So I’ve been sitting on this one for a while now, it’s slowly been eating at me and I can’t take it anymore. I am a bonus mom, a proud bonus mom. I love my bonus kids with every piece of my being. This past Mother’s Day we had them for a bit and at a family function I was told happy Mother’s Day by a few and given some hand made cards by my niece, however I was also told you’re almost a mom, so you don’t get a happy Mother’s Day, you’re not there yet. This struck me to my very core. I know I will never replace their mom, that is not my goal in life that is not what I set out to do. I set out to be another person that loves and cares for them. And I think I accomplish that. But you don’t dare tell me I’m not a mom. You wouldn’t tell someone who is a foster mom she’s not a mom, or someone who adopted that they are not a mom or that they are almost a mom. You wouldn’t dare tell someone who has suffered the loss of a child at any stage/age they are not a mom. You don’t tell a bonus mom she’s not a mom. I work hard everyday for my bonus babies. I make sure they have clean clothes at our house, have enough to eat, get the right medicine when they have a cold or a cough, I read with them, laugh with them, work on math problems, cook with them. I love them. I pray for them. I worry about them all the time. For the love of everything I had my four year old bonus son laying in my lap while I picked his nose, and clipped his finger and toe nails. Just as a reminder with the holidays coming up to think before you speak your opinions on the definition of a mom. I am a mom, a bonus mom. I would lay down my life for my kids, I will protect them at all cost, I am their extra teammate in life, an extra person to love them, to be another listening ear. Someone to give extra hugs and tuck them into bed sung as a bug in a rug. I am a proud, loving, bonus mom. And that is a little piece of mind.
Ok so I’m going to randomly throw in some story times because I have so many, this one is the one that really lit the fire under my butt to start writing because when I told this story I got so into it every single time. Ok so when me and Thomas lived in the city, I would sometimes drive Thomas to work when I was off. So early morning on the interstate and we’re behind this minivan full of three women. Ok so to set this up I’m a very imaginative person, I like to play the game of guess their life, not in a judgmental type of way but in a joking type of way. So I picture these three women in this minivan as straight out the suburbs, soccer moms on their way to a shopping spree. So we’re behind this van, and I see the driver pick up an actual mug like ceramic mug that you would drink at your kitchen table or your front porch mug of coffee and DRINK IT. My mind already blown by this sight then the passenger picks up A MUG OF COFFEE and it gets better. The lady in the back seat ALSO HAS A MUG OF COFFEE. They’re all cruising down the interstate at 70 mph with open freaking cups of hot beverages…who does that? Is that not hazardous?! I can only imagine taking a sharp turn with a mug chillin in your cup holder with your hot coffee splashing around your car. Not only that what if you drop it? That mug is just chillin in the open?! What if it’s your favorite mug and you break it because you’re flying down the highway drinking it?! Do you know they make mugs specifically for travel? My mind is obviously still blown by this, I think about it all the time literally all the time. I just can’t imagine a car that has cup holders big enough to hold a mug with a handle of coffee. Who hurt you so bad that you take a mug of coffee on a drive instead of a thermos, not only that but wouldn’t it get cold quickly? THAT IS WHY THEY HAVE A THERMOS. Also I don’t think I trust anyone enough to ride in their car with an open mug of a hot beverage. I rarely trust myself to drink coffee with a lid at a stoplight. It just baffles me. Every singe time I drive on that part of the interstate I immediately think of the multiple mugs of coffee in the van. I still have so many questions.
