I am so in love with my kids. Do you remember the first moment that you laid eyes on your baby and your heart swelled? There were no words to describe the love. I have always loved my children but it’s so easy to get caught up in living the day-to-day life that you miss out on really seeing your child – really loving them. Does that make sense?
I know that I have been extremely busy since moving back – especially with a full-time job outside the home plus my full-time job at home. It’s been awhile since I’ve stopped to study each of my children and to just rejoice in who they are, what they’ve accomplished, where they are going in life. I’m trying, each day, to take some time to think about each one of them – to really focus in on them. And I find myself falling deeper in love with them.
It’s not that they are being “good” or that they’ve done something sweet. It’s who they are. I am in awe of what God is doing in their lives. I fall so short as a mother that is only by God’s grace that I can parent. I see His love and grace stamped all over each of my children. I am so blessed to be in their lives and to have them in mine. I am so in love.
Happy Birthday! You are now 12 years old. You have grown up so much this year but especially over the summer. Physically you’ve grown quite a bit. You’re just a smidge shorter than I am and it drives you nuts. You want to be taller. You’ve grown more than just physically. I see you handling situation less like a child and more like an adult. You interact well with other adults.
You still have your eye on a career in veterinary sciences. You love all animals but especially horses. I think you’ve read a hundred horse novels and watched just as many horse movies. It’s hard to tell if you’ll outgrow this phase like so many girls do or if you will stick with it.
It’s so hard to put into words the change I’ve seen in you. It happened when you were a toddler too. One day you were my baby and then one morning I woke up and that baby was gone and replaced by this little preschooler. My little child is gone and has been replaced by a young lady.
I am always so proud of you.
I suppose I should record some of your favorites… You still love purple… including purple hair! You love horses. And dogs. And cats. And snakes. This list could go on and on. You still devour books. It would have been fun to keep an ongoing list of all the books you’ve read. It would be quite the list already. You like to swim, ride your bike, ride the dirt bike, and draw. Lots of drawing going on at our house. And, of course, you draw a lot of horses.
I love you more than you can possibly know.
Our family has grown. No I’m not pregnant. And no, we didn’t add any more animals. We have actually added a part-time child to our gang.
Chickie has two best friends at her school. The three of them are joined at the hip and conspire to spend every waking hour together. Ms. B lives only a few miles away and Macintosh is just down the street. (not their real names) They are both good kids and I’m happy for Chickie.
While getting to know the families of the two girls we’ve learned that the home of Macintosh does not have the type of environment I would like to expose my daughter to. The mother is nice as can be but there are choices being made that we aren’t comfortable with. Chickie is very aware of the situation and is quite happy to have her friend come to our house. As school has progressed Macintosh has spent more and more time in our home. At least once a week, if not two or three, she spends the night (even on school nights). She is polite and respectful and even pitches in with the chores. We love having her over and even more so we love that we can provide a safe, loving place for her.
I love having a house full of children. Now I just have to figure out how I can add about 3 or 4 more!
The hubby and I discovered last night that our Chickie is not making wise decisions in her social life. Boys are involved. Best friends are involved. Lies and secrets, disrespect and hurtful words. Sigh. It makes me so sad. Part of me wants to let nature take its course – let her learn from the mistakes she is making. But these aren’t math problems… these are people’s feelings she’s hurting. It’s time to step in and parent.
I’m glad that my hubby advised that we wait until tonight to talk to her. Last night I was too upset and I’m sure I wouldn’t have handled it well. I know I wouldn’t have because even after a good night’s sleep I’m still struggling with how to approach her, what words to say, what discipline to use. I know that she needs to make apologies, she needs time off from her email, and needs to mature more before ‘dating’. But how to wrap that all up and present it to her in a way that she will listen and take it to heart…
I know that this all sounds like big drama when in the big scheme of things it’s a small thing. But I know that one small step off of the path can lead to another step and another until pretty soon she’s on the wrong path altogether. My hubby and I have been leery of the teen years. We know that the training wheels are off and Chickie has to learn to balance and steer but we’re still here to guide her and encourage her. The foundation has been laid and how she learns to steer her life now will affect how she drives as an adult. So that’s why we’re taking this little thing and using it to teach her.
I need to spend some time praying… asking the Holy Spirit to be at work in her heart, asking for a soft heart for me and a gentle tongue.
I was explaining to Chickie that her summary of the book was more an in depth detailing of chapter one, paragraph one. As she walked back to the table to re-write it she answered, “It was paragraph 18.”
