Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The beginning of the end

of my 20's,...which will lead to a new beginning and new chapter in my life.  I started out my 20's as a fairly seasoned College student as I was a junior, so looking forward to my future and hopeful of all the things life would bring me. I was living in an apartment off campus, as a psuedo adult, and was a member of a service sorority that kept me busy, I filled my days with service projects, studying, sisterhood events, paper writing, planning my future and the boyfriend, and my nights were living for the moments I may not remember with the friends I would never forget.   

My 20's have been a decade of great change and transition for me, I went from being college student, with all these ideals and ideas about the world, to being a fairly seasoned worker, with quite a few jobs under my belt, a wife, a mother,  and most recently a stay at home mom and a member of the large unemployed population, but having the best job in the world. I have changed and grown more in my last 10 years of life than I think I ever did in my first 20.  Some days were fantastic, some sucked a whole lot, some days I wanted to just go to bed so I could wake up and start new the next day, and other days I never wanted to end. 

I have learned what family truly means to me and have begun to appreciate my parents much more now as I am happy to not just call them Mom and Dad, but to call them friends as well.  I have learned to hang on to the lessons of the past that will help me with my future and to forgive myself for things that will not.  I have realized that there really are people that you must have in your life, for example, a best friend who holds so much of your past that no matter the physical distance, your hearts are still in the same place.  That as much as you bicker when you are younger, your sisters will become good friends and confidants when you get older.  I have learned that my past will not define me, but that it did help shape me. 

I found that love crops up in the strangest of places, most notably in front of a fraternity house on a random Thursday night when I was least expecting it, but most definitely hoping for it.  That, that love would test me in ways I never knew existed, but at the same time teach me so many things about myself.  It would also take me to some dark places but light up my world more than I ever knew it could be.

I have found that being a mother is the most challenging yet rewarding experience that I have ever had.  That it is truly possible to fall in love at first sight, and that I am much stronger than I ever thought that I was.  That loud music in a smokey bar, surrounded by my friends, would pale in comparison to quiet nights in, and 3 am feedings when I get smiles cause my babies bellies are full.  That even though I miss those nights some times, I would never give up what I have now. 

My 20's have been such a great learning experience, and have opened my eyes in so many ways.  I am looking forward to my 30's, but am still a little sad to close this chapter of change in my life.  I realize though that as with anything closing the chapter does not mean forgetting it, it means building on it and creating more memories in the book of life.  It means taking all of the lessons learned and moving forward, it means evolving once again and it means a new era.

So heres to the next decade...may it have as many wonderful moments, heartbreaks, challenges, and tests as the last one!

                                            "grow old with me, the best is yet to be"

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Promises to my Babies

When Abby was Born I recieved a book from my Mom, it is called "100 Hundred Promises To My Baby"  It is written By Mallika Chopra.  It has been something that I read when it is quiet or when I am getting Abby ready for bed, and soon I will share it with Jackson, I obviously cannot get through all of them because Abby is hardly patient enough for a Curious George book much less 100 promises each with an anecdotal story, so I pick my favorites throughout the book and read them to her every once in awhile.  Now I will share my favorites with you, not only because I enjoy this book and think it is one every Mom should have but because I am vowing them to my babies, and want to share it with the world so here goes...

"I promise to always remember that you are my gift from God"
"I promise to always cherish the moment you came into this world"
"I promise to help you know that we are always together"
"I promise to keep an open heart and mind as our relationship changes and evolves"
"I promise to trust my own instincts when caring for you"
"I promise to hold you, but never hold on to you"
"I promise to help you see that you are perfect just the way you are"
"I promise to always tell you the many reasons I am proud of you"
"I promise to give you gifts that build your character, values, and spirit"
"I promise to help you see that happiness is not dependent on circumstances"
"I promise to teach you that some of the most important lessons in your life can be learned from your darkest and most challenging moments"
"I promise to teach you not to take life too seriously"
"I promise to help you always reach for the stars"
"I promise to remember the importance of humility"
"I promise to show you that sometimes the most special friendships are found in the most unlikely people in the most unlikely places"
"I promise to always remember the first moment that I realized I was a mother"
"I promise to remember how your happiness makes my heart pound with utter joy"
"I promise to love you with no limits, from the depths of my soul, even when it makes me more vulnerable than I have ever felt before"

There are so many other things that I know I will promise to my babies over their lifetime, but I think this is a good start.  Being a mother has profoundly changed my life, it has taken me to places I never knew existed within myself, it has tested my abilities, my patience, my faith, and love, over and over again.  Each day though I come back to the same place, the place where I was when I first became a mother, the place where I was when I first watched my babies fall aleep in my arms, the place where I was when they smiled for the first time, or found their laugh, and that is a place of pure and unending love.

