Sunday, September 25, 2011

My baby Bella

My Isabella Noel is 2......Did you hear the catch in my voice or see my chin tremble?

Dearest Isabella,

I told you last year how you are my sunshine. My sweet little angel. I know it is always said that time goes too quickly. And I couldn't agree more.

The night of your birthday I tucked you in. I kissed your cheeks and squeezed you for awhile longer. I smelled your hair and felt the weight of your head on my shoulder. It gets me when I think too much about it. You are getting bigger. You talk more and laugh more. Run to keep up with your brothers and sister. Fight for your turn or your piece. Truly, it seemed overnight you went from my baby to my little girl. I teared up, but took a deep breath.

Although I shouldn't say that. You will always be my baby. My soft haired, bright blue eyed baby. I kissed you goodnight. I pointed to my eye and said "I", crossed my arms and said "love", touched your nose and said "you."  You  laughed. I turned off your light and walked to the door and I hear your little voice say "mom?" I turned around. You pointed to your eye and said "I", crossed your arms and said "love", and then pointed to you nose and said "nose." And then you laughed, closed your eyes, pulled up your blankie, and wrapped your little arm around your new rainbow doggie. I laughed too.

What a gift you are. Maybe the first time you read this you might not get it. Only if you have your own sweet cheeked angel faced baby will you get it. How much you fill my heart. How grateful I am that I get to be your mommy. I love you doll baby. Happy Birthday Sunshine.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A tale of two shoes....

Good morning Monday! And yes I am aware that this is Tuesday, but this was what my feet looked like yesterday as I was dropping off the baby at my mom's. Yes, that is two separate shoes. But in my defense they are both black. The only reason I noticed was becasue I tripped on my heel. Only one shoe has a heel. The other is a wedge. I did have an extra pair in the van. I changed before I made a real fool of myself at school. Until I post it for the whole internet to see.

One of my bestest once said to me that as soon as we open our eyes, we hit the ground running. Especially now that school has started that couldn't be more true. I am not complaining. I truly love my job. Being a full time 5th grade teacher is something I wouldn't trade for the world. But there is no denying my world becomes (more) crazy!

I do as much as I can the night before. That means I have lunches packed, bookbags set, clothes laid out. Sometimes I even let the cereal bowls on the table! In the morning, I wake up first and get myself ready. Then I hit up the oldest child first and work my way to the baby. I wake them up and get them dressed, moving, and headed to the bathroom. We all move down to the kitchen where breakfast is eaten. We head to the front door where shoes go on and usually hair is done. Then into the van. Three stops later I am on my way to work. Apparently with matching shoes only some of the time.

With the start of school also comes dance, scouts, and soccer. I am still taking my ESL graduate course. It is over in November thank goodness. Choir starts in church.

Again, I certainly am not complaining. I love my life full, loud, and busy. My kids are amazing and they bring such color and joy to my world. I couldn't imagine my life any other way. I love my job. I truly feel like I make an impact in their world everyday. If only I could put on matching shoes I wold be set!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Freedom isn't Free

He is a big boy. Frankly, pushing 30. If he ever sees this, he will complain. But too bad.

He is my baby brother. My other brother. We are 17 month apart. We grew up together. Had the same friends and played the same games. I remember screaming and fighting over baseball games as kids, but I also remember the day he stood up for me on the school bus. I always wanted the nightlight on in our bedroom but he said he couldn't sleep with it on. He waited until I fell asleep and then would turn off my light. I remember seeing him all dressed up for a Prom in a tux, and I remember the first time I saw him in uniform.

He is serving in the Air Force. Serving the United States of America. And as of last Tuesday, he is a deployed Airman. That means my baby brother is not in our country. He is so far away. Too far. He would never, ever call himself a hero and would flip out if it was even stated. But again...too bad. He is a hero to me.

He took a vow to defend us. To stand up and fight for those who won't or can't. For the kids who pledge allegiance to the flag every morning and for those who scream and curse at military funerals. For those men and woman who have greying hair now, but served so faithfully years ago and for rappers and songwriters who spew out garbage about a life they know nothing about. He defends the politicians who debate on the compensation he receives for serving and he serves those of us who wake up knowing that we can go where we want and say what we want without threat or violence. Our military who serves heroically, honorably, and faithfully. Without prejudice or pride.

