I Am The Mother Of A Soldier

Never did I think that I would hear those words escape from my mouth but the truth is, I am officially the mother of a soldier.

I had the honor of attending my oldest son’s graduation from basic training  in Fort Leonard Wood, MO.  And I must say that it will be one of the fondest memories I possess in my life.

mother soldier kids growing up

As a parent we raise our children in hopes that they will be successful, but for a mother of a soldier it’s just a bit of a catch 22 for me.  As proud as I am of him, we also live in a world of uncertainty right now.

I took my seat that morning and watched as each group of these young men and women marched their way to the stage and one by one called off their names and where they were from.  And when my child came forth, I barely recognized him.  He was all grown up.  He had already changed.

I thought about all their family and friends in the audience who were watching and wondering if they were all having the same feelings as me.  The feelings of pride, joy, love, fear, understanding, and of course uncertainty.  If their whirl wind of emotions, were blowing in the same direction as mine.

I sat across from my son, dressed in his Army issued tailored blues, made just for him.  And I couldn’t help but think that just yesterday he was this 10 year old little boy, with no thoughts of where he would be sitting on this very day across from me.

mother soldier kids growing up
2008
I thought about the past year and a half and what he has overcome.  That he made some bad choices but made some self discovery along the way and in the end chose the right path.

I thought about the last time I saw him and how many things were said between us.  A conversation that hasn’t been finished.

I also thought about my 4 other children, who are all growing up so fast, and that as soon as I blink my eyes, this person sitting across from me, will be my 4 year old.  All grown up and no longer needing my undivided attention and me knowing that I did my best to give her and all of her siblings the love, life skills, and childhood memories that will give them the best wings to fly.  To know that I tried to be the best mother I could…even when some days mothering required every ounce of me that I had.

Watching this ceremony and hearing of my son’s stories of his journey so far, gave me a new found respect for these young men and women who take an oath to protect and serve their country.  To protect some of the freedoms that so many of us take for granted.  To sign on a dotted line not knowing the unpredictability that lies ahead.

Basically giving up their freedom…to ensure ours.

The last night I was there, I walked my son up the sidewalk near his barracks.  I promised I wouldn’t cry.  I promised that I would be strong and send him on his way.   I hugged him tight, told him I loved him, and then as soon as I turned to head toward’s the car all those tears poured out.

I hadn’t cried like that in a long time.

But it wasn’t just because I am the mother of a soldier, it’s because I am a mother, and for the first time since becoming a mother, I had a taste of what it was like to let go, and that before long, I would have to let go of all of them.

To Bryan,

I know your blood doesn’t share my blood but I will always think of you as my son.  There are so many things that you won’t understand until you have children of your own.  

I hope you know how proud your dad and I are of the person you have become.  That you chose to be a better person, even with so many odds against you.

I hope you understand how much we love you.  And how much we never stopped loving you…even when you weren’t making the best of choices.

I hope you understand the reasons of why we had to make some of the choices we made.  I don’t regret those choices…especially if it gave you the will to prove you could make it.  That you could be a better person even with the hand of cards you had been dealt.

I hope you will always know…this is your home.

Love,

Mom

PS:  Never lose sight of the boy on the left.  He’s formed the man on the right.

mother soldier kids growing up

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Motherhood Is A Gift

Today while reading a fellow blogger’s post, Rene√© at Mummy Tries, it inspired me to write my own post.

There was a time in my life that I really didn’t care if I would live to see another day. ¬†I played by my own rules and pretty much destructed anything that came into my path. ¬†I was reckless, careless, and on a one way street to my own destruction.

Things really took a turn for the worst when I woke up one day, at the age of 34, another failed relationship, and an empty bottle of vodka on the counter.  I had created quite a mess.  And I had pretty much come to the conclusion that this was my life and there was really nothing more to do then go to the liquor store and get another bottle of vodka.  And I did.  To say I was a borderline alcoholic was probably sugar-coating it.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a ridiculously fun summer getting drunk and lounging around in the pool everyday with my best friend. ¬†Sobering up long enough to go to work, pay the bills, and buy more vodka.

Being single had started to paint this beautiful picture…

Motherhood Is A Gift

Those around me at the time, with the exception of my best friend, probably weren’t aware of the tragic girl trapped inside this beautiful mess of mine. ¬†I decorated my life well. ¬†Everything on the outside said “happy” but then peel one layer of the previous night’s mascara away and the true meaning of wretched lied beneath.

You see, as much as I remember having fun in those days there is also a lot of “not so fun” memories. ¬†Some that would probably drop jaws if I were ever to write about them. ¬†And some that I just prefer to keep locked in my own personal Pandora’s box.

