of mortification ... I couldn't stand the attention and had absolutely no grace in handling it. I've grown to realize that it was more a function of how little I had been taught the value of a soul, even my own. As years have gone on I've seen how this is in direct relationship to seeing myself as a daughter of God - a child of infinite worth - who shows me his love through countless blessings in my life. So this little post is simply an acknowledgement of those blessings.

I am grateful for life. The fact that it is difficult doesn't diminish the gift that it is. The dark moments are just as much a part of the rich tapestry as the bright moments. If anything, they serve to enhance it. I'm grateful to have my very own masterpiece that is seen in the character and choices of my life.

I am incredibly grateful for the threads of other people that intersect my own. Family has come to mean such different things for me in the the last 5 years. They are those who know me, care for me, encourage me to be better while still loving me no matter my choices. This is the most obvious in my husband and son. Their love is impossible for me to describe. What's more amazing is that this love seems so inborn in children, something that we forget as we become more jaded by life experiences. My child (and soon to be children) remind me of this blessing that I can give to others as well.

When one has such blessings, there is not much else I really need to find joy. I know without a doubt in my mind that these gifts are from God. He has carried me through the dark moments and made it so I might look back and see the beauty that was always there. I am eternally in his debt. Thank you for 34 years of beautiful life!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Ten Weeks to Go

Unbelievable, there are only ten weeks to go until the little one is due. Time has really flown and I'm a little sad for it. With Isaac, I had the leisure of journaling thoughts and feelings often all of which contributed greatly to his scrapbook. With this little girl, I'm been too busy running the day to day with Isaac to do that. She is in my thoughts often though. There are feelings of apprehension in raising a girl, it's different than a boy and yet I take consolation in the fact that they come little and I have the chance to grow with her as she grows up. Honestly I cannot think of anything more humbling than being a mother.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Heart Full of Song?

Much of my life has been filled with music, especially the hymns and children's songs I grew up singing on Sunday. One such hymn I remember particularly when I had to help weed the garden. Combined with the ever watchful eye of my mother, it's relentless marching rhythm kept me at my backbreaking task until the work was done.

Put your shoulder to the wheel
push a long,
Do your duty with a heart
full of song!
We all have work,
Let no one shirk
Put your shoulder to the wheel!

I must admit that I did my duty, but certainly not with a heart full of song! Be that as it may, it did teach me a sense of pride in whatever I put my hand too. Wishing to pass this lesson on to my son while taking advantage of the cool weather, Isaac and I washed the car and painted the tree trunks on different mornings.

Yes, I know some who would call this child labor, but believe me, it was more labor to have Isaac involved than not! We did have fun though ... I guess for a 2 year old anything with water and paint is a blast. I tried desperately to get a picture of Isaac with the water hose washing the car without damaging the camera ... no luck. When I went it to grab some towels, he took his opportunity to open the door and access all those coveted 'buttons' that Mama uses when she drives. I dread the day he can legally do this!

He had explore another button on our door since Mama removed the fun of the car.

For those who don't know, the sun is so intense here in AZ that the tree trunks of fruit trees are painted white to protect them. Before beginning our task I specifically outlined areas NOT to be painted, including our rabbit. I told him that the paint would make her sick. And what does he do immediately after I say this, try and paint Sunshine! You know the kid is listening and using the knowledge to get rid of his rivals!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Birthday Party

Growing up I was told at birthdays that they were worth celebrating when you'd live a life worth celebrating. As a child I interpreted that as being old and grey, gumming down what you could of your birthday feast while others honoured your name for the things that you once did and can no longer do! I've taken a different philosophy and while I don't agree with elaborate birthday parties I do think that a child needs to know that just being there makes them special!

Of course with this being Isaac's second birthday, I knew he wouldn't remember much. It was more for me than him, but I enjoyed the work I put into it, it was a chance to be creative and to show my son my love. I was gratified when I heard his excited exclamation at the 4 blue balloons we taped above the table. Even better was the fact he figured out the cake was a panda, his favorite stuffed animal. He ran into the bedroom yelling, "Panda cake, panda cake!" I know he enjoyed having kids over to play with and while the group was a little too old for his age, he is always happy to have other little people around.

The Legos were definitely a hit - with everyone! ;0)

I also had the realization later that everyone on this side of town that came to Isaac's baby blessing two years ago was also present. They are my adopted family and I felt immense gratitude for not only a beautiful son, but for the wonderful people God has surrounded me with to make my life so full. No, celebrating a birthday is a chance to celebrate life ... and that is always worth making the effort!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Hydrophilic Children

What is it about children and water ... their affinity never ceases to amaze me. Be it a tiny puddle on the ground that DEMANDS being jumped in, to a water fountain with the potential to spray yards further than intended - children can never resist. Isaac is no exception. A few weeks ago I watched him out of the corner of my eye as I checked out books at the library. He'd discovered that if he stuck his index finger in the hole while he pressed the button for the water fountain he could spray himself in the face. This had him squealing with laughter. I was just relieved to not have to wrestle him, several pounds of books and an uncooperative self check machine. An adult passed by and with some consternation looked at me sternly and stated the obvious, "He's ALL wet!" as if it were the beginnings of juvenile delinquency. Feeling rather juvenile myself I muttered, "Well, duh!" She didn't hear me and if she did, I'm sure she thought it was some poor teenage mother who couldn't handle one child and had gone and gotten herself pregnant again.

