First child born to John and I, a beautiful angel we named McKenna Claire. She didn't live long here on earth, just barely 4 months old when she passed away, but she had a hair bow on that little head of hers every day of her short life.
It was pretty much the only feminine article of clothing she ever wore. Yes, on occasion she had a dress and an outfit or two to wear, but 97% of the time, she was nearly naked as a jay bird, except for her diaper. So the hair bow was very important to me, to be able to do those girlie things I longed to do. (I got REALLY irritated one day when one of her transplant doctors came in and said to me, "So how's he doing today?" I looked up at him, glared and said, "SHE is doing well.") I guess the bow wasn't enough for him to tell the difference.
And then came Hunter. Our first boy, and first healthy baby. To tell you the truth, I was secretly hoping for a boy. I wasn't ready to jump right into having a girl after what I'd just experienced with McKenna. I wanted things to be different, and that meant having a boy. That sure would make it different. I loved focusing on boy things and having a completely different experience with this new baby. I didn't want to be reminded of everything I was missing out on. I told Heavenly Father..."If all I am blessed with is boys, I'm good with that." Now, don't get me wrong, I didn't think having girls was bad, not at all, but it's hard to explain how that feels unless you've gone through it. And to those that have, I may not make any sense to you. But that's okay. At the time those were my feelings.
26 months later, Joshua joined the clan. Wow, talk about a different kind of baby. Yeah, all the physical stuff was the same, but personalities between he and his big brother Hunter were like night and day. But, again, I was happy to have another boy. I was glad that these two boys would grow up close in age, would share a room, and be good friends. Josh is one goofy silly boy... but the "boys" topic is for another note. On to the next kiddo to join us.
Alright, I'll admit it... by this time I was really hoping for a girl, but would have been sooo okay if it were another boy. I was fine with either outcome. So, when we found out "it" was a "girl" I was back to thinking about girlie things, and getting her room ready, clothes bought, girl names to choose from. 6 years was a good time span to get me ready, yet again, for a girl to mix things up in our family. I didn't allow myself to think about any of these things until after the amnio, which meant being 5 months along. At that point we knew that we were going to have a healthy, robust girl with lungs that worked. And let me tell you, THEY WORK, to this day. Perhaps some of you have "heard" them. Those of you that live close to me, it might be hard to differentiate between her lungs, or mine.
I often said (and sometimes do to this day) that if little Miss Reagan were my first, she'd have been my last. Now, don't get all worked up... this is not a negative writing about my daughters. But it's not all been peaches and cream and a bed of roses. I am sure my mom says to herself...... "Pay back" and "Like mother, like daughter." I can hear it now. And I wouldn't blame her, not one bit. (I can see her laughing right now) I'd say the same thing if I were a fly on the wall and observed the happenings in the Ramirez household.
Reagan was the perfect name for this babe. To me, it symbolizes strength, and boy does she have that. (Of course, we did like the fact that one of the greatest Presidents that ever lived carried that name, and she happened to be born the summer Pres. Reagan died.)
So, I kind of waited a little bit longer to have our last baby, Hailey Grace. And boy, is she my saving Grace. It was nearly 3 yrs. and 4 mo. after Reagan that she came to be with us.
We are having our amnio, like we always do at 16 weeks, and they say they are pretty sure "it's" a girl. We would find out for sure via amnio in the next month when the test results came back (Oh, I guess I should mention, that due to our fabulous genetics that John and I carry, and because of what happened to McKenna, I would have an amnio each pregnancy to determine if this baby had the same disease as McKenna). But John and I were so surprised. We really thought we were going to have another boy. But I thought.... 'Hey, that's good, she and Reagan can share rooms, they'll be friends, can play together.' Boy, did I have another thing coming!!
I was kind of exhausted by the time Hailey entered the scene. But I was not prepared for what lay ahead. What 'THAT' would be, was more than I thought I could handle.
A few hours after Hailey was born, I was holding her, and Reagan was in the hospital room sitting on the couch staring at her and says, "Why do we need her... we already have dolls at home?" I thought it was kind of funny at the time. That was just an inkling of what was to come. Hailey is now over 3 years old, and some days I think Reagan wonders still, why are you here Hailey?
