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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Staying Connected...

Remember holding that baby in your arms? There was no choice but to be connected. The needs were demanding...but simple.

The first moment I held my little Andy. So overwhelmed with emotion!

As a child grows, staying connected gets increasingly more difficult. Another child enters the picture. Work, household chores, school, church, sports, all encroach on that precious time together.

Connecting takes some thought. It is an expression of who you are individually and as a family. This topic is so close to my heart particularly now as I see my twelve year old slowly moving into her own world. She doesn't share everything with me anymore. I miss the little girl that talked 24 hours a day about every little thing she thought.

Hannah age 2.

I just try to be where she is. Hang out with her. I tell her about things I remember from being 12. Boys, friends, music, dancing, going to the roller rink. I try to say yes as often as I can...so my no's will mean something. I ask her opinion on things. She is dependable, inclusive, a fabulous student, a great athlete, and incredibly diverse in her interests. The other day I spent just a couple of minutes telling her, "It's normal for you to want your space, to have private thoughts and experiences. Just know that you are a super important part of my life. I always want to be an important part of yours too. Whenever you need me...I'll happily be there!"

My beautiful Hannah age 12.

First thing every morning I wake Ben and tell him that my day won't be great until I get his magic hug. Luckily he still enthusiastically gives it to me. His smile lights up my heart...something I often tell him too. Sometimes I tease him that if I was in 4th grade I would stare at him from across the room and think about how dreamy he is. I whisper in his ear how I love having an amazing helper. My "go to kid" when it comes to getting something done.

Little chubby baby sweetness. Ben at 5 months.

I tell them about their positive traits. Ben has a soft heart, loving, honest, a good friend, funny, a terrific athlete, and extremely generous.

Holding our chihuahua Nacho...Ben age 10.

Andy is 6 so he still needs tons of cuddles. Loving him means watching all of the amazing things that he does moment by moment. Connecting with him means understanding how creative he is and affirming that his love for color, texture, art, and beauty in the world...makes him just as much a boy as his sport loving brother. He still needs me to help him with things which also makes time with him more of a natural expression of my day.


In the evenings we have dinner together at the table. We always ask each other about the day. Often we cuddle on the couch and watch something everyone likes. That's when the holding hands, snuggling under blankets, and laughter fills the house.


At bedtime each child gets tucked in with their own special prayer. My arms surround them as I whisper in their ear. It is part of our private time. They tell me if there is something specific they have concerns about. I pray with them so that they can hear my hearts desire to raise them with Godly wisdom. To be the mom each of them needs. And some expression of how thankful I am that God gave me this job to do. The finale is the lotion I put on their arms and pillow. Sometimes lavender, sometimes vanilla...often it is what I wore during the day. A little bit of mom that stays with them as they fall asleep.

Sometimes we take them alone out on a date. There have been father & daughter dances. Mom and son walks. But, it's the day to day that I think holds the most impact. Finding one of them walking through the house and stealing them away to our bedroom where my husband and I lay on the bed and tell them all of the amazing qualities they have, and why we love them so.


My hope is that the seeds of love that have been planted in each of them grows into a beautiful garden that they will one day share with their spouses and children. There is so much that I get wrong everyday...writing this helps me put life in perspective and remember why this is such a treasured time to embrace.

So, maybe this could be a "comment discussion" about the meaningful ways you show love in your family. I'm always looking for new ideas. Please share...

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40 comments:

Eva Gallant said...

That was beautiful! What a good mom you are. You will reap the benefits in the future--believe me.

5thsister said...

Wonderful! I would tuck each child in with their very own Mommy Made up song! Special indeed!

Terra said...

I can tell that you are truly a wonderful mom and a fun mom.
I gave your blog the Beautiful Blogger Award today. See my blog for more info.
Terra

Tami G said...

wow
you are SUCH a good mommy!
my child is 14 and breaking into the teenage years with a vengeance. I miss all those special little moments, because he has slowly started shutting me out. doesn't tell me all his secrets anymore.. and it makes me sad.

