Thursday, October 21, 2010

Disappearing Act

6 kids.

7 hockey practices a week. 

10 hockey games a week.

2 gymnastics practices.

3 days of Parent Participation Preschool.

1 each PAC Meeting, Bible Study, Church Service, Nursery

21 meals for 8 (or 9 if the neighbour kid shows up again) to prepare.  21 snacks for many to provide. 

1 trip to the bathroom every 20 minutes for every waking hour of the day for each girl, spaced 10 minutes apart just to keep things interesting.

And somewhere in there I have to grocery shop, do laundry, parent (ugh! Teenagers! ugh!) and then try to remember I blog. 

Things have been busy.  Some good.  Some bad.  Some awful.  Some wonderful.  My parenting skills have been stretched and my ability to take care of myself enhanced.  I am learning to reach out more to those who have walked this road before me.  Honestly, I did not understand how emotionally devastating parenting teenagers could be.  And not because they are doing anything BAD but simply just by the their very existence in a brain disordered state of craziness that is apparently perfectly normal when you are a teen.  And perfectly horrifying when you are a mom. 

I love my children but these prickly porcupine alien creatures who have taken over their bodies?  They can leave anytime and give me back my sanity when they do. What makes me cry is to realize that before I am done, I will have been parenting teenagers for 21 straight years.  If  am this exhausted 3 years into it, who or what will I be in another 18 years?  The gray hair is quite literally popping onto my head.

We are seizing the moments between hockey trips to squeeze in good memories and celebrate the joy that comes in raising a large family.   There will be a time, short months or years away when I will ache for all my children to be sleeping under one roof.  I know that.  I know it at a cellular level and so I remind myself to be present.  I am a good mom.  I love my children more than my own life.  I know, deep down behind their resentment of my mere presence and horrific insistence of eating supper together and not beating up their brothers, that they love me too. I have been told that chances are the aliens inhabiting will leave and my God-fearing, kind, sweet and loving sons will return, although much older, wiser and hopefully living independently and paying their own bills.  A mother is allowed to dream.

Enjoy the happy moments!

And it's not totally on accident that there are no pictures of smiling teenagers to add to today's post.

Friday, October 15, 2010


I am at a loss of words and really am in no mood to offer any advice except to say that parenting is HARD WORK.  There is the type of exhaustion that comes from two toddlers that are inquisitive and active and don't sleep very much.

There is the type of exhaustion that comes from teenagers making stupid decisions.  Decisions that affect themselves, and others.  Decisions that hurt themselves, and are hard to watch and worse to be involved in.

And then there is the type of exhaustion that comes from quite honestly not knowing if you can survive the trials of raising them to adulthood.  Maybe I wouldn't be so tired if I didn't love them so much but loving them any less is not an option. 

Parents of teens (or adults) I am looking for advice.   How did you stay sane through the crazy years?  Right now, sanity seems like a far off dream and a laughable goal.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

And the house falls down

Last week I wrote about our home we own in the community we used to live in that is now valued far less than it was when we bought it 13 years ago, and certainly less than what we owe, and how the roof went on it this week and needed replacement and how our hoarder renters gave their notice?  You remember all that? 

Ouch.  Ouch. Ouch.

This week in the home we live in,  our hot water tank started to leak.  This happened the day before our numerous house guests arrived, and the day after  I got out of the hospital. Oh and apparently it was leaking carbon monoxide too.  Immediate replacement required.  In the middle of that, the doc called to inform me that scar tissue from my kidney surgery caused a bowel obstruction - thus the pain and hospitalization -  and that may require surgery again in the future.

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

Today I walked in the door after driving some of the kids to school and as I took off my shoes a slow and continual drip.drip.drip rained down on my head.   The boys had left a jug of milk on the kitchen table and in my absence the dogs had knocked it off the table.  It had poured through the ceiling and into the basement.  This was 15 minutes before the house appraiser was due to arrive so that we can renew our mortgage on this house.

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.   

Actually I think I might have said something else repeatedly that cannot be typed.  Or repeated by my 2 year old.   

It is a strange phenomenon when things are really good in some areas, they must be really bad in others? 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Celebration of Family

It started with a trickle of company, crested with a house full of guests, and ended with grateful hugs and sad goodbyes.  And at a time when it could have just as easily been snowing, the son shone with a warmth that was far more reminiscent of a glorious July day than early October.  It was a weekend to remember.

First, we celebrated Tanner beginning his transition from child to man.  His "Rite Of Passage" 13th birthday weekend. 

A tradition we started with our oldest child, gleaned from the traditions of other families and other cultures.  We surround our sons with some of the most important men in their life.  Men they love and men they respect.  Each man given a task of imparting their own unique wisdom of how to become a man on the topics of Faith, Sex and Dating, Character, Work Ethic and Family.  And each son, nervous before it starts, has been glowing with pride at the end. 

I cannot say enough what it means to me as a mother of so many sons to see them cherished by others.  Our family ties are not determined by blood or race or location, and these men, family by choice and commitment,  come from far and wide because they love my children. 

And Sunday our focus turned to our daughters and their addition to our family.  Our chance to stand before our church family and thank them for their support, and to make a commitment to raise the girls to the very best of our abilties before God and man.

It was crowded and busy and very, very loud around here this weekend.  And I loved every.single.minute.  Kids might have had to sleep on the floor of the laundry room, and the 9 year old crammed into the toddler bed he was sharing with his sister was only SUPER CUTE for the first half of the night and cooking large meals and endless bags of garbage was alot of work, but it was worth every minute.  It was good. 

A time to celebrate.  Days to remember.