Monday, August 24, 2015

That Time I Got Stabbed In The Face With A Pencil

While on bedrest, I played a game inside my head called “worst case scenario.”  I would ask myself questions such as, “What will I do when I lose one of the triplets in Target?”  Then I would thoughtfully construct an answer inside my brain:  I will scream bloody murder, lock down the store, call a swat team, and hold every customer and worker hostage until the lost child is found and returned.  “What will I do if another child is mean to one the girls?”  Answer:  I will hire a squad of hit men to rough the mean child up until he or she swears never to come near any of my children as long as he or she lives.  “What will you do if one of the girls refuses to wear hair bows and smocked dresses?”  Answer:  I will pay her to wear bows and smocked dresses on special occasions and let her wear what she wants the rest of the time.

Never, ever, in any of those 74 days did I ask myself, “What will you do when one of your children stabs you in the face with a pencil?” 
As a former school teacher, I pride myself in the fact that I have the essential knowledge, skills, and training to work with the girls on an instructional level.  As a mother human who feels a level of exhaustion unlike any tired I have ever felt every single waking minute of every living day, I will confess that I rarely use stated essential knowledge and skills to work with the girls on an instructional level. However, this summer there was a definite need to play “catch up” in preparation for first grade, so I committed to work with the girls 20-30 minutes every day.

One fine summer evening, I sat Baby B down at the table with handwriting paper and a pencil.  Baby B is usually my most cooperative and obedient child.  On this particular night, not so much.
Me:  Are you ready to practice your lower case letters?

Baby B:  Not really.  I would rather go swimming.
Me:  We are going to start with lower case a.  It’s easy!  All you have to do is make a circle.  Then, pick up your pencil and draw a line. 

I modeled how to correctly form the letter and then handed the pencil to Baby B.
Baby B:  This pencil needs to be sharpened.  Also, I think you need to brush your teeth.  Your breath is horrible.

Me:  Please go sharpen the pencil.
Baby B walked across the kitchen, sharpened her pencil, and then returned to the table.

Baby B:  I hate writing letters.  I want to go naked swimming at Granny's.

Me:  I understand.  I hope that with a little practice, writing will be easier for you. 
Baby B:  I don’t like the eraser cap on this pencil.

Me:  You may remove the eraser cap.  Then, you will need to write the letter a.
Baby B gripped the eraser cap with her left hand, while pointing the freshly sharpened pencil lead toward me with her right hand.  As she forcefully pulled off the eraser cap, her right hand flew forward.  Then, she stabbed me in the face with her pencil.

At first, neither of us spoke.  We just looked at each other with very wide eyes.
I jumped up from the table and ran to the bathroom.  I had a small hole in my chin region.  The tip of the pencil was trapped in the hole.  There was blood.  The Trifecta trailed behind me, Baby B staring at me in stunned silence.

Chris:  What happened?

Trifecta:  What happened?

Me:  Baby B stabbed me in the face with her pencil.  It wasn’t on purpose. The pencil lead is in there though and I can’t get it out. 

The Trifecta began to cry and scream in perfect harmony.

Baby C:  I don’t want Mommy to have a hole in her chin!

Baby A:  Are you going to die?

Baby B:  I didn’t mean to do it!  I’m running away to China!

Me (to Baby B):  I’m not mad at you!  It was an accident!  I’m just worried about the lead in the hole in my chin.

Chris:  Pencils are actually made from non-toxic graphite, it’s a common misconception that they are made from lead.


The Trifecta began to sob uncontrollably, in perfect harmony.

Chris:  Do you need some ice?


The Trifecta began to roll around on the bathroom floor while screaming, “WE DON’T WANT YOU TO HAVE A HOLE IN YOUR CHIN!”

Me:  I am going to go to the after-hours clinic to see if someone can remove the non-toxic graphite.

Baby A:  Are you going to die?

Baby C:  I don’t want you to go to the hospital!  Mommies aren’t supposed to get injured!

Baby B:  I am going to run away to China!
Me:  Don't worry!  Daddy is going to turn on the television and bring you Cheetos!
Upon arriving at the walk-in clinic I was immediately assured that I would not die from lead poisoning.  Because pencils are made from non-toxic graphite.  After many failed attempts to remove the graphite from my face, I was told that I would need to make an appointment with a dermatologist.

