Friday, June 7, 2019

#somanykids

I have 4 kids. 4 isn't that big a number. I mean my oldest child is 4 - her age is the number of kids I have and she's only been alive 4 short years. 4 isn't even 5. It's certainly not even half a dozen. 4 is only the double of 2. So, that doesn't sound like a lot. But in kids? In baby kids? in toddlers? That's a lot of kids. That's so many kids.

And I love it. Don't get me wrong. I mean, I planned it. Maybe not all at once, but we definitely wanted 4 kids in total. Sure, we would have spaced them out a bit more, but still, we wanted 4. One for each hand. 2 pairs. A playmate for each child. A solid family of 6. That doesn't seem too crazy or even too big in the realm of big families. 

I'll tell you what I didn't expect. How isolating this is. Most of my friends have 1 or 2 kids. Some of them have 3 and they seem like the overextended crazy moms. So if my 3-kid-mom-friends are the overextended crazy ones, what does that make me, mom-of-4?


I get weird looks. I get super mom comments. Either I'm weird for wanting so many kids or I'm a hero for managing them. In reality, I'm neither. I'm just me. It's funny too, I'm not a baby person. I mean,  I like my babies. I like my friends' babies. Paul is a baby guy. He LOVES babies. But not me. I've learned babies. I have babies to have kids. I have toddlers to have kids. I'm starting to see the light with Avie - she's becoming a kid. It's so awesome. I can see how you have to endure the baby years, the toddler years, to get a kid. I have learned 4 kids later to enjoy the baby years. I'm enjoying the twins in ways I didn't know how to enjoy Avelynn those 3 years ago. I'm learning to have fun with toddlers - they are my hardest stage - but still, I'm getting better at handling them. At the end of the day, I have 4 kids and I love them. I love being a mom. I don't feel like someone with a lot of kids, and yet I know that in this culture, I am. It's a weird place for me. Nothing about my life feels that crazy or strange but I know it's not the norm. 

Most of my twin mom friends are first-time moms, so they have just their twins...then I roll up with my van FULL of kiddos and it's like insanity. There are naps in my house from 9am to 4pm straight. STRAIGHT. There is always someone napping in my house (often including me). Today we were heading to a twin family meetup and we had hoped to find childcare for the older two and just take the twins, but that fell through and all our sitters and family were busy (as often happens). We tried to nap Bailey early so we could take all 4 kiddos (since she naps during the twins mid-day awake window) but she refused to nap early and we knew that while taking 4 kids to a beach park was crazy, taking even 1 melting down toddler was worse. So Paul stayed home with the older two and I just took the twins. The decision to go was hard. I had so been looking forward to time with Paul and our babies - we don't get much alone time with the twins. I was not looking forward to the effort of getting the twins out of the house, driving half an hour, unloading the twins and then taking care of them for the picnic, reloading them and driving half an hour home. Two on two seems much more reasonable. I was overwhelmed and cried. I don't cry very often. But I did. I cried. Then cried some more. Then I went. It was good. It was work. I'm so glad I went. But it wasn't easy.


My friends with 3 kids get it - they do. Two of them have young kids and just had their third babies and I'm not sure it's any easier than my life. Maybe slightly but only slightly. Our situation has forced us to see our need in major ways and in that sense it's made this easier. It's all just different than most people around me. I have two wonderful friends that I'm getting to know - who both have 4 kiddos with twins at the end, who both love Jesus, and I'm pretty sure are answers to my prayers for people who may actually get what this moment is about for me. And both of them will have also moved this year. So lots in common, wooooo.

