My Crazy Blessed Life…

With a toddler, Kindergartner and a grade 1 child, things can get pretty hectic- especially when you’re trying to plan your weekend or a vacation.

Truth is, I feel so blessed to have three little angels in the house. I am truly inspired with how they think, how they talk and how they react to everything. The extreme emotions I can experience in the span of a minute as I watch them are amazing to me- from anger to sadness to surprise to concern- it is a whirlwind and it is exhausting.

My heart is slowly but surely breaking as my 2-year-old transforms from the innocent chrysalis of infancy and toddler-hood to the preschool stage of life. He is using complete sentences, making arguments, wanting to use the potty and singing songs from beginning to end, in tune may I add!

As for my 4 year old princess, she is blooming like a rose with her own set of thorns. She loves her food and hurts anyone who tries to take her food away. She is resilient, optimistic, emotional, empathetic, joyful and can throw a fit of rage that rivals anyone I have ever seen! She is a ball of awesome energy that keeps us on our toes. She is also the only child of the three that can sense tension or sadness or fear and she climbs into my lap, holds my face between her tiny hands and says “I love you mama, it’s going to be ok…ok?” She does this with so much conviction that I feel God Himself is speaking to me through her innocent reassurance.

Finally, and surely not the least of these, is my eldest. She has a personality that fills the room. She is lippy, sassy, intelligent, talented, adventurous and so much fun! She is learning French at school and corrects me every chance she gets. She switches from being a dependable, nurturing and responsible older sister to her siblings to being a complete and utter terror who provokes them, admonishes them and outsmarts them into giving her what she wants. She is innocent, inquisitive and so immensely intuitive. She reads chapter books and she loves to act like a grown-up. I can’t tell you how bright and loud our world is because she is in it.

Some parents laugh about the fact that they don’t nap anymore. Others complain that they don’t have any time to themselves. I always stay awake until midnight just so I can have some time to myself. However, many older and wiser friends told me to enjoy the messy floors, toys strewn everywhere and the noise because one day, it is going to be very quiet in the house when they are gone and I will miss every minute of it!

So I pray that God lets me enjoy the present. Lets me relish every moment I am gifted with my babies. Lets me just breathe in their scent and laugh at their shenanigans. I pray that God doesn’t suddenly snatch me away from them like what happened this past Monday when a crazy man ran people over with a rental van.

I am so stricken by this incident and it is impacting me immensely. I know that one of the victims is a single mother of a 7-year-old-boy. I am mourning her loss as much as her own son only because I am sure she is grieving the lost moments with her baby. What could have been and what should have been. She will be missing all the years of his life where he graduates and goes to high-school, where he gets a new girlfriend, where he gets his first job. She will miss all his joys and moments of insecurity. She won’t be able to hold him or smell him just one more time. This is why I am stricken. I am grieving all the lost moments of these innocent lives that were savagely and carelessly taken on the sidewalks of Yonge Street in Toronto.

I want to pray for the killer. I do. I know that he was autistic. I know he was sick. I know he suffered as his family is suffering from his horrific actions. I can’t though. I feel the need to avenge the lives of those he has stolen with such avid disregard. I want to forgive him but I cannot believe that anyone would be so desensitized to human life. I want to love my enemy but I find myself just enraged with the extent of terror that he inflicted on the streets that day. I would be lying if I don’t say I am wishing ill upon him and curse that day he decided to rent a van as a weapon for mass killing.

I am not sure why God allowed for this. I am distraught at the idea that a loving Deity would just let this happen without preventing it.

All those stolen moments. All those stolen lives. I mourn you.

This post went from cheery to dreary and I am sorry but I needed to vent.

God bless.

Smartignani

 

 

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I may forget

Last night I woke up suddenly because I was scared. I was scared that time is passing so quickly and that my little babies are growing up too fast. I feared losing time with them and missing them as they are now. This fear sent me into a frenzy as I left the warmth of my bed to go check on my babies. My 6 year-old was sound asleep in her new room because she was “upgraded” from sharing a bunk bed with her sister to a “private suite”. She wanted privacy and she is only 6! I almost bawled when I saw my eldest and first-born curled up in her big bed with a stuffed penguin (whom she still thinks is an owl) held tightly in her embrace. I am not sure why but an overwhelming sense of sadness came over me because I still remembered bringing her home when she was a week old. All 4 lbs 11 oz. and fiesty with some screeching screams and beautiful features. She was perfection as I held her in the crook of my arms. Now she is contemplating big things like what she wants for Christmas and which chapter book she will need to borrow from the library next. She is correcting my French and saying things like “Mommy, I can do it by myself- I am a big girl now!” Oh be still my heart. Be still.

