No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it. 1st Corinthians 10:13

Jun. 17, 2008

Is it too late???

Yesterday I asked my husband if it was too late to change my mind on this mothering thing.....

I was having "a moment"; I've had many over the course of the 21 years I've been a mother, and I expect there will be more. I would love to say that these last three have been easier because of my experience with the first five, but it isn't so. The theory of parenting really isn't that difficult.....I know we have many books that line the shelves of our bookcase with all sorts of great advice on how to deal with anything from getting babies to latch while nursing and sleep through the night to potty training in 3 easy steps to raising boys and dealing with strong willed children..... Like anything in life, the practice of raising children isn't quite as easy.

Today Rhys, our almost-three-year old was on top of his little tikes car. We have a couple of them, which is perfect and saves many an argument 'cause we have a couple little boys. Anway, Rhys was laying on top of his car which was parked next to the couch and was working his way forward to get to the couch. I was sitting there, watching this and at one point offered a warning. Being almost-three, he chose not to listen and though he didn't fall on his big head, he did have an incident which left him walking away limping and whining.....but he did walk away!

Told ya' so.

No, I didn't say it, but I do wonder sometimes when he will learn that I can see what he can't? From my experience, I can honestly say that I don't know when he'll learn, but it won't be from me telling him not to do it but from him getting tired of walking away with a limp. That's how his mother did it.....and still does.

As a mom I have watched my kids make a myriad of choices; some I have heartily agreed with, some I haven't and it doesn't get any easier as they get older, in fact it gets shut my mouth; it gets harder, in some instances, to wait until I'm asked for my opinion, to be encouraging and to continue to love each of them unconditionally while they figure things out.
Meg, Ben, Noah, Cam, Car....Dec, Rhyser and baby Tessie too; from the moment you blessed my life I've had to learn to let you go and to allow you to grow. Like you, I'm still learning :0). Thanks for loving me anyway.

Jun. 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

Growing up I believed; no, I knew that I had the best dad. Dad was easy to talk to and as the father to three daughters; nothing was off limits. As a little girl I recall going with him to the old A & W drive-in to buy the big jugs of cold root beer and of course, Dairy Queen for buster bars. He was great to take shopping; he had good taste and typically only asked one question: "will you wear it?". What more could a girl ask for? I loved dad's laugh. He was a gentle man; a quiet man. He had an interesting way of responding to questions at times; especially if we were asking permission to do something when he knew that we already knew the answer.....he would just sit quietly. Eventually we'd get the idea and stop asking stupid questions. He was hard working; a good provider. When I reached college, we commuted together. On wintery days when the roads weren't great, he'd get me to drive. I'm thankful that he did that; it has served me well on many an occasion. I have one sort of "frozen in moment" time when I was very young; we lived off of Pim Hill (I think) and I can picture myself running to greet my daddy as he walked home from work.

Growing up, Dad always provided enough rope by which I could hang myself; and he was always there to cut me down, too. I believe that my dad knew most every stupid thing I did, yet he loved me anyway. My dad was the first man in my life to love me unconditionally. Aside from my husband, I don't know of a man who was, and is, as generous as my father; whether it was with his time or his money, he has always been a generous giver.

On December 26, 2002 I got a call advising that my dad had left. I was 37 years old.

The initial shock of the separation was followed by a myriad of emotions: denial, hurt; anger…..of course disappointment. I would find myself staring blankly at pictures, crying and wondering if the memories they stirred had all been a lie. My father; a man that I’d looked up to, who had been one of the biggest influences in my life......the cause of so much pain? My hurt and disappointment wanted to find a place for the blame, and in those early weeks, it rested squarely on my dad. I recall the first time he called here..... I listened and I cried; mostly I cried. I said little, but yet I felt like I'd said too much. It was a difficult time. I actually thought at one point that if I sacrificed my relationship with my father, then he would change. Yeah, that would teach him! Fortunately, I had another thought.

Unmet expectations are difficult to deal with. What do you do when the man you believed to be perfect turns out not to be?? I recall the first Father’s Day after ...... I was struggling, wondering how to honour my dad. I went to church on Father’s Day and our pastor was sharing about his own dad. He shared how he chose to see beyond his father’s faults to the good. It is always easier to see the faults in somebody else; always easier to poke the finger and tell somebody else that they need to change. The Pastor honoured his dad that day and I left with a different perspective. As I think back to that time I am thankful. I do believe that in my questioning and wondering, God opened my mind and my heart and he gave me compassion, helped me to see differently.
I realized that in terms of my relationship with dad there was really only one question I needed to answer: Was I prepared to deny myself, and my children, a relationship with him? Did I want to be so "right" that I was at risk of losing all that was good about this man? The answer to that question was simple. No matter what dad did, does or ever will do that has no bearing on who he is….my dad. The relationship we share today has been tested. It is honest and I cherish it. I respect my dad – he is a good man and I know that he will do anything within his ability for me and mine. I have watched him over my lifetime genuinely care for people. He took his brother into his home when he learned he was dying and now he helps care for his 90 year old parents so they can remain at home. I've watched him walk the floor with Rhys when he was a cranky baby, help Brad clean the basement when the sewer line had backed up (now THAT is love); he's helped me by doing a myriad of things from cleaning to painting, knowing that these things mean a lot to me. 12 years ago he put me on a plane and sent me to my husband and I am thankful that he did. Harold serves; that is what he does…..but it is also who he is.
I may disagree with my dad on some things, but there is far more that we agree on. It is my choice, my pleasure and my privilege to love you dad; I am thankful for the father that you've been; I've learned that the pictures don't lie. I honour you today for the man that you are.