The following morning I saw Dr. Junior Nelson.  He removed the non-toxic graphite from my face. 


 All that is left is a tiny grey-green dot on my chin. 

Soon after this incident, my Sunday School class had a discussion about Noah, the arc, the storm, and the rainbow.  My class is full of some super smart people, and our teacher, Rob, is brilliant.  He started talking about the role of God as parent.  He shared that God could totally control us if He wanted to, but He doesn’t.  He creates the space for us to breathe and live.  With that space, we sin. 

The first thing that came into my mind was a visual image of me, stabbing God in the face with a pencil.  I do it all the time.  I certainly don’t mean to stab Him in the face, but I constantly make choices that are different from those He has called me to make. 

Each time I demonstrate my arrogance, my self-centeredness, my anger, my total sinfulness, God takes a non-toxic graphite pencil to the chin.  But He loves me regardless.  He sent His son to take away those sins, He cleanses my heart and my soul.

God doesn’t need to create “worst-case scenarios” for us.  We are His children.  He loves us, no matter what.  Even when we stab Him in the face.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

I Haven't Opened A Charter School

Have I mentioned that I am reading Jen Hatmaker’s new book? It is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. There simply are not words to express my love for this literary work of heart wonder.

I just finished re-reading her third chapter, “On Calling and Haitian Moms” for the fifth time.  For the last 45 minutes I have attempted to provide you with a synopsis of her biblical benchmark: If it isn’t true for a poor single Christian mom in Haiti, it isn’t true.  Since I am not Jen Hatmaker, I have failed at this endeavor.  So I will just tell you, for the nine billionth time, that you must purchase and read, For the Love. P.S. – She is also doing an audio book in her very own voice so if you are not a reader you can still win at life by hearing her words.

I have decided I need to re-read the seven pages from this chapter, every morning for the rest of my living, breathing days. Because I have struggled with my “calling” for most of my adult life.

In college, I dreamed of opening a charter school.  It was going to be awesome and change the world and eliminate poverty for children and families everywhere.  The children would love learning and the parents love everything and the teachers would love teaching and best practices would flow out of the air vents.  There was a lot more to this dream, but I will leave you with that for now.

Instead I have done other things.  I taught first and second grades (because I needed some experience for this charter school).  I worked in an enrichment center (because I needed some experience for this charter school). I married a precious man.  I earned my master's degree (because I needed some more college for this charter school).  My precious man and me conceived triplets, I birthed them, and we parent them. 

The parenting and keeping alive of triplets pretty much takes up most of my time these days.  So there has not been much action in the area of charter school opening (or dreaming or planning) over the last six years.  I love this life and would not trade it for the charter school dream.  I believe parenting is THE most important job anyone could every offer this planet.

But sometimes I feel like a failure because I have not transformed this "calling" into a reality.  And sometimes I feel unworthy of my education, my upbringing, the time and effort poured into me by my parents and teachers and mentors.  I ask myself often, “What I have done with all that I have been given?  How have I made the world better with all my blessings?”

I hope this paragraph from her book will help you as much as it has helped me:
A worthy life involves loving as loved folks do, sharing the ridiculous mercy God spoiled us with first.  (It really is ridiculous.) It means restoring people, in ordinary conversations and regular encounters.  A worthy life means showing up when showing up is the only thing do to.  Goodness bears itself out in millions of ordinary ways across the globe, for the rich and poor, the famous and unknown, in enormous measures and tiny, holy moments.  It may involve a career and it may not.  It may include traditional components and it may not.
I will let you take a breath from that and let it sink in. Give yourself a minute.

What if all of us stopped worrying about the big gestures and started focusing on the things we can  do EVERYDAY, EVERYWHERE?  To all of you who struggle with the “calling” and the “worthy life,” let’s make a pact.  Let’s love like God loves.  Let’s listen to those who hurt when they share their struggles.  Let’s agree to be present and near when those we love need us.  Because according Jen Hatmaker, “Calling is virtually never big or famous work; that is rarely the way the kingdom comes.”

