Friday, September 19, 2008

perspective

Despite the best intentions of waking up this morning an hour before the children, we were up for three minutes and 15 seconds before William came in to our room, looking for Batman.

Carolyn was next.

Elizabeth was next.

Henry had been there for the past two hours, rolling across the top of me while I tried to sleep.

It was a flurry of activity to get the children dressed for school, fed breakfast, teeth and hair brushed, faces washed, lunches packed. Charlie will be attending a business trip in Washington, D.C. for a full week in November and I am weak wondering how I'll ever do all of this on my own. Who knows. Maybe by then I'll have a good system in place.

Or maybe by then, the children won't feel compelled to change their clothes minutes before we walk out the door because they want gween undawear. No pink. No, buddafly. EVERYONE wants buddafly undawear. Except William. Because he has a penhus and buddaflies are for GOYLS.

So are yellow carseats with flowers, which even though William has sat in a yellow carseat with flowers on it - at varying times over the past three years - suddenly it's an offense punishable by a full body seizure.

Maybe by November they won't hack in to their lunch boxes that I had packed nicely next to the front door and start eating their sandwich, apple and spill raisins from the living room to the kitchen and back again.

Or, get globs of toilet paper wet and throw baseball-sized spitballs on the walls.

Or, pretend that they are dogs and lay on the ground eating grass.

Or maybe, Henry will outgrow this insane stage of frustration where he screams a lot, sleeps a little, eats even less, and throws himself on the ground in violent tantrums.

Or maybe, I'll just tell Charlie that there is no way is he leaving for four days on a business trip. Because as difficult as it is in the morning to get everyone ready for school, the afternoon - when I pick them up - is even more insane. It's like these children have been "so good" for the past three hours that when they reunite and their triplet energy once again becomes one, they morph in to creatures that prey on me, whole.

My whole mind, my whole body.

Coming at me from every angle, "Mommy, hold me. Look at me. LOOK AT ME!" ... "Mommy, I wet. I WET! I WET!" ... "Mommy, mommy, mommy, MOMMY, mommy, mommy, mommy, MOMMMMMMYYYYY."

Does it sound like I'm complaining?

I'm not.

OK. Maybe I am a little bit.

But the truth is, I
wouldn't trade my life for any other.

One of the amazing things about blogging is that I am "introduced" to so many individuals that if not for the internet, I would never know existed. I have stumbled across some incredible people and some incredible stories. And every so often, I will read a blog post written by someone who is going through an extremely challenging period in their life and I'll sit at my desk - looking in on this person's life through their words and photos on my computer screen - and I can hardly breathe through the pain of what they are enduring.

I am so grateful for the blessings that I have in my life. Even though those "blessings" have been known to drive me clinically insane and make me question the need for heavy doses of antipsychotic medication. But whenever I feel myself start to go off the deep end, I remind myself of just how lucky I am at this point in my life.

I remind myself of the blogs that I read.

There is the story of Daniel. An 18-year old boy, the oldest of seven children, who was hit and killed by a drunk driver while riding his bicycle his first month away at college. I have been reading a blog written by his grief stricken mother and I wish I could reach through the computer and give her a hug or make her some homemade cookies. I'd like to do something to take away some of her hurt. Thus far, all I can come up with is leaving her comments to let her know that she is in my prayers.

There is the story of Stephanie and Christian. Together they have four small children and last month, they were in a small plane crash where the pilot was killed and they were left in critical condition with severe burns over their bodies. While the parents recover from their life-threatening injuries, Stephanie's sisters have taken in their four children. Stephanie's sister Courtney, is documenting her sister and brother-in-law's long road of recovery on her blog and has been spearheading fund raising efforts to help offset the staggering medical costs.

And there is the story of Carol Decker. She prematurely delivered a baby girl this past June by emergency c-section, due to complications associated with an infection. Soon after the birth, the infection became worse. Ultimately, the doctors had to amputate both of her legs below the knees, her left arm and one of her fingers. Due to various medications used to save her, Carol is now also blind.

Last week while we were at Sea World, as we were making our way over to wash our hands after feeding the sting rays, I noticed a man and woman who were with their son. The little boy couldn't have been more than seven-years-old and he was confined to a wheelchair. His body was terribly atrophied and on the back of his bald skull, I could see that he had recently had some type of surgery. My heart instantly ached for this family.

