I'm getting older.
I've already ranted and raved about how many wrinkles I have, right? No joke--I really do have more wrinkles than any other girl (my age) I know. And this can seriously cause me a lot of stress if I think about it too much. However, not long ago, I realized something. Even if I were to look younger, I would obviously still be the same age. So WHAT if people think I am older than I am when they first meet me? I've realized that as soon as you know someone, you really loose objectivity about how old or attractive she looks. You then know how old she is and knowing her makes her beautiful. Right? So what real advantage does a younger-looking person really have? None that I can see. Unless the person is a single middle-aged women (or older) who looks younger and who is on the hunt for a husband. Maybe looking young would help her. But who knows? Anyway, I can't worry about it. My granny has a lot of wrinkles and she is awesome.
But it's not just my wrinkles that provide evidence of the swift passage of my lifetime. There are other signs. I go to the grocery store and forget that I am wearing my slippers. My head starts to pound if I cheer too loud at a sporting event or I try to do a cart wheel. I have to put garlic and onions in everything. I have long scraggly hairs on my big toes. I go to bed earlier and wake up earlier. I like nuts... and berries...in my cookies. I thought I'd never see the day.
There are some wonderful things that come with the years passing, though. My getting older means that my children are also getting older. I am physically free. For the most part, I do not have to carry, or nurse, or change, or feed, or chase, or wash my children. They do it themselves, and I LOVE it. They run and play on their own and I sit and enjoy myself. It's wonderful. And actually, I didn't mind my children's physical dependency. I loved nursing and cuddling and cooing and rocking, and stuff. But I gotta say--nowadays, when I am at a gathering where someone has a baby they are caring for, and my kids are off playing by themselves--I think, This is niiiiiicce.
I feel like I want to freeze my kids how they are right. now. Camp and Jane and Danin are young enough to make me laugh and entertain me, and old enough to be helpful. And Skip is still just darling. I'm coming to the realization that he is growing up, too, but for now--he's still little, and I'm terrified of not having a little kid anymore. It's been ok--even good--for my kids to be growing up as long as I've got one that's still little, but what about when Skip's not little either? I'll mourn.
I fear forgetting my kids when they were little. I feel SO grateful to be able to watch home videos that remind me of everything that was so wonderful and individual about each of my babies. I've decided that when I get to Heaven, I will ask Heavenly Father to give me the chance to visit the child version of each of my children again. Does that make sense? I want the little child version of each of my children to be available whenever I want to experience them again at that age. And I think Heavenly Father can do that. Because he can do anything that will bring us joy. Who knows. Maybe by then, being with my grandkids will fill that need for me....
I've wanted to document what my life is like right now with Skip being the only kid at home with me.
Every morning (ok. Lots of mornings), Skip goes with me to the gym. He plays in the play room--the lone ranger in a room full of princess-dress adorned little girls--while I exercise. Sometimes, he bites a little girl--one of his best friends--who is playing with the toy he wants, and he leaves a bite mark on her arm, and she starts wailing ( I can't blame her), and is taken to her mom who comes and shows me what Skip has done. But mostly, he plays nice and enjoys himself. And when we get home, we take a shower. I have often times wet my pants while on the treadmill and have had to sit on my sweatshirt all the way home so as to not get urine on my seat. I am soaking wet with sweat at the very least. So I start the shower and Skip asks if it is cold. He means hot. He gets opposites mixed up. (I'll tell him he needs to do something, and he'll ask me why not instead of why.) I tell him it is hot and we step in. He asks, "It's ok I go potty in the shower, Mom?" And I say, "Yes, Bip." I tell him to aim low and to not get potty germs on the soap. He plays with his cars on the floor of the shower and asks me not to drip Shampoo on his head. After about 15 minutes, I get out and Skip tells me he'll stay in for a little bit longer, and then he'll get out. "OK, Mom?"
He loves to see me my hair look all crazy after I have bent over and towel dried it and then shaken it out.
We go into his room and I hold open his underwear, and then his pants, for him to step into. He puts his arms around my neck for balance and he smashes his lips against mine, so that his eyes blur into one, and I say--out of the corner of my mouth--"Wow. That's a big kiss."
I've realized how much I talk out loud to myself because he responds to me every time I do. I get frustrated and groan, or say crap!, or dang it!, or whatever, and he'll say, "What, Mom?" And I'll have to give him an explanation. It will make me laugh, and he'll say, "What, Mom?" again.
I hope I don't forget.
Danin's 7th birthday was yesterday. Man, that girl. I agreed to let her have a party this year since she didn't have one last year and we sat down to write out a list of invitees. I drew the line at 13. 13! The girl's got more friends than any other little girl I have ever seen. And all thirteen of those kids are children Danin plays with on a regular basis. And I swear half of them would tell you Danin is their best friend. I can't blame them. They know a fun girl when they meet her.
