Thursday, October 8, 2009

my babies.

i have been thinking about a lot of things, a lot lately. (got that.) which usually means i write nothing, or maybe some obnoxious piece about word verifications. but my boys and my life as a parent is up there at the top of the list. max's birthday came and went, and ben didn't really get a birthday shout out around here either. my mom read my blog a couple of weeks ago and said i need to be nicer to ben. although she has seen her fair share of his nightmare fits and rude sneers, she still loves him oh so much. they have a bond that melts my heart. he notices when she changes the seasonal decorations at her house and gets sincerely excited. he says things like, "i'm grammie's sweetheart" and asks to go to her house nearly every morning. he compliments her jewelery and her painted toenails and she buys movies and toys from garage sales so he (along with his cousins) have new things to play with at her house. so when she said i needed to be nice, i knew she was biased, but i also thought, maybe i whine too much.

both of my boys are amazing gifts. i tell them often that i'm thankful to God for blessing me with such wonderful boys. i'm pretty certain they know how fiercely i love them, even when we've had really, REALLY, really bad days. and honestly, the more i pray for grace, the less we have bad days. a change in my attitude has helped too. instead of writing off the day as "bad", i've tried to classify bad moments as just that, and hope for the day to be redeemed. tough days-yes. challenging-you betcha. but bad-not so much anymore. (and honestly, in my three years, i can only think of a handful of terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days. maybe i was being a little dramatic. not that i ever do that.) but most days ARE full and exhausting.

ben really is a great little guy and i marvel at him often. he is simply, very intense. he is incredibly verbal, which is awesome but, well, exhausting. i so love how inquisitive he is, but it wears me out. if i tell him "i don't know" to a question, he repeatedly demands, "just tell me Momma." like i really do know the answer and am just not telling him. don't worry kiddo-i will try to wow you with my brilliance any chance i get, but sometimes, i really just don't know. and he asks "how" about everything. "how" actually equals "why". "how are you not letting me watch another movie?" i'm proud that we've taught him and he understands his own emotions well enough to express them, but sometimes, i really don't want to hear about how he's frustrated that i won't let him have any more chips or watch a movie. no momma wants to hear that their precious is sad, even if he's "sad" because i told him not to push his brother. and if i had a counter for how many times a day i hear, "hey mom...", it would read approximately 8 billion. (if i don't answer the "hey mom"s, he follows with, "do you hear me? do you hear my voice? do you hear me?" with ben, ignore is not an option.

i realize, many of my frustrations with number uno stem from my own lack of patience. yes, he is impulsive, because yes, he is a three year old BOY. but i'm also thankful that God has given him such a strong, healthy body. or my frustration comes from my own lack of self control. maybe i'm crabby and tired because i stayed up too late when i should have gone to bed. but i also need to recognize my own needs and work to make our world a good place for all of us. these littles teach us so much. which leads me to max. (sorry, i should have warned you, get comfortable. i am not a brief person.)

before max was born, a dear friend told me about how she dreamt baby gweasy (max's utero name, long story.) would bring balance to our lives. she couldn't really describe how that huge and abstract feeling-balance, was conveyed in the dream. she just felt it. because she's perceptive like that. yep, she's a wicked cool gal. and it is so true. again, it is hard to verbalize, but it is very true. her words gave me great hope (and maybe a little disbelief) because when i got pregnant with max i was a little concerned. i already felt very in over my head with ben and just didn't know how we could wrangle another little fireball.

and it's not like max has been a walk in the proverbial park. he has his moments, good and bad. but i can't obsess over the bad moments like i did with ben because i have another kid to take care of. and it will pass. and life will go on. and i don't get as consumed by ben's bad moments for the same reasons. sometimes, you just have to shut the door for a little while and walk away. and it really will pass. my mom used to always tell me that with ben. "this too will pass, mary." but i didn't have any perspective. really?! will this child ever sleep through the night. will these tantrums ever end?! (well, i'm actually not entirely convinced on those two issues. bad examples.) but with max, i can look back and see that yes, those really hard moments passed and we survived and life is actually better in the grand scheme. with maxie, i actually savor the good moments more because i know just how quickly they too will pass. and i get it with ben too.

the balance is oh so good. not the kind of "balance" you would normally think of, because i'm sure plenty of outsiders would think "chaos" was a better description of our life with two boys. but it's MY balance. the chaos helps erase any pride or dillusions of perfect children or parents.

and the balance was totally a gift. because we didn't think we were ready for another kiddo. you see, max was a bit of a surprise. with ben, we had only ourselves to blame. because we were diligently using natural family planning, we knew where we were in my cycle, and we really wanted a babe, especially after losing our first baby in an early miscarriage. we thought we were ready. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! (i don't know if we could have ever really been ready for mr. benedict.) with max, we were being half-bottomed about our nfp use, and while we were receptive to a new life, it really wasn't the plan, and we, by our half-bottomed guesstimate, thought we were in the safe zone.

but God, knowing what was truly best for our family, took our little bit of cooperation and gifted us a sweet little max. (who i was convinced was a girl. oy.) don't get me wrong-we were still excited. after losing one little soul, we knew all too well that babes really are a gift and not a priviledge. but it was a very tired, we're still raising this first baby, kind of excitement. is that common for the second kid? i mean, you know what you're in for the second time around. maybe i'm just a wimp.

my little max (and ben is his own ways) has deepened my trust in the big G man in the sky so much. like a good Father, He wants what is best for us, but He won't force it on us. we have to ask for His guidance and be open to His gifts. although i could have never imagined how intensely hard parenthood could be, i could have also never imagined how deeply and truly good it could be.

the moral of this story is: yes, Mom. i really do love (and even like) ben. and max. and tim, just for good measure. (my mom likes my three guys more than she likes me. )

oh, and: Trust.


  1. You are so beautiful, Mary. And inspiring. :) Thank you.

  2. What a GREAT post! I swear, when you were describing Ben, it was like you were describing Ira only using a pen name! I actually read most of that paragraph aloud to Andy who couldn't help but laugh out loud because everything you said was SO TRUE!

    Thanks for your blog! It is truly a gift to read!

  3. my sweet mary. love the post and i feel so near you when i read this. yes, in answer to most (if not all) your questions. yes, trebidation with the "suprise" of a second child. yes the first makes you crazy and the second gives balance. you are a good woman and mama. and joel thinks your mom loves us more than him too:)

  4. you're so beautiful mary, keep on truckin.

  5. It does make me wonder, though, about the third child. I agree with Jackie that the second gives balance... though chaotic balance, it may be. I'm scared to death for the third!

  6. Mary I can definitely relate to this post. Only my first was the easy one and made me think this parenting thing was going to be oh so easy and then there was Annika...

    Amanda so far so good on the third one for me ;)

  7. Mary-I think you are a beautiful momma. Ben may drive you crazy but I'm pretty sure he is still crazy in love with you ;)

  8. So I read this post a while ago (Probably when you actually posted it. Novel idea.) and came across it again and I must say this is beautiful Mary. There are days that I have a momentary urge to drop kick Melanie across the room in the most loving way possible if she says "Hey Mom!" just one more time, despite the fact that I've already addressed whatever her urgent "need" is. I'll be the first to admit that I'm no good at remember that both the good and the bad will pass all too soon, and we'll never have that moment again. Thanks for the reminder.

  9. you all really are too kind. what an elite brand of joyful torture we stay-at-home moms subject ourselves to.

  10. i have been reading through your archives and i really like this post :)