My last post was a small glimpse of these two extremes. The times when motherhood is hair-pulling, frustrating, and feels so unnatural are those moments of wanting to wave the white flag, but they are often coupled with pure good moments that make your heart swell. Tonight, those moments are on my heart.
There have been many times in the last year or two where I've been able to watch something the kids do and be so proud of things they are doing. Recent ones I've noticed are:
Instance 1 - Emily is becoming reflective and learning to apologize. This past Fall, I had come to my low point with her. That is a whole post of it's own, but suffice it to say that I was concerned that something was wrong. I got her evaluated and spoke with several professionals, and ::drum roll:: it's her personality and apparently she may be on the more intelligent side, which just makes her sharper and harder to handle. I've worked with giving her clear expectations, explaining why we follow certain rules, how to engage appropriately in social situations, on and on. This has been a process, but there has certainly been positive advancements. Most recently is the reflection. I've noticed her coming up to me a little while after an instance and giving me a heartfelt, thorough apology. Today she started to cry (loudly) when Josh chose the toy she wanted at the pizza place. -- As an aside, best pizza place EVER. Joes Pizza II in Emmaus... we go there every few weeks for lunch and this week they had saved 5 little stuffed animals from the claw machine and gave one to each kid. Emily wanted the one Josh got and pitched a fit. -- Later, she hurt Annie while they were in the stroller together. She came up to me, out of nowhere last night, and said "I'm very sorry that I cried at the pizza place. I should have taken the stuffed animal nicely. I'm also sorry I hurt Annie in the stroller." Her tone is sincere and her heart is looking for acceptance. This is HUGE for the firecracker that she was that just blazed her own path and didn't care who she knocked over in the process.
Instance 2 - School. The big three are in elementary school. Not only do they repeatedly have good grades and parent/teacher conference reports, but all three have been recognized by their teachers as model students. There is an assembly each month and each of them have had a month where they have been called out and given a certificate. On top of that, their school has something called the "Principal's 100 Board." If you go above and beyond, you are sent to the office to be put on the Principal's 100 Board. All THREE of them have been on that board this year. June and Elizabeth were on the board last year. Josh was left out last year, but not only did he get on the board this year, but he also was chosen (this is by chance) to attend a special trip with the principal. I guess they are making and decorating pizzas...? Regardless, as super frustrating as they are in the day-to-day, I'm so proud of them for how they act when outside of my sight. Granted, this is only elementary school... as they get more freedom in middle and high school, who knows what choices they will make and what type of people they will truly become, but for now, I'm so happy with them and their school behavior. I'm very hard on them and myself, so having them in school is such a good check for me to hear that all is well and they are good humans.
Instance 3 - I suppose since I spoke about #1, 2, 3, and 4, I should mention little miss 5. Annie is 3 and 3 year olds are pretty much the worst. However, Annie is a sweetheart. She is the most cuddly loving little bug EVER. She wants "huggies" all the time and will grab my face in her little hands and say "I love you, mom." She's so sweet. She also responds well when I give her boundaries. She still has her pacifier (I know I KNOW...) but when I see it in her mouth and remind her it's for her bed she will reply, "Ok, I will put it in my bed." She's not perfect... she's 3, but there are glimmers of good in her too. :P
Instance 4 - Collaboration. This is my favorite, I think. The five of them are messy, and fight, and watch too much screen, and can't seem to remember how to play with toys, but then... they can have the biggest hearts and work together in collaboration to achieve something for someone. For instance, Josh asked me this morning if he could buy June a gift because June gave him a gift for his birthday. I agreed and went to Target with them. I bought a gift from Jim and me and I told Josh and Elizabeth they had $15 to buy something from the 4 of them. They huddled and shopped and deliberated and picked an awesome gift for June. When we got home they found Christmas wrapping paper and a glue stick and wrapped all the gifts (7 total). Josh got a gift bag, put the gifts in there and stuffed it with pretty paper. He and Eliz made a card and they have it hidden in Josh's closet for June's birthday this week. The love that they have for one another, deep down... real underlying unconditional love is amazing. They squabble and fight and irritate the hell out of each other, but man, they love that I see come out sometimes, THAT is why I chose to have a big family.
Kids are hard. Parenting is hard. It's so worth it though. I like my kids. I may be raising good people after all...