Subtly, slowly, my life is changing. Oh, and Pax turns 10

One of the alarming thoughts that wakes me from my deepest sleeps in the middle of the night has come to fruition. To some, this may sound stupid and I accept that but I am sharing this anyway.

The past few days I’ve been grappling with the fact that my smalls are considerably less small than they were when I started blogging and as of today, I have but ONE child left whose age is summed up by a single digit. The rest have all joined the double-digit club and I’m struggling with this reality.

My youngest son turned 10 this afternoon and his mother is, as usual, a virtual mess of emotions.

I am beyond happy that they are all growing, healthy, smart and strong. At the same time, I feel incredibly sad that they are no longer small and scrumptious. They are, obviously, still young, they are still children and will always be my babies, but even I must admit that there is not an actual baby among them anymore and that makes my heart hurt in ways that I feel stupid for admitting.

So today, I try really hard to keep my head in the birthday game. Baking and (poorly) decorating cakes, preparing the requested birthday dinner, hunting down the perfect birthday gift, attaching the specially chosen helium balloon to his chair and telling myself that tears are NOT appropriate today. Today is for happiness. Today marks one of the very best and happiest days of my life, the day I finally came face-to-face with his perfect little self.

So why then, does it feel like a very long chapter of my life is closing and moving me, not so gently, onto another stage of life? A stage of life for which I feel ill-prepared and completely not interested in entering.

I have to Scarlet O’Hara this issue and think about it tomorrow. Today, the only thing that I know for sure is that today is NOT my day. This is not my day to show sadness, sorrow or pain. This day is decidedly NOT about me. Today is my Paxton’s day to smile, giggle, eat hot dogs and cake (with luck, not at the same time) and open presents and burst with excitement when he sees what hides beneath the wrapping paper. Today is his day to feel the pride of being 10, to feel all the very big feelings of being bigger, older, faster, and smarter than he felt yesterday (that extra digit can do that to a kid), but also, because today he is all of those things.

And today, like every yesterday and every tomorrow, I hold dear to heart that whatever else is going for me, he just makes my life happy. ❤️

~A.

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This morning was hard and I owe them an apology. A letter to my smalls

Dear Mason, Deacon, Paxton and Miranda,

First, let me start by saying that I love you all, beyond reason and measure.

Second, let me admit to you all that I am human, incredibly fallible and flawed.

Thirdly, allow me to apologize for my outburst this morning. I could give you a hundred reasons why, lay blame on the four of you and others in my life, and make endless excuses for myself, but I will not. At the end of the day, I, just like everyone else, am entirely responsible for my feelings, thoughts, words and actions. This morning, I did not walk away, breathe, pray and ask God for the help that I needed in that moment. I did not keep my voice quiet and remain in control of myself and my feelings. I allowed myself to become overwhelmed by the chaos of my mind and my life and I brought you all along for the ride. And for that I am truly and eternally sorry.

I honestly do believe that as people, no one can “make us feel” or “make us do” anything. We have ultimate control over one thing in life. Ourselves. We choose our feelings, our reactions, our actions and our choices, and we always have more than one choice.

I promise to continue to strive to do better, to be better and to work harder to live the lessons that I try so hard to impart to all of you. Turn the other cheek, practice forgiveness and personal responsibility, be kind, always. Be kind even when, no especially when someone is not being kind to you. Think about what our purpose is in this life – to love, to take care of and be of service to others, to make our home, family and world a safer, better, more welcoming and loving place to be, for everyone and anyone who walks into (or out of) our lives.

I am enormously proud of each and every one of you, together with your brother Declan. The five of you, are collectively and individually, my entire heart, and are perfect both in your perfect and imperfect moments. Without you, there is no me.

You are, my beautiful babies, in three words, so wonderfully made.

Love,
Mummy.

He has a suspicious mind, that one.

It is no secret that my Paxton loves him some apples. Like, he LOVES apples. All four of my smalls do, but Pax, in particular, is the most emotionally invested in them. Our household will easily go though 20 or more pounds of apples in a single week. Raw.

But right now, it is also the second-coming of teething season here at headquarters, as all four of them are now in one stage or another of losing baby teeth and growing ‘grown up’ teeth to replace and displace them. So, biting into an apple, at times, becomes an issue. Particularly if the apple is lovely and crunchy the way I prefer and the way they used to prefer our apples.

So, being the mindful and caring momma that I am (stop snickering!), I starting to set a bowl of apples out on the counter for those of them who either were in the ‘sensitive to cold’ or the ‘it’s wiggly and hurts to bite down’ stages of his or her teething journey. And Paxton, seeing the apples so readily available on the counter, just started to default to the bowl instead of the refrigerator every time he wanted an apple (often 6-8 times a day – no lie).

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But one day last week, he by-passed the bowl and opened the fridge. He found himself eye-to-drawer with an entire produce drawer full (15 lbs, give or take) of freshly washed and ready-to-eat apples. He dug around for the largest one, closed the fridge and took a bite. Then he turned to walk out of the kitchen, shooting me the side-eye and saying suspiciously, “Oh, I see you’ve been hiding apples from me. Huh.” He took another bite and sauntered out of the room, clearly a changed boy whose trust had been compromised on the deepest of levels.