A couple weeks ago I loaded Thomas and my two bonus kids into the car, and we drove for seven hours to the beautiful state of Mississippi. It was late, we were all tired, but it was an adventure. I learned a few things along the way. Now when I go somewhere and it’s over night or longer I always always make a list for what to pack and a list of things I need in the car. I’ve done this since I was younger when I went on Girl Scout trips. This time around I made about four or five lists, the kids’ bag, our bag, the car bag, the electronics bag and random things we might need. I was ready for a full blown emergency to say the least. We left after work on a Thursday about 9 pm. This was the first time I got to drive to Mississippi, I was excited not only for that but because this was the first time I got to bring Thomas and the kids. I went crazy with the car snacks because in my mind the kids were going to want a “nack” every five miles. They didn’t. I thought for sure they would want to play on their tablets, so I had those charged and ready along with portable chargers just in case…they played with them once…on the way back home. I had blankets and pillows and a few toys and books for the road. Pillows didn’t get used, books didn’t get read until the next day in the hotel. Toys got tossed under the seat after the first hour. This might sound like they were holy terrors in the back seat, but they were golden! They didn’t fuss that it was taking too long, they didn’t beg to stop every 15 minutes, they sat back and relaxed and slept almost the entire time. When we stopped to grab some food at White Castle because it’s my favorite and I rarely get to have it. They woke up and were good to go, ate and didn’t put up a fight when we told them we were still like three states away from where we were going. When we were able to see the arch in St. Louis we pointed it out and on top of the oohs and ahhs we heard my bonus son, in a very serious tone say “now that’s what I’m talking about!” I died! Probably one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard. I didn’t even hear a complaint when we were stopped in traffic for an hour because of a seven car pile up in Tennessee. Ok so fun stories aside. I learned that I was way over prepared. They didn’t need the 20 pounds of snacks I had piled up in the floorboard of the passenger seat (sorry babe). I didn’t need to bring all the pillows and blankets and toys because they were having fun just by looking at all the lights of cities we passed and telling stories and seeing new things and the good old car naps. I didn’t need my five lists to keep them entertained because me and Thomas were entertaining them without me even realizing it. They were having a good time just being on the trip it’s self, and I couldn’t have been any happier about it. Then the fears of us driving in the night and then sleeping a lot and not being able to sleep once we got settled into the hotel came creeping up on me, it took maybe 45 minutes for us to get all settled and in bed and they went almost right to sleep, like I said they were golden. Even on the road back home that Sunday being in the day they napped less and got to see so many things. They asked questions about different things they saw, told us what they liked most about the zoo we went to and told us how much they wanted to go back. Which really warmed my heart because they loved my family so much that they would willingly endure another six to seven hour car ride to go back. Which we will, next family reunion. I will most likely still have my extensive lists on what we need to pack but I’ll also take into account all the things they don’t need and will most likely bring them anyways because you never know. I guess my lesson learned is my bonus kids don’t need to be doing something or have something in their hands all the time to have a good time. This trip reaffirmed what I already knew, they hold the pieces of my heart.
When I was a little girl I always had the dreams or the plans to be married by the time I was 22, and have at least one child by the time I was 25. I’ll give you a moment to laugh. In honor of my recent 24th birthday, and not being married and having two bonus kids, I did a lot of thinking on how my life is nothing, not anything close to what I thought it was going to be when I was eight or nine. I’m not upset about how my life is now, I don’t regret anything because I’m not married yet or that I don’t have biological kids. I’ve learned that you can’t plan your life, you can have a guide line but you can’t say at this age I’ll be engaged, then married then by the time I’m this age I’ll have three kids. Life doesn’t work that way. You make the plans when you’re young or even when you’re older and things happen in your life that you can’t control, you can’t change, and life happens how it’s supposed to happen no matter what you plan or how prepared for anything you think you are. Now I’m not saying don’t set goals. I love setting and reaching goals. I’m saying don’t plan your life out year by year and expect it to work out perfectly, you grow and change and discover new things about your self every single day. Don’t limit yourself to what you think you want or where you think you should be at this point in your life, it’s not worth the stress and worry. I am 24 years old, I’m not married yet, I have two amazing bonus kids, I haven’t finished school yet, but I’m working on it. I’m taking life day by day and I’m happy, I don’t stress about not being in a place in my life that I planed when I was eight and that’s ok. Be ok with where you are in your life, be ok with living without planning every single second of your life and just live it, but most importantly love it.
