It's the little things that make me smile.
Do you find pictures like this on your cell phone?
Two weeks ago at church Eve made me laugh signing "I love you" to Todd on the stand and then (a sign language F) "I love you nothing" to me beside her.
Yesterday I made triple decker PB and J sandwiches for lunches. We didn't have much to pack in lunches, so I got creative. Three pieces of bread with two layers of peanut butter and jelly (like a double cheeseburger or the kind of burger that has two meats and three bun pieces and costs $1 more than a double cheeseburger). They were awesome.
"Mom, don't you just LOVE this picture?" she asks.
"Not really," I replied.
"Why not?!" surprised and a bit offended.
"Because you're making a weird face. I like normal smiles." I said with a smile, "But, I do like 'Too sweet for you' better than SWAG."
"I love this picture. It's so cute." She insists but I know the next pictures she sneaks on my phone, she'll try smiles.
I had to stop by the high school during Jakob's lunch to drop off new gym clothes for Drew and pick Anna up. (Anna convinced me to let her opt her out of state testing, although I am not opposed to testing in general. And Drew said his gym clothes were too small, but the old ones were the same size as the new ones I bought. I think "too stinky" would have been more accurate.)
Jakob was SO cute sitting there with all his friends with Ben and Eve on his lap. Jakob told me later that one friend said, "Can I trade moms with you? My mom never makes me cool sandwiches like yours does."
Two points for mom.
Drew is pretty much awesome, sprinkled with rotten. He just teases every sister he passes, taking their doll and holding it high while saying, "Say please." The sound of little girls screaming, "Drew!" is oft repeated through our home. Followed by my chorus of, "Drew! Why?!!"
He can't help himself really. I think he likes to hear them squeal. I adore that boy of mine. When I was tired driving home from our trip, he knew it. He offered me gum and sweetly rubbed my shoulders. He just took the stroller from me while we were walking through Boston. He sees. He serves. And, he teases. I love that kid.
Last week, she found a tiny plastic chicken in my purse. She leaned over and whispered, "This chicken really loves you, Mom." I think I'm forgiven.
As sunshine pours into my soul, I am really feeling the love. Honestly, sometimes I wonder if I was crazy to have such a large family. Sometimes things are really, really hard. I worry over each individual child, I pray daily over them. I sometimes worry that I haven't signed them up for the sport that they need or the lesson that will inspire them. Prayer focuses me. I trust He will guide me and that with Him we are enough.
I just don't think that we ruin children when we have rough years. I actually think children are strengthened as they learn empathy, frugality, responsibility, sacrifice, and delayed gratification.
One year I went to the craft store and bought my girls a whole sewing box full of stuff to craft with. That was a great Christmas gift. They are still discovering things I bought them. But honestly, they didn't make the things I had hoped they would make.
I brought them with me to the store before Christnas this year and watched what they were drawn to. They each really asked for a few things. Those items in their Christmas loot were cherished and used before Christmas break ended. (If your doing a sewing kit, I'd recommend giving an empty basket with a gift card. I really think the act of choosing will increase the worth of each item in the eyes of your children.)
The difference? Wanting and desire increases the worth of something, we are GRATEFUL when we get something we desire. ASKING is a beautiful prerequisite to gratitude.
I totally get prayer. When we ASK we SEE. Without desire we actually miss so many of the miracles and blessings in our life. Prayer changes us not Him. He really is just waiting for us to ask-- so we can show Him we're ready to appreciate His gifts in our lives. Beautiful.
My kids don't just have everything they want or even need. They ask for things like new gym clothes, new socks or T-shirts, new shoes, another long sleeve shirt, piano lessons, etc.. They seek time with me. Because they ask, they really appreciate what they have. I love that.
I was in severe pain for a long time. I remember that I hurt, but I don't remember the pain. I remember the relief. I remember the sweet meal I could finally eat, the tender massages, the healing touches, the warm and cold clothes on my feet. I felt God's love for me so surely through the tender touches of others. If I had never had pain, I would not know the sweet gift of relief.
Anyway, I just think kids and families are strengthened through normal life lessons. My kids are kind, grateful, and resilient. We still squabble and always have multiple children with multiple concerns, but we are SO happy.
We aren't caviar happy, but we are triple decker peanut butter and jelly sandwich happy.
I'm grateful to be here for today.
I love being their mother.
Life is SO good.