Tuesday, May 29, 2012

• Today was Toby and Brynn's last gymnastics class for the summer, or maybe forever. I'm hoping to find a slightly competitive co-ed sport with cheerful coaches for a ridiculously low price. Stay tuned to the Denial Channel!

• I have done about 10 loads of laundry in the last 2 days, after taking a week or so off. Sometimes I get sick, or distracted or something and it just escapes me, until the MOG starts slamming drawers and talking about turning his socks inside out, or other clothing. Even when I gently suggest to him, in the manner of our Lord Jesus, that he go run a load of laundry himself, it doesn't ease his pain. "I'll just go to my meeting in a shirt with chocolate on it," he says, like a martyr. I don't have the heart to tell him that's not chocolate. (Disclaimer: humor)

• I have a week and a half left of boot camp. I don't know if my weight has changed, but my shape has changed, and I have gained some serious confidence, which I didn't even know I was lacking. But I have discovered that being cocky and being confident are slightly different. I'm definitely getting stronger. In fact, I signed up for a second round of classes, so you get at least 6 more weeks of whining before I start posting pictures of myself in a swimsuit. I kid. I will never post a picture of myself in a swimsuit, unless I get one of these hot numbers. There should be more rap songs about burkinis.

• R2 will be 13 in like a week. Maybe we'll have a Justin Bieber party. I mean, 13. In related news, likelihood of a Texas cake: HIGH.

• I've got 3 sappy posts to write, about R2 and the twins and about the transition with all the Radiants. I might not write them. Or I might, but you gotta quit busting my chops about it.

• Among the phrases I ALWAYS find funny: pipe down, busting my chops and smell ya later. I don't know WHY these always bring me to an LOL, but they do.


• Most days, I google something that I want to know about. Today it will be the etymology of "busting my chops". Hee. Yesterday it was the Kardashians, because I wanted to know why. I can't say I have found a satisfactory answer.

• Smell ya later.

Friday, May 25, 2012

It's pretty astonishing, the level of slacking I am doing over here at this blog. If you know me, you know I am not so much of a life multi-tasker. I can do small things at the same time, but when it comes to trying really hard at one thing, all the other things are going to get minimal effort. So I have been exercising. Just exercising, not doing laundry or making real meals or returning people's emails. Also I got very, very sick and laid in a fetal position for 3 days, singing old spirituals about that great shore, so cut me some slack, Jack. (I was raised by hippies)


This week, R2 finished 7th grade. I watch Facebook as his peers reach similar ages, and I don't relate. In the frenetic pace of children growing and changing, he stays the same. It's not that he doesn't change at all. He changes like the ocean shore. The tide comes and goes, and leaves the sand every time a little different. His peers, his siblings, are like the rest of the lansdcape in a time-lapse video, birds rising and falling, people running, the sun up and down. He is steady, silent. It's not until you look back that you see something has changed.

The night before his last school day, I changed his diaper and talked to him about it all, how he was going to be an 8th grader and how he is such a big boy now. You get used to it, the silence. I fill the air with words because I believe that Richy is listening on the inside, and I think there's a repository of knowledge and words and an understanding of my quiet hopes that lies inside him, waiting for something. He sits, sometimes, with a knowing smirk.

And I wait, too. The sun rises and falls and he is the same, and I quiet my hopes and my darkest fears, just to be with him, to enjoy him, to be okay with the stillness. Time passes and we wait.

He will become a man and still be a child. Maybe someday we will unlock him and he'll tell us what it feels like to be a human time capsule. Until then, we wait.

Monday, May 21, 2012

I'm gonna try to explain this, but I'm pretty sure I have a fever of 105 and am delirious. Not the band, they have a 5. Deliriou5. But me, the other kind. I can't be sure I have a fever, because our pricey forehead axillary temp thermometer from NASA (exaggeration) was pressed into service to repeatedly take the temperature of a small pink stuffed poodle, and then one time I saw it all exploded on the floor after Tristan Hulk'd it. I put it back together that time, but you just never know. The point is, I can't find it now and no one cares anyway. Why isn't there a thermometer on the iPhone? Come on Apple. Think different. Also, I want an adult playpen. Or like some kind of crib tent for the couch, so I could zip myself up in it and see my loved ones from a distance.