Happy Father's Day, dad.

Jun. 10, 2008

playing Catch Up

We celebrated Cam's birthday this past Sunday. It was a busy day for him - he had tried out for the Eastern Ontario Under 17 football team and was successful. Sunday was the day they made the final cuts and decided who would be on the starter squad and again, Cam was favoured. He seems to have hit a stride this past year. After many years of "sowing", he is now reaping his reward for all of his (and dad's too) perserverence and hard work.

Ben officially moved out just over 3 weeks ago. The plans he had made for summer employment fell through AND YET he was able to find a great job (even better his mom would say) working for a friend of ours who maintains grounds for many of the schools in this area . Ben has become very familiar with the weight of a weed whipper. He is sporting a lovely tan these days and I was certain when we met up with him Friday evening for coffee that his arms looked bigger.....He is enjoying the hard work as well as the fruits of his labour: a pay cheque and that feeling of a job well done. Ben's plans as to where he would live this summer also fell through, but again that all worked out. He's boarding with friends from church; they know Ben and yet still love him (kidding, honey....). I expect this summer to be a memorable one for Ben as well as a bit of a lesson learned.

Noah is finishing up highschool and looking forward to spending some time on Manitoulin, the "big Island". Having grown up on a neighbouring, Manitoulin (aka "Largest Freshwater Island in the World") was always referred to as the "other Island". My best friend's family hailed from there so it was frequently mentioned.... That was until Brad and I moved to Manitoulin. Now it depends on who we're talking to which Island gets called the "other Island". Noah really had wanted a program at Laurentian in Sudbury, but he didn`t get it, so he's looking at options. Just as with Ben, I know there is something for Noah, we just don't know what it is just yet. Noah is well able to roll with it, though, and he;ll soon have it figured out. Noah is a huge help around here and does most anything he's asked. He's good in the kitchen and does a great job on the barbecue, thank you very much!

Carleigh is finishing up grade 8 and will be a minor niner next year. She will continue her half french immersion program at St. Mikes. She has a number of other "cute and sometimes mind-numbingly silly" friends!! Do you remember 13?? Did I mention she is blonde?? Sorry Car. She can't leave a room (or get off the phone) without declaring her love for whoever she is speaking to. She is good and sweet and kind and makes up for all of the testosterone around here. Carleigh is finishing up her year of voice lessons and we'll soon be attending her recital and then her exam. She's a huge help around here with the little boys (who do try to take advantage of her); she took on bath time when Declan was just a baby and has been doing it ever since, bless her heart.

Meagan arrived home after enjoying a year abroad.....and is already planning her next trip. She had a great year; she did a lot of growing up and has returned home even more confident then when she left. She met her baby sister for the first time and we enjoyed her for two weeks before she left with her U-Haul, Peterborough bound. She is working at Elmhirsts' Resort; she worked there last year and they were happy to have her back.

The 3 little ones.....ya' know, I grew up one of three and always said I'd never have "just three". Well, we had the "3 older ones", then we had 3 boys in a row and now I have "3 little ones". NEVER say never.... The boys continue to provide us with countless stores whether it's Declan's imagination and creative way with words or Rhys' antics.....there is rarely a dull moment. Thankfully, Rhys seems to be over his "wake up at all hours of the night" phase. They are early risers, all of ours were, but he hasn't been up before 5 in a while and a couple mornings ago we didn't see him til 6:30!

At four months, Tess is sleeping through the night. The boys go to bed at 8 p.m. and Tess closely follows, waking shortly before or after them. She is such a pleasure; a happy, content little girl who loves to talk to her dad (or anybody else listening....or not!) and has a quick smile. The only thing we've found that she doesn't like is her car seat. It's what keeps her from being perfect! I have found that I am able to block her out, but others find her screaming somewhat disturbing. Rhys or Declan are good about letting me know when she's crying, just in case I didn't hear her. They love her to bits.....though Rhys somewhat less gently than Dec! They frequently ask if they can hold her "all by myself".

They are a blessing.....all of them, though there are days when I have to remind myself that I chose this. When I have thoughts of "what have I done" or start to feel sorry for myself I remind myself that I was the one who wanted more. Yes, I have a husband, but I was the one who actually prayed for more. I wept for another baby. I was the one who had to go through the whole process of the tubal reversal.....I had to convince not only my doctor, but we had to convince the surgeon that we were not crazy, because I wanted more; and God heard my prayer and he answered it with.....more. Despite all of that, there are days and moments when I have to remind myself. The rest of the time I do realize I have been blessed and favoured.

Our summer isn't a crazy one in terms of the practice, but with Brad's court schedule, Cam's football schedule, Meg, Ben and Noah's work schedules, finding time as a family has become an issue. I've instituted monthly family dinners over the course of the summer to ensure we do get to spend some time together; to catch up and to spend a bit of time enjoying one another. Though I do not regret choices made in the past year, it wasn't always easy having Meg in another Country, too distant to see; Cam in another Country, not able to enter Canada and the others off in different directions. They're growing up and it is hard to believe it has come to this...but ya' gotta roll with it and I'll make whatever concessions I need to make in order to get us all together once a month!