• Kari

The Best of Both Worlds

If you have been a Mama for a little while, you may be humming the tune to Hannah Montana after reading the title. I have had it stuck in my head since titling this post. (You get the limo out front... oo-wa-oo) You're welcome.

When did your Mama journey start? Have you always wanted children, or was that something that came later in life, or even after the strip turned pink? Or something you are still wishing for, or something you've decided is not for you? I have wanted children for as long as I can remember. When other children were writing their dreams and aspirations of "What do you want to be when you grow up", mine almost always said "A mom". Occasionally, I would add author to that. (Which is great, because other than that, I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.)

I did not, however, plan to start my Mama journey at 18. But, that is when I made my debut. I tried twice to find out what the new life I was growing inside me was going to be, but true to his later personality, he was modest and had his legs crossed both times. This was my first test of patience as a mother. First of many, many, many more. I wanted a boy so badly. I had the name Carson picked out since I was around 12 years old. It was in one of the many books I devoured, and I always envisioned my first child to be a boy. Thankfully, the little person with a face like an angry raisin who was born 5 1/2 weeks early at 4:13 AM on 4/13 was in fact a boy who we named Carson Matthew (meaning gift). Before the 31 hours of labor with little to no medicinal help, I had wanted around 4 children. Afterward, one sounded perfect. Carson was an amazing baby, but did not much care for sleep. Thankfully, I was able to stay home with him for the first few years. When he was around 14 months old, I had my first miscarriage. I will spare the details of this one, but it was a tough walk. After Bryan and I were married, we decided we would try for another. I became pregnant the day after we started trying. True to Jordan's immodest personality, we found out that he was a boy about 3 weeks earlier than planned. Having turned 25 a few weeks before, I was now a Mama of two.

Fast forward a few years and we now have two boys who are 6 1/2 years apart, and two boy dogs who are also 6 1/2 years apart. That's a lot of testosterone. I'm exhausted, but my heart is full. Unexpectedly, I had another miscarriage. I started to daydream of a girl in the back of my mind, but was so worried we would not have a good relationship like so many mother/daughter examples I had seen. But, Bryan's desire was to have a daughter. We talked about it for a while and once he convinced me he was content if it happened to be a third boy, we started trying again. For the ultrasound appointment, all four of us went. After getting the perfect shot, she went around the room asking what everyone thought the baby was. Everyone but me exclaimed "Girl!". She showed us the picture on the big screen with "Mom is wrong, it's a girl!" written along the top. So, at the age of 31, I became a girl mom, and a mama to three.

In case you need to be caught up, this past school year I had one start college (Carson), one start middle school (Jordan), and one start Kindergarten (Emmie). Our dogs are all 6 1/2 years apart and in the same gender order. (Jack, Charlie, and Lucy) I became a Mama in 2000, and my last child will not turn 18 until 2031. We usually get some double takes or sideways glances when we are all going out together. I can see the wheels turning trying to figure out how our family dynamic works. When just Carson (who is pushing 6'2" now) and I go on an errand and he holds Emmie for me, we will get some very strange looks. As Emmie neared 6, I started hearing the jokes come about it being time for another one. And while this may not have been what I would have planned for myself, I am so very thankful that God knows me better. I was not meant to have two (or more) in diapers at the same time.

For all of the differences with how our family looks, there are some very sweet rewards. When I see the boys helping Emmie get something she can't reach, or run to her faster than I can when she is hurt, my cup runneth over. Watching them show love not out of obligation, but because they genuinely care about each other. Knowing I had that precious 6 1/2 years with Carson being an only is irreplaceable. Carson was able to be more independent when Jordan came, allowing me to cherish that alone time with Jordan. When Emmie was born Jordan dubbed himself the big, middle, and little brother. Emmie has three protectors instead of just one. This sweet girl is so very loved and cared for more than she will ever know. (Though, one day I hope she does. Good luck dating, sweet girl. I will do my best to help hold them off.) There is not the typical competition and comparison between them since they are in such different stages of life. With the age gap between them, I have been allowed to be a different Mama to each of them. And, isn't that how it should be no matter the gap? They are all so very different and need me in such different ways based off of who they are and what season they are in. This has allowed me to understand that we cannot parent each kid the same way, with the same discipline, or the same methods. It makes me stop and listen more as I switch gears between them. To be an intentional Mama to who it is that is before me. I have my adult baby who still needs me, just in a very different way. He has become one of my very favorite people, and I truly enjoy being around him. Having only one young one at each time has allowed me to still spread my time more evenly between them. I get to snuggle a little while talking to a big. I get the best of both worlds. Getting to watch the results of our parenting work before our eyes while still in the weeds with the remaining two.

The musical range in our house is anywhere from JoJo Siwa to 21 Pilots and back again. Poor Alexa does a great job keeping up. As a photographer, it's challenging to find poses that work with the stair step of heights. Finding a movie we all want to watch is limited to mostly the Marvel movies, Harry Potter series, and Star Wars. But, I wouldn't trade it for the world. I just get to savor Motherhood a little more each time, knowing just how fast it goes.