This one is going to be a little difficult for me. I am not good at communicating my feelings, either in a timely fashion or at all. I have a tendency to just push them down or not expressing them appropriately. In past situations I found that when I did communicate how I felt it came across as a accusatory or I didn’t say my feelings at the right time and it blew up in my face. Because of that, I learned to just hold it in as long as I could until I forgot about it or it was past the point of relevance. I am however trying to work on this, trying to figure out what’s worth bringing up and when the right time and way to express those feelings. I found that suppressing feelings makes me have an attitude towards people for what seems like no reason, and I don’t see the attitude until it’s almost too late. Growing up I was always told it’s ok to have emotions and show your emotions but don’t point them to the wrong person. I try and try to remember that but it’s difficult when you’ve trained your brain for so long to not say this or that or you’ll set someone off, you’ll offend them, you won’t say the right things and you’ll ruin this. So having to retrain your brain into being able to say how you feel in an appropriate manner is a lot harder than I thought it could be. I have problems as it is getting my thoughts out, and getting those thoughts and feelings to make sense out loud like they did or I thought they did in my mind. I’m working on it. It’s a whole process of you need to get this out before it changes your whole attitude for a month. You need to let people know how you feel because if they honestly care for you then they can’t be mad at you for expressing how you feel, if you do it when it’s relevant and not in a way that makes them feel as though it’s their fault, you will not only feel two million times lighter but it also opens the door for better communication in the future. Same goes for the person you are opening up to, they have a right to their feelings. It’s important to word your feelings and thoughts into a this is how it came across not so much a this is how you said it because you can’t tell someone how they felt and you can’t tell them what they meant, just express how it came across to you. I am a work in progress just like everyone else. I’m working on who I need to be and with that comes learning with how to deal with your emotions and your feelings before you get down and start pointing emotions towards undeserving people. I said this was going to be a difficult one for me because it was pointing out things in my life that I need to work on, to be honest in my feelings with others I first need to be honest in my feelings with myself.
I was and am very blessed to have been raised in a church. Every Sunday when I was little I would put on my fanciest dress with the white “leather” shoes, socks with the itchy lace, and always a matching hat and purse. Go to jr church, go to Sunday school, do the church camp, youth groups, summer missions all of it. I’m not the type to push my beliefs on people so sit tight I promise there is a reason for my sharing. A few weeks ago, I had the most terrible cough and I mean worse than bronchitis. Waking up in the middle of the night with asthma attacks, sore throat, deep chest cough. Terrible. A couple weeks into the sick, I could not sleep, it felt like every time I let my body relax enough to drift off I stopped breathing. I prayed and prayed every night for the coughing fits to stop just long enough to get some sleep, just a little. Now I’m a natural worrier, I worry about everything all the time always have. Laying in bed so frustrated over not being able to do the simplest task of breathing on my own without having my inhaler attached to my face, trying not to cry, going over how upset I was because I still had so much to do, Thomas said something to me that just made everything click all at once like a domino effect. He looked at me and said “that, that right there is why you can’t get better. You stress yourself out to the point that your body can’t deal with it. Take a breath and relax.” Not going to lie I fought it at first I was like no I’m just busy. July is busy for my family and has been for years. But I stopped fighting and I thought about it. I will never admit it out loud but he was right. I’ve been this way my whole life. When my oldest brother went to Iraq I literally threw up every day in school, it got so bad my teacher told me to just go to the bathroom if I was going to get sick so I didn’t disturb the class, and come back and sit at my desk. The first time all three of my brothers went somewhere in the summer I had a panic attack and ended up in the ER. I have a history of getting myself so worked up that my body physically cannot handle the pressure anymore. So back to church. I prayed for the tightness in my chest to go away, for god to take the cough just long enough to get some sleep but it didn’t work. And of course it wouldn’t because the cough wasn’t the problem. The problem was, I was so caught up in making sure everything was done, gifts were bought, games were attended, meals were cooked, clothes and dishes were clean, everything was in order, on top of every thing else all without asking for help, or, talking about how I was feeling, because in my mind, people do those things every single day, why can’t I? So I laid there in bed and I said “ok. God. I’ve been told all my life to lay my burdens at your feet, and we both know it’s easier said than done but I’m done. I can’t take another night fearing I’m going to need my epi-pen, keeping everyone awake because I can’t breathe. Take it. I don’t want it. Take my stress. Take my problems. I don’t need them.” I pray every night before bed, for my family, my friends, this country, the usual, but I rarely pray for myself. Not that night. I prayed for me. I prayed for my mental health. I prayed for my physical health. I didn’t stop until I was asleep. For the first time in what felt like weeks I only woke up once coughing. I did end up with a pretty severe sinus infection, but I learned something, it’s ok to talk about your stress and your worries and to just let them go. Don’t think of it as a burden because other people do everything you’re doing just fine, because you don’t know what they have going on behind closed doors. Ask for the help, slow down, life is not a race to the finish line. And if it’s what you believe lay your burdens at gods feet, don’t just say it actually do it. Don’t get me wrong I still stress about things and worry, I most likely always will but stopping and realizing I don’t have to, that I have people to talk to, to work things out with, a team to go to, makes it a whole lot easier. Don’t let the stress control your health mentally or physically. Weather you believe in god, or another higher power or even if you don’t, let that stress and the worries go.
