Motherhood, Uncategorized

A glimpse of the man he’ll become: A guest blog by Jennifer Tanner

Nothing in all the parenting books prepared me for this… for seeing him this grown. For this glimpse of the man he will become.

Nothing prepared me for what it would feel like to watch him make real friends… friends that weren’t just friends because of convenience, but friends who would laugh with him, encourage him, and push him to be the best version of himself. Friends who would share his success and feel his disappointment with him. Who stand beside him at the blocks and walk with him through the fire.

And nothing prepared me for how much I’d love all of these kids who have become like family. No one told me how much I’d love the parents who made these kids the kind of amazing kids I’m proud my son calls friends. These parents who understand my kid and love him like their own. Who know the life of a swim parent. Who drive him all over creation and then sit beside me with white knuckles gripping our seats because they want success for him as much as I do.

And finally, nothing prepared me for this sport that has such high highs and such painful lows…this sport that is so exhilarating yet so very unpredictable with fractions of seconds meaning the difference between heartache and elation. Nothing prepared me for the times he’d miss the cut and I’d have to help him pick up the pieces. Just like nothing prepared me for the overwhelming pride I would feel watching him work hard for something… or the joy I’d feel when he achieved his goals. Nothing prepared me for this sport that requires so much from his teenage body and mind. This sport he loves enough to invest hours and hours of his life week after week… enough to pour in his heart and soul day after day. And no one told me that without even realizing it, I’d pour in my heart and soul too.

-Jennifer Tanner

Motherhood, Uncategorized

Hot mess mommas unite!

Listen y’all,

There’s a very fine line that every mom walks. There is a very fine line that determines exactly how much spit up is too much before she needs to change her shirt because she’s trying to pretend to be a normal human being versus just wiping it off, spraying herself with Febreze, and going about her day. But, let’s be honest, it would be completely impractical to change outfits every time some bodily fluid made contact with said fabric because in the end that only adds to the pile of laundry that is already going to be impossible to conquer in this generation. Hot mess mommas are saving that for our children’s children. It’s not global warming they need to fear…it’s residual laundry left waiting to be sorted and folded for decades.

…sometimes it is in everyone’s best interest to let the 3-year-old eat sprinkles before bedtime.

I say, it is time for hot mess mommas to unite. We waste so much time trying to appear like we have it all together – valuable time that could be spent on that unending pile of laundry (or binge watching Real Housewives…whichever).

Listen y’all, I’ve been there. Have you ever had a 3-year-old to tell you to stop being a baby as you sit on the edge of a bathtub with tears in your eyes and your head in your hands? Ever had a 5-year-old say, “I know you’re trying to be a good mom, but you’re just not making good choices.” I have!

When there’s nothing else to be done, embrace it. Embrace the chaos and the mess and the laughter and give yourself a little credit. The kids are fed, although it may be tortillas and yogurt for the third time today. The kids get a bedtime story, although sometimes we skip a few pages to expedite the process. The kids are happy, although sometimes it’s because we celebrated life with McDonald’s for the third time this week. The baby’s diaper is clean, although the old one is now stacked on top of the Diaper Genie that is too full to stuff even one more soiled Pamper. They are finding their independence and who cares if that means mismatched outfits and shoes on the wrong feet?

And best of all, most likely having little to with us and everything to do with the sweetness of their spirits, they are kind and sincere and empathetic and smart and funny. They love fiercely and they see you trying momma. Somehow, intuitively, they know how to humble you like know one else can. But, they also know that a tiny voice saying, “You’re a good mommy,” with arms wrapped around your neck, can move mountains.

It should come as no surprise that there is a very fine line that separates a mom’s sanity from complete and utter derailment. So, listen y’all, sometimes it is in everyone’s best interest to let the 3-year-old eat sprinkles before bedtime. Because sometimes, when you’re a hot mess mom…you. just. can’t. And if you’re asking yourself right this moment, “Can’t what?” then you’re not a hot mess mom and you just wouldn’t understand.

Motherhood

Letters to my Littles: My princess, a daughter of The King

As you lie in my arms and drift to sleep, as I marvel at every feature and every breath, I wish I could see what Jesus sees when He looks at you.

I see your cherub feet.
He sees the mountains they’ll climb.

I see your tiny hands.
He sees the lives they’ll touch.
I see your cherub feet.
He sees the mountains they’ll climb.
I see your precious smile.
He sees the hurt you’ll one day know.
I see the sparkle in your eyes.
He sees the miracles you’ll witness.
I feel your innocent arms around my neck.
He felt your touch before you were mine.
I hear your precious laugh.
He can see the true joy in your heart.

I want to see you like Jesus does. But, for now, I’ll give thanks as I hold you while you sleep knowing that He holds you in the palm of His hand.

