Boys of PHB

Boys of PHB
Barefoot boys

Monday, August 4, 2014

Paths We Walk

When we're children and teens we see the path we're on as if in a forest.  There are trees and bushes in our way constantly.  No one there really gets why we feel how we do or why we want what we want.  It seems as if most things are more of a hindrance to who we really could be than a help. 

Then we reach a point in our childhood called adulthood.  We glance out into a lovely, wide expanse of a meadow.  It looks like we can do anything and be anything. It looks like there aren't any real paths to follow except the ones we create ourselves.  To a point that is true, but then we glance back into the forest of chaos that was our childhood and step out into the unknown, yet sought after freedom of being a grown up.

After that first step we suddenly realize that the meadow that we thought we were stepping into is yet another path we've already chosen for ourselves.  It is strewn with multiple pathways that we couldn't see from our jumping off place.  Suddenly adulthood is a confusing place and we realize that we're not sure which way to go.

As we go along the path we chose we realize some other pathways look much more inviting than the one we'er on.  Sometimes from where we're standing other pathways look much easier.  We notice that sometimes we stumble across paths that aren't our own and walk with others for a time.  Those times can lead us onto an easier time on our own path, or make us get lost trying to find the right one again.

Our path is our own.  If done right then our path can lead us to who we are supposed to be.  It can lead us to where we need to be in relation with others and our Heavenly Father.

I sometimes look back to ask myself how exactly I got to this point in my journey.  My path has widened to add others to my journey, while still being my own path.  I walk with my kids, but I can see the separation of pathways ahead and am not sure how I feel about it.  I'm thoroughly enjoying my adventure and am grateful for what I'm learning.

Along the way I've had people cross my path and sometimes I've walked a little way with them.  Sometimes all they've done is cross my path for a brief moment.  They have influenced me and helped me along, whether they knew it or not.  Sometimes even with an example or words to teach me how NOT to be. Still a lesson learned either way.

My path hasn't always been easy.  Often I've found the rockiest  times have been ones where I come out sore and tired, but with a grin on my face, knowing I've overcome that so the next one won't be so rough.  What I'm learning now is to grin WHILE I stumble and climb the rocky times.  Also, to help others up while I watch them climb a similar path.

Adulthood isn't what I'd thought it would be.  I really thought I'd be smarter, know more, at least feel like I have more wisdom than I did in my childhood.  I found, it's just more lessons along the way, just like then.  I'm learning right along with those around me.  My children have taught me more than I ever thought they could.  

This path I'm on now will teach me tons.  I had felt at peace with my life. I had a lot of twists and turns on my journey this past year and have changed a lot.  I really thought I'd be able to sit on my fallen log and take a sip of water, a deep breath and rest a moment.  It wasn't to be.  I'm off and running with the next big thing.  I'm nervous and not sure what this next turn in my path entails. It's things I've never done before and will certainly be an adventure.  

I'll just make sure I keep smiling and enjoy the trial I'm on through it all.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The abyss in the outer reaches of space

I always say I haven't traveled much, but I was re-thinking that today.

I realized that I have had the benefit and adventure of traveling to the furthest abyss and outreaches of space.  I have traveled where many go, but few realize they do. I have entered into another dimension and left my family for a time where they thought I would never return.  They have been so concerned for my safety and return that they have hunted me down and screamed my name in a panic.

I really had been thinking lately that this time in my  life had passed.  I thought my traveling days to the far reaches were behind me.  I was wrong as I discovered today.

You may be thinking I'm talking about stealing time to read a book.  Nope.  Those times are fun, but my family can usually pull be back.  You may think I take time for a nap, or to talk with a friend.  Nope, that's not it either.

I'm not even sure every parent goes through this.

I'm talking about taking a moment to use the bathroom.

As I type this I don't hear a thing from my kids.  It's the first official day of summer break and they are having fun doing whatever they want because I haven't made plans for anything until tomorrow.  I was able to water the lawn, do dishes, start laundry and take care of some other issues with few interruptions and no real emergencies.

I was in the bathroom for only a few seconds when my 11 year old starts running through the house screaming my name.  He sounds as if someone is hurt or there is some other emergency only I can take care of.  I obviously can't leave.  I scream back hoping through his screaming peals he'll hear me through the closed door.  No way.  I hear the back door slam as he runs in and out screaming "Mom"!!

