Category Archives: Family

Surprise

January 16, 2000 will forever be a date embedded in my mind. It was the day I found out I would be a mother of three children. It was the day I found out I would have three kids under the age of three. It was the day my husband decided to stop going to the Seminary for a while, like 9 years.

To say that I was surprised would be understatement.

Surprise would be a good word to describe my entire pregnancy with Susannah. After two weeks of adjusting to the idea that I was pregnant again for the third time in three years I thought I had a miscarriage. I went to the doctor and there was no heartbeat. They did an ultrasound and could not find a baby. It was a very sad time for us. The doctor was a little optimistic because my hormone levels were still so high. He sent me home to wait a week for another ultrasound. One week has never been so long.

At the second ultrasound the technician could not find a baby. There was no heartbeat. The doctor said something about an empty sac and unfertilized egg. All I heard was you’re not pregnant. They took more blood and my hormone levels were still very high. The doctor did not want to be too optimistic, but he said it would not hurt to wait one more week before doing anything drastic. He said most likely your body is adjusting to losing the baby. He made an appointment for us at the hospital to get an ultrasound with higher tech equipment.

I remember crying all the way home from the doctor’s office. I knew God was in control and I knew our baby was with Him. But it still hurt.

Meanwhile, I was planning a baby shower for my best friend. She was expecting her first baby and I was so happy for her. It was a very emotional time for me. I was happy, sad, confused, angry all at the same time.

We went with heavy hearts to the third ultrasound. We thought we would just be confirming what the doctor thought, that I was not pregnant. As soon as the technician put the scope on me there was a baby! Surprise! We both started crying. We could not believe it. There was a little beating heart and a healthy baby.

Tomorrow is Susannah’s birthday. And she has been surprising me ever since.  Surprised that one little baby could cry that much. Surprised that one little girl could destroy that many tubes of lipstick. Surprised that a girl could change her clothes that many times in one day. Surprised that an 8 year old could make me laugh that hard.

Surprised that I could love someone so much.

Happy Birthday Suze.

Eight

I listen from the other room as the smallest child watches Toy Story 2. She still likes to rewatch movies unlike her older sisters who have passed this stage. I hear her giggling at Woody and Buzz. Laughing at all the right parts. I forget sometimes that she is still a little girl in a big girl’s body. She is only eight yet she is the same size as her 11 year old sister. When did she get so big?

Eight going on thirteen. Some days she wants to grow up so badly. To be able to do the things her oldest sister does. Why can’t I have a cell phone? Why can’t I do this or that? And yet she is still that little girl that needs her Mama when she is sick and plays with dolls and coloring books.

The years are moving far too quickly for me. For now I will just snuggle up on the couch and laugh along with her and enjoy being eight.

Part 2: The Hayride

It was October of 1986. I was ready for the Teen activity at our church. We were going on a Hayride. I had on my yellow and white striped sweater from the Gap and my County Seat jeans were pegged. I’m sure I had Keds on. It was a perfect day for a hayride. The air was cool, but it was sunny and the sky was blue. I was ready for fun. 

We all met at the church and piled into vans and buses and headed out to a farm. I wish I could remember where it was at, but this was before I could drive and directions did not really concern me. It was the perfect  location for a hayride. There was a large barn with a loft  where we had refreshments. The area was wooded and shady. I remember sitting in the hay wagon and sneezing as the tractor pulled us down a winding trail.

And then the fun began. Teenage boys and girls do not sit on hayrides. They have hay fights. They stuff hay down shirts and in hair and in places hay should not be. This was not innocent fun. This was war and a little flirting. Okay, a lot of flirting. By the end of the trail I was a hot, sweaty, wheezing mess with frizzy hay-filled hair. I am allergic to hay. I was really wishing I had not worn a sweater. I was dying of thirst and I couldn’t breathe. 

After the hayride, we had hot dogs and there was a bonfire. It really was fun activity. But the part I remember most fondly was the ride home. I ended up sitting next to Larry on the bus. He had a girlfriend at the time, but she was not there and we were just talking. I was not intimidated by him as I was with other boys. He was just Larry. Happy to be where he was at the moment. This is one of the things I love about him. He is in the moment. He is not looking over his shoulder for something better when he is with you. And it doesn’t matter who you are when he is talking to you he is with you. 

After the bus dropped us off at the church a bunch of us were hanging out in the parking lot not wanting the fun to end. Larry was still there because his Mom was late. This would become a repeated scene throughout our youth group experience. Larry would always be the last one picked up. His mom was late that night and since my brother drove me to the activity and he was fooling around with his friends we were stuck. After awhile we got thirsty so we decided to run across the street to Sylvia’s Sub Shop to get something to drink. We spent many days after school at Sylvia’s waiting for late practice or a basketball game to start. 

Jeff gave me some money for a pop for both of us and off Larry and I ran. We had to hurry because this was before the days of cell phones and we did not want to miss his Mom picking him up. So we got our pops and started to run back. I was awkwardly running with a pop in each hand. Larry was much faster than I was and I was just trying to keep my chubby self up with him. I was doing alright until we came to a short, decorative chain fence that went around the perimeter of the parking lot. Larry easily jumped over it. I did not. I caught my ankle on the chain as I was going over and instead of dropping both of the pops like a normal person, I held on tight and I fell on my face. Bam! 