I took the kids out by myself the other day. For a walk. We were out of Avocados and Creamer. Avie *needed* Avocados and I certainly needed coffee (and what's the point of coffee without creamer?). It was probably a pretty terrible plan. I mean, I'm not tall enough to see over the top of the quad stroller and it's too big for me to use easily so I took the jogging stroller because it's light and I love it - I can also fit the twins in it, with one of the big girls chilling at their feet. This way only Avie or Bailey (depending on who is in a better mood) needs to walk. We started with Avie walking but soon that proved to be terrible (we almost turned around and went home 4 times), so finally we switched the Bailey walking. I use the term walking loosely since it's really a drunken lurching - with some haphazard running. Cute though. Eventually, I had her on my shoulders (not great with a bad back) while I pushed the stroller across a street. I was not sure how the walk home would go, but somehow the time in the store was decent and the walk home was actually nice. Both big girls walked, and the twins were almost asleep in the stroller. B was super friendly and waved at everyone, and both girls walked while holding stuffies and my heart was so happy.


I don't really know the point of this post. All I know is I never knew I'd love being a mom so much. I always suspected how tiring it would be, but I never knew how much I'd love it. And I think I'm sometimes bugged that some people think our lives would be easier with fewer kids. Maybe. Sure. But these 4 little ones are amazing. 100% ordinary. And amazing. I just never knew what this would be like - the good side. Growing up (and as an adult) you always hear how tiring kids are. You hear how the more kids you have, the less money you have for things. I guess I didn't as often hear about how much joy each individual child could bring you. The work of 4 kids isn't exponentially more. 2-3-4 - it's all a lot of work. But the joy and fun of 4 kids is certainly exponentially more. Watching the twins hang out together, watching Char climb over Colty to get a toy (leaving a disgusting trail of poop across the floor and across her brother) is so fun. Watching the two older girls entertain the twins is delightful. Avie and B sing to them to calm them down when they are sad. B and Char love fake sneezing then laughing hysterically. Over and over again. Colty loves to cuddle and watch his 3 sisters act like crazy people. Avie wants to proudly tell you about her 3 siblings. It's a zoo and I would pay to be here over and over again.


This joy doesn't negate the hard things. But I think right now, mom culture is reminding us how exhausting it is. And it's so helpful to be reminded we aren't alone in that. To watch out for the burnout. Seek counseling (I know I am), be vulnerable, have deep friendships. Be real. But on top of that, man is it helpful to tell people how great it all is - because the fear of hard things is never a reason not to do them. The hardest things are often the best things. 
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Monday, June 3, 2019

The growth season

People often ask me how this past year has been for me, “how are you since your mom has passed?” I find it hard to answer because these past 15 months have been a lot to handle. The decade of mom’s illness before that was challenging and draining, and grief-bringing. But these past 15 months have just been so much.

15 months ago I went on bed rest from parenting (and partly from work) during my twin's pregnancy. I had two toddlers at home and had to outsource all parenting. I was on bed rest for almost 2 months and watched from the couch as Paul single-handedly ran our home. Then 38 weeks came and on our way home from being induced at the hospital, while I was in labor, we got an eviction notice, giving us 2 months to find a new home for our family of 6, plus 3 students. We spend the newborn days keeping 4 humans alive, doing the newborn stuff with twins, trekking to house viewings (for mostly terrible houses), and filling in paperwork to dispute the eviction and give us a bit more time. 

Pregnancy & Belly shots

First pic with TWO new babies

My sister/best friend and my babies

Life with twin babies


It was an exhausting time, and yet I can see these beautiful glimpses. First off, the twins birth was amazing - so much fun, then healthy and amazing. The newborn stage was intense but we made it through. Somehow through all of it - the showings, the feedings, the exhausting fog - we got through it all. 