(That's the other thing.  I'd love the name mom if it came with an endearing tone, but most of the time it sounds like an alarm going off.  Really?!  I love being a mom, but the tone the name is used to call me in, we are still working on. )

He finally realizes he hadn't checked the upstairs bathroom.  He'd checked everywhere else.  He comes down the hall and screams my name to the door.  I respond and must have used an exasperated tone because he asks if he can ride bikes with a friend (which had already been previously arranged and didn't seem like it required the screaming he had been doing)  and then apologizes for making me mad.  I tell him yes and then try to yell back that I'm not mad, but as I start I hear him run out the back door and the screen slamming shut.

I only had my 2 youngest ask for lunch after that.

I find it extremely funny that the times I'm needed most are when I'm doing something I simply can't leave.  Why are we frazzled as parents?  It's like they have a sixth sense about the goings on in my life and know when I can't put down what I'm doing.

I've called the bathroom the abyss for years.  It's only struck me now that I should put it out there because apparently no matter how old they get it doesn't end.  No one else may find this funny, but I laugh about it several times a day.

If I'm ever feeling lonely I only need to use the bathroom.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year, New Adventure

I decided long ago that life is an amazing adventure.  How we view that adventure determines how we react to the struggles and amazingly wonderful things that happen during it.  I admit I don't always react the best way, but I'm working on it.

Last year was a hard time during this adventure.  We had some great things that happened, but often times I found myself struggling with difficult choices, and some things that were not my choice, but the result of others choices.  That is sometimes the most frustrating thing, dealing with things beyond our control.

Last year I'd made some goals.  Every year we do this the first Monday of the new year; we sit as a family and make personal goals for the year, print it on card stock and put it on the fridge where we can see it. One year we didn't put it on the fridge because I'd just never gotten around to printing it and we found that most of the goals that year had not been accomplished.  Every year that we put it up though we find we are able to accomplish most of our goals through the year.  It keeps us focused, putting it up where we can view them and see them all the time.  Even if we don't stop to read them, they are in our mind as we see it posted there.

I had made some goals last year to extend myself and reach out to friends more and let them know I cared.  I wanted to make changes to myself and my character as well. Improvements I felt I needed to accomplish.  So I worked hard.  Though the changes came, they didn't exactly come in the way I thought they would. I've made some changes to the way I think about things and the way I do some things.  I've lost this past year and I've learned.  The best thing is, though things didn't happen the way I'd hoped they would, my family and I are happier and we are closer.  It gives me hope with looking towards this next year.

I'm excited to make my goals this year.  I'm looking forward with eagerness to experiencing this adventure with my family and friends.  I have some amazing friends who have helped me through my changes this past year. I can't express how strong they have been in their support and their encouragement when I got down.  My friends have been the back up support I've needed. They know I'm trying to make changes and they have supported me through them.  That is a lot to ask for and I'm always surprised with their constancy in my life.

My boys are astounding.  They make me laugh and smile when I feel like I just can't go on another minute.  When I am crying they put their arms around me and snuggle.  They seem to know just what I need when I need it and act accordingly.  I'm surprised by their sensitive natures and the way they express that.  They are tough kids and don't usually like me acknowledging that they have a tender side, but they do and I love that they bring it out just when it's needed.

I'm excited that I'm experiencing my 18th year of marriage with Aaron.  When I was a kid I dealt a lot with chronic depression and low self esteem.  I was sure no one would want to be with me and if they did they wouldn't want to stick it out.  I'm still stunned he's here and we'er going strong.  I haven't chased him away and we are better friends now than when we got married.  He listens to me and even if he thinks I'm crazy, he tells me I'm not.   He's been a huge support in 2013 and he will be with the adventure of 2014 as well.

I didn't print Christmas cards last year, ran out of time.  We didn't get our family pictures done either, which is why we didn't print cards.  I did get more presents done for friends and family.  I am already working on Christmas gifts for 2014.  I have to get on it early or it won't get done.  I used to be good at this, but have lost my momentum over the past few years.  Now, it's back. :)

Here's to a new year, a new adventure, new changes, new friends, new lessons learned and new beginnings.  It'll be fun to see how this year goes and if we can accomplish all of our goals.  I'm very encouraged by how the different goals I made last year went. I am hoping I can do even more this year.
Happy New Year to all!!  