Those days that I left behind …some fun…some not so fun…are also called “no regrets”. ¬†I lived life the way I wanted to, however crazy that was. ¬†I hit bottom a few times but managed to get back up and dust myself off. ¬†And all those times remind me to appreciate my life now.

Because today…here and now…I have these little people who rely on me everyday…who would miss me if I were gone…

A feeling I had never experienced before. ¬†The possibility of being missed. ¬†It changes everything. ¬†The feeling of not caring about seeing another day was suddenly filled with an extreme need to firmly plant both feet on the ground and keep them there. ¬†To laugh more, love more, and try harder to embrace…life more.

There have been times I have still struggled at it…life…my marriage…and sometimes even motherhood I would be lying if I said otherwise. ¬†There have been days that I have felt like “quitting” but then I remember I’m no quitter.

I am a mother…a gift that some never get to experience in their life…and a gift that truly saved mine.

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How I Became A Mother

definition of a mother

I was always the girl who liked to fly by the seat of my pants.   A free spirit.  And I loved having no responsibilities to anyone other then myself.

When I was 24 I met someone that I thought could maybe change the way I saw myself. ¬†We got married. ¬†Now I wasn’t sure that I ever wanted to be a mother. ¬†I mean the world was and still is a mess and the thought of bringing a little person into that just didn’t sound like the best idea in my 20’s so I told myself, and that man I called my husband, that I wanted to wait to have kids until I was in my 30’s. ¬†He didn’t like this idea because he had wanted to be a dad since the birth of his nephew a few years prior. ¬†We both agreed that there would be no birth control and that whatever happened, happened.

We went on with our lives and everything was fine until just before I was going to turn 30. ¬†He started pressing me about wanting to try and start having kids. ¬†Obviously he didn’t understand me when I said 30s…plural form. ¬†But he had been patient so I decided to give expanding our little family a try. ¬†We tried for months with no success what so ever. ¬†So finally we decided to see a specialist about the subject.

We started with the easiest test…him, in a room, with a cup and some “reading” material. ¬†Like so easy…men always have it easy. ¬†Well his tests came back with super high numbers…like the highest sperm count that the specialist had ever seen! ¬†Great so now I knew it was something wrong with me. ¬†I had wished myself right into now not being able to have a baby even if I wanted to.

They poked and prodded me. ¬†Drew more blood then I thought I even had in my body. ¬†And of course there is no escaping “the speculum”(duhm¬†duhm¬†duhm music here).¬†The shuddersome tool which is always a few degrees below freezing that the doctor uses to sweep the opening of the vagina with.

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To me it looks like a mechanical duck beak. ¬†Wouldn’t you agree? ¬†Oh but let’s not forget that before this cold, harsh instrument is propelled into the vagina, we women must place our feet in stir-ups with everything to be exposed to the doctor and nurse standing there staring at your hoo ha while you just ramble on about your shopping trip that day. ¬†Well this is how I used to feel but once I had children I realized a pap test is a walk in the park. ¬†Because in a hospital your privates are now on display for everyone within a 100 foot radius to see. ¬†But it’s ok cause by this time you have started feeling the good drugs and could care less what’s hanging out.

The doctors checked my hormone levels and the levels of whatever else needed to be checked.  They had me follow my menstrual cycle and buy ovulation kits to see when I was ovulating.  What a pain that was to pee in a cup for days after my period and then if I was ovulating it was like having sex under pressure.  I felt degraded and unable to fill what was suppose to come as the natural task of being a woman.

All the tests finally came back and off to the specialist we went so they could go over the results with us in the office. ¬†Because for some reason they feel that being in the comfort of your own home and hearing them over the phone just doesn’t seem plausible. ¬†What the fuck do they know? ¬†In there findings they discovered that I didn’t ovulate accurately and sometimes not at all. ¬†So in order to help this situation I would need to take fertility drugs. ¬†If I ever wanted to conceive at all then these drugs would need to be considered. Not only considered but an absolute.

Now me being the believer of “if it’s meant to be it will be”¬†was ok with not taking the drugs. ¬†However the man I called my husband was not. ¬†He was very upset that I was against giving nature a boost. ¬†Remember when there were skits going around about “Here’s your sign”? ¬†Well that was how I felt…that how I had felt all along had been right and now here was my sign staring me in the face. ¬†Needless to say our marriage ended because of the choice I made not to take fertility drugs. ¬†I mean the horror stories I had heard of multiples. ¬†And sure you can choose how many embryos you want to keep and which ones you want to discard but for myself that just wasn’t possible. ¬†What if I ended up throwing my genius away? ¬†Or the embryo that was going to change the world? ¬†I didn’t want to be faced with those decisions nor did I want to raise six babies all born at the same time. ¬†So I opted out. ¬†I opted out of my marriage as well cause I was tired of all the weight being endured on my shoulders. ¬†His parents, my parents, brothers, sisters…enough was enough! ¬†It was my decision and I was sticking to it.

