Maybe, just maybe

My kids go back to school tomorrow. All week I have watched them with melancholy in my heart, loathe to part with them.

The past few days, I even mentally composed a touching, heart-felt post describing my feelings in great detail. One that would make all of you weep right alongside me.

And then...

Then they spent today fighting and tormenting each other.

And they whined to go to the pool. Then whined to go home once we got to the pool.

And left me a present of muddy shoes in the laundry room sink.

And accidentally dumped an entire plate of rice on the floor. Then attempted to sweep it up with a broom, leaving a sticky trail of wet rice behind.

And spilled -- not one -- but TWO glasses of milk at dinner.

And on my hands and knees, mopping it all up, I decided I actually might be ready for them to go back to school.

But then...

Then I walked past the boys' room and smiled at them -- heads together, bent over a Calvin & Hobbs book, their laughter filling the air.

And I hugged my baby girl goodnight, and for the millionth time kissed the tiny freckles dotted across her button nose. Her hair, smelling sweetly of shampoo, brushed my cheeks as we parted and I had to reach back down and hug her tight again.

And I talked a nervous middle schooler through his schedule yet again, loving the way he shrugged at the end of it saying, "Thanks, Mom," as though I accomplished a huge feat.

And I laughed out loud when my funny, quirky middle son set out his first-day-of-school-clothes, planning to wow his classmates with his retro Jaws tee shirt and his current favorite read. Noting with a smile, the man-eating theme with which he's chosen to start the fifth grade.

And at the end of the day I decided that maybe, just maybe, I might miss these little people after all.

Marveling at my awesome parenting once again

Last Sunday, I noticed my middle child limping and hobbling on our way into church. Crabby, tired, and short on patience, I told him to knock it off.

Also? The Mother of the Year people just called. My award is on its way.

He looked up at me with sadness in his startlingly blue eyes and said, "I'm sorry, mom. My toes are just scrunched up in my shoes and they really hurt."

After giving myself 6,000 lashes with the belt made entirely out of guilt, I apologized and promised to get him some new shoes this week.

It really shouldn't have surprised me. The new Sunday pants I bought him at Easter? Like three inches too short now. I don't know what this kid is eating that is so different than the others. Nobody else is sprouting ankles out of their pants by the hour. An inch or two every year at best. But this one? He's grown about three inches in the last few months alone.

So yesterday we headed over to the mall. I started at Macy's, figuring I'd buy his forgiveness make up for the insensitive remark by treating him to a great pair of shoes from a respectable department store. I also wanted to hit the MAC counter for myself. The day was all about him. Making him feel special and loved.

Only, much to my dismay, I discovered that he has completely outgrown the children's sizes, and is now smack dab in the middle of the men's shoe sizes.

Sweet. fancy. moses.

Have you ever seen how expensive men's dress shoes are? Ain't no way I'm dropping $150 on a pair of shoes that, in all likelihood, will fit him for about eight minutes. I rarely spend that much money on my OWN shoes.

So I lied and told him I didn't think any of the shoes there looked good and steered him toward Famous Footwear. Where the shoes were only $90.

And then I steered him towards Sears, where the shoes were only $60.

By this time, I was running out of excuses as to why I felt the stores just didn't have his style. I think he believed me after the first store. But by store three, he was looking at me like I had totally lost it.

We ended up at *gasp* Payless, and I gladly forked over $40 for a pair of surprisingly decent-looking dress shoes. It still pained me slightly, knowing that he only wears them a few hours every week, but it was definitely better than the alternatives.

Here's hoping they fit him for more than a month.

Because, really, if anybody is going to be spending the Husband's hard-earned money on more shoes around here, it definitely ought to be me.

These I love


I love it when they sometimes crawl into bed with me first thing in the morning, the smell of sleep still in their hair. They curl their warm, lazy bodies next to mine and together we talk and dream of what the day will hold.

I love it when they turn up the music loud and entice me away from the computer or the dishes to dance and sing with them at the top of my lungs. More often than not, it is music from my era, and part of my soul rejoices in knowing I have brainwashed them into loving the 80s.

I love it when they give me hugs. For no reason at all.

I love it when they surround me for a family movie night. Feet and legs tangled beneath blankets, we watch and laugh together. Popcorn or cookies are shared. It's times like this that I can even pretend I don't mind the crumbs.

I love it when I see that their pants are too short or notice wrists and forearms sticking awkwardly out of shirt sleeves because that means they have grown. And it makes me so happy when they do what they're supposed to.

I love it when they dance and laugh in the rain because daddy said yes after I said no.

I love it when they look me in the eye and ask my opinion on something because they think I'm an expert. Even when it's math that totally goes over my head.

I love it that they love me.

I love them with every particle of my being.

And every night when my head hits the pillow, I thank God for trusting me with these three perfect souls.

Happy mother's day, indeed.

Lord help me, I love them something fierce

Today there was a shift in the universe. Did you feel it?

It happened about 6:30 tonight. I was driving home after taking one child to tae kwan do, and had carpool duty for the little ballerina and her friends at the same time. Both boys were in the car, begging to be let out as soon as we were within running distance of our neighborhood.

Apparently the soundtrack from Glee, combined with the high-pitched chatter of three little girls, was causing their heads to explode off their bodies.

I gave in today, as I was just too tired to fight them on it.

