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  • Do you see what I see?

    Four children.

    Four extremely different children.

    Four children whose mirrors constantly show a reflection of who their mother is from four different viewpoints.
     

    I am a better person because of those reflections that shoot back at me through their bright eyes, tear stained cheeks, air fist pumps, or the shrugging of shoulders.

    In other words, I can tell within seconds whether I have been nominated for Mother of the Moment or whether my children are interested in becoming wards of the state.

    I find it strange that when children are born, parents aren’t given a manual to help raise them. But when you open the overpriced blender you had to have on your over the top wedding registry, you are strongly suggested to read the 10 page instruction manual so that you can blend appropriately!

    I believe that God, however, gives children eyes that are seared with mirrors immediately upon entering the world. At least my four children were born with them. And I would be remiss to say that at my worst mom moment, I wanted to pluck those mirrors right out. Why? Because there is pure brutal honesty staring me right between the eyes and looking right into the depths of my soul.

    My children make me a better person. Why? Because at the end of the day, I want to be better for them. The only way is to take a hard, honest look at what their reflections are saying. But I know that I can do hard things.

    Even when I am lacking the energy to keep going.

    Even when my plans for a healthy, organic dinner turn into serving boycotted Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

    Even when I continue to serve up a dose of insert foot into my mouth and swallow versus building them up, like I had planned to do that very morning after reading Brene Brown’s latest book.

    Occasionally I will look into my kids’ eyes and almost hear their mirrors asking me, “Do you see what I see?”
     

     

     
    Mom,

    I see you as being the best server of ice cold milk in my princess sippie cup. Nobody serves it better.

    I see you as sometimes being more consumed with your phone than wanting to play Chutes n’ Ladders.

    I see you as the bath time enforcer, the best giver of bear hugs, and as an animated reader of ‘Harriet, You’ll Drive Me Wild’.

    I see that you are happiest when Daddy makes you laugh, so I try really hard to make you laugh and often ask, “Mommy, Am I making you laugh?”

    I see you as wanting to bring order to our house and my life, but all I want to do is read one more book, sing one more song, stay up a little later, or have you help more often in my preschool class. I want to be with you as much as possible.

    I see you as my mom. And, I love you. – Sam
     

     

     
    Mom,

    I see you as perfect. I want to be perfect like you. Everyone tells me that I am just like you. And I just don’t want to let you down.

    I see you lose your cool after dinner when you are tired. I don’t understand it, so I bring you my papers to show you my grades and I see you realize that you screwed up. I see you shake your head.

    I see you as fun and creative. I would stay home and read, bake, draw, paint, and scrapbook with you if I could.

    I see you as out of shape. I see you as saying that your health is important, so I just don’t understand why you continue to struggle with drinking soda. You beat cancer, why can’t you stop drinking something as simple as soda? I want you to lose weight for you, but also for me. I hope that’s ok. I don’t want to hurt your feelings.

    I see you as my mom. And, I love you. – Emily
     

     

     
    Mom,

    I see you as a mom who likes to have fun. You understand my love of play so you often take me to the indoor trampoline park or to the movies for buttered popcorn. You will even try to keep up with me by shooting hoops.

    I see you as a mom who is passionate about sports and I think it’s cool that you know all the names of the Sports Center anchors and the U of A basketball players. It’s actually really cool.

    I see you as getting frustrated with me more than the girls. I see you scratching your head and questioning why I have to work harder at school than the girls. And I don’t understand why either.

    I see you as two different moms sometimes. One that really wants to build me up and one that wants to shake me by the shoulders, but I know that you love me. I see you as wanting to be the better mom. And I want you to be more like her, too.

    I see you as making the best cupcakes in town. And I love when my friends ask for me to bring cupcakes to school. I brag about you and I am proud of you.

    I see you as my mom. And, I love you. – Ben
     

     

     
    Mom,

    I see you as fiercely loyal to dad. I think that is pretty cool, because you both are better people because of each other. I watch you both very closely.

    I see you as hard on me. I think you are very protective of me and want me to succeed. But right now, I just want to be a teenager. You just don’t understand. You never were my age. Times are different.

    I see you as funny and my friends think you are hilarious. That makes my life easier because I care about what they think a lot.

    I see you struggling to lose weight and I wish I could do something. I saw you scared this year and thought you were sick again. That thought terrifies me. I already lost one parent and I would be mad at you if you left me, too. Don’t leave me. I would never forgive you for that.

    I see you and realize that we could be good friends one day. Sometimes I wish we could be friends and watch 80s movies together, take each other’s pictures, and share mascara and shoes. But then you go and act like a mom again and that frustrates me.

    I see you as my mom. And, I love you. – Rebecca
     

    Today I am taking a deep breath and focusing on the wonderful, diverse reflections that I see when looking at my children. I have work to do, but I am choosing to do hard things today.

    I am embracing all of the reflections. And because of them, I am choosing to become a better person.