So my "good mommy" skill right now is trying to learn how to let him go and not CLING to him... he has to find his way in the world and teaching him INDEPENDENCE and responsibility SUX!!!! :(

Ms Bibi said...

I know exactly how you feel. My boys are 7 and 12. I wish I could turn back time and hold them and never let go. That's not gonna happen so I need to work at keeping connected.I do little things, but they are so special to us.

Your kids are so lucky to have you.

Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

You are doing a wonderful job. Sometimes I feel so sad that my daughter is growing up, but I know that she is an amazing person and I have to tell myself that the preteen obnoxiousness will pass. Besides, I still have a toddler who snuggles me...

Matty said...

I love your attention to each child and how you interact with each one just for them. My kids are now grown, but I did one-on-one things with them as well as a family. At bedtime, I read them a story and finished up with hugs, kisses and I love you's. They all turned out swell.

Maryrose said...

This was a great post. Brought tears to my eyes, remembering when my kids were little and the special things I tried to do for each of them. Now they are starting families of their own and being better mommies then I even knew they could be. You have a blessed family and your family is blessed to have you.

Juliana said...

Oh what is wrong with me??!?!? I am not only crying over here...I am sobbing. SOBBING. This was so beautiful!

Kathy said...

Such a sweet post! My kids are a bit older and as they begin to move out on their own, it helps so much to know that I have been there for everything. Every school function, sport game, sad time, and happy time I have been there. I know it means something to the kids because whenever my Ben comes home he does not fail to leave without hugging me and saying he loves me!

Dimes2Vines said...

That is so sweet! I have 10 children and it is so important to give each special time!

Stopping by from Fri Follows - I'm a new follower! Love to have you stop by:
http://dimes2vines.com

Cynthia@RunningWithLetters said...

I love the routines you describe with each child. It's so important to find what speaks to each child and lets them know how much you care--my son thrives on Panera dates and "beat downs"--he teases me until I wrestle him down to the ground and tickle him (I think he sees it as a way to gauge his strength--he sees how much harder I have to work to take him down each time...plus he loves the attention). My daughter loves long talks over Target brand fruit snacks and taking painting classes with me. Whatever it it, it's so important to make those memories. It sounds like your priorities are in tact. And your daughter looks so much like you!

Ed said...

Cute kids.

They really do grow up sooo fast.

dee dee said...

I love that we both have 12 year old daughters! What an age! You are doinf so many things right by your kids, family dinners, prayers at night, one on one time, sharing part of you with them and they inturn will grow from these beautiful experiences! Keep it up, may you be both affimed and blessed... Dee Dee

Seizing My Day said...

Beautiful post about giving them each lovin time... we have very similar family lovin habits like y'all. =)
Just Jenn~ www.seizingmyday.com

Holly said...

Truly a beautiful post. I know I am a lucky woman to get to be these kiddos mom. I know the things they do that drive me a little crazy now, well, I know I am going to miss them. We make special dinners and have special dates. Each kid also has their own special bed time routine too. I think the most important thing for us is recognizing each child is unique and tailoring their rituals and activities to those needs. I am always looking for new ideas too!

jackie said...

My son is only 3 years old, but he is growing up so fast. I read and sing to him every night. I play with him when I get home from work, and if I can't, I try to involve him with whatever I'm doing. He loves learning new things so even having him help me bake or cook is fun to him.

ScoMan said...

Family is very important.

Ever since my brothers and I started moving out of home dad has learned how to email and text so he can keep in touch with us.

Technology I guess opens up a whole variety of communication options.

louisebah said...

This is such a beautiful post! My own children are 21, 14 and 8. I tried to bring them up the best I could and knew how, made LOTS of mistakes, esp with my oldest. But she has grown into the loveliest most matured young woman her age that I know of. I think she's even more mature than I ever was at that age! The thing that I tried to keep constant with all of them was spend each night, lying in bed with them reading books. I still do with my youngest now, although of late, I haven't because of work. I really shouldn't let work take me away. We haven't finished reading The Secret Garden yet. She won't read it without me! She reads other stuff, and she is such a smart little thing! Sometimes she catches me off-guard with her insights! My middle one lives with his dad now, and I dont get to spend that much time with him anymore, but I do do hope that whatever time we had spent together, will help him through the most difficult times. I let him know often times (thru text) that I am always near.
Thanks so much for sharing this post!!

