Sunday, May 10, 2009

The honor of being their Mom

My family is my favorite part of my life. While I'm proud of my other accomplishments, too, the people that my children are becoming is definitely at the top of my list. I'm so proud of who they are and enjoy each of their unique personalities. Motherhood is so much work, but the rewards are also so worth it.

Let's start with Dane. My blond-haired, curly-headed, blue-eyed boy has grown a lot in the last few years. He towers over me in height now, and is tall and thin. He has a fantastic sense of humor, and has a wonderful ability to recognize his own strengths and weaknesses. As much as he would love to be one of those stellar athletes with talent to spare that can grab a ball from the air with the greatest of ease, he is fully aware that his athletic ability all comes from hard work. He's okay with that.....and I remind him regularly that a great work ethic and good attitude will take him much farther in life anyway. He's amazingly fantastic with his sisters and I SO appreciate his willingness to know when I'm at the end of my rope with Jennica, and he happily tells me to "take a break" and steps into a situation and talks her through it. If Dane is reading to them at bedtime, they always grab a Shel Silverstein poetry book, as that is one of his "special things" with the girls. And one of my very favorite things about Dane? His love and thirst for knowledge! I never know what he's going to find fascinating next, but its so fun to hear him be passionate about the gestational period of the African Sea Turtle, or have him ask me if I knew that the Statue of Liberty was worked on by the same guy that designed the Eiffel Tower, or quote the world records for the 100 meters in sequence from 1932. :)

And then there is Grant. My "sleeper" boy--in that most people see only the quiet side of him that appears to just sort of float through life in a fog. Its always interesting to hear people's reaction when they find out that beneath the calm exterior is a brain that never slows down and misses nothing. He has memorization skills to die for. If he sees it or hears it once, he never forgets it. And Grant has a mischievous streak that doesn't quit. His hazel eyes twinkle and the deep dimples appear in his cheeks and you'd better watch out! Interestingly enough, with our months of therapy with Jennica, we've recognized a number of sensory issues with Grant. The difference is that he is functioning at a full level, but it gives me new respect for why he's always hated loud noises and things like vacuum cleaners. He's a gifted student, particularly in mathematics, and I look forward to watching what path he chooses in life. Despite his light build, he is brutally tough in athletics, and has an inner drive to excel. I love to watch Grant's face when facing a challenge, and watching him on the football field is akin to David vs. Goliath--he refuses to back down!

Tiersten is a scrappy little thing. She and I clash almost constantly, because we're so much alike in so many ways--she absolutely hates to be told "no" and always wants her own way (Did I really just admit to that?). Tiersten is stunningly beautiful in a way that scares this Mom half to death. Her navy blue eyes are so dark that they're often mistaken for brown--until you look closer--and are the eyes that romance novels are written about. Her hair is so thick and has natural highlights of gold that people often assume that I have had her hair highlighted. Her olive skin is completely freckle-less (envy here) and she tans beautifully. Like the boys, Tiersten has a thirst for knowledge and breezes easily through school. She's competitive, and is driven to excel to her fullest by classmates that are learning at a similar level. But a girly-girl, she often goes through three outfits in the morning before settling on one. The girly stuff has been hard for me--as I would prefer that she climb trees and make mud pies for a few more years, but I'm beginning to accept that my choices are not to be Tiersten's choices. She is a beautiful free spirit with a full life ahead of her!

And Jennica. Beautiful, brown-eyed, blossoming Jennica. She is the most loving and trusting child I've ever known, and she is so thrilled by the smallest things. She gives the greatest hugs! It is so much fun to watch her blossoming and opening to the world, now that her brain is learning to control the world entering her senses. She's been a story of contradictions almost from the beginning. How can a child that is so obviously intelligent not be able to understand the logic behind some basic concepts? How can a child that loves music and movement determine on the first day of ballet that she emphatically hates it and announce that she's never going back? And on and on it goes. But she has taught me so much about the world around me, and that there are people that see and feel things differently. She's tested my commitment to parenting, and I've found out that I'm willing to do some things that are way outside my personal comfort zone in order to help my child succeed. I don't wonder anymore if I have the inner strength to fight for my child in the face of adversity. I'm watching her reaching for the stars AND catching them. There is no bigger thrill.

So, while Mother's Day is supposed to be about honoring our mothers, I have to say that being the Mom of my four kids......well.......the honor is all mine. I love them, not only because they are my children, but I love the person that each of them is becoming. They have brought so much joy to my life, and........maybe most of all..........I am a better person for having been their Mom.

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