Well, here you are. It’s 1996. You’re almost 35 and you have 4 kids, ages 5 and under. I know you’re thinking “What was I thinking?!?” I know that because I am future you in 2009 and want to let you in on a few things that I wish I’d known back then….(you’ll understand this who time flash thing when you get here and get hooked on a TV show called LOST).
You will eventually sleep. Without having someone besides Ted in bed beside you. Through the night, even. But hold on, because when Tyler gets a job and starts closing for Chick-fil-A, you won’t be able to go to bed and really sleep until after you hear him come in. I know…he’s 18 in 2009. A man, by the standards of the world. But he will always, always be your baby. And mommas don’t sleep well unless they know their babies are safe. Start praying now. Give it over to God. Worry isn’t going to add one day to your life.
No matter what the blue-haired ladies say, it really DOES get easier. At least physically it does. You will be heart-sore from joys and trials from here on out. But sleep, and kids having the ability to buckle themselves, wipe themselves and pour their own milk will make the toll on your body and mind a little less costly. You’ll stop second-guessing yourself at every turn. Your life will become more than poop, pee and arguments over who gets to use the yellow sipper cup. And believe it or not, all four of them will make it to teenage years without you killing off even one of them!
Stay connected. Find other women you have something in common with and do things…with and without your kids. Keep up with the babysitting coop, but do something that isn’t kid centered, just for you. You’ll be a better mom for it. Never say ‘no’ when Ted comes home and says “Mommy Maintenance time.” Just GO!! Get out for an hour, and don’t feel guilty for indulging in that. He’s a better daddy for that, too. Remember that when daddies take care of their kids without mommies being there it isn’t called ‘babysitting.’ It’s called parenting. Don’t feel guilty about not being led to homeschool. It’s just not for everybody and you wouldn’t be a good fit there. One thing tho’…your baby Tanner will be 5 in June of 2001..I know you are desperate to get him to school 5 days a week, but trust me. You should hold him back a year and let him be an older kindergartner rather than a younger one. I already know that you didn’t do that. That’s one of the few regrets you’ll have.
Learn to say no to other people a little more forcefully. God has given you a gift of administration, and I promise you’ll be able to use it to its full potential in a few years. But slow down now. You don’t have to save the world. Jesus already did that.
That sabbatical that you wanted to take when Caleb was a year old? The one they wouldn’t give you, so you decided to quit and stay home full time? Best thing that could’ve ever happened to you. I know you were a little bit bitter about it. But you will never, not for one minute, be sorry that you gave up a career for your kids. Your kids are your career. You already know Goodnight Moon and Are You My Mother? By heart. You’ll learn even more….
I know lots of other moms are writing letters like this, so I just want to leave you with one more thought. Don’t blink. This is over before you realize it. Your breath will be taken away. Every single age that your children are will be your favorite age yet….
Love yourself, because God does!
2004: Tyler is 13, Caleb 11, Amy almost 10 and Tanner 8 ....
2006: (In all defense, I've lost about 25 lbs since this picture was taken....and everybody but Tanner is as tall or taller than me now....sigh) Caleb was 13, Tanner 10, Amy almost 12 and Tyler 15...and now the couple who were married the day this was taken are expecting their 2nd baby....time stands still for no one.
OK, I'm getting a little welly now as Missy would say. I'm going to stop. But run over to check out Missy's blog...and bring tissues.