4 weeks after the twins were born my mom passed away. We moved into ‘the work after death’ stages; all while the babies still needed us, the toddlers still needed us, and we were still trekking from house to house for viewings. We planned and organized; we put on two services (one here in Vancouver, one in Port Alberni). We also attended one that Yaletown house organized for the residents who had died that month.  The night of Mom’s Vancouver funeral (June 25th) I found the house listing for the house we live in now. We saw this house on June 26th (Dad babysat our older girls, so we could be here – something he hadn’t been able to do before while Mom was alive), and by the end of the day, it was 75% sure the house would be ours. This house is perfect for us - an amazing neighbourhood, a better price than we were paying or even actually hoping for. The layout is amazing and works perfectly for us. Early June 27th we had confirmation the house would be hours, and Paul had to complete the dispute/arbitration process for our old house downtown and boy was it a blessing to know where we were going to be living as he entered that and knew what to fight for. June 28th we got the keys and signed the final paperwork for the place, just hours before heading to the ferry to the island for a week for mom’s Port Alberni funeral. I cannot express just how much of a gift it was to go away for that week of mourning and celebrating knowing that we had a home and that all the loose ends were resolved. That week was healing and beautiful. It was hard. Any event planning brings stress, a funeral is no different. Add in emotions, 8-week old twins, and 2 toddlers. Hard. But it was also a wonderful time away with my sister and her family – some family friends let us use their beautiful home that had enough space for us all, and our extended family could gather there with us and that time was so precious and valuable, and perfect, and oh so needed. I learned a lot about my mom and even myself during that funeral and the closure was so helpful. 

Our last visit with my mom

Canada Day in Port | Mom's CoL notice | Cousin hangout time in Port

It should also be noted that in the same week of my mom's funerals John & Lindsay (the couple in the middle and some of our very best friends) moved away to California. We had a fun last night together with our other best friends but oh man, it was sad to see them go!

We headed home, with the funeral chapter closed, entering into the moving season in full force. We spend the next 3 weeks managing our household and kids, packing up a 6 bedroom house, and unpacking into a new home. What a blessing that Paul was on Paternity Leave – if he had still been working it would have been so much harder. He saved us $2500 over our last move by being so on it in advance, moving so much into our new home before we fully moved. We had a friend come out the week of the move, which was a life saver. She offered to come without even knowing we were moving then! My aunt also came to stay the week before and oh my goodness – without those two women we would not have made it. They fed us, and played with our kids, and were a balm for my soul. My best friend Ana also came over multiple times and even helped me pre-plan my entire kitchen, with detailed pics and graphs, AND helped me unload into it. We had to share with our community how overwhelmed we felt, and how much there was to do. It was humbling to ask for help but so many people showed up and helped with the packing and the unpacking. I was floored. We moved on July 20th, leaving us 10 days to tidy the old house and prep for selling. What a help that was. And then began the season of unpacking and organizing and keeping the twins and toddlers alive and happy. And trying to enjoy summer through it all.


feeding twins | with Auntie Sandy & Kari | with all 4 kiddos


New home | our main living space

The only major thing on the horizon was finding someone to look after our kids come September when both Paul and I were going back to work. I mean, and handling life with #4kids3andunder, which in itself is a lot. I knew we needed someone full time on Tuesdays & Thursdays when I would be working, and I wanted to find a Mothers Helper in the afternoons for the three days I would be home alone with the 4 kiddos. Finally, in the third week of August, the weight was lifted; we not only had an awesome mothers helper lined up but the biggest piece, the nanny was solved. The wonderful woman who we had paid to be a companion for my mom for many years, would be our kids' Nanny. She already saw them as family – she had been praying for them for years on my mom’s behalf. She has raised 4 kids and fostered 100’s more. She’s the older girl with a younger sister, then boy/girl twins that she helped raise as well – so she has that in sibling order in common with Avie. Our situation and many kids don’t scare her at all. Plus she comes with a tiny dog that has ultimately helped our kids stop being afraid of dogs. I can now say all of this with great relief, but the weeks leading up to this resolution were so stressful!


