Friday, August 26, 2011

A birthday poem to the greatest woman ever!

On this day, 29 and some years ago (you are welcome!), a baby girl was born to the proud parents of Otis and Marilyn Darnell. They named her Pamela Camille and they called her Pam. Later in her life, she became my Mama and since becoming a mother myself—my hero (in all the non-cliche ways). She wrote me a poem for my wedding titled “I hope you have a daughter just like you,” so for her 29+ birthday, I wrote her a poem:

I Hope to be a Mother just like You

I often see glimpses of you, Mama, in my mothering.

From phrases I say, to quarky little things I do.

I used to dread how inevitable it seemed, but I’m beginning to understand.

I hope to be a mother just like you.

Remember feeding me at 2am when I was a newborn?

I don’t, but I remember you telling me later it was the sweetest time for you.

Just you and me—you holding your baby girl and me smiling behind a bottle at you.

I hope to be a mother just like you.

Remember when I went off to see the kittens at our neighbor’s house without telling you?

You had gathered a team to go searching for me, and I met y’all in the church yard as I was coming home.

That was the most memorable spanking, for sure, but I remember your tight hug and your watery, thankful eyes when you knew I was ok.

I hope to be a mother just like you.

Remember when I went to Kindergarten and didn’t want you to walk me to my class?

You allowed me to be independent and encouraged me to be confident.

But you followed me to class without me knowing, crying with every step I took.

I hope to be a mother just like you.

Remember when I’d ask you to take me to a friend’s house or if I could have someone spend the night?

You saw friendships valuable for me.

So you never hesitated to say yes even though it wasn’t always convenient.

And you let me stay or let them stay even on school nights, when it wasn’t ideal.

I hope to be a mother just like you.

Remember when I used to make you drop me off a mile from the door when I was in middle school because I didn’t want my friends to know I actually had a mom?

You would do it with such a sense of humor and had confidence to know it was only a stage.

I hope to be a mother just like you.

Remember all my sporting events?

You would, because it didn’t matter where they were or what time they were, you’d work hard to be there: whether that meant to go in two hours earlier or to work on a Saturday. You wouldn’t miss cheering me on for the world.

I hope to be a mother just like you.

Remember when I went through that wild teenage stage?

And remember how you didn’t kill me?

I hope to be a mother just like you. :)

Remember when you got that phone call at FoodLion telling you we’d been in a car wreck?

You told me about how awful the drive to the hospital was not knowing much of the details.

I had never been so thankful to see your face and to hold your hand.

I hope to be a mother just like you.

Remember when you dropped me off in my dorm at college?

I cried and didn’t want you to leave. You hugged me tight and fought back all the tears.

You knew I needed you to be strong and you resisted all that was in you to pack my stuff back up and take me back home.

I hope to be a mother just like you.

Remember when that boy asked you for my hand in marriage?

He told you he couldn’t promise you where your grandchildren would be raised.

You still told him yes and then lied to me about him not talking to you so it would be a surprise.

I hope to be a mother just like you.

Remember when I told you Elizabeth was an Elizabeth?

You were so certain she was a Micah. You cried. You had finally gotten the wish—”I hope you have a daughter just like you!”

I hope to be a mother just like you.

Remember when I went into labor with Elizabeth on Christmas of 2007?

At 11 o’ clock at night you drove four and a half hours back to Raleigh.

You stayed with us for a week doing all the dirty work like the dishes and laundry, so I could hold and enjoy my newborn.

And I never had to think about a meal because you had it covered.

I hope to be a mother just like you.

Remember when Jon and I packed up all our stuff, including your 8 month old granddaughter, and moved to Minneapolis?

You never discouraged me not go and you felt peace in the midst of your heart crushing because you believed we were doing what God had called us to do.

I hope to be a mother just like you.

Remember when we tried to tell you about Hannah by making Elizabeth wear a big sister shirt?

You were just too excited to be here to even pay attention to what she was wearing. We basically had to tell you.

And knowing you wouldn’t physically be here for another grandbaby never diminished your excitementyou had TWO granddaughters!

I hope to be a mother just like you.

Remember this past April when I was having all my stomach pains?

You jumped on a plane to stay a week with me and help me out around the house.

I hope to be a mother just like you.

And do you remember when you got that phone call a few weeks later, telling you my water had broke?

You jumped on a plane again and was here for the long haul.

You took care of my children and my house even though you longed to be by my side. But you trusted my steadfast husband to stay with me.

You stayed 6 whole weeks, taking every single one of your sick days without thinking twice.

