It's not just my blog address - it's also my favorite, most important, and sometimes hardest job.
I claim four children. I have four birthstones in my "mother's ring". And as most of you know, each of them came into my life, and into my heart, in a different way.
Here they are in the order that I got them:
Josh came with Charlie. He was seven when we got married. Josh had had Charlie to himself for a couple of years before we got together so he had a hard time understanding why I got to sit in the front seat of the car. I wanted to be a good step-mom to Josh but made many mistakes. By the grace of God, our relationship has survived longer than my twenty year marriage.
Josh is thirty-seven now and is an amazing human being. He is one of the wisest, most caring people I know.
Josh was eleven when Tyler was born. I have loved Tyler since I first laid eyes on him. I think he's so cool. I've always thought he was cool. And I'm proud of the fact that he came out of me. Bless his little heart - he takes after his mama. There's pros and cons in that statement. He's a balloon person. Laid back, funny, compassionate. But he's also impulsive, lazy, and bad at math. All character traits that he got from me.
Tyler is twenty-five now and sitting in here in the living room with me, laughing at the tv, and eating ice cream mixed with cereal as I blog.
Elisa was thirteen when she wormed her way into my heart and sixteen when she came to live with us. Her parent had moved out of the country and I was lucky enough to be loved by her. Getting chosen by her to be her "mother figure" has been one of the biggest honors of my life.
Elisa is thirty now and is just as much "my child" as any of the others. She has my heart.
Nina is my baby. She came to us as a beautiful, strong-willed survivor of a Russian orphanage at age three and a half. I've loved Nina since I laid eyes on a video of her. Charlie and I were at the adoption agency, watching four-minute videos of available children. I don't know how many we watched before we saw the one of Nina. But, at the moment she came on the screen, I knew that she was my daughter. I recognized her as my own. I can't explain it but it was like the first moment they laid Tyler in my arms after giving birth to him. Same recognition.
Nina is eighteen now and is still beautiful, strong-willed, and the most honorable person I know. Nina is r.e.a.l. She is trustworthy, committed, good-hearted, and honest. Nina is a gift from God to me. She is a rock and we balance each other out well.
As an only child, I always had fantasies about what family holidays with siblings must be like. I imagined lots of laughter, loving looks, and board game playing.
That was my expectation of my two youngest, Tyler and Nina. I thought that, though seven years apart, they would be 'best friends' in addition to siblings.
Well, I thought wrong. And, for some reasons, holidays seem to be harder than regular days. I guess it's because I let my childhood fantasies of sibling love become my expectations of reality.
Most of our Thanksgivings and Christmases include sibling conflict, cuss words, yelling, and lots of frustration. A classic example was last Christmas Eve when I tried to take a group picture of Elisa, Tyler, and Nina but Tyler let out a big fart when Nina came to sit down next to him and Nina got pissed and they started yelling at each other and Elisa got really bummed and I yelled 'fuck' at the top of my lungs while standing in my front yard and then we all went to a midnight movie together. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Merry effing Christmas.
All this to say that THIS THANKSGIVING WAS WONDERFUL. No conflict, no yelling, no cussing, minimal farting.....
I ABSOLUTELY LOVED being in my house on Thanksgiving Eve and Thanksgiving Day with Tyler and Nina - BEING JUST LIKE I'VE FANTASIZED FOR THE LAST FIFTY YEARS! And then Nina went Black Friday shopping with Donna and me and she was sooooooooo much fun to be with! And today, I've been in the house with Tyler all day and there's been nary a cross word from either of us.
The sick part of me is thinking "Why is this holiday being so wonderful? What bad thing is about to happen?"
I need to remember that that is little Jenny who thinks she doesn't deserve good things or good times. It's little Jenny who is always expecting a monster to come around the corner and get her.
The fact is that my kids are growing up. They are all becoming amazing adults.
I am so proud to be tyandninas.... and joshandelisas..... mom.