#4kids3andunder


We went away near the end of August with the twins for a friends wedding. We were so excited. The twins were great at sleeping and with no toddlers to need us we could nap when the babies napped. It was sunny, we were in love, and we were so excited to be away together. While we were on the ferry I started to experience stroke-like symptoms. My vision was blurring, I had shooting pain in one arm, I felt off and headachey, and my speech and texts were a jumble of mistyped words. We arrived at my Nana’s in Victoria, and she took one look at me and said we needed to head into the ER (which we were already fearing). I spent the next few hours in the hospital (until 2am) with my 80-year-old Nana while Paul worried at home with the twins. It was rough. Ultimately it turns out this was an irregular migraine brought on by stress. My doctor said that often a stress migraine like this will appear after a major stress (and Lord knows we’d had a lot of stress) just when the body was relaxing. She also explained that an irregular migraine has many symptoms on top of a headache, and can often be quite scary to experience. Thankfully with some sleep, pain killers and much hydration, I was better by midday the next day. Still, it felt like a lot.

And then life began to be a new normal – Paul back at work full time teaching for the VBS, me back at work 2 days a week doing the Admin/Finance/HR for our church, and me being home 3 days a week with the kids. Lots of moms groups, twin meetups, family visits, and church life around all that as well. It was tiring and fun. Around this time my sister’s depression was seeming to stick around more than expected, and I mention it here because she’s so open about it all, and because it was an underlying reality in our new normal. What looked like some grief after mom’s death, just wasn’t going away. My sister is a trooper, and I’m so amazed at how she handles everything life throws at her, even from the depths. And so life settled – routines, and family, and life mixed with care and concern for those around us.

Jenna & Bailey




Pretty quickly into the new normal, my Dad met up with an acquaintance to compare grief journeys and fell in love with her, enter Donne (or Dee, as he's nicknamed her). After a whirlwind romance by Halloween, we were planning a wedding for the Spring! Acquiring a new set of sisters, a new mom, and dealing with all the feelings and stuff that comes along with that. We went hard into wedding planning – which is something I love but also definitely a lot of work on top of family life! Thankfully my Dad and Dee are both willing to talk and work through emotions. We have all been able to be honest about the ups and downs, but also truly accepting of this new relationship. As daughters we all watched our parents serve and love their sick spouse, and man I know they deserve this new happiness.



And just when we thought that life with 4 young kids and a wedding to plan was a lot to handle, my uncle Jake passed away suddenly. My Auntie Sandy is my second mom, she’s one of my best friends. The sudden passing of her husband was hard in so many ways. Paul particularly mourned deeply as he and my uncle Jake had a deep friendship. A month or so after that our student (who has lived with us for 2 years) had her Mom pass away – so it was a time to be with her and support her. Another death, more grief. We could see clearly though how God was with Him and us – how He’d orchestrated moments in the months leading up to Uncle Jake’s death of connection and relationship. Just months before he had visited his daughter and her family in China – otherwise it would have been 2 years since they had seen him. We had him over for dinner at Christmas and had such a fun time with him. My sister had him over for dinner for the first time ever and had said it was such a blessing to have that time before he left. How neat to see how God moved there.

The weekend before my Uncle Jake’s funeral on the island I had a major work event that I plan each year (and love) – I raced through that weekend, speaking in front of 60 women, then home to my kids, before heading off again to the island for another family funeral – twice in one year. What a gift it was to be there to support and love my Aunt’s family and grieve together. My cousin and her family stayed with us before heading back to China, which was such a silver lining to a hard time. We got to see our daughters play together, as we did for all of our growing up years. After that, it was time to support our student in her mom’s funeral. How strange that we both lost our mom’s within a year of each other. How strange that my aunt and my Dad both lost their spouses within a year of each other. It was another season of grief, and beauty within mourning.

My cousin Leanna and I | My Auntie Sandy & I | Avie & Annie

We made our way through though, and then it was back into the wedding planning. Despite everything, a wonderful wedding was planned. It went off far better than I could have hoped and helped us connect with our new siblings in new and beautiful ways. We even worked together to sing a song for our parents at the wedding, which was humbling. All of our kiddos were in the wedding, to which Paul now vows, never again.