    What do the mirrors say about you? Please remember, there is always more good being reflected than we give ourselves credit for. Soak that in before beating yourself up with the ugly. No shame is involved in this process! Only taking a deep breath, being honest with yourself, choosing and working towards change, and moving forward. We can do this. I believe in us.

    Blessings sweet friends,
    Jenny


    16 Comments

    Comments

    ChrisyC

    Wow Jenny…….just simply wow.
    Incredibly moving and touching. You’ve brought tears to my eyes.

    4 April 2013 at 5:37 am Reply
    Jen Kinkade

    You really are gifted with the ability to write words in a very profound and introspective way. Well done, my friend!!
    This would be a hard task for me to undertake…just that words don’t come easy to me.

    4 April 2013 at 6:59 am Reply
    cathy stolze

    I admire and respect you so much for the way you choose to live life. 100% real! xoxo

    4 April 2013 at 7:09 am Reply
    cathy stolze

    By the way, the first sentence Rebecca wrote is the most important thing a mother can give her kids…to know that their parents are in love and commited. That security is priceless. Everything else works itself out.

    4 April 2013 at 7:15 am Reply
    Meghan

    Tears at my desk at work and I haven’t even had my coffee yet! It does feel like the mirror will show a lot of “not good enough,” but you remind me that it is really “room for improvement.” Thank you, Jenny. And I will try harder to recognize the good, too <3

    4 April 2013 at 7:16 am Reply
    Sarah K

    Wow. I’m just floored by this. The honesty you write with is so refreshing and convicting at the same time. It’s such a challenge to see ourselves through our children’s eyes, but it is so incredibly needed sometimes. This was amazing and I applaud you for your insights!

    4 April 2013 at 7:21 am Reply
    Betsy

    Jenny-WOW!!!! I am so impressed that you can be brutally honest, yet the love shows through in all your words. I have so many regrets as a mother and I am sure you will have some as well, but it sounds like the good stuff is so important to you and your family.

    4 April 2013 at 7:39 am Reply
    Sarah

    Making me cry — I am going to do this on the weekend…the good and the bad.

    Love you my friend. You are amazing!!!

    4 April 2013 at 7:59 am Reply
    melissa

    Jenny,

    This was very powerful. Made me cry. Thanks for sharing something so raw.

    4 April 2013 at 8:38 am Reply
    Jeri Ann

    Thanks, Jenny. Sniff.

    4 April 2013 at 10:27 am Reply
    David Meyerson

    Simply beautiful, Jenny!!

    4 April 2013 at 10:32 am Reply
    allison carter

    I agree with Melissa. I Welles up reading Rebecca’s “letter.” Beautiful.

    4 April 2013 at 1:07 pm Reply
      allison carter

      *welled (my phone hates me) :)

      4 April 2013 at 1:08 pm Reply
    Cyndi S

    Love your honesty and courage! <3

    4 April 2013 at 3:47 pm Reply
    Karen

    Ok, I am crying now. You children are telling you something very important. You are MOM and that is what counts the most.

    4 April 2013 at 5:31 pm Reply
    Melissa

    Ouch. Some of that just hurt! I find myself telling my 14 year old son that yes, I most certainly was a teenager and yes, I most certainly do remember. I remember when my husband was on his previous deployment (not the current deployment) and my son wrote a paper in school about his Dad, the hero. His Dad this, his Dad that, his Dad the superman, his Dad the amazing, his Dad the all-powerful, his Dad, his Dad, his Dad. And while I was full of pride in the way my son thought of his father, I felt left out. What about me? You know, the one who is RAISING you alone while your Dad is deployed again? The one who is taking care of everything for you while your Dad misses a quarter of your life before you are even 11 years old? The one who has attended every school function, recital, band concert, school play, sports day, field trip, parents’ night, activity day, read to your class, photographed your classes (multiple years), cub scout event, boy scout event, Pinewood Derby (and even helped you make the cars multiple times with no experience at all), the one who has picked you up and or dropped you off when it was raining, left work early when you were sick, bought you all the cool games for the Wii and Xbox and then learned how to play them with you because Dad wasn’t around to help, taken you to your physical every year so you could go to camp … mind you, the SAME camp in Virginia for 8 consecutive years, traveling from four different states? What about THAT person? That paper nearly broke my heart. But here’s the thing. That young man is fiercely loyal to me and incredibly protective of me. He has stepped up to the plate and done everything in his power to “take care of me” during the current deployment. When I had the flu for two weeks, he came home from school every day and would walk to the commissary to pick up whatever I needed and then walk to the post office to pick up the mail. He constantly asks if I’m okay. He worries about me frequently. He has been my number one cheerleader in my weight loss journey while his Dad is gone (18 pounds down, 23 to go!). He doesn’t mind if I want to play MarioKart when he really wants to play Call of Duty. He doesn’t mind hanging out with me, even as a teenager. And I realized how lucky I am. He doesn’t have to write a paper about me and how awesome he thinks I am. He shows me every single day. As always, thanks for sharing Jenny. Your post released a flood of emotions for me. Thanks for letting me ramble.

    6 April 2013 at 7:03 pm Reply

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