Someday she’ll go to college

IMG_1046I would sit and rock her to sleep late at night when I had a million other things that I needed to do. My house needed to be picked up, the dishes needed to be loaded in the dishwasher and bills needed to be paid.   I would often sit and think about all of the moms that would brag about their 6-month-olds just laying down in their beds and going to sleep each night.  I dreamed about what that must be like to actually have time to myself, get some things done or have a deep conversation with her daddy.  But instead,  I would sit in my rocking chair, holding my baby for an hour each night and praying that she would remain asleep when I put her in her crib.  Sleepily, I would say, “I guess I should enjoy this because “someday” she will go to college.”

IMG_1045Sitting on the floor by her bed, rubbing her back and singing Amazing Grace for the thousandth time, I would often wonder what it would be like to say goodnight, turn off her light and walk downstairs to grade papers, watch my favorite show or sit next to her daddy on the couch.  Three-year-olds are “no joke” and she took a lot of my time.  She demanded that we play in the backyard each night, watch Lilo and Stitch and make up funny songs  (many times late at night).  I was too busy with her to get many things done so I would say, “I guess I should enjoy this because “someday” she will go to college.”

At 6, she became a ninja in the middle of the night, sneaking down into our bed.  We would wake up almost every morning to an extra tiny body between us.  She slept peacefully while her daddy and I dodged her feet, arms, and head.  She talked in her sleep and would often wake us up laughing.  She was asleep but we were definitely NOT.  I would awake to small hands patting my face, lips kissing me good morning and a tiny voice saying,  “I love you, Mommy.”  Exhausted from the night, I would beg her to stay in her bed the next night so Mommy could get some sleep.  But then I would say, “I guess I should enjoy this because “someday” she will go to college.”    

IMG_0349Balls bouncing around my head, money flying out of my billfold, boys, drama, late nights waiting up for her to come home,  the teenage years did not disappoint.  She was easy but she kept us busy.   She and her sister made quite a pair.  Laughter, painting, passing volleyballs, playing in the pool, staying up late, eating a lot of ice cream while enjoying life.  They did everything together and everything very loud.  Life was always on volume 10.  When I told them to quiet down, stop playing in the bed and go to sleep for the 15th time, I would shake my head and say, “I guess I should enjoy this because “someday” she will go to college.”

Well…”Someday”…

it arrived today… a lot sooner than I thought it would. 

And I am so thankful now for all the late night snuggles, the verses of Amazing Grace, crowded beds, and sister laughter,

because

without all of them,

I might not be sitting here tonight crying big.fat.ugly tears.    

Go be AMAZING sweet girl…your mommy will figure this “new normal” out and try to enjoy it

and

be just fine!!IMG_7491

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Why I long to be Jane Goodall

I love you, Jane Goodall.  I really do.

I am filled with envy every time I think about you going off to Africa in the 60’s to watch baboons and chimpanzees and eat from the forest.  More than once I have said, “Why did God not choose me? I could have taken the silence, the nothingness, the moments of wondering what day it was.  Can you imagine?

Growing up, I would see pictures of Jane in National Geographic and actually dream about myself in khaki shorts, a faded button-up shirt, my hair pulled back in a ponytail and a journal. As a mom, I actually long to be her some days. 
Jane and Chimp.jpg

No Spanx, no need to wear wedges or shave my legs, no annoying vuvuzela blowing during the World Cup, no weeds to pull, no dentist appointments to make…just me and the silence and the chimps.

Sometimes I go for months without thinking about you, sweet Jane Goodall and your Chimps.  But about this time every year, I decide you took the easy way out.  You aren’t having to keep children entertained when it is 103 degrees outside or wondering how you will stretch a pound of hamburger meat into a meal for 6 or why you are the only one that knows how to replace empty toilet paper rolls.

But, let’s face it, I have a job.  A job that leaves me unsure of myself, frustrated and sometimes second-guessing God.  I question myself every day and think about what I should have done differently.  Being a mother is hard.  Should I have had the girls earlier?  Maybe we should have had two more? Have I loved them enough? Maybe we should have saved more, given more or asked more questions.

The best advice I got when the girls were younger was from an elderly man at the mall.  It was Christmas time.  The mall was packed and I needed that one item only the mall held.  The oldest was 4 and the youngest was 8 months old and both were hungry, tired and just over it.   I had already bribed, threatened and put myself in time out.  Having had enough, I went against my better judgment and bought a bag of processed, sugar covered,  gluten.  We were sitting in the middle aisle on a bench outside of Restoration Hardware.  As I was longing for the days when I would have nice things again, a man in his 80’s came and sat down next to us.  He smiled and I’m sure he could see the worn look on my face.   He asked what their ages were.  With a sigh, I told him 4 years and 8 months.  He then said something I have never forgotten.  He smiled, shook his head and said, “Oh that’s my favorite age.”  I looked at him like he had three eyes and honestly couldn’t even speak.  Then he said, “Always let the age your kids are at be your favorite.  Then you will never need to look back or ahead but can live in the moment.”

