Most people who know me know I've been a bit frazzled here lately. Apparently I'm becoming less and less skilled at hiding it too.
Four kids will do that to you.
While recently home for a visit, my uncle said he thought I could use some encouragement because I seem "on edge".
Ahem. Again. Four kids.
But what he said has stuck in my mind for some time now.
"Who better equipped to deal with each of your children and their struggles than you? You have two counseling degrees. You see potential everywhere and push them to meet it. You don't let them get off with excuses or use diagnoses for failure. Who better to coach your team? God equipped and chose you for each of their struggles."
Truth is, I often feel like I'm just riding their cases all the livelong day. "Stop whining." "Leave your brother alone." "If you're about to tattle, don't. Walk away." "No, you cannot eat. We just ate 30 minutes ago." "I said clean your room. What part of that did you not understand? Get it done." "Hurry up. We're running late." "Why is he still not dressed??! Gracious, we have to GO!!" "I already told you to stop whining. Go sit on the rug." "Do not hit your brother. I don't care if you are playing robber-breaks-in-our-house and he's the robber."
It's easy to get caught up in the 'parenting' part and forget the potential part. Yet each of them are filled to the brim with potential.
As my uncle said, "The difference between a friend and a coach is that a friend loves you for who you are. A coach sees your potential and pushes you to achieve it. And you have an All Star Team."
And really, I do.
Anna is our first born. She's the answer to many many prayers after being told we likely wouldn't be able to have children without extensive medical interventions. Oh how I've had such dreams for her and she's met and exceeded all of them. She's our overachiever.... our all A's student, in the Gifted and Talented Program. Our little Ms. Social. Never meets a stranger. Loves playing volleyball and is exceptionally good at it. She wants to be a doctor when she grows up, an OB/GYN to be exact. She's thoughtful and goes out of her way to be helpful. She's an incredible big sister, playing with each of them and helping me on days we're in a rush to get out the door. She loves to cook and will often get up early to "surprise" me by making breakfast (muffins, eggs, even homemade waffles one day). She's not only physically beautiful, she has such inward beauty too. Her compassion for the less fortunate and least of these is inspiring. And each time I look at her, I'm reminded of just how much potential she has.
Eli is our tender-hearted, camo-loving kiddo. His mind is like an encyclopedia. Seriously, do WWII trivia with him and prepare to be blown away. For years, I thought he was just rambling off made up information until we recently were talking with a Navy vet and they talked about everything you could possibly imagine and ELI KEPT UP- machinery, battleships, dates of certain invasions, the 5 beaches that were invaded in Normandy (yes, he can name them all). There were times our friend wasn't sure of something Eli was saying so we Googled it and EVERY single time he was right. I was blown away. His mind is absolutely incredible. He's the one I've had to fight for and with the most. I've refused to let his diagnoses define him - so much so he doesn't even know he has any. I've gone head to head with him, pushing him to meet his potential, crying because he was failing in school and I didn't know how to help him succeed. And then so very thankful for his teacher who walked side by side with me and we watched him go from making F's to making the honor roll every.single.year. He's an avid hunter, killing his first deer at the age of 7, and two more at the age of 8. He loves animals and tractors and all things outdoors. And each time I look at him, my heart swells with pride for him wanting to serve in our military and I see just how much potential he has.
Emilee is our free spirited, boisterous, full of life little (almost) 3 year old. She's our rainbow baby after losing #3 and #4. I don't know why God saw fit to give us her after losing our other two babies, but I am so very thankful He did. She's a constant reminder of His faithfulness. She wakes up ready to go each morning. She's constantly on the go but also loves to be snuggled and rocked. She has the most contagious laugh and gracious how it brightens my day. She's head-strong and determined and while it's my job to keep that in check, I also foresee it being what takes her far in this life. I hope that determination of hers sees her through all the trials and hard times and keeps her moving forward to meeting all her goals. She loves her baby named Piggie, not to be mistaken with her self-given nickname of Emi Pig. She refuses to go to bed without her Care Bears blankie and Piggie beside her. She loves to talk on the phone and I SO foresee her being the class clown. She fights with her brother like crazy, but equally loves and adores him. And each time I look at her, I see potential in so many areas.
Malachi is our caboose. The son for which we prayed God would give us. Adoption isn't easy. But everything in me knows it will have been worth it. Because he's worth it. And gracious how he's such a smart kid. Before he even turned two he could sing the entire alphabet and Jesus Loves Me. He's smart beyond his age and has an extensive vocabulary. I mean, he already speaks in 7-8 word sentences and he's barely over two. He loves trucks and Paw Patrol and cuddles up with his stuffed zebra Daddy got him each night. He loves to eat and be around people. And someday I see him being a singer. Oh how he loves to sing. Every time we go somewhere, he'll be singing parts of all the songs on KLOVE. I hope he never loses his love for music and singing. He too is head-strong and while I have to keep his in check just as much as Emilee's, I also foresee that determination taking him far, helping him become whatever he wants to become, with us standing beside him cheering him on. Because he too has such great potential.
I remember someone saying that Anna has such high goals. I mean, a doctor! That's not a small task to undertake. And for her to be just 10?? Truth is, she's wanted to be an OB/GYN for the past 2 years. And I don't know if it'll change or not, but here's my point. This person said "It's not like she has a goal to be a stay-at-home mom. That's not exactly a lofty goal, but a doctor?!?"
Yes. I'm a stay-at-home mom. And perhaps this person had a foot-in-mouth moment that they later realized. But here's what I'm taking from that.
This stay-at-home momma is raising children who have lofty goals!!
I have one who wants to be a doctor and bring life into this world.
I have one who wants to become a hero and serve our country by joining the military.
And I have two that while they're still toddlers, I have no doubt will make their marks on this world too.
You see, I didn't set out to be a stay-at-home mom. I mean, shoot, I have two college degrees. I was a 10 year old kid playing counselor with my friends. I had my pretend files and my cassette tape recorder so I could record our "sessions", because as a kid, I too had a lofty goal. To be a counselor. To make a difference in this world by helping people.
And you know, even though I'm not presently out in the field, I'm still getting to do this every single day. I get to raise world changers. Children who will one day be adults making an impact on this world. And while most kids never sit around dreaming about being a stay-at-home mom, I'm more and more convinced that it's my role as a mom which will make the greatest impact.
I have an All Star Team and I plan on being the best coach I can for them. And yes, that's hard. I fail every single day. But just as I'm convinced that my role as their mom will have the greatest impact, I'm also convinced that it's in my determination to stick with it that more than just them will see the benefits.
Lord willing, may I coach them well.