Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day: My Payday

Caution: This is a long post! I am writing about my children...and there are many of them....

I loved going to parent-teacher conferences when my children were young. I always felt like it was my payday! I loved hearing the teachers tell me how smart, well-behaved, kind, generous, helpful, etc, etc, etc, my children were.

Over the years, I came to understand that my children were doing well because of their own choices, and that it really wasn't my "payday" - it was theirs. (What if they had been little pills? Those would have been their choices, too...)

Well, today, I am going to claim Mother's Day as my payday. I have nine wonderful, intelligent, considerate, generous children, and despite the fact that I can't take much (if any!) credit for how they've turned out, I am certainly grateful for who they are!

Julia is my oldest child. She has had way more than her fair share of challenges in life, but she handles them with grace and courage. She faithfully manages life with her four active children. She delights in serving others, especially when she can do it secretly, and she is a wonderful cook. She doesn't complain about her own physical difficulties. She is relentless in tracking down helps for her youngest daughter, who has a range of medical issues, and she gives her husband, who has been unemployed for the last 3 months, unflagging support and encouragement. I have come to know her and love better than ever in the last couple of years.

Polly got the math and science genes in the family. She taught both subjects in high schools and middle schools until she adopted her first daughter, and since then she has been a stay-at-home mom for her growing family. She's a "can-do" woman who solves problems on her own. When it was time to move the family out of state, but her husband hadn't quite finished his doctorate in chemistry, Polly met the moving truck at their new home, and managed to get it all unloaded, even though her husband was in a different state for another two or three weeks, and the youngest of her three children was only 7 months old. Her crafty blog is followed by people all over the world, and in her "spare" time (haha!) she does online tutoring and scoring for state assessments from all over the U.S. She is a thrifty inspiration to the rest of the family.

Kendra is a talented book artist / bookbinder. She speaks fluent Russian, and has taught English in Russia for 3 different seasons. She will soon be certified to provide foster care to handicapped children. She is upbeat, loyal, loving, and brave. She is a tireless mom to her two active preschoolers, and on top of all that, her house is tidy and organized. What a woman! She has a positive attitude, and a steady faith that helps her cope with the ups and downs of life. She looks for ways to creatively manage her family budget during this season of her life, when her husband is in graduate school.

I will never forget how surprised I was when David was born. That was before the era of having an ultrasound with every pregnancy, so I didn't know I had a boy on the way. All his life he has graciously and patiently endured a houseful of sisters. Now as a husband and a daddy, he continues to be kind and patient and gracious. Sometimes he gets frustrated with himself, but I have watched him learn to either accept himself as he is, or to make positive changes for the better. He graduated college last December, and had a job--in his field--waiting for him when he graduated. I'm not the only one who can see how wonderful David is.

Katie was my baby. As the last one to leave home, she and I had some precious one-on-one time during her teenage years, that I didn't have with her older siblings. She conquered shyness and insecurity to excel in the high school drama program, and those experiences have helped her to approach life with a straightforward and matter-of-fact attitude. She is funny and quick with comebacks that aren't put-downs. She is a poet and a creative writer. She, too, writes a crafty blog that is followed by bloggers around the world, as well as a weight-loss blog with an international following. She is organized, loving, and happy, and her greatest joys are coming into her life now as she is a mother.

Sixteen years ago, my three step-children came into my life. Mark's oldest daughter is Angela. She is outgoing and fun loving, and makes any occasion happier. She brings boundless energy to her busy young family of three--the oldest two are 4-year-old twins!--and has supported her husband on his long journey through medical school, medical residency, and a final year of neurology fellowship study. She is one of the kindest, most non-judgemental people I know.

Joshua is Mark's middle child. He is a talented musician and a very hard worker. He is quiet and unassuming, and always willing to say the kind and loving thing, or to jump in and give service. He, too, is a fun-loving family member who loves to enjoy practical jokes with his siblings. He can focus and work hard, and then he can relax and play hard. He is an adoring daddy, wrapped around his son's little finger.

Nathan is Mark's youngest son. He has the coordinated genes of the family. The first time I met him, he was skateboarding down a hill, and it was like watching music unfold before me. He is sensitive and kind, and a devoted daddy. Nathan has many talents in the construction field, with skills in setting tile and many kinds of building and construction. His gifts include being tall, strong, and unafraid of heights--gifts that have helped us out with many projects on our old two-story house. He is disciplined and he follows through on completing his goals.

Maleena came to me last of all. I first knew her as a freshman in high school, and I have admired her courage and spunk since that first meeting. Then she was roommate with Holly, David's wife, before David and Holly met. As Holly's roommate, Maleena joined the church, and when David and Holly married, Maleena moved in with us. She lived with us for over two years and became part of the family, and since she wasn't part of her birth family any more, we made our connection with her official, by legally adopting her in March 2009. She is brave and loving, and she is a very hard worker. She is a person who really thinks about situations and tries to do the right thing. She will be celebrating her marriage to her sweetheart next month.

I am a wealthy woman. As a girl growing up, I never dreamed that I would be mother of such a large and talented family. Like all families, there are times when some of the members of my family don't see eye-to-eye, and we have stresses and tensions just like anyone else. Some of my children might not agree with everything I have written here about their siblings, but this is how I see each and every one. They are beautiful, wonderful, intelligent, kind, loving, talented people. I have been thinking about each of them today. I love each one, and I am honored to be a mother to them.


Polly said...

We love you too, Mom!

JuliaKoponick said...

You have taught all of us how to love, learn, grow from mistakes and keep going no matter how tough a situation is. I am honored to have you as my mother, mentor, friend and grandmother to my kids. I also learned how to be an understanding and patient step-mother from you, and that is something I work hard to follow!

Thanks for all the love, attention, support and encouragement you have always given me, and all of my siblings. I think the most important thing you taught me is that we were sent to this earth to learn, make mistakes, repent of those mistakes, and become a better person in the process. You taught me that through you words, actions, and example.

I love you mom!

Dorothy said...

This is a wonderful post, Kathy, and I enjoyed reading it...all the way to the end! :) Your children are blessed to have such a warm, loving and insightful mother.

Katie said...

Thanks Mom!

David Mayer said...

Thanks for all the kind and loving words, Mom. You have never been short on encouragement and understanding, and I know that for me personally, a lot of my accomplishments can be traced back to your patience and willingness to help me get past challenges. I have learned so many lessons from you, and I am so glad you are my mom.

Annemarie said...

This is beautiful, Kathy, and I enjoyed getting to know each of your children a little bit more because of your lovely words. You are indeed a blessed woman.

Hillary said...

What a lovely post. You do have some pretty awesome children. :) I certainly feel blessed to be a part of your family... even when the disagreements come. I grew up in a small family, and so, coming into yours... 16 wonderful people became my family. I love it! And I love you too! You are one awesome, inspiring, compassionate, and loving mom. And step-mom. And step-mom-in-law! :)

David Mayer said...

Mom, your post reminded me of this video.

I thought you would like it.

Kendra Last-Bookartist said...

Thanks Mom, I love you too. I am not fluent in Russian, but I think you got the rest right. :) Happy Payday!

Ange said...

Wow... apparently I have come a long way since our first introduction... Thanks for your patience in me...Being mom has been an interesting role..for you and for me...I am enjoying the journey.. thanks for your role in it as well