These Faces Light up my Life

These Faces Light up my Life

I especially love the face of my oldest in this picture.  Think she may be excited?

I thought about writing a really cheerful, upbeat, joking post, but I’m in a reflective and grateful kind of mood today.  Maybe it’s due to the weather changes and the snow that’s forecast for tonight.  Maybe it’s just that time of month.  But, right now I am so incredibly grateful for the blessings in my life that I want to honor them as best I can with what limited talent I have with words.

Dumb Mom (btw – she’s anything but dumb) over at Parenting with Dummies has a contest right now that involves posting photos of the faces that make your holiday brighter.  This seemed like a particularly appropriate thing to write about with today’s mood and my  Wordless Wednesday post.  Officially, here’s the language that I am welcome to ad lib a bit and be creative with as long as I  include it exactly as she wrote it.

I am participating in the Invisalign Teen Bright Smiles Holiday Photo Contest with Dumb Mom.”

So here goes…

My children are my world.

This may seem like an obvious to some of you, but for me it’s surprising.  I never was the kinda girl that dreamed of her wedding, had my kids’ names picked out before I was old enough to even date their dad, or looked forward to the day I bought a minivan and was a soccer mom.  Far from it.  In fact, tomboy is too feminine a term to describe me as a child.

Then one snowy day in December of 2001, my world turned upside down.

I became a mom.

I was nervous because I am a planner and I didn’t know what to expect.  I was prepared though. After all, my birth plan was 4 pages long and extremely detailed.  It was all laid out in black and white, so of course everything would go according to the Plan, right?

Ok.  We’ll wait a moment for those of you with children to stop laughing.

As you may be able to imagine, the birth plan was ripped to shreds and I doubt a single word of it was actually read or followed.

To give perspective on how greatly my world turned upside down that night, here is a small idea of who I thought I was prior to it:

I am tough.  I have a high pain tolerance. I am a strong, independent woman that can tackle anything.   I am ready for whatever the world throws my way.

Here is me after giving birth:

I am a complete wuss.  I have NO pain tolerance what-so-ever.  I would gladly kneel down and kiss the feet of the person that invented the epidural.   Women that choose to have 19 kids are either my hero or completely insane.  Most likely somewhere in between.   I may not be up for what the world throws my way.

I have slowly come to realize that I am not a complete wuss and probably have a pretty normal pain tolerance.  However, one thing that hasn’t changed is I am no longer confident that I could handle anything the world throws my way.

Why?  Because there are three little people that hold my happiness and the course of my future in their hands.

If something happened to hurt this beautiful angel, I would never recover.

Even if she does occasionally act like a little devil…

The treasure box this little man’s seeking holds the key to my heart…

And this little monster lights up my world every day with her (usually) beautiful smile…

Their happiness, their laughter, their future and well being is more precious to me than words can describe.

A full night’s sleep is a thing of the past – for the normal reasons that come with babies – but also because my heart and soul are walking around in fragile bodies with amazing smiles.

The monsters under my bed have been exchanged for worry that their safety and happiness is never guaranteed.  Things happen unexpectedly to devastate a family.  While my first reaction may be to shelter them from life so they are protected, that isn’t healthy for them either.  A flower doesn’t grow without sunlight and neither do children without freedom and the space to learn who they will become.

As much as I may be tempted, I cannot shelter them from life in an effort to protect them from the “maybe”.

So, I will kiss their beautiful faces…

Revel in the sound of their laughter…

Laugh (and cry) at their antics…

Comfort myself with the knowledge they’ll have each other long after I’m gone…

And love them with every part of my soul.

While, I can’t control what may come tomorrow, I can enjoy every moment I have with these beautiful people as the gift it really is…and I can find my holidays brighter with the brilliance of their smiles.

By the way, should you ever meet my children, please don’t blow my son’s cover.  It’s a secret that he really does adore his sister.   He’s hiding it by arguing and fighting with her all the time, but this picture tells the truth.

And just for you Dumb Mom (you have to read her blog to understand)…

Woot!  Here’s your doggy face.  Are you laughing,  yet?

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Last, but not least, a shameless plug to pick me as the winner…

All he wants for Christmas are his two front teeth…

Not really, but a $250 gift card would buy a lot of Legos!  Plus, what smile contest for braces would be complete without a toothless grin?

