Friday, October 29, 2010

A-Maize-ing!

 Hay!


It's a good day!


For corn...


and getting lost...


for jumping...


and loving...

A good day.

My friends, my apologies for being so absent this week.  We've have yet another tummy bug roar through our house with a vengeance and I haven't had it in me to blog about, well, puke.  I'm worn down and tired and all that jazz.  But hang with me, k?  So here's to a healthy weekend and a candy filled holiday!

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Monday, October 25, 2010

The Tightrope



Tightrope walkers are among my favorite acts at the circus.  I'm amazed at their focus and unwavering balance.  The acts they perform on the thin wire are mesmerizing and terrifying at the same time.  And they do it with such flair and drama.  They make it look so easy.

It's not as easy as it looks, walking that tightrope.  Particularly when that tightrope is called life.

Right now, I'm leaning hard to one side.  I keep putting one foot in front of the other, but some days it takes everything in me to do so.  I wobble.  And I get distracted.  I look to the past and yearn for the carefree PC (pre-children) days.  Then I look to the future and get lost in my hopes and dreams for my babies.

Everyday I'm performing my own amazing acts on my tightrope.  Yet so many days I feel like I'm doing it blindfolded.  And without a safety net.  And I get so caught up in just taking that next step that I fail to see the terrific show playing out all around me.

It's tiring.  I'm worn out.

I guess what I'm really seeking is balance.  I wouldn't give up my current life, obviously.  But I miss a bit of my former PC life.  And overall I don't want to miss the act happening right under my nose.

And I'm discovering that one has to be very deliberate about life when they're a parent.  You can't totally throw yourself into your children, completely disregarding yourself or you'll get burned out.  And you can't allow yourself to elevate your relationship with your children to the point of sacrificing relationships with all others (including the hubs) or you'll find yourself alone.    It's such a tricky line to walk.

I feel a bit off balance, waving my arms out in the air trying to regain steady footing.

So I guess the only thing to do is to keep my eyes straight ahead and put one foot in front of the other.  I'll find my balance again, eventually.

My friends, anyone ever feel out of balance?  Feel like you're desperately wobbling from one side to the other and trying to keep yourself on the rope?  

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

L'Eau De Pee



My house smells like pee.  Well, more specifically my 3 year old smells like pee.  And where my 3 year old goes, there the smell of pee goes as well.

Why, I wonder?  Does she enjoy smelling of pee?  No, she claims.

Then why would one, who supposedly does not enjoy smelling of pee nor sitting in wet britches deign to do so?

Therein my friends, lies the mystery.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

And God Answers

In light of my post yesterday about the relationship between myself and my girls as they grow, at church Pastor Brad spoke straight to my concerns.  Now before you run and hit the back button, don't worry.  I'm not going to regurgitate his sermon.  But there were a couple points he made about parenting that I thought were spot on.  So fabulous in fact I wish I had thought of them myself.  But alas I can take no credit.

But I do want to share.

1.  Rules without Relationship = Rebellion.  How many times have we seen this played out?  The hard core parents, loads of do's and don'ts, the rebellious teenager sick and tired of being told what to do without given any reason as to why...  how many of us appreciate that?  I'd bet very few.  So it stands to reason that our kids wouldn't either.  When a parent doesn't invest in their child beyond telling them what they can and can't do, it's easy to see how the child comes to the conclusion that the only solution is to act out.  Why should they listen to their parents?  Their parents don't listen to them.

2.  Relationship without Rules = Recklessness.  We live in a day and age where so often parents, in an effort to avoid the above, instead strive to be the BFF.  The problem with this is that if the parent isn't driving the boat, the kid is going to take the wheel.  And there's a reason that the elders look after the young.  Parents have the experience, the wisdom, and often have made the mistakes that can help lead their children down a better path.  But without rules, there is no path to follow.  Kids cannot be left to make their own decisions, not until after they've been given time to mature and grow, with rules.


