My older kids only have one short week of school left. Monday they are off for the holiday and Friday is just a half day of school. I'm looking forward to the summer... and I'm not.
I'm looking forward to more relaxed mornings, not packing lunches, NO HOMEWORK!, and much less busy schedules in the evenings. I'm also looking forward to time in the pool, more produce from our vegetable garden, and eating more watermelon than is probably healthy for me.
But, for the first time ever, I'm not really looking forward to having all my kids at home all day. Wow. I can't believe I just wrote that! I've always been the mom who loves having all her chicks home with her. And, I still feel that way for the most part, but I'm feeling a little anxious, too.
Last summer was very difficult for me. Clara was still a tiny, nursing around the clock infant, potty training Gustin was going absolutely no where and the dynamics between Gustin and the older kids were tough. Gustin was trying to figure out his place with respect to the older two (I now understand why being a third child is hard) and his sometimes aggressive, always stubborn personality was really starting to show itself. And, I was going through postpartum depression.
I keep reminding myself that this summer will be different. Clara only nurses briefly once in the morning and once at night now. The postpartum depression is long gone. The potty training still isn't complete (Gustin does pee in the potty now, but only manages to not poop in his pants a few times a week), but it is definitely improving lately. Turning 4 a couple of weeks ago seemed to motivate him a bit, thank the Lord!
This summer will not be a repeat of last summer.
But, Gustin is still a very strong-willed child. There are days where he fights me over absolutely everything! Earlier this week he absolutely refused to eat his favorite lunch and voluntarily refused any snacks or any other food until dinner time and only ate a couple of bites then. It's a control thing for him (just like the potty training) and he won't do anything that he doesn't decide he wants to do.
Please, don't get me wrong. I love this little boy very deeply! He is strong-willed, but he is also very generous, attentive and loving. He cracks us up all the time and is so very imaginative.
But, I pray every day that God will give me the wisdom and courage to be the mom that Gustin needs me to be. He's forcing me to grow and to learn to be patient with a capital P and sometimes it hurts. But, motherhood is my vocation, which means it's my path to heaven, so I shouldn't expect it to be easy. In fact, without Gustin here to help smooth out my rough edges, I wouldn't have nearly as many opportunities to grow as a person. He's helping me on my path to sainthood, and, hopefully, I'm helping him on his path as well. So, every night when I say my prayers, after I pray for the Lord's grace and guidance, I also thank God for my little boy and for the amazing opportunity to be his mother.