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Just Thinking

I've been thinking a lot these last couple of months about relationships and how and why people are the way they are.  I have come to no conclusions.

I have come to think about other things about people I have never realized before, or rather knew, but lessons that never sank in before.

I have always known that I can change no one else.  I have, however felt that  my point can still be stated and we can argue or disagree, or even agree, whatever.  I don't mind a rip-roaring conversation.  I don't mind a heated dispute either.  I am in this alone a lot of times though and I've recently gone back to KISS.  Keep It Simple Stupid.

I don't really have time to cover complicate things. I love a good conversation, but they are simpler than before.  I have realized that a lot of my feelings of not feeling bonded, or close, to others is more in my state of mind than in reality.  If I keep everything in my mind simple and uncomplicated then my life feels more sorted.  If I think about things too much then I realized how much I'm not doing and how much I disagree with things said and done by those around me.  I realized that I can keep quiet and know what I know and still respect what others know.

I am not saying I'm becoming an amiable.  I'm too fired up.  However, I am working on un-complicating the view of everything and everyone around me.  I feel calmer when I realized I don't have to change my view point to fit other's and I don't have to change their view point or even convince them that what I'm saying is right or true.  Life can be lived and friends can disagree.  A real friend may disagree, but respects you for your firmness in your belief and your loyalty to them.

I have always wanted to be remembered.  Not famous like, just make a little mark that I was here.  Those around me knowing me and remembering me when I'm gone.  I've realized this year that it may not be the case.  I am forgettable to some people and that's just the way it is.I have a tendency to put things in a general terms. If one person feels that way, then lots of people must feel that way. Then I tend to really feel like everyone around me must feel that way.  If I'm forgettable to one, maybe I'm forgettable to all.

I now realize that it's just not true.  I don't have to do a lot to have done something.  I have had five amazing boys. If that doesn't leave my mark, nothing will.  I have an amazing man who loves me and if he doesn't remember me, when he gets to the other side I will simply kick his butt.  I have family and friends who love me a lot in spite of how crazy and loud I am.  They all know I'm hot headed and they are OK with me.

I have had a few people walk out of my life and I miss them terribly.  I used to think I had to give something big and amazing to be a real friend and I haven't been feeling like that lately to anyone. So this year one of my goals was to go to things more often and to try and show how much I care.  I'm just not good at this. I do want to become good at it.  So with that goal in mind I have attended more girls nights than any time collectively in my life.  

I have since realized that small things are good too.  I don't have a lot to give, but I do have something to give.  I was trying to be what I feel so many others are.  I felt that if I couldn't give everything I felt all my friends were giving then I wasn't being a good friend.  I now realize differently.  I can give my limited time and those who appreciate it, will.  Those who realize I'm doing what I can will appreciate the effort I'm making to be a friend.

Relationships aren't something that just happen. They take diligence,  time, sometimes effort, and forgiveness to work.  They can be fun, but sometimes take work.  I am glad my husband has worked so long with me and along the way had so much fun.  He has taught me more about patients than anyone else except my children.  He is a great example of loving without thinking of himself.  I hope to do better and better at this.

To those who have walked out of my life. I am, and will, always feel like I am your friend. You are all dear to me and I miss you. I think of you often and am glad for the time you were in my life.  I am a better person for having known you, for the good and the not so much.  I would love to be able to have you all re-enter my life someday, but that will have to be seen.  Life isn't over until it is, and even then there is eternity to re-unite.  I look forward to that time. You are loved.  I can't change how you feel, but at the same time, you can't change my love for you.  I respect your wishes, and I can love from here.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Hulk

     I try to stay positive and I usually am very successful, but lately I've had some stresses and am going through a great loss in my life and have had a hard time with it.  I'm not writing about all that, but I'm writing today about what I think the source of some of it is. 

     I'm going to be brave and write about something I've only told a couple of people ever.  These people weren't even family.  I think it's a root to some problems I've had lately and throughout my life.  I don't know how to describe it except to say I'm the Hulk.

     I'm not green, or big like him, but I totally understand how that would feel.  I'm a girl, have been my whole life obviously, but I've not connected very much to girls and feel more comfortable around guys.  I hung out with guys in high school, and still feel a stronger connection to guys than to girls which has only become wider since growing older.