3.  Relationship + Rules = Respect.  When there's proper balance between having an intimate relationship with your child and having rules in place to protect, guide and mold your child then what often results is respect.  Not only respect of a child for his/her parents.  But also respect of the parents for their child.  Respect for their individuality, respect for their season of growth.  And overall there is a respect of both parties for this whole process of growing up kids.

I liked the final comparison Pastor Brad made in the end of his sermon.  He said that we should strive to parent our children as Christ parents us.  In thinking about that I have found a great deal of clarity.  And I'm not really worried now about what to do when my girls get older.  Christ has given us guidelines to live by but has also backed it up with the ultimate relationship.  Living for Him by merely following the rules is dry and stale.  Likewise, resting only on my relationship with Him without any growth on my part is shallow and selfish.  But when put together, they result in the richest life anyone can hope for.  And in that I find a wonderful example of a loving parent.

I'm not so naive to think that things will all be smooth sailing.  But I do think that walking into these coming years with an understanding of the balance we'd like to achieve in our home will help tremendously.  Praying hard doesn't hurt either.  ;-)

My friends, what do you think of the points above?  Agree?  Disagree?  Do you see some of your own childhood/teenhood reflected in some of the examples?  What constitutes a balanced parent/child relationship in your mind?


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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Oil And Water

There are alot of things about raising 4 girls that scare the crud out of me.  Good old Mother Nature, for one.  We might as well just put a huge sign on our front door one week a month saying, "Enter at your own risk!".  And driving... ugh.  This one makes me feel all panicky if I dwell on it too long.  Princess #1, yeah, I'd trust her behind the wheel... but #2?  #3?  Uh, let's just hope they raise the driving age to, like, THIRTY.  Let's see, what else?  Oh yes.  Boys.  'Nuff said.  Oh and I can't forget just the sheer amount of money it's going to cost me in the end - proms, car insurance, college, weddings, etc. etc. etc.

Feeling panicky with me yet?

But there's one thing in particular that weighs heavily on my mind more than all that above.  The one thing that I worry about, constantly think about, pray about and probably drive the hubs crazy talking about.  And that one thing is my relationship with each of my princesses.

Ever notice how the mom/daughter relationship is rarely ever referred to in warm, fuzzy words?  Sure, maybe once the daughter is a grown woman herself.  But when you're talking children, young girls, and (deep breath) teenagers, the amount of sap is usually reserved for a description between a daddy and his daughter, or a mama and her boy.  Moms and daughters?  Like oil and water.

In fact, I think women love to recount their glory days as a rebellious teenager and regale their audiences with tales of strife between themselves and their mother.  It's like the women who walk around telling pregnant women that their labors were 36 hours long and they pushed for 4 hours and they had a 4th degree tear from here to there....  Do I really need to hear this?  There's something about claiming that no one else had it worse than you.

But all those stories do is terrify me.  Because I so do not want that.  What mother does really?  We give birth to these precious, innocent, dependent little souls.  And we spend the next 18 years teaching them how to fly, so that ultimately they leave the nest (and us).  And I don't think any mother, looking down at their precious newborn (boy or girl) anticipates or looks forward to living in angst and constant turmoil.

So how do you get there?  Or better yet, how do you avoid getting there?  What is it that causes strife to exist at all?  What needs to be happening in a home to foster a safe, close and intimate relationship between a mother and her daughter?  These are the questions I'm dwelling on these days.

My friends, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.  Is this something you think about?  Are you hoping to improve upon the relationship you had with your own mother?  Do you have ideas in mind for how to keep your home relatively turmoil-free during the traditionally tumultuous teen years?


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Friday, October 15, 2010

Flashback Friday: How Did We Do It Before?


How Did We Do It Before?
*originally posted January 27, 2010*

Just this morning, I connected two of my friends that I know from different times in my life together on Facebook. I had recognized a common thread between them and wanted to give them an opportunity to meet each other and offer unique support that only a mother who's "been there" can do.

And then I thought, how did we ever do it before? Before the internet, before the social networks, the message boards, the blogs. How did mamas make it? Caught in a Leave It To Beaver world where the illusion of perfection was the norm. Where mamas just held their own pain, their own worries inside, not daring to voice them in the fear that they may be the Only One. Just this week I spoke with my sister in law on the phone, and confirmed that the things she was experiencing with her 18 month old daughter were not only normal, but expected. And the relief I heard in her voice almost made me sad. How long had she been enduring sleepless nights, temper tantrums, isolation, believing that she was the only one, that she was alone?