After the wedding was birthday/celebration season – Avie, the twins, our anniversary, my birthday, Jenna's birthday and then finally the one year anniversary of mom’s passing. So maybe you can see how I don’t quite know how to answer any questions about this past year. We’ve had more on our plates that I would have ever thought we could. Life has also been so much more enjoyable than I would have ever expected. I have learned so much about myself, about grief, about being a mom and having a family.


Fathers Day | #4kids3andunder | out & about with the kids


One year since Mom's passing

So, how am I? Covered. I’m close to God in my weakness and need. I see how He loves me, and how He empowers me to get through here day. I see how He’s orchestrated so many things to work out for good. I’m here with my kids. I’m thankful for the fun and joy they bring. I’m aware of my own emotions and limitations in parenting and I ask for and receive help when needed. I’m in love with my husband and enjoy him so much – I love being his teammate. I love my friends – being a mom has opened a depth of relationship that pretty wonderful, and being a twin mom has opened up new circles of wonderful friends – something I wouldn’t have expected when we first found out it was twins. Church is busy and full but oh man, I love our church family and life. Our home is perfect for us – a better price, a better location, a better flow. I can barely handle how perfect this house is for us. I love it. I’m enjoying the enjoyable parts of my life, I’m working through the hard or emotional parts of my life, and we’re not just surviving but actually thriving. Our lives feel like a precariously perched house of cards - if anything falls through it has the potential to affect so much. Like with jenga, each moment feels like it could go horribly wrong. Yet, we're happy, we're healthy, we're healing and I know for a fact that my Mom would ecstatic to watch my life now, and that’s pretty awesome.

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Monday, May 27, 2019

New Worlds: The 1 year anniversary of Mom's death

A year ago today my mom died. 14 years after the first inklings of the disease, almost exactly 10 years after official diagnosis, 9 years after the major decline began and 4 years after moving into Yaletown House.

People keep asking me how life is now, without my mom. And honestly? I feel relief. And at times I feel badly for that. But really, what’s true is that it’s not relief that Robin Mitchell has died. It’s relief that the illness part of my mom’s journey is over. That, that exhausting season of my life, is over. That is all still true a year later. The first Christmas without my mom was so great because I didn’t have this raging guilt inside me for wanting to be cozy in my home with loved ones while she was alone in a hospital bed. The first Mothers Day without my mom was actually about me! I got to sleep in and nap twice! We wandered down to the river with my sister, our kids, and a picnic. Our timeline, our plans, no guilt. Lots of toddlers, but no guilt.

Today to honor my mom, my Dad, Dee (his new wife), and Jenna came over. We talked about the different ways we were processing or marking the day (mine being that I would sit and blog later to work through my feelings). Jenna brought purple flower helium balloons for the toddlers (my mom loved purple and flowers). We had a beautiful time of talking and reminiscing. We talked about grief, and relief and moving on. Dee shared about her journey with her husband’s passing. The sun was shining and it felt like we were healing. I am so thankful that we are able to heal now – the illness felt like an exposed wound, never able to heal. The grief that comes with mom’s passing has been hard, but it’s a part of the process and I can see how much more whole I am a year later. More fragile than before, but also more myself.



Yesterday a few of my Mom’s cousins came over (2 from England, 1 from Victoria) and it was a great excuse to get the house tidy. Seriously, that’s my life hack, and part of why we have people over, it forces me to stay tidy! I need external motivation, and as a social person, that’s wonderfully motivation enough. But this time the cleaning felt a bit more important, a bit manic almost. I realized suddenly that there was so much emotion for me around this visit because Mom would have loved to be there seeing her cousins with her grandbabies and would have been so proud of the home I’ve made and that I felt that it all needed to be perfect, so I could properly represent us, since she wasn’t there to represent herself. In a way to say, look how well my Mom did, she made us and parented us, and we’re doing great. That’s way too much expectation to put on any visit! Thankfully the cousins were so delightful, and Mom would have been delighted to be there, even if the laundry hadn’t been flipped or dishwasher unloaded. It’s funny though, in a moment, we can realize how our emotions or motivations are never as simple as we think.