      I used to think, as a teen that one day I'd grow out of my "tom boy" ways and start liking dressing up, doing my hair and nails and hanging around with girls. I do like doing other people's hair, but not getting mine done. I used to think I'd connect better with my mom and sisters one day and I'd find my place in life.  I used to think that I'd fit in one day with girls and understand their desire to look cute and be cute and be as amazing as they are.  I'm nearing 40 and it just hasn't happened yet.

      Let me describe this in a different way and why I say I'm the Hulk.  Imagine beautiful ballerinas doing a magical performance on stage and then out comes the Hulk, all big and green, awkward and wrecking everything. That is the only way I know to describe how I feel around other girls. I don't know when it started, but I remember feeling this quite young, maybe around 8 or 9 is when I first noticed it. 

     I still would rather get car grease on my hands than cook in the kitchen. I'd rather rip the knees in my jeans than sew.  I'm not crafty, I'm not cute and flirty, I'm not like other girls. I have tried and had lots of friends try to help, but alas to no avail.  I've always noticed that even though almost every girl I've ever me has this amazing strength about her they also possess something I've always lacked.  They have this amazing thing that makes them seem to need to be protected and cared for no matter how strong they are.  I don't have it.  People know I'm the one who takes care of things and I do the same work as most men around me.  I do have a strange issue about having to get on the roof, but still would if I didn't have Aaron.  I have never had anyone feel the need to care for me like it seems other girls do. 

     I've probably not worded this right.  I have probably insulted someone along this writing.  I'm not down on myself.  It's just a fact I've had to deal with. I've been around girls who are smarter, tougher, bigger, taller, wiser and stronger.  I still feel the same around any of them. They have a delicate side I feel I lack.  I feel awkward, clumsy, large and bulky around most girls.  The only time I really don't feel this way is around guys.  Good thing I have a passel of them. 

     I wrestle with my boys like any other boy.  Did the same with my brothers.  I really thought one day I'd grow out of  it.  Not yet.  I'll probably get too old to wrestle before I grow out of it.

       Don't know how to act like I'm a girl ether.  I feel awkward during "girl night" too, especially then, because I realize just how different I am from all the others when the conversation gets going.  Though I have had some great friends who had included me for a while in their girl nights and I will always be grateful that they overlooked my rough side and for a while took me in and included this lumbering ox in with the delicate flowers.  They didn't seem worried about being trampled and I will always be thankful.  I'm mourning the loss of that currently which is part of my stress and being down.  I know I'll get through it, but once you get the chance to have your roughest sides overlooked and then put back out there, you wonder if anyone will overlook it again and decide you are good enough to include again. 

     I'm grateful for the best girlfriends I've had in my life. Who saw me for who I was and didn't concentrate on how awkward I am as a girl and didn't concentrate on how I'm more tomboyish and like to do "guy" stuff or that I feel more comfortable and confident in those areas.  They didn't care and they are a blessing in my life.  I am grateful for the ones who have stuck it out with me and have looked at me as someone to be cherished. I often don't think that because who could love or even like someone like the Hulk among the humans?  I'm not a super hero, still looking for my place in life where I fit in and am not a blumbering idiot in situations. Still looking for a way my heart can be at peace with who I am and how I am.  I'm glad I have men around me constantly (well, most still becoming men, but you know).  I'm glad they don't see me yet as the weird girl I am, even though the older ones have met plenty of real girls, they just know me as mom.  They don't care that I'm different, they love me anyway and these people have made a huge difference in my life. 

     Maybe one day I'll be my own super hero that way and find my place.  Maybe one day I'll find some Avengers of my own who will include me and help me use my gigantic ways and large presence to help out and find a place where I fit.  Hope for it and have for years. I'll keep working on it.  I need to find my peace.

This was very hard to write and put out there, but I wanted to.  I feel like it's a part of the peace I'm trying to find to finally put this in print.  Writing is a kind of therapy for me and I'm glad there are friends who will read it.  I'm different and crazy and am always glad there are people in the world who love me anyway. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

We could all use a little.....Change.

     I have tried time and time again to change certain things in my life. One thing after another come into play to make those changes not succeed.  This year I have once again tried to make changes with new years resolutions in January. I really try to make them realistic and not things I know will get so overwhelming that I can't succeed.