And what did Larry do? He just kept on running. He did not even notice that I was laying on the asphalt now sticky with pop. He was definitely in the moment of running across that parking lot. I remember watching him run away as I lay there with my shin throbbing in pain. Somehow I managed to keep one of the pops from spilling so I picked myself up and limped the rest of the way. 

My brother was waiting for his pop. I said sorry. I spilled yours.

10 Years

A few nights ago Claire and I were snuggling in bed watching Jeopardy! together. We burrowed down into the covers like bears ready to hibernate and decided we were not ever leaving. It was just too cozy snuggled up like that. 

She has always been a little cuddle bug. When she was a baby she was a little chubbers and she was so smushy you just couldn’t help but squeeze her. Her cheeks were little kiss magnets. 

She is no longer chubby. She is so long she barely fits on my lap anymore. Her limbs are getting to that gangly stage and she smelled like she might need a little deodorant last week.  It is hard to believe she is ten years old. 

Ten years ago yesterday I went to the hospital to be induced to have my second child. Compared to the first go around it was very uneventful. I was going to try to have this second the child the old-fashioned way, meaning to push her out instead of going under the knife. The doctor did not want her to get too big so he scheduled an induction on her due date. 

Claire, being a people pleaser, decided to get the show on the road early on the morning of the induction, so by the time I got to the hospital at nine, I was already in labor and dilated to three. The doctor still gave me the dreaded pictocin to keep things moving along and the blessed epidural to keep me comfortable. I think I felt one contraction. 

Some highlights I remember from the day:

1. I was surprised the doctor still wanted to induce labor. I thought he would let nature take its course. Ha!

2. Larry did not pack any food to eat for the day. We arrived at the hospital at 9 in the morning and he did  not eat breakfast. Around noon he finally had to leave to get something to eat. What does he bring back? A Rodeo burger from Burger King. Some super stinky hamburger to make his wife sick from the stench. Ha!

3. I had a really nice nurse this time. I wish I could remember her name. 

4. My doctor was delivering another lady’s baby in the room next to mine at the same time as me. He kept running back and forth between the two rooms. He made into a little competition as to who could deliver first. I won. She won the loudest screamer award. 

5. I had several medical students in the room during delivery. I was a vbac delivery so it was special. Ha! One that I remember was a little Chinese girl that was so timid and so excited to see a birth. On of the interns actually delivered Claire. As I was pushing her out I was thinking I did not pay you to do this I am paying him (meaning the doctor)!

6. I had to push for an hour. Enough said. 

7. Larry picked Claire’s name out. He just liked it. No other reason than that. 

8. I wanted to name her Margaret May after our grandmothers. Claire is glad it was Larry’s turn to pick the name. 

9. As soon as Claire came out Larry said, “She looks like you.”

10. My parents brought Emma up to see her new little sister and she called her “Clow”. 

Happy Birthday Claire.

My Job

Yesterday I lost a day in my children’s lives. I woke up and went to work and worked  and worked. There is a special project going on at work right now called lay-offs. So the left-overs work. Sometimes they even call in friends to help for free. 

I went to work at 8 in the morning and I got home at 10 at night. I saw the morning child before I left and I saw the two night owls when I got home. All together the minutes totaled about 10. 

I am a working mother. But I have always been. When the girls were little I stayed home with them. I had three little kids under the age of three. That is a pre-school. It was work. Lots of spills and diapers and whining and crying. And lots of snuggles and kisses too. That was my pay back then. They did not give me quarterly evaluations, but I knew they appreciated me by all the sticky fingerprints on my shirts and pants. 

And I am still a working mother. My job has just changed a little bit. I don’t have to wipes noses or other body parts. The girls can make their own food and clean up after themselves. They read books to themselves and play games other than Candyland. 

But they still need me. And when I miss a day in their lives in makes me a little sad. But today is different. I will take off of work early so i can go to a lunch at their school and see two of my kids get an award for all the books that they have read. I will sit proudly and smile. 

And I will enjoy my job as a mother.

The Costumes

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I’m Feeling Momish

Some days I feel more like a “Mom” than others. I get to do really Momish things. Stuff like make birthday cupcakes and help kids with homework. On days where I just have to clean the house or go to work and come home and make supper I feel more like a maid. Yes, those things are important to my family but I could hire someone to do those things. I guess I could hire someone to make a cake and tutor my kids too. 

But yesterday was a Mom day. Susy came home from school all upset. Two of her friends wanted to sit by her on the bus and she didn’t know how to choose which one without hurting the other. Of course the one that was not chosen was hurt and upset. She confronted Susy about it. And being her Mother’s child Susy ran in the house to avoid it. So I had to be the Mom and make her go back outside to talk with her friend and make it right. They must have been out there at the end of the driveway for 10 minutes loudly discussing the situation. The longer they talked the louder it got. I may or may not have been ease dropping at the door. After they both broke down in tears Susy came back in still upset.

And ten minutes later the little girl’s mother was at my door. My turn for confrontation. All four of us discussed the situation and resolved the issue. 

I’m such a mom.