gratitude trumps insecurity

Smell: warm chocolate chip cookies
Feel: the soft clank, clank, clank of my macbook keys
Hear: a piano rendition of Celine Dion's "My heart will go on"
See: bold-colored markers on my messy kitchen table and glitter-stained tile floor
Taste: cold, crisp ice dissolving in freezing water

This post may feel a little disconnected, but just go with it.

It's 7:56 and I'm sitting at my kitchen table, feeling consumed with a sense of gratitude for this life that I have chosen. Not two hours ago, I feel completely overwhelmed by the whole of it, but after an hour of washing dishes, coloring a "My Little Pony" and a few snowflakes with the girls, reading James and the Giant Peach with Mya, and singing the girls their bedtimes songs, I feel renewed for a new day. Gratitude always trumps every insecurity I ever feel about this beautiful and crazy life I've chosen.

Mya had to make a shirt to celebrate surviving the first 100 days of school. She chose to make 100 glittery snowflakes in honor of Frozen, which she hasn't seen in almost a year (girls can be so easily persuaded to follow trends). If you know me, you know I hate glitter. It is probably my least favorite crafting tool ever; however, I was lying in bed on Sunday and the thought occurred to me that glitter is going to be a staple in our house for quite some time due to the fact that we are way in over our heads with girls over here and that I should probably just get over it. So when Mya approached me with the idea, I just smiled and nodded my head. And boy was I ever patient as I watched her spill glitter all over the shirt, table and floor. I saw Mya cower when she accidentally knocked over an entire bottle of blue glitter on the floor, and I'm not going to lie, my heart sank just a bit, but I saw her face and quickly grabbed the broom without even losing my mind. I'd call that remarkable. I wish you could've seen her sweet smile as she turned to wave to me before school. She was confident and happy with the shirt that we created together, and that made all the difference. All too often I ruin some really fun projects by being too concerned by the mess it makes to complete the project. It is my goal to change that about my personality.

Two days ago I decided to pick up a children's novel at the library in town. The library here looks like it was converted from an old trailer into a small library so the selection isn't great, but it works. I asked the librarian to point me in the direction for some good old fashion Road Dahl books; I thought Mya would adore Matilda. They didn't have Matilda so I opted for James and the Giant Peach. (P.S. The librarian didn't know how to spell Road Dahl, and it took all the kindness I possess to let that one slide.) Mya scoffed at me when I suggested reading it and told her it didn't have many pictures, but we're five chapters in, and she's hooked. I'm going to have to work on my voices because she isn't a fan of a few of the ones I've been using. While we read, I have been working on her reading comprehension by stopping to ask her questions every once in awhile. It is my hope to instill a love of reading and writing in my girls.

Sometimes being a mom is grueling. Okay, there are a lot of really tough days, but at the end of the day when I sit and think about all I do to teach my girls and how much they've grown over the past 2, 3, 6 years, I am also amazed at how much I've grown. No one taught me how to potty train a child, but I've successfully trained two of my girls (and I'm about to start with Elle soon). No one taught me how to stay sane when all four kids are crying/whining/screaming, but I do it every day. No one taught me how to cook for two or three or four or five, but I'm figuring it out with each new hungry mouth to feed. No one taught me how to draw a My Little Pony or Princess Aurora, but I've almost mastered the two perfectly now. No one taught me how to manage my time between playing make believe, building tall towers, cooking lunches/dinners, cleaning the house, folding a million loads of laundry, walking a very large dog, nursing an endless supply of babies (should I go on?), but I do it every day. I've grown a lot in the past 6+ years. Admittedly, I've taken a few steps backwards only to take a few giant ones forward.

I've decided being a mom in my house is really about finding love and loyalty amidst the craziness and chaos. Everyday I tell myself to be proud that I manage a great deal of chaos with a lot of patience and grace. Sometimes I totally fail, but for the most part I am succeeding, and I can tell that I am by the way my kids beg for one more kiss, one more hug, one more story, one more song. I pray they will love me, their dad, and each other fiercely, and so far I feel like we are doing okay, and for that I feel a great deal of gratitude and love on this cold, wintery Thursday night.

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"Be kind and considerate with your criticism... It's just as hard to write a bad book as it is to write a good book." Malcolm Cowley