So now here I was at 30 years old, starting over, a new life, single and no kids. ¬†There aren’t many of us out there kidless at that age. ¬†Seemed like every potential date I had, had a string of baggage that came along with. ¬†I didn’t want someone else’s baggage …I didn’t even want my own let alone someone else’s.

So in walks the bass guitarist.

You know the type…he’s 30 with no clue as to what life is other then making music…music that will never be played on the radio or pay him a dime. ¬†Then he convinced me to join the band. ¬†Me, with the stage fright of a skittish cat that had been dumped from a second story window and left to die. ¬†I hated being the center of attention. ¬†And eventually this relationship ended. ¬†But did I mention that we never used birth control? ¬†I decided fuck it, I was told that I couldn’t conceive unless I took the drugs. ¬†So to me that translated as a freedom of sex with my partner that I trusted. ¬†But one day I woke up and realized that him nor this band life wasn’t anything I wanted anymore. And off to the airport I took him.

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So now I am 35, without a man, no children, no nothing but me, myself, and I. ¬†Of course I had friends to hang out with but they all had “family” lives to live. ¬†And many nights I pondered whether or not I was in the right place in my life. ¬†Had I made a wrong turn somewhere? ¬†It was Thanksgiving 2008. ¬†I came home to a dark, quiet, and empty house all by myself. ¬†I cried myself to sleep that night after consuming every drop of alcohol in the house. ¬†It was seriously some sort of “hit bottom”¬†for me. ¬†Or maybe a wake up call to my life…ring ring…answer the call you dumb bitch…this isn’t the life you were meant to be living. ¬†But I just felt that I had tried and failed…failed miserably and maybe I was just better off becoming the cat lady…although I am more of a dog person.

I enjoyed dating. ¬†No strings. No one to take care of. ¬†See each other a couple times a week…sometimes more then one person, but that was no one’s business but my own. ¬†And I liked that. ¬†I felt like that was how I could live for the rest of my life. ¬†But the reality was coming home to an empty house, alone, and sometimes afraid was not how I wanted to be for the rest of my life.

Well I think it is true what they say that love has a way of finding you when you aren’t looking for it, because in walked the man that would change not only the chapter of my book of life but my entire book! ¬†Now I have to admit that when I first laid my eyes on him I was a bit intimidated by him. ¬†I had given up hope that men like him existed. ¬†Attractive, good job, owned his own home, cool style of clothes, and just an all around nice guy. ¬†The only flag that was raised was that he had a son…a son that he had sole custody of and for me this was a new experience. ¬†I had to tread lightly.

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Now mind you on our first date I had told him that I was not looking to get married(been there done that have the divorce decree) and I had pretty much come to an age in my life that children did not look to appear in my future.  Boy was I ever wrong.  We were almost instantly inseparable.  I knew I had a keeper.  He was everything that I had searched for my entire life and eventually I fell in love with him.  When I say eventually it sounds like a long time but the truth is it was only a couple months.

After a few months of dating I asked him if he had ever wanted more kids. ¬†He told me that he had never really put much thought into it. ¬†He had his son at a young age and there was an entire story behind that whole ordeal. ¬†But he said that at the time his son was born he wasn’t ready to be a father and felt like he never really had the chance since him and the mother were estranged. ¬†So after a few conversations such as this one we decided we wanted to have a child together. ¬†Now this scared me because of what I was told before and the fact that I hadn’t been on birth control since I was 24 and had never gotten pregnant. ¬†He knew my history but we went into it with the mind set that if it was meant to be it will be and if not it’s nothing to be upset over. ¬†The first month we tried…I ¬†got pregnant.

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I remember the night I took the test like it was yesterday.  He was convinced that I was pregnant so much so that he went to the store to get the pregnancy test.  I told him that it was going to be a waste of money and that like so many times before I was going to pee on the stick and my period would start the next day.  So I took the package which contained one test and went into the bathroom to pee on the stick.  I set the stick on the floor while I finished up in the bathroom and when I reached down to retrieve it there were two lines.  The second one was faint but it was there.  I could barely get my pants pulled up fast enough to yell to him.  He came upstairs with a huge grin on his face like he knew he was right.  I of course thought the test was wrong and told him we had to go get more tests.  I peed on probably 10 sticks over the next couple of days and all of them were positive.