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Top Ten Reasons I Love Jen Hatmaker

The Top Ten Reasons I Love Jen Hatmaker
Over the past several days, I have experienced something that is difficult for me to process.  Apparently there are people in my life, people in my circle of love, people who I hold close to my heart, people who I trust with my children, people who… do not know Jen Hatmaker.  “Who is Jen Hatmaker?” these people ask me at meetings and teacher appreciation luncheons and on Facebook. 
I do not know whether I should hug these people or rush them to a care facility or sit them down in front of the computer for several hours of Jen Hatmaker therapy.  It is just too much for my brain and heart and soul and eardrums to make meaning out of.

And so now I feel like this may be something I must share with America and other with countries.  We all need Jen Hatmaker, people.  Because this lady will make you laugh.  A lot.  And also teach you important things about being a good human and a “Jesus With Skin On.”
Here are the Top Ten Reasons I Love Jen Hatmaker. 

10) Worst End of School Year Mom Ever
May 30, 2015.  The day I read the first thing I ever read written by JH.  This is the day, the moment in time when I said to myself, “I really like this hysterical lady.  She is my new best friend I have never met in real life.” 

I will share her first paragraph with you for free.  Then you have to click on the link to read the rest.  And you should totally do that.
You know the Beginning of School Enthusiasm? When the pencils are fresh and the notebooks are new and the kids’ backpacks don’t look like they lined the den of a pack of filthy hyenas? Moms, remember how you packed innovative and nutritional lunches and laid clothes out the night before and labeled shelves for each child’s work and school correspondence and completed homework in a timely manner?

I am exactly still like that at the end of school, except the opposite.

9) Her definition of justice.    
This quote, from her Love Wins speech on Tuesday, May 5, 2015:

“What is my definition of justice?  Justice is when we take what we have been given, and we work to set things right.  We must push and press and insist on justice.  This is the way to live, being generous and helping other.  ALL CHILDREN ARE OUR CHILDREN.  ALL MOTHERS ARE OUR SISTERS.”
8) Chapter 4: Fashion Concerns

I know, I know.  I haven’t blogged about For the Love, Chapter 3 yet.  I am skipping ahead.  In her new, not yet released book that I got because my friend Heather Adams is so good to me, she has a whole chapter dedicated to fashion concerns.  It is everything that you are dreaming it will be and more, I promise.   I will share the following paragraph with you for educational purposes related to my love of Jen Hatmaker.  Her fashion concerns are the same as mine and yours and I LOVE THIS CHAPTER. 
“Leggings-As-Pants (LAP) is permissible if the following rule is obeyed: Your privates are covered by a shirt, sweater, or dress.  Privates are heretofore understood as areas north of upper thighs and south of muffin top.  I don’t want to see your hinterlands.”

You will need to purchase the book when it is released.  I’m serious about this.

7) Jen Hatmaker is on Facebook.
When you love her like I do, you will decide to become her friend on Facebook.  And then you will read her posts.  Sometimes she shares recipes.  Sometimes she shares the gospel.  Other times she posts things like this, from May 6, 2015:

That thing where your kid with a lot of words is telling a story and it is taking one hundred thousand years because every extra, tiny, superfluous, additional, extraneous detail is being included and it takes a superhuman effort to not give the "speed it up" gesture with your hand and so you sit there with a smile plastered on your face thinking you might ACTUALLY DIE before this story is over.

That thing.
6)  She’s A Mommy.

You do not have to be a mommy to love Jen Hatmaker.  However, if you are a mother, you need to get to know Jen Hatmaker.  She has FIVE children.  FIVE.  She does not pretend to be perfect.  Instead, she creates a wonderful community for real women with real problems who are really trying to be the best they can be.  

5) Jen Hatmaker loves people.
She really does.  I’m not making that up just.  This is what she says about herself:

I love people. The messier, the wonkier, the further out from the bullseye...the better. I understand God best through people; their gifts and strengths, their love and compassion, their character and courage. I sincerely believe we were made in God's image, and when I evaluate the goodness of people, I love God more. I crave a world of justice where people are safe, loved, empowered. I plan to use whatever influence I've been given on behalf of edged-out people for all my days. If I loved well, I will consider my entire life a success.
Right? I know.  She said, “wonkier.” Let’s high five each other about her through the internet.

4) She smells like baby angels and fields of happy.