We mamas NEED each other. I'm not sure I could make it through a day without my network of mamas who encourage me, give advice, offer sympathy and tell me when I'm being ridiculous. I NEED to know that I'm not a horrible mother if I raise my voice. I NEED to know that I'm not the only one who has a child that still needs to be reminded to use the bathroom at age 5. I NEED to know that we're not the only family that's struggling to put food on the table and meet all our financial obligations. I NEED to know.

This isn't June Cleaver's world anymore. We mamas don't have to hide behind a perfect facade. In fact, that does more harm than good. A quick glance through Facebook shows me at least 5 other mama friends who are scratching their heads over what to make for dinner. 3 who have bones to pick with their hubby's. Another 4 who are rejoicing over 5 straight hours of sleep. We are so much alike in many ways. Although separated by miles and miles, we share the same worries, the same heartache, the same fears, the same joy, the same love. And I am grateful that we have the vehicles to share those burdens and triumphs and that it's no longer taboo to do so.

My friends, how have you benefitted from your network of friends?  Where do you think you'd be without them?



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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Are You A Loser?

Is anyone else a Biggest Loser fan?

I love this show.  It sends me into tears nearly every episode.  I'm insanely envious of Jillian Michaels.  I have a little crush on Bob (who doesn't?).  I pull for each and every one of the contestants and am heartbroken when they have to go home and sit on the edge of my seat waiting to see their "After" shots.  And the season finales... wow.  Now that's TV!

Weight's a touchy topic in this country.  Most people agree it's a problem, very few agree how to fix it.  My personal opinion?  It's exactly that - personal.  We can have all the programs in the world, get all sorts of education and funding, but the bottom line is, a person who is overweight due to misuse of food and poor lifestyle choices is not going to change (or lose weight) until they want to.

Understanding how difficult it is to make those changes, I want to take a second to shine a light on a couple very near and dear to me who have done just that.  My mother in law and father in law.



10 months ago both were walking the very thin and dangerous line of obesity.  A combination of many factors that are probably all too familiar to most people in this country led them to where they ended up and each were struggling with the by-products as a result.  My father in law, on many medications for blood pressure and cholesterol struggled day to day with pain in his feet when he would walk.  My mother in law fought fatigue on a daily basis.  After trying several diet plans with little to no success, they finally agreed together that enough was enough!

On January 1st, 2010, they embarked on a new journey, together.  They fought the temptation, together. They changed their habits, together.  They began to exercise, together.  They found a new normal, together.  And they lost weight, together.  A grand total of 170 pounds!


Hubs and I are SO proud of them.  Because they changed their story.  A story that was bound for diabetes, heart disease and God knows what else.  They have their health back.  Their energy.  They can actually run after the princesses and keep up now!  Yes it took hard work and dedication.  But the rewards are great!

My friends, do you have any "Losers" in your life that you are proud of?  Maybe yourself? Or is there someone who is currently inspiring you to become a "Loser"?  I'd love to hear about it!  The journey back to health is much easier when you have friends along to cheer you on!


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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Milk Comes From Where??

So, apparently Princess #3 is not a farm girl.  I can't say I blame her.
When her preschool class took a trip to a dairy farm a couple weeks ago, she spent most of the day looking like this:


Again, I can't exactly blame her.
Cows sorta stink.
Especially cows out in the abnormally hot October air.
(WHERE IS FALL!?!?!?!)

The kids got a chance to get up close and personal.
Princess #4 wasn't afraid to get close to the action.


She's fearless, that one.

Princess #3 was a good sport and did attempt to milk a cow.
I jokingly asked her if she drank the milk and she looked at me like I had 3 heads.
Not so funny mama.
Fortunately drinking milk from the fridge is still perfectly acceptable.

So it doesn't look like we've got cow raising or dairy farming in our future.