What we both see in you is a princess. Because you, my precious gift, are a daughter of The King.

Mommy loves you.

Sweet dreams princess
I pray I never forget the feeling of your hands in mine as you sleep.
Life lessons

Life is now.

Listen y’all…

Too often we spend too much time anticipating the future that we miss out on the beauty that is right now. As I searched through rows of quaint shops in a small, charming German village for the perfect sign for my new home’s entry table I stumbled across a vintage-style sign that simply read, “Life is now.” It was everything I was looking for. I was so proud of my find that I rushed home and carefully placed it on the easel that had sat empty for weeks. Then, in true male fashion, my husband burst my bubble with one question: “What does that even mean?”

Let me back up before I give you the answer.

I’m a planner, and though he doesn’t fully realize it, my husband is too. As active duty Air Force, our life isn’t always suitable to planning, but in 2016 we had a great life going. We were stationed close to home and surrounded by family. We found a family in our church home like nothing we’d ever known before. I had a career I loved. We bought our first home. We started our family. One boy, one girl. Our family was complete and our world was turning out perfectly as planned.

Wherever you are, whatever season, whatever place…life is now. Don’t waste today waiting for tomorrow.

Then, in July 2017, a surprise came in the form of two pink lines, which meant the family we planned was expanding. We felt blessed, of course, but thrown off track at the same time. Then, as we prepared to wrap our minds around this new future, in October 2016 we received orders overseas. An adventure no doubt, but an adventure that would tear us from the family and friends that we loved so dearly and the world that was easy to plan.

As we made our way across the sea with our new beautiful and perfect addition to our family, another boy, I found myself constantly thinking about how I couldn’t wait to get back “home”. It was a strange feeling because after 13 years in the military I had come to know that “home” is where the Air Force sends you. I kept thinking about the travels we could have when the kids were older. I found myself just holding out for the days when the newborn in my arms was no longer nursing, or the little princess was no longer napping, or all three kids were in school. I was looking forward to final orders and a forever home. I longed for Sundays when we’d be able to worship with our church family again. I held my breath for the days and weeks our kids could enjoy with grandparents and cousins. I grumbled at the reality that my career would have to start from ground zero once again.

And then, in the back room of a quaint shop in a small village in Germany I received a sign, literally and figuratively. Life is now, and if I wasn’t careful, I was going to miss it.
How lucky are we to be able to give our children the opportunity to experience life overseas? What a blessing it is to be able to rely on God to uncover the plan he has for us to serve Him in our new surroundings. What a treasure our young children are, at their wonder of the world and how desperately we’ll miss them when these fleeting moments are gone. There are so many adventures we can go on now.

So, listen y’all. Don’t wait for your children to grow. Don’t wait for your forever home. Don’t wait for the comforts of the life you once knew to return. Don’t wait for life to get easy or for your job to get more stable or for your bank account to grow. Don’t wait for whatever it is that you think is better in the future. Life should never be put on hold.

Wherever you are, whatever season, whatever place…life is now. Live it. Love it. Be grateful for it.  And hang on, because if you allow it to be, this life can be a grand adventure right now.

Life is Now

Motherhood

I didn’t cry when my son went to kindergarten

Listen y’all…

I didn’t cry when my firstborn went to kindergarten.

Does that make me a bad mom? Before your initial gasps turn to hasty judgement, let me explain.

When the first day of kindergarten came for my oldest child, I was more surprised than anyone by my lack of tears. I wasn’t sad. I was so incredibly excited for him. He was excited and he was ready with his new backpack, fresh haircut, and perfectly clean sneakers. He’s smart and independent and I knew he’d blossom. I couldn’t wait to see what awesome adventures he’d get himself into. So, I didn’t cry. I wasn’t sad. What I was, was scared. More than that; I was terrified.

My mind swirled with questions I couldn’t possibly answer.

I felt like I needed more time to shelter him from the harsh realities of life outside mommy’s arms. My mind swirled with questions I couldn’t possibly answer. Were the teachers going to love and cherish him? Was he going to make friends? Would he be kind to those who were left alone on the playground or would be the one left out? Would peer pressure prove to be too much? Would an angry lunch lady make him cry? Would he miss his mom?

I need my baby to feel loved. Even when he fails, and he will, I want him to know that there is always going to be someone who is proud of him. Would his teacher be that person or would he face ridicule like he’s never known?

So, I stood there on that first day watching him walk away to a new adventure holding onto both straps of a backpack that was nearly as tall as he was. I was welling with pride and shaking, not from tears, but from fear of releasing my firstborn child into a cruel and unforgiving world, praying that he’d be kind and receive kindness. Praying that he’d find a friend and be a friend. Praying that he would feel loved, but still rush home missing mommy.

Lord, protect my baby as he grows and forgive me for not crying on his first day of kindergarten.

Adventure awaits