Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day 2013

This is officially my 6th Mother's Day to actually "be" a mother. The very first one back in 2007 Dotty was still "cooking" inside me...but hey...that counts!!! That Mother's Day of '07 was a great one. I was super excited...super nervous...and already super big! (And I had 4 more months to go!)

Now Mother's Day '08 was a bit different. At that point Dotty would have been 8 months old...she was still not sleeping through the night and I had more than once thought about inquiring what the hospital's "return policy" was in regards to babies! Overall it was great though...being a "new" mom was fun, exciting, and tiring...but it was the best job I had ever had.

Mother's Day '09 and '10 were still a bit rough...Dotty was STILL not sleeping all the way through the night. (So if you are counting...yes...she was pushing 3 years old at that point.) I was definitely sleep deprived and life had had its ups and downs. Overall it was great though...being a "not so new" mom was fun, exciting, and tiring...but it was still the best job I had ever had.

Mother's Day '11 was WAY better. Dotty finally started sleeping through the night when she was almost 3 years old. I was a whole new woman once this started happening. She would still wake up once or twice but nothing like the years before when it was almost every hour! Life was getting into a routine. We were living in Wichita. We loved our house. Life was good. Overall it was great...being a "not new at all" mom was fun, exciting, and still tiring...but it was STILL the best job I had ever had.

Mother's Day '12 and '13 were the best. Dotty sleeps AWESOME now. She hardly ever wakes up. She is a funny, sweet, beautiful, 5 year old...going on 6 (going on 16 sometimes). I love each and every moment with her. Overall it is GREAT...being a mom is fun, exciting, and still tiring (because Dotty is one busy girl)...but it is STILL...and always will be...the best job I have EVER had.

When Dotty was born I thought...I don't know that I can do this. There was no manual. No one really sat down and gave me a step-by-step rundown as to how this whole mom/baby thing worked. I was just supposed to "know". And the amazing thing a way...I did. The greatest miracle in having a child is not so much the "birth" itself...although that still amazes me...but to me the greatest miracle is that God somehow just helps you to "know".

You see I was not a "baby person" before Dotty. In fact...I didn't even like most kids. I was scared to death I was going to scar Dotty for life in the first week of her life.

But I didn't.

When she cried as a baby...somehow I knew what she needed...(although sometimes it was a bit of trial and error at first). Now when she cries...I know what she needs. Dotty cries when she is tired, hungry, mad, sad, or frustrated...and during all those events I generally know how to fix it...with a nap, food, a hug or a kiss, some kind words, a little encouragement, or just a shoulder to cry on...but always I give it all with love.

Back on Mother's Day 2007 I was still wondering a bit if I could be a mom. Now...6 years later...I know I was meant to be a mom. Dotty's mom.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Memories...not Kodak...but mine

It was just about 7 months ago that Dotty and I went to Disney World. We just got back from Disneyland a few days ago. Both trips were great but both were very different from my point of view.

Back in September when we went to Disney World I had such high expectations for our trip. I had been to Disney World back in the early 90s. I did a lot of research online. I asked anyone and everyone what they did when they went to Disney World. I just wanted everything to be perfect. I wanted more than the postcard...I wanted the 90 second commercial. I wanted the trip to be like you see on tv...nothing but smiles, laughter, hugs, and helium balloons drifting up as the fireworks went off.

The truth is we did have smiles, laughter, hugs, helium balloons and fireworks on the trip...but we also had stress, tears, and a few rough moments too. I promise my mind Disney World was not the "happiest place on earth" but rather the "most bipolar place on earth" when it came to my kid...and every other kid in that park. It seemed liked a kid was either crying or laughing. It seemed like a parent was either smiling or yelling. It seemed as if everyone was either full of joy or full of disappointment. It was a strange thing to experience.

Personally, I was just pushing so hard for the "perfect" trip...I was forgetting to just enjoy the trip. And I don't think I was alone in this struggle.

I had planned for so do so a place that was so big...that was full of so much wonder...that I began to wonder if I had lost my ever loving mind by bringing my 5 year old to Disney World by myself.

Oh don't get me wrong...we did have fun...but it was tainted with stress and disappointment...not on Dotty's part...but on mine.

Now fast forward to just a week ago when we were in Disneyland. I had no idea what to expect. I had never been there. I didn't do much research at all besides a few pins on Pinterest. I didn't even ask too many people about their trips. I just talked to April (Tony's cousin) and made plans to meet up with her family while we were there for the weekend.

I made no reservations. I didn't book a single character dinner...or princess tea...or a day in the Boutique...I didn't do anything but get us two seats on an airplane, a hotel room, and a park pass. I didn't even look at a park map until the day we arrived.

You would think I would have been stressed due to my lack of planning...but it was just the opposite. I had a blast! Dotty had a blast! She said numerous times it was the "best trip ever"...and I know why...we had no expectations. In fact we had little than no expectations...I actually thought it would not be nearly as fun as Disney World because we were not staying in the Disney Resort...just a regular hotel a few blocks away...there were only two parks...not four...etc, etc.

Even though all this is true...Disneyland is is only two parks...the main thing was I didn't try to turn this trip into one Kodak moment after another. I just let it flow. I didn't check my watch a million times to see which reservation we had next. I didn't check the map 100 times to find the best route to see the next character. Dotty and I wondered around...sometimes we were lost...and sometimes we found just the attraction we were looking for...and sometimes we found an even better attraction.

The best part of the whole trip was Dotty and I got to experience it all for the first time together! I didn't put any pressure on the trip and it turned out to be a great one!!! I have so many fabulous memories and none of them are "brochure" worthy...but they will look great in my photo albums...and when I am 80 I hope I will remember them all as Dotty makes plans to take her grandkids to Disneyland.

I hope she and I will always laugh about "bacon...cook it"...and the best way for waiting on a late bus is always upside down...and Oreo cookies can be breakfast, lunch, and dinner (just not in the same day)...and the best pretzels are shaped like Mickey fact everything is better when it is shaped like Mickey Mouse...and so many more!

I learned a lot on this trip. I learned I love California and if I ever move it is #1 on my list. I learned my kid is 5...she is not an actor in a commercial...she is not a model in brochure. She has moments of great joy...and she tends to cry when she gets hungry or tired (like her momma). I learned the best trips don't have to be planned out so well...sometimes the plan is to just go and see what happens. I learned I love my little girl more and more every day...well I already knew that...but somehow watching her watch Tinker Bell fly over the Disney castle as fireworks lit the sky...I realized it even more!