I know this because I met her once.  And I gave her a hug.  She is as lovely in real life as she is on the world wide web. 
3) Seven.  Interrupted.  For the Love.

These are a few of her books.  She has more.  I cannot copy and paste from all of these books.  But I can tell you to read them.  And you should.  Because they will change your life.

2) She had a dream to write and she did and she does. 
It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to write.  Maybe you want to learn to sew or open a flower shop or a restaurant or go back to school or change the world?  I do not know the specifics, but I know that everyone who is reading this has a dream.  She recently wrote a blog about what it takes to become a good writer.  I think this applies to your dreams too:

“Of course my kids wish I would devote every spare second to maintain their place in the center of the universe, but writers write and writing is work and work takes time. And it is good work. It means something. It is noble and important. It always has been. I remember crying a river when my mom went back to college when we were in elementary, middle, and high school because she was less available to cater to our every whim, but it very soon became a source of great pride for me, because I watched my mom do meaningful, hard work that mattered. She went for it, right in the middle of living life. As it turned out, I needed a mom who mothered, dreamed, worked, and achieved. We all did.”

The last part, “…I needed a mom who mothered, dreamed, worked, and achieved.”  Process that.

1) She loves Jesus.  And she drinks wine.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Good Shell Hunting and Turning Forty

How appropriate that my best friend Jen Hatmaker would include a chapter titled, On Turning Forty in her new book, For the Love.  Because guess what people?  I’m turning forty on August 5, 2015. 

And guess what else?  I’m not dreading my fortieth birthday.  How have I avoided the birthday blues, you may wonder?  Two reasons: 1) My BFF Jen Hatmaker dropped some awesome words on me in her new book. 2) I went hunting for shells.
I’ll start with the shells.

In January my parents took our family to Sanibel, FL for a week of rest and relaxation.  It was just about one of the best weeks of my whole entire life.  If you know anything about Sanibel, you know that it is the shell hunting capital of the world.  Visitors and locals rise before the sun wakes up with buckets and flashlights, following the tide and searching the shore for tiny treasures from the sea.   Hunting for shells is a competitive sport in Sanibel, and I totally jumped on the shell quest bandwagon during our vacation.
Shell hunters have specific criteria for what makes a “good” shell.  I noticed immediately the way serious hunters would lean down, select a shell, and then spend several seconds inspecting it before deciding whether or not to place it in their buckets, or throw in back onto the shore.  They were searching for the perfect shell.  A shiny casing.  No cracks or chips allowed.  The bigger, the better.

I started to imagine myself as a shell on the Sanibel beach.  What would I look like after washing up on shore?  After many days of searching, I found my shell-self.  Here I am.

My thirty nine (almost forty!) years have been a cake walk compared to most people.  I have two parents who have loved and cared for me since the moment I was born.  My husband is devoted and patient and loves me without condition.  I have friends that I do not deserve.  I have never gone to bed hungry.  I have a roof over my head and shoes on my feet.  And don’t even get me started on my three little girls. 

Despite my blessed life, I’m not a shiny, perfect shell.  I’m damaged.  I’ve been tossed around the ocean, lost underwater at times.  Jen reflects on life in her twenties, “I lost much time in jealousy, judgment, and imitation.  I just couldn’t find my own song.  I struggled to celebrate others’ achievements because they felt like indictments on my uncertainty.”
All those things she just said, well those are the same things that have damaged my shell self. 

And I have tiny holes from tiny hurts.  We all have them.  They are a part of living life with humans who make mistakes.  I know I’m responsible for some tiny holes in other shells. 
There is a crack from the loss of our first baby.  I can’t fix that crack, even with glue.  It’s not going anywhere.  I can only hope at some point it stabilizes and stops getting bigger.

There are other breaks and chips: the sadness of saying goodbye to special friends with each move, infertility, personal sins that I have not forgiven, disagreements with friends and loved ones, all the tough stuff.
What does this have to do with my best friend Jen Hatmaker and turning forty?

She says, “(When you are forty) You get a decent handle on who you are, what you are good at, what you love, what you value, and how you want to live.” 
I may not be there quite yet, but I learned a lot from those chips and breaks.  It’s time for me to spend more time doing what I love with the people that I love. 