I hope to be a mother just like you.

You see, Mama, I’m beginning to understand all those things I thought were once so strange. I understand now why you cried when our vans came back from camp. Or the bittersweet reasons you wanted me to have a daughter who acted just like me. Becoming a mother helped me understand all the reasons you do all that you do: because you love me and you want the very best for me.

And one day when my babies are grown and big, I want sacrificing to be like second nature to me. Just like it is for you. And when our girls get mad at me for being too mothering about their mothering, I’ll send them an email (or whatever it will be by then) apologizing and encouraging them, and telling them how I wish I could just shut up and not say anything. Then, I’ll call you and laugh and say, “Well, I’ve completely turned into you!” . . . with a grateful heart towards Jesus for giving me a such a wonderful gift I call my mother!

I love you, Mama!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

It's not always good days

It's been a difficult day. Whiny kids. Bad attitudes. Harsh words. Oh, and that was just the first 2 hours of my morning. They were in the car for lunch. I should have just drove around, but Micah needed to eat.

We go home and I began feeding Micah. Elizabeth is yelling from the bathroom for me to come. It's never good when my children are in the bathroom alone. With Micah in one arm and the bottle in the other I barge in the bathroom to find Hannah Kate sucking on a tube of toothpaste.

I survive until nap time. And the girls began signaling all the signs it's 'that time.' More whining. More attitudes. More breakdowns. I read Elizabeth 4 books instead of just the usually 1 and bribe her with a prize if she takes a decent nap. It didn't work.

Nap time sounds more like a party, multiple disciplines happen, and after an exhausting hour and a half, I look down at my snoozing little boy and contemplate bailing out. Just the two of us.

Instead I opt to read some parenting book. I can't get through but a couple of paragraphs before I have to deal with disobedient children again. They go through seasons of thinking they don't need naps. At the age of 3 and 22 months they know better than mama. And then 6pm rolls around and all hell is breaking loose in their little worlds. The mere fact somebody looked at somebody causes major break downs. It really makes for a great way to top off such a WONDERFUL day.

I got on facebook to check out for a bit. I saw one of my friends was selling unused diapers and bottles and other baby things. And I completely lost it. She lost her little girl 3 months ago. She never got to use any of those baby things that once decorated her house in expecting hope of her little girl coming home. I don't know difficult days like she knows them.

It's another reminder of Psalm 39. Even though it's felt like a hard day in the motherhood, at least it's been another day. The fact they are able to whine, argue, and melt down is a mercy. It means their hearts are pumping and blood is moving and their lungs are filling. Oh, to have this perspective when 6pm rolls around will be a miracle. But I'm praying God would grant me the grace to see what sweet gifts my children are on the most difficult days. Because even the most "difficult" days with them is enough to make it absolutely wonderful.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Picture Thursday

Sometimes princesses just need to have a fruit snack

and put on 'strawberry' lipstick.

I'm not sure what in my mind thought this was a good plan. My poor little Micah.

Hannah Kate has on the 'I'm about to mean' face. You can also tell by the location of her right (I think. I was never really good with my lefts and rights) hand wedging into the secure grip of her older sister.

See. Hannah Kate succeeded; and Elizabeth annoyingly says, "HANNNAH!"

The Highness rebukes. And Hannah says, "What?" trying to maintain her cute innocences.

Elizabeth, sweetie, get a picture of you holding your sister. Yeah, not sure why I thought this would work either.

Oh, well. I should just work with one kid, per picture.

Because they always end up so much better!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Psalm 39

I think it was looking at this picture (we were only 19) and feeling like it was only yesterday I was hanging out at Goldston dorm with my, then, boyfriend. Or maybe it was today when I was feeding Micah and watching Elizabeth dance that it felt like only yesterday it was her I was cradling in my arms feeding. Or maybe it was this tear jerker of a book I read last night that confronted me anew that death is real and will take 100% of the human race at some point or another--including me, my husband, and children.

I knew for certain, though, that these thoughts were God ordained when I just so happen to read Psalm 39. A fleeting creature I am. A shadow. A mere breath.

It was this grace this morning that caused my heart to watch my kids eat breakfast and marvel at the fact that the Lord sustained all 5 beating hearts through the night. We woke up—a gift from God.

I realized this morning that not only am I undeserving to receive such good gifts, I am also undeserving to keep them. So once again, the Giver of all good gifts, lavished upon me these gifts for yet another day.

And this helped me embrace another full day of mothering 3 kids with a humbled heart inclined to gratitude towards a loving and good Father.