Nora and Braden,
You have no idea how much I love you.
We have had a hard couple of days. Even though I pray you won't remember times like these, I am always afraid that these moments--these bad days--are what will define our relationship, and I hope not. I hope that above all else, you will remember the tickling and the dancing. I hope you'll remember the smell of cookies baking and the sound of my laughter.
Not the sound of anger or yelling. Not the sound of frustration and exhaustion. Those moments are ugly and these days are long. They are oh so long.
Nora, baby...you are testing mommy a little more each day.
Although you are learning alot and we are doing some great school work, at the end of it all I feel defeated most days. I know it's worth it because I see in you so much growth and so much beauty. It's always worth it. But your getting smarter and much more bold in your approach to disobeying me day after day. It's hard figuring out a balance of loving you fiercely and disciplining you gently.
Brother...oh my boy.
You still hang on me like an infant most days. You are incredibly needy right now, as always, and it's overwhelming. So all in all--not alot has changed. Only now, you're much older and I'm trying to remind myself of that. You yell at me often and have very little regard for what I say in general. You are absolutely in your own world most days and don't care to come out of it to listen to a word I might have to say.
But when you do, it's so rewarding for me. You're witty and funny and incredibly smart. In fact, so smart that it's almost scary.
I'm not writing these things in order to justify my moods lately. Rather, I'm writing to remember these days of being locked away tightly in this house with you.
I see you from sun up until well after sun down. I breathe in the smell of you and it's small.
It's such a sweet reminder of how little you still are.
I want you to know that as your mom, I feel so many deep things when I look at you.
First of all, I feel tremendous guilt. I feel guilty that I have to give so much time and attention to Mabel and her care. It's time that used to be devoted solely to you. There was a time when my only purpose was waking up and playing the day away with you both. I felt lighter. It was easy.
I think in so many ways, I have closed myself down even more as a mom to you both because of the guilt that I feel. It should be opposite but I just cant live up to the expectation of the mom that I had in mind all those years ago and so because it feels impossible, I have given up trying.
Not always...but some days.
Which leads to more guilt.
Nora-I feel guilty for yelling at you. I'm your mom and you disobey and yet I still feel this extreme, immense, excruciating guilt for correcting you.
It's hard; this mom business.
Braden--I feel guilty that you're the only boy I'll probably ever have. I say probably because God is God and ultimately I live according to His will. But the thought of not giving you a brother is hard for me. I feel guilty because you are so much like me in so many ways and I just think you're going to be very misunderstood.
I can tell you something that I will never feel guilty for, though--defending you.
I will always fight for you. You deserve that and so I pray for you every day and your bright, loud, vibrant spirit.
There's so much guilt at the end of each day that I have to literally ask God to cover me with His mercy in order to start again tomorrow. I constantly feel like I only get one chance at this and I better get it right. Yet, without the Lord, I wouldn't stand a chance...so I depend on Him.
Lately, He and I are quiet with each other so it's been a little more difficult. But I know He's there and I know you both know that He is. So I think we'll all be ok.
There's alot resting on my shoulders, guys.
I can't wait until the day when I can say so much of this to you and you'll both understand. I want so badly for you to just look at me and know how hard it all is for me to parent you day after day and how strongly I want to do well at it. It's all I have ever wanted to do and I just desire to be great. I want to be a mother that you are not only proud of, but passionate about and thankful for. I want to be a mom that loves God visibly--so much so that it shows up in you.
I pray that every day.
Thank you both for loving me unconditionally. What is so wonderful about you is that you are so different from one another in so many ways. You challenge me but without you, I wouldn't be fulfilled. You do that for me and it's incredible. You are both such a gift and I know just how blessed I am.
I want you to know that I do not take you for granted. I love you both more than I could ever explain and I wish that I didn't have this whole long, draining process that I have endured to shape me into the mom that I now am. I believe I am better in so many ways but please be patient as I am still grieving the mom I really wanted for the both of you. She is much different now and sometimes it's hard to look in the mirror because as I don't recognize myself-I pray that I can come into this new me before you ever know any different.
I want you both to know that my love for you is so deep I could die just thinking about it. I love Mabel incredibly but never more and never less than either of you. You're all formed so tightly inside of this heart; in each particular room settled just for you. I feel guilty for the attention that Mabel needs right now but I need you to hear me when I say that I don't feel guilty for having her OR for giving her the greatest care I can.
She, too, is a gift.
Special, unique and purposed for all of us.
Just like any new gift that is complex and without instructions, I am learning to navigate your sister. I am learning to balance the act of her care and your childhood. I may fail miserably some days but I desire to be great at all of it and I believe I will be.
I know I was made for this. I believe God gives 'special kids to special parents,' but only in that each of you are just as special as the next. Parents, in general, are special because this is no easy feat.
This is hard, grueling, draining and consuming.
It's the one thing in this world that you want to get right and be great at and yet you never feel quite good enough. But again, we serve a God who is bigger than I, and He is the ultimate Father. I trust that He will just continue to mold me until He comes again and we can live under His care for eternity.
Until then, there are going to be days when I mess up time and time again. Please know that it torments me far more than it will ever affect you (I hope.) Please know that I don't take those moments lightly.
I think about them, dwell on them, pray about them and think about them some more.
But I will always apologize when I'm wrong and I will always try to do better the next time.
I hope you'll learn to do the same someday.
I pray that you both have an understanding of integrity, discipline, self control, and compassion. Even more, I pray that you will learn the wonderful gifts of mercy, forgiveness and grace.
These are things that come in small forms, like apologizing after a hard day and things that will come in huge ways like when your life gets turned upside down. However it is that you experience them, I pray that it is life changing each and every time.
I am humbled by being your mom every day.
I wake up and feel so blessed just to be able to start over fresh and new. I feel humbled after each act that challenges me or each time one of you tells me that you love me. You forget quickly and move on and I love that. In fact, I want to be more like you in that way.
I'm so glad that God chose you for me and me for you.
I'm so glad we have these precious years together to grow and learn.
I may never be able to express to you how much I love you but I promise that I am trying every day to show you.
I hope you feel that.
You bring me the greatest joy.
I love you.