Thursday, June 19, 2008

Five Years and Counting!

Prepare yourselves, readers. This post is going to be a mishmash. See, my oldest turned five yesterday and the night before her birthday I was feeling so good. Husband and I went out to celebrate our anniversary--all the fun happens at once!--and I was thinking about how our marriage has grown (seven years and no itch!) and how much our family has grown. Three kids (the picture above was taken last Easter. This is my last parenthetical notation for at least a paragraph. I promise) feels like a lot but on Wednesday night I was feeling the love of the Lord and was grateful for all the joys and challenges my kids brought with them.

I was feeling so good I was planning a post all about how even though I get PPD with every baby and it seems to be getting worse each time that I knew the worst was behind me and I felt like I had finally made what Elder Maxwell called "The Great Pivot". I was on the up and up.

Then Thursdady morning came and I woke up groggy, but we made chocolate chip pancakes anyway and sang to Number 1 anyway. I love her and I am glad she was born, even if mothering has brought on some of the darkest days of my life, and I wanted to celebrate with her. We'd had a "friend party" last Saturday but I still wanted to mark the actual day. Unfortunately, even though the pancakes were chocolatey delicious the day went downhill from there.

Maybe it's because I was subconsciously reliving her birth (which was traumatic) or maybe it's because we had a check-up for Number 3 and he had fallen another rung on the growth chart--he's gone from the 50 percentile to the tenth in five months--and the doctor is starting to get worred. Or maybe it's because Number 2 is crazy jealous when it comes to Number 1's birthday stuff and so she's been tantrum-ing nonstop. Or maybe it's because my hormones are wild and my medicine doesn't seem to be working. Either way, at lunch I found myself screaming at my kids and wishing I could just escape from it all.

By dinner I was a basket case. I'll spare you the details (mostly because I'm too embarrassed to write it and because they are a little scary--don't worry; no one got hurt) but I was in sore need of a blessing when Husband came home. Number 1 was so sad she said to me, "When you act like this it makes me think you forgot it's my birthday and it's supposed to be a good day." Guilt, anyone? I cried a lot last night.

Anyway, I have a tradition of writing letters to my kids on their birthdays. I try to summarize the ways they've changed in the last year and I detail my favorite things about them. I stick them in their journals--which I try to write in monthly. (I'm not sure why. No one's life needs to be documented that well!) To be honest writing Number 1's birthday letter has been a bit of challenge this year. I wrote her a letter but it felt a little disingenuine since we've had such a rough time lately. So here's the letter I wanted to write but didn't. Maybe I'll let her read it someday. Maybe not.

Dear Number 1,

Mommy here. I feel like I owe you an explanation but I'm not sure where to start. I guess I also owe you an apology so maybe I'll start there.

I'm sorry. Today was your birthday and I wanted it to be a great day. But it wasn't. Sorry. I'm sorry I yelled at you. You didn't deserve it, but there are times I get overwhelmed and don't know what to do and that's when yelling happens. It doesn't change how much I love you or how proud I am of you. It just means I made a poor choice.

I AM proud of you. It's been a rough year, this last one. You've had a hard time adjusting to Number 3, but you have still been an awesome sister. You really do help me a lot. You light up our family with your songs and dances. I love you and can't imagine my life without you.

If you find that last statement hard to believe it's probably because I screwed you up somehow. See, baby, Mommy has troubles and sometimes I take them out on you even though I shouldn't. Please believe that I am trying my very hardest to be the kind of mommy you want and deserve. But when I fall short, which I inevitably do, try to remember that I'm only human and that it honestly doesn't change my love for you.

I wish I could explain all this better but I can't. I'll need a lot more therapy before I have that much insight! I want you to know, though, that God loves you too and Jesus atoned for all this and that Their love can make this all okay. I wish I could tell you that this won't happen again, but I can't. Mommies make mistakes, but God doesn't and when He put our family together He knew what was going to happen. Somehow or other I have to believe that this is part of His plan and that if we trust Him it will work out.

I LOVE YOU! Maybe if I say it enough it will make up for the mistakes that I make.




Charlotte said...

Oh Lou, this post breaks my heart. Not for your daughter - she'll be fine, I firmly believe - but for you. That you have to struggle so hard. That you are such a good mom but you can't see it. That you are so honest about what so many of us feel. I wish this could be easier for you. But you are right - God is in the details. (((huge hugs)))

Heathie said...

My heart goes out to you, Laura! These are the kind of posts that make me wish I lived closer so I could help out; maybe take Numbers 2 and 3 for an hour or so, so you could have time with kid Number 1 on her birthday.
Pretty much "ditto" to what Charlotte said. Lots of love!

Lura said...

Your letter made me cry! Let me just say that I have days like that, too. I have days when I feel like I've screwed up so bad my kids will probably be traumatized for the rest of thier lives (or worse, forever). But then I am reminded that "God loves [me]. . . and Jesus atoned for all this and that Their love can make this all okay ." That was my favorite part of your letter.

Thanks for being so honest in your blog. I'm sorry to say mine paints a false perfect picture of my "sweet life". I guess I'm not brave enough to write about all my struggles (actually, I do write about them in my personal journal, just not where the whole world can read about them). I guess what I'm trying to say is that I really look up to you!

Laura said...

Thanks for your support guys! I try to be honest about the struggles here because I know it helps me feel better to know that other people go through the same things. Especially when it comes to depression, which can be so isolating (emotionally and physically) it is meaningful to me to make connections and, hopefully, help other feel connected too. Thanks for reading, praying for me, and loving me!

Lucy said...

I have so been there.

Lola said...

As a mom who constantly feels I'm somehow screwing up my kids in irreversible ways, I love that last part:

'Mommies make mistakes, but God doesn't and when He put our family together He knew what was going to happen. Somehow or other I have to believe that this is part of His plan and that if we trust Him it will work out.'

Thanks for the insight. Sometimes I forgot God's in this with me too.