I had a sore throat yesterday, a little headache and such, and then this morning I felt as bad as I do every morning, so I went to my workout and it was brutal. I came home like the elephants do, just looking for a soft place to lay my mortal body down. The thing is, kids. 

They smell blood in the water, these ones. I curled up under a blanket, nauseous and shivering. They circled the bed, gravely concerned about who was going to pour the cereal. I was praying to not vomit, then giving it some thought, then agreeing with myself that not vomiting would be the way to go. Someone found gum in my nightstand and waved it wildly in my direction. I think I said okay, I can't remember. Then they are smacking, everyone smacking and I am trying not to envision the toilet bowl, because once you think about that, you are toast. I bid them go, but they are unmoved. Tristan moves in for a closer snuggle, and he smells like Morning Baby, which is a Bad Thing. After a while, something draws them downstairs and they are gone for a while. I know I will have to clean up whatever the diversion might be, but it's worth it. 

I feel a little better later, although my head still feels like it has a spike driven through my brain and my throat hurts. They are unsympathetic, jumping on the couch, spinning in circles, asking me questions about the universe. I give permission for things. Later I will find the remnants of a massive snack feast, one I suspected when Tristan was poking me in the face with a fistful of peanut butter. 

I'm trying to write this funny but I think my brain cells are being cooked by my blazing fever. I've tried sinus medicine and aspirin, the next thing will be the big guns, ice cream. Should you see the one my soul loves at his all day meetings, please tell him he should either buy ice cream or put a down payment on a mail bride. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

As of today, I have completed 3 weeks of fitness bootcamp. Or has it been a year? I can't remember. All my brain cells have been drafted to keep my feet moving in front of each other. This week, I knew we were running 3 laps on Friday, and I am a little bit concerned about how much of my week was spent dreading that.

I was up hours early with butterflies in my stomach, because it's the unknown, you know? No, you don't and that's the problem. I hate not knowing stuff. So I was awake and giving myself very stern and very silent pep talks, because I did not want interrogation from the peanut gallery. I'm going to do it, I told myself. And I'm not going to be a wuss and walk the whole time. Quit being a wuss! And stuff like that.

I got in my van and texted my sister, who runs 3 miles for fun, in her spare time between crunches.

concerning

So first we did Benjamins, which means 100's of things, this day it was ab stuff. I was the slowest again, which gives me lots of encouraging speech material for my kids- "Hey! I was the slowest today and I thought my guts might explode but I kept going! So quit screaming and pick up that Lego!"

And then I found out it was only 1.8 miles, more like 2.5 because of terrain and whatnot, and I still wasn't reassured. I started weak and made myself run the downhill segments. I have various landmarks that tell me I have to run again, or I can walk, and I consider it a strong testament to my willpower that I pass my minivan 3 times and don't get in it. I passed my comrades multiple times, all of them running. Why am I the only one walking? So I would send a signal to my legs, go, go faster, and they'd be like lift, PLOD, lift, PLOD and my ipod is shuffling constantly because of the jarring, and all of the lawn guys and garage sale ladies are looking at me, because people don't look pretty when they are at death's door. I tried the don't be a wuss speech on myself some more, but then I switched to my internal "I have never exercised in my life" monologue, and shook off the hater inner-speech. I made it. I was last, of course, and I walked a lot of it, but now it's over and I have a whole weekend before I have to do anything like that again.

I called my sister on my way home, sweaty and winded. She was asking me questions, laughing at my jokes, talking about her future plans and her hair, and then I noticed her speech had a little rough cadence to it. " Are you running?" I asked, incredulous. Of course she was. Probably doing a little Sudoku too. Sheesh.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I wrote this for Bound4Life for Mother's Day, but I'll post it here too, in case you missed it! 





