She Runs A Good Race

mothering is a marathon

Baby, You Have Come So Far

Once you hardly moved.  Now you are running.

Once you hardly cried.  Now your cry is heard and understood.

Once you barely spoke.  Now you ask a million-seventy-two questions per day.

Once you could not hold anything in your poor low-tone fingers.  Now you can write two sentences, easily.

Once you could not read the pages of the books you flipped through obsessively.  Now you read. Out loud. To us. All the time.

Once you needed oxygen nightly.  Now you are the oxygen that brings such depth to our family.

Once you needed a feeding tube.  Now we tell you to slow down when you eat your meals.

Once you were a “floppy baby.”  Now you climb rock walls and ropes courses (in harnesses, that is) with amazing tenacity and fearlessness.

Once you needed so many doctor and specialists.  Now you have only two.

Once you just sat there and looked around, peacefully, but not engaged.  Now you play, talk, socialize, giggle and have dance parties with us.

Once you were a diagnosis. Now you are my beloved son who outshines any diagnosis or label.

HAPPY 9TH BIRTHDAY TO RYAN, OUR SWEET LITTLE PRINCE!!!

YOU.   HAVE.   COME.   SO.   FAR.

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I’m A Wanna-Be Fun-Summer-Mama

 

I love summertime and I also truly struggle with summertime.

I love BBQ’s, festive parties, July 4th fireworks, and eating outdoors.

I love that there’s no homework for my 3 kids (and me!).

I love the sunshine and warmth of Southern California.

I love seeing my kids swim and splash and play as if there were no better activity in life ever.

But I really struggle with the kids being out of school, home more, sometimes fighting more.  And Ryan is definitely more anxious with the change in routine, and the decrease in day-filled structure.

The E-L-E-V-E-N weeks of summer is daunting, lets just be real here, for us special needs parents.  If we are lucky to get four weeks of free half-day summer school, it certainly takes the edge off.  I do remember when it used to be 6 weeks.  Ahh…the good old days.

Filling up Ryan’s summer is expensive, whether I hire sitters, therapists, or send him to camps. Not to mention, I have two other kids.  UGH!  So at the same time I am relieved that summer is finally here, I’m also wincing a bit inside. And so is my wallet.

However, an “AHA moment” came to me just before school ended.  To shift away from my fear or dread.  I got a surge of hope and energy and intention.  Ironically or not, it came after a silent moment of prayer and meditation.  I am going to create a bucket list for my summer, for OUR summer: a list of things to do as a family that we will joyfully check off together.  And it does not have to be expensive or extravagant or glamorous either, darnit, to count!

Here are some ideas:

  • Visit 5 new places—which do not require plane rides or long road trips.
  • Give my kids disposable cameras for the summer and make an album of their shots.
  • Sleep in tents in the backyard. (And of course, bring the aero-bed out for Chris and I.)
  • Get a fire-pit—find a deal, or beg, borrow or steal. Ok, not that last one.
  • Have movie nights with friends in our garage/playroom. Invite different families each time.
  • Taste something new or try some new healthy recipes that the kids will absolutely love (at least I hope).

I encourage you to do the same.  Make it fun.  Reconnect with friends and families. Set some easy goals.  Have an adventure.

Be the nice, calm referee when your kids have had too much sibling togetherness, and figure out how to give THEM A BREAK from each other. Let your kids get dirty and sandy.   I should do this as well.  Often.

And if any of the above still sounds daunting or too much work or effort, call another mom/parent, and go for it together.  Make your bucket lists together.  I’m much more brave to get out of my comfort zone (even a trip to the beach), if I have another mom with me. There is power and empowerment in parental numbers.

Go and LOVE your summer of 2012!

 

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Rainbow Poop

There it was. 

Gracie’s glorious puppy markings in the “potty spot.” 

The day before I had caught Gracie eating crayons in the boys’ room. And you know what?  She had rainbow poop.  I actually saw light blue and purple and orange wax remnants.  Yes, I know, too much detail.  You get the picture!  I’m a mom, so these things just don’t gross me out anymore.

It’s striking to me how, now that I am blogging, EVERYTHING becomes a potential post idea.  And right away, as I walked back in the house after this special viewing, I knew there was purpose and meaning to come out of rainbow poop.

Isn’t it so true that what we pour into our kids often gets reflected in what comes out of them? Certainly not identically, perfectly, or precisely–but the rainbow colors are there.

As a mother, I am the instiller and in-filler of thoughts, ideas, and hopefully some good wisdom and old-fashioned common sense.  I teach and I explain and I model and I answer all day long.  I look for teachable moments to share about things of faith and purpose and making good choices.  The topics are endless and vary in seriousness or simplicity.

Between my three kids, I could be asked anything from “where do babies come out?” to “why do I have to share?” to “is this a healthy dinner?” to “is it going to be sunny today and why?” to “what’s a condom machine?” (gulp!)

It’s my job to pour into them.  What goes in, comes out, or will come out as I raise them up.  In different ways.  And sometimes I feel so proud and puffed up inside, in a good mommy-proud-moment-way.  Like when I shared with Luke how another mom-friend at school was full of compliments towards him, (about his attitude, disposition and manners) after observing him on a field trip. I told him that it I was proud of him and his choices and behavior and most importantly, his heart.  Then he said to me, “Well, Mom, you should be proud of yourself, cuz you did that.”  Sniffle, sniffle. Kleenex, please.

The pendulum swings the other way, though, too.  One time Kate got in trouble and was sent to her room.  She was about 5 years old at the time.  As she stomped down the hall, I heard her whisper under her breath, “Damn.”  I was equally horrified and mortified.  Ok, and maybe I laughed a little, too, out of my shock.   Quietly, of course.

Was I modeling that? Did she hear me in the car when these words come out (to myself I thought!) in an almost-accident?  Or when I kluzt-ily stub my toe? I was so humbled and convicted in my heart about it.  I had to stop and pray that although my kids may hear THAT, may they please hear all the RIGHT STUFF I am desperately trying to model and teach and impart to their hearts.

If its true that “what people take in and treasure determines what will emerge in their lives,” then we are back to the Rainbow Poop.  So to speak.

However WIERD this may seem, it did make me think about WHAT GOES IN, GOES OUT.  There is a bible verse that both inspires and challenges me all the time:  “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. ” (Luke 6:45)  Another version goes like this: “What you say flows from what is in your heart.”

As I heard recently,  in an insightful and inspiring seminar on discipling children, “You can’t give what you don’t have.”  Meaning, it is of utmost importance what I put inside MY HEART, MIND AND SPIRIT, in order to pour what is true, noble, pure, good, wise, (the list goes on…) into my children.  Kind of makes me think about when you are on an airplane and the flight attendant goes through the usual emergency procedures.  How parents are to put the oxygen mask on THEMSELVES FIRST, and then on their kids’ mouths.  I cannot save or protect my child if I am not breathing!

The longer I am a mother, the more and more I realize how INTENTIONAL I must be about everything. That could be a blog post all its own. I know there are hours and days I cannot bring back that were not intentional, fruitful, or productive.  Time blitzes by so incredibly fast.  My firstborn just came out of my tummy yesterday and tomorrow he is graduating from 5th grade.  I hope I have used my time well and wisely and joyfully with him as he is only home in my nest a few more short years.

Thankfully he doesn’t eat crayons anymore, but sometimes I do wish he were still little and did.

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