Sunday, March 9, 2014

Wonderful Weekend

Had all three kiddos home again this weekend. When the above ages they fought like cats and dogs but now genuinely like each other. This pleases a momma.

My kids have been through so many different stages. TJ was just a toddler when I met Tim. This is TJ two years later at our wedding, dapper in his little bow tie.
I didn't have Zach til TJ was about six or seven so practiced on TJ for a while to get my momma feet wet. Sometimes I did okay and sometimes it was an epic fail...see picture below:
You'll have to click on the picture to make it larger to see the look on his face. We went to Florida with my sister and her two boys who were a couple of years older than TJ. I thought it would be a great idea to have our picture taken on the balcony of the condo. We were only on the second floor. Seems TJ didn't really take a shine to my idea and was terrified. It looks like I am choking him but assure you I wasn't. TJ was a very sensitive little kid. He would cry when his man "Got kilt" while playing Nintendo's Mario and Luigi. That used to make Tim so mad. He was always a sweet kid  and thankfully survived my lack of parenting skills as well as harassment from his two older newly acquired cousins, who were rough and tumble as they come.

I remember one time we were doing something together and was chanting old high school chants and cheers. I started "U-G-L-Y, You ain't got no alibi, You UGLY, yeah yeah, you ugly!" TJ immediately started crying, sobbing through his tears, "I am NOT  ugly!"

 For Pete's sake, I was just kidding. My bad.

Seven years later, enters Zachary. I always loved this pic of him in a bubble bath. He had a totally different personality from TJ's and always marched to the beat of a different drum.

I remember one time when playing a Spy he had on the funniest outfit, and yes I took a picture. (telling him he looked so cool)

Notice where his tie is clipped! TJ never caused me a minute's worry when he was a little kid.  Zach was constantly getting stitches or getting into ridiculous situations. He has a sense of humor like mine but a brilliant mind I WISH was like mine.

 This was the time he took the outfit off Massey's My Size Barbie. Boy, that one made Massey furious!
Zach's always been a thinker. He hasn't always made good decisions but can tell you anything you want to know about pretty much most everything. He built his own first computer. He knows tons about history and science. He knows the components for an atom bomb and can weigh in on most any conversation. I left for work one day when he was younger and my next door neighbor who worked for the FAA stopped me. He said he was washing his car the day before and Zach came over to talk. He said "Your boy knows more about the Airbus than I do, and I work for the FAA. He's a pretty smart kid!"
I wish he used that fascinating brain a little more often but will come in handy for sure!

Then along came Massey.

On the morning of August nineteenth I arrived at the hospital by ambulance at four AM. I think she was born at four twenty. I should have known then I was in for a lot of drama with this one! After a two week stay she came home with us and has been ruling the roost ever since.
For the first four years she was so quiet I thought they had given me the wrong baby. She was the prettiest little thing with adorable curly hair and everybody doted on her. 
My sister's oldest son adored Massey and had all the patience in the world with her. He was probably about  thirteen or fourteen at the time. We used to all go on vacation to the beach together every summer. Casey (my nephew) was sitting in a chair in the living room of the house we rented one summer watching ESPN  when little Massey wandered over and climbed up in his lap. He put the remote down and started talking to her in a sweet voice asking her questions and making a big to-do over her. After a few minutes she simply got up and wandered off to another part of the room. Little Zach was probably six or seven and a wiry little monkey. He noticed the vacancy Massey had left and ran over in his little Power Ranger briefs to climb up in Casey's lap for his turn. Casey abruptly shoved him off by smacking him on the chest and roughly saying "Get OFF me BOY!" Zach just turned and went elsewhere. Yes, Massey was the princess and Zach was the court jester.
For the most part they all got along pretty well.

TJ was a good big brother to Zach and Massey had everyone else wrapped around her finger tight as one of her curly locks of hair.
TJ is six years older than Zach , which is a big gap when you're kids. TJ left home after his freshman year at college and they started to all drift apart.

For a few years Zach went through a rough patch and often wondered if he'd make it. He did but it wasn't easy...for any of us and especially him.
He made some mistakes but paid for them. What's even better is he LEARNED from them. The past two years he has turned his life around and is making tremendous strides.
TJ moved to Australia for a year and doing what I wish I'd done when in my twenties. Explore the world and travel. He's heading to New Zealand  in December for another year abroad.
These three kids have given me so many sweet memories, funny stories to tell and yes even a few tears but  wouldn't change a thing even if I could.
It seems like last week I was taking them to skate night or the tee ball field. Children are an incredible adventure, investment and reality check. When you have kids, perspectives and values totally change all for the better if you do it even remotely right. You'll go through tough times, everyone does. You learn about yourself when you have the responsibility of raising another human being.

I've never been the best parent but have always loved my kids and think I've done okay. At least they are all still alive. I'm not being funny but totally serious. I bet at least ten friends of my kid's aren't. Some died from cancer or other illness. A couple died in car accidents. One was murdered. A few fell into battles with addiction and lost. Things like this simply didn't happen when I was a kid and if they did were an extremely rare occurrence.

 Being a parent, especially a mother is a privilege. Your kid comes out of your body a clean slate. It's up to you what to write on it and to teach them how to use it in a positive way.

I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be...

I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone's shadows
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I'll live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can't take away my dignity
Because the greatest love of all
Is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all
Inside of me....

And if, by chance, that special place
That you've been dreaming of
Leads you to a lonely place
Find your strength in love.

I know, how ironic to use lyrics from a Whitney Houston song...but are pretty spot on.

I had wonderful parents and an awesome childhood. Just hope my kids look back one day and feel the same way.

Til next time...MOMMA COTTON

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