To be honest, we are only as strong as those who are willing to fight for Justice. I have always stood on the side of respect and honor for the men and woman willing to serve. But it wasn't personal. Now my brother is overseas. I don't know where he is laying his head or what he eats for dinner. I don't know what he spends his days doing. I don't know if someone means him harm. Although he swears that he is fine.

Now I see. I see that he won't be home for the holidays. My mom can't pick up the phone and call him. We can't send him goofy pics of the kids. He won't send me a sarcastic text to this post. I am in no way complaining however. Some families have made an even more tragic sacrifice. Some people never got to plan the welcome home party I have stashed away in my head.

Freedom has never been free. Men and women have been standing on that line for you and for me since the beginning. As September 11th approaches, I look at all the heroes serving us that never hear a thank-you. And frankly, they don't even expect it. But today I say thank-you. To all of you serving in the military- My brother, my cousins, my friends. To those serving as policemen, firemen, and protectors of my freedom. I thank-you. I thank-you for everything.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Bitter Sweet

Breathe in and out. One step in front of the other. After all, this wasn't my first time on the merry go round. I lay in bed for hours. Trying to sleep. Drifting off and on. I swear I am more nervous for this than they are. I hear my alarm go off. How can it be time for this already. And I am not talking about breakfast. How can it be time to put my princess on a bus? How did I miss it?

First days are so very bitter sweet. What an exciting time. It is so sweet to see your children develop into their own person. For you to look at this little person and see the uniqueness and the passion for life.  It is so bitter though that they start to step away from you as they find this world.

It is so sweet to hear wonderful praises about your child. To hear how kind and compassionate they are to others. How they are making the world better just by bringing joy into it with their presence. But so bitter that you weren't there to see or hear it.
It is so sweet to watch them take their first steps into the world. To stand at the sidelines and cheer for them. To shout for joy with their accomplishments and wrap your arms around them in their disappointments. But so bitter to stand at a distance sometimes as you watch those steps. Bitter to know that disappointments will come sooner or later.
It is so sweet to learn to let go and trust. Trust that my children are in the hands of Another. That He will hold them in the palm of His hand. It is so sweet to trust that my children will carry my love for them in their hearts all the days of their lives. It is bitter though to know that I can't always control everything.

One the first day of school, I watch them. He is in second grade. Eating his waffles with his hair sticking up in the back even though I have tried to tame it. She is eating her English muffin with butter and cinnamon. Kicking her shiny black shoes and occasionally smoothing down her skirt. She is singing a song and he hums his own little tune. Oblivious to the life changing thoughts running through Mommy's head. I look at my sweet little babies growing up one moment at a time.

"Time to go," I say trying to chock back some tears. They put on their giant book bags. Smiling and ready to tackle the world....or at least the elementary school. Pictures and pictures. Then we get into the van. I walk them into the school. I notice Will is holding his book bag straps and not my hand as we walk in. That is ok....I guess. We stop in front of Rachel's class and I kiss her good-bye. As I let go of her hand but she takes my heart. I blink back tears and smile and wave. I pray that the kids will love her as much as we do and her teacher will think she hung the moon like I do.

I walk my boy to second grade. He reaches for my hand. Nervous. I squeeze his hand and tell him to watch where we are going so he can find his room. "Why?" he asks. "Because I didn't think I would walk you down here everyday." "Why not?" he asked. "I guess I could if you want," I told him. He looks up at me, something I treasure while I still can, and he smiles and says "I want." We arrive at his bright yellow classroom. I see familiar faces of his friends. I see little desks all lined up in a row. I know one of the desks is his. I hug him tight. Hold on for a second longer. He walks into his classroom, throws up his hands, and says "hello everybody." I chuckle as I walk away. As I walk through the halls, I pray for them. First for my children. I pray that for their health and safely. I pray that a passion for education will be instilled in their hearts. I pray that they let their light shine for everyone to see. That someday they could perhaps share their faith and love those who need it.

I walked into the school with two and now I climb into the van as one. I sit and buckle the seat belt. Suddenly everything gets so fuzzy. The tear slid down my cheek and onto my lap. My throat tightens and I gasp. Finally I let myself have my first day cry. I cry because first days are so bitter sweet. Bitter because I now sit here alone. But so sweet knowing how blessed I am to have these amazing kids in my life. Sweet to know how these children will touch the world. So very sweet to know that they will come home and still crawl up on my lap and tell me about their new friends, what they played, and what they learned. So bitter sweet.