Saturday, May 7, 2016

A Letter to my kids on Mother's Day

My Sweets,

   Tomorrow is Mother's Day. By far my most  favorite day of the year.  Not because I want a "day off", or gifts, or any of the usual things you would associate with Mother's Day. I love this day because of all of you. All I ever wanted to be when I was a little girl was a mom. 

Liv, when I was pregnant with you I had such aspirations! I was going to be a perfect mother. I had a game plan, I read the books I knew what to do and I was ready! I was the mother, I would be in charge. I'd be in total control at all times. 

The second you were born that plan went out the window. I held you forever. You slept in my bed, I never let you cry for more than 3 seconds, and we were inseparable, I trusted no one with you. You ruled the roost! For the first time in my life, I knew what it felt like to love someone so fiercely that I would die for them. 

I loved you so much I couldn't wait to have another baby. Two would only add to the fun, right?  So 22 months later Sophia was born...

Sophia! My goodness, Sophia, you took my breath away! Literally! You were a spitfire from birth! Always ready with a smile and so easy going. But my darling you were constantly going...and going and going! You threw yourself out of your crib before you could even stand up! You jumped not walked everywhere! Your raspy voice and cunning ways got everyone's attention.You're good at everything you do and as you grew you simply amazed me with your golden touch.  And for the second time in my life my heart overflowed with love and again I would gladly give my life for you because there would be no way to survive without you. You are the reason I breathe.

Two and a half years went by with laughter and joy. Then, on an unusually warm January night, Bella, you entered the world, in true Bella style!  Barely making it to the hospital on time, you were born before I was even admitted. The nurses didn't believe me when I kept telling them we didn't have time for paperwork.  You were in a rush to get life started. You were  a funny baby, always making us laugh. You still are the funny one. Always making me laugh until I cry and usually at inappropriate times. You're a trouble maker and risk taker and I wish I had your arms! And for the third time in my life , I felt a love like no other and would walk through hell if need be, to protect you.  
You three girls were an absolute delight ; watching you all play and grow were the best days of my life. Kinda still wished I had a son though...

2003 proved to be the year of the boy! Andrew, we called you the "golden boy", you even had  beautiful golden hair!  I couldn't believe you were a boy! I felt like a first time mother. Boys are just different little creatures. You were silly and the girls spoiled you rotten.  You are empathetic like me. I can tell when you are worried about someone because you get restless. You are the peacekeeper and my gentle soul. You have amazing talents and will go far in life. I'm excited to see where your talents take you. Your sisters are lucky to have a brother like you to watch over them. And for the fourth time in my life, unconditional love knocked me over and my life was yours. 

And because you were such a great brother I decided I wanted one more baby. Another boy and our family would be "perfect"....

Enter Emilia.. a girl.. and our family was perfect!

Em you were my most difficult pregnancy, my most difficult delivery and my most difficult recovery. You are defiant, and willful, and strong spirited. You carry the Divine Chromosome so you are also unstoppable and strong and determined. You complete me. You challenge me. You inspire me. You are an enchanted creature luring everyone in with that magical smile of yours. You've melted countless hearts. You will always emerge victorious as you conquer every mountain you encounter. And for the fifth time in my life, I lost my heart.

My Loves, being your mother is the hardest thing I've ever done. It's also nothing like I thought it would be. When I become a mother I wasn't suddenly blessed with the knowledge I so desperately needed.  I found myself in charge of a life. Another human being was completely dependent on me for everything. I wasn't quite sure what to do, except to just love you. 

I've lived and learned along the way. Some days were great and I felt like freaking Wonder Woman and some days were just epic fails . Some days I had words of wisdom for you all and other days you  just left me speechless. Each of you are so different, I really need to be five different mothers. Sometimes it's amusing , sometimes impossible.

There have been days so good I wished they'd never end and some days that I prayed I would just live through. 

I couldn't imagine my life without each of you. It's a privilege to be your mother, on the good days and the bad days. And on the bad days , when you're slamming doors and hating me, remember that I'm loving you. When I'm yelling at you and punishing you, remember that I'm also, still loving you.