When the father spotted our three children, dressed alike in their matching hats, he inquired "Are those triplets?" and I proudly replied, "Yes, they sure are!" He stood staring at us for a brief moment before shaking his head and saying, "You have my most sincere apologies. I am so sorry."

I've heard that line many times before. But I really didn't expect it from a parent who had a child that was gravely ill. My cheerful response was, "These children are the greatest blessing I have ever received. They are healthy and happy and I wouldn't want to imagine my life without them."

When I turned around to walk away and he spotted Henry, previously unseen as he was strapped to my back, I heard him exclaim "OH MY GOD. There's ANOTHER one."

That's right. My bonus baby. And he just got his professional photograph taken which is now hanging proudly on the wall alongside his siblings at one-year-old.

They are the most magnificent little things I've ever seen.

28 comments:

  1. I refer to my "bonus" baby as Extra, but "bonus" seems more appropriate. Great post... I'll try and visit the sites you mentioned this weekend.

    * I'm not sure where in CA you are but if you need a hand while your husbands away... well... good luck finding one ;o)

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  2. Gosh I will visit the sites you listed later today. I can't believe the nerve of people who make such rude comments to you about your children. Some people never get it, children are a gift from God, such a blessing. In my heart I know this man must be a good person or God would not have given him such a special blessing but he needs to learn to filter his mouth before he spits out his words. You will be fine when you go solo, you are such a strong person, your children are as blessed with you and hubby as you are with them.
    Kathy

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  3. Oh, Henry's pic is so adorable. But he looks like a little boy! How did he go from baby to little boy so fast?

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  4. I was working around the house and my thoughts went to the beautiful picture of all four of your children, and I remembered that I didn't comment on it. It is beautiful and I love little Henry's bare feet. They are all so adorable and look so happy.
    Kathy

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  5. That is the cutest darn pic of Henry yet!

    Jessica

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  6. i WISH i COULD HAVE EXPRESSED MYSELF AS ELOQUENTLY AS YOU WHEN ALL OF MY CHILDREN WERE BORN. i REALLY KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN, CHILDREN ARE TRULY A GIFT, I SEE IT MORE AND MORE WITH ALL MY GRANDS AND ESPECIALLY MY NIECES BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN. YOUR A WINNER JEN. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK, YOU HAVE A GREAT FOLLOWING.

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  7. Wow. I can't believe people say that stuff. Of course, I say that every time I get those types of comments.

    Beautiful kids! Good luck with school and the car seat thing. LOL

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  8. Wow! Such beautiful portraits!

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  9. It must be that time of year...I just did a kind of "perspective" post too.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts today--I will hug my kids a little tighter today as I say thanks again to the Lord for the joy and happiness they bring us.

    That picture of Henry is perfect...you can see a little bit of stinker in the twinkle in his adorable eyes.

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  10. Oh Jen, Thank you so much. I've been packing up this morning to take our three camping with friends (who are also better than us at everything they do...they will scoff at my non-organic cheese). I've been busy, I've been short and grumpy. All so we can go have fun together? Thank you so much for snapping the grumpiness out of me...just in time.

    you're the best!
    Amanda

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  11. I can't believe what people will say! My triplets just turned one and I haven't had anyone say anything rude yet. My theory is that it's because I'm always with my husband when we take them all out (I've done two by myself, but not three) and people are less likely to talk that way to a man.

    Your children are gorgeous!

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  12. Yes, yes they are!

    Thanks for reminding me to stop and count my blessings.

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  13. oh i don' t know how you do it because i only have one now (3 months away from giving birth to the second one) and this one is kicking my butt already. she is two. maybe that's it. maybe it's that i'm getting very pregnant. in any case, i do get how you can be beaten down and uplifted by your children at the same time. we are so blessed that we have a healthy child and another healthy one on the way that to complain seems so haughty. but. there are days i just want to cry....like today. i just want someone else to deal with her craziness. i read your blog all the time and it reminds me to be gracious and thankful for the gift of children. thank you.

