Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It's all about the love

I was talking to a friend of mine this morning.  We were discussing the Christmas holidays, we both spent them with extended family, our houses were a tad bit messy, recalling how our children were behaving, and that they really enjoyed presents from Santa.  

Making shadow puppets

And it made me start thinking.....

"What is most important about raising a child?" 

 I've come up with what I think is the answer for our family.

I want our boys to be raised to become responsible adults, living a life full of laughter, teaching them to believe in their faith, feeling unconditional love from their family, and to feel safe.  To be in an environment to flourish and to be nurtured, to be helped along in life by us, not hindered.  Communication is the key, I want to teach them to talk to each other, not to hit or yell at each other.  I'm constantly telling the boys to use kind and loving words toward each other.   Although, I know I will repeat myself nine million times, I know that they hear me, and I know that it will stick with them.  Just when you think that they are not listening, out comes something that you've said to them several times...and BOOM there it is!  They hear everything, good and bad.  I need to lead by my example.  They are constantly watching me.  I am their instructor in life.  They are with me more than anyone else.  I want to be able to talk to God one day and say..."I tried my very best for my boys, did I do a good job?"  I want and hope to hear..."Donnie, I couldn't have asked for more."

Responsible= having to account for his actions (whether right or wrong), a quality person (and a quality person of his faith), believing in himself, following through on his duties/obligations, dependable.    

"My child will do what he needs to do, and not necessarily what I say.  If I'm patient, then he will be patient.  If I speak gently, then he will be gentle.   Whatever I want him to be, I have to start becoming."  -Helen Hunt

(My all time favorite quote about a parent's behavior.)

I don't want to raise a perfect child.  They will continue to make mistakes in life, which will shape their character.  I want to allow them to stump their toes and learn.  I love to LOVE my children, to show them what love is, by my actions, my voice, my touch.   I want them to remember how much I love them.  I strive to correct them in love not in anger.  If I am too angry, I need to assess the situation, and come back to it if needed; send them to their room - time out for my little boy AND myself.    Don't get me wrong, they are given warnings, time outs, and spankings if needed.

With God's guidance and help I'm able to relay his love, expectations, guidance, and sense of safety to the boys when disciplining.    As another one of my friends Renae W. says...."You want to love with your hands....not hurt."  Ahhhhh, I've always loved this advice from her.   She's truly an awesome mother of four amazing children, and has the unspeakable patience of the ultimate mother.  

I want to nurture my children as much as I can, when they are older I want them to take that feeling with them.  I want them to pass it on, especially being a father to their own children one day.  To know that they were loved, no matter their imperfections.  I don't want that glimpse of doubt to ever be present.  When they've had enough nurturing, I know they'll one day pull away, they'll thrive and bloom on their own, and I'm okay with with that.  I know up until that day, that I've given my all in the end. 

I don't remember being very nurtured growing up, until being with my Grandparents on a regular basis, maybe that's why I'm so focused about this particular subject with my children.  I remember my mom working many different jobs, when she had an hour or two in between jobs, she'd manage to hang out with us a little.  Hanging out meaning-  sitting on the couch watching TV, or having get togethers with her friends playing cards.  One particular day, I can remember wanting her attention so desperately when we all went to the pool for a short time, she was playing in the pool with someone else's child, I wanted her to play with me.  I swam over and pushed her to a corner by myself, and wanting her to interact with me, not someone else's child.  I needed that one on one time with her, and just didn't get it.  I was pushed aside.  My feelings were hurt, but I was used to it.  I needed quality time with my mom.

From this episode with my mother, I know how important it is to have one on one time with my boys, even if it is only 15 minutes a day, and I'm extremely tired.  It doesn't matter, I need to push through and give them what they so desperately need.  I don't want any regrets on my part.  I wish I would have.....and so on.

I want to enjoy every minute with them, although I know parenting is not always a bed of roses, it's the hardest, but most important job I've ever had.  I'm going to wish for these loud noisy days.  I'll miss the fussing and fighting, a messy house scattered with toys, and sticky floors spilled with drinks.  But, the thing I'll miss the most, is the little boys at age five that I have right now, they'll never be five again.  I don't expect more from them than a five year old can give.  I don't want them to grow up immediately and act like an adult.  I want them to be five, and that's what I expect.  I'll miss the hugs, kisses, smiles, and the I love you's on a constant basis.  One day I'm gonna miss this, that's why I'm living every minute right now. 

It's all about these little rascals right here!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Look who POPPED in!

So, I'm figuring this year and maybe the next two years we will have Santa still present in our lives.  After that, who knows when the boys will find out that this is pretend.  The minute they ask me if he's real I'll tell them the truth.  A little make believe won't hurt anyone.  It didn't hurt me in any way when I was growing up.  The boys know the real reason for Christmas is that it's to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  I couldn't ask for better little boys....well, I'd like them to listen a little better at times, if  I'm going to be honest here.  But, aside from God's gift to the world, my boys are the best present I could have ever received.  When I tell them this, you should see their eyes light up, and the smile that is placed on their faces with that statement.  And speaking of excitement someone new came to our home this December, Christopher Pop in Kins the elf.  He arrived in December.  I tried to take pics of his antics, but managed to miss quite a few.  However, the boys loved him the entire time he was here.  They truly were sad to see him go back home.  They even asked if he was going to come back next year.  They knew during the time that he was here, not to touch him or he'd lose his magic and pop back to the north pole.  I did allow them to hug him the night before he was to leave.  They were so cute hugging him goodbye.  Here are the pictures that I managed to get while Christopher was here visiting with us.

The first morning that Christopher appeared, he said hello to the boys with their Lego's.

A close up of the Christopher the first morning he appeared.

The following photos are just random days of Christopher's visit:

Christopher sleeping on the toilet paper roll in the boys bathroom.  He made himself a little bed.

This was one of the boys favorites.  They just giggled over this one.

Christopher sleeping on the couch, with some of the boys 'lovies'. 

Attempting to eat one of the boys chocolates from their advent calendars.

Making a snow angel out of flour.

Reading one of the boys books

Playing Candy Land with some of his friends

Wyatt, sending a message to Santa Claus through Christopher

Christopher fishing one morning in the kitchen

It looks like he's been fishing all night.  He has plenty of goldfish in his basket next to him

Leading a parade of cars, Woody's hanging out with Christopher in his safari car

Christopher packing what he thought would be a good school lunch for the boys

We were in the process of painting the living room.  Christopher thought he'd paint a message on the wall for the boys.  The boys didn't want us to paint over his message.  They were a little upset when we finally did.

Christopher's last morning with us on Christmas Eve.  He decided to go out with a bang.  He took the boys stockings down and put a pair of their underwear in the stockings place instead.  This was a big hit with the boys.

Wyatt hugging Christopher before he left

Nolan saying goodbye and hugging him

I let Christopher sit with Wyatt to watch a little TV before putting him next to the cookies, so he can ride back to the North Pole with Santa. 

I know the boys were a little sad to see Christopher leave, they really enjoyed him and his surprises every morning.  I looked forward to seeing the anticipation on the boys faces when they would wake up in search of Christopher.  However, I'm a bit glad that he's gone, he wore me out at times.  But, it IS only one month a year, and this won't last forever, I'll be wishing for these moments one day.  So I'm going to push through being tired and press on for my boys to have memories to last a lifetime. 

See you next year Christopher!