Finally, JH sums up my hopes and dreams about entering my fourth decade, “I no longer tiptoe through my own life, doubting my gifts and my place, too scared to go for it, seize it, pray for it, dream it.  When you’re forty, you no longer wait for permission to live.”  That.  I want THAT.

I don’t mind being one of the imperfect shells that wash ashore.  Or a hermit crab, sometimes.



Monday, April 6, 2015

Chapter 1 - SO MUCH FUN!

There was SO much great stuff in Chapter 1 of For the Love.  I want to share every word with you, I really do.  But I think that will get me in big trouble with the bosses of the publishing company.  So I'm just going to share a bit with you.  The rest you will get to absorb and enjoy when the book comes out in August. 

How often do you rest your precious head on the pillow and say to yourself, "I can't believe I just pulled this day off. It's a bloody miracle."  Last night?  Me too.

While I was reading Chapter 1 of For the Love I kept wondering if my best friend Jen Hatmaker had been spying on me again.  She says, "...we combine the best of everything we see, every woman we admire in every genre, and conclude: I shall be all of that."  Yes Jen Hatmaker, that is EXACTLY what I do!  How did you know?

Good moms cook.  The internet told me so.  My children are lucky if I nuke some steamed vegetables in one of those pre-packaged steam baggy thingys.   Otherwise, we dine on a steady diet of Blue Coast burritos and chicken nuggets.  It’s NOT what I want for my family.  I laugh about it to keep from crying. 

Do you know what happens when I try to cook?  I will tell you.  This morning I decided to prepare a crock pot meal for the girls and Chris Jackson because I have to teach class tonight.  I placed the frozen chicken on the bottom of the crock pot and gave myself a fist pound.  I drained a can of crushed pineapple and poured it over the chicken.  "I'm crushing this meal like Dole crushed these pineapples!" I said out loud, to myself.  I opened up the BBQ sauce and began squirting it over the chicken.  “Why is this squirting and not pouring?” I asked myself.  “Because it has a tiny squirt hole lid instead of a big open top, that’s why,” I answered myself.  “This tiny squirt hole is too slow,” I announced, “Time for action.”  I squeezed that bottle with my big muscles.  “Winning!”  I shouted to my empty kitchen as the BBQ sauce poured out over the chicken at the appropriate emptying speed.  Then I realized why the sauce was pouring instead of squirting.  Because that tiny hole lid had blown off into 40 ounces of BBQ sauce, that’s why!  I spent the next 30 minutes searching for the tiny hole squirt lid in the crock pot.  At one point I wondered, “What would be the worst that could happen if I left that tiny squirt hole lid in there?  Will it totally melt or just get soft?”  But then I decided that was a bad choice so I kept searching. If I smell like BBQ sauce for the next 4 weeks, you now know why.  NAILED IT.

Real women create a welcoming home for their friends and family.  Glossy magazines with children in linen sitting on white couches warm my heart and make me yearn for the same thing for my own family.  When you walk into my home I have to say things like, "You want to sit down? Oh sure! But wait! I need to make sure you aren't sitting where one of the girls wiped a booger this morning.  Sit here, this cushion is clean."  I’m totally serious that this happens to me.

I’m not the best at my job.  I don’t volunteer enough at The Trifecta’s school.  And sometimes I have to say things to my sweet Chris Jackson like, “Please.  Please do not say any more words to me today.  My brain is broken.  Just tell me what you need through interpretative dance or draw me some pictures.  And also please fold these socks.”

So then that wise lady JH hits me with, "The only thing worse than this unattainable standard is the guilt that follows when perfection proves impossible."

Yes. Yes, that guilt happens to me.  Has it happened to you?    Does this sound familiar?  I know it does.  I am certain I’m not the only one trying to live this crazy life.

Jen Hatmaker says, "We need to quit trying to be awesome and instead be wise.”  I’m going to say her words one more time.  “We need to quit trying to be awesome and instead be wise.”  This really punched me in the gut.  Because I totally want to be awesome.  At everything.  All the time. But being wise would be REALLY
Because you know what happens when we figure out how to be wise?  JH states, "Wise women know what to hold onto and what to release, and how to walk confidently in their choices - no regrets, no apologies, no guilt."
Doesn't that just sound WONDERFUL?  Releasing what stresses us out.  Walking with confidence in the decisions we make for ourselves and the people we love instead of feeling like we let everyone down, all the time.  Being the best for the people that matter instead of giving our best to everyone EXCEPT those who love us the most. 