Job Title: Mother

Salary range: intangible benefits. Unlimited cheerios.
Location: everywhere
Job Summary:
You will be the primary custodian of a human soul and body. This is an exciting opportunity to shape the course of the known world, using your unique knowledge of the universe and intelligence.
This is a senior position, no experience required. Even if you have experience, it probably won’t help. It is a lifetime appointment.
Key requirements, both built-in and acquired:
• Availability: you must be able to be on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for an indeterminate amount of years. You will have a sleeping room, but it will be public access and will be shared in cases of stomachaches, shadows, moths, nightmares, sibling-imposed injuries and hunger or thirst, and in any other potential circumstance.
• Flexibility: you must be able to make a plan without expecting that plan to be accomplished in the manner in which you planned, i.e., 3 toddlers vomiting simultaneously en route to your long-awaited, savings-emptying trip to Disney World. Also see: dinner.
• Patience: you will endure rigorous tests like enduring 45 minutes of putting on shoes, 1 hour to eat 2 “dinosaur” bites of carrots, and infinite years-long descriptions of triumphs over video game challenges. You will also be responsible for maintaining a professional air while changing the Bob the Builder bedding thousands of times because bladder control is considered optional.
• Diplomacy: you will be required to show appropriate enthusiasm over any and all artwork, even when said artwork is a Scotch tape sculpture. You will also need negotiation skills to navigate sibling disputes over hot topics like who is in fact touching the wrong side of the van seat. You will be frequently required to bring a cease-fire to physical violence. Occasionally, you will sustain injuries. No one will give you a band-aid.
• Proper sense distribution: you will need a magnified ability to see what is in front of you, as well as behind doors, up stairs, and behind the back of your children. Your sense of hearing will need to be maximized, to hear even the smallest whisper of “Let’s swordfight with KNIVES,” and then to be minimized to not hear the roars of the crowd of 5 year olds running through McDonald’s. A weak sense of smell is an asset for this position. Your sense of humor will need to be the most highly developed of all of your senses.
Benefits:
You will lose: your body, your appetite (many times), your patience (all the time), your plans, your inhibitions, many of your fears and your selfishness.
You will gain children: and everything you give up will pale in the light of what you gain. You will gain the aching sweetness of loving someone more than you thought possible. You will gain the pride and the heartbreak of watching them grow. You gain their dreams, and the joy of dreaming with them.
Apply anytime, and shape the future.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I went to a tiny private school as a kid. We regularly participated in a "sport" called kickball, in which you kick the ball and then run the bases. When we weren't doing that, we played Red Rover, the most evil and sadistic game of all time, in which fat little boys in Dockers ran full force into the spindly arms of their female opponents in pinafores. Over the remaining years of schooling, I ran, played volleyball, baseball, basketball, tennis, jumped hurdles, had a brief stint as a bowler. I'm sure there was more, I've probably blocked it all. Everything had one element in common: I was terrible at it. Even now, at 33 years old, I keep hoping I will surprise myself and be awesome at an athletic activity. Like, oh my gosh, who knew I would kill at golf? (I played golf. Did not kill.)

I spent hours, days, months of my life doing physical activities that I hated and was not good at. My childhood was overwhelmingly happy, but all that time sweating and failing feels like such a waste. If I had spent that time reading encyclopedias instead, maybe we'd have cancer cured by now.

And I have this kid who at first glance appears to share my athletic prowess. But I still want him to try, because boys are supposed to do sports, right? I have no doubt that he would very happily stay inside the house all day every day, playing computer games and reading books, and he would not miss the outdoors or gymnastics one bit. I get that. That's kind of how I roll, until my recent psychotic break that has me working out 3 mornings a week until I want to vomit but I can't because my abs won't work.

I have the middle two in gymnastics, and the preschool class was fun, running, doing flips down ramps, all playful stuff. But now he's in this trampoline class and I feel like it's shooting his confidence. The coach is stern, not mean- just not warm and he runs a tight ship of 6 year old trampoliners. Toby is so used to being encouraged and celebrated that he just doesn't know what to do with criticism. Which is a problem, right? You have to know how to roll with the punches. But then I think, why am I setting him up for this, putting him in something I know will be challenging for him and even if he tries very hard, he won't be great at it. My inner scrawny 6 year old wants to give the kid a break and let him quit. My inner grownup parent thinks kids need to be pushed a little and he has to learn to take direction. I am at war with myself.

We've reached an agreement to finish the month and then re-assess. He's okay with continuing, but I don't know how much I can take of him finishing a lesson in tears. I could try another sport, but neither he or I is very excited about taking on an outdoor activity. Blegh. Maybe I should put him in dance.

video

In related news, I am in week 3 of my fitness bootcamp and still very, very bad at it. The good news is I am less bad at it than I was in the beginning. So. That's kind of like progress. Right?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

(Disclaimer: this is humor. I'm not bitter, my day wasn't exactly like this, and my husband is awesome)

Birds gently chirp as my sheer white curtains ripple softly in the breeze. I wake up slowly, only to realize it is 10 in the morning. I prop myself up on pristine white pillowcases and spend a moment enjoying the silence in my spotless sanctuary of a bedroom. After a moment, my kids creep in quietly, carrying a tray with strawberries and thick-sliced bacon. They are dressed in clean, coordinated clothes, their hair brushed carefully out of their faces. My husband tiptoes in behind them, carrying an exotic teapot on a tray. I adjust the long white sleeves of my flowing nightdress and welcome them all for delicate hugs and kisses. 

