Monthly Archives: September 2012

Dear Boys

The last post I wrote was a letter to my Mother. Today, I feel the desire to write a letter to my boys…

Dear Zackery and Brayden,

Wow. WOW! You both are just so amazing. Zack, I can’t believe you are five years old and in Kindergarten and already learning so much. It astonishes me how well you write your name (considering four weeks ago you could barely write it at all, let alone even have the desire to want to try) – good job! And Brayden, you amaze me with your words and your logic and reasoning (you must get that from me – ha ha!). Just the other day I yawned, you said “What Mommy?” “I’m tired.” I replied. And you succinctly told me “Well you should just go right to sleep!” (Oh, don’t I wish!)

We have several friends who are pregnant, just had babies, or who are contemplating having another. The thought always crosses my mind about having a third, but I am so happy and content and complete with our family. I don’t know if I’ve ever told you (you may still both be too young to understand), but I loved being pregnant with you both. The feeling of knowing I was growing a baby – our baby – inside of me; that was the most wonderful feeling in the world. Physically, my body started to say “that’s enough.”

Zackery, I remember one of the first thoughts I had just moments after you were born was “next time I’m going to do better.” (Can you see the competitive side of me??? I really had a wonderful, natural birth, yet I was all ready to do it again even better the next time). Brayden, one of the first thoughts I had just moments after you were born was “I’m done.” (Meaning, I don’t need any more kids. I don’t want to do this again. I can’t put my body through this again.)

Both of your births were amazing, 100% natural and couldn’t have been any more perfect for bringing you into our world. I am glad our family is complete.

As you both get older, things are getting easier. Daddy and I are both looking forward to all the things we can do with you. The places we can go, the adventures we can have, the memories we will all create together as a family. I don’t want to change the beautiful family path we are all on.

So, I just want to say: I love you both with all my heart. Keep on growing, but not too fast…

Love, Mommy

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Dear Mom

I’m still grieving. I miss you. This isn’t scripted or thought out, it’s just me, writing from my heart because I’m sad, I’m angry, I’m lonely and I miss you. Truth is, I never really even began to grieve for you. I probably am in a butt load of denial (probably why I still haven’t erased your phone number from my phone or deleted your email from my computer). I miss you and I’m mad at God for taking you when he did. You didn’t deserve to die so early. You had fight. You were a Grandmother and none of us even knew it. You never got to see those precious little babies of mine in person. You will never get to hold their delicate hands, touch their soft skin or stare into those innocent little eyes. They will never be able to hug you or sit on your lap while you read them a story.

Dad is dating. I guess he calls her his girlfriend now. Her name is Chris. She is nice. I’ve met her once. She looks like you. I can see why Dad likes her. He says he’s falling in love with her. Zack and Brayden sat on her lap and she read them stories. That should’ve been you. I wanted it to be you. Why couldn’t it have been YOU?

I know you know them. I know you’re here with me and see me and my family. But I want you HERE. I want to sit next to you and laugh and share memories. All I have now are memories. I want more. I want you Mom. I miss you Mom. It’s not fair.

I’m hurting. Really bad. It’s holding me back. I’m withdrawn. I’m not who I know I can be. I don’t want to grieve. It hurts. I’m sad. I can’t talk about it. I just cry. I avoid talking about it. I act like I’m okay. But I’m not. I’m really not okay. It’s been almost 6 years. Why is this so hard? Why is Dad okay? Why is Susan okay? Why am I so sad and hurt and angry?

I want Dad to be happy. He deserves it, and I know you would want him to be. I know he has talked to you. I don’t know how often, but I know he has. He told me he could never replace you. That made me feel better. Do you know the very first thought I had when I saw Chris for the very first time? She looks like you. Petite with dark hair. Carried herself in the same way you did. She reminds me of you. Maybe that’s why it’s so hard. Maybe that’s why this time it hurts more, and it’s not just awkward, but it’s pain, and maybe a little fear.

I miss you Mom and I don’t know how to move on. It’s been in my gut for a long time now – needing to let go. But I can’t. The acceptance. I can’t do it yet. I know you’re not coming back. You’re never coming back. I’m not ready to delete your numbers. Do I have to? Please tell me I don’t have to. I won’t be calling, but it’s something I can hold onto.