Archeology?  Maybe.


Gotta love it when you ask your preschooler what their favorite part of the dairy farm trip was and they announce with much enthusiasm:  Digging in the dirt!

We have plenty of that at home.  No farm needed.  Or cows either, apparently.

My friends, milked any cows lately?  ;-)

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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Queenie, You're FIRED!



Can you see Donald Trump?  He's here in my living room, comb over and all.  Pointing his finger at me as he surveys the clutter and buildup that's threatening to close in.  The tense music swells as he takes a breath, the little Trump sibs glance at each other knowingly.  He makes his declaration with that cheesy sweep of his hand, and I nod complacently.

Truth is, I should be fired.  I totally suck as a housewife.  Not always, but right now I do.  In fact, as I sit here on my arse, typing yet another blog entry I can see dishes stacked in the sink, waiting for some soul to pick off the dried on food.  I know there are about 5 loads of laundry waiting to be folded, while another two loads sit folded on my bed, waiting for someone to put it away.  We will be lucky if they don't just get dumped back into the hamper at 11pm tonight when I drag my body off to bed and don't have the energy to deal with it.

Who, me?

Yeah.  I suck.  I'm not sure what my deal is right now but I can't find motivation to do much of anything lately.  Can I blame Mother Nature on this?  Surely this cycles too, just like every other thing that sucks about being a girl.

And the poor hubs.  He works his tail off at work, and I want more than anything for our home to a warm, welcoming and peaceful place for him to return to.  I DO want him to WANT to come home afterall.  I'll never, ever forget a book I read once at a woman's Bible Study.  The author counseled that a good wife would have the house cleaned, dinner on the table and the children cleaned and calmly tucked away when the husband came home from his hard day at work.  I laughed my butt off at that - and I only had two kids back then.

Sorry babe, can't quite live up to THAT.  But in all seriousness, I do feel some sort of responsibility to have things at least somewhat bearable around here.  And I'm definitely falling down on that job lately.  And I feel guilty.  A few days ago while hubs washed the dishes that threatened to take over the sink, I stood behind him and apologized profusely for slacking, saying I felt bad that he had to work all day and then come home and work too.

Know what he said?

"You work all day too babe".

Swoon.  How do I even deserve that?

So here's the deal, I've got to get myself in gear.  Pull out of this funk or something.  Face reality that there will ALWAYS be dishes and laundry to do - put the big girl panties on and deal with it.  It's not going away.

I don't want to give Trump a reason to flail his wimpy firing hand at me.  I can totally rock this housewife thing.  I bet Trump doesn't even know how to do laundry.

So there.

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Flashback Friday: The Mom



Flashback Friday:  The Mom
*originally posted October 19, 2009*

I've been sitting on this blog entry for awhile. Sometimes I have so much circling inside my head that I can't seem to get it out coherently. I start so many entries that never see the light of day. This one I've been mulling over and over for several days now. I'm still not certain that it will make sense or resonate with anyone but myself, but that's ok.

Sometimes, I wish I wasn't The Mom. Don't get me wrong, I love being A Mom. I adore my princesses. There is a unique joy and peace that comes in watching your own children, created in love, grow and learn and experience life. Being A Mom is fulfilling. Being A Mom is rewarding. But that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about being The Mom. The One that has to make the hard decisions. The One that has to teach the hard lessons. The One that carries the burden, The One that worries endlessly, The One that is never really sure that what she is doing is enough.

When I spoke of this burden to a group of mothers, one of my dear friends, J, put it so eloquently. I couldn't say it better, so I'll quote her here:

And still I wonder and worry. It's so hard to make these decisions with no ability to see the future. And it seems to get harder and harder the bigger *their* world gets outside of me. I used to be able to control so many factors and I feel like I've got more of them and their worlds are getting bigger...and sometimes I feel like all these issues are slipping right through my fingers. Sometimes I just want to be the nanny. And leave the tough stuff to someone else.

