Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A MOMMY'S WORLD

I have discovered something incredible recently. It may sound unbelievable; it may even make you jealous. Here it is: Addison possesses magical powers. I know, I know...it sounds crazy. To prove it, I'm going to share just a few examples.

  • Addison can predict, with 100% accuracy, the exact moment the server is bringing the meal at any restaurant. She alerts us by waking up and screaming. Her alarm gives us just enough notice to have time to clear space for our entrees...such a handy power! 
  • This same alarm system also alerts me as to when I am about to buy something I don't really need. It sounds in the dressing rooms, in the checkout lines, or sometimes even upon entering a store. This requires an immediate exit, therefore saving us money! 
  • Addison can make whoever is holding her invisible...this power radiates to include any family member within a 3 foot radius. She will garner all the attention. She will be talked to, touched, smiled at, even asked questions...all while her proud mommy and daddy smile, unnoticed. 
  • Her powers of persuasion are unmatched. She has even convinced Daddy, with her special mind tricks, to let Mommy get an SUV without Mommy even asking. Remarkable! 

I have noticed some other unusual happenings around my house that have given me pause:

First off, my scale is showing me to be at pre-pregnancy weight. If that's true, then why does my body look so very different than it did back then? Currently, I resemble one of those BEFORE photos you see at a plastic surgeon's office. The ones that makes you cringe. Weird right?

Next, dirty bottles multiply on an hourly basis. I'll look up and see one, and the next thing I know there are three. Same with the piles of dirty laundry. And my stack of unread books. I'm just not sure what to make of that.

In a strange twist, other things have been disappearing at an alarming rate. Cases of diapers and wipes are here one moment, gone the next. Containers of formula are emptied as quickly as they are opened.  And working batteries (that were so plentiful before) needed for various baby gadgets are as elusive as our free time that has all but vanished as well.

Finally, baby toys are slowly taking over my house. Now I'm not saying that they converge at night to hold secret meetings a la Toy Story, but something is going on. I step on them in places they should not be, and I see them seeking refuge under couches and tables that they were definitely NOT under before. Some people might blame the dogs, but I'm not convinced.

Maybe I've finally gotten my wish and awoken to a parallel universe, my very own Harry Potter-esque world? Or, more likely, I'm living my dream of motherhood, my very own perfect, albeit crazy, reality.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Everyday Heroes

Monday, May 20, 2013. It started innocently enough, a typical manic Monday. As we all now know, it was to be one of the deadliest days in the history of our proud state. As I watched the news when I arrived home, and watched, and watched some more, unable to tear my eyes away, I was heartbroken as I heard of the students who lost their lives in Plaza Towers Elementary Schools. I was also so relieved to hear that there were some survivors and so proud to see teachers being hailed as unlikely heroes, symbols of hope in the devastation. I, however, was not surprised. I can promise you that those very same teachers were heroes long before they made national news.

I have seen things done by teachers that others would never believe, much less understand. A child in their class is a little (or a lot) behind, so they stay after school, without pay, to make sure that said child reaches their full potential. A child is without a mom, so they become like a surrogate, making sure to spend extra time, give more hugs, and speak more praise. I know teachers who spend hundreds of THEIR OWN dollars on their classes each year to make sure that they have what they need to reach a new group of kids, a generation who is quickly losing intrinsic motivations and one that must utilize technology in ways never before seen in the classroom. I know teachers who spend their coveted "summers off" planning innovative lessons, attending all kinds of workshops, and cheering on past students at various events. I know teachers who buy yearbooks anonymously for the kids in their class that don't have one (at $25 a pop) so that the kiddos don't feel left out. I know teachers that consider it the absolute highest compliment to hear these words when asked what they learned this year: "To treat others the way you want to be treated," because they know that a great teacher does so much more than math and reading. And they do it all without the expectation of recognition.

