Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mother's Day

I'm not sure how I got so lucky to have not one amazing mom, but two! My mom raised me in a happy, healthy home despite not being raised in one herself. I grew up on home cooked meals and homemade dresses. And she did it all with four kids and no mom or mother-in-law of her own around to give her a break. Phew. Anyone out there doing that, I feel for ya. We love when Nonny comes for a visit :)
Judie isn't a mother-in-law, she's just a second mom to me. My husband thinks I married him because he's cute and funny. Really it's so I could be related to this lady:
I am so very blessed to have three healthy, happy children. My heart is overflowing with emotions when I think about these boys that God has chosen to entrust us with on this earth. Motherhood is a bajillion times harder than I ever imagined but it is worth every interrupted meal, messy room, load of laundry, broken window (among a hundred other broken things. Boys are really good at that.) and general lack of peace and quiet. People always say that: "Oh, but it's worth it." It sure doesn't sound like it when you type it all out. But only a mom knows that it really is. Our days of sleeping in, leisurely meals and lazy Sunday afternoons will return to us again in time. Right now I just try to get through each day and have fun along the way. I want our house to be filled with joy and laughter, encouragement and comfort, not just stress and chaos. I have a long way to go to make those moments of stress and chaos the exception rather than the rule, which I suppose just comes with the territory of having three kids. But I'm up for the challenge.

I woke up from a deep sleep on Sunday morning to my little ones coming in the room with breakfast and cards and cute little presents, singing "Happy Mother's Day to you". My one request that day: a photo with all my children. I think this was the first one ever with all three: 
I've mentioned before that Dawson is our strong-willed child. It continues to blow me away how two children in the same family can have such extreme differences in personality. It makes me sad a lot to see Dawson react the way he does. I truly never imagined that I would have such a challenging child. Does anyone?? I doubt it. But I just try to keep in mind that God is going to use that strong and passionate personality to do great things in the future. Parenting Bennett has always just required common sense. After he was 8 weeks old, it was frankly never a challenge (the first 8 weeks is another story). Its been like rowing a boat: put a little effort into it and we coast along smoothly. Dawson, on the other hand, stretches my parenting abilities to the extreme. It feels like trying to get a cruise ship across the ocean with one oar. It just takes loads of effort and often seems like we're not getting anywhere. It's not that Bennett is a perfect child; far from it. He's always been very mischevious and wanders away, sneaks food constantly (and tries in vain to hide the evidence), breaks things, draws on things, and makes giant messes all day long. It's their emotions that are as opposite as can be. We don't deal with any of the temper-tantrums, incessant crying and whining, hitting, screaming, yelling and general grouchy disposition that Dawson often has. But I know God chose me to be his mom and has equipped me for the job. "Here is your mission if you choose to accept it". Well, I accept. I picked up Dr. Dobson's, The New Strong Willed Child, from the library and its given me a tremendous amount of confidence in parenting him. I always thought I was a pretty strict parent when it came to discipline but I'm starting to realize I've let Dawson get away with a lot of little things with just a stern reprimand. My boys probably aren't so glad I got that book ;) This one's on my list next.
Here are the outtakes with Dawson (two of Jon's brothers came out to get them to smile since our threats and bribes were not convincing Dawson that it was worth his time). It cracks me up that Bennett and Channing didn't move at all.

I'm starting to see though, that strong-willed kids are more passionate with their emotions all around. Even though Dawson can throw a tantrum with the best of them, he also gives me more hugs and kisses than my mellow older son. He loves to hold my hand or Jon's in the car while we're driving. And if I have to climb to the backseat to tend to Channing, Dawson grabs my arms and pulls me toward him in a tight embrace. I love to hear from another room in the house, "I got an owie right here, Bennett. Kiss it for me."  Oh, his little two year old voice melts me everyday. God gives us these little graces amidst the hard stuff, doesn't He?
I don't write all this stuff to complain. I write it because we moms need to hear other people say, "I've been there. I understand. It'll get better. Stick with it." So feel free to comment if you've walked this road before (or are walking it now!). I pray over him every night that God would fill him with His peace and gentleness and kindness. But considering he takes after my husband, I know this world is going to be a better place with him in it.


  1. Oh, friend! My strong-willed one is my first born :) But, like you said...his strong-will makes him passionate about lots of things. He plays hard, imagines freely, loves hard, is expressive, and yes...even fights hard :) I will say that as he has gotten older, he's learned to handle his emotions better. So hang in there IT WILL GET BETTER...Dawson will learn the ropes of his emotions too! I hope you don't take this as me giving you advice, but I thought I'd share something that helped with of our best tools with Ethan is if he is trying to express himself and becomes disrespectful or sassy in the process, we ask him in a calm voice to, "Please try that again" And he will immediately calm down, and state his complaint or make his point in a respectful manner. It took us modeling for him the right way to talk to us before he caught on, but now we can just use that statement, and he self-corrects. Sorry for the long post. We've just been taught so much by Ethan :) You are a wonderful mom, and are doing a fabulous job raising three amazing boys!

    p.s. another book for your reading list, 'Parenting is Heartwork' by Turansky and Miller. I really loved this book! Mine is all dog-eared and marked up :)

  2. Happy Mother's Day Haverlee! You are a fantastic Mom and this was a beautiful post!

  3. Couldn't have said it better about the passionate/compassionate ones! love the pic where dawson has his chest puffed up! Really sweet post!--going to the park next week with Kolton, you should come with us...i'll call ya!

  4. So proud of you Haverlee! Remember the song we used to sing? "Be brave & then be strong..." I can't remember the rest though. Y'all look great to me on the outside but... much better... I think you look good to God on the inside.

  5. Love your posts! You have a beautiful family!
    I love your positivity about striving for a home filled with joy and laughter not just stress and chaos - so encouraging and a good reminder!

    Where did you edit the pictures of your "moms" with the kids? They look great! Reminds me of Picnik but its gone now:(


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