I silently slip out of her room and unlock the door to the second bedroom that holds two more precious pieces of my heart. The middle daughter, filled with affection and sunshine is sleeping in the top bunk and her wild, curly hair has invaded almost the entire pillow. You can barely see her cherubic face as she nestles deeper into her covers. She senses my presence as I longingly stare at her only seeing the baby that stopped breathing three times and almost slipped from my grasp. At that moment, I was just so grateful and thankful that she survived the ordeals faced only at 8 hours old! She is now a spirited little 4 year-old who knows exactly what to do and say to get what she wants. Her sense of humour is outrageous and her thirst for life is out of this world. She is so emotionally in-tuned to her environment and she can sense tension, joy, worry, fear and sadness miles away. She is the only one of the three that melts into my arms and whispers “It’s ok mommy, I love you all day long all the way to heaven and back.” Her sweet voice and demeanour make me so sentimental because I feel like I lost out on some of her babyhood and toddler-hood because I had my third and last baby. He took the attention away from her and I regret not knowing where I spent my time. I don’t even remember her as a toddler because she was so quiet and content.

Then I quietly kneel next to my youngest. At two years of age, he is the prince of my universe. The light at the end of every day and the reason my entire existence becomes wholly meaningful. My son is a ball of energy with intensity much too high for a toddler. He is intelligent, persistent yet obedient. Naturally curious with an incredible fervor for life. To say I adore him is an immense understatement. I hang on to his every word, smile, breath and action. I nuzzle, cuddle, snuggle, tickle, sniff and kiss him every opportunity I get. I make him laugh then I hear him say “Shtop-Shtop mommeee. My face. My body.”

Be still my heart. Be still. When did he make the distinction between us? We were one soul attached at the hip. He used to cry when I would release him and now he is his own entity? He is ordering me to stop kissing him?

I can’t tell you how much I pray that he stays young. That he just stops growing. That time can just stand still. I love all three so much, it hurts. It literally…hurts.

Today when I asked my eldest to hold my hand when we were crossing the parking lot, I felt her tiny palm slip into mine and I almost cried. I realized that her palm won’t stay so tiny one day and that she will be out with friends and away from me. I almost crumbled right there on the spot. How can I just let my heart wander out there in the world without me? How will she survive without my watchful gaze or gentle redirection? (sometimes not so gentle). How will my baby girl just be making decisions that can impact her life and mine?

Be still my heart.

I want to warn you now if you are expecting, nothing hurts more than watching them grow up.

The labour pains, the c-sections, the sicknesses, the NICU, the worry, the guilt, the lack of sleep, the excruciating anxiety of whether you are doing this mothering thing right or not- NOTHING is more painful than blinking only to see your baby a 6-year-old!

I pray that they remain healthy. I pray that I can savour each stage of their lives in turn with as much passion and focus as I have allocated to my career, my marriage and my faith.

I hope that they know when they are grown that I never wanted them to grow- not because I am selfish but because I am much too afraid of letting go.

Thank you for listening. God bless.

Puilt *Parent Guilt

1909559_5032225223_5452_nListen… both moms and dads suffer from guilt all the time when it comes to their kids. Sometimes it is a neurosis that far exceeds what is to be considered normal, wreaking havoc with the psychology of the brain and the dynamics of the family. Sometimes, the impact of puilt is so strong that it begins to fray at the edges of the natural internal joy granted through childbirth.

Slowly but surely, parents are so deeply entrenched in their feelings of remorse and regret that they often live a double-life filled with external demonstration of contentment warring with an internal battle of sadness, self-hate and isolation.

But I am not hear to bear the grim news that puilt is incurable, untreatable and often invisible when experienced by individuals- I am her to tell you that ALL THIS- all of it- NO QUALIFICATIONS, JUSTIFICATIONS, EXCEPTIONS, DEGREES or INTENSITY of puilt IS NORMAL.