     So the new years resolution is still going strong.  Every January we sit down as a family and make individual goals for the year.  I print them off on the computer and we pin them onto the fridge so we can see them often and review through the year how it is going.  We all get together as a family the following January to make goals and review how last years went.  If they were accomplished then we are happy, if not fulfilled how we would like then we make them again and add new ones.  Usually with them up on the fridge then we stay pretty accountable to ourselves and usually accomplish all of our goals. There are some goals which are more long term and take longer.

     With life things that come up it's hard to make changes in lifestyle, eating habits, parenting techniques and other changes we realized need to be made in our lives and things that can improve our lives that we sometimes need to just start doing.  This is something I've known my whole life, but just recently have decided enough is enough.

     My dad used to say I was an excusiologist.  I was wonderfully adept at making excuses and rationalizing anything.  Test me anytime.  If you came up with something being done, I can almost always have a reason for why, even if it's someone else.  So I have decided to stop making or using excuses.  I have been trying to make this change for years, but just this year I've decided I've had enough.

     One thing that I kept hoping would change is my yard.  We have lived in this house for 14 years now and still our yard has not been how we've wanted it.  We started landscaping that wasn't getting finished.  Things I would see needing to get done, wouldn't. Even when asking my husband or kids to do it they would seem to get half of the job done and then it would sit there. So this year I was determined to get out there hands on and do it myself.  I've finally finished the landscaping out front and that is a huge relief.  I have now cleaned up my back yard more than it has ever been and found more grass than I thought we had.  I'm watering more because I made a portable watering system to water faster.  The watering, years previously, was taking so much time due to having a small sprinkler.  I know, see, another excuse.  So now I've taken charge.  My yard looks better.  I have filled at least 12 big yard garbage bags with hand pulled weeds and have more to do.  I'm just done with fighting the weeds with poisons that aren't working and spending money on something that doesn't produce results.

     I know making changes takes time, but sometimes making changes means jumping in and taking this overwhelming change a small peice at a time.  Sometimes changes are fast, like a car accident or an illness.  Sometimes it's fast like giving birth, one minute you are just you, suddenly you're a mom.  Most changes take time.  I'm hoping all this hard work gives results next year to produce more grass in our back yard and less weeds.  I'm hoping this is a change that is hard this year, but makes for maintenance in years to come.  Back breaking work now means a fun place where our family can hang out together. 
     When we bought this house it had a lot of issues and we had a lot of help in fixing it up by family and friends who sacrificed time and talent to help us have a wonderful place to live.  Now it's in a lot better shape.  Hard work has brought amazing change that has bettered our lives.  I'm grateful and much appreciate that we are surrounded by such amazing people who are giving and that talented and willing to share.

     Jumping in with both feet to make a change is hard, but saying things like, "tomorrow," is never going to allow the change to come.  Today is all we have and today makes what tomorrow will be.  There is no tomorrow for starting something.  Start now, take that overwhelming piece that just seems too much one little bite at a time and make it a change for the better.  Sometimes relationships are something that need change too and those are definitely things that take time, a lifetime.  One day, sometimes one minute at a time is what it takes sometimes, but saying a minute later will never allow the change to come. 

     Lately a lot of people are talking about changes in economy, the country, the world.  I love that saying, "Be the change you want to see in the world." The story that makes me think I can do something is the one about the man and the starfish.  A man is walking along the beach and sees another man bend down, pick something up and throw it into the sea.  As he walks along he sees this man do it again and again.  At a certain point he catches up to the man and asks what he is doing.  He tells him he is throwing the start fish that have washed onto shore back into the ocean as they will die on the beach.  He says, "but there are hundreds, you can't possibly make a difference."  The man looks down, picks up another one and throws it into the sea, looks at the man who had watched him and said, "It made a difference to that one."

     We can't talk to everyone, change anyone or change the world in a moment.  We can make changes in things around us, cheer up those who are sad, help those who are down and simply smile at those we don't know.  Change takes time, a smile takes a second, and a smile can change everything.  I'm diving in with both feet to make the changes I want to see.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

This Parenting Thing

My boys have a tendency to make me laugh. There are times we are together that I don't think I've ever laughed harder than when they are with me. They know when I'm down and they want to cheer me.  They have such fun personalities and I don't have a shy, quiet kid among the lot of them. 

