Author Archives: martinmom

About martinmom

I'm 28. I teach middle school English; my husband of eight years teaches high school math. We have a three-year old menace named James.

Three Loves. One Man.

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img_5652I recently read a beautifully written post on Facebook that really struck me. I’m including it below, as well as a link, because I want you to read it too, in hopes that my post will make some sense.

It’s been said that we really only fall in love with three people in our lifetime.

Yet, it’s said that we need each of these loves for a different reason.

Often our first is when we are young, high school even. It’s the idealistic love; the one that seems like the fairytales we are all read as children.

It’s a love that looks right.

The second is supposed to be our hard love; the one that teaches us lessons about who we are and how we often want or need to be loved.

Sometimes it’s unhealthy, unbalanced or narcissistic even.

It’s the love that we wished was right.

And the third is the love we never see coming. The one that usually comes dressed as all wrong for us and that destroys any lingering ideals we clung to about what love is supposed to be.

It’s the love that just feels right.

Maybe we don’t all experience these loves in this lifetime; but perhaps that’s just because we aren’t ready to.

Possibly maybe we need a whole lifetime to learn or maybe if we’re lucky it only takes a few years.

And there may be those people who fall in love once and find it passionately lasts until their last breath.

Someone once told me they are the lucky ones; and perhaps they are.

But I kinda think that those who make it to their third love are really the lucky ones.

They are the ones who are tired of having to try and whose broken hearts lay beating in front of them wondering if there is just something inherently wrong with how they love.

But there’s not; it’s just a matter of if someone loves in the same way that they do or not.

And maybe there’s something special about our first love, and something heartbreakingly unique about our second…but there’s also just something about our third.

The one we never see coming.
The one that actually lasts.
The one that shows us why it never worked out before.

And it’s that possibility that makes trying again always worthwhile, because the truth is you never know when you’ll stumble into love.
#thethreeloves #katerose #mayitbeofbenefit

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fwordsofkaterose%2Fposts%2F1795925764004946%3A0&width=500“>Three Loves

Like I said, beautifully written isn’t it? It’s also something that seems quite accurate for many people I know, including myself. Yet, as I read it and pictured my three loves I found myself picturing the same person each time. I have had three loves, but it’s been with the same man.

Kenny and I met 16 years ago when I was barely old enough to drive, and he wasn’t even old enough to vote. I can still remember the strangest details about the day I met him… probably since it’s one of my favorite memories… a memory that still makes me smile. I remember what I was wearing, the time of day, how my hair had been fixed, the first smile he gave me, and the way I left trig class wondering just who that guy had been sitting near me. We were young, so young, even though I felt “mature” and sure of myself and the decisions I was making. We fell in love quicker than a minute. I can remember my mother saying, “You’re in love aren’t you?” I remember blushing and smiling, unable to deny it. I also remember that she tried to hide her eyes as they rolled into the back of her head as she reminded me that I was young and shouldn’t get too serious. I scoffed at her advice. I was almost an adult! I would have run off with him and eloped if I’d thought my mother wouldn’t have sent me to an early grave. It was serious… and it stayed serious… through the rest of our high school years, through the college years, through a beautiful wedding day, and about six years of ignorant happiness.

I say ignorant happiness because that’s what it was. Just the two of us, we had so much fun. We were so in sync… best friends. We never fought over anything more trivial than who had the remote last and where they lost it. Then came the house… between working full time as teachers and building a house on nights/weekends, we were stressed. It was a different kind of stress than college had been. Before we could right ourselves from the stress of building, our first baby came along. Now we had waited. Six years in fact from the time we got married. So we were in our mid-twenties and very confident in ourselves and the decisions we had made and were making together. But the thing about kids is that they destroy most of your confidence… make you question everything you know… make you doubt even your most trusted ally. This is exactly what happened.