Did you hear me? Yes. Normal. Your love for your kids makes you want to shake the heavens and crush the earth to give them what they need. Your inherent need to protect them drives you insane with doubt and thoughts (mixed with vivid imaginings in my case) of the various ways your children will be harmed. Every time I hear a story of a child being hit by a car, diagnosed with a chronic illness or abducted- I see my child’s face. Despite the sheer madness of it all- this is normal. You were made to love them beyond reason.

This sums up the “beyond reason” portion.

IMG_0879I know we have all asked ourselves at one point or another these questions: “Do I do enough?” “Are they happy?” “Am I working too much?” “Are they angry because I get angry?” “Are they yelling because I yell?” “Should I have spent more time in the car talking with them than on the phone?” “Am I horrible because they ate McDonald’s three days this week?” “Are my parenting skills destructive?” “Am I too protective?” “Are they developing abnormally because of me?” “Should I have exercised more so they can be healthier?” “Am I horrible if I don’t have technology? “Why are they so selfish- am I spoiling them?” “Did I eat too much when I was pregnant with her?” “Does he have seizures because I can’t stay up all night to watch him breathe?”

Puilt makes it evidently clear that we are responsible for these little lives that God made for us and we are forever filled with it.

But as I was in the ambulance with my toddler and puilt is ransacking my every pore and penetrating my every cell, the paramedic looked at me and said “I was in your house and I saw the crosses, I know you are religious.” I nodded hesitantly while secretly praying that this will not initiate a discourse on the theoretical epistemology of spirituality. Then he proceeded to say to me “When my baby had seizures, I was terrified and I am a paramedic. I get it. This is tough but your son is not yours.” Pause. Really awkward though because this was either a classic Star Wars confession of “Sylvia, I am his father” or an immense recognition of guilt “I switched our kids at birth” type of thing.

It was neither.

He looked at me and said, confidently, poignantly and almost sadly “God loans us these beautiful tiny beings so we can love and adore them but ultimately they are not ours, they are His.”

What?!

Let that sink in. The gravity of what he is saying. It angered me but in some strange way, it also brought me comfort.

God gives us our children with the full knowledge and complete expectation that we will mess it up somewhere along the way. He knows our limitations and our strengths, cause’ ahem, He created us. So why do we take it upon ourselves to believe or live our lives as if we are in control? How can we honestly say we could change anything or everything if we don’t have an ounce of control over their health (from a chronic illness perspective)?

So what does this mean for us in regards to puilt?

I don’t know- maybe it means that we need to relax a bit and know that the Maker will take care of His creation. Maybe you should only feel puilt about what you can control? Maybe we should…wait for it…surrender our children to the will of God.

This means we try our best. We love and cuddle, treat and snuggle, feed and discipline, clean and pray for them but at the end of the day- we are just taking care of them for God. We are grooming them for Heaven. We are teaching them values and ethics that they can utilize to become the best versions of themselves possible.

We are trainers working with a most beautiful creation.

So how am I dealing with the seizures and the puilt and the anger and resentment? I am getting through it day by day. I don’t feel guilty about feeling puilt because I know that the One who made me knows me so I have nothing to feel ashamed about.

Whether you are a mom and dad, adoptive or foster parent, single parent or blended family- remember this- the One who made you knew you before He decided if you should, could, would have a child. Whether it is natural, adopted or fostered- love them like they are the Almighty’s and let Him take care of them.

Blessings,

Smartignani

Hey parents- you’re doing great!

Everyone that sees me running around or behind the three kids asks me – “How do you do it? You’ve got it together?”

The img_6724truth is, I don’t have it together. My house is full of laundry baskets of clean and folded clothes that need to be put away into drawers, my car needs a deep-cleaning and shampooing to remove the year-old milk stains from the time it exploded in the car and my Master’s Degree is on hold while I try and establish a business with my partner, work full-time and still be a good wife, daughter, mom, sister and friend.