I don’t remember what it was like to hang out with my mom before the sickness stole so much. I have picture proof that in my late teens and early to mid-twenties we hung out and hung out often. I can see that we laughed and cooked and played games. I don’t remember what that was like. I remember so much about our trip to Europe the summer we began to notice her disease (just small little things) and yet I don’t remember what it was like to be with her on the trip! I mean, I remember when she forced us to try to trick Dad into eating a slimy double-fish sandwich. I remember how we paid her 10 euro each just to leave the boring tour of Versaille (after hours already being there), and how annoyed she was about us leaving. I remember how beautifully she planned this trip – with things each of us would love. I remember how hard we all laughed together at 6am at the start of our trip when we saw a sign that was supposed to say “step over sill” but someone had added a y, so it said “step over silly” and it made us giggle for hours….heck, I still giggle about it. I remember near the end of our trip, after days and days of castles and museums, more than any 19 & 21 year old would pick to see, when we saw a sign for a music museum in Venice and Mom suggested we go in, we all put our collective foot down to which she said in frustration, “I went to all the museums YOU wanted to go to” as if the many museums weren’t already for her! There is this picture of us though, eating spƤtzle at a tiny walled city, laughing and talking and this picture haunts me because I don’t remember what it was like to be with her there. I can’t recall her table habits or her style of conversation. I don’t know what we would have talked about. I wish I knew.


I miss Robin. I miss having a Mom. I have so many women in my life who play a mothering role in my life but that isn’t quite the same as having my own mom. I wish I had a date to mark when she left us, to mourn her; when my relationship with her switched from her being my mom to me being the mom/support/adult. I suppose that is what I can mark this date with each year. To make this the moment to commemorate all that she was, as well as to grieve what was lost. And to be glad she is no longer living in sickness but is free. Finally. And in the midst of all the feelings, I'm eternally grateful for these kids who don't give me a chance to dwell on hard things. They bring joy and love and cuddles. They are forgiving and hilarious. Snotty, and yet so sweet. These kids are a gift in the midst of a tough season. 




With this I close for the moment – Paul’s kept my kids happy for the past 2 hours so I could process all this and write and pray and think, but the kids are getting restless and nearing bedtime and I should probably go help my awesome husband out. More to come tomorrow…the floodgates aren’t quite closed back up again and I can sense that there is more here.
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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Adventures in parenting

It's a snow day! No school, which means even Paul is home. It's been one of those perfect family days. Surprise extra weekend day basically. Home with no plans, and an internal compass that says it's rest time. We rotated naps and adventures. I chose to nap for 2 hours. Paul chose to walk in the woods for 2 hours. It was perfect. We ate amazing wings and made a greek salad - which meant Paul got to trek to the store for produce in the snow since we had been about to go shopping when the snow began (he loved it). The kids and I watched The Incredibles 2 while he made the trek. We were midway through revamping the kids play area due to a gift of a mini trampoline - so a coffee table was on its side and the girls were adorable hiding in it - finally an actually good hiding spot! Avie told me I was "the best mommy in the world" and also "the best cooker". Paul and I so enjoyed spending time together with our kids.



I say all of this because even a perfect day in so many ways - it also wasn't. And I think that's the tension of parenting - choosing to see the very real days as wonderful or perfect despite what's hard. Because today Avie also told me I was a "rude mommy". She screamed for so long it hurt her throat and she was convinced that she was sick and needed medicine and then screamed more because I wouldn't give it to her (since she wasn't sick). Avie also sat on Bailey's face (no underwear on) and farted, which Bailey did not love. The twins are fun but also super snotty right now. They have colds so they like being held often. Bailey is always whining and crying as she gets bugged easily. So that's fun. Avie also fell off of the counter (onto the couch) which set her off again. Bailey peed on the floor (where was her diaper?). Paul was setting up the mini trampoline someone gave us and got frustrated as he did it. I took that personally and we kept sniping at each other.

