Sometimes I wake up in the mornings and still have to remind myself that I am a mother of 4 children. Whoa, when did THAT happen?!!! I have to remind myself constantly of the tremendous responsibility I have in loving, nurturing, protecting & teaching them. I always have the self-doubt of, "Who am I to teach these perfect children, when I am so full of mistakes & cluelessness along the way at times?" I find myself reading things like, "You are only as happy as your saddest child" and feeling that WOW, that really is true!!!! I constantly find myself kneeling in prayer, always away from others, asking for forgiveness for my shortcomings as a mother and for guidance and help in knowing what to do. I constantly find these little things called tears falling slowly down my cheeks as I struggle to know how to help each one of my children and as I struggle to know how to raise them in a way where God can be proud of me when my life is over. I also have shed many tears over just thinking about each one of their sweet faces as I drift off to sleep. My children are my peace, my refuge. They are the pieces of a puzzle that make MY puzzle complete. They are precious. They are sweet. They are perfect.
Being a mom is so hard. You always think you can handle every situation and every hard time with grace, humility, compassion, love and maturity. Then, along came my first child and there was one day I was yelling at her for something super tiny that shouldn't have mattered, and I caught a glimpse of myself in the reflection of the big picture window of my living room....and I remember thinking I looked like a monster. :( I immediately stopped and just fell to my knees and cried and told her how sorry I was. It is crazy. Here I have this perfect, lovely, beautiful child that trusts me in every way.....and I'm totally screwing them up by yelling at them because I'm stressed out over something that has nothing to do with them. I think all of us parents can relate and have felt that way MANY times. Please tell me I'm not alone?!!!! ;)
I remember going to the hospital to have my very first child. My sweet Madison Rose. I was so very nervous and just a wreck emotionally. I did the whole pregnancy and birth by myself, with no "man" by my side. I had many questions and doubts going through my mind when I was heading to the hospital to have her....."Am I ready for this? Am I gonna screw this child up? How am I gonna do this? Am I good enough for this? What is my plan? Is she gonna hate me for not having a Dad? Is she going to love me?" Alone with all of those thoughts, I decided to do what I always did....I put on a brave face and told myself that I could do this. I was brave and courageous and I was going to love this little girl with all my mind, might & strength.
They say that a child can never save you.....That you have to save yourself. I disagree. My little girl, Madison, saved me. By that, I mean that she gave me purpose in my life again. She gave me confidence again. She gave me an energy to pick up broken pieces and keep moving forward. She gave me hope for the future. She gave me childlike excitement for things again, such as Christmas, snow angels, lightning bugs, reading a book, baking cookies, letting the rain fall on my face & enjoying it, splashing in muddy puddles, watching birds fly, watching embers from a campfire glow & pop, smiling just because of an amazingly beautiful sky. She made me want to be better. She made me want to believe in myself again. She made me want to forgive everything bad that had happened to me, because she was THAT great of a blessing to me. She made me want to do everything to make her smile. She was my life!!!!! I was a single mom for many years with Madison. Over half of her life!!!!! I pushed away a couple really great guys on purpose.....not because they weren't amazing, but because of my fears. I just had a massive focus of raising her and not letting anything get in the way of my goals with raising her. But then.....one of the things about being a mother to Madison.....is her teaching me that even if you get hurt, LOVE is always the right way in life. She taught me that it was ok to love someone other than just her. It was ok to open myself up to someone again, even if it didn't work out. It was ok to forgive those that had hurt me. It was ok to put trust in others, because a life of not trusting anyone really isn't a life at all, because then you miss out on EVERYTHING, even if things ultimately don't work out. Love is amazing and my sweet Madison reminded me of that. The second she was born. There was this little tiny 9 1/2 pound baby, with a head full of dark hair.....and moments after she was born, she was laid on my chest & her eyes and my eyes connected & I knew I would never be the same. You think you are prepared for the moment when they are born. You think you understand and know how it will be, because Lord knows I imagined it in my mind a million times. NOTHING prepared me for the intense way her birth touched me and changed me. There was a huge shift. I was literally transformed. I became a completely different person. Physically, there was a shift. Mentally, there was a shift. Spiritually, there was a shift. I was a stranger to myself, yet I LOVED this new stranger. I was at perfect peace with this new stranger. How was it possible to love someone so deeply? How was it possible to know you'd give your life any second for this perfect person? The whole time in the hospital, I snuggled my sweet baby girl on my chest.....and every night, when the nursing staff and visitors weren't around, I would pull her so close and whisper in her ear how scared I was, yet how much I loved her and how I promised I would love her for forever. I whispered to her that I am so sorry if I screw up, but that it will never be from lack of effort. I whispered to her that she IS my heart. I whispered to her that I couldn't wait for all our adventures together. I whispered to her that I hoped she would be happy having me for a mommy. I whispered to her that I would always protect her. I whispered to her that she is my greatest blessing. I whispered to her that we would figure life out together. As I whispered to her, once again, I could feel those strange things called tears falling softly down my cheeks as I felt overwhelming emotions of love & tenderness & peace. I don't know that my Madison will ever truly understand the joy that she is in my life. She is a great blessing and I'm so thankful that God trusted me with her sweet spirit. And now that she's older (almost 16), I can't believe that she is so beautiful and talented and loving. She tries so hard at everything she does. She's sooooo stinkin' TALENTED!!!!!! She's a fantastic singer. She's a great trombone player. She is such a great & creative writer. She excels in school (she's my straight A student). She is compassionate towards others. She is non-judgemental. She loves animals. She has no fear of the future. She can't wait to go to college. And something that means a lot to me is that she always, always, always forgives me at the end of each day.....even if & when I have failed miserably as a mother. I have learned a lot from all of my children about forgiveness. I have so many shortcoming and failures & that doesn't matter to my kids. All that matters to them is LOVE. They know I try the best I know how. I am so grateful for the lessons they teach me. They have taught me how to be a better human being, a better mother, a better wife, a better friend, a better lover, a better teacher, a better daughter.....through their examples to me. I still have so, so, so much work to do and every single day is a struggle & a blessing at the same time (sounds weird, but TRUE!).....but their love for me will always push me to want to do better and to want to be better to others.
