Tag Archives: parenting

Daily Prompt: Treasure, My Mom

via Daily Prompt: Treasure

Treasure: as a verb is defined simply as to “keep carefully”. A synonym listed for treasure is the word “cherish”.

Cherish: takes things a little further, “protect and care for (someone) lovingly”.

Today is my Mother’s birthday. I cannot express in mere words how much she means to me, and how much I love her. I treasure her. I cherish her. And then some. As I mentioned so briefly in the post below from 2011, I have been so blessed that God chose my Mother for me. I could have been born anywhere, to anyone. God is good. God doesn’t make mistakes. God’s plan is perfect. God could not have chosen more perfectly than He did. I am eternally thankful for my parents, and today, I wish my Mother the Happiest of Birthdays! I am so thankful for you Mom. It is incalculable to figure just how much I am indebted to you, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. Because were I to get to this age and feel I owed you nothing, then that would have been a terrible life thus far. I am so thankful that is not the case. Thank you Mom, for everything. Happy Birthday!

I wrote this simple post in 2011.


Happy Birthday Mom! I am glad that God allowed me to be born into our family. I am so glad I got to grow up with you Mom. I am my Mother’s son, and I couldn’t be happier. I hope you have a tremendous birthday and an even better year.

Mother’s Day 2013

It’s that day again. A day when I look in the mirror and search for the greatest things about my mother. I look for those attributes in the reflection I see, knowing that were I to spy any, I’d be a better version of me. I think of where I’ve come from as far back as I can see. And I know that there was mom also, so close, pushing me the best to be. I picture her face now, and the glow that son’s see their mom’s in. And I think how fortunate I was to have her, where my life did begin. It’s a special day today, because it’s about mom, and she’d never have it that way. So, I just hope there’s something I do that honors her more than words can say. For now though, I will go with, Mom, I love you. Happy Mother’s Day.

The following is a piece I wrote for Mother’s Day 2012. This morning I read through this again, and I have added some more content in doing so.

Sometimes there’s a plan, a grand scheme with the details all but ironed out. Other times there’s a discussion, maybe even a decision made, but no rock solid plan, just see what happens. Then there’s scenarios with no plan, just an ongoing discussion that could just as easily be decided by flipping a coin. Still other times, there may or may not be a plan, but someone imposes their will, removing all choice. The point is this, there’s probably a million different scenarios as to how women end up being mother’s and they’re all vitally important. Plans are great, but life happens, mom’s happen.

Today is Mother’s Day. A day to honor Mother’s everywhere. A day to honor the special women who have taken on the most important job on the planet. That’s my opinion, and to me, it’s not really much of a coincidence that the moral fabric of our society began to unravel at an even more alarming rate as more and more mothers went to work full-time. I understand. I know folks have to make ends meet. I also know that careers aren’t more important than the future. Careers are done when retirement happens, or when our time here on this earth is done. The future is the promise that lies ahead. And the future is our kids.

I know that not all mom’s are the best mom’s, and some probably shouldn’t even be a mom to begin with. That’s not a lot different from the big picture anyways. I mean not everyone is the best at their job, some people shouldn’t be in their jobs, some are just plain lousy, some get fired. But mom’s don’t get fired. Once a mom, always a mom.

It’s May 13, 2012. It’s Mother’s Day. Millions will receive Happy Mother’s Day greetings today. Rightfully so. But not every mother’s day is a happy mother’s day. However, every day from the start of life, a mother is a mother. There’s no timeouts. There’s no breaks. There’s no choice as to whether she feels like being a parent today or not. There’s every day. There’s every hour of every day. Every hour, being a mother. I know there are 60 minutes in most of the hours I come up against, but I know that mother’s often find a way to get more than that out of an hour.

Here’s how I see it. I could be wrong. I am only a man. In my life I have noticed that mother’s show up everyday. They don’t get sick days. When they are sick for even a day, it affects more people than if I was sick for a whole week. Mother’s are the beginning and the end. The first to rise and care for any need or concern and the last to make sure all is well and make sure all are at rest. Mother’s are so versatile. They can dress up, smile, and look oh so pretty. They can do the work of many, getting dirty, getting the jobs done, smiling along the way, all while nurturing someone else, and teaching yet another, this, while preparing a home we all want to come home to.