Alicia said...

Following from Friday Follow! Looks like a great post! Can't wait to read more!

christy rose said...

Oh wow! I love your blog here! I am just getting around to returning visits from last week's FF. I am so sorry it has taken me so long to return the luv. But I am so glad that I am here. Thanks for the follow. I am following you now too. I hope you stop by again some time. I would love to become bloggy friends. :)
Christy

Organic Girl said...

Happy Follow Friday :)

Hil'Lesha said...

Happy Follow Friday! :)

http://www.tothemotherhood.com

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

The best thing I can tell you is that what you are doing works. I have proof...mine still love me and want to hang out with us.

I was always very touchy-feely with my kids. I hugged them all the time, we snuggled together and while I always was "mom" to them, I talked to them like they were grown up and it made them feel respected. My son had some issues during the college age years but for as horrible as it got (and it did...and still isn't perfect) I never doubted his love for us. My daughter and I still cuddle sometimes, she truly is the person I love spending time with and both kids have always been comfortable telling me anything and everything. The foundation you give them now will last a lifetime.

zookeeperjess said...

Such a beautiful post. What an amazing mother you are! Moved me to tears.

LMJ said...

WOW!!
I saw the first picture and I totally related to it, right away!! That is exactly how I felt when they put Emma on my chest for the very first time!! It was so overwhelming, amazing, incredible....!

Your kids are awesome! I love family posts like this!

I hope that I too, plant enough seeds of love into my baby, so she'll blossom into a loving and caring individual!

Corrie Howe said...

Sounds like you are doing a great job. I think your thinking about each one and trying to meet them where they are at is the best way to love them. And this will always take a little bit of thought and time.

My daughter loves to play board games, loving her is playing board games, which I don't always enjoy.

My oldest just wants me to sit and watch a show or watch him play, again not usually something I want to do, but I will.

ShellyInOz said...

Holly, your blog gives a little something for everyone. You girls are kooky on your vlogs, but your in-between posts are thought provoking.

I like your idea of saying "yes" as often as possible so that when you say "no", it means something. I find it hard, but every now and then I stop and think, "what's the harm?"

Have a great weekend!

Shelly at Tropical Mum

Homeschooling With Love said...

Great post! I'm a new follower from Friday Follow.

Homeschooling With Love said...

Great post! I'm a new follower from Friday Follow.

faithfulma said...

If you've got It I'm following it!
Feel the Love...Happy friday follow, I'm a new follower!
Stop buy blissful babble soon :)
Gods blessings on your weekend

(The) Ladybug Lounge formerly Msslaydbug said...

You have a blog award over at my site http://www.ladybugloungeblog.com

The Caffeinated Globe said...

Sweet and meaningful post. Lovely photos.

http://caffeinatedglobe.blogspot.com/

Traci said...

You brought tears to my eyes. My baby just turned three!!! How blessed your children are to have such an involved parent. it is clear that even as they pull away, they know you are there.
:-)
Traci

Haddock said...

Thats an apt title for the first photograph

Miss Caitlin S. said...

Beautiful post. I love the posts that highlight the apparent beauty all around :) You have a beautiful family.

Kristin said...

And now I'm CRYING. Such a lovely post!

Andrea (ace1028) said...

Great pics, and a great trip down your memory lane.

On a side note, I have no idea how I have not been following you til now. My apologies! That's awful of me!

JamericanSpice said...

That was just wonderful to read! You are an awesome mother and your family is just beautiful!

elvira pajarola said...

COMPLIMENTI, cara Holly.....I feel very close to you in this marvellous "letter of love"...!
HEART and LOVE!!

Your children are Beautiful and Your handsome Hubby looks soooo sympatic....and on top of it you just look soooooooo happy on the pic with your three jewels!!!
FANTASTICO!!!
ciao ciao and hav a happy and sunny weekend!!