How are we going to do this, Friends?  We are going to listen to Jen Hatmaker, that’s what we’re going to do!   She reminds us, “When you can’t trust your own discernment, you can certainly trust His.  God has no agenda other than your highest good in His kingdom.”

I’m going to start asking God to help me stop trying to be awesome.  I am going to ask Him to teach me how to be wise instead.

And then I’m going to read Chapter 2.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

"For the Love" of Laundry Piles

Guess what people?  I got a copy of Jen Hatmaker’s new book, For the Love.  It did not fall off a truck and I did not steal it, though I would have, if a precious friend had not gifted it to me.  Because she knows I just can’t get enough of Jen Hatmaker.  I count JH among my people.  My best friends.   But before you get so excited and ask me for an autograph you should know that Jen Hatmaker has never met me.  I just love her to bits because she knows what to say to the hurting out there.  And I count myself among the hurting, sometimes.

Here’s a spoiler alert, Friends.  For the Love is amazing.  A-MAZ-ING.  I think it should sell no less than 762 skajillionbillion copies.  Because if all the people in the whole wide world would just read this book there would be a lot less grouchiness and a lot more love, joy, and hugging out there. 

Also, here is another secret.  I have only read the Introduction.  But I need to tell you about it RIGHT NOW.  Because if the whole book only consisted of the first three pages it would be ENOUGH for us to take a bite out of and digest for a day or two until it became the fuel we need for our souls. 

Here are a few things that GOT TO ME.

“I see a generation of people ON THE HOOK.  Man, we are tough on one another, starting with ourselves.  Folks who thrive in God’s grace give grace easily, but the self-critical person becomes others-critical.  We love other people the way we love ourselves, and if we are not good enough, then no one is.”

Take a moment and just think on that one.  What were the 954 ways you were hard on yourself today?  Shall we start with the moment you woke up and the sweet morning sunshine hit your eyeballs?

Let me just share a couple of my personal favorites from the last 24 hours of my own life. 

I have a pile of laundry that reaches to our ceiling.  If it was not full of smelly socks and molded dish towels I would hide in there so the triplets could not find me while I took a nap.  I looked at that pile today and almost cried “I give up” tears. 

Did I mention that I have 15 years of teaching experience in early childhood, a master’s degree in education, and I still cannot get my own children to learn outside of school?  Homework time at our house more closely resembles a prison break with a) Tears and cries for mercy. “Please, PUH-LEASE MAMA, don’t make me WRITE MY NAME on this paper!”  b) Weapons.  “Mommy, she just tried to stab me in the EYE with that pencil!”  c) Threats and negation.  “Girls,” I say, “If you complete your homework you will get to select a piece of candy out of the Halloween stash (it’s March, BTW).  If you don’t complete your homework, or if you continue to fight and cry, I will take your stuffed animals into the driveway and set them on fire.” 

And, for my final number, I arrived at our spring break location only to learn that I DON’T HAVE ANY CLOTHES ON THIS TRIP.  They did not get packed.  They are sitting on the ironing board at home.

My list of shortcomings, failures, and catastrophes is endless. 

So, how does this influence the way I treat others?  Because I think my best friend Jen Hatmaker is on to something.  How can we truly be kind and accepting of others when we beat ourselves up?

It doesn’t bother me at bit to think that I spend most of my day in a hot mess of craziness, but I hate the thought that my self-criticism may impact my relationship with my husband, my family, my friends, and the precious woman who helps me at the local post office.

And since we are all so busy thinking right now, add this (from the Introduction) to your thoughtful deliberation, “I believe we can do better than this.  I think God wants us off the hook, since Jesus pretty much already handled that for us.  Can I tell you my dream for this little book?  I hope you close the last page and breathe an enormous sigh of relief.  I hope you laugh out loud because you just got free.”