About this time, my oldest wiped her hands on the side of his pants and asked if he was as old as Moses.

Jane and the chimps flashed in my head again.

I have tried to live by his advice ever since.

 

Yes, I long to be Jane some days…but today, I’ll enjoy my favorite 19 and 16-year-olds.   I’m off to enjoy handing out money for gas, lunch and a cute new skirt at The Gap.

Allyson

The Favorite Child

A mom was sitting with her grown children one night after a birthday party.  They were all sharing stories from childhood.  The youngest shared about a time they had taken a road trip and she was left at the gas station and no one noticed for 15 minutes.  The oldest made sure everyone knew he had it the hardest and all of the other siblings should be thankful that he paved the way for them.  There were stories of missed curfews, car accidents, and fishing trips with words that have yet to ever be spoken again.

Then the question was asked, same time, every time they all were together.

“Mom, which one of us was your favorite growing up?” Everyone laughed and knew exactly what their mom would say.  She had answered the same way all of their lives.  “I don’t have a favorite.  I love all of you equally.”  favorite child.jpg

But tonight she paused a little longer and looked at each of her children as they continued to laugh and argue that they were her favorite.

She cleared her throat and the whole room became silent.  And then she looked at each of her children and said, “Yes, you’re right.  One of you was my favorite.

My favorite was the one that was too sick to celebrate his 12th birthday, had chicken pox at Christmas and wore cast on his arm every year in April.

My favorite had a fever in the middle of the night, a nightmare every night straight for 6 weeks and she was the one in my arms in the emergency room.  My favorite child was the one I punished for lying, took the phone away because he was insensitivity to other people’s feelings and informed was a royal pain during Thanksgiving dinner.

My favorite child said dumb things for which there are no excuses.  He was selfish, immature, bad-tempered and self-centered.  She was lonely, unsure of what she wanted to do with the rest of her life, and needed to have “the talk” more than once.

The one I loved the most was the one that I watched struggle to read, struggle to find his way, and struggle to find the hangers in her closet.

So, yes, I did have a favorite and all of you were that child at one time or another. My favorite needed my love the most but deserved it the least.”

oh-so-youre-the-favorite-child-please-tell-me-more-about-this-fantasy-world-you-live-in.jpg

Everyone sat silent.

And then their mom told everyone to stop looking around, grab their kids and go home so she could go to bed.

Go be amazing favorite children everywhere!  AND…call your mom and tell her you love her!

Allyson

Happy Mother’s Day

Why would this post be the hardest?  

She’s my momma.  

She’s my man’s momma.

 

It should be easy to say what they mean to me.

But it’s not.

One gave me life and the other the love of my life.

So I reached out to my siblings and my man’s brothers to tell you exactly what I couldn’t.

 

My Momma first…

Here’s what she taught us.

*Work hard

*Laugh harder

*Pray the hardest

*Always clean up the kitchen even if you didn’t make the mess.

*Line up barn poles.

*Do things right the first time so you don’t have to do them again (see above).

*Always be willing to extend a helping hand.

*Feed people.

*Always tell people you love them.

*Enjoy the simple things in life.

*Go to games of your children and grandchildren and always carry a snack bag.

*Laugh at yourself and don’t take life too seriously.

*Never take anything for granted.

*Give hugs when greeting and departing, no matter how long it has been since you’ve seen the person.

*When painting, get a little on you.

*Love your spouse.

*Not everyone needs to be your friend.

*Show up.

*Cheer the loudest in public.

*Correct in private.

*And most important lesson, Jesus died for us so we should live for Him!

 

Yes,  all four of us think she is pretty awesome!!

 

(Just a warning, my man and his brothers are very passionate men and aren’t scared to say what they feel.  They also would love one more day with their momma.)

My Man’s Momma…

She raised three amazing men and she taught them:

*Always put others before yourself.

*Save a little for yourself.

*Learn to make dumplings.

*Buying things for other people can bring you both joy.

*The mall doesn’t close until 10 pm and you should be there when it does.

*Go to sporting events and then go to the next one, and the next one.

*Nothing is given to you.

*Earn everything.

*Sing and Dance like nobody’s watching.

*Take care of people that can’t take care of themselves.

*Be “selfless” and always put others before yourself.

*Say “please and thank you”.

*Respect your elders.

*Nurturing can come in the form of a hug or a simple “NO”.

*Protect your family and provide for them.

Just a note from my man:

For those that still have your Mother, take a moment to thank God and cherish every minute that you have to share with her.  While we miss and think of her every day, we know she “lives” in us. We see her when we look in the mirror and hear her when we speak.  

I know she is so proud of each of them, and yes, she was pretty amazing too.  

Love on your Mommas today everybody.