I had been looking through some old images the other day when I came across a picture with a name and address on it. Back when we were living in the farm house, I kept misplacing our landlord’s address, so one day I took a photo of the envelope with our rent check before I put it in the mail. Then each month I would scroll through my pictures to find his address again. (Why not write it down and store it somewhere safe, you ask?… That’s not really my personality. I wish it was. My life would be much easier if it was!!!)
Anyways, it was that picture that I ran across the other day. I had not seen him since a few days before we moved out of the farmhouse in early 2015. It’s been over two years. Out of curiosity, I googled his name and found what I feared I might find.
Mr. Wiggins is dead.
There was scant information, only that he was 92 years old. It happened back in October. When I looked up the date I realized it was the day we spent at the pumpkin patch, a week after I found out I was pregnant. I thought about how happy I was on that day. I wish we had learned about his passing back then. We would have gone to his funeral.
Mr. Wiggins was a nice man. He was a good man. And from the conversations that we had, a Christian man. He was incredibly active, showing up at the house on more weekends than not, to work around they yard or repair something in the house. As frustrating as that house was, it was a delight to him. It had belonged to his late wife’s family and she had always hoped to move into it. She died before they got the chance. The original house was only four rooms (two downstairs, and two upstairs.) Everything else was added on later… the kitchen, dining room, bathrooms, etc were all built on, and mostly by Mr. Wiggins in his youth. About six months after we moved in he had the kitchen semi-remodeled so that we would have a better functioning space to use.He took such pride in that house and enjoyed telling us the stories about simpler times. He would watch the kids play in the yard and he would tell us that he hoped we would live there for the next fifty years. He knew he wouldn’t be around forever, but he made good use of the time that he had, and I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had reached 100. He used to collect items for a church near his home and he would often walk down and visit his sisters-in-law that lived in the neighboring houses. Like I said, he was a good man. I was sad to hear that he had passed and I never got to properly thank him for the kindness that he showed to my little family in the two years that we lived there.
So here it is now… Thank you, Mr. Wiggins. Thank you for the time and energy you invested into your house and into us. We enjoyed the many conversations that we had. The children still speak so fondly of our time at the farm house and Tim and I clearly recognize that living there helped us to save up the money to buy our townhouse. We are grateful to you for that. You were always encouraging and positive. Should I live to be 92, I pray I can be as active, contented, and genuine as you were! Until we meet again, Mr. Wiggins, good bye.
Back in early December, Baby E had a stomach bug. That night he threw up all over his bedding and proceeded to throw up for the next several hours. With the first onslaught of vomit, I was able to convince him that his paci was yucky and that it made him sick (I know, I lied.) He was so miserable and tired that he didn’t even argue. The next night he asked for it and I reminded him that it was gross. For the following few nights he would ask on and off, but I would give the same response and he would say ok and snuggle down to sleep.
So that’s how we weened Baby E off his paci…
the first time.
You see, in a moment of sleep-deprived manic frustration and defeat during our five week sickness marathon I dug out the paci and popped it back in his mouth in hopes that we could possible, just maybe get a few hours of sleep. It worked like a charm, so much so in fact that he is quite attached to it again. He only gets it at night and only if he asks for it, but I know that in the next week or so we need to try getting it away from him again.
Poor little guy started to develop a stuffy nose last night and at about midnight he woke up complaining that his nose hurt. “You have boogers, kid. And you aren’t great at blowing your nose yet.” Every time I laid him down he would start crying, so I finally relented and brought him downstairs to watch TV and sit on the couch. So while most of the world (and the rest of my house) were cozy in their beds, I was sitting on the couch with Baby E feeding him bananas, watching the cat play, and gently persuading him that he was tired enough to go back to bed. I finally got him down around 2 and he woke up fine this morning. However tonight he was complaining about his nose hurting again. Hopefully this time he sleeps through it!!
We weren’t five minutes into dinner when I noticed that Baby E just couldn’t sit still. Every once in awhile he would start to wiggle and let out a little moan or grunt. I thought this strange because we were having one of his favorite meal, sausage and eggs (more sausage than eggs) and he really wasn’t focusing on it. Within a few more minutes he started to whine.
“Baby boo boo!” he whimpered. “Baby boo boo!”
I asked him what hurt and he said “back” and pointed behind him. I wondered what could be bothering him, as he had been running around just fine a few moments before. I went over to his high chair and made him lean forward. I noticed a strange lump underneath his shirt and I reached down his shirt to feel around for it. When I pulled my hand back out I had retrieved a small, green finger puppet with a wide open mouth and imposing teeth.
“Oh, I put that in his shirt,” Big E said matter of factly as he munched on his eggs. “There’s something else in there too.”
I dug in again and found a small plastic boulder. Poor third child, no wonder he was in pain. With that little incident went any interest Baby E had in dinner this evening. He’s going to be starving in the morning!
Be still, my heart, be still.
There are moments I want imprinted on my mind and stored in my heart, to treasure them all of my days and revisit them when I am old. In the chaos and blur of life, these are the moments that truly matter, the moments that take your breath away and remind you of the heart’s capacity to love. . .
The goodness of God and the beauty of life clash together in undeniable joy.
In these moments, life is perfect.
There are certain activities that fall under the category of things you should or will do with your children, but one time should be enough.