She is playing soccer. She moaned and groaned and told me she did NOT want to play soccer again. Whenever Danin gets in a mood and starts complaining about something, she goes into a monologue of everything in her life that she doesn't like. And she always mentions how I call her nicknames in front of other people and it embarrasses her. I can't convince her that my giving her nicknames is a show of my love. Anyway....Ultimately, Erin was able to talk her into playing soccer and being on Camden's team. So in last week's game, while my parents were visiting, I did my best to cheer for Danin, instead of for Shugee, and it was hard. Afterward, she told me she guessed it would be OK if I yelled, Go, Shugee This week, I saw her score her first goal ever. I also saw her glance over at me as I was yelling, "Way to go, Shugee! Giiiirrrlll!" She did her best to suppress her smile. She was thrilled at her goal, and hopefully at my cheering for her, too.
And it turns out that Jane is quite the athlete. For whatever reason, I had though it would be Danin that would be big into sports--but it's turned out to be Jane. She has been one of the best players on her team for the last several seasons, and it has been so fun to see her turn into a legitimate soccer player. You know what I mean? When we play with adults and kids, we don't have to go easy on her. She more than holds her own.
She is one of the two-member "homework police" in her class at school. She finishes her homework everyday on the way home from school and then hands it to me to sign and put a star on. It doesn't challenge her yet. She still has a lisp and is unable to say her own name--or any other word with the j, sh, or ch sounds--correctly. She produces these sounds entirely through her nose, so when she plugs her nose, she cannot pronounce them at all. I am a little concerned about this. Her speech teacher told me she (the speech teacher) has done everything she knows how, to help Jane, and that she may need to see another kind of specialist. I need to look into that some more.
For Danin's birthday party, Jane and her best friend were in charge of overseeing the games. There could be nothing more down Jane's alley than overseeing something. She loves it. Win, win.
Camp. My boy has grown up so. much. And I feel so proud and delighted by who he is becoming. He gets in trouble at school from time to time for being distracted or distracting others, but that same quality in him is one of the things that makes him so neat. He always has interesting things going on in his head. His wheels are absolutely always turning.
He is mature, and so helpful. He'll do anything I ask of him. And he always makes an effort to compliment what I've made for dinner. Maybe someday he'll even eat it! :) I mentioned last time how much he is loving football. LOVING it. And guess what? He plays. In the games, he plays. And his contribution is significant. And I cheer, and I am so proud. Recently, Brian texted Camp's coach to tell him how much Camp was enjoying football, and this was his coach's response:
...Camp was killing it on defense today! He was everywhere at linebacker, covering both sides of the field from right outside linebacker. He is becoming an animal! I especially appreciated his desire at the end of practice on our angle drills. I called practice and he asked if he could run one more...I value desire and commitment so I let him. He wanted to have a chance at Elijah... He took the right angle and made a beautiful tackle on him. I appreciate Camp. He works hard every play...
He works hard every play. Could there be a greater compliment? Not in Brian's eyes. And not in mine, either.
For family night recently, we watched Rudy for the kids' first time. Camp watched it again this morning as a pre-game pump-you-up.
I got shirts made for the rest of us with Camp's number (number 12) on them. Brian's and the kids' have Lacouture on the back of theirs, but the back of mine says Homie. :)
I've told you--in my last Christmas letter, at least--that I struggle with my words. Sometimes I say too many of them and I overwhelm people. Sometimes I say really mean ones, or the wrong ones, to Brian and the kids, and I hurt them. But no one will ever be able to say that I didn't use my words to show love, either. I use words to show my love often. I've realized that for me, my words are my greatest strength and my greatest vice.
I have been worried about being able to say the right words when I talk to Camp and Jane ( and eventually Danin and Skip) about things that are really important--like sex, and pornography, and love, and temptation, and being like Jesus. I so desperately want to say the right words--the words that will explain and empower and encourage and give hope and show love.
And then this morning, while I was cleaning the dental office and listening to This American Life, I had an idea. It's been a long time since I've made a deal with God. But I have another deal to make. I will promise to put forth an extra effort to keep from saying hurtful words to my kids when I am angry, if he will promise to bless me with the right words to say during those conversations with my kids that will really matter. I realize it doesn't sound super kosher to make deals with God, but I'll tell you what: it's been my experience that whenever I have committed to God to put forth a little extra effort in some area of my life, he has always been consistent in throwing in a few extra needed blessings in return. He really will always take any opportunity I give Him...to bless me. :) So I'll make the deal. Tonight.