Anyhow, given Isaac's love of water we found some 'healthier' outlets for him ... ;0)

This self made pool kept him well occupied for over an hour as I cleaned the kitchen. There is something mesmerizing about water pouring from one cup to another ... to another ... to another .... Whatever makes the kid happy!

The front lawn needed extra watering but Isaac felt watering rocks was much more fun!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Happy Birthday Isaac Boy!

Two years ago today Isaac arrived at 6:07 am. The days before we'd been having him count down on the calender. He's been to enough birthday parties now that he 'gets it' and was extremely excited. He came into the room at 5:30am with a bright cheering,"Morning" for his Mama. Papa stuck around until exactly 6:07 so we could sing him a birthday song and while I jogged my mile around the neighborhood, I could hear him say, "Happy, Me ... Birthday!" We played kick ball afterwards and he wandered the backyard savoring the joys of sticks and stones. Lunch was spent the 'all-American' way of McDonald's where he made a few friends and played to his hearts content.

It was amazing to me to see him play with those boys. It just a short 6 months, he's grown up so much. He greets with a bright, "Hey, or Hi" and quickly follows the lead of the older boy and soon he's running, singing and laughing with them. He's different with how he approaches the girls, something to do with his interactions with his old friend Eden Roberts. He'll approach and wave hi and if they respond well, he takes their hand and firmly say, "Come. Play!" I guess he thinks it's his turn to lead! He had several adults chuckling at him and the Grandfather of the the little one year old girl laughingly said, "Hard lesson boy, but girls don't always follow, even after you put a ring on their finger." Nonplussed, Isaac kept trying to convince her.

Once Papa got home we went to dinner at TGI Fridays. Isaac was clearly surprised at the small group of strangers that gathered around to sing him a happy birthday.

Obviously these people were friends though and he was sure to greet them whenever they came near after that. Notice how he has 2 spoons in his hands. He understood that this was HIS birthday and Mama and Papa could only have some of his ice cream if we asked first!

After a very filling meal we went back to the house to play some more in the backyard. Isaac is learning about gardening from Papa.

While I watched them playing in the back, I couldn't help but feel the sense of wonder of how much had transpired in the last 2 years. I'm so grateful that God has blessed me with a good husband, and we now share the joys of a darling son and a girl soon to come. I thought back to a conversation I had earlier with another mother at McDonalds about all the guilt that comes with being a mother. It's a given when you're embarking on the mission of raising one of God's children. But despite the difficulties and pain, and be sure that pain will come - how can it not for one that you love so dearly - it is well worth it. Isaac has taught me so much about life, myself and loving unconditionally. Thank you my son, your presence has made living so much richer!

Home Sweet Home

I LOVE being home!!! While there's a lot work yet to do there's something about having place you know you'll be for a few years to make your own. Isaac is loving the backyard. He still continues to get up anywhere from 5-5:30am .... leaving plenty of time to play out back. His latest craze ... basketball, baseball, kick ball ... yep, anything with a ball. He's been more content lately in the house as he has the chance to release his energy. I don't know what we would have done if he were still stuck in an apartment. The following are pictures from day 2 in the house.

That boy was so flushed from playing for just 15 mins. He slept like a rock that night.

Even our rabbit, Sunshine is already feeling right a home!

The Heart and Soul that Moves

So this last Friday morning had me calling to confirm our U-Haul pick up for our move on Saturday. Apparently the preggie brain did another number and I had scheduled it for Friday and had to return it by 9:30am Saturday. The Elders Quorum was scheduled to help starting 8am Saturday. Needless to say I was in a panic and gave way to sobbing in a fit of being overwhelmed. (Another all too common preggie symptom for me) Thank heavens for the rational side still left untouched by hormones in my brain, somehow it took over and I called friends to help and asked if the Elders Quorum could come after they helped to move the Taylors. I packed like a mad woman all morning and a few girlfriends helped to haul electronic equipment to the house and took a confused little boy off my hands so the bulk of packing was done in time for the men to move the furniture and boxes. I don't think I have ever moved so quickly in my life before! While Kent and i had to return to pack up 5-6 boxes, the majority made it to our house. They even managed to get the piano back from the Johnsons.

The image of a few men in a pickup truck playing heart and soul as they travelled down the street back to my house was one of laughter and relief. Relief for the myriad of adopted family and friends who always seem to know how to help and laughter at how hysterical I had been earlier that day. Things are never as bad as they seem, even with preggie hormones running amok!