They make me laugh and they can stress me out like nothing else does.  When really thinking about why I'm losing my temper with them it's not just because of the situation. It usually stems from something else, like my desire to make sure I teach them everything I possibly can before I lose this brief time with them. In the scheme of things 18 years isn't that long.  I hold to the thought that really, the first 5 years are the most critical because after that they have school,teachers, friends and peers that tell them other things I sometimes disagree with. 

I don't want them having to learn the horrible things in life.  There are nightmarish things out there in the world
that I think even adults shouldn't have to be aware of.  Things that we as a people should not have to witness and things that can damage the soul of a person to the core.  I really would love to protect them all from that if I could.  On the other hand, some of the people who have been through the most traumatic and horrific things turn out to be the most amazing people.  Strength doesn't come from sitting back and not living.

If I could teach them everything and not have them have to go through some of the things I have had to in order to learn those lessons, all the better.  Josh, my second son has a real ability to look at other people's mistakes and learn from them.  That amazes me. I know a lot of people who feel the need to "re-invent" the wheel and make their own mistakes even though there are people who have "been there and done that."  It's a real ability to learn through someone elses pain. 

Though parenting is one of the most amazing things I ever chose to do, it is also one of the most trying and stressful.  These kids didn't come as blank slates (didn't expect that, but I didn't know who they were before they came either).  They came with strong personalities and firm ideas of who they are and what they want.  It's hard to teach them that doing just anything isn't OK. Some things in this world are dangerous in more ways than one.  Some choices can hurt others, even if indirectly.

Saying that, even though it's one of the most trying things and will be the biggest learning experience of my life, I have to say it's an awesome experience.  Jeremy is a force to be reckoned with.  He is firm in what he wants like nothing else.  I am working on explaining things better because he wants to understand everything and he thinks he knows everything at the same time. Stubborn doesn't really say it.  Jordan is a cute boy who is so sweet and caring until you make him mad.  That boy can go off like a keg of dynamite.  (Don't know where he gets that from).  Jonas is  my middle son and is so smart.  He also is and always has been my limit pusher.  He likes to think there is a way over the metaphorical line we have drawn in the sand.  He keeps me on my toes more than the others because he will find a back door to any and every rule and he gives a stronger meaning to, "give them an inch and they'll take a mile."  Josh is a little quieter, but loves to laugh and has a fun time with his brothers.  He has an amazing imagination and really thinks outside of the box.  He is my "reader".  I often find myself taking books away because it's time for other things.  Joseph right now is learning to stand on his own. He's trying to find who he is and what he wants to be without me guiding him.  He is my oldest and has always had a mind of his own.  He is often my strength when I'm going nuts with the kids, but he also is sometimes the one who pushes me over the edge of crazy.

I love these boys with my whole heart and soul.  I can't imagine my life without them and tell them often. They know they are loved and I wish as I was growing up that I had even a portion of their confidence.  They are strong and determined.  Sometimes I say that I am a great parent, but their personalities are getting in the way.  They aren't, but their stubbornness is. It's very hard to have a house full of strong willed personalities.  Some will say Aaron is more quiet, but I have to say they get a lot of this from their Dad as well.  It's not all me.  We have 7 very determined and strong personalities in these 4 walls.  Making it work is what is fun and challenging.  I still couldn't imagine being without them in my life.

I know it's said that you are a parent and not a "friend".  But over the years I've discovered there are a lot of different relationships that we really only have a few words to define.  I am above all a mother to my children.  When they get frustrated with my lectures and get mad I tell them, " I have two jobs as a mom. 1. Teach you right from wrong. 2. Keep you safe.  No where in that definition does it say be nice."  However, we have so much fun just talking and laughing together that I don't know if anyone has ever known the real me better than my husband and children do.  They forgive my messing up and they make me better by reminding me to be better as well. I don't think I have experienced a deeper "friendship" as it were than having this strong relationship with my children.

Being a mom has taught me more about my Heavenly Parents than anything else ever could.  I feel closer to God when I am praying for them and when I'm making good decisions even if I can't fit everything in before they become adults.  Life will teach them as they grow into being adults just like it does everyone.  I hope they know they can always turn to their parents even when they feel we won't understand.

If someone had warned me about all this crazy chaos I may have re-thought this being a parent thing.  Now though?  I wouldn't change having kids.  I just may have changed somethings I've done wrong along the way.  Only going forward from here.  Love this experience.