Uncle Michael died a couple weeks ago. I’m sure you know. I hope you are with him. It was a weird reality. He’s the last of your family. There’s no more. Maybe that’s why I’m so emotional right now. Well, and maybe hormones too.

I went through a lot with Zack and Brayden. I wish you were there for me. I’m angry about that. But I don’t want to be angry at you. How could I be? You fought, I know you did. I watched you fight. You were strong. I get that from you. I’m strong too, so that’s why it’s so hard for me to be sad and hurting right now. I really, really miss you. I really, really hate that my boys will never really know you. I know that I can tell them all about you, and show them pictures. Zack already knows your face, and he knows you’re up in Heaven. He asked me the other day, “Mommy, where’s Heaven?” I told him it was way up in the sky, far, far away. He asked if you have to take an airplane straight up into the sky, really fast. That made me smile, and I answered “Yes.”

I don’t know what else to say. I don’t know if this is helping me or not. I assume it is, and I assume I probably need to keep doing it.

I love you Mom more than you know. I miss you more than I know.

Extreme Parenting

I like sports. I like kids. I love my kids. But sometimes, I find myself being extreme in how I parent and handle the situation. Most times I know better, I just lose control, and usually that ends up in me screaming at them, shoving them both into timeouts and not getting anything accomplished that I plan to. I get mad at myself every time I do it, but sometimes I just need that release (and to show them that they can’t just get away with everything). I will admit, the screaming has become less of a norm, especially since we started the “Star Jar.”

What? The Star Jar, you ask? Yes! It’s a reward system where the boys get a star when they do something nice or good that they are not already supposed to be doing. For example, if Brayden falls and Zack goes over to help him up (all on his own), Zack would earn a star. If Brayden went and got Zack’s water bottle for him, without Zack having to ask, Brayden would earn a star. If Zack brings his plate to the counter after dinner, well, that’s something he’s already supposed to be doing, so no star for that. You never take stars away, they only earn them. Once they’ve earned enough stars, they can turn them in for something special. For us, that’s like watching a movie or getting a toy back that was previously confiscated. I started it a few weeks ago (thanks to my best friend who told me about it, and after I had called her in desparation from screaming at my kids all day long). It took a while for us to get into the routine of it, and I’ll admit sometimes I am not as strict about turning in stars as I should be, but when we follow the system, it seems to have a positive effect (on all of us).

Want to know what the Star Jars look like and how we did it? (I’ll post a picture of them in the comments when I get home) I went to Michael’s and found two square, plastic jars with lids that are easy for the boys to take off and put on themselves (Brayden still needs a little help to get it back on straight – but Zack likes to help him, so that’s good reinforcement of doing something nice). I then found a pack of wooden stars, in various sizes. We decorated the jars with stickers, adding each of their names to each of their jars. Zack’s has animals all over it and Brayden’s has motorcycles and vehicles. Because we have three different size stars, each size is worth different points. Small is 1 point, medium is 3 points, and large is 5 points. I haven’t established a consistent point system for how much rewards are worth, but I probably should so that anyone can “play” the Star Jar reward system.

This morning, both boys earned a star for playing nicely and quietly together while I was trying really hard to wake myself up to get out of bed. Usually my husband gets up in the morning with the boys, but he had an early meeting so I was “on duty” starting at 6:30am, when I heard Zack get up. At 6:37am, Zack comes into my room asking me to get up. Brayden was not yet awake – still asleep in his crib, and I really wanted to stay in bed until 7:00am. I told Zack to go get a few toys and climb into bed with me. That lasted a very short while, until we both heard Brayden babbling to himself. Zack went and got a couple toys for Brayden to play with in his crib, while I pried my eyes open. It was 7:03am when I finally got out of bed, and it was a pleasant awakening – with none of the usual screaming, yelling and crying that I awake to. Needless to say, they both earned a star.

My next task is to write out a chart of rewards and the associated points. I think if they can see the chart, it might help them each want to earn more stars. I am also trying really hard not to scream at them anymore, and just be calm and direct. If I ask them to do something and they don’t listen, they get something taken away (usually it’s the toy they’re playing with that they don’t want to put down to do the thing I am asking them to do). I’ve decided I give too many warnings and too many chances, and not enough action. I mean, I’m in charge, right?