After postpartum wreaked havoc on what was left of my body and mind after nine months of pregnancy and a nerve-wracking delivery day, I was a skeleton of my old self. It took three years to feel like me again. Those three years were a mixture of darkness and light… celebrating our son and the wonder we had created and grieving over the parts of “us” that we’d lost. I am not afraid to admit that often I can remember the dark days faster than the light. I have lost count of the nights I spent crying… the times we let one another down… the fights about things far from trivial and downright unsettling. The questions left dangling unanswered because we were both afraid to acknowledge them: could we survive this? Was there enough left of us to be “us” again? Were we strong enough to create a new, more realistic ending to what had once been a fairy tale love? Three years of darkness… about the time we found one another again, we went and did it again.

That’s right, baby #2. Another healthy bouncing baby boy. While this time I manhandled postpartum like a boss, the questions were still there. Two kids make it really hard to reconnect. Most nights we don’t get a conversation in without being interrupted at least five times. By the time the boys are both asleep we’re both so tired or frustrated by various things that we go to bed instead of staying up and fighting for us. Is that healthy? Probably not. Is it selfish? Yeah… but we’re humans. We knew after the first one that there was still something there… that we still loved one another. We just struggled to be “patient” and “kind” to one another. However, once our little one turned two, we finally faced the questions that had been following us around like five o’clock shadows.

One summer night we finally asked and answered. It hurt. It was scary. But once I knew my answer and heard his, I found my third love. We did reconnect. Turns out there was enough left of us to be “us” again. Even though there are some days that are still hard…. still nights punctuated by the silence of frustration and disappointment… there is still us. I love him now in ways I never fathomed… as a father and provider… as a husband that has been faithful to his wife on her darkest days… it is a different love, but knowing it’s there gets us through the disagreements. Knowing we’re still here after all of this makes it easier to remember that even though sometimes the bad days are easier to remember, there really have been more good than bad. Now, it does feel right. It feels like a life line… like a light in a dark tunnel. God knows there is still plenty of struggle. Being parents is hard. But trying to be good parents is even tougher, especially on a marriage. The thing about it though is that we had to have that second love, that hard love to find this third one. We learned so much through the struggle. I’m thankful for it.

 

An open letter to my toddler, the arse.

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Dear Kody,

Right now you’re curled up in bed sleeping soundly. Your two-year-old body is worn out from all the fun you’ve had and all the mischief you’ve been into today. After a full day of being a tiny tyrant, it’s no wonder you’re tired! I lay in bed with you for an hour before you finally gave in (all part of the tiny tyrant thing…). When you did drift off to sleep I stayed a little longer just to admire your sweet face and the kodyfact that you were quiet and not being a little jerk. Sorry, was that a little much? Well, frankly, my dear sometimes you can be a bit much.

You are in the sweet little habit now of taking everything we ask you to do or tell you do to and putting it at the end of the phrase “I will not…” For example, “I will not go potty!” “I will not be nice to Bubba!” “I will not eat my food.” “I will not take a bath!” It’s so nice to hear that your language skills are what they should be and actually above average. It would also be nice if you didn’t speak so clearly so that it’s totally undeniable when you’re being defiant. Makes me kind of appreciate the fact your brother had such unclear speech at that age…. just kidding (or am I?)

You also love to spend your time tormenting your brother, who is four years OLDER than you are, who loves you and is afraid of showing you he’s older and stronger because he doesn’t want to to hurt you and is also afraid of getting in trouble. You like to sit back quietly and unassuming… letting him play with a toy just long enough so that he’s truly happy. Then you pounce, screaming “I have it! MINE!!” It’s so much fun to try to referee that and then to try to explain to your brother that you are just going through a stage and won’t always be so unpleasant about certain things. He’s a good sport about it, thank goodness.

Another reason you’re probably tired is because you spend a lot of your time climbing onto things you aren’t supposed to climb on (the bar, the table, your bookcase, the back of the couch, etc.) and running through the house, despite the fact you get in trouble for this on a regular basis. Yes, you are fast, as you love to yell at the top of your lungs as you make laps around your daddy, who is trying to nap on the couch. Yes, I see you jumping off the chair. I know you’re big enough to do that. I also know you aren’t too big to come crying for a kiss on your boo boo when you misjudge the landing and bang your head on the ground… again.