The confirmation for me was my first doctor appt, the ultrasound and….the heartbeat. ¬†It was like nothing I had ever heard before and suddenly this feeling of joy, fear, and relief all came over me. ¬†Joy for the obvious reason, fear that I was going to be a horrible mother, and relief that all along I had thought I was broken and now this confirmed that I wasn’t. ¬†And the next 9 months were spent in a whirlwind of bliss. ¬†And when baby B was born he made me realize that this kind of love only existed between a mother and a child. ¬†My life had never felt more fulfilled then at that very moment.

Now I grew up pretty much an only child and even though baby B had an older brother there was a 10 year difference between the two of them. ¬†Therefore we decided that we would try for another and that we wanted them to be close in age. ¬†Baby B was born in January and in late summer that year we decided to try for another. ¬†Now mind you I thought that baby B was just a miracle… that now would come the time that it was going to be harder to conceive. ¬†But yet again my past had fooled me and on our first month of trying we were pregnant again.

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Once baby M was born we new that our family was complete. ¬†During the time we had also taken responsibility for an older boy that wasn’t ours but my husband had pretty much cared for him his whole life. ¬†I told you I picked a keeper. ¬†Therefore four children was enough for us. ¬†My husband decided that he would get a vasectomy and scheduled the appointment shortly after baby M was born.

During this time my husband was working out of town and only coming home once or twice a month. ¬†One afternoon while at a girlfriends house we some how got on the subject about menstrual cycles. ¬†It had been a couple months since I had baby M and I hadn’t gotten one yet. ¬†Which wasn’t really a surprise to me since I was nursing and even with baby B it took awhile for my body to get back to “normal”. ¬†It wasn’t until a little time later, while at the grocery store, that a thought came to mind. ¬†It was like a wave. ¬†And the next thing I knew I found myself standing in front of the pregnancy tests.

My husband had been home at the time and when I told him what had happened at the grocery store he looked at me kind of confused. ¬†So once again I peed on the stick. ¬†Now in the past the two lines popped up almost immediately. ¬†But this time only the first line came up. ¬†My husband proceeded to walk away. ¬†But for some reason I couldn’t take my eyes off the stick in which I held between my fingers. ¬†And then there it was…the second line. ¬†I couldn’t believe my eyes! ¬†This was my third pregnancy in three years! ¬†Yes let me repeat that…I had a baby in 2010, 2011, and 2012. ¬†And baby M and baby Z, both girls, are 11 months apart.

pregnancy motherhood mother kids parenting

We were getting ready to go on vacation when we found out. ¬†My emotions were everywhere. ¬†How was I going to do this? ¬†I don’t think I could even enjoy the vacation due to the fact that I was pondering over every thought of having another baby. ¬† Upon returning from our vacation my husband kept his scheduled appointment for his vasectomy and after it was done I had a brief sigh of relief knowing that this would be our last child. ¬†The doctor had no objections once my husband informed him I was pregnant and we already had 4 children.

motherhood pregnancy mother parenting

Baby Z was born on my 39th birthday. ¬†She was perfect. ¬†And somehow everything that I had worried about just some how worked out like it always does. ¬†I am the oldest and she is the youngest and everyone else in our “anything but small” family came in between. ¬†I look at her now at the age of three and realize that a force bigger then me knew she belonged here. ¬†I wish I could visit that doctor from so long ago who told me that I would have to take fertility drugs if I ever wanted to even think about being a mother. ¬†Just to prove that sometimes fate has the upper hand even when you think you have it all planned out.

The One And Only Momster,

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Photography: Connect

Mother Child Connection

Connect.  The most substantial connection for me is the one between my children and I.  There has never been a greater moment in my life then the one when I first laid eyes on each of my 3 children and knowing that from that point on I would lay down my life for any of them.

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 4

25 Things To Do Before My Next Birthday…

This one is quite amusing since my birthday is Friday.  So I am going to make a list of things that I want to get done before Friday and see how much of the list I complete.

1.  Keep the kids alive.  This is very important.  Hence why it is at the top.

2. ¬†Workout Everyday…even if it’s just a quick walk around the hood.

3. ¬†Get every piece of laundry done…before Friday…now that’s a challenge!

4.  Get to bed before midnight some time this week.

5. ¬†Make sure all my “cleaning chores” are done by Friday…no one likes to clean on their birthday.

6. ¬†Lose a pound. ¬†It’s the tiny goals that keep me motivated.

7. ¬†Grocery shopping…we are almost in “Mother Hubbard” status. ¬†(seriously…click on that…have you ever read it? Creepy!)

8. ¬†Clean out one closet in the house. ¬†It’s amazing what accumulates in a year.