I am awakened by the sounds of screams. Otherworldly screams, across the hall. It is 7 am. My husband sleeps on his stomach, oblivious. I sit up, moving the pillow without a case to the back and trying to plump the other pillow into more of a pillow shape. The mini-blinds swing into the window frame, over and over, blown by the fan with one screw in its base. My bedroom door crashes violently into the dresser, followed by screaming children dressed in lion costumes and too-short jeans. My husband rolls over and mutters something about noise as they wail the details of their dispute and wrestle on top of my blanketed legs. I adjust my XL t-shirt from the bank and cutoff sweat shorts as I stumble blearily down the stairs for my instant breakfast.

While I finish my breakfast and daintily wipe my lips with a cloth napkin, the children sit in a row and sing an original song they have written in my honor, and then present me with my gifts. I laugh at the handmade cards and then marvel at the picture frames with their professional portraits, a portrait session I was unaware of. The last thing I open is a card from my husband, with a gift card to a spa and a reservation for one night at a nearby resort, alone. 

I sneak upstairs to drink my shake, but the children find me. Their father is in his office downstairs with the door closed. They all climb into bed with me and attempt gymnastic feats, flipping and jumping. One of them smells funny. I give him the shifty eye and he takes it as an invitation, climbing in my lap and wiping my arm with what I pray is the remnant of a banana. I text, passive-aggresively at their father, and after a moment, he comes and encourages them to go somewhere else, which they do for 30 seconds and then they're back.

After the gifts, the kids and my husband head back down the stairs, to clean up the dishes and spend a little one-on-one time with each other. He slips back in after a moment with a couple of books he found at the library and a refresher of tea. "We're leaving," he tells me, smiling. "We'll be back at dinner time. Don't worry about dinner, I'll pick something up." And with that, they are all gone, the house is quiet. After a few hours, I go downstairs and find a bouquet of fresh flowers and a treasure map to the refrigerator, where I find a small shrimp cocktail and a refrigerated chocolate mousse. In the evening, they come back with pizza and a rented movie. 

After sending some relatively hostile glances around the house, my husband tentatively offers a lot of gifts, sometime soon. I accept his offer like a lady, a lady with deep emotional needs and a grudge. He rethinks his offer and takes us all to lunch, where I try to act like it wasn't my idea. A pleasant time is had by all, except maybe the people sitting behind us.

I spend the day with the husband and children I love, remembering how lucky I am, how I prayed for this, how surrounded I am by love and joy and laughter and life. 

I spend the day with the husband and children I love, remembering how lucky I am, how I prayed for this, how surrounded I am by love and joy and laughter and life.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Over the weekend, Brynn had her first dance performance. If you follow or stalk me on my various social networks, you already know this story. But now I'm going to tell it in 300 words or so. So.

She's in the Tiny Tots ballet class, which is fitting because she is a very miniature human. She was incensed the other day because her Sunday School teacher thought she was 3. (She's 5.) She was still griping about it on Tuesday. Way to hold a grudge. I remember everyone used to think I was a little kid (when I was a grown woman) and it would bug me, because I couldn't get no respect, and then people would say, oh, you'll love that when you're thirty. And now I'm 33 and no one ever mistakes me for a youngun at all anymore, and that  bugs me.

Anyway. I was pretty excited about this little dance, even though I knew it would mostly be little girls turning in circles the wrong way and looking confusedly at the teacher and so on. Still, I'm a performer, love stages and acting and singing and whatnot, so this was a milestone in parenting.

So we talk about it for weeks and then we go to the rehearsal and she totally loses it every time she gets stage direction. And every time another girl looks at her wrong. And every time her shoe feels weird. And when she sees me, and when she doesn't see me. And all the other little girls are just letting their lights shine for Jesus, and pointing their fingers here and there, and smiling, while Brynn is having a complete 13-year-old-with-a-pimple-on-picture-day meltdown. So I got a little Toddlers-and-Tiaras-mom on her, like, hissing, "Get back over there and do the dance! I mean, you don't have to. Do you want to go home? Then do the dance!"And she is wailing about how hard it all is, and how that girl (inaudible).

