71 days down, 294 to go!
Dear Orange Rhinos,
Here is the 2nd guest blog this week as I continue my “staycation” with my family. I thank my dear friend who has been a supporter of The Orange Rhino Challenge since day 1 for taking time out of her very busy schedule to write for us. And I thank her for her honesty – both about herself and about what the Orange Rhino Community means to her. Enjoy. I know I did,
The Orange Rhino
The Orange Rhino was a bit surprised (editor’s note: FLABERGASTED more like it!) when I asked if I could be one of her guest posters. She said, “But you don’t yell, right?” and this is correct. I am not much of a yeller at all. This is for purely selfish reasons; I am averse to loud noises and generally dislike drama. And yet, I read every post of hers, click on every Facebook status update, and read every single one of her readers’ comments. Why? Because I love my children, and I really love hearing the words of other parents who are doing their best to be better parents. We’ve all got issues, and while yelling may not be one of mine, I still have plenty of areas in which I could improve my parenting.
I get inspired by being a part of the Orange Rhino Community… this is a hard task that all of you have taken on, and I respect each one of you for the attempt- even if it is only day three for you. Anyhow, on to the “meat” of my post:
I struggled for years to get pregnant the first time, so when I became a Mommy seven years ago, I was in total bliss. My daughter was my entire universe from the moment she was placed in my arms. When I found out that I was expecting again shortly after her first birthday, I was extremely surprised and delighted that it had happened again without medical intervention, but I had these secret nagging worries that I would never, ever be able to love my second child as much as I loved my first.
There just didn’t seem to be enough space in my emotional landscape for that.
When an early ultrasound revealed that I was in fact expecting my second AND THIRD children (fraternal twins,) that nagging worry turned into a not-so-silent panic. As my belly grew larger and larger (I kid you not, it was an EPIC belly- 54″ diameter just before I delivered,) I felt that I owed my oldest an apology for what was about to happen to our neat little mother/daughter bubble that we had been living in… and I mourned the loss of that bubble with a vengeance. (Editor’s note: glad I am not the only one who ever felt that!)
But time marches on, and before I knew it, I was a mother of three children under the age of 2. Harumph. I’d love to write about what those early days were like, how I came to terms with the new reality, and how I slowly but surely bonded with the twins and watched my love expand to fit all three kids… but anyone who has had newborn twins will tell you that there is a blur effect that takes place, blocking out all but the occasional snapshot of the first six months. So, I have no idea how it happened, but I know that by the time the twins were old enough to sit up on their own, my emotional landscape had grown to accommodate the tremendous love that I felt for all three of my children. Every storm cloud has a silver lining, and as I sit here thinking about how soul-crushingly hard those early days were, I have to admit (now that they are in the past,) that it was the best thing that could have happened to us as a family.
My children are best friends and wonderful playmates for each other.
As a parent of a 7 year old and two 5 year olds, my life is less concerned with the logistics than it was in the early days; the children eat, sleep, dress themselves, eliminate waste, and amuse themselves more or less without a great deal of effort on my part. However, now that they are older, I have had to up my parenting game significantly…. because now, they are PEOPLE: each one unique, each one with thoughts and hopes and dreams and fears and circumstances that they need to deal with as they move through life.
And I am their guide.
The awareness that how I handle things in life is the main example that they will learn from as they mature is nearly paralyzing- because I am deeply flawed. I have a short fuse, I am rigid and easily annoyed, I am bossy and a know-it-all, and sometimes, my sense of humor is unkind. What if they end up flawed like me???
So. While I may not have an issue with yelling, the Orange Rhino Community is my place to remind myself that I want to be a better person, so that I can be a better mother. As the Orange Rhino has pointed out numerous times, knowing your triggers is a good place to start, so I attempt on a daily basis to recall those elements that make me struggle (stress, not enough rest, and relationships…to name a few,) and I do my best to be intentional about how I handle those challenges- because my children are watching me, and they deserve my very best effort.
“I want to be a better person, so that I can be a better mother….and I do my best…because my children….deserve my very best effort.” This is certainly a sentiment I can relate to, in fact it was the main driver behind starting The Orange Rhino Challenge. My children deserve my best effort. Period. And while I can only do so much, as long as I have given this whole parenting gig my best effort, as long as I have TRIED, then I know I won’t have any regrets. Even if I am not perfect. Notice how my friend uses better, not perfect? That’s perfectly put. It’s not about being perfect. It is simply about trying our best. Doing what we can.
And I can tell you, my friend is doing a pretty bang up good job. Both as a mom, and as a friend. Thank you for being my friend AND for writing.