"Having a baby is like suddenly getting the world's worst roommate, like having Janis Joplin with a bad hangover and PMS come and stay with you."
Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird
I love this quote because it always makes me laugh - though it wasn't necessarily true of my babies - the four daughters.
I have four really wonderful daughters - the youngest is 25 now so I can really say that they are all the real blessing in my life.
The first one, that was Kik, and she was born in that Fifth Avenue hospital that has just fed her "tastes" ever since. She was born on a very snowy day and I remember briefly standing at the window in the labor room looking out at Central Park with the snow falling thinking to myself that this would not go on forever and there would be a baby at the end of all this and there was!!
Heather was our second and she was born on Long Island as a C-Section (as were the rest) weighing in at 11 lbs. 14 ounces and 23 inches long (she was 16 days overdue). Lauren was born in Pennsylvania and was our smallest at 8 lbs. 6 ounces - we treated her like she was a preemie! And then April - she was born in Houston, Texas - exactly 10 lbs. - but because she started crying before they got her all the way out she literally was drowning herself and ended up turning Ralph Lauren navy blue and was in the ICU for 3 days.
When we had our third daughter, Lauren, the Dr. - who was a friend of ours - came out of the operating room and said to my husband that he was sorry it was another girl - the nurses later told me the story of how my husband grabbed him by the front of his scrubs and told him to never say he was sorry it was another girl again. The nurses were so proud of him and so was I!
His favorite song to sing was from the movie "Gigi" - "Thank Heaven for Little Girls"!
When April was in ICU for 3 days we were reinforced in the belief that it didn't matter what sex the baby was - all that really mattered was if she was healthy.
I have been thinking about what some of the important things I tried to instill in my children - I really believe in teaching good manners as early as possible - "please and thank you" - manners are really the cornerstone of being civilized - they are a way of enabling a child to walk into a room and being welcomed - as opposed to having people roll their eyes heavenward and reach for the breakables - children know when they are welcomed and when they are not and I really believe it was up to us to give them this ability to go places and meet people. Alex always said that what saved our daughters lives was that they knew how to behave it public.
Respect was one thing that I always went for - I always said that I wanted respect first and then hopefully love for us would come after that - because I knew that you don't ever really love anyone that you don't respect. They were never allowed to talk to us with their hands on their hips or to slam their bedroom doors or of course talk back or hit us - I was always the mom that my friends would threaten their kids with "sending them to Miss Claire" if they didn't obey them - and you know what? My house was always filled with kids - they all knew what the rules were and they felt safe there because they knew I cared enough about them to expect the best from them and I tried to have plenty of food available too.
The most important thing I can say is that I tried - and stayed close to Jesus - I tried to do the best job I could and tried never to give up - there were many nights when they were out past curfew - times when I got in the car to go looking for them - going up to the schools to meet with teachers - one of them tried to stab another child in the stomach with scissors (though she insisted she held her finger over the point) - times when they were sick - times when they had the wrong friends - and boyfriends - times when I thought our hearts would break - times when all four had the chicken pox -
and yet here we are - four wonderful daughters that bring such joy to my life - and I can look you right in the eye and tell you that they make it worth every moment of every day that we went through.
My favorite "Mom Verse":
He tends His flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in His arms
and carries them close to His heart;
He gently leads those that have young.