Son, I hope someday you will take your strong-willed nature and use it in a good way. Use it to make a good life for yourself. Use it to help others. Use it to earn respect from other respectable people. Most importantly, use it to discipline your own toddlers someday. I’m praying (fervently) that you have a little boy just exactly like you with your very own temperament and amazingly strong will and a sweet little girl that doesn’t give you an ounce of attitude until she turns 13 (just because that will be funny to watch). I know this age is just a stage, if we handle it the right way, and we’re trying hard to do that. I also know that no matter what you do, I’m going to always love you. Finally, I know that I’d better enjoy the quiet for the next few hours because in the morning you’ll be up and at it again, trying to break your own record of how quickly you made daddy take his blood pressure medicine. Good night, son. I hope you sleep well. You need your rest 🙂

The 5 Stages of Bedtime Grief

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It happens this way every time. It is inevitable… like seeing a dark, threatening funnel cloud approaching, knowing with certainty there is danger coming. Every night at bedtime there is a process for my younger son. It is his way of coping with the grief that accompanies bedtime. This is how it goes. IMG_4446.JPG

Stage 1: Denial and Isolation

This follows my first suggestion of “Tell Daddy and Bubba goodnight. Let’s go read.” First response (as is with everything else)… “NO!” That’s the denial part. Then there is the isolation: hiding behind the couch… hiding in the kitchen… hiding under the covers of his own bed, which is at least helpful in that he’s actually in the bed, which is the ultimate goal.

Stage 2: Anger

Anger because he can’t have apple juice; anger because Mommy dares deny him the right to reading all of the six books that he’s carefully slung onto his bed and instead reads only two; anger because the night light is green not blue and then again because Mommy switched it to blue when he’d obviously just been kidding about wanting it blue; anger because Bubba is not in bed like Mommy said he was, which is obvious when we hear Bubba making fart noises in the living room with daddy; anger because he can’t see the moon out of his bedside window; anger because none of his demands seem to be working…

Stage 3: Bargaining

No more anger… now it’s time for sweet Kody to make his appearance. “Kiss Mommy? Hug Mommy? Nose kisses?  Pease more book? Pease more kisses? Pease get up? Mommy pease? Kody nice…” All accompanied with the most pitiful little face you’ve ever seen. Then “More kiss Mommy?” “Love you Mommy… get up right now? Pease?”

Stage 4: Depression

This is the part where he finally begins the descent. He lies down, covers up, and turns over so I can’t see him. He doesn’t want to talk anymore. He doesn’t want anymore water. He doesn’t see a point in even trying anymore. He’s fought the good fight. His final words in this stage are “Sing sunshine, Mommy.” I tell him he has to close his eyes for me to sing (one of my sneakier tricks). When he does, he begins stage 5.

Stage 5: Acceptance

Silence other than soft breathing. Nobody say a word. Somebody tell James to stop making fart noises… good night my sweet son.

Bye, Mrs. Martin… Hello Mommy

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It’s that time of year… every educator knows what I’m talking about. It’s the most wonderful time of the year… no, I’m talking Christmas. I’m talking summer. It’s also the time of year when I get lots of raised eyebrows from those who do not teach as they say things like, “Well, I guess your boys will keep you busy…” or “I bet you get a lot done during the summer…” It’s interesting to me what non-teachers must think we do in our “time off”, so I thought I’d let you all have a little glimpse.

You see, I’m not just a teacher, but I’m also an assistant basketball coach, and wife to a teacher/the head basketball coach. I teach 8th ELA; he teaches high school math; we coach middle school basketball… blah blah blah. So when summer gets here, we are home together with our two boys: James (5) and Kody (1).  We don’t take vacations. We don’t really leave the house much, if we can help it. See, summer is time to catch up. It’s focus on my kids, not someone else’s. I can hear the question now: don’t your kids always come first? Unfortunately, no. That’s one reason my husband and I are successful at our jobs. It’s a harsh reality, but it’s true. No, in fact, your kids often come first.