This is exactly where I am right now. The burden at times almost seems unbearable. I have a fabulous, supportive husband. He loves his princesses more than life it's self. When it comes to major decisions concerning any of our children, we are a team, we make a joint decision. And yet, it's me as The Mom, that comes to the table with all the research, all the knowledge, all the possible scenarios that could play out as a result of our decision. I obsess over it. When a big decision is looming it's all I can think about. And God forbid that something bad should happen as a result of my actions as The Mom. I know that has to be every mother's worst fear. It can be immobilizing.

And yet, we can't stay immobilized, can we? Choices have to be made. At some point you have to go with your gut, if you have nothing else to stand on. I sometimes look at motherhood and find it to be the most exasperating job on the planet. Here we are, given the responsibility of care and upbringing of our most precious people. There is no rule book, no magic formula for making all the right decisions, often nothing but the seat of our pants as we grab on and hold on tight for the ride. And essentially, our job as The Mom, is to teach our children to fly. As my friend J put it, their world eventually grows bigger and bigger and our control over it grows smaller and smaller. Isn't that when we try to hold on tighter?

I have to believe that at some point, it all will make sense. That I'll see it come full circle, as my princesses grow. My prayer is that I'll be able to slowly let go of the very things that cause me to cling to the control. Although the burden is great, I know that within me God has instilled the instinct and the knowledge to make the right decisions for my princesses and also the courage to know when it's time to let go. I have no doubt that my days of wishing I could just be the nanny and leave the hard stuff to someone else are far but over. But I also know that with the hard stuff comes the greater reward. Right now, in the face of a big decision, I wish I wasn't The Mom. But I am so, so very grateful that I am A Mom


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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tonight, I Am Sad

Leslie Joy Evans left here to hold her babies in the presence of her Heavenly Father this morning. And while the homecoming I'm sure was something to behold, my heart can't help but ache for the family left behind.

To have endured so much loss in such a short period of time, it's almost cruel. No. It IS cruel. It doesn't make sense to my finite mind.  I can't comprehend.

So tonight I am sad.  My words seem so little tonight.  In the face of grief that is so crushing, so raw, I can't put into words anything that sounds remotely wise.  So instead I'll just pray.  Join me if you will in lifting up Mark, his children, and the rest of the family.  May they find comfort and peace until they someday see Leslie again.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Thanks. I Think.



You know when someone pays you a compliment and your first thought is, well, thanks.  And then after you think it over another minute you think, wait, was that *really* a compliment?

I run into that alot having four kids, all girls at that.  We tend to attract quite a bit of attention when we're all out and about (especially if princess #4 is exercising her new temper tantrum tricks).  And most people we interact with can't help but comment.

So today I was volunteering at Princess #3's preschool during the bookfair.  Myself and two other moms did the work of one as we set out mini muffins on plates and poured OJ.  Yes, we're talking real tough stuff here.  Good thing there were 3 of us.

Anyway, in true mom fashion, after the madness of the mini muffin rush died down, we started chatting about our kids, have you been at this school long, how many kids do you have, yada yada.  When I mentioned that I had four kids the other two moms muttered their "wow's" and then one blurted out,

"you look really good for having four kids!"

Uh.... thanks.  Does this mean that if I had only one kid then I look like crap?  Do I get a pass since I've got four kids and therefore get bonus points that move me further up the scale on "looking good"?  I even had makeup on today, which means I made an effort.  I'd hate to see where I fall on that scale when I don't make an effort.  Maybe I should pop out a few more kids so I can just roll out of bed and be a 10. Now that would be awesome.

Yes, yes, I know.  She was just being nice.  But I'm feeling cynical today.  Go with me.

My friends, have you been the recipient of a "compliment" that makes you take pause?  

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Let's Talk Boobies!

It's October friends and that means Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  And since so much attention is put upon it, I thought this would be a fitting time to post about boobies.

*If you happen to be of the male population and stumble upon this post (dad, Pastor Brad), feel free to use the back button.  My feelings won't be hurt.  ;-)

So, we talk about boobies rather freely in our home.  With four girls, I figure it's bound to come up eventually, might as well not act as though they don't exist.  The princesses, for some unexplained reason like to refer to them as "piggies".  Don't ask.  I don't know.

