When did my life become full of so many people?? Sometimes I just take a step back and it really blows my mind. 12 years ago I kind of, sort of had my eye on this guy at Institute (okay it was a pretty big crush) and I was getting ready to go back to NJ to surprise my mom for spring break. That was a lot of fun. Then pretty much as soon as spring break was over, Aaron and I started dating, and before long here we are! 5 babies later! It makes me realize how fast time goes, and that in 12 years my kids will be 20, 19, 17, 15, and 12. We'll be in a whole different world. One full of mission preparations, college, and my baby will be about to be a teenager. Sometimes it feels like I'm in this never ending loop of babyhood, perpetuated by me getting pregnant pretty much every other year since 2007. It can feel so draining, and at times I feel almost like my entire identity is wrapped up in these little people and I crave to have something just for me. Something to remind of who I am, aside from "Mom! Mama! Moooo-ooommm! MOM!"
Funnily enough, Mom is the only identity I ever wanted. I spent my whole life waiting for this. Literally it is all I ever wanted. I walked the baby clothes aisles long before I was even married. I have a very clear memory of when I worked in a K-Mart, walking to the baby needs aisle and putting Johnson & Johnson lotion on my hands, and inhaling that sweet baby smell and just longing for this life. And here I am! I remind myself of this every so often, because it's really easy to just get frustrated. But I mean look at this face!
We're homeschooling this year and I'm most likely not going to repeat this, but it has given us so much time together (which is both the reason I'm so done, and sad to see this year end). We've had some awesome experiences and I feel like we've just all gotten a lot closer and are really growing and stretching as people. However, sometimes that growing and stretching is really ugly and I'm not so sure it's worth it. I worry constantly that I'm not doing enough to help them learn as much as they would at public school. I fear my weakness in organization is setting a horrible example for them to follow in their own lives. And so many times I've completely lost my patience and end up just yelling at everyone. So I'm looking forward to spring break next week! And then we just have a few weeks left before summer vacation. We need to have some kind of huge party to celebrate a whole year of homeschooling in the books.
Today we had stake conference and there were so many great talks. Talks that have inspired me to want to study my scriptures more regularly. To have a closer relationship with my Savior. To do more to invite the Spirit into my home. To have opportunities to share the Gospel with those I know and love. To do more to help the needy. The beautiful thing is, this desire to be better isn't being felt along with its usually accompanying hearty side of guilt that I'm not already perfect at these things. The Atonement is real! It's a done deal, guys. Jesus Christ was a real person, who did this real thing, and it truly has power to transform our lives. And little by little our lives can improve as we come to Him. And that's it! In meekness and humility, come to Him, and let Him work in your heart. Let Him bring about the changes you desire. He will show your weakness, not to hurt you or bring you down, but so that you can truly change. And the amazing thing is, He takes these weaknesses and turns them into strengths, if we let Him. I am so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for my living testimony of its truthfulness. My testimony goes through these periods of doubt and then it swells again with so much surety I can't believe I could ever doubt. But I take heart in knowing that this is how we grow. Periods of doubt are a natural part of being human, and as long as I use them to come closer to Him, it's nothing to be ashamed of. Anyway, this is way more personal than I usually get, but I wanted to write this all out and I was going to write in my journal, but I just started blogging and now I'm on a roll so there's no stopping it.
I'm excited for this week. My first baby girl will be turning 9! Aaron took the day off and we're going to have a super fun family day, and she's going to have some friends come over at night. It has been so incredible to watch her grow. And watch her transition into a full blown BIG kid... we're definitely not pre-teen yet, right? That's at least 10, right? I feel like we're knocking on that door really soon though. And while it's scary, it's also so exciting. She's such a bright, strong willed person, I can't wait to see what she does.