Yep… when we roll in on a Tuesday night at 6:45 after late practice (which our five-year-old sat through), after we picked up the baby from the sitter, after we grabbed a pizza for supper and dropped off the bills at the post office, we usually have about 45 minutes to do bath time, read a book, and get to bed. Then it’s off to make lunches, prep coffee, lay out clothes/school supplies, send out reminder messages to the ball parents, tidy the house, put a load of clothes in the washer, and then finally take a shower and pass out in bed… only to do it again the next day….

Here is the thing, when I go to bed, I’m not always thinking about my kids. I know my kids are snuggled safe and warm in bed- fed, clean, loved. However, I might be thinking about little Suzie in my class who thinks she’s ugly and struggles her way through depression by cutting herself… or I might wake up thinking about little John who told me yesterday that his mom got put in jail again and that’s why he didn’t have his homework. Chances are, I’m thinking about someone else’s kids. When I drop my baby off in the morning, I’ll be rushing to get to school to get my five-year-old on the bus so I can quickly make my copies and grade some papers before your kids enter my room– expecting me to be ready.

So when summer comes, it’s time for me to be just mommy, not Mrs. Martin. I get to do the most wonderful things, like be the one to feed my little ones breakfast. I get to put my baby down for a nap and be there when he wakes up. I get to sit down with James for an hour each day and teach him reading, writing, math, because I know when he starts kindergarten he’ll need to know these things, and I have more time now to prepare him than I’ll have later to help him. I make breakfast, dinner, supper, and then I clean it all up every time. I get to sit and drink my coffee with my husband and talk about what we have planned that day. I take my time during an extra long book at bedtime, while James annotates the illustrations and goes off on his own wild tale. I find out that Kody loves tangerines and enjoys squeezing the slice between his teeth so that the juice runs down his chin. I run bubble baths for the baby and watch him try to eat the bubbles. I watch The Boxcar Children with James and tell him about how I read this book when I was a kid. We make a plan to read it together soon. I dance with Kody to one of his favorite songs just before nap time, so when it’s almost over, he’s lain his sweet little head on my shoulder and already begun to doze off. I let James help me make homemade Chicken Parmesan for supper and don’t mind when he slows me down.

When summer comes, I get to enjoy my children the way God intended me to. I get to set aside the worries and stress that comes with caring for 70+ kids each day in ways that go beyond a textbook. I need this time. We all do. I couldn’t sacrifice time with my children for your children if I didn’t have time now to make up for it. I couldn’t ask them to say good night twice a week to a sitter while we coach a ball game. I couldn’t ask them to get up extra early because mommy has bus duty today or stay late because mommy has a faculty meeting. I couldn’t do it. I hope you understand what this time means to educators and why it’s more than just time off. If you want me to love your kids and teach them the best I can, then I need this time to love and teach my own. IMG_2068

Dear Teacher

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In a few days, God willing and the creek don’t rise, James Martin, my four-year-old, will begin preschool. I will admit that I’ve been stressing and worrying over this for many, many months. As he begins his journey into education, I will be in the midst of my journey as an educator. I’m about to enter my eighth year of teaching, and this does NOTHING to appease the anxiety I have about James starting school.  I see, everyday, the kids who don’t do well in school, kids who don’t enjoy school, and kids who are wholly misunderstood by the system.  Most of these kids meet all three of those criteria. I am terrified that my James will become one of them, so I pray every day for understanding and wise teachers, for my own abilities as a teacher to carry over into my duties as a parent, for James to see school as a place of new possibilities and a gateway to unlimited knowledge. There is so much his teacher won’t know about him that I wish she could know. If I could tell her all she needs to know, this is what I would say.

Dear Teacher,

Let me first say that I am in awe of the fact that you can control twenty four-year-olds at once. Wow! I can deal with teens all day and not break a sweat, but a room full of preschoolers is absolutely terrifying to me. My hat is off to you!

I just want you to know that James is a really sweet boy deep down. However, I should warn you that every emotion that James feels, he feels through his core. There is no in-between with this boy. If he’s happy, he’s over the roof. If he’s mad, he’s probably going to throw something over the roof. You will not find yourself wondering how James is feeling today. He wears his emotions right there on his sleeve, both sleeves, actually.  You’ll see what I mean.