Last week I took Avie to the states for the day as a date. It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. We actually mostly had a wonderful time. We shopped, we tried on clothes, we laughed and ate Taco Bell. We peed on the toilet. It was a success. I felt like I was almost out without kids and she got to direct the time and feel like a grown up. Then we were headed back to the border and she peed in her carseat. Quote "Am I wearing a diaper?" "No" "Oh, I peed". Which means she peed onto the van car seat as well. We then got sent in at the border to pay duty (which is fine but less ideal when you are with a toddler soaked in urine). Thankfully I had bought clothes for Colton and Bailey at the consignment store so I managed to get her into some outfits that covered her even though they didn't actually fit. I reminded her on our way back that we didn't have a diaper for her. 5 minutes into our car ride in the other toddler car seat she asked, "Am I wearing a diaper?" "No" "Oh, I peed". So that was fun.


Avie in all her toddler glory

Parenting is the strangest thing. The glorious, wonderful moments are sandwiched right next to the terrible, hard moments. All of which are surrounded by a thousand moments of minutia. Every stage has wonderful bits (newborn snuggles! 6-month-old giggles! 1-year-old first steps! 2-year-old silliness! 3-year-old conversations!) and every stage has hard bits (newborn middle of the night feedings! 6-month-old solid food feeding! 1-year-old frustration! 2-year-old whining! 3-year-old tantrums!). In the middle of the exhaustion is pure joy. Under the pure joy is frustration. And somehow on top of all of this is the reality that your life is changing rapidly. You are rapidly changing (whether you are a mom or a dad). Parenting means that you are no longer in charge of how you spend your time. Parenting means that there are a thousand ways that you can feel guilty. The mom guilt is strong. The mother load is stronger yet. So many things to remember and keep track of: laundry, medicine, dishes, meals, etc. There are new ways to miscommunicate with your partner. There are new ways to feel disappointed by those around you. New ways to experience relationship with your family and friends. But also new ways to feel supported by those around you (I didn't cook for 3 months after Avie was born because people sent us food! I didn't cook for the last 6 weeks of my twins' pregnancy since I was on bedrest and people helped!). New ways to bond and enjoy your spouse. New ways to spend your days - what did we use to do with our time? Certainly more sleep and less tickle fights. I mean not none, but less ;)



I learn about myself in new ways and about Paul. I learn about my family and my parents. Often I learn about God. About His love for us. It's not that you can't experience that part of Him without being a parent but there is a new depth I have been experiencing. Speaking of love, I had often wondered if I had the makeup to be a parent. My mom loved us, for sure, but she wasn't always big on emotions. I am pretty emotionally even-keeled generally and I know how selfish I am as well. So I was worried I wouldn't know how to love my kids the way other moms seem to. But I don't think that's a real fear - I know what's inside of me and I will love my kids. I will be human. I will fail. I will succeed. I will enjoy them and be bugged by them. I will love them.


Avie is loving YouTube cosmic kids yoga. B is unconvinced. Both are adorable.

Parenting can also teach you about friendships. Some of my best friends and I have the same parenting philosophies and that's so helpful. Some of my best friends and I have very different parenting styles and it doesn't matter. I learn things from both. I learn good and bad things - strengths and weaknesses - kindness and support. My friendships have deepened - there's something about being 'in the trenches together' that strengthens a friendship like nothing else. I am so aware that friendships could go either way - hard things can also test friendships. But I've found that with authenticity and humour, some wine, and lots of vulnerability, that the friendships I'm having now are deeper than I've ever experienced before. Friendships, new and old, are able to go deeper quicker. I really appreciate that. 

Basically, it's wonderful and tricky. It's the best and it's so hard. It's wonderful moments and hard moments and a thousand in between. I have learned I'm stronger and more loving than I ever thought possible. I'm also as selfish as I feared and easily beaten down by parenting, which somehow doesn't disqualify me at all! High, lows and everything in between.
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