21 Responses to These Faces Light up my Life

  1. What a great post! Stopped by from Parenting By Dummies and am so glad I did!

    And I get the whole long-enough-to-be-a-doctorate-thesis-birth-plan thing that completely misses the mark. It happened to me with my first too.

    Thanks for sharing (and the smiles are so great!).

    • Lol- it is pretty humorous in retrospect. I remember when I said that I wanted the epidural and the nurse and midwife were comforting me with…”I think this is a good decision. I think you’ll be happier in the end. Yada, yada..”

      My response? “You don’t have to talk me into it, just give me the damn drugs!” :) It is really funny now…at the time I was sure I wasn’t going to survive.

    • Isn’t it funny? I don’t know why I thought a doctoral thesis/birth plan would protect me from the chaos or whatever, but it surely didn’t mean squat to me once the hard labor had been going on for an hour or two…

      • I wanted an all-natural birth. I even paid to go to Bradley Method classes and drug my poor husband to them (where he learned how obsessed some people are with their placentas). I poured over books and spent hours upon hours preparing the perfect birth plan. I was so proud of it.

        Then my baby stopped moving. Induction would probably been too traumatic for her. I didn’t even go into labor, just straight to an emergency c-section. Many nurses at the NICU (she was in for 8 days) said we probably saved her life by going in when we did.

        I ended up having two more c-sections when my other two were born.

        So I kind of laugh at first time moms when they show me a birth plan. Inwardly, of course. I just always tell them to be prepared to be flexible.

        • LOL – your comment about the placenta made me giggle. I was intent on seeing it. I still don’t understand how it works, but I do now know what one looks like! Again, not very sexy! :)

          Yep, there are some that have the births that they plan for and luckily I didn’t have any trauma or other scary circumstances with mine. But there really isn’t a way to actually prepare yourself for it. For one, it’s different for every woman and with every child. I LOVED seeing those newborn faces though – as messy and scrunched as they were – it was still a relief to know they were born (labor was over) and they were whole.

          Great to meet you! Thank you for your comments. I am glad we got introduced via this contest!

  2. Love the two-front-teeth! I think we’ve had a few kids that looked like that at Christmas. Surprisingly enough, none of them were as worried about their “two front teeth” as they were about the toys and games! LOL

    By the way, I managed to “squeeze out” twice as many kiddos as you! (and was not too happy to find out that I couldn’t get an epidural with my 4th child – some people almost died that day!)

    • Oh my! I do have to admit it got progressively easier each time, but the epidural is a night and day difference! There was actually laughing and joking going on with it – versus, full blown panic attack that I am not going to survive this prior… :)

      Nope, Tev isn’t nearly as interested in his front teeth as I am, but I LOVE it! Perfect timing to get the pics for a scrapbook with that as the title.

  3. Oh man I think your post just kicked my post’s butt!!! LOL But isn’t it amazing how once you have children your life really does change. It took me 8 years till I was “ready” to have kids with my husband. I wouldn’t change it for the world. Good luck with the contest!!

    • lol – thank you Rachel! And yep, there are the obvious big changes that happen, but for me the emotional ones are the largest.

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting! Good Luck to you too!!

  4. I LOVE your oldest daughter’s expression in the top photo – and your entry is awesome. I love reading about moms who embrace being a mom. Those wee ones hold such power! Thanks for pointing me to your blog.

    • Thank you Elaine! I really appreciate you stopping by and taking a look. I was bummed not to win, but there were such great pics! Lots of fun to write the post too…

  5. I love these smiles! Your babies are so pretty, and your words are so true. . . I was loling pretty hard when you were talking about your birth plan. *shakes head* I guess it’s a rite of passage!

    • Hi Jes,

      Thank you! LOL – yes, the entire concept of expecting anything about being a parent to go according to “a plan” cracks me up now that I’ve been here. :)

      I LOVE your gift pics and interview of your daughter. What a great idea! And I do have to also admit you had me loling pretty hard too with the Christmas tree decorated from toddler level down. That was so classic I had to share with other women in my office. Your photos are amazing. Thank you for sharing!

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