That is one reason he feels so passionately about things. If he is interested in doing something, he will not do it halfway. He will sit for hours putting together his choo choo tracks or beating a level on Super Mario Bros. Please don’t try to label him ADD or ADHD.  He is very active, but he can focus when he wants to… it just might not be on what it is you’re teaching that day, and I’m sorry if that happens.

I should also tell you that he is not just very active. He actually never stops moving, unless he’s asleep.  If you really need him to be totally still, you can tell him to be a statue. “If you move, you lose.” Anything that is a competition, gets him going.  However, he is a really bad loser, and I take full responsibility for that. I hate to lose, and he inherited that trait straight from me, not his calm, reasonable father who loses as honorably as he wins. I apologize for that. There will be actual tears if he loses a game. We’re working on it…

Also, he really dislikes singing and coloring. I know these two things are both main ingredients in the preschool classroom, so this could be an issue. He will sing to his baby brother, and he’ll color with me, but the attention to it is usually limited. Perhaps if it’s a picture of a monster truck or a dinosaur? He is a very manly little boy with what I presume to be a LOT of testosterone coursing through his veins, which explains his obsession with dinosaurs, anything with wheels, bathroom humor, and his own man area. I’m sure you’re accustomed to this. He is, as the saying goes, all (and I mean ALL) boy.

I will also warn you that he’s really loud. I’m sure it won’t take you long to notice. When he was born, the nurses claimed that he had the best set of lungs that they’d heard that whole week in the maternity ward. He has a naturally loud voice, and he loves to be loud. If he is in a room that echoes, such as a public restroom, he will be loud on purpose because he loves to hear himself echo. He thinks it’s hilarious, which leads to giggling, which leads to more echoing… it’s an endless cycle until you usher him out the door.

The last thing I guess you should know is that he’s extremely strong-willed. If you tell him that he can’t do something, he might just do it anyway. He will call your bluff, so be ready to back yourself up. He will even willingly take the consequences (time out, spanking, etc.) just so he can do whatever it is he is wanting to do. We’ve been trying for years to break some of the stubbornness, but it’s been in vain. He is getting better with age, so perhaps you’ll be able to work some magic on him 🙂

If you want to win him over, tell him that you like his big muscles. He’s all about being a big boy. Ask him about his baby brother, Kody. He is the proudest big brother that there ever was. Laugh at his jokes (he loves to entertain).  Tell him to show you how fast he is when you go outside. He will love you. I know that you can bring out the best in him and that you will all of the good he has to offer, underneath that loud, stubborn, wild little exterior. He loves to hug and kiss when he’s happy, so get ready to be loved on. Thank you, in advance, for taking care of my boy. I hope you can see him the way I do and love him the way I love my students. Have a good year!james guitar james canning James scuba Kody n James2

 

Dear friend

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Within the next month, two very close friends of mine will each give birth to her own little baby girl… each of them about to embark on motherhood for the first time. They’re due within two days of one another. One friend I have only known a short time, less than two years, and the other friend I have known since my first day of high school… many, many moons ago. Since I learned of their happy news, I’ve thought of each of them almost daily as they each prepare for a sweet baby. I’ve prayed for them both, thought of them during those 3 am feedings with my own newborn, hugged them each at their baby showers…. I have so much that I want to say to them before the day arrives. Since I probably won’t get to see either of them before that day, I’ll just say it here.

