Celebrating Mother’s Day

This year Mother’s Day has been pretty special.  On Friday at 4:30 I was wrapping up work and caught a bit of an interesting Oprah episode, thinking to myself “oh, I suppose I should go pick up my kids from daycare eventually…” and half-heartedly closed the laptop and turned off the TV.  But when I got to school I was presented with a handmade gift from Alex, and a hand decorated plant and card from Nathan, with a note he had obviously written. “Dear Mom, Happy Mother’s Day. I love you very much. Love, Nathan”  My heart melted.  Then Saturday when my husband had to run to Target for something he came home and gave Nate a bunch of flowers to present to me.  Knowing we would be spending today with my grandparents at a restaurant I don’t care for, he offered to take me to my favorite, the Olive Garden, for dinner.  And Saturday was completed with a stop at La Centerra for a mother’s day concert and ice cream by the fountains. 

Today he actually drove to the local donut shop for my breakfast, gave me a card, some gorgeous earrings and a top from the Loft, and took me to Panera for lunch.  I’m feeling almost pampered (this is exceptionally rare). 

But on my heart for several weeks, maybe even months now, have been other children needing mothers, needing love, needing physical support, and especially needing Jesus.  God has been poking my heart over and over and over, rather relentlessly through the blogosphere, my church, the TV, even the concerts I’ve been too.  As I’ve been getting rid of outgrown clothing and planning to sell Alex’s crib…I’ve been thinking maybe we should keep some things.  Because I’ve had a steadily growing desire to open our hearts and home to more children that desperately need it.  I’ve written before a bit about what I’ve been feeling, but I’ve started to say it out loud.  My other half isn’t quite in the same place as I am at the moment, but I’m praying and I believe it will come.  My desire to possibly become a foster family is a tough one to swallow…why disrupt our perfect little life? 

So today I did something I’ve been wanting to do for a long long time, and I have no idea why I haven’t.  I pulled the trigger and sponsored a child through Compassion International.  It’s something Mike can easily support, and I plan to involve our entire family.  Kristen‘s story of her trip to Kenya with Compassion, and all the comments she has been receiving about people sponsoring multiple children, have left an imprint on my heart that I could not shake.  And I realized that today, mother’s day, that is what I MOST wanted to do.  Our little girl’s name is Mbeyu, and she’s 7 years old, from Kenya.  I can’t wait to get to know her…I’ve always wanted to have a little girl in my life.

Baby and Toddler Milestones, It Goes By So Quickly

One thing that all mothers seem to do naturally, some in small degrees and some constantly, is compare our child to those around us.  We constantly track their progress, the doctor checks off his list for development milestones, and we make mental notes when our friends talk about their babies hitting milestones like sitting up, talking, or eating solid foods.  Mostly I don’t worry about these things, but sometimes it can be a gentle nudge that I should be helping my little one along towards some new goal.  This is especially true because I belong to a very close-knit birth club, formed on Babycenter.com.  Our birthclub began when each of us learned that we were all pregnant with due dates in the same month.  Now more than three years later, we still talk about our lives and how our toddlers keep us on our toes! So since our little ones have birthdays so close together, it is easy to compare them to each other. 

So when I heard that some of my friends had their two-year-olds completely potty trained, I started to feel the pressure.  Nevermind that my first child wore diapers well beyond his third birthday, and his daycare did the bulk of the potty training.  And it seemed silly that my Alex was still sleeping in a crib, even though his height exceeds most four year olds.  He had never tried to climb out, but I was getting a bit tired of having to climb to the second floor every morning to free him from his crib, when there sat a perfectly good twin bed right beside it. Then my neighbor told me how her boys, one six and one four, give themselves showers.  That sounded like heaven compared to bathing my two oversized boys together in a shrinking bathtub every night. 

But Alex had little to no success using the potty, and he had zero interest in leaving his beloved crib in favor of the “big boy bed.”  And Nathan was fearful of the shower.  Then one night this week, something clicked.  First Alex decided he was interested in the shower, especially when  he heard it was kind of like playing in the sprinkler.  My two year old has always been a bit braver than his big brother.  As soon as Alex hopped in and enjoyed it, Nathan followed close behind.  Now suddenly they ask to take showers every night. 

And at the same time, Alex began to realize when he needed to pee, and had success with the potty!  It’s amazing to see the wheels turning in his little head as he learns to communicate in full sentences, use his imagination, and figures out that peeing in the potty earns him M&Ms. 

For a couple of weeks now I had planned on simply dismantling the crib and dealing with the traumatic meltdown that would ensue…but Mike never seemed to get around to taking the crib apart.  We had both encouraged sleeping in the big bed for a long time, to no avail.  Then suddenly this week, a casual mention that he would be able to get himself up in the morning to go play did the trick. We assured him that all his stuffed animals and blankets would move with him.  And magically it seemed like he wanted to do everything he could to prove what a big boy he was.  So there was no screaming or anxiety, and he slept in his new bed right through the night. 

And suddenly I feel like my baby is gone.  The progress I was looking forward to having is here and I am weepy, remembering instead the long nights nursing the tiny bundle in the rocker in his nursery.  Now I have a full fledged little boy on my hands, and he is precious, but I still miss the baby in him.