When you are left to your own memories, like I have been lately, there are things as a young mother that I wish I could change. But always I am glad that my children turned out so perfect. Yes, in my eyes, they are perfect. Some of you may be shaking your head right now, knowing that this blog is dedicated to my son Alex who has passed away. Alex made a mistake, a poor choice that cost him his life. We all make mistakes, some bigger then others. But in my eyes, as a mother, he was perfect. You see, each of us have a different meaning for that word. All children growing up do things that definitely question our parenting skills. Within the past five years, all of my kids revealed some stupid things they did as kids and felt compelled to share it with me. At times, I shook my head and just laughed. Other times, I wish they hadn't shared the experience or event. "You really could have hurt yourself" was probably the line I said over and over to Adam and Alex when they shared. With Audra, it was always "Well, you learned a lesson the hard way on that one". Nothing they did shocked me; as the saying goes, "Kids will be kids". And then again, I recall some of my years growing up and my husbands life, and we together figure we better not SHARE those things. See, we were no different then them. We have done some stupid things in our lives also and yet, here we were; safe and whole and no worse for the wear. In the parenting department, I sometimes say "Oh, I wish I had done this better" or "Goodness, I wish I could have handled that in a different way". But we can't go back in time, and I can say that it wouldn't have made much of a difference anyways. Adam, Alex and Audra were raised by the same two parents and by the same set of rules, even regardless of the fact Audra was a girl, our expectations were the same for all of them. And they grew to be loved by many, respected by many. They grew to be three completely different individuals. They were close and loved each other, and cared about each other. They helped each other and also, they argued. But they always knew they had each others backs. We wanted them to sing their own songs, dance if they wanted, run races and take big chances. We wanted them to share, play fair, and wait their turn. They were expected to go to school and learn and seize the day. They were allowed to express their feelings, to laugh and cry, and wonder many times WHY? WHY? WHY? And the answer was always the same, BECAUSE I SAID SO. I wasn't their best friend, I was the parent. I had to guide them and show them the ropes, but they still had to climb it by themselves. There was no SHUT UP in our home. You could say PLEASE BE QUIET through gritted teeth, and that was fine, but no SHUT UP. There was also no I HATE YOU. They could say I DON'T LIKE YOU RIGHT NOW and there were many times the response from me was I DON'T LIKE YOU RIGHT NOW EITHER, BUT I LOVE YOU. Sometimes that even made them angrier, but it didn't matter to me. I needed to assure them that no matter what, that fact would never change. I never said I AM VERY DISAPPOINTED IN YOU. My husband completely was not on the same page with me on that one. But he has the right to his own opinion. My response was I AM VERY UPSET BY THE CHOICES YOU ARE MAKING. I just felt that it was necessary to address the actions that caused the situation and trouble they were in. That's not to say I wasn't angry. I just really felt it was needed to always let them know I would be there for them. So Mark and I agree to disagree on that one. Another thing we taught them was to speak your mind, stand up for what you believe in, while still letting others have their say. Tell the truth, the whole truth, and I will stand beside you and defend you. Say PLEASE and THANK YOU and never forget how lucky you are to have a roof over your head and a full belly when you go to sleep. And lastly, to grow and give of yourselves, and live YOUR life; because it is YOURS and only yours, and you only get one.
With Audra getting married in a few days, I have come to realize how very much I am missing you Alex. Your laughter and jokes would be so appreciated right now because of the tension a wedding can cause. You would be so proud of how she and Mitch are handling it all. Building a home, she is finishing her masters, both working full time, planning the wedding, and she did plan most of the shower. Mitch has been the most supportive fiancé anyone could imagine. He has helped with a lot more then people realize. The seating chart seemed to have been very challenging, but that is now also finished. It is the first big event they have planned together. I know now that's what I will be missing the most as a mother. All the firsts. But then, I started looking at it in another way. I still have all the firsts that her fiancé doesn't. I was the first person to look at that beautiful face (besides the doctor who delivered her). I was there when she smiled and recognized my face after she napped one day. Then she rolled over, sat up by herself, said her first word ("dada") and I heard also her first real belly laugh. She was watching you and your brother dance and jump to a song on TV and she just let out this laugh. And you boys just kept doing it to make her laugh more and you laughed along. I watched you, Alex, hold her tiny hands and help her walk from one chair to the other and I just thought you were the best helper in the world because by that time in her life, Adam was in kindergarten. So you had this one on one with Audra and she was your playmate. You showed her how to build the blocks up, and then let her knock them down, the whole time being so patient. You would share your lunch with her and when we took walks, you liked to push the stroller. Because if we were stopped by anyone, they would ask, "And who is this pretty little one"? and you would answer "That's my baby, Audwa". And that is not a mis-spell. That is how you said her name at the time. She loved her walker. And I never realized how much she paid attention to the sounds around her till one day the bus went by the house and she ran like a bat out of hell to get to the front door. There she waited, jumping and clapping, waiting for Adam to get to the porch. And then he would stand on the other side and talk to her. She would jump even harder and reach her arms out, her little fingers twitching in the air because she wanted a hug. And Adam would come in and give her that hug and talk to her. "Hey Sunshine, did you miss me? Did you have fun today"? He was the first to call her that; Sunshine. He said it was her nickname because when she smiled, he felt warm inside, like the sunshine. And then he would share his day with all of us. Show us his school work, his projects; we would have our after school snacks all together. All those firsts I have. And those are treasured memories. Days that only I have with you and them, the firsts of so many moments in your lives.
So yes, maybe I am losing a daughter, but I am gaining so much more. I get to share the first of many in her life WITH Mitch now. I am watching, with them, their FIRST home being built. I have been watching them plan together their FIRST and only wedding. I have seen the FIRST and only man get down on bended knee and ask my daughter to marry him. So really, I am not losing anything. I will be gaining many more firsts, and I can't wait for them to happen. Some very important people will be guiding them from the heavens above, and watching in delight as their new life progresses. You know them all Alex.
My daughter, your sweet sister Alex, will soon be getting married; and we both know she will live happily ever after. And if anyone asks us how we know, we will tell them what you said to me many times while they were dating.
"That Mitch mom, he is the perfect man for Audra". You were right, all along Alex; he is PERFECT.