I could not be more blessed when it comes to family.
We aren't perfect. No family is.
I have felt anger, frustration, worry, and sadness with each family member here.
And I'm certain they have all felt those same emotions about me.
If we hadn't experienced those times, we wouldn't be normal.
Humanity was built with struggles.
How we deal with those struggles is what sets us apart from one another.
My own family was broken from the moment it began.
My parents came from families that were broken.
I don't mean, broken as in divorce. I mean broken as in dysfunctional.
Love was conditional.
World War II
Paycheck to paycheck
More children than were wanted or could be afforded
My parents did not have good roll models.
They did the best they could.
You can't build a house without all the right tools.
You can't build a family without all the right tools, either.
My dear husband, Eric was raised in a house with all the right tools.
He learned how to disagree, to fight, to make a plan and follow it through, to save money, to make money, to think before acting, to never say things he couldn't take back, to be patient, to smile, to hug, to uphold, to encourage
and most of all:
to love unconditionally.
Without him, I would not have learned the right tools or how to use them.
Tools, that he and I can pass down to our children.
Our three greatest blessings in life.
Our first born.
The one we made the most mistakes with regarding eating, sleeping, travel, formula, diapers, etc.
They failed to give us the parenting manual when we left the hospital.
He's very nearly grown up.
We've had grown up problems with him.
Problems that drove us all to our knees in prayer.
They are trivial problems in the greater scheme of life.
Problems we are working on and have nearly overcome.
If you raise a child to think for themselves and do as their heart leads them, you must be prepared for the possibility that they might do just that.
The hardest job in the world is being a parent.
We love him truly, madly, deeply, unconditionally.
I hope he knows that about us.
I think he does.
Her infant months about did us in.
She never slept. Ever. Except in the car.
Folks tend to frown upon parents that want to sleep while driving, so we never slept at all.
Her problem was that she was afraid she'd miss something.
Her mind was always in 5th gear---still is.
Once she began sitting up and crawling, she started sleeping (some).
We finally gave up and brought her to bed with us (ah, sleep at last).
Stupid parenting book, what do they know?
She is a sponge for knowledge---especially when it comes to animals.
We've tried to provide for her love of animals with pets and experiences that help her learn more about the animal kingdom.
She'll leave home soon.
She's headed off to college next fall to study Biology.
Wasn't she just born?
I used to have visions of her living in one of those tree canopy research colonies in the rainforest. Calling from some satellite phone, 150 feet off the ground.
Now I have her on the ground, at a zoo somewhere.
Where ever she ends up, it will be because of that pesky parenting thing we have where we allow our children to think for themselves and follow their hearts.
I won't explain all the nicknames. I'm sure I've missed a few.
He of-many-names, was such a gift for us all.
Not only was he welcomed by Eric and me, he was welcomed by Preston and Jenna.
He was their baby, too.
Preston was the king of helping to entertain Quinn when he was crying.
Jenna loved him so much that I'd have to tell her to "leave the baby alone, please".
With all of us surrounding him, I think it's been tough for him to decide who he is--who he wants to be.
He's good at so many things.
Sometimes he doesn't cut himself enough slack when it comes to learning new things.
He still hugs goodbye and kisses goodnight.
I hope that never stops.
He's kind and gentle.
He will most certainly think for himself and follow his heart.
Thankfully, we still have 4.5 years left before he leaves for college.
Then it will be back to the beginning.
Just Eric and me.
I am so very, very blessed.
Family means everything to me.
I thank God every day for sharing these people with me.