9.  Catch up on some shows on my DVR list.

10. ¬†Bubble bath and wine one night…maybe two. ¬† (my birthday night doesn’t count)

11. ¬†Order Little Z’s birthday present. ¬†Her birthday is the same day as mine.

12. ¬†Have sex. ¬†With a random stranger…hahaha just kidding…with my husband of course.

13. ¬†Take the littles to the park…weather permitting of course…today is cold and rainy.

14. ¬†Tie my shoes…**I am running out of ideas here people**

15. ¬†Try not to yell so much…that will take more of numbers 10 and 12. ¬†I truly hate yelling but sometimes it’s the only way they L-I-S-T-E-N!

16. ¬†Don’t strangle the teenagers. ¬†Need I say more?

17. ¬†Wake up. ¬†Hey this one is important….I don’t think the household would operate very well without my presence.

18.  Consume lots of caffeine.  This will be needed to complete 1-17.

19. ¬†Be Thankful. ¬†Figured I had better throw that in there…this is starting to sound like a struggle.

20. ¬†Take my Zoloft. ¬†Believe it or not…I forget to do this.

21.  Go to the spa.  Hahahaha!

22. Dye my hair. ¬†Don’t need all these gray hairs reminding me how old I am going to be on Friday.

23. ¬†Go to the dentist to check on the 4 gaping holes in the back of my mouth. ¬†It’s on the “to do list” board but I will probably still forget.

24.  Blog!

25. ¬†Breathe. ¬†Can’t do anything on this list without that right? **grasping at straws**

Whew this was a challenge!

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Is It Snack Time?

I hear “Is it snack time?” at least 30 times a day. ¬†My children could eat a meal and then 10 minutes after getting up from the table, ask if it’s snack time!

Now I understand that their little metabolisms are burning fast but I kid you not, if I left out a buffet of snacks all day long they would graze…all…day…long!

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I try to keep healthy and “toddler friendly” snacks on hand all the time. ¬†Meaning it’s easy for them to open or get to without mommy having to help all the time. ¬†Such as string cheese, various fruits, veggies, granola, yogurts, and of course various crackers. ¬†I have even tried to get in the habit of washing the fruit before I put it away so that it is very easily accessible to them. ¬† Sometimes I just say f**k it…a little pesticide won’t hurt…just makes us stronger right?

My littles aren’t too picky either. ¬†My son loves radishes. ¬†Yes, you read that right….RADISHES. ¬†Will eat an entire bowl of them. ¬†And broccoli? ¬†I can’t make enough steamed broccoli….there is never any left over! ¬†Where do my kids hail from you ask?

Of course they are just like any other child who loves the effects taste of sugar.  Especially at 7pm at night when daddy persuades them with candy.  (My daughter was literally chewing candy and brushing her teeth at the same time)  **shakes head**

IsItSnackTimeYet2

As I have sat down to write this blog they have come in at least 5 times in 20 minutes asking what time is it? (I told them snack time will be at 4) ¬†And of course because I went to the store today they want a little bit of everything for a snack. ¬†They keep opening the refrigerator door in anticipation of what they will have next. ¬†Oh look at the time….here they come….

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Mommy To The Rescue

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Today was “dress as your favorite Dr. Suess character” day at school. ¬†Luckily my little M still had her costume from Halloween and it still fit. ¬†As for my little B…mommy had to get crafty. ¬†Nothing like coming up with ideas at 6:30 in the morning…without a cup of coffee even in my system yet.

I had actually thought of the idea of “Thing 2” yesterday and went to our local Wal-mart late last night to see what I could gather up. ¬†Needless to say they had nothing on my list of ideas. ¬†N*O*T*H*I*N*G. ¬†No surprise there really.

I found the blue beanie buried beneath the last of the winter stuff and bought some blue ribbon to pin to the top of the hat to make it look more like wild blue hair. ¬†He’s wearing a pajama top, and that is literally sketch board paper that I used a “Sharpie” to write “THING 2” upon and pin it to the shirt. ¬†What a way for me to improvise! **pats herself on the back**

I am always so last minute with everything and I keep thinking that one day it will change.  But the fact is I have been this way since I can remember.  I just cough it up to I work best under pressure.  He was excited about the costume and the smile on his face put a smile on mine.

And to add one more thing that doesn’t really relate to my topic but I just feel the need to share is…sometimes as a parent I am constantly thinking that I am messing motherhood up, but this morning (every morning actually but for some reason this morning it really hit me)¬†as we were walking to the front door of the preschool….my little B man ran to get to the door first and upon opening it said “all my ladies first”. ¬†I realized I must be doing something right to have such a sweet boy.

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