They stand up for what’s right and defend their young. They love us. They long for the best for us. They hurt when we hurt, sometimes they even hurt more. They see the trouble we skirt around and hope the lessons they’ve taught us spare us from that which we face. They love us some more. They hold us. They make the worst moment or day feel like it was nothing because mom is there for us. They push us to standards we may never have reached, or at least saved us years of figuring it out on our own. They are our biggest cheerleaders. They have no issue showing how much they love us and how much they care for us. They’re not on call, they are the ones who call when their love and care is not enough. They are the structure that keeps a home from becoming just a structure we pass through. They hold the most important job in the world. They are mother’s.

I am certain that there’s no script which tells mom how to be a mom, although the Bible is a good start, and everything in between, until finish. There’s no guide that says, this is what you do in every single situation. Motherhood is hands on. The more you get in there and roll up your sleeves, and just love, the more mom you are. The more you have given of yourself the more mom you are. Mom’s have goals, and honestly I wish I knew more about that. I will make it a point to find out, immediately. I don’t know what my mom’s goals were, or what they are, but I know that one goal had to have been to be the best mom she could ever be.

I am just a man. A father. A son. A husband (twice). I have been blessed beyond my own comprehension to have the people in my life that I have. I have tremendous kids. The best kids I could ever ask for. My three oldest kids have a great mother and she is much more than partially responsible for the excellence that the kids strive for. She’s their mother, and a good mother at that. Happy Mother’s Day Sue.

My three youngest kids also have a tremendous mother. Amaris, my wife, she is mom all hours of the day. She works a full-time job, one that she is a superstar in. She has a bright future in her job/career, but she longs to be where her kids are. She still finds time to always be mom. She works very hard to manage the many aspects of life that seems so much busier now than it was when I grew up. Like mom’s I have described here, she still is mom, 24 hours a day, work or not. She has the loving touch and the words to say that make everything alright. She can transition from career woman, superstar to super mom just as quickly as she can fire off a mood-altering smile. She is mom. I am currently a stay-at-home dad thanks to my wife’s efforts. This experience has only strengthened my already strong feelings for the responsibility of motherhood. Happy Mother’s Day Amaris!

My mom was born during World War II in New Brunswick, Canada. She grew up in a different world than it is today. She lived in rural farmlands with five brothers and four sisters. Ten kids in a small home on a farm. All the kids learned to do everything that was necessary to make the household and small farm run. Along the way she was picking up the nuggets she would apply in motherhood. I have been fortunate enough to spend a lot of time with my mom in the last several years, and I have heard her tell me word-for-word, some of the things that her mother imparted to her while growing up. She was married in 1964, and in 1967 she suddenly transformed from small town girl and wife, to mother. I am sure she had more than a few moments where she wasn’t sure how to proceed. This is where her own mother’s teachings, the things she picked up throughout her upbringing in a church-going family rooted in the Bible, came into play. My dad was a pastor and in political terms, my mom was the First Lady of the church. Little did any of them know just how amazing she was and would be.

I am fortunate enough to visit with my mom and dad almost every single week. I enjoy hearing about their lives today, their lives growing up, and their lives while I was growing up. Somehow my mom remembers more than I will ever recall. I thoroughly enjoy the stories, insights, and lessons that I still learn from my mother each week. Mom is still mom. I am grown with kids of my own, but she will always be my mother. I am eternally grateful for my mother. She is a very special woman.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom! There should be a year full of days to honor mom’s like you. You have been amazing and continue to be amazing. I know you would be the first to deny or downplay such a statement. You would gently deflect such words to a clean corner in the house where they might otherwise be better served. I said amazing and I mean amazing. If we all lived in a day and age where consistency, reliability, and unconditional love were commonplace, you would still measure as amazing in my book. You are still present and participating in the role of wife and mother. It’s been nearly 48 (now 49) years as a wife and almost 45 (going on 46 years now) years as a mother. I don’t know if you, or anyone really knows what they’re getting into, becoming a mother. Selfishly, I am glad that the little girl who grew up in the big family, a family that had to work for everything they had, a girl who learned all those lessons from her mom, dad, and siblings was the one who grew up to be my mother.