The new year is upon us and everyone is starting to publicly announce all the things they are going to change about themselves and this is their year and this is going to change their life…same thing every year. I got to thinking why tell everyone you’re going to change? Why not just do it? So then I got to thinking is it the accountably? The want of admiration for actually changing or sticking to your resolutions? Or the support? I’ll be real if someone tells me or I read that so and so is going to change this or do this in the coming year I’m all for it, go you, I believe in you and I really do support you 100%. But instead of following everyone and saying this year I’m going to the gym three times a week and I’m going to do this and that and it’s going to be totally different for me, I like to look back over the year and decide what actually needs changed. Like this year I’ve decided my resolutions, that I usually keep to myself, I am going to share with you. I am going to pray for myself more like I pray for others without hesitation. To smile more because it makes me happy and puts me in a good mood. To openly appreciate Thomas for being the great man that he is. To do the dishes after dinner instead of saying I’ll do them later because we all know that doesn’t happen. To work on accepting compliments I receive instead of fighting them so hard because if they didn’t mean it they shouldn’t be saying it. To tell people what’s wrong when they ask instead of always hiding it and being open with my feelings. To not let myself get so stressed out all the time because of things I have zero control over. To be selfish with my love because not everyone deserves it. To be more patient with people. To keep my positive mindset no matter the situation. To take my allergies more seriously after almost being in the hospital a couple times. And to just be unapologetically me everyday of the year. The new year is upon us and while it is a fresh start for everyone it’s also a time of reflection and looking at yourself, really looking before making resolutions, because the real changes happen when you work from the inside out. I’m excited to see how everyone’s years turn out with all the changes that have happened in 2018 I know 2019 can only get better! I hope everyone had a very safe and happy new year!
I have something to get off my chest…I LOVE Christmas. I love everything about it, the lights, the decorations, family coming around you don’t get to see that much hearing and seeing people do good things for strangers selflessly, everything. I love the spirit that comes with the holiday season, the love the giving the happiness. Christmas makes me so happy, you can ask Thomas I love Christmas. It’s not the presents it’s not the food it’s just this unexplainable magic in the air feeling that overwhelms me and makes me fall in love with Christmas every year. When I was younger my mom always did her best to make Christmas special for us we always had a real tree up until we found out I am deathly allergic, except for one year. We couldn’t afford a real tree or very expensive things but let me tell you when we pulled out this tiny fake tree that even then didn’t go past my knees and we put it up on a tote and my mom dragged out all our ornaments we’ve gotten a new one every year since our first Christmas and we decorated that tree like we did every year lights and all. It was still our Christmas. That was the year me and my brothers got an electric toothbrush, back when they first started becoming a thing and I was so excited I felt so grown up and once again I was in love with Christmas. I don’t care if I don’t have anything under the tree because that doesn’t do it for me. I care about my family being around the tree, I care that my nieces and nephews and bonus kids have smiles on their faces and laughter in their hearts. Christmas is so so much more than just a day to eat and get things, it’s a celebration it’s so hard to explain in words the pure joy I feel from December 1st all the way to Christmas. Every year me and my mom would watch endless Christmas movies from the old time cartoons that look kinda creepy sometimes to the very predictable but cliff hanging hallmark ones, I could probably tell you the whole movie of how the grinch stole Christmas (first movie I ever saw in theaters) line for line. I love the different traditions that come with Christmas, at my moms house every one has a stocking and me and my mom always pick them out together this year we have 17! Every Christmas Eve we go to the candle light service at my church, it’s always so beautiful and exactly what I need to hear/ where I need to be. I’ll be honest I don’t always hone in on the Christmas spirit year round, but this season being in my own house for the first time on Christmas, I sat down while wrapping presents and thought why not? Why can’t I be this happy year round? Why can’t I keep the Christmas magic and warmth all year? Why do we have one season where we give and give without expecting much, if anything in return when this world would be so much better if we just did it all the time? So I leave you with this on Christmas Eve, a challenge of sorts to keep the spirit and the magic and the kindness year round even if it’s just in your hearts and I wanna know where we’ll be in a years time. I’m sure it’ll be amazing. So from my overly excited and Christmasy heart to yours merry Christmas and happy holidays
