Saturday, July 22, 2006

Are they cute, or what?

When I close my eyes very tightly, I see my children as they were. It was a time when I was their whole life, before the schools took hold of their minds and hearts and changed them into something they had not started to be.
My firstborn was the product of four years of tests, surgeries, thermometers and desperation to have a child. Luckily, God knew that children should not be born to seventeen to twenty year old moms ---- especially when the young couple didn't have enough money to feed themselves. The wait made her arrival doubley special and she was so beautiful! Pale blond hair, big blue eyes and generally adorable. What parent thinks any less of their offspring? She grew more special every day and was so smart that I was astounded. Well, I did feel pretty good about her intelligence, because my older brother had told me that drooling was a sign of idiocy --- and she did drool around seven months old.
Since it had taken four years to accomplish what most people accomplish on their honeymoons, we began trying for another child on Lesley's first birthday. Our son arrived nine days before our daughter's second birthday. Now, here was a placid, easy-going baby. I hardly remember hearing him cry and he was even happy in a playpen. Somehow, our difficulty conceiving turned around and bit us very quickly and I found myself expecting a third child forMatthew's first birhday. The poor little guy --- morning sickness forced me to shake up his vegetables and cereal in his formula so I could manage to feed him at all. I grew and grew and so did he. At twelve months, he was perfectly happy to sit or crawl, but though he was sturdy as a tree stump --- he would not walk. Why walk when somebody will cart you around and you didn't care where they were taking you? Within two weeks after his birthday, I forced him to walk by putting M&M's on the couch and making him walk to them --- no dropping and crawling! He was twenty-seven pounds on one hip and I had a six pound newborn in the other arm. Okay, Mom, ---for M&M's,--- I'll walk!
We had started out with the idea of having half a dozen kids, but having three in three years changed our minds. Stacey was born five days after Matthew's first birthday and four days before our Lesley's third birthday. This has led to what we call "Birthday Week". As they grew up, each child would pick an activity, a meal and a dessert for their own birthday and all participated in each other's day. Today, they are in their late forties and are still sharing their "Birthday Week". The best part is that it culminates on the 4th of July with fireworks for all, not just the firstborn. (I plan to tell her soon that the fireworks are not all for her --- before she turns fifty.) When I was expecting Stacey, I wanted a girl and the hubby wanted another boy. I satisfied both of us by having a lovely little girl, who was the greatest tom-boy on the block. The two little kids would play with matchbox cars, making roads around the evergreens by the front porch for hours. The guys on the block would come over and holler for her to come out and play football by the time she was nine. No Barbie Dolls for this one --- just double up on the boy toys at Christmas. In high school, she would run track, high jump, play 2nd base and then turn around and become ultra female in her majorette's uniform on Friday nights.
I would jump at the chance of going back to the pre-school days when the child in your arms smelled of Johnson's Baby Powder or Baby Magic Lotion and the look on their faces meant that you were the most important being in their lives. I couldn't get enough of them and am sorry now that we didn't stick tothe original plan for six. Motherhood was the closest bond in the early school years, but as they approached high school, fatherhood took over slowly. I remember reading that children of tender years are best left with the mom, but children of business years are the perview of the father. His ability to cut to the chase in any given circumstance is a gift that few women have. They also, are afraid to cross dad, because they are just not certain how far they can go with dad. I was so lucky that my children respected my wimpiness. We never had any problems raising them. God is good! The oldest tried two cigarettes and came home and stood in her oppen window for an hour, because she felt so sick. She told us the next day. The youngest went to adinner party as a senior and the idiot parents served Tom Collins with dinner. She had two and came home and went to bed very early. We had company for dinner and the oldest one checked on her and came back and said, "It's okay---she's just drunk!" We didn't get mad at her, but at the parents who had the poor judgement to serve liquor to underage kids. None of them went to the alter with a bun in the oven, none of them has used drugs, been arested or bankrupt. The oldest did get divorced after three boys and ten years, because he had a girlfriend. She has remained single for eighteen years to raise those boys and besides being a mommy to three pre-schoolers --- she taught 3rd grade full time and got her Master+ in the two years after the divorce. She just got home from a missions trip to Moscow for our church. Her oldest boy works in Washington for a govenor, and the second boy is at the Defense Language School in Monterey, CA for eighten months of Arabic and her last one is a sophomore in college studying the basics, before he chooses a major.
Our son paid for college himself and is the only support for a familyof six. His wife stays home and homeschools four kids. The youngest is also a nurse and works for a gastroenterology clinic.and she does videography. This interet has led her to Russia, Macedonia and Sebia for film work for our church missionaries. Her only remaining child goes to Nyack College in New York and is studying film and directing.
I don't know why our lives have been so blessed, but like I said in the beginning --- Are they cute, or what?
Hold your babies closely, love them hugely and thank God for the gift of life that some people will never experience.