This Is Motherhood

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It’s a constant game of lost and found. You lose library books, sippy cups, sweaters and socks. Then you find baby dolls tucked under your covers, get well cards on your nightstand after your nap, your lost keys in a play purse. Every day you lose some and find some.

It is exhaustion and interrupted sleep for as far as I can see. Even after the baby phase there are nightmares, habitual waking, early mornings, sicknesses, etc. When I was a new mom I met some parents of teenagers and they were complaining of picking up their son from a party after midnight. All I could say was, “So you’re still not sleeping through the night?” They laughed, perhaps at my naivety.

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It is tearing up when random strangers say you’re a great mom. Like the produce man at Superstore or the grandma at the gym. Motherhood is hard and you don’t get promotions, raises or regular acknowledgement. That’s why a genuine “you’re doing a great job” or “you’re a good mom” feels like a lone cheer on this marathon of mothering.

It’s being amazed at how children grow. It starts with the first coo and smile. Then you can’t believe you need new clothes for him every few months (or weeks!). Your heart bursts the first time she says, “I wove you mama” and then you lose count of how many words she’s mastered. You watch them grow, learn, and excel and it blows you away how far they’ve come.

It’s a change in pace in everything. It takes twice as long to get out the door, road trips require more stops and a walk to the park can take an hour because you must stop to look at worms, ladybugs and collect pine cones. Children make you slow down and when you do, you start to see again.

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It’s hanging on and letting go. You hang on to the sweet babyness while letting go as they take those first steps away from you: the first sleepover at Grandma’s, the first time with the babysitter or preschool, the first day of school. You hang on to them in various ways: extra stories before bed, weekend morning snuggles, holding hands, countless pictures, journaling and baby boxes full of memories. You hang on and let go all at the same time.

It’s a constant mess. Whatever standard you had for a decent home, it will be knocked down a notch or 10. You will either devote all your time and energy to keeping a perfect home, or learn some new tricks (like skipping the folding part of laundry, or vacuuming biweekly (or monthly!)).

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It’s doing your best and second guessing if it’s enough. You examine the family diet and wonder if it is healthy enough. You ponder about your children’s amount of sleep, vitamin D, exercise, extra curricular activities, etc, etc. You work hard then worry that you should be working harder.

It’s having a plan that is going to be revised. You start with a plan of action and if it doesn’t work, you revise and try again. Parenting seems to be a balancing act of providing some stability and consistency while adapting to the individual child.

It’s the occasional crash landing. But somehow you get back up and keep on, keep on.

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A superb summer

Since my eldest daughter entered into the educational regime, our lives are structured by the school calendar. We have to plan around Stat holidays, PD days and vacation times officiated by the office.

When summer finally rolled around this year, I was ready. During the last two months I had enough of school and was dreading the humdrum of homework and last minute special projects. Summer was calling my name.

My generous mother-in-law invited me and the girls to stay with her on Vancouver Island, which is basically one of the most beautiful locations in Canada. I took up her offer like a drowning sailor grabs onto a lifeline. YES! I’ll BE RIGHT THERE!

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Go West, Young Lady, Go West

young child on ferry mountian scenery

It took a week of packing and two days of driving, but we did it. The girls and I have relocated for a few weeks to Vancouver Island. My mother-in-law moved out here this winter and after setting up her apartment promptly bought bedding for us. She was beckoning and I was hungry for a change – change of scenery, change of pace.

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This Girl’s Life on Cloud Nine

Happy Girl In Ukrainian costume

My daughter, Nene, turned six this spring. And her birthday landed between her younger sister’s two surgeries. Needless to say, while being stressed and preoccupied my husband and I neglected our eldest child.

But we saw it. We saw Nene’s confidence drop. We saw her struggle with minor tiffs at school. We saw her overreact and lash out. We saw her craving our attention and acting out to get it.

We saw her hurting.

And it hurt us.

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Living in the red zone

Gauges to tell us how something is running or functioning. The tell-tale needle points to numbers or colors that indicate: good, warning or danger.

Generally I’ve been cruising along life in the safe zone. I’ve had a health scare myself, but it was quickly caught and corrected. My husband has gotten ill, but never life-threatening. And up until recently my children have had no major issues.

In the last two and a half months I’ve been in the red zone four times. And now I feel that I’m settling in the yellow zone because Nono hasn’t had a perfect recovery.

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Book Reviews for June 2016

Devouring reading material has been my passion since junior high when I read through every Nancy Drew I could get my hands on. (A new girl scoffed at me, but I didn’t care.) In high school I read mostly novels and my favorite that I can remember to this day was White Oleander.  College opened my eyes to more genres and that’s when I found my favorite – creative nonfiction. Truth really is stranger than fiction and I love a real story that is told with creativity and skill.

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The Winding Road to Recovery Post-Op

child sleeping in hosptial bed

I’ll be honest. When I saw my 3-year-old fresh out of surgery being rolled to her room, I was scared  to touch her and apprehensive to talk to her. She was as fragile as a flower petal and I didn’t want to hurt her and didn’t know what to say.  Her tiny body just had a big surgery. She was groggy, sad, hurting and full of tubes. It was 11 p.m. and we were in for a rough night.

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When the stomach bug isn’t the stomach bug

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Children and sicknesses go hand in grubby hand. But sometimes, an illness strikes and you feel that you are in unfamiliar territory – the lows are too low, the pain is too great, and you feel that something isn’t right. Then after a whirlwind day in the ER you’re hugging and kissing your child before she collapses into a medicated sleep on the operating table.

I know. Here’s what recently happened to us.

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What have you been doing with your time?

Many people wonder it and few actually ask, “What have you been doing with your time?” I usually get this question from people who a.) have never had children and b.) have never spent a lot of time around them.

I always want to give a smart answer, but I’m just not fast enough on my feet. And when I try to say something sarcastic such as, “Oh, not much” it just isn’t sarcastic enough for them to get. So they must think I play Barbies or peruse Pinterest all day.

And while I do feel busy and run around a lot, sometimes I look back on a day and wonder, “What did I do today?” and usually don’t have a lot to show for it.

So here we go. This is a typical* day. (Typical changes all time, but our days do seem to go around-and-around like a carousel.)

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