Dear friend,

First of all, I’m so happy for you. I wish I could be there to witness that moment when you finally hold her for the first time and you take in the miracle that truly is birthing a baby. I cried with both of mine. Kenny and I both did. It was a moment that shook me to my core. A moment that I’ll never forget, even if I do forget the rest of the details that led to it. Which leads me to also to tell you something that no one bothered to tell me with my first child. Childbirth, despite the fact that it’s one of the most romanticized events in our society, is an ugly, messy, and scary thing. People talk about how beautiful it is.  I couldn’t disagree more.  The baby is what is beautiful.  The making of a mother and father, beautiful.  Childbirth?  It’s terrifying.  It’s painful and awkward and disgusting.  I still can’t understand why people video it or even photograph parts of it. To be honest, my husband and I have both agreed that the labor and delivery parts just aren’t things that we care to remember. It’s terrifying to not know if the baby is okay… to not know what to expect… to know the possibilities and have no way of preparing for things if they take a turn for the worse.  Having that precious little person handed to you is the only reason it’s worth all of the terror and pain.

Second of all, there might be a period of time after baby is born that you just don’t feel like you.  Not only do you look different, but you just don’t feel the same.  Let me tell you that is normal.  How can you possibly be the same? You’re a mother now!! An entire human just exited your body and entered your life full time!!  I wish after James had been born someone would have shaken me a little and said, “It’s okay! Don’t try so hard to act like nothing has changed!!”  Don’t be so hard on yourself.  You’ll get to know the new parts of you.  You’ll figure it all out eventually.  If you ever need to call me to yell or cry or threaten your husband with immediate death if he doesn’t learn to sneeze silently, I’m here for you. No judgement.  As a woman who lost her mind after childbirth and took a few years to find it, there’s really nothing you can say that would shock me.  🙂

Also, I hope you have a sleepy baby.  I hope she loves to sleep and smile and eat.  In that order.  All day every day for about four months.  If, however, you end up with a baby who only sleeps under certain impossible conditions, or a baby who cries far more often than she smiles, or a baby who spits up every ounce she takes, it’s okay.  It doesn’t mean she’s defective or you’re defective.  Let me share my motto with you.  My motto to motherhood is “It’s just a stage.”  Everything is a stage.  Don’t get too comfortable or uncomfortable.  Whatever she is doing is temporary.  I don’t know how temporary, but it’s temporary.  I told myself James would never sleep through the night.  Now, he sleeps through the night 75% of the time.  The other 25% he gets me up to cuddle and to tell me that he loves me.  I can deal with that. That is just a stage, though.  Eventually, he won’t need to see me during the night.

My other motto is connected to that train of thought: SHE WILL SLEEP EVENTUALLY.  There might be days that you think that your baby is never going to fall asleep.  When James was a newborn, he didn’t like to sleep.  He was so curious that he was up constantly.  I assumed he should be sleeping, so I battled him about this several times a day, leading me to a state of exhaustion and frustration that isn’t healthy for anyone.  You know what I should have done? Chilled out.  I should have held him a little.  Kissed his head, lain him in a nice, comfy spot and gone to do the dishes or take a shower.  He would have slept so much more if I’d just calmed down a little.  I see that now that I have Kody and I do just that, which leads me to this.

It’s okay to let her cry.  If you’re in the shower and she’s fussing.  It’s okay.  Put her in the bouncy seat and take a shower.  If you need to take a few minutes to eat and she just happens to get hungry in the middle of your meal, it’s okay.  Let her fuss while you finish.   A happy mommy who eats and sleeps a little is much more capable of caring for a baby.  You don’t have to feel guilty.  I don’t know when women started believing that it was bad if her baby cried. I know it can make you crazy when they cry, but sometimes you just have to let them, and that doesn’t make you negligent or a bad mom.

Lastly, trust your instincts.  You are both smart, successful women. I would entrust each of you to care for my babies and soon the world will entrust you with your own.  Go with your gut.  You kind of have to those first few months because it’s so hard to communicate with a person who can’t speak words or even make hand gestures.  If you think she’s hungry, feed her. If you think she’s tired, lie her down for a nap.  If you think she wants to be held, hold her.  You’ll be right far more often than you’ll be willing to give yourself credit.  If you want to read up on something online, do it.  Use your resources but trust yourself, too.  You will know your baby better than anyone else, no matter how unprepared you feel about motherhood.  Don’t be afraid to seek advice and don’t be afraid to stand by the decisions you make.  If sleeping with your baby every night is what gets your whole household a good night’s rest, don’t let anyone make you feel bad for that.  As long as you’re caring for her, it’s really no one’s business.  Learn from your mistakes, which you’ll inevitably make.  All mothers make them.  And love that baby.  The rest will eventually fall into place.  You will realize one day that your baby is thriving and happy and you’re responsible for that.  I hope you’ll let me know when you reach that day, so we can celebrate it.  It’s a wonderful feeling to finally realize that you’re a good mom.  I know you will be.  I can’t wait to meet her. Congratulations, friend.