I could go on and on and on about each one of my children, but I'll be brief about the rest, cause I just wanted to mostly write about the very first time I became a mother. But I can't leave the other ones out, because my 4 children make up my entire heart and they are all equally special to me.
My sweet Journee. She is the glue that held our family together. She came along after some really rough times in my marriage and after a long time of trying to have another child.....and also after having had a horrible miscarriage. She was born with the sweetest cry & was so very beautiful. Even at birth, she had the cutest dimples in her cheeks. She was the first child where I had a man beside me throughout the pregnancy and labor. She was the first child where I got to watch a man love her from birth just the same as I loved her. It was a truly magical experience. I will never forget it. Journee is our little spitfire. She is so very full of life and energy. She loves the outdoors. Her favorite things are: cowboys, horses, farms, tractors, work trucks, Ribeye steak, beef jerky, homemade chicken noodle soup & warm apple juice. She is so high energy that she can sometimes be very difficult, but I wouldn't trade that for the world. She reminds me to be extra mindful of how beautiful it is outside. She comes to me many nights and says things like, "Mom, look at the sunset outside! You have to take a picture!" What a blessing to have a child teach me to remember the simple blessings in nature.
My sweet Hudson. My first and only boy. The one I was scared to have BECAUSE he was a boy!!! ;) I was so worried about being a complete and epic failure to a boy, but I decided to dump my whole heart into it, just like I did my girls. Boy, am I glad I did!!!!!!! This little sucker has me soooo wrapped around his finger!!!!! Very tightly!!! He is my world! And he's a momma's boy, which warms my heart. I've always had a general fear of men, but this little boy of mine made me realize that you don't have to fear all men. Again, just like my other kids, he taught me how important LOVE is and how important forgiveness is. Hudson is so laid back and so tender hearted....I love it! His favorite things are all things boy!!! Trucks, cars, tools, pretending to fix things with Dad, mowing the lawn, digging in the dirt, wearing his cowboy boots while naked....and MILK. He is absolutely precious and sweet and I can't get enough of him! He has been an amazing blessing in our little family & I thank God for him daily!!! His hugs are my daily medicine!!! :) My pregnancy with him is the pregnancy where I developed a severe case of my palsy. It is the type of palsy that typically goes completely away for the well majority of people. Mine never went away. It has been 3 years now, so the doctors say I'm stuck with what's left of it, which is a big bummer and something my self-esteem for sure struggles with......but I will not let it hold me back. If anything, I try my best to look at it as a hurdle I crossed to get one of my greatest blessings here. :)
Last, but certainly not least, my sweet Finnlee. This little girl is the sweetest little thing since cherry pie!!!! She's soooo stinkin' cute and has the cutest personality. She is so laid back and is always so happy and is always smiling. I went through spine surgery while I was pregnant with her and I also had placenta previa with her during my pregnancy. I was told by several medical staff to plan on losing her. I tried so hard not to get attached since we were told that, but somewhere deep inside, I knew she would make it and be our miracle baby that would complete our family. She's our little fighter. Along with Gods help, she fought to be here & I fought to get her here safely. She is just such a blessing to our family. We consider ourselves so lucky and so grateful to have her in our lives. She is a great joy!!!!!
Inside the heart of me, the mother of 4 beautiful children, are so many buried words that I wish could eloquently say. But I can't say them, because I don't know how. Motherhood just CHANGES you. It's nothing you can describe to anyone else. It's impossible to describe the feelings that go on in your heart and soul, because they are wordless. They are just full of feeling and it's a feeling that is better than any possible word.
Thank you to my 4 children for always loving me and for always forgiving me at the end of every day, even when I have failed you miserably. Thank you for seeing that I try my best and that I love you with all my heart, even when I have no idea what I'm doing. Thank you for trusting me with each new day.......with the rising of each new sun. Please know that the reason I believe in God is because of each one of you.
My Finnlee Auslynn!!!!!