My life is in shambles really, but I looked around the room tonight after I made Leek soup (yes I did and from scratch too) and all the kids were playing and laughing with one another. My middle daughter is chasing my youngest son who is almost two (oh my, time does fly) and she is just declaring, on repeat, “I love you Tintin, I love you so much”. She gets that from me. She is trying to kiss him and he is gleefully running away from her, with one hand in his pocket cause’ that’s how he rolls! 

Then my eldest grabs a random book off her shelf and comes over to sit on the floor inviting both younger siblings to plant themselves in front of her. She proceeds to read them a Dr. Seuss book about Feet- upside down, no less. She is a smart cookie.

20140321_093018I looked over at my husband who is washing dishes with a satisfied smirk on his face (or he could’ve been excited at the prospect of leaving our madhouse to go to Karate which he loves) and I thought “Yup, we are doing ok!”

The thing is, we are so hard on ourselves as parents. We always want to do more, say more, be more, snuggle more, encourage more and just play more. Sometimes, we are so critical of ourselves that we don’t stop to enjoy the fruit of our labour. Just think, your kids are healthy, they’re fed, they’re clean and they’re loved. Nothing matters more to them. Whether you live in a home, a condo, a farm or a one-bedroom apartment, you’re working so hard to keep a roof over their head. Your love and perseverance is undeniable and it shows.

It shows in their swagger. It shows in their smiles. It shows every time 20140919_080605they go to school and speak about their hero – YOU. It shows in the sparkle of their eyes and when they fold their hands to pray for you and your health and your continued love for them.

You are their world. You are enough. You are their everything. You are more valuable than anything God gave them. Your approval, your amazement, your wisdom, your words of praise, your deeds of kindness, your humour, your cuddles and snuggles and everything you do is enough. It is all they need.

You got this. I got this. We got this.

Now if only my house, my laundry and my car would be satisfied with my love… not likely.

 

 

 

Random mommy moments…

Source: Random mommy moments…

Random mommy moments…

This is a short compilation of recent mommy moments that I feel the need to share with the world.

  1. My three year old still thinks that hairplanes depart from the hairport. Image result for hairplane
  2. My 19 months old son will randomly go up to dogs anywhere and start bopping up and down – dancing to an imaginary song in his head. Dogs usually love that.
  3. I spelled out to my husband, very quickly, that a friend is trying to get p-r-e-g-n-a-n-t and my 5 year old immediately asked – “Who is trying to get pregnant mommy?”
  4. My three year old came up to me and said “Mommy, I love you as much as pickles” then walked away. She doesn’t like pickles that much. Image result for emojis unamused
  5. My husband did the laundry which was awesome. My toddler wore my underwear on his head when someone rang the door and he came running up. Not awesome.
  6. My five year old exclaimed loudly, in public, “Mommy why is that man screwing around?” as she pointed to a gentlemen who was fixing a chair with a screwdriver.
  7. My toddler is frustrated that the TV is not touch screen. He can’t swipe anything. So frustrating for him. There are tiny fingerprints literally ALL OVER our TV screen.
  8. My 3 year old likes to watch TB and often tells people in random places “I love my TB.”  As people noticeably and justifiably back away.
  9. My 5 year old broke down today because it was so hot and said- “I am dehydrated mommy- are you trying to kill me? Hydrate me please, that is all I ask!”
  10. A magician at a small party asked the kids, what do you breathe out into the balloon- all the kids shouted “air” but my 5 year old declared “Carbon Dioxide!”
  11. My toddler keeps running away from imaginary people who are trying to tickle him. He then chases same and says “Tickle, tickle, tickle” I think he sees the unseen.Image result for emojis
  12. My 3 year old will sit down for breakfast and have a bowl of cereal then a bowl of oatmeal and then desperately ask “Do we have any more Eggos?”
  13. My 5 year old blamed mommy when she got in trouble at school, stating and I quote “My mommy made me this way. This is how I was born.”
  14. My toddler physically removes and carries really heavy items out of the pantry then cries because he doesn’t know how to put them down.
  15. When asked who she loves more, mommy or daddy, my 5 year old daughter proudly and confidently asserts “God”.

I can’t be prouder and they can’t be more beautiful in my eyes. Thank you Lord for blessing them. Please share your moments if you like!

Smartignani

Bedtime Wars!

Source: Bedtime Wars!

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