He still tells me he loves me everyday but I wonder, if, in the back of his mind, the idea now lurks that I’m just not quite meant to be fully trusted.

He’s keeping a close eye on me now. I can feel just it.

EDITED TO ADD: I don’t know WHY the picture is sideways. It appears to be right-side up on my screen, in WordPress, in my previews and in my media library. But here? On Facebook? It’s freakin’ sideways. The universe is messing with me again. Like I really need outside forces playing with my fragile grip on sanity. ????

February life lessons from my kitchen table

Late again. I know. But I needed to make sure that February was well and truly over. And when I figured out that it probably was, we were blessed with a legitimate, can’t-get-the-cars-of-the-driveway-busses-are-cancelled snow day. After a brief attempt by one small to attend school, everyone was home and time slipped away from me again.

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???? this day – everyone safe and sound at home.

???? this day. Miss M. wanted to go to school to show off her new smile (lost tooth) so we walked over, only to find out she would be THE ONLY student there. Managed to convince her to come home again. ????

???? this day. Miss M. wanted to go to school to show off her new smile (first lost tooth) so we walked over, only to find out she would be THE ONLY student there. Managed to convince her to come home again. ????

So here we are, March 4th, finally wrapping up February and putting words around what I learned this past month.

1. As good as my intentions may be, I make more mistakes than I do meals a day. And often times I make the same mistakes over and over and over again. Until one could honestly wonder if I am doing it intentionally or spitefully or without regard or care. The answer is no. I’m not. I walk through my days honestly trying my very best not to upset, insult, offend or maim anybody. I came to terms with the fact that I fail more often than I succeed and the result is shitty. I do not have a dull mind. I’m not stupid, oblivious or otherwise simple. Yet somehow, I manage to say the wrong thing, the wrong way at the wrong time almost daily. It’s exhausting. I’m sure for everyone, but definitely for me.

2. Parenting hurts my head. When I think about it too much, my head and my heart ache. From both sadness and happiness. Being a mum, my children are not perfect but they are perfectly mine they each create a prism of joy in my life that is uniquely their own. I find that I often must stop myself from wishing they will never grow up, that they will stay small and close to me forever (too late for that now though, ages 5 thru 22, so no real babies here anymore). All the while still wishing for and working on helping them to grow and achieve and follow their own life paths. I’m a mess of contradictions. As much as we all say “enjoy this time, it flies by far too quickly” and no matter how many children I have had, I never feel like I have fully appreciated and cherished each age and stage enough. I always have a list of things that I wish I would have done differently or better or more, and I worry that my children may feel cheated that I did not do those things with them. I just hope that they know that 1) they are my favourite and 2) I always have their backs no matter what.

3. My super power is losing and gaining the same 10 pounds indefinitely. Not 8 pounds, not 12 pounds. No. It’s 10. That’s my pound number. I feel like if I broke out and lost 15 pounds, the spell would be broken and my excess weight would vanish over night. Then I could choose a new super power. I’m thinking along the lines of a healing superpower (like John Coffey in The Green Mile ????) or telekinesis (like Matilda). I think those would be way better super powers to have instead of being the master of the same 10 asshole pounds.

4. I need to learn how to let things go, even if someone else is holding on. Or maybe I have to learn how to separate my feelings from those of others. I’ve only learned that I need to learn how to do this, not that I already have. My moods, feelings, motivation, happiness are, to my dismay and horror, very intertwined with that of those around me. If someone I love is in a terrible mood, unhappy, angry or down, I fall down that hole with them rather than staying ‘up’ and being okay, able to help them out of it. This does not apply to young children. I tend to  be able to lend them the support they need to feel better. Although that may be because their needs are less complicated? But with adults, like my eldest son or husband, this can quickly become a vicious circle with no end because he may need something from me to help him to feel better but now, I’m in no position to help him because I’m upset and lost inside my own head and feelings. That is not the person I want to be, but in all honesty, it’s who I am right now. Any ideas how I can disengage myself and let someone else have feelings without adopting their moods or feelings as my own? Maybe how to stop taking everything personally and be an objective listener rather than defensive listener?

5. I liked being an only child. And by liked, I mean, I loved it. But I am so glad that my children have each other. I loved being a family of three when I was growing up. It sounds terrible, but I loved not having to share my toys, my clothes, my parents love. I know that I was taken to more places, given more experiences and attention, went on more vacations all because my parents could afford it – because there was only me to provide for. But now that I’m older and they are getting older (as much as I HATE acknowledging that), I realize more and more how nice it would be to have had a sibling to remember a shared childhood with, to get our kids together with, and who would be like having another part of my parents around longer.

Well. February certainly appears to have brought about my inner maudlin. So, good-bye and good riddance February and hello March, you fierce and sexy minx. Let’s make good shit happen, shall we?

I've also come to realize that I talk about killing people an awful lot. But don't worry. I'm highly unlikely to follow through. It's just my twisted mind at work.

I’ve also come to realize that I talk about killing people an awful lot. But don’t worry. I’m highly unlikely to follow through. It’s just my twisted mind at work. That, an I find all the wrong and inappropriate things hilariously funny, so I share. Because I’m a giver.