Remember that at all times and in all situations, I really do understand. I am forever your ally, protector and confidant.  Your happiness is my priority.  

So, thank you Olivia, Sophia, Bella, Andrew, and Emilia for being the beautiful reasons I get to celebrate Mother's Day. Thank you for calling me mom, mama, mommy and sometimes Mother (Liv)

Forgive me when I fail, some days I'm killing it as Wonder Woman, but some days my human side gets the best of me.

Love you more,

Saturday, March 26, 2016

For, Mr. Tom Chea ..Because You Believed In Her At Her Worst, We All Can Marvel In Her At Her Best.

Someone pretty amazing in our lives did something wonderful. When thank you isn't enough, what do you do? Well, one of my favorite things are words. When someone takes the time to write me a sentiment in the form of a note, a card, a letter or even a text theses days, it means the world to me. So this is what I've decided to do for Tom.  Simply, write..

Mr. Tom Chea is my Sophia, Andrew and Emilia's Taekwondo coach. We all met last summer. It was quite unplanned as we weren't looking to take TKD classes,but somehow that's where all three ended up. Andrew and Sophia took to it nicely and made it all look easy.  Em on the other hand was going through a tough time. A new school for Kindergarten, followed by yet another new school for first grade left her confused and basically pretty pissed off. Her behavior showed this by her lashing out at children. She hit and grabbed and even tackled others to the ground. Unprovoked and almost always without warning.  Mr. Chea had her start class with children her size. She was awful! She was all over them. I was devastated for my Em and apologetic to the parents of the kids she mauled. I thanked Mr. Chea for the class, apologized for her behavior and promised never to take Em back. What he said to me that day, still makes me cry. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. His exact words were, " No, take her back next class, she has to learn."

She has to learn... And was he volunteering to teach her? Did he actually think she was going to listen to him? She was horrendous! Yet, he wasn't phased by it, and still wanted her back in class. I was worried about the other parents being mad, he wasn't. I was worried about her behavior, he wasn't. I was worried the other children would be upset, he wasn't. I was worried she wouldn't listen, he wasn't

I seriously could not believe the faith he had in my girl. I left that day, and just cried, and cried and freaking cried. I was overwhelmed that someone we had just recently met  would take such a chance with my Em.

So, classes continued for Em. And Mr. Chea was right, she did learn. Her behavior improved. She still has moments when she hits but the kids are great. They've learned, because Mr. Chea has taught them, that they need to watch her, (and running away quickly helps). They understand, because Mr. Chea explained to them, that she really doesn't mean to hurt them when she hits. They are patient with her because Mr. Chea shows patience with her. It's beautiful to watch.

Mr. Chea and Em soon developed a very special relationship. It's amazing to watch them together. I will go as far to say he knows her as well as I do. She says his name about 1000 times a day, and so do I... as motivation to get Em to listen to me! The threat of not seeing Mr. Chea is too much for her to bear.

Yesterday, I was given the most beautiful surprise. Tom created the most unbelievable video of Em. I had no idea he was doing this and when I saw it, well, you all know I cried. It's one of the most beautiful gestures anyone has ever offered.

Tom, I can never, ever convey my feelings adequately to you for this video. You see, it's not just a video of Em's amazing progress in class. In a world that shuns special needs and where most babies diagnosed with down syndrome are aborted ,this video is  a voice not just for Em, but for all people who are differently abled.  This video shows everyone that it doesn't matter, nothing matters. No diagnosis or special need has to stop you from doing what you want. Tom, when I found out Em would be born with Down syndrome I was pissed. I couldn't understand why God would wait till child number 5 to do this. In my mind it would have been better if she was born first. I couldn't see how I could take care of her and still have enough time for the other 4. I decided that this little bundle would just have to keep up with us. We were not going to slow down for her. We always treated her like she was our 5th child, not like she was our 5th child with a disability. And you do that too. Thank you for expecting the same from her that you expect from all your other students. It makes her strong and independent and confident. Thank you for being an advocate and a voice in Em's life. Thank you for loving her. She is limitless.

Because you believed in her at her worst, we all can marvel in her at her best.