Between the depression and the meds all I want to do is sleeeeeeeeeeeeep. My hubby is awesome and he would let me crash any time I asked. But I have three kids. I don’t want them to grow up and remember their childhood as a time that Mommy slept all the time. I want to be with them. I want to watch them interact with the world. So yesterday after we picked them up from their after school homework club we stopped by the local pizza place, picked up a few pies and headed to one of their favorite parks. After they demolished the pizza they were off and running.
The Boy had brought his football and he convinced his dad to throw it around with him. I sat and watched my Boy. It’s so easy for me to see him grow up. I can picture him as a teenager… playing sports, goofing with friends, dating girls… growing up. It’s not just physically that I see him growing up either. He’s maturing. He used to be this shy child that stuttered. He’s not the most outgoing boy but in his own quiet way he becomes Mr. Popular. I think it’s because of how he treats people. He has a gentle heart. At his parent teacher conference the teacher explained that the kids sit at tables of four. The Boy was seated with a very talkative trouble maker and two girls. The girls had long since abandoned the table to sit elsewhere in the class but The Boy is tolerant and has stuck it out. He said he just smiles at Mr. TalksALot and goes back to his work. He just gets along with everyone. That is a trait I admire and adore in him.
Beans finished her pizza and immediately beelined for the swings. She could probably spend hours just swinging. We’re going to have to see what we can do about getting a swing in our yard. She swings as high as she can, grinning ear to ear. She’s a daredevil – always willing to try something new. She’s also independent but not a loner. She likes to have people around and she does like to play with friends but she also has no problem going about doing her own thing. I don’t see her caving to peer pressure. My little Beans is her own person.
It was probably the most interesting to watch Chickie. She’s in the awkward state of preteen – no longer a child and not quite a teenager. She was the last to finish eating and she hesitated before heading to the field with The Boy and her Daddy. She must have felt she didn’t quite fit in because she headed off to the playground. I saw her swing with Beans for a bit and then she disappeared into the jungle gym. She reappeared and headed back to the field. Standing on the edge she watched them toss the football back and forth a few times. She did a few cartwheels calling out “watch this Daddy!”. Eventually she made her way back to the picnic table where I was sitting. She was restless though. I encouraged her to go back and play. She found her way back to the swings and then back to the table. I can see her struggle… too old for the babies on the playground, not interested in the sports on the field, and no text book in sight. Yes, you read that right. She was eager to get home to work on more homework. This girl devours books. A girl after my own heart. Except she takes it further… she even enjoys non-fiction. My husband leaves the room when Chickie and I start talking science. He says we use too many big words. I love my little nerd 😉 Her conferences were a little different. We went to her homeroom where she led the conference. She had set goals, evaluated her performance and set new goals for the next quarter. After discussing that her homeroom teacher came to our table to review her report card and answer any of our questions. Instead of writing their own comments each of the teachers write numbers that correspond to a pre-written comment. Mr. C said he had never seen so many 2’s on a report card. The 2’s stood for “works independently and stays on task”. He complimented her and told her that was a sign of intelligence. For a child that is so easily distracted (Look! Something shiny!) it was quite impressive. I am so proud of her! I am grateful that in this awkward stage of growing up she has this part of her life that she really shines.
I lasted until about 6:30 before my eyelids became too heavy. We packed it up and headed home. Chores were completed, homework finished, showers taken, teeth brushed and bedtime stories read. Finally. Time for bed.
The kids have been going to their new charter school for a few weeks now. Today Chickie brought home a sealed letter “To the Parents of: Chickie”. She had a big grin on her face when she handed it to me. It started off with Congratulations… That’s always a great way to start off a letter! Chickie is the student of the month!!
The school participates in the Character Counts program that focuses on the Six Pillars of Character: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship. Each month the school focuses on one of the character. They do this through assemblies, class instruction, writing assignments, and plenty of discussion. This month the focus is on trustworthiness. The students and teachers voted, by grade level, for the student that best exemplified this character. Now that Chickie has been selected she is working on a short essay that answers questions like; who she looks up to, her favorite school subject, what she likes best about school, and what she wants to be when she grows up. Next Tuesday will be their assembly on trustworthiness and during the assembly they will award the students in each grade that was voted most trustworthy.
We’ve been having some issues at home with Chickie and trust. What she says and what she does has been two different things lately. It’s become difficult to believe her or to trust her. I am so grateful that she is receiving this honor at school. I am praying it will recalibrate her scale so to speak. She is realizing how important trust is and for her peers and teachers to recognize that trait in her at school… perhaps it will translate to home a little better.
So CONGRATULATIONS Chickie!! While trust may be a rocky issue at home I know that you strive to do your best at school each and every day. I am so proud of you for having strong character in the midst of your peers.