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  14. Geez, the whole time reading this post, I was thinking to myself, "Do they have more hours at that Montessori school so Jenna can have maybe 1 or 2 more hours to herself?" Then I finished the post and I so want to take Shayna out of school so I can be with her ALL of the time! **Sigh**

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  15. Jen, I love this post! :-)

    Being the half-glass empty kind of gal that I am, I have a reallyhard time with this. It's easy to look at the negative, it's easy to get down, it's easy to think the world is coming to an end. I have to work at being positive and not let things get to me.

    But like you, I look at my little Monkey and realize two years ago when I had lost my second pregnancy after a decade of infertility/loss, I NEVER EVER EVER considered that such an amazing gift would be right around the corner. All it takes is seeing that little face (even when he's throwing a tantrum) and I get a swift dose of MY REALITY: That I am extremely, overwhelmingly, and undeservedly blessed.

    I hope my babymoon never ends. :-)

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  16. Wow, Henry grew up! He is such a big boy now - and how the heck did you get him to stay still for the photos?!!! Wow. All your kids are divine, you truly are blessed.

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  17. A friend of mine, mother of four little boys all with a medical conditions, used to run into people who would say things like, "I'm glad it's you and not me!" Fire would practically shoot from her eyes as she would say, "I'M, glad it's ME and not YOU!"

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  18. Oh the pictures, just adorable. Especially Henry's 1 yo he looks so grown up and that wild twinkle in his eye is precious.

    It's so hard to read those other stories and not fall into tears or deeper depression. It's sometimes easy to forget that people have it worse than you do.

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  19. Oh, he's looks a lot like his brother just with darker hair - adorable!

    And you are so right.
    We're going through some hard times with the kids these days, but I would not trade my life either...

    Have a great weekend, and I hope the kids will not drive you insane while your husband is away ;)

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  20. I love the phrase "bonus baby". It is so cute and Henry always (okay, usually) sounds like he really was an added bonus.

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  21. Re "bonus baby" - my younger sister (baby #5) was born five years after me, just after my parents bought their first house. My father always said she "came with the house!"

    Bobbie

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  22. Bonus babies are awesome. This much I know for sure.

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  23. You have beautiful children! I think the rudest comment I have ever heard was "What did you do to piss God off?" I was so shocked I couldn't respond. I think I am going to add your blog to my blog reading. Thanks for stopping by mine.

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  24. Oh MY GOSH!!! They look so beautiful. Don't have time to read the blog but LOVE The pictures... If you have enough after you send them out to family - please send some to me. So CUTE! Love, Marg.
    P.S. I'm at 812!!!!;-)

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  25. "One of the amazing things about blogging is that I am "introduced" to so many individuals that if not for the internet, I would never know existed. I have stumbled across some incredible people and some incredible stories. And every so often, I will read a blog post written by someone who is going through an extremely challenging period in their life and I'll sit at my desk - looking in on this person's life through their words and photos on my computer screen - and I can hardly breathe through the pain of what they are enduring." You do the SAME thing for me! I just am amazing at how you can write so perfectly to strike accord with so many people. Somedays I feel like I have triples:) Good luck in November....it sounds like a call for mommy!(n Jim)
    BTW your kids are so adorable:)))))))
    BTW 2 I can't wait for Stephanie to wake up and see how much she has changed the world. I just can't wait.

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  26. They are ABSOLUTELY gorgeous. I can't believe you got such a great shot of all of them! Isn't it interesting how someone that is not in your shoes can say "I'm sorry", although you look at him and all you can feel is ... sorry? Amazing!

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  27. It amazes me that people think they can pass judgement on others' lives without any knowledge of them. I am tired of stares and rude comments. We have five kids, and they are well behaved most of the time...and I still don't get why people always ask "Are all of those YOURS???". Uhm. Yes. Can't you see the resemblence, and the fun that we are having? *sigh*

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  28. Yes, perspective - thank you, I needed this! I received a BFN last week on my absolutely last chance to have another baby (FET) and I'm SO sad. BUT, I am blessed beyond belief with what I have in my life and reading of the tragedies befalling so many others on the blogs that you wrote about just makes my heart ache for them. Your children are absolutely beautiful and you are a gifted writer. Thank you for sharing this gift with us.

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