So finally it was over and we went home, and I spent her waking hours very calmly and nonchalantly asking if she was going to scream and run off the stage if I let her do the festival. She made no promises. I played her the song to see if that jogged her memory, but she just scowled at me. So I dropped it. Saturday morning she woke up cheery and confident, and carried that all the way through the rehearsal in the morning and eventually, the real performance. She did what dancers that age are supposed to do, look at the teacher and do an arm movement every now and then. I'm very proud.

Also, I am a little concerned that I might be a pageant mom.


(Brynn is in purple)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Sometimes, in my real life, I have conversations with people where I talk to them with my voice. Usually, I talk with typing, but every now and then someone makes me talk. And one of the topics I usually talk with words about is: birth control.

And most people come at it defensively, because nobody wants to have 20 children, except maybe the Duggars and some of their pals, and they think that I, personally, am against any and all birth control. Lemme clarify: I'm not.

There is a movement that is against any form of birth control at all, and they have good hearts and I trust they are doing what they feel like God has told them to do. For me personally, it took 4 times of my babies coming out half-baked before I realized it was a pattern, and I would be wise to not get pregnant again. So I try to have a heart that loves and celebrates and welcomes children, although in the natural I am preventing further pregnancies.

I personally oppose hormonal birth control only, because hormonal birth control (the Pill, IUD, injections, patches, vaginal rings, etc) use 3 methods to prevent pregnancy, and one of those methods is abortive. To clarify: there are 2 other ways it works, but the risk of it using the 3rd method (thinning uterine lining) is enough for me to avoid it completely. You can read the patient materials that come with your birth control, it is in those pamphlets. This is not a hysterical religious position, it is a scientific fact that is included with every package of hormonal birth control. I wrote about this last year at Bound4Life.

So, quit rolling your eyes, uncross your arms, and ask me with a sassy head tilt, well, then, what should we do? I'll tell you about several other methods of birth control that are not abortive.

1. Barrier methods: these create a barrier between the sperm and the egg, preventing conception. These include condoms (male and female), diaphragms, cervical caps and contraceptive sponges. These are most effective when used in combination with a spermicide. (I personally have no objection to spermicides, my objections begin AT conception)

2. Calendar based (rhythm method): Learning the female cycle and abstaining from sex on her fertile days.

3. Natural Family Planning (NFP) and Fertility Awareness Method (FAM): like the rhythm method, these method involve tracking a woman's cycle, but they are much more involved (and possibly more effective), charting basal body temps and cervical mucus to pinpoint ovulation with great specificity, and then abstaining on those fertile days. These 2 methods are very similar, but not identical. The "textbook" for these and other natural methods is Taking Charge of Your Fertility, a book I recommend to all newlyweds and any married couple trying to step away from hormonal birth control.

None of these methods are as convenient as a pill or a shot, but they do not run the risk of aborting a tiny embryo. (and yes, I know miscarriage happens naturally, A LOT. That is not the same as altering your body chemistry to make your uterus a hostile environment for an embryo and forcing a very early miscarriage.)

If this makes you mad, why? No one is judging you, I am making you aware of the science behind much of modern-day contraceptives and pointing to some ethical alternatives. I will now don my flame-retardant suit.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Next week I'm going to talk about sex. Now that I have your attention, I will talk about something else. But I really am going to talk about that next week. Kind of.

I hope you're sitting down, because I'm going to tell you something that might shock you. I'm not really very athletic. Is everyone okay? I'll tell you more. In 8th grade, I was on a volleyball team. I played for an entire season and never hit the ball over the net. Not once. In high school, they were not easy on P.E. skippers. If we wanted to sit out, we had to... wait for it... write essays. It was torture, but I managed to graduate. You're welcome for all the amusing essays, Conroe High coaches.

For some reason, I have joined this boot camp, this 6 week fitness program. Oh, right, because of my gut.  I'm still not totally sure why I'm doing it. It's 3 days a week in the early morning.

