(There are pictures at the bottom if you want to skip ahead to that part.)
So, it's Mother's Day. The day I am supposed to be overjoyed by the chance I have to be the mother to my beautiful children. Paige will be 6 this month. She thinks, however, that she is a teenager and she has the attitude to back it up. My sweet, compliant little princess is suddenly struggling with obedience, honesty, and so many of the other qualities that have always come naturally to her. Hailey is 3, and potty training... STILL. We have more accidents in a week than successes sometimes. It is such a frustrating, messy process. She also hates going to bed at night and also for naptime. Fighting about the stupid toddler bed is a constant in our home and it feels like the fight lasts all day long. Easton just barely turned 1. He is teething, and if that wasn't pleasant enough he has the WORST cold to compliment his suffering. It has been a very sleepless week full of screaming, coughing and that HORRID nose-sucker-ball thing (which might be one of the torture devices used at Guantanamo that got them into trouble).
You know what? Motherhood is hard. It is seriously the most challenging thing anyone can go through. And the biggest perk is that it NEVER ends. I watch my mother with respect and admiration as she continues to lose sleep (and hair) over the choices that her children make.
You know what else? I can think of few days in my life that I have been more overwhelmed with gratitude and peace. I hate holidays. And birthdays. And any other occasion where you are required by social norms to be pleasant and joyful. So I was kind of dreading today. But I have spent today doing more observing and more thinking about my job than I probably ever have before. For starters, I get the best partner in this journey. Brandon is the most incredible father I could have hired for my kiddos. He is patient, loving, fun, and very enduring. Secondly, I have the best examples. My mother, mother-in-law, and grandparents have brought so much to the table. I will admit that the mother I am most like is my own. (She would disagree, but everyone else can see it, so it must be true. Sorry, Mom!) She is everything I want to be. And I often have faith that my children are going to be just fine simply because I have enough of my mom's traits to get us all through. And finally, Heavenly Father knows me so very well. He is on my side. He has allowed me to borrow three of his most precious spirits. And He seems to have the confidence that I won't mess them up too bad. When we first found out we were expecting again, I was terrified. Let's be real. I'm still terrified. But somewhere deep inside I realize that He trusts me. Somewhere deep down I recognize that if He has faith in my abilities to do this, then I should have faith in Him.
Finally, I need to touch on some of the teenagers we have had the chance to work with. I know a couple of people who have struggled with fertility and have been on emotional roller-coasters because of their trials. Today in church someone quoted Jeffrey R. Holland when he addressed these women. He reminded them that "the call to nurture is not limited to our own flesh and blood." I have had more trials, more learning, experienced more sacrifice through working with some of these kids. I have also received so much knowledge, so much inspiration, and learned more about my relationship with Christ through loving other people's children. Although there are many examples of this, the most dear to my heart is Dwight. He has really taught me that family could never be defined by legal or biological factors. He is a part of our family. And the chance to serve as his "mother" has added to our family in ways that I never thought possible.
Today has been amazing. If you are still reading this, I apologize for how many words it takes me to express how I feel. And yet at the end, I know I didn't get the whole emotion right. Blame it on the ___________... pregnancy, sleep deprivation, holiday, you fill in the blank! But I started this Blog to replace scrapbooking and journaling in my already busy life. So I needed to get my thoughts and feelings down while they are fresh. Now I am going to go sit on my new porch swing, with the gorgeous new bench cushion, and smell my new wax melty things and enjoy every last minute of this fabulous day.
My Mom and I.
Dwight always lets Paige do what she wants. He will even take a pacifier if it means she will be happy.
Paige, Hailey and Easton in their full glory. December 2010.
My momma and I. November 2010.
One of my favorite pictures of my three. Can you blame me for being prideful?
My little man on his blessing day. August 2010.
Paiger-Paige and her "brother" at his baptism. March 2008.