Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Answers to a Mother's Prayers

I have to tell you about my L. She's funny, smart, and thoughtful. Once she's your friend, she'll defend you to the death. She's also VERY shy. Approaching people scares her. She has no problem if other kids approach her, but she struggles if she has to initiate things.

Since we moved here about a year and a half ago, she's had a hard time finding her groove. It didn't help that things were a bit cliquish in her 1st grade class and that the couple of kids that she asked to play at school said no. It worked out alright though. One of the girls in our ward (local church congregation) who is a year older than my L sought her out to play most days until L made some school friends to play with at recess.

Even though she had school friends, she didn't have any friends of her own to play with outside of school. (In our old town, she had plenty of little friends that she was invited to visit ... )L had a hard time watching M, who's super outgoing, get invited to play dates and birthday parties regularly. Don't get me wrong; my L's not one to complain, and she was happy for her sister. I know that she just wished that she could go play too. In fact, the weekend before school started this year, L said to me, "Mom! Maybe second grade will be the year that someone asks me to come play at their house." (Insert a mother's breaking heart here ...)

This year, I was concerned with the teacher that was selected for my L. She needs a challenge academically, and this teacher is not known for that. I was going to approach the school about having that changed, but I really didn't feel good about it. I decided that I would assign her homework on the days that she didn't have any given. By the calm feeling that came with this decision, I knew it was the right choice. Being a mom, I still worried ...

Last weekend, we found out that M's best friend, A, has a little sister,T, who would be in L's class this year. The first day of school, L didn't talk much to T. She did play with a girl from her class last year though. The second day of school, L came home bursting with news. She said that she and T were now friends-- that they had played together all day long at every recess. She was over the moon.

Later that evening, L and I were talking. I told her that I was so proud of how brave she was and wasn't it worth it to go outside her comfort zone and talk to this girl? L smiled and said, "It was all worth it, Mom! Cause now T and I are friends!" She went on to tell me that she had just needed a day to think about things and decide how she felt about everything. L told me that she watched the first day, the second day she played with T for a while, and then, she asked herself, "Should I ask her if she wants to be friends with me? And YES!-- I said in my mind-- I should. And I did. And we are!"

I could have cried great tears of joy right then if it wouldn't have showed her how concerned I have been. As is, I just told her again that I was proud of her for doing something that is so hard for her.

Today, L came home and said that A was going to call our M. She said that T was going to see if L could come and play with her when M went to play with A. I didn't think much of it until A called. M answered the phone, and from the conversation, you could tell that L was included in the invitation. She literally screamed for joy before she caught herself and realized that she wasn't supposed to do that in the house, but since I felt like doing the same thing, I didn't remind her about that particular rule.

L was thrilled. She and her sister are at their play date right now. I know that this sweet T is one of the reasons that L needed to stay in this class at school. L is bursting with confidence from knowing that she can talk to people and that good things can happen. She finally got the play date that she's been longing for this last year and a half. If I could, I'd heap blessings on the head of those girls mother A) for raising beautiful, kind girls who are truly the kind of people that a mother would handpick for her girls' friends and B) for her kindness in inviting my children into her home -- answering a mother's prayers and giving a little girl her dream.

Monday, August 22, 2011

"My Life's Just Like That Lots of Times ... "

We found out today when the school musical will be. Both the girls are planning on trying out, but L is SUPER excited since she's finally old enough to be in it. As we were reviewing the schedule, we saw that the performances will begin on L's birthday. She is tickled pink!

This discovery has launched a giggling tirade; "My life's just like that lots of times, you know. Everything happens on my birthday. Would you like to know some of the things that happen on my birthday?!?"

1. (Insert counting fingers here) M's stitches got out on my birthday last year.
2. President's day was on my birthday last year.
3. The play this year.
4. Opening presents on my birthday.
5. President's day was on my birthday! (Apparently, that one made quite an impression ... )

M's First Day in Fourth Grade ...

My kids' school? Totally haunted ... I KNOW!! There's, like, a ghost dog, a ghost girl (who, by the way, is actually a preschooler that got sucked into the storm grate somehow ... ) AND the third grade bathroom-- totally haunted. There's a stall that's always shut & you can feel someone breathing on your neck.

(Apparently, it was a good day in my M's world. This is the same child who told her sister that there was a dead princess in the attic ... )

Friday, August 19, 2011

Another Quick Update ...

Well, we've all survived the summer. (There were days that none of us were sure that would happen.) My final grades were posted for summer semester-- 6 A's and a B-. Since the B- was in my Pol Sci stats class, I can be content with that one. I'm looking forward to never pulling that kind of summer load again. (Knock on wood, cross my fingers, and beg my guardian angel ... )

The girls are growing up so quickly. I'm torn between missing my itty-bits and being so overwhelmed with gratitude for these glimpses of the women that they are growing into. M sat through all of church services last week and actually listened intently. (She had coloring stuff there, but she willingly chose not to use it-- no prompting from me at all.) Some days, she seems so mature that I wonder where my little girl went. L has these flashes of insight that make you forget that she's only seven. They're going to be beautiful women when they get where they are going. For now, they're beautiful girls ...

We've instituted a family movie night every Friday. What fun that has been! Tonight was our second official movie night. It's a time when we put away EVERYTHING else and just snuggle in and watch a show. Oh, how we've all needed that.

School is starting for the kids on Monday. I'll miss being at home with them, but we're looking forward to things becoming a bit more routine again. My fall classes will begin in another week, and we should be able to settle in well after that.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thankful, Thankful

* my girls -- they're my greatest challenge and my joy that I couldn't live without

* extra time with them

* watching them mature and learn to reason things through more thoroughly

* that others love and watch out for my girls as well

* our home

* living in a safe place

* plenty of food

* the skills to use it well and with variety

* the opportunity to pursue my education

* knowing that there is an end in sight

* the opportunity to develop new talents

* a functional car

* decent tires

* gas money

* a job that helps pay for my education, allows me to be home when my kids are (mostly), and lets me do something I love

* so many avenues to write-- journal, blog, English classes, and just because ... Seriously, such a blessing.

* fabulous, wonderful friends who love us even in our ugliest moments. I don't know how I lucked into so many beautiful friends, but I thank God for you EVERY SINGLE DAY!

* Family, family, family! With everything that's been going on the last couple of years, I'm not always as on top of family time as I should be, but I love, love, love them (immediate and extended-- on all sides.)

* The opportunity to try and be a better mom each day

* The icky days tend to be few and far between (as a general rule!)

* Countless more, but this'll do for now ...

Taking Time to Remind Myself

This summer has been tough. I feel like I've grumbled-- a lot. Yesterday was kind of the culmination of three months worth of stress. Nobody at this house was very happy. (Can you say three moody females in one very small two bedroom apartment? Throw in a very nasty finals week and a high temperature in the 90's ... It's a recipe for disaster!) It was definitely a project fail sort of day.

Today, thankfully, was the antithesis of yesterday's woes. While I still spent much of the day researching and completing a final essay and a huge final project, I had one goal in mind-- to be finished in time to have a movie night with the kids. They've had some disappointments this summer and needed a distraction. The stars actually aligned, and we had our movie night; it was BEAUTIFUL! No pressure from homework waiting on the back-burner, no rush to get somewhere or to check on other things. I can't remember the last time we've had such a peaceful together time.

In finally having time to stop and think about things, I realized that I haven't been nearly as grateful for things this summer as I should be. I thought that perhaps I needed to stop and remember how much I truly have to be thankful for.