First photo after Kody arrived.

First photo after Kody arrived.

Equal but not the same

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When I was pregnant with Kody, my second son, I secretly wondered how I would be able to love another human as I’ve loved my James. I didn’t think it would be possible to love another as I love him… to give that much of myself to another person would be too much surely… Those of you with more than one child know how wrong I was. Yet, I’ve recently realized that even though I love my boys equally, I do not love them the same. Are those eyebrows raised yet? 🙂 Let me explain to you as I plan to explain to them someday when they will inevitably ask which of them I love more.

James, you were my first child. Everything about being a mommy I did with you first. The first heartbeat that wasn’t my own, the first little kicks, the first labor pains, the first cry of a little newborn in this big world, the first dirty diaper (boy was it a doozy), the first sleepless night, tooth, birthday party, all of it… it was you, kiddo. I never knew I could love like that until you came to be mine. You taught me more about myself than I ever dreamed possible. You helped me to understand that I can be a mother and a darn good one if I do say so myself. You made me a better wife, teacher, daughter– person. You are all of the good in me, and you bring so much good to my world. You look so much like your father, the only man I’ve ever loved like I do.  You have my sense of humor.  Yet, you were my guinea pig. I made all of my mistakes with you. For that, I’m sorry. To be honest, I didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing. Your dad was so much better at the baby thing than I was… gradually I got good at it. But I spent a lot of time crying because I just knew I was doing it all wrong. Through the mistakes, you loved me. You never looked at me and said (or babbled) that you didn’t want me as a mommy. You always reached for me first. You still do. Now you’ve grown to be a such a wonderful young person. You aren’t a baby anymore. You have instilled so much pride in me. Everyday you surprise me with how sweet you are with your brother. How loving you are to us. How bright and active you are. I am forever realizing just how wonderful you are. For all of these reasons, I love you more than you will ever know until you are a parent, and for all of these reasons, I love you differently than I love your brother.

Kody, you were my second child. With you, it had all been done before, and as mundane as that may sound, there is a great amount of underestimated comfort in knowing what’s to come. I didn’t spend my pregnancy with you worrying about every bite I put into my mouth. I simply enjoyed the feeling of you in my belly, loved the sound of that heartbeat, dreamed of what you would be like, and counted those kicks and nudges from the inside. My biggest worry was whether or not I’d be able to take care of two kids at once… seeing as how you’re nearly 2 months old and as healthy as a horse, I’d say I’ve been successful so far. Everything (except for those 45 minutes of intense labor) has been easier with you. I already knew how to change a diaper. I’ve never tried to put yours on backwards. I knew how to make a bottle, and I remembered exactly how to swaddle. You have only known me as a veteran mommy. I’m sorry that your life hasn’t been closely documented with photos every few minutes and video footage of every sleepy smile.  I didn’t spend my days on maternity leave by taking your photo every day, but I did spend a lot of time napping with you next to me, learning your cries, memorizing your first smile, admirining those brown eyes that look just like mine, finding out what little nooks and crannies there are to your personality.  There may not have been a grand baby shower thrown in your honor, but your existence has been no less wonderful.  You have shown me just how much I can love… that I can love two people this much at once.  You’ve taught me even more about myself.. introduced me to the calmer side of myself.  Taught me to laugh when I do make a mistake.  I haven’t spent any time crying about how bad of a mother I have been to you 🙂  For all of these reasons, I love you more than you will ever know until you are a parent, and for all of these reasons, I love you differently than I love your brother.

No, I don’t love you the same, but I love you both equally, and I always will.IMG_0346