I’m sorry – a letter to my children

Dear Children (the things I hold most dear to my heart, even when it’s broken),

I’m sorry. I’m sorry for all the things I can’t be for you. I’m sorry no matter what I do it isn’t good enough. I’m sorry the football team your father signed you up for is no good, but I spend 3 hours a week driving you 20 minutes to practice and sitting there watching you every practice. I’m sorry your games are not fun, but I make you go and sit there watching your every move. I’m sorry that I have a missed a few (as in maybe 10 in 10 years) games or activities because I sometimes need a life of my own.

I’m sorry the house I work my butt off to provide for you isn’t good enough. I’m sorry that even though it is full of Nerf guns, countless footballs, arts and crafts, toy cars, and huge playground, bikes, scooters, sidewalk chalk, and anything else you could ever want or need, that there is “nothing to do” and you would rather go to your friends’ houses because it’s more cool.

I’m sorry I had a knee problem growing up that you, my beautiful daughter, inherited. I’m sorry I can’t take away the pain for you. I’m sorry the medication for it caused painful stomach problems. I’m most sorry you probably inherited my bipolar. I really wish I could take that from you. I’m sorry I let you roller skate one time without your wrist guards, causing a broken wrist that still causes you problems four years later. I’d do that over again, too, if I could.

I’m sorry I ask you to put down your electronics to come to dinner, help clean, or just spend time as a family. I’m sorry I can’t give you the best and latest of everything because all the money I do have goes into providing what you need. I’m sorry kids pick on you because you don’t have name brand shoes or clothes.

I’m sorry kids pick on your for your freckles, but I can’t do anything about that. I’m sorry you get picked on for wearing “girl clothes” as a boy because you love sparkles, pink, purple, flowers, and everything else deemed to be girly by your rude friends. I can’t do much about that either, except tell you that you are the best looking young man I know, freckles included. And that I love you because you love all those things that the other kids deem uncool. It is my greatest pleasure to see your huge smile when you pick out a glittery shirt, or your latest fashion, yellow and pink flip flops because they are pretty and make your feet feel good.

I’m sorry I couldn’t stand living in a loveless marriage anymore so that you could have the life I so wanted you to have. I’m sorry I decided I didn’t want you guys having the same marriage, and that I couldn’t get your father to go to counseling to fix it with me. I’m sorry you have to live in two houses.

I’m sorry I don’t remember where you left your medicine that you didn’t take care of. I’m sorry I can’t keep track of everything. I’m sorry I’m not a gourmet chef, and taking care of household chores is not my strong point.

I’m sorry I need to take naps on weekends. I’m sorry I cannot regulate my sleep schedule due having bipolar, no matter what medications I take. I’m not sorry for sparing you the details of everything I went through many years ago to treat it to make sure I was the best mom I could be for you. I’m not sorry for not even telling you until you figure it out on your own.

I’m sorry I cannot be everything I thought I would be as a mother. If I could change it, I would, but I can’t. I try so hard, but I’m only human.

And, finally, I’m sorry for not being able to take all your criticism and blame anymore and breaking down and crying. Especially on Mother’s Day. I know you love me, but most of the time I just don’t feel it. I’m sorry I’m not stronger so that I could tolerate it more. I hope some day you’ll forgive me, and understand that I truly love you more than anything I could ever express, even if I can’t be perfect.

Love,

Mom (the one who is proud of you in ways you will only understand once you have children)

Tiny baby in my bed

                                                                                       

Tiny baby in my bed,

Rest on me your precious head

Rock you gently, sing just right,

I’ll hold you safely through the night.

Three-year-old in my bed,

“I don’t want to sleep,” you said.

“Read to me again,” you weep.

“One more time, but please just sleep.”

Five-Year-Old in my bed,

“Monsters grumbling in my head.”

Will you ever sleep alone?

Maybe someday you’ll be grown.

Nine-year-old in my bed,

Rest on me your big boy head.

I watch you growing every day,

And I know some day I’ll wish you’d stay.

                                                                      

Weekly Photo Challenge-Monument

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This week’s photo challenge was to show a “monument” in a new way. While it certainly isn’t famous, this is my monument. When I was pregnant with my youngest child, my now ex-husband and I were poor. We had little. The one thing I wanted more than anything was to cast my pregnant belly so I would always have a memory of that little guy tucked away inside me for those ten precious months. Inherently, it reminds me of my eldest child, as well, because she also inhabited my body for 10 months.

I don’t really know why it was so important to me to capture this moment in such an intimate way. It’s not anything I display; anyone who does happen to come upon it usually seems rather uncomfortable at seeing a sculpture of my naked body. It doesn’t matter, I did it for me and no one else. At the time we didn’t even know he would be our last child. Two early miscarriages later, when he was 2 years old, we made the decision not to go through that again, making him the baby of the family. So, maybe in some way I was wanting to preserve what I knew I would not be experiencing again.

