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.