I get along with most everyone, thanks to my mother. I love the weather, thanks to my mother. I love wildlife and the outdoors, thanks to my mother. I notice things in nature that others miss, thanks to my mother. I know that fierce competitiveness can be attained while calmly smiling, thanks to my mother. I got to know family, some of the greatest people I have ever known, thanks to my mother.

I marvel at you mom. The speed of life, the immediate gratification of almost every whim pursued, and the access to limitless amounts of thoughtless garbage, have done nothing to change you. Some might say you are stubborn, but if stubborn means being strong, standing for your beliefs, and not backing down to the many forms of adversity, then I hope I am stubborn too. Winds change, weather ravages, misguided youth decide in err, circumstances nearby deteriorate, time wears on the physical being, and there you are, standing strong. Maybe you’re slightly bent now, from huddling over us to protect us from the things that could have hurt us, but still you stand, smiling, reaching for the sun and the light we all wish to see. You are still the hard-working girl from a family that didn’t know any different. You don’t wait and wonder how something can be done, you don’t try, you do. Sometimes you ask me to help, and I am honored to do so, thinking things through so that I can provide the same quality you would. You are good people as they say. You always will be no matter what goes on around you. You are special in many ways, and you have been a blessing to so many people. You are strong, well versed in the Scriptures, and unyielding in your beliefs. You love always. You help others, always. While the disruption of life traveling too fast sweeps many details past the masses, you find the need or the detail that would make someone’s day and you don’t miss that opportunity others would have missed. Your measurement of a good day is based on the comfort and happiness of those around you. You rarely put yourself ahead of anyone else, and if you do, you feel bad about it. You live to love and everyone who knows you feels it too. You love to live even if your living isn’t the definition that those who want to ‘live life’ would use. I know I will never see all the things you have seen Mom, but I certainly hope to have felt the things you have felt. Living, not for the things, but for the joys of time spent doing those things which you love, is what I see in you Mom. I hope to have lived life like you someday Mom. Happy Mother’s Day Mom! I love you.

Thanks #3 (Kids)

I am very thankful for my kids. I am also so very thankful for the inherent resiliency within them. Thank God for their ability to adapt, overcome, and improvise at levels we don’t give kids enough credit for. I’m thankful for these six amazing kids, who kept being kids while I worked through various models of parenting. I may never get it right, but I know that these kids are fantastic, and their potential is limitless.

The best kids ever.


Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Birthday Mom! I am glad that God allowed me to be born into our family. I am so glad I got to grow up with you mom. I am my mother’s son, and I couldn’t be happier. I hope you have a tremendous birthday and an even better year.

Parenting in the dark. My privilege.

Sometimes I wish I knew how many times my mom and dad had to change their plans, get up in the night, or get up earlier than they wanted to, on account of me in my first 2-3 years. Then again, I am sure I was like any other baby or toddler and I did my share of making things difficult for my parents. I guess our formative years are in many ways as much a learning curve for the parents as they are for the children. All children start at day one, but parents arguably have experience to draw on once they have more than child, right? Well, yes and no. Sure there are some things about raising multiple children that make tasks and routines easier the next time around. Then there’s also the new, or different dynamic or raising another child while also having another child or children in the same household.

This morning was another morning where the kids woke me up long before I intended to get up and tackle the day. My wife has been, the middle of the night, or early morning riser many more times than I. When I am tired, more like over tired, I don’t wake up well most times. Many times I have been compared unfavorably to a bear coming out of hibernation. I know this about myself, better now than I would have previously admitted. Either way, I am, and have been making a conscious effort to be better about my own demeanor and help more with the kids in these, “parenting in the dark”, moments.

Oh, and I when I say ‘kids’, I generally mean our twins who are almost 18 months old. A boy and a girl who somehow seem more precious with each passing day. Which is saying a lot because I thought they were as precious as it gets from the day my wife told me we were having not one, but two babies. Now, I have 6 kids ranging from age 19 to 18 months. So I have been down this kids road before. But I have never been down this road, in this scenario, within this dynamic before. Thus the return to formative years. I guess we never really stop being in formative years although some years are more difficult to navigate than others.