Monday was day one: fitness assessment. We did weight and body fat and other measurements, and we did situps and pushups and other things with a timer. I'm pretty sure I won Overall Worst, although a couple ladies had one weak category or so. Also it was the anniversary of my dad's death. "Your dad died on Monday?" Amanda asked, horrified. No, 12 years ago. But still, it was a little heavy to be so out of shape and have it staring me in the face that day. But my official worst category is running. Lord Jesus, come quickly, because it was bad. I was dead last. Also, I think I need to care more about my rankings, because I have this thing in my brain that is like WHY do I need to run fast, again?

If something catastrophic happens and I have to run, like some kind of alien invasion or robot army, I am so dead. I mean, maybe the adrenaline will kick in and I'll make it pretty far, but those jokers have laser ray guns and heat rays and stuff! What is the point of running from them? And I probably will just get zapped super quick, since I'll be in the way of the advancing robot overlords, running 1.0 miles an hour or something.

And then Wednesday was core exercises, and by core, I mean all of the bruised and bleeding muscles in my torso. Here's the thing. I'm doing it. I'm pretty sure I'm doing it worse than everyone else, but I'm not going home. Occasionally, I do collapse and lie on the mat, panting, in a pool of my own sweat, thinking dark thoughts. But I'm doing it. So on that front, I'm pretty proud of myself. The only other thing I've ever forced myself to do was bedrest for months and months, which was harder, really, because that's all mental. Oh, and we ran and ran and ran. And by the end my legs were like sandbags I was powering from my brain.

Today was when I wanted to write about it, once the trauma and the nausea of day 1 and 2 were over, and I knew I could stay in this thing. Today we did a bunch of stuff in the gym, high knees, heel flicks, something-something twists, side jumps, lunges, jumping squats, kettle ball stuff, a bunch of crunches and awkward dying roach exercises where you lay on the floor with your legs up and move your arms and your gut... I don't know. A lot. It's a continuous cycle for about 40 minutes, with 10 second breaks here and there, and occasionally a mutiny where we drink water without permission, staring stonily at our trainer.

At the end of week one, I am left with, well, extremely sore noodle-legs and a new awareness of muscles around my ribs, but really, I'm surprised at how much more I can do than I thought. Not that I'm doing it well, or correctly, or fast, but that I can keep going. 5 more weeks. Let's do this.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Toby graduated from preschool gymnastics last week, about a year and a half late. It was one of those things, I thought one time, hey, Toby is 6 now, I should probably tell the coaches to move him to another class, but then it was out of my head, replaced by thoughts of Mexican food and a million small worries that I keep around for good luck.
toby-cam
But this week, he moved up to the littler big boy class, not to be confused with the big big boy class, with the yelling coach. Beginner Trampoline, that's the thing. He's been a little nervous about it, because he's never really done something like this without Brynn, and I couldn't promise he wouldn't get the yelling coach. 

He didn't, though. He got a pretty nice older teenager coach, and I watched him go across the gym to his class, not the preschool class where they play at gymnastics, right by the bleachers and the mommies, but across the gym, with the big kids, learning a real sport. I craned my head to see his little tuft of blonde hair sticking up behind the big big boy trampolines, and my heart ached a little. Disclaimer: I am absolutely going to be maudlin about my kids growing up. I guarantee I will be sniffling a little bit for the next 20 years or something. Maybe longer. 

He stood in a line, the smallest of his group. He is less coordinated, more excitable than the other boys, but he is observant and so he learned some of the new movements. It was a death of sorts to sit back and watch the coach correct him, to watch Toby's shoulders telegraph his disappointment at getting something wrong, and then the lift and brightness when the coach congratulated him on an achievement. I just have to sit on these bleachers and watch him learn how to be a little man, in the company of men. 

I know that, I know motherhood is letting go, over and over. Pushing them to try, even when trying means growing slowly away from me. I sat on the bleachers and I watched him try. I was waiting for him to look around for me, to wait for a thumbs up from me, our gymnastics routine, but he was learning how to listen, to follow a leader, to try again, and again and again. So I just sat there, playing with my phone, trying not to need my baby to need me. 

In the last 5 minutes of the class, he got a little insecure and gave me a thumbs up 15 times in a row, which made me feel a little better, anyway. On the way to the car, he told me it was hard, and maybe he wasn't ready for a big boy class. I held his sweaty little hand and told him to try again. 

That's my job, right? Hold their hands, let go, hold their hands. Ache with the loss and the pride and the beauty of these babies God gave me. And let go again. 
 
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