Who ever said potty training girls was easier than boys..... is WRONG. At least in my family. The boys were a breeze, potty trained by 3 or sooner. One girl, that shall remain nameless, was nearly 4, and the other has no desire right now. For the past two months, she's told me, "Tomorrow". I keep threatening to myself that I will not buy any more diapers when these run out. But there I am again, at Costco, buying in bulk. But here's what I think about diapers, and Hailey....... she's my last (at least I'm pretty near sure of that) and when she's through with diapers, I'm through with babies. She's a Sunbeam now, not in nursery. She's growing up too fast. and she weened herself off her binki. So I can handle the diaper thing. It's what I have to hold on to, to keep her my baby. As long as she's in undies by Kindergarten, I'm good with that. And that won't be until September of 2013. I've got some time. (I just may have to move to Depends, instead of diapers if that's the case).
Here's the difference between boys and girls (at least under my roof). Girls are dramatic, boys are not. Ugh................ I never realized we'd be going through so much drama and she's only 6 1/2, and the other's only 3. Sassy talk.... yep, lot's of it. Moody... John would say, "Like mother, like daughter." I don't usually get upset when he says that either, cause I know it's true. Can't argue with the obvious now. Hormonal? I'm bracing myself for the teen years. I can see it now, I've already played out all the scenarios in my head.
How many times can one child (and sometimes both) change their clothes, over and over, and over and over..... well, apparently, as often as they like. I heard I did the same thing.... hmmm, maybe that's where they get it?
Babysitters.... now THAT'S a trial in and of itself. Never had a problem leaving the boys, yet leaving the girls, and really, just one in particular, is a chore. There have been many an occasion, after the baby sitter has arrived, that I've canceled my plans and just stayed home. I feared for the baby sitter, and didn't want her hating me after I left. Did that particular child get her way? Yep, she did, but it was a battle I chose not to fight. It's not so bad leaving now... I am smothered by hugs and kisses galore by both girls before I leave the door. I can't argue with that, can I? How can I not feel so loved by them, and actually missed, by them. And when I come home, I am greeted outside on the driveway by them. They are anxiously waiting for me to come home. Love it!
So amidst all the drama, the messy rooms that are never, ever clean longer than 2 hours, toys spread throughout the house, milk on the counter, toilets not flushed, "art projects" never cleaned up, sassy talk, tears from sibling rivalry, food wrappers left in rooms they know they're not supposed to eat in.... I wouldn't have it any other way.
How can I complain when Hailey comes to sit on my lap and goes back and forth from cheek to cheek kissing me all over, followed by a snug hug. How can I be mad at Reagan, when nearly every day I am given a home made card that says, "I love you so much mom, you are the best mom, I love you so much." And that, after we've gone on a yelling spree. Do the tantrums get old? Yep, but so am I, and I don't want to miss out on all the wonderful, good, sweet things that my girls bring to me each day.
Do I need more patience? Buckets of it. Do I need a softer answer, as opposed to wrath? Yes, admittedly so. Do I wish I did certain things differently? Yep, all the time. I'm realizing though, it does little good to dwell on the negatives, and say, "What if?" I am my girls' first role model, I am their mother. For some strange reason, they still love me and want to lather me with smooches and cuddles. And when they do, I realize how very blessed I am to BE their mother. They could have gone to anyone's home, but they came to mine. They teach me more than I could teach them.
Is raising daughters tough in today's world? So much more so than when my mom was raising her 4 daughters. It scares me to send my girls off into this world that can be so cruel, vile, deceptive, and unkind. But, I know there is much more good than there is bad, and that is because, partly so, of millions of mothers who are raising good, strong, kind and generous daughters to be what the world needs right now. I often say that Reagan's feisty temperment will be to her benefit someday; her strong will. I know she, and Hailey, will need to be strong enough to stand for what is right and moral, in this often times corrupt world. I just hope and pray that I can be the kind of mom that can lead them in that direction, and help them never to lose sight of who they are.