I'm hoping that being naturally open to discussion about "piggies" will lead to more comfortable discussions about more *ahem* tricky topics.

It's just a reality I have to face as a mommy to four princesses.  There's gonna be a lot of boobies in our house.  And tampons.  And hormones.  You know what the number one thing people say to me when they find out I have four girls?  "Just wait until they're teenagers!"

Yeah.  Don't remind me.

But seriously, I don't want to just gloss over this stuff with them.  Becoming a woman is a big deal.  And it's too important to shy away from, or even worse, hope they learn it from someone else.  And let's face it, boobies are everywhere these days.  Just tonight I was watching the new Tinkerbell movie with the princesses and noticed that Tinkerbell herself is quite well endowed.  And the debate over Barbie's figure has been going on for years.

I don't entirely begrudge the fact that media has drilled into my kid's heads that women have boobies (although I might be a teensy bit perturbed that Tinkerbell's boobs are bigger than mine.  I mean, c'mon.  My boobs were not my own for a combined total of 5 years.  You think I would have gotten a little kick back.).  It's a reality of life and while it used to be commonplace to not discuss these things with your children, I'm grateful to have opportunities come up.

I still expect a few awkward conversations, but hopefully we can establish an atmosphere of openness where we can talk about "piggies" without blushing.  I do hope they drop the "piggies" nickname sometime though.  THAT can be embarrassing.


My friends, how are you handling (or planning to handle) the coming of age conversations?  

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Saturday, October 2, 2010

I Don't Normally Do This...

but if you pray, oh please pray.


On Sunday, Sept. 26th, Leslie Evans at the age of 28 gave birth to twins.  At only 21 weeks gestation, they were too immature to survive.  Following the delivery, Leslie's heart stopped.  She was gone for 17 minutes before they were able to resuscitate her.  Her kidneys failed and she slipped into a coma.  Originally diagnosed with Amniotic Fluid Embolism, the doctors now believe that a blood clot broke loose and travelled through her heart to her lungs.



Her husband, Mark, lost his first wife to cancer.  Together they had 3 children.  Now those children face losing another mother.

The doctors, discouraged by lack of brain activity, are pressuring the family for a decision within 48 hours.

If you believe in an Almighty God who is more than able, then I implore you to bring Leslie, her husband and children, her family, her doctors and anyone else involved in her care before His throne.  All those praying for Leslie know and believe that God can restore her to full health, He is the Great Healer.  We know He hears the cry of his people and we know He can perform a miracle.  And a miracle is exactly what Leslie needs.



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Friday, October 1, 2010

Mom, Now I Understand

I've come to the conclusion that as much time, energy, sweat, tears and thought I put into parenting, my princesses don't really care.


I have spent hours talking with the hubs about our girls, working through situations that arise with them.  Carefully taking into consideration their unique personalities, ages and make up.  We discuss strategies in discipline, how to help them make wise decisions, how to approach each of them when they need correction.

We specifically construct their day so they have the right amount of creative outlets, opportunities to play and times to just relax.


I labor over recipes and decide on menus that give them a balance of nutritional food and we drive right by the drive throughs these days.

I think about their futures, I pray for them that they would have wisdom, discernment and grace.  I pray the same for their future spouses and families.  I consider how life might play out for them, and strive to equip each of them with the right amount of knowledge, experience and courage to face it all.

I do all this because I am their mother, and I want to do a good job for them.  I love them, I want the best for them, and I know it's my responsibility to give them wings so they can fly.

Clearly, this consumes much of my thought about my daughters.



So it's a bit humbling to realize that right now, at ages 8, 5, 3 and 1:  they really could care less that I do all this.  From their perspective, the only criteria for a good mom is that she always carries gum in her purse.

And that's ok.  How many times did I hear my own mother say to me, "Someday when you're a mother, you'll understand."?

So I'll continue to do all the things I do behind the scenes.  The so very important things that my princesses may never know about.  I'll do it without thanks, without acknowledgment, without accolade, because that's what a mother does.

And someday, they'll understand.


In the meantime, I'll be sure to always carry gum.

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