Monday, January 31, 2011

Christmas Eyes

Tonight we were putting up the Christmas tree in anticipation of Greg coming home. I was fluffing the branches on our "realistic" fake tree when I realized that all the bulbs on the bottom were all black and well, not lit. For some reason the idea of going bulb to bulb to find the burnt out one, only to find that they all are burnt out did not make me happy. In fact it irritated me.

All I could think about was the fact that this is finals week, my house is a wreck because I did homework this weekend instead of cleaning it. On top of that it is the 6th of December and I don't have my Christmas decorations up - or my Christmas shopping done. And the pinnacle of my lack of time was the stupid tree with it's burnt out lights.

Will came up behind me and started in on a story that I pretended I cared about. It was not that I don't care about my son, it was simply that I was too busy to pay attention. He kept repeating the same phrase over and over and over - so I finally looked up to ask him to stop and think it through. It was not a gesture of kindness, but of frustration.

As I looked up I was ashamed. Here stood my little man with the lights of the Christmas tree reflecting in his chocolate pudding eyes, so in awe that he could not form a cohesive sentence. I realized as I looked at my son, that in his eyes those lights - the ones that worked - on that "realistic" fake tree were the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. The reflection of the lights were beautiful from this angle. His face was glowing and tiny pins of light were playing with the brown in his eyes. It took my breath away.

Why is it that as adults we are constantly seeing only the flaws? Why do I see frustration and disappointment in the beauty that is Christmas? I encourage everyone to stop and look into the eyes of a child, see the lights reflecting in their eyes. Listen to the excitement in their voice.

Be in awe of what they mean to you with the light of Christmas in their eyes.

Monday, January 24, 2011


At nine months old my eldest pointed her big green eyes at me and signed the words "Eat more please". I pointed my green eyes back at her in awe. It seems that from the moment I read the blue lines on the stick I have been in reverant awe of them.

I remember pouring over books with pictures of developing embryos thinking - this is what my blue lines looks like this week . . . and then being all excited when they grew arms. Arms were a big deal until they grew fingers. Then fingers became a big deal. I remember the moment they were born, checking to see if they had all ten fingers and all ten toes, as if that was proof that they would be Nobel Peace Prize winning sports stars. I was so thankful that I had provided the perfect environment for them to grow perfect arms.

This last week my brown eyed blue lines learned to cross his arms, that I was so excited he grew, at me. Suddenly, I stopped being so thankful that they grew.

Why is it that we as parents believe that we can create perfect environments where our blue lines will adore us and be Nobel Peace Prize winning sports stars? I never imagined that sacrificing caffeine, highlights and tuna fish would result in the arms that I grew for him, crossing in disgust -- AT ME!!!

I have learned in the last eight years that these amazing blue lines will never - this side of them having kids - understand what I gave up for them. Though I waited with baited breath to see their arms, they will not look at their own with the reverance I feel.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Character and the Blue Lines

I sat in the car with my green eyed blue lines yesterday. She was giddy at the suffering of someone who had hurt her. I was surprised at my reaction to her inappropriate rejoicing. I felt guilty that I had missed something important.

When I dreamt of being a mom, when I was a little girl, it never involved character building. I remember setting up my room as a house with the kitchen over here and the nursery over there. I would grab my blocks and pretend to iron all of my husband’s clothes to a perfect crease while my angelic baby slept in her hand carved cradle. In my child mind my blue lines were never dirty. They were never sick with anything except for something exotic that was miraculously healed, just in time for dinner. No one ever puked on me, everyone slept through the night, dinner was always everyone’s favorite and my husband’s pants were always perfectly ironed.

When my first set of blue lines came I still believed this lie. She was startlingly beautiful from the moment she opened her pretty green eyes. She slept angelically – although she did snore, but hey, no one is perfect. And I ironed everything that I came in contact with. But, something happened as the days and years went on. She started to grow up. By the time she was five I realized that there was more to this motherhood thing than just that which my child-mind invented twenty years before. I was responsible to give this beautiful little girl the tools that were necessary to become a woman. By the time I realized this, I also had a set of brown eyed blue lines who needed different tools, that would be necessary to become a man.

It was in this moment that I woke up and realized that I was wholly unprepared for instilling character into my blue lines. What on earth was God thinking when He gave them to me? Was He insane? I don’t know what I am supposed to do!!! An unprepared person should not be given this responsibility. Blue lines are too important to leave in the hands of someone like me!

Over the next few months I worked on three character qualities that I wanted my blue lines to have. I figured I could come up with three. I had never heard other parents lamenting that they had trouble coming up with pillars of their children’s character before. But, two months in and not a single idea, I was desperate. I was watching Thomas the Train with my blue lines when I heard Mr. Conductor say: “Thomas, a good engine is always RESPONSIBLE, RELIABLE, and RIGHT ON TIME.” Well, I am happy to say that I have taken his wisdom and used these three character traits as the “pillars” of my children’s character. No, there was not a spiritual journey to the pillars. It was an exhausted grab at the first thing that sounded good.

Since that time, we have used our three character qualities over and over. They have evolved from an act of desperation on my part, to a mainstay in our home. If I cannot teach my blue lines to be RESPONSIBLE, RELIABLE and RIGHT ON TIME in childhood, then I have no hope that they will learn when they reach the teenage years. I have been able to have the talk with my green eyed blue lines that her mastery of these qualities will give her more freedom and privileges into her teen years and at eight, she has a rudimentary understanding of this principal.

Our moment in the car where I had to pull over to discuss a character trait that was out of whack was an honor. I have been given a gift in my blue lines and I believe that God gave them to me – not out of insanity, but out of grace to me. I have so much less figured out than I did when I was a little girl. But, that is a good thing!

Motherhood and the Blue Lines

I sat in a Target bathroom stall waiting to see if one blue line or two blue lines would appear on the pregnancy test I had just taken. I sat there, nine years ago, wondering how having children would change my life. I had no idea just how everything would hinge on that 30 second period.

Some days I just want to go to the bathroom alone. Then there are other days where I cannot imagine putting my make-up on in the morning without my brown eyed set of blue lines wrapped around my leg. Tonight I sat on the couch snuggling with my two two blue lines thinking about everything I have sacrificed for them and wondering if it was enough.

The reality is that motherhood is a constant state of never enough. There is never enough time, there is never enough toilet paper, there is never enough patience, there is never enough groceries to make dinner, and there are never enough hours in the night to wake up feeling rested. Sometimes I wonder as I juggle school, work and being a mommy if I am doing a disservice to everyone around me. When I am at work I wish I was at home, while at home I wish I had more homework done so that I can actually BE THERE with my kids. When I hear "I don't know" for the 800th time I wish I was at work and the whole cycle begins again.

So many mommies want to be SuperWoman, WonderWoman and everything in between. Why are we unable to be everything that we expect ourselves to be?

God called me to care for my blue lines and teach them His ways. That so far has involved some very painful choices that tore my life apart and theirs. I did not protect them from that which I did not know I needed to protect them from. Yesterday, my oldest set of blue lines asked me why I did not have her bio-dad fingerprinted? She said if I had, that I would have known that he was bad BEFORE she was born. How does a mom answer that?

For now, I will just keep doing what I know is right. I will teach my blue lines to be Responsible, Reliable and Respectful. I will teach them the value of hard work at a job and at school. And, I fingerprinted their new dad.

The mountain of responsibility that is expected of me is seemingly insurmountable, but I will just keep climbing that mountain step by step. And in the end I pray my two two blue lines will accept that I am not SuperWoman or WonderWoman . . . I am just Mom.