I call it the Mommy Bucket List and today I can check off one of them.
Taking all three children to the dentist by myself.
I hadn’t actually planned to do this particular task on my own, but my dear husband got home very late last night so I decided to let him get more than three hours of sleep by taking the kids by myself. I had been dreading the outing mainly because Baby E had never been to the dentist, and I was pretty sure he would have a total meltdown.
Much to my surprise he actually enjoyed the visit to the dentist. He marched in there like he owned the place, went straight to the dental chair, crawled up, and sat down in it like he knew exactly what was going on. For a boy who usually shies away from strangers, he was happy and chatty with all the ladies in the office and sat still while they cleaned and examined his teeth. I’m pretty sure he thought the water squirting tool was purely for drinking, as he sat in the chair as the dentist shot streams of water into his open mouth and he gulped down as much as he could. When he was done, I let him choose which sibling would go next (he chose Big E) and then he spent the rest of the visit asking when it would be his turn again. After we left he kept asking to go back to the Dentist House.
Big E did great and didn’t squirm or complain. C was not nearly as amused by the visit, and she was visibly nervous, though she held it together pretty well. It helped that they gave the kids balloons and stickers for being so patient.
The good news was that we were cavity free across the board! Wahoo!!
With that said, let’s play a game. Count how many things you can check off of the Mommy Bucket List and total them up. Then let me know what your number is!
- Dentist visit with all of your children at once.
- Grocery shopping with all of your children right before dinnertime.
- Picking your child’s nose because you couldn’t find a tissue.
- Getting pulled over with your children in the backseat.
- Using a public restroom while your child is loudly announcing a play by play of your bathroom activities.
- Take all of your children to IKEA, bonus point if you go at nap time.
- Go out to a nice restaurant with the entire family.
- Play monopoly with small children.
- Cave and give your children dessert before dinner. (Trust me, they will remember the next day. And the day after that. And all the days into eternity.)
- Wipe someone else’s bum until wiping someone else’s bum no longer has shock value.
There you have it. I scored an 8. How about you??? What’s your score? Also, anything you would add to the list?
Going through old pictures today and found this one and decided to show it to the kids…
“Ew!! Yucky! You guys are kissing!!! Let me be the first one to say that is disgusting!!!” Big E said as he ran away, pretending to make vomiting noises as he went.
“And let me be the second one to say that is disgusting!!!” C added as she wrinkled up her nose in revulsion.
And Baby E, who thinks the only use of the word ‘Yucky’ is in reference to diapers, just sat there screaming “Poopy! Poopy!”
Hmmm. I pictured that playing out differently in my head!
I heard the noise before my eyes opened. As I came slowly to, I felt the heavy weight of my blanket pressing me down, but the ceiling looked unfamiliar and the lighting seemed foreign. I laid there for a moment trying to make sense of my surroundings as the heavy fog fell away. I’m on the couch. A thought that was confirmed as I glanced over to the window. The blinds were drawn, but the sunshine peeked around the edges. What time is it?? I felt around for my phone. It was 3:30. I had been asleep for two hours, but it might just as well have been two days. I can’t remember the last time I slept that heavy, and would likely have slept longer if I hadn’t heard Baby E’s gleeful screams from his bed as he noticed his cousins playing outside.
I’m looking forward to the longer days and warmer temperatures that should be coming soon. It will make the weekends more fun, as the kids will get to be outside more, playing with their cousins and running off their energy. I’m ready for winter to be over. It hasn’t been particularly cold or snowy, but it has been long, dark, and germ-filled and I am ready for it to be gone. I am so very ready.
These are my children… playing with the same toys, with the same rules, at the same time. This next to never happens. I’d say it is usually Baby E that puts a damper on things as he often tries to steal their toys and hide them behind his back. He doesn’t want the other kids up in his face and he often yells at them even if they are just passing by. The big kids bicker constantly, which is enough to drive one mad. C likes to control most of the games, and Big E likes to make large, grand gestures that often backfire and end up injuring himself or someone else. But every once in a while a moment like this happens, and I want to bottle it up and save it for later, you know, when they are all at each other’s throats!
Baby E struggled with his sausage patty this evening. He had taken a few bites out of it, and it was shaped more or less like a crescent moon. He had a divided plate sitting in front of him, and as he positioned his sausage into one of the little square cubbies, it did not sit flush with the bottom of the plate. This was extremely distressing to him, and he sat there crying and smashing the sausage onto his plate. Defeated, he gave up and moved along to his next crisis.
In honest, the kids were very well behaved this evening, if not a little wild. I decided to wear them out by having them do exercises until their bodies were tired as well. They fell asleep quickly, much to my relief.
I was going through a stack of old papers this evening, trying to make a dent in the mess that is my house, when I came across my discharge folder from the hospital. With a quick calculation, I realized I would have been 24 weeks pregnant this week. But I’m not. I don’t think about it nearly as much anymore, but every once in awhile it gets me. I guess tonight was one of those nights. I let myself dwell on the what-ifs for a few moments, but tried not to linger there because what happened happened. And life goes on. And thinking of those dear children asleep down the hall makes my life that much sweeter and my time that much more precious. I won’t say they are my world, because that would make them idols, but I love them more than I thought could be possible and every day is better for having them in it.