I am sitting here in total disbelief. I am not quite sure where 7 years went. Most of you reading this probably feel this way when your children have a birthday. Somehow Lillie’s hits me hardest because she is my baby. I tell her she will always, and forever be my baby.
Seth and I have Max who is twelve years old, Ella who is 10 years old, and Lillie who turned 7 this morning! When we had Max and Ella, Seth tried hard to convince me that we were done having children. I learned from the marketing master (my husband) and really worked hard on selling Seth on why we needed at least one more child!
Reason number 1: My first two births weren’t how I had pictured it my whole life. My sincere advice is that if I could go back to talk to myself giving birth to Max, I would say to let go of all my plans. The best laid plans often go awry! I was determined to give birth to Max. I was determined that I did not want a c section. After three hours of pushing I was not going to give up. However, what I would tell every woman out there including myself is that the only thing that truly matters is that you and your baby come out of the experience healthy and safe. That is what matters. I am typing this almost thirteen years later and I am only now able to fully understand this. At the time, I beat myself up for years that I was not able to get him out. He was really stuck, and I had no choice but to have an emergency c section. My baby was in distress and my plans didn’t matter anymore.
Max really wanted to stay inside the womb. I am so thankful that our wonderful doctor got him out in time and that he was ok. The whole experience felt traumatic. I didn’t feel prepared that an emergency c section was even an option. I was strong and healthy and felt like I would have no problems. There is something very important to teach my daughters. My child bearing hips that people see have nothing to do with what is inside of me. I am very narrow inside like my grandma and I am guessing that my mini me Lillie will be just like me.
Max was out safe and sound and healthy and growing like a weed. Ella decided to join the party almost six weeks before her due date. Ella tells me regularly that she just couldn’t wait to see her family. When my water broke, and they told me that I had to deliver Ella I was devastated. I wanted Ella to wait for at least three more weeks. This baby girl of mine had other plans and was born so much earlier then we had planned on. There is that word plan again that I need to let go of. Ella was born and they whisked her away to the NICU. I cried for the next eight days of Ella being in the NICU because again, I didn’t get my vision. However, if I could go back and talk to myself, I would say that all that matters was that Ella was going to be just fine.
I told Seth that it was time for me to try for a third time and to get my vision of child birth. As close to that vision as I could get. I knew after two c sections I would have to have another one. However, maybe this time we could avoid an emergency c section and the NICU. Maybe this time I could get some sort of normalcy. I felt deep in my soul that I needed this to heal. I couldn’t have been more right. Lillie gave me exactly what I needed. I had an easy c section, an easy recovery, and I had my baby with me the whole time. Thank you to Seth and Lillie for giving this to me.
Reason number 2: I really wanted a big family. My vision growing up was that I would have two boys and two girls. I knew that Seth seemed happy with two children after we had them. I knew that three was pushing it for him. I wasn’t about to ask for a fourth. I also was too nervous to put myself through a fourth c section. I needed to be healthy and strong for the husband and three children who were depending on me.
Reason number 3: I wanted a sister. I love my brother dearly. He is my only sibling and he is wonderful, and I am so thankful for him. I also see my friends with their sisters and always wanted that for my children. I wanted to give Ella a sister. I had no idea what sisters fight like! However, they fight hard and they love hard too. I would have loved to have given Max a brother too. He will have to enjoy the two sisters that we gave him. I think it is going to make him a wonderful husband and father one day. He is surrounded by females most of the time.
Reason number 4: If one more person told me how much Max and Ella looked like Seth I was going to snap. Nothing like 25 hours of labors and an emergency c section to wake up and find that your son looked exactly like your husband. I do all the work and he looked like Seth. Ella looks like Seth too. They both have a lot of me in them too and I see it the older they get. It was time for me to have a child that looked like me. I know how superficial this sounds. This is not a good reason. I understand that. It is an honest reason. Every time someone tells me that Lillie looks just like me my whole face smiles.