When I rolled over this morning and noticed our door was open and my wife was out of bed I looked over to my shoulder to see the clock. I couldn’t read the time as my eyes were clearly not ready to be open and functioning. Once the blurry numbers came into focus, I muttered to myself, “It doesn’t matter, it’s just too early, it’s still dark outside”.  I could hear the babies crying from their room on the monitor in our room. I wondered for a second or two why they were crying if my wife was already tending to them. My wife is awesome with the twins. There is peace in her arms. So I got up and went out into the hall to find the babies room door closed and my wife coming up the stairs with cups of milk. We both went into their room and each grabbed a twin. I picked him up out of his crib and he just put his head down on my shoulder while she went with my wife to snuggle in our bed.  He is Theodore, she is Jacqueline, and my amazing wife is Amaris, also known as Mare in our family.

As I stood in the dark, holding my youngest son and gently swaying back and forth, my mind wandered. I thought many things. I thought of how much I wish I was still asleep and that today could be a really long day. I thought of how this little boy in my arms just conforms his body, leaning over my shoulder, with his head resting gently against my neck, and finds comfort easily. I thought of how these moments, inconvenient or otherwise, really are the ones I will miss when they are gone. I thought there’s nothing inconvenient about it really, it’s a privilege. I thought, how many times did my mom or dad do this for me as a child? I thought, what if they hadn’t? I thought, I am glad I am here, right now, present right now, awake right now, to care for my son. I thought there is beauty and enjoyment in many moments no matter how big or small. I could feel Theodore’s arms drop as his breathing eased, and although I couldn’t see his eyes, I sensed his eyelids were growing heavy again. I quietly sauntered over to his crib to lay him down. He stiffened some trying to cling to me, but didn’t fight it. As I returned him to his pillow, he lied there, looking up at me in the dark. He was still. He was quiet. I stood there looking down at him in the dark. I watched him until his eyes closed. It was a wonderful moment that I am glad I could experience. It certainly wasn’t the first and won’t be the last one of these moments, but they are all special.

I made my way back to Amaris and Jacqueline as Theodore gave in to sleep, at least for the moment. I was ready to go back to bed and go to sleep. As I got closer to laying down I noticed Jacqueline was restless, wrestling with sleep, but keeping Amaris from restful sleep. I leaned over Jacqueline and whispered to her while her eyes were tightly closed, as if she was trying too hard to sleep. She reached for me and I picked her up so as to let Mare rest and enjoy some more sleep. I slipped out of our room while it was quiet and still dark outside.

See, I work from home everyday, and care for our twins all day, so I have a routine with the kids all our own. Our nap time routine has taken on its own identity. The kids actually look forward to it everyday. It’s pretty cute and often times funny, but I will tell you about that another time. Anyway, the point is that at nap time, Jacqueline sleeps downstairs in a playpen while Theodore sleeps upstairs in his crib. I guess this started when they would sleep at different times and I kept them separate as not to wake one another as they would go down at different times. Now they go for naps at the same time and this set up works so I have kept it the same. This morning when I came downstairs with Jacqueline I intended on her going back to sleep in her playpen. First I rocked her in my favorite chair, our Canadian Rocker, in the dark, and just let her rest on me. She was calm, quiet, completely at ease. I whispered to her that we were going to her playpen and off we went. I placed her in her playpen, on her pillow, and tucked a blanket around her. She never made a sound, closed her eyes, and drifted off to sleep.

As you parents out there know, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of holding your own child close enough to forget the world outside that embrace exists. See, that’s the privilege, the closeness, the bond, the feeling of being needed, and the need to be the parent present for your child. So my day started early, and maybe it will be a long day, but so what. When the kids are grown and gone, or I am old and embracing memories, it’s these days that I will wish had been longer. We all know these days pass way too fast. That’s what makes this morning so special. It was dark, it was quiet, it was still, it was perfect. I held both my babies, close to me, feeling every bit of need they had for me at that moment, and ultimately was happy to have that privilege. This morning, I call it as I see it, parenting in the dark. My privilege.