Parenting doesn’t have to be extreme, in fact, it should be balanced. There should be a balance between discipline and rewards, between boundaries and freedom, and of course full happiness. We’re working on it every day.

Can it Get Any Better?

Wow, what a week, and it’s only half-way through! So far, Zack has had two days of Kindergarten, and he loves it – doing great (thank goodness). But did I really have any doubts? Nope. I just picked him up and dropped him at home with the babysitter (may I remind you of my babysitter extraordinaire – I love her!) and now I’m sitting at the local coffee shop, enjoying an iced soy mocha, with (even more) time to myself for a couple hours. Seriously, could it get any better?

Well, YES! Not only do we have the seriously momentous milestone of Zackery starting Kindergarten this week, but also… wait for it… we have Brayden who accomplished a most impressive task. He (warning: Mommy talk coming) pooped in the potty!!! Yes, my little two-year old went number two like a big boy. We were both so proud (and relieved – him probably more than me – had to squeeze that one in – sorry, I’m just on a roll here – oh my, stop, stop! – oh how I make myself laugh!). So, we have older brother going to Kindergarten and little brother progressing on his potty training (for which I haven’t even really been pushing him to do), and I ask again, could it get any better?

Well, YES! Did you catch that I mentioned I was at a coffee shop? Translated, that means no kids. Solo. How in the world did I manage to go from two crazy (but wonderfully loving) boys all summer long driving me crazy to several hours in a row, two days in a row, of pure uninterrupted Me Time? I must admit yesterday was quite strange for me. Coming home from dropping off Zack to his first day of school, with just Brayden and I in the house all alone, was weird. It was almost too quiet (this coming from someone whose head would almost explode from constant noise all day long). It really was weird. Nice, but weird. So here I sit, by myself, knowing that Brayden is probably just now waking up from his nap and Zackery is probably playing motorcycles, both happily at home with Babysitter Extraordinaire. Could it get any better?

Well, YES! My husband and I finally have a planned night away. Just me and him, husband and wife. I am very much looking forward to it. It’s not for a few weeks, but I’m excited just thinking about going out as a couple and feeling like a woman again, and not so much as Mommy. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE being Mommy, but sometimes a girl a woman needs to feel like a woman. Okay, so I have to pause here, because I now have two songs stuck in my head: Shania Twain’s ‘I Feel Like A Woman’ and Brad Paisley’s ‘It Did’ – yes, you got me, I’m a country music fan. So yes, in a few weeks I get to go out and drink wine and have adult conversations and enjoy the company of the man I fell in love with. How wonderful! Will it get any better?

Well, I sure hope so. I’ve had a challenging summer, but I made it through. The boys and I are both stronger for it, we’ve all grown and we’ve all learned. I can only imagine things getting better. I’ve been at the bottom, and I’ve climbed back up, but there’s still a lot more upward climbing to do in my life. So yes, it can get better, and it will. I can’t wait!

 

*Sidenote: I feel I need to note that the images in this post are not my own. Thanks internet.*

Dear Zackery – Happy Day Before Kindergarten

I can’t believe you are getting so big. In less than 2 weeks you will be 5. Five, yes FIVE! In less than 24 hours you will be at your very first day of Kindergarten. Big boy school, not just preschool. This is real school, with classrooms and a library, a computer lab and a lunchroom. Wow, I just can’t believe it’s here. I know you are excited. I’m excited for you. I’m so proud of you and all that you have already learned. I can’t wait to see what you learn next.

I’m also a bit sad. I’m sure it’s normal. I’m sure I’ll have some tears in my eyes tomorrow. I’m also sure I’ll have a big huge smile! 🙂

I think we’re all set for tomorrow. We’ve already dropped off your school supplies, you have a brand new Cars 2 backpack, and we have everything you need for a hearty breakfast, a nutritious lunch and a yummy snack tomorrow. You’ve met your teacher, seen the classroom and been on the playground. I’m not sure how else I can prepare you (except of course with a million hugs and kisses – which I’ll try to do without causing a scene).

I love you so much little buddy. Mommy and Daddy (and Brayden) are all so proud of you. You are officially a Kindergartner now. Have fun and go learn!

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