I could go on, but you get my points. I was effectively selling Seth on why I wanted one more child! My dream of having a third child was completed.
I have three children who are absolutely nothing alike. What may work with Max and Ella doesn’t necessarily work with Lillie. Lillie has decided that I have a lot of growth to do. That patient sweet mother that I thought I was needed to gain a lot more patience. I learn so much about myself and Lillie every day. If I raise my voice, Lillie gets angry. If I discipline her or scold her, Lillie gets angry. If I try to tell her what to do, Lillie gets angry.
I tell every parent out there that you have to parent your children differently. It was time to tell myself that too. I have had 7 years now to figure out Lillie. I have figured out that she absolutely loves to help me. Whether we are cooking, baking, folding laundry or sweeping, she is very happy to be my helper. She can’t get enough praise. If I tell her what a great job she did cleaning the playroom, then she will do it again and again. If I tell her how proud I am of her for doing her homework, she will be excited to do homework the next day. If I tell her that I know her teacher is going to give me a great report, then she will work hard to pull this off.
Let’s flip this coin now. If I tell Lillie that she didn’t do a good enough job cleaning the playroom, then she will get pissed and stomp off and not want to do it again. If I tell Lillie she didn’t spend long enough working on her math facts, then she will scribble on the sheet and not want to do it tomorrow. If I tell Lillie harshly that I expect a good report from her teacher and that if I don’t get one, she will be in big trouble = angry face from Lillie and her not motivated to do well in school. I am learning. Day by day I am learning what works with Lillie.
Lillie and I fight hard. We yell and get angry and don’t get anywhere. Winning a fight with Lillie is possible but it is super exhausting for me. Why do I even try to take this route? I don’t need to fight with her. I am going to tell you what works. I don’t always do this. Every time I fail, I give myself a hard time. Every time I fail, I also tell myself that I will do better next time. Why do I get angry? I get angry because my expectation is that if I tell Lillie something that I expect her to listen. I also expect her to listen the first time. Having these expectations only leads to my frustration and anger. It is time right here and now to change my expectations. Lillie is not always going to listen to me right away. What if I just let go of most of my expectations in life in general. If I do that, I will be a lot happier! It will lead to a better relationship with everyone including Lillie.
When Lillie and I are angry with each other (she gets mad if I am mad. She tends to reflect my emotions), I tell her that we need to calm down. I have taught her that we need space and deep breaths. Lillie has gone as far as going up to her bedroom and telling me she needs a few minutes. If we can take some deep breaths and calm down, we can come back together and be calm with each other. Fighting our fire with each other becomes a storm. It doesn’t work. Even if I win, the way that I feel afterwards isn’t worth the fight to me. I want to win a fight with Lillie calmly and by explaining to her what is going on. Not only does she need me to give her these tools, she needs me to model them and practice with her.
This all sounds super easy when I type this. It is the farthest thing from easy. Lillie loves me hard and she fights with me hard. Lillie, I know you are going to read this. I am so proud of how well you are reading. I am so proud of how much you love to read. I want you to know, that from the bottom of my heart, I am trying really hard to be the best mother that I can be for you. I know that I screw up. I know that I get upset and stressed. I want you to know that I am really trying.
Lillie has told me today that we are “not allowed” to call her sassy or spicy anymore. She loves when I tell her how sweet she is. My mother likes to call her “Lillie Love.” Lillie, I want to tell you that you are full of so much love. Your warmth, sweetness, giggles, and laughter are contagious. I am letting go right now of every time I have called you sassy or spicy. I am going to tell you how sweet you are. I can’t wait to see what year 7 has in store for you. You have so much to offer this world. You have told me that you want to be a scientist. You have told me that you want to be a teacher. You have told me that you want to be a dancer. I can’t wait to see where life takes you. I want you to know that your number one cheerleader is right behind you cheering you on every step of the way and being the best mother to you that I can be.
I love you my sweet Lillie! Happy 7th Birthday Dolly.
Love, Mommy xoxox