The Moment I Realized I Wasn’t Expecting Enough From My Children

The other night my teenage daughter asked if she could have a friend over after summer workouts. Unless we have plans, I never mind her friends coming over. I have ulterior motives but hey, what Mom doesn’t? Her friends are all very well raised, they’re good influences on each other and it gives me a chance to see what there up too. If they’re here, then I know they’re safe.  Plus, it’s summer vacation and she’s a good girl, so why not?

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I told my daughter that her friend could come over as long as she cleaned her room and her bathroom. Now I’m kind of a clean freak so I expect things to look a certain way and the kids actually do a pretty good job keeping the house up to par with only a mild bit of nagging from me. As the night passed she and I did the things that we normally do. We watched movies, I did her hair, she played with her sister and she chatted on Facetime.

About 11:00 pm, I told her she needed to go to bed because she had to get up about 5:30 am for workouts. Then I realized that she hadn’t cleaned the bathroom. I asked her Dad go and check to see if she had done what she was supposed to. She hadn’t. She told her Dad that she had done everything but clean the tub. How do you clean a bathroom without cleaning the tub? I didn’t remember smelling any Clorox and I knew for a fact that she hadn’t come and gotten the broom. Uh oh. Activate Mommy Dearest mode.

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I stood there in the kitchen fuming. I felt a massive rant coming on.  This behavior was absolutely unacceptable. She had no problem asking me if her friend could come over. As a matter of fact, lately anytime she’s wanted something, she’s had no problem asking for it. But when I ask her to do one simple thing, she conveniently “forgets”. How disrespectful.

I headed back to the bathroom intending to deliver her a lengthy lecture. I planned to tell her how hard her Father and I worked so that she could live this life and how she was behaving very selfishly, among other things. As I stormed towards the bathroom, it hit me. My daughter’s shortcomings in doing what was asked of her, were my shortcomings as a parent. The entitlement that my daughter was exhibiting, began with me.

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I have three children so please don’t misunderstand me. I’m no stranger to discipline. I’m not ‘that parent’ that feels like their children can do no wrong. I don’t allow my children to behave without any consequences or responsibility. I believe in accountability. Spare the rod, spoil the child. So why? Why hadn’t I been expecting more from my children? When did I begin giving them everything and requiring nothing? When did I begin telling them ‘yes’, so much, and ‘no’ not often enough?

I realized that often times, I’m doing the cleaning because I want things to look a certain way. If I do it, I know it’s going to be done right. But if I never really give my children a chance to do anything, then how can I be upset when they do it incorrectly? If I’ve never really taught them to do it properly, then i’m handicapping them. how am I preparing them for the real world?

Instead of delivering that lecture, I made a silent promise. I promised myself that from here on out, I’ll tell my daughter exactly what I expect of her. Instead of just giving my children orders, I’ll help them and show them how to properly do whatever tasks they’re assigned. I’ll prepare them for the world by teaching them that hard work builds character and that they should always give their all. I’ll be the change that I want to see, in them. I’ll lead by example.

Psalm 32:8 – I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

 

 

A Mustard Seed

A year ago I began to feel that God was leading me in another direction. It was a very strong feeling. I wasn’t sure what it all meant or what direction I was supposed to be going in, but I believe that when God speaks, you listen. So I decided to do just that.

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After months of thinking, planning, and praying I decided that I was going to embark on a career as a stay at home mom, freelance writer, blogger, and business owner. It was an idea that I had visited in the past but I never truly opened myself up to. This time though, I felt good about it. I sat down and talked to my husband about my ideas and we decided together that I should go for it. Then I got cold feet.

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I started doubting myself and making excuses. I began to panic. What if I’m not successful? What if this doesn’t work out? What if don’t make any money? What if the financial strain is just too great? What if I can’t get my old job back. The list went on and on. I was literally spiraling out of control with doubt.

I began questioning the plan and the intentions that the Lord had for me. I cried out for him to show me a sign that I was going in the right direction. Now I don’t believe that God is an on demand God, but I know that he is an on time God. He may not show us that sign right when we want to see it, or the way we want to see it; but he always shows us.

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Shortly after that I had my first freelance job and my blog was featured on a major site. I was ashamed. How could ever have questioned him? When has he ever NOT provided? Two days after that, I turned in my letter of resignation.

It’s not always easy to listen to your heart, but to not be obedient is to sin against him. Giving up complete control and surrendering yourself can be downright scary, but we have to trust in God and his promise.

I don’t know exactly what the future holds, but I know that God always has my best interest at heart. So with my faith in tow, his love surrounding me, and my family by my side,  I’m stepping headfirst into this new adventure. Stay tuned!

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Transition

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A year ago I was on maternity leave with my new baby girl. She was 3 weeks old. I was officially a Mom of three. I would soon return to my full time job in Law Enforcement. Life was good. Happy marriage. Beautiful children. Nice house. Dog. Two trucks and a car. We were living the American Dream.  I had no way of knowing then, but my life was about to change in a big way.

Fast forward to 3 months later. I get a call at work. The baby had some labs drawn and some of the results could be abnormal. They need to us to come into the office. We go into the pediatrician’s office the next day and we’re told that her liver levels are high, her bilirubin is elevated, and her spleen is enlarged. What? They tell us that we need to take her to Children’s Hospital. Now.

We get to Children’s and they admit her for observation. And the wait begins. Over the course of the next week we meet doctors, nurses, surgeons. She undergoes CT scans, more bloodwork, a liver biopsy. Diagnosis. We find out that she suffers from a rare liver disease. Our sweet baby girl. Oh God, oh God, oh God. This can’t be happening.

But it is happening. Biliary Atresia. It occurs in 1:10,000 infants. It’s a rare disease of the liver in which the bile ducts inside or outside the liver don’t have normal openings, or don’t exist at all. Because of this, bile does not flow properly and remains in the liver which causes cirrhosis. It is the leading causes of pediatric liver transplants. There is no cure.

The next day we release our tiny baby girl into the arms of surgeons for a major surgical procedure called a Kasai. Her bile ducts were removed and a piece of her small intestine was attached to her liver in an attempt to restore bile flow and prevent further cirrhosis. The ideal time to have that surgery is 12 weeks and under. She was 14 weeks at the diagnosis. She comes out of the surgery well but we’re told that there is still a chance that it won’t be successful in the long run.

And just like that, two weeks after our world fell apart, we’re home. Shell shocked. Every cough, sniffle, sneeze, sends us into a panic attack. We have doctor’s appointments twice a month to monitor her liver function. Even a cold could be life threatening. Over the next few months she’s hospitalized twice for an infection called cholangitis. Sleepless nights. Depression. Anxiety. We’re on an emotional roller coaster.

Next come the monthly doctor visits with the gastroenterologist. Monthly visits turn into biweekly visits. Biweekly visits turn to weekly. Finally, we get the news that the Kasai has failed. Our daughter needs a liver transplant. Without one, she’ll die. We break down, we pray, we rage. Why? Why are you doing this to us? Please, please! Let us have her.  How do we come to terms with something like that? Knowing that there is a chance that our child may not get a chance to grow up? That she may be taken from us before she even has a chance to live.

Finally, nearly 10 months later, our life is almost normal again. Our daughter just celebrated her first birthday. We still haven’t come to terms with it yet and I don’t think we ever will. But I can tell you what we do. We fight and we love. As hard as we can. Every. Single. Day. We take every single moment and make it special. We spend as much time together as we possibly can. We hold onto our faith. We celebrate every day. Most importantly, we live.