After dropping off the noisy ballerinas, I headed home, fervently wracking my brain for a dinner plan that did not include the words "Subway" or "Mc" anything. Unfortunately, the brain wracking was not netting me any brilliant ideas.

Tired, with feet hurting, I opened the door to the house and was met by a light, sweet scent. I set my purse and keys by the door and walked through the mudroom towards the kitchen. And then I stopped, a lump caught in my throat.

There were my boys. Cooking dinner. All by themselves.

This was a real first. And my mind could not help but flash back to a time when I'd walk in the door and frequently find my boys doing this instead:

They were an energetic pair, these two, that is for sure. Sometimes so bent on their loud and wild play that a wake of broken things was often left behind them. They destroyed a historic landmark and nearly caused me death by embarrassment in the process. Not to mention became walking birth control advertisements for more than a few younger siblings.

But here today, these once-terrors grew up just little a bit, right before my eyes. As I watched McKay confidently flipping the pancakes, and Chase at the stove scrambling some eggs, I got a little teary eyed. I thought back to those hard nights where it was all I could do to not fall down in a puddle of tears before bedtime rolled around. Days spent wrestling them in store checkout lines and then fearfully chasing after them in crowded parking lots. Wondering if they'd be this way forever.

Wondering how I would survive if they were.

But tonight they looked older to me than they ever have before. Chatting pleasantly with each other, they worked together doing such a grown up task. Taking it upon themselves to do something they knew would make my life just a little bit easier. It was a brief window into the men they are becoming. Men who have good hearts. Hearts at home in their sweet, pure souls. I stood there in the shadows, soaking it all in. A tear spilled out, and I caught it before it trickled down my cheek and betrayed my sudden rush of emotions.

Then all at once, Hannah brushed by me, threw off her coat and scrambled up to the bar.

"Yay! Pancakes!"

Yay pancakes, indeed.

The one in which I post gratuitous grandparent photos

The last several months, I have unintentionally turned this blog into a showcase of sorts for photo shoots involving a lot of beautiful people. I have taken great pleasure in sharing these photos with you, but have neglected posting any of the shots I take for myself. The ones of my own babies, who I love best of all.

I figured it was high time I did so.

Feel free to skip these if you are:

a) not related to me
b) not the least bit interested in ANY photos, words, or drivel I ever put up here
c) clicking off as we speak to search for free p0rn
d) drank too much diet coke and are running for the bathroom, legs crossed, doing the potty dance

Wait, sorry. That last one was me. I'm back now. (Phew, that was a close one!)

And all four of you who are left (hi, grandparents!) can enjoy these gorgeous photos of my gorgeous children, who seem to be growing up entirely too fast. I will try to stop humming "Sunrise, Sunset" while you scroll down.

But I'm not making any promises.

Happy Wednesday.

"Is this the little girl I carried? Is this the little boy at play? I don't remember growing older. When did they? When did she get to be a beauty? When did he grow to be so tall..."

Sorry. Stopping now.



We are thick in the throws of summer around here (though you'd hardly recognize it with all the thunderstorms plaguing the land) and I have had a few epiphanies.

The most important being: I really like my kids.

I know that should not come as a new realization, but should be a natural, ever-present thought in a mother's mind.

And it is.

But sometimes it's hard to remember when you're constantly surrounded by the noise, nagging, and needs of three little ones.

This morning (and on several of the mornings lately) I have had the company of my oldest son on my runs. He's eagerly laced up his shoes and we've hit the streets together in the early hours. I was selfishly worried that the quality of my workout would suffer as a result of my young companion (I do eat all that cookie dough, you know), but that has not been the case at all.

This kid can really hold his own.

No one ever told me the elated sense of pleasure I would feel, having this little person suddenly big enough to physically keep up with me. Easy conversation, the back and forth between us is as natural as can be. He talks to me. Tells me things he's feeling and working on in his little 11-year-old world.

As the miles between us and home build up, I realize the distance between he and I shrinks drastically.

Back at home, the others have made strides of their own, as well.

Last night, the light beneath a door led to me discover Chase, still awake and reading. So wrapped up in his book, that all sense of time was lost. The urgent desire to see how it all ends was keeping him from sleep. His tired eyes sparkled as he told me of the book he just could not put down. I smiled as I shut the door, and left him to his happy ending.

This boy, the one who struggled and cried when he was learning to read. His letters constantly transposed and his eyes tired from the strain - often he was left in a puddle of anguish. And often I was left in a sea of worry.

I'll tell you what - I'll let him have that late night of reading any day.

And let us not forget the princess. She, who is sometimes the neediest and most loud voice of all. The girl who has been self-appointed as a one-woman tattling machine has lately been less consumed with what others are or are not doing, and more interested in her own pursuits.

I cherish the sleepy, rock star hair that strolls into my bedroom for an early morning cuddle under the covers. I love the sound of her voice, soft and scratchy, as she tells me of her hopes and dreams for the day.

She plans big, this one.

Always wanting to grab life by the horns, and so impatient when there are trifles like breakfast and showers standing in her way.

But I have also caught her watching me lately. Observing the way I perform this little job called Mom, and forming her own ideas of the way she'll do it herself one day. Makes me stand a little taller and strive to be that much better. To be more patient. To love more, and be cross less. To cherish, instead of just tolerate. To teach, and not just discipline.

Life is a series of peaks and valleys. And right now, I feel sheer gratitude for the mountain top I've been standing on. Here's hoping I get to stay here for a while.

Because I really like the view.