It takes a village

12545490_1672146226396144_1312233716_nDrew joined the Cub Scouts this last year. Late by standards I am sure, but after the troops visited school, he asked, a lot, to join and finally after talking to a friend about his sons’ involvement in Boy Scouts, I decided to give it a go. He’s been a member since right before the holiday and it’s been fun. It’s the thing he and I do together even though it’s probably more a dad and son thing to do. I have enjoyed going to the meetings and the field trips.

I have not enjoyed how freaking confused I am. I admit, I should probably read this Bear book. I am totally lost when it comes to understanding why we’re meeting policemen and visiting wildlife places. And outside of being helpful to the hungry, I don’t know why the Scouts annually collect food. Except maybe to earn badges… but I don’t really know much about that either.

And then, gasp, Pinewood Derby hit and they said, “buy a kit, it’s all you have to do” and so I did and it was a block of wood, four pins and four wheels and I was totally lost.

Lost.

My brother is handy thankfully. And despite my house of subpar tools, a beautiful car was created. Drew painted it and Kevin will take it to a friends how to make sure the wheels and axels are just so. And so while I wanted to do it myself, because I am the Cub Scout Mom, I had to rely on my village.

The whole idea of a village is hard for me. The introvert. It’s also hard for me to accept help. I have always thought to myself, “these are my kids, they are my responsibility” especially  with the stigmas attached to large family (see the Duggard’s buddy system). I also hate the thought of not being able to do something. But, I cannot cut wood. And I need more time to learn to build a really good derby car.

It took a village. I fell short, because I am human and my village stepped up.

I have a strange brain. Even though I know I should think about the “what ifs”, I do. What if I was a single mom? What would my little Cub Scout do? I think people think this is a bad thing to do sometimes but I think it’s makes for good planning. Good helping. I’ll ask now… what happens to the Cubs who don’t have a parent who can help them with this kind of thing? Maybe a single Dad who doesn’t work wood and doesn’t have family near. Maybe some kind of network, some village needs to be in place for that. People helping people. Because you never know.

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I also learned from all this that you can’t take over the projects. Holy heck I wanted to paint that car so bad. But this is not my project. It is Drew’s and letting him do it, is part of the journey. It’s a real struggle to not say, “this could be this way” or “paint it like this”. I cleaned up his bomb and realized what I was doing. And I stepped away. It’s Drew’s car. Not mine.

More lessons in parenting. I’m learning more and more every day.

Saturday is the big race. The weather is calling for a tremendous amount of snow so I am hoping we can still get there. We bought a van to replace my much loved truck and judging from how it did in the first snow, we may not be going anywhere.

Oh how I miss my truck right now. I really don’t want to miss his derby.

I don’t want to miss anything.

 

Hi! I’m Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.

Let it go, let it go

IMG_2895Dixon can sing. He sings more than he talks. I think he’s partial to Mumford and Sons, “I will wait for you” but we’ve added “Let it Go” from Frozen to our impressive list of lyrical awesomeness.

He says Papa, Daddy (sounds more like Dadeeeee), Bubba and I poop. This week we added shoes to his ever present, Go. He talks a lot. He’s lightyears ahead of where Dexter was and it makes me feel bad that I did not push for help with Dexter sooner. Mom guilt. There is always some sort of mom guilt, isn’t there?

As a mother I never know what the right thing to do is. And everyone has their opinion. Everyone who loves your child, weighs in. They want what is best for them too. And then, if you’re like me, you have other children to compare too. So one may talk late but need no assistance while another should of had more help from day one.

Sometimes it feels like a losing battle.

I wonder too, sometimes, if the invitation of social media to my life and the lives of my children has grown the guilt monster. I know it’s grown Guilt’s friend, Doubt and through the years I have found my self sharing less and less because I don’t want the weigh in. People with good intentions, without inflection. They mean well but come across mean or hurtful… because well, interwebs (inside joke)

“Did someone suggest that because they think I am a bad mother? Do they think I am not spending enough time with this one or that one? Did I make the wrong choice?”

We have to learn to just let it go. I have to learn to let it go. I am thankful for the tiny sounds of Dixon, to remind me.

We can’t be right all the time. In years we will look back and questions our decisions I am sure. Was it right to move Devlynn across the country? Did I kill her social life? Maybe but she goes to schools that make the schools in Denver look like playtime. She has the fortunate opportunity to live in the history epicenter and her love of history flourishes here and just grows stronger. She may not have a gaggle of friends but she has other things instead.