When I look at my monument of my protruding belly, it brings back such a warm feeling. I remember his little kicks, and watching his elbows move from one side of me to the other. I remember feeling him hiccup inside me. The memory of rubbing my belly and talking to that little one we had yet to meet come back in great detail. Some of my favorite memories of my family are of us all sitting around chatting with our little guy through my protective cage I provided for him.

My monument isn’t famous or big, but it is beautiful. It represents a moment in time that I will never again experience. It reminds me of just how little my not-so-little guy was at one time. Like all parents, I will always cherish those memories; my monument of my swollen baby-filled baby is a large part of those memories.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Monument

 

Sports Season is Upon Us

And I don’t mean baseball! No sir, my kids’ sport of choice is flag football! Both my 10-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter love the thrill of throwing and catching that ball, or running to pull the flags. My son is a very good football player; there is actually no sport he cannot play well. For him, the excitement of getting the touchdown or interception, or sometimes and interception returned for a touchdown is so much that he dreams about it for days afterward! Seeing the look on his face during his practices and games makes my heart melt. He is so happy, which makes Mommy happy as well.

My daughter is not such a natural. She struggles with most sports. She is physically inclined, but not so great at the team part. Still, she is determined to play. It is this determination that keeps her physically healthy and will take her far in life. She hasn’t let a bum knee or wrist stop her from playing, even if it means she often just stands in one place to block the other team. This is actually a very strategic move in flag football, so it is truly an important job. I love to watch her play because she, too, is happy to be playing with other kids. She doesn’t often do this outside of sports, so I know it is good for her.

Another great thing about any team sport is the life lessons my children learn as they play. For instance, the idea that either the whole team wins or the whole team loses was foreign to both my kids before I had sports to demonstrate. Learning that “taking one for the team” is more important than showboating is another biggie. They have also learned some compassion as they see children on their team struggling. I was very proud when my son, without prompting, paired up with a kid who was overweight, uncoordinated, and had never played a game in his life. When I told him I noticed, he said that he say no one else was going his way, and he didn’t want him to feel left out, so he picked him. My son can be very competitive, so this was a proud mom moment.

Unfortunately, playing sports sometimes comes with hard life lessons, as well. Specifically, that it is more important to play with integrity than to win. There is always one team whose coach uses cheating to get ahead. It makes my son so angry, and I often find myself having to hold back my tears. My heart breaks for him because it isn’t fair. I know life is full of tough lessons, but watching him learn them through no fault of his own simply sucks!

I’ll say it again – parenting is really hard! Staying on top of school work, field trips, lunches, chores at home, sports practices, games, scouts, camping trips, and even just their ever-changing personalities keeps my busy, but I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything. Watching my children benefit from their participation in sports because they want to, not because it’s my dream, makes it worth the hassle. Whether they bring home the trophy or not, I am always proud of them for the lessons they’ve learned and how they apply those lessons to other areas of their lives like at home or in school.

To go back in time…

This week’s writing challenge is to write about the ability to time travel. Where would I go and why?

I would definitely go back to the day my daughter was born, 13.5 years ago. What a beautiful and delightful baby she was! We knew just how to care for her, and she was one of those babies that responded in such a way as to make us think we were perfect parents. Boy, were we wrong! I’d go back and start over knowing everything I now know. For instance, just how little is a two- or three-year-old. We thought she was so big when her brother was born when she was 3.5 years old. Looking back at those pictures, she was such a baby! Her feet didn’t even meet the end of the couch. My biggest regret is putting way too much responsibility on such a little soul much sooner than I should have. She lost some of her childhood because we expected far too much way too soon. I know that no parent is perfect, and I’m sure she isn’t scarred for life, but still, if I could, I would do it over again.

I would encourage my daughter to be more creative, not to fear being wrong, and to laugh at everything. I would assure her that I love her no matter what, and that making mistakes is part of life. I would play more and dictate less. I would snuggle all she wanted. All those things I was too busy doing were so unimportant in the grand scheme of things. I would let her leave the house with her hair a mess, play make up on every inch of her body, and the most horribly mismatched clothes you have ever seen. I would play with silly string in the house, throw water balloons at the house, and sing silly songs at the top of our lungs at the park. I’d do all the things I thought were inappropriate at the time, but would have been so fun!

The ability to time travel is definitely something lack. Sometimes I wish I could. Parenting is hard! Really hard. I’ve made mistakes, have regrets, and learned how to do it better. Unfortunately, I don’t get another chance to do it better, since both my kids are out of the baby/preschool stage. What I can do, however, is take what I’ve learned and apply it to the here and now. Instead of hanging out on electronics, we go fishing. Instead of cleaning the house all day, we go see a movie. I have committed to getting the kids and I out on the weekends I have them to go somewhere new. And, now that it’s sports season, I attend every game with my full attention. Even if I have work to do, chores not done, or someone else who needs my attention, my kids come first. The rest can wait.

Here is the link to the original DP Challenge. Try it out for yourself and see what you can come up with!