It’s me, your favorite, we all know it’s true don’t try and hide it the boys know too. Thank you for raising me to be so kind hearted, so caring, and so much like you. I know you think you failed a lot when me and the boys were growing up, but you didn’t, you are the best momma. Because of you I help those in need because we’ve all been there or could be there. You held me when I was scared, you tried your hardest to teach me to roller skate and you were the only one with battle scars. You showed me what a strong woman looks like in the face of hard situations. You taught me to never quit even when I really wanted to, to push through. Thank you for letting me in kitchen and teaching me that the best kitchens get messy. You let me be me every time. Because of you I know everything will be ok, even if it’s not today, everything will be ok. And also everything will come out in the wash so no need to steep over others wrong doings. Because of you I have such a positive outlook on things and I appreciate that more than you’ll know. I know I haven’t been the perfect child, I, like many others have had my wild years, the ones where I try to push my mom away when in reality you were my only real friend at the time. Because of you I came back, better than ever with lessons learned and wounds healed. Thank you, thank you for the nights you went without so we wouldn’t have to. Thank you for working three jobs just so you could provide. Thank you for putting your children first all the time. Thank you for letting me sleep in your bed when my brother scared me out of my room. Thank you for telling me stories when I was younger, my absolute favorite is when you tell me god gave you me when he knew you would need someone to make you laugh. God knew what he was doing because I needed you too. Thank you for supporting me, and listening to me. Thank you for disciplining me when needed, and thank you for knowing when I needed to make my own mistakes. Thank you for holding me through my many heartaches even though they seem so small now, then, they were a huge deal. Most importantly thank you for my faith, because of you I not only grew up in a loving home but also an amazing church family. I know I don’t say it nearly but I love you with my whole heart, you are one of if not my biggest hero in my life. I do not know where I would be if I didn’t have you. I’m sorry for all the times I’ve hurt you with my words or my actions, and thank you for forgiving me. You are my biggest fan and that means so so much. You are one of the most beautiful people on this planet and I am blessed to be your daughter. I love you higher than the sky, deeper than the ocean and higher than the waves over your head
I have many titles in my life, daughter, sister, girlfriend, bonus mom, the list goes on and on. One of the most important one is Ninny. I am an aunt, and being an aunt is so important to me, being able to be apart of my nieces and nephews lives is very rewarding. I am their Ninny. Story time, my oldest niece started the Ninny epidemic, when she started really talking she couldn’t put aunt and Jenny together it always came out Ninny, all the others followed suit. Being an aunt, to me, is more than just seeing the kids on holidays and birthdays. It’s cheering them on in every softball, soccer, t-ball game, watching their faces light up when they spot you in the crowed at a school concert. It’s holding them when they are sad, it’s helping them with homework and waiting to see their test score. I remember every place I was, what I was doing each time one of my brothers told me I was going to be an aunt, I remember what I was doing when I found out if it was going to be a boy or girl. My point is, is I try very hard to be apart of their lives, I want them to know that they can always tell me anything and unless it’s causing them harm I won’t tell a soul, I want them to know that I will always be in the stands, or in the crowed cheering them on no matter what they choose to do. I absolutely love it when my oldest niece tells me what she wants to be when she grows up, even if it changes every time, I love it. My heart is always full when my nephew hands me a stack of books bigger than him and says “Ninny will you read these to me?” And he curls up next to me and I am in heaven. I love it. I am an aunt, I kiss booboos, I get asked if I’m their mom anytime I take them somewhere, I get after them when their attitude gets too big for their britches, I chase away monsters and encourage them to chase their dreams, even the crazy ones like professional bull riding (that terrifies me). I am their built-in best friend, and I will always consider them my babies, even when they have children of their own (they know that isn’t allowed lol) they will forever be my babies. I am more than just their aunt I am their Ninny.