Wednesday, August 28, 2013

This is my 100th post. I suppose I should do something epic but I'm not an epic person , most certainly not living an epic life. And work is keeping me very busy. So epic this!

I am also approaching another anniversary. About a year ago someone called an audible in my life. I most certainly did not call it. But we threw out the game plan and are still trying to figure it all out.

Last summer I came to the realization that in order to be the mother I envisioned myself to be, one who was happy and relaxed and organized, I needed to be done. I was at my limit of four children. It was the perfect, not so little, family. Two girls, two boys. What else could I ask for? Plus, I homeschool for academic reasons, and I need to stay on top of their schooling. I had seen my limits and they were not pretty and very clear.

The perfect family
I informed the father figure of my feelings. I asked his thoughts, but when your wife says "Maxed out man!" what is there to say? I also informed God of my thoughts. I did ask that if this wasn't the right plan for my life, that it be made clear. But, obviously, this is the right plan for me because I am most certainly feeling overwhelmed and strained. Obviously.

Vacations at the end of summer aren't ever a good idea. But when the father figure arranges his vacation schedule for one job based upon his other job and then leaves that other job, well you take what you get. So that's how we found ourselves at Mount Rushmore among the hoards of elderly tourists from Eastern countries. We also realized that Crazy Horse looks just like it did in 1999. I hope that $25 to get in gets me at least one blast of dynamite.

Dinner featured the world's worst service. If only I exaggerated. It is the only time, and I am fairly confident this will never happen to me again, where the server brought me the wrong entree. Now that, in and of itself, isn't all that appalling. However, her response "Well do you like it? Can you just eat that one?" was one for the record books. As we had already waited 45 minutes for our food, and gotten a late start at dinner anyway due to watching the sundown ceremony at Rushmore, and possibly because I was on my second, not so good, Long Island Iced Tea, I kept the not so good food. And talked the father figure down to a 15% tip.

As dinner ended, it occurred to me that maybe, just possibly, a pregnancy test might be in order. The father figure laughed at me, and I knew it was preposterous and yet....... I didn't sleep well that night. Come 5am, I ventured out to the Rapids City Walmart. This itself was monumental because I generally don't step foot in Walmarts. However, peace of mind was worth the trip.

Clearly, everyone knows how the story of the pregnancy test ends. It ends in an epidural. But it was a long path getting there. It also involves the realization that should I write an autobiography it should be titled "Not my Finest Moment" because that's basically how I look back at my life. This moment is no different.

So there I was,  mother to the perfect sized family, staring at a most positive pregnancy test. The three minutes that you are supposed to give it were completely unnecessary. Cinco announced her existence loudly and proudly. And I cried. I was overwhelmed, had four children, sold my home and didn't actually have a new one yet and I was officially drowning. So, in what was one of my many unfinest moments, I walked out of the bathroom, threw the positive test at the not really awake father figure and demanded "What's your plan now?"

The short term plan involved feeding the other children. As they bathed themselves in syrup, the father figure and I engaged in conversation. Well, it was supposed to be a conversation, it quickly deteriorated into trying to determine whose fault everything was. That's right. There we were, two adults, married for over a decade arguing over whose fault it was that we were pregnant. Like I said, not my finest moment.

We spent the rest of the day not talking about the massive changes heading towards us. We walked the perimeter of Devil's Tower. We then headed towards Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone. I lugged X-Man around, meditating on the fact that I would, for the first time in my life, have two children in diapers and two babies, less than two years apart. I was dreading the future but I kept replaying in my head a conversation that I had with God, less than a month earlier, you know the one that went something like "if this isn't the right plan for our family, do let me know." Well, then. That's one way to make your point.

We visited Old Faithful. It was 29 degrees out. I watched the father figure wrestle X-Man and thought how I would be unable to assist him soon, as I would have my own arms full. I felt sorry for myself and for my other kids. I just assumed that I would become the cranky mom who doesn't have time to listen and coach children to better behavior. I conveniently forgot how very well they listen, or are deaf, I'm never quite sure. And all the moments in the previous decade that I had wanted a do-over.

Revenge. Best served beautiful 
I was still grumpy as I listed for the father figure all the baby items we would need to acquire, such as a stroller. It was one thing to go strollerless with one baby. Two? A corral was definitely required. As I listed the necessary accessories, including a home and a car, the father figure looked over at me and confessed "I'm excited. I was kinda bummed when you said you wanted to be done." It's amazing what those words meant to me. I was jarred back to reality. I wasn't the only parent. I wasn't the only clown at this rodeo. And little Cinco, gestating away, was a welcomed addition to the family.

I still had my worries, my doubts, my self pity moments. But I knew. I knew. This little girl, and I knew she was a girl because I would have my revenge on the father figure one way or another, this little girl belonged. She belonged in my heart and she belonged in my life and she belonged in my perfect family. I had more thoughts on this, but my little bundle of perfection just meandered her way to a pile of clean laundry (that's important) and began eating a pair of her father's underpants.

So, that was me a year ago. I wish I could say I embraced my family way enthusiastically, but that took time. I chose to embrace the unexpected aspect of Cinco's existence. When I was asked if I was an Apostolic Lutheran, as I was expecting my fifth child, I simply responded "Nope. Just a surprised mom."

All my children are perfect gifts that were needed at the time of their arrival. But with Cinco, I find myself still saying thank you. I am so happy that my best laid plans were laid to waste. Because the life handed to me is too beautiful for me to blog on. Really, I'm not one to share my deeper felt emotions. I don't know how to truly say how I feel about my children. How I want to give them the world. How I want to form them into great men and women. How I would die for them, and more importantly, I would kill for them. And it in four short months I've learned that the little girl I thought would push me over the edge, thought would break me, has come with lessons of her own. It's cliche to say she's taught me so much. And she hasn't really. She's simply showed me that being a good mother, a patient mother, the mother I want to be, is a choice. Pure and simple. I do have to work harder at it. It doesn't flow quite like it used to. But I will be the mother I know my children deserve.

Perfecter family. Except for the refusal to use the potty. 
And some days, I'll even get dressed.


  1. What beautiful words...I grew in in the PNW and now live far away, I always find a kindred spirit in those from "home," not to mention mother's with small children. Blessings to you, and thanks for sharing your reflection.

  2. Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it.