So all of this and more I promise to my babies, I love you Abby and Jackson, and I thank god everyday that he chose me to be your mommy, and to let me raise and care for two of his most precious gifts and blessing.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Charles Dickens once said...

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness"
Well that is the best way I can describe our trek into the terrible two's with two under two.
Some days are wonderful and I thank god for my blessings and cry as I look at my beautiful children, and other days I cry when I look at my beautiful children and wonder what the hell have we gotten ourselves into.

Most days I survive, they are a flurry of diaper changes, bottle feeding, snacks of goldfish which are then mashed into the carpet, snacks of animal crackers fed to the dog, bananas mushed into the sofa, whilst trying to change Jax, and attempting to keep Abby's clothes on because she is lightning fast when it comes time to take them off, which is whenever she deems necessary.  They are days of beauty, wonderment, and amazement that we created these two beautiful people, they are days of trials, and sheer exhaustion, when one is sleeping the other one is getting up, when one is eating the other one is screaming, when one is crying the other one wants to be played with.  I have never felt so divided yet whole in my entire life and still I feel overwhelmed and at times nostalgic of days gone past.  Days when my husband and I could enjoy a quiet meal, days when we could have a conversation that did not happen over a crying baby/child, days when we could come and go as we pleased and stay up till all hours on Friday night because we had nowhere to be on Saturday.  Days when that last $10 could go to a cheap bottle of wine and a movie, instead of Diapers.

But when I think of those days, as happy as we thought we were, they will never compare to waking up at the crack of dawn to a toothy grin, and warm snuggles, to seeing my babies first step, or their first smile.  To seeing when they find their feet for the first time, or realize that they have self made Binky's on their hands and are quite happy with those. 

Motherhood takes me to the brink most days, the brink of happiness, the brink of exhaustion, the brink of tears, the brink of frustration, of pure joy and of never ending love.  While there are times when I feel like I can't put Abby back in her bed for the 37th time, or when I can't rock Jax anymore because my back is aching and my ears are ringing from the screaming, I go on, I go on because when I've sung the baby tree song till my voice is hoarse or I have finished lap 200 around the living room with my poor colicky boy, I look down at their sweet, little faces an realize that I will miss this.  That someday not to far from now I will watch my daughter walk down the aisle, that I will watch my son, hold his first born, and I will remember how small they once were and how long some of these nights were, hell how long some of these days are, and I will miss them.

The terrible two's have started in our house, They are a practice in will, and defiance, and rule breaking and creation of boundaries.  We have gone from having a perfect sleeping through the night child to one who wants to play at 5am, from having a child who understands the meaning of no! to one who understands it but doesn't care and will do what she wants anyway.  Meals are usually a battle of wits, and eaten on the run most days, and diaper changes, well I never quite knew the herculean strength that a toddler could have.

I think the two's test us more than they do the kids, it is a test of control for me, especially after the 30th time of taking Abby off of a chair and from climbing onto the table and then the breakfast bar, when truth be told all I want to do is lock her in the dog's house so I can have some peace for 5 minutes, but instead have to tell her in my most calm mommy voice that tables are for eating and not climbing.  That Dudley is not a horse, and that it is not OK to throw your sippy at mommy when you want more milk.  That Jax is a baby so if we sit on him he gets hurt, and yes baby I know the bouncer used to be yours but big girls don't sit in bouncers, or swings, or bumbos, or infant seats and as fun as it may look you will break them. 

It is a true test of patience as well, of finding new ways to say no, especially when they start yelling it back at you...with a huge smile on their face while running the other way to do just what you told them not to.  Patience to sit in the bathroom when they ask to go potty but really just want to sit there and then flush because it is fun for them, patience to deal with a screaming infant who was just sleeping but because his sister beaned him with her snack cup he is now awake and screaming.

Organized chaos is the best way I can describe most days, and while it is frustrating, and challenging, and some of the hardest work I have ever done, I know that everything I do is shaping these people that Donnie and I created, every hug I give after a time out is helping Abby and one day Jax to understand that while what they did was wrong it doesn't mean that Mommy and Daddy don't love them, and while we are disappointed in the choices they made we will never be disappointed in who they are. 

I truly think the terrible two's lay a foundation for the rest of your parenting, and the approach you will take to it.  So while some days I want to run and hide, or head off to a far away place free from toy land mines, dirty diapers, and baby puke, I stop and remind myself, that we are in the business of teaching and growing human beings.  Growing them into successful, well mannered, and happy adults, and while most days I survive, most days I also feel truly blessed, blessed that I get the opportunity to raise my children and teach them and grow them, and watch them change.  So I think Charles Dickens had it right, it is the best and worst of times all rolled into one.