All we can do is try and do our best, right? Learn from our mistakes. Walk away from the bad and try and start over with better, with different choices. And learn to forgive ourselves and let it go.

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Baseball season approaches again. My favorite sport of them all. Last year, I put too much pressure on myself and on my kids. I worried too much about something, that in scheme of things, won’t matter in time. This year, we’re taking a different approach. No travel teams. Just private lesson and rec. It’s Davis’ last year at the rec league and I’m not gonna ruin it by putting pressure on him or myself. It’s probably an unpopular decision but it’s the only one that works for my family. Letting go of the pressure. Let it go.

Baseball, lacrosse, Cub Scouts, well they should be fun. Yes, they’re work and they’ll teach our kids things but in the end, if they’re not enjoying it, they’re not taking away from it the important lessons we put them in these things, to learn. If there is anything I want my children to know, it is that you don’t have to be miserable. Find work that you love. Find people that you love to be around. Life doesn’t have to be full of misery. Not if you don’t want it to.

We have to learn to let the bullshit go. Let it go.

That’s my mantra this year.. hopefully, I can stick with it.

 

 

Hi! I’m Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.

The bigs and the littles

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You should see the look on people’s faces when I first tell them that we have five children. While I believe large families are more and more common, there are still those people who think, “holy cow that is a lot of kids”. I sort of always giggle to myself and add a comment about being “those people”. They often press on with more questions and the top is generally what their ages are. People are often more shocked to hear the large range we have,

16

11

8

3

1

My oldest will graduate high school before my littlest even starts public school. She will probably have children of her own before the youngest two finish school themselves. And I could very well be a grandparent while still navigating the waters of elementary.

I have 18 more years of kids at home. Well 18, give or take.

Before I had Devlynn, the oldest, I swore I’d never marry. That I’d never have kids. I sat in the bathroom of our tiny, one bedroom apartment with that pregnancy test and my work apron in my hands, wiping the tears. I was scared to death. Unmarried and now setting sail on a sea that was far outside my comfort zone. I sort of denied the whole idea of it for a long time and continued to think nothing in my life would change once this little baby arrived. I continued to wait tables, play video games and act like a stupid kid and then, she was born and like that it all changed.

Except we thought she’d be the only one.

Some years later we added Davis and then Drew. Dexter and Dixon graced us a few years later and here we are, a family of seven.

I like my big family. There is always something to do. We have preschool and lacrosse and baseball and football and homework and dodgeball and playdates. They all have different interests and all talk about different things. They’re a great group of children. And I wouldn’t change anything about any of them.

However, as my daughter approaches the end of her school career I have found myself mourning the one on one time I feel like I may of lost with her, adding so many siblings, so spaced apart. I’ve missed a million roller coaster rides sitting on the sidelines with baby and while I am at every.single.game, I know I miss things because I have to protect the toddler from falling down the hill. And it works both ways. I go to far fewer story times because I am so busy with baseball or whatever and the babies are drug all over and I worry that the dragging is making them miss out on free range babying.

It’s the story of having the bigs and having the littles.

You find yourself wishing away the toddler years and praying the teen years slow down. It’s a stark and strange contrast in parenting such a broad range of ages. It’s going through all the good and all the bad all at once.

It also adds an element of weirdness to making adult friends. I have people I know from each child’s age but no one who gets the struggle and awesomeness of having it all at once. So while they relate to my pre-pubescent boy fun-ness, they don’t get that I am having to navigate it while dealing with teen angst and a baby who is teething so badly I want to jump off a cliff.

Large family, big gap. Lots of fun.

Yesterday I was talking to a friend about college and how I worry Devlynn and all she has to give up. And that I hope she doesn’t resent me for encouraging her to stay home and go to school. Not because I don’t think she’ll thrive in a big college far away, but because I want her to have less debt and not worry about working. But by encouraging her to stay home, I am also keeping her with the zoo family. And I worry if she’ll look back and regret being part of it.

There is a lot of guilt that goes with the bigs and the littles.

Parenting is hard enough and sometimes I feel like I have dealt myself a tough hand. I’d never change it. Never. Even when they upcharge me for Great wolf lodge and my Disney entry tickets cost more then your entire vacation. Love my bigs and my littles and every big and little thing that come with them.

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Hi! I’m Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.