ME TOO best friend, Jen Hatmaker.  So I’m going to keep reading.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Reflective Reflections

Several weeks ago I had a conversation with a friend of a friend who learned she is pregnant with triplet girls.  I had such a lovely discussion with her, but I know I helped her very little.  I could not remember what kind of car seat we purchased when The Trifecta were infants.  I could not remember where I found their triplet stroller.  And how did I select my breast pump?  I. Don’t. Remember.

After we hung up the phone I dissolved into a reflective state.  How can I help this “mommy-to-be-times-three?” So I started writing down some notes.
1)   Sleep. 

When I was on bed rest with The Trifecta I had the following real life conversation with Chris Jackson:

Chris:  What are you reading?

Me: A book called “Babywise.”  It’s all the rage.  It says here that babies should operate on a three hour schedule of eating, playing, and sleeping.

Chris:  What about at night?  Will we have to play with them at night?

Me:  Oh no.  We will set our alarm when we need to wake them up for feedings.  Then, after we feed them and burp them, we will put them back in their cribs and they will fall back to sleep.  I think that means we will have to set our alarms for 11 pm, 2 am, and 5 am.

Chris: That doesn’t sound too bad.

Me:  No, and just think, my Mom will be here for a couple of weeks after they are born to help us.  Maybe we can even take turns sleeping through a feeding.

Chris (kissing my insanely large belly):  That would be great.  I love you!

Me (kissing his head as he kissed my insanely large belly):  And I love you!

They did not sleep for the first six months they were alive.  My precious mother lived with us for 18 months.  Hire a night time nanny; even if it means living off of mac and cheese and those packs of noodles that college students eat.  I’m not even kidding about this.


(2) There are two N’s in triplet nutrition:  nursing and nuggets.

When the “mommy-to-be-times-three” asked me if I nursed, I hesitated before I gave my answer.  Nursing has become one of those ridiculous subjects in which we measure our awesomeness or catastrophic failureness as a mother. Yes, I nursed those babies for a year.  Did I mention my mother lived with me for 18 months and only left on the weekends to visit my father?  I had help, lots of it, so I was able to do what most triplet mommies cannot do.  Diet is a tricky subject, so let me just share my humble opinion based on zero research and the philosophy that I just want/need to keep them alive:

I nursed them for a year.  Fed them only homemade or organic baby food and milk for the following year, and then transitioned to a steady diet of Chik-Fil-A nuggets for the rest of their natural lives.  Oh wait, they don’t just eat nuggets, they also eat chicken tenders.  And Cheetohs.  And also cheese pizza. And crackers.  So I also feed them a lot of foods that start with the letter “c.”  
(3) You will experience highs and lows. 

I do not know how to describe this other than to share a personal experience from this morning.  And this afternoon.  And tonight.  And yesterday all day.

7:45 am – The Trifecta and I find ourselves cuddled on the couch reading a book about unusual animals from around the world.  We are discussing the countries in which the animals can be found in their natural habitats.  The Trifecta giggle as I describe strange and bizarre physical characteristics and feeding patterns.  “I am so good at this job,” I say to my brain, “I am so glad that I left my prestigious and high paying position as a school teacher to raise outstanding, brilliant citizens of the world.”  I pat myself on the pack in my imagination and let out a sigh of contentment and delight as we finish our daily nonfiction.
7:46 (and 15 seconds) am - Baby C yells at me and rolls around on the floor, kicking and crying, because I did not stack the pillows correctly for the couch fort.

7:46 (and 22 seconds) am - Baby B wanders into the backyard wearing nothing but her underwear and starts a one-sided discussion with the teenage boy who lives behind us.  After telling him that penguins do not urinate, but that they excrete white poop, she shouts at me to bring her book to her immediately so that she can show him a picture.
7:46 (and 26 seconds) am- Baby A reminds me that I haven’t made her an egg yet, that she has asked me 4 times to do so, and begins to refer to me as “Amy Jackson” in an attempt to drive home the message that she wants her egg.  Right now.

And so on and so forth. All day.  Every day.  For a really long time. Unless they are watching, “Octonauts.”  Then, things are quiet.
(4) Lots of good things will happen.

I never knew I could love so much.  I never knew other people could love me so much.  I never knew how good it would feel when I experienced the profound love other people have for my own children.  I never knew a lot of things I didn’t know I didn’t know, but I am figuring that out along the way.  And so will you.