In college, they don't tell you that someday, you may have to confront a gunman in your school. They don't tell you that someday, you may be the only one holding it together for a classroom full of children in the middle of a tornado. That's how I know these teachers were already heroes. They did not consider their safety, they did not rely on training, they did not reach for a "What If" manual. They did what they had done every other day in their career. They sacrificed for the sake of their kiddos, and they deserve every bit of commendation they will receive, both for the things we know they've done, and the things that we will never know. Because of them, I have never been prouder to call myself a teacher.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

My FIRST Mother's Day

This year, I get to experience my first Mother's Day as a mom. I think that sentence, with all of its unspoken emotion, could stand alone as a blog entry.

It was on Mother's Day two years ago that I stood watching the baby dedications at church as tears poured down my face. I will never forget practically running out of the sanctuary to escape the pain. I eventually found respite in the bathroom of all places, and the locked stall served as a barrier to the rest of the world for a few moments. I prayed and raged and bargained, and in the end, I went back to my seat, utterly defeated. I'm pretty sure I cried silently through that entire sermon. I allowed myself very few breakdowns over the years, but that one is seared into my memory.

They offer those same dedications twice a year, and I knew without a doubt that I wanted to do Addison's on Mother's Day weekend. This year, our families were in the sanctuary praying for our family of 3 as we were promising before God and the church that we commit to raising her intentionally in Christ. We dedicated our gift back to Him, asked Him to guide our decisions as parents, give us wisdom, and bless our little girl as she grows. This year, when the tears began to flow, it was an outpouring of joy and thankfulness that I cannot possibly express in words.

They asked in our dedication class that we write a letter to our child affirming her, outlining our hopes, dreams, and prayers for her, and telling her about the importance of Christ. I can't imagine an easier assignment...

Our Precious Addison,

Today is my first Mother's Day as a mom. I want you to know how much and how long I have looked forward to this day. This is the day I get to celebrate my favorite thing in the world...taking care of YOU. From your sleepy grin first thing in the morning to your crazy antics right before you crash for the night...you make me smile and laugh more than anyone in this world ever has. 

Last night, on Mother's Day Eve, Daddy (or Dada as you like to say) and I took part in your Baby Dedication. We stood in front of the church and committed to raising you in the Lord, to setting an example for you in our faith, and to being the best parents we can be. Then our Campus Pastor, Chris Beall, came and prayed over our little family. He has prayed over us numerous times throughout the years, and recognizes what a little miracle you truly are. His prayer was powerful and moving. In it, we thanked God over and over for our greatest gift... YOU. 

After he prayed for us, your daddy and I had some time to pray on our own. I have so many, many hopes and prayers for you, my child. These are just a few of the things, big and small, that ran through my mind in those moments: I hope that you aren't as serious as I was; that you'll have an easy smile and an unapologetic laugh. I hope that you always feel safe and secure in your home, and within yourself. I hope that reading brings you as much joy as it does me. I hope that you love school, and that academics are very important to you. I hope that you have lots of true Christian friends who love you for who you are and never try to change you. I pray that today's selfish and secular culture will be mere background noise as you stand firm in your convictions. I pray that you will graduate from college to do something you love, and not just get a job you can tolerate. I pray that someday, when the time is right, you will meet a Godly man who cherishes you, respects you, and draws you closer to Christ. I pray that if and when you decide to have a baby with your husband, that you will have the easiest pregnancy possible.  But most of all, more than any of those things, I pray that someday you will make the most important decision of your life: to become a fully devoted follower of Christ. There is no choice in this world more significant. 

We also prayed for certain qualities and gifts to be exemplified in you. We asked for you to display integrity in every facet of your life. We prayed that you will be given a discerning heart when it comes to making all choices, including choosing those you surround yourself with. We also asked that on top of your already noticeable intelligence, that you be blessed with wisdom. There are so many spiritual gifts that you may be given, but these are some that we prayed specifically for, so that others may see Him in you. 

I have no doubt that you are going to be a candle in the darkness of this world, Addison. You can already light up a room with your infectious laughter and contagious smile. You have changed me, my beautiful daughter, and in the very best way. I know that last night was just the beginning of my pride as your mom. 

With all my love, 

Mommy



Addison's Baby Dedication ~ May 11, 2013
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6