Friday, October 16, 2015

Finding My Way Back to Me

The title of this post should be Finding My Way Back to Me as a Stay at Home Mom of Triplets...but that would have been way to long. Its been a little over a year and half since I quit my job and Tommy and I moved the kids to Virginia. Tommy took a new job and I did not. It was a rare opportunity for me stay at home with kids. When they were getting out of the hospital, I was already going back to work. It had been three months and my maternity leave was over. Experiencing the loss of my father and almost the loss of my babies in such a short time, in addition to spending every day in the hospital with them for three straight months made me start to ask myself questions like, what am I doing? I got to know the nurses that cared for babies and I spent every day learning about how to take care of sick babies like mine. I knew code words and what all the beeps on the machines meant. I watched them save my babes life on more than one occasion. And then I went back to work. I had people coming into  my office complaining about who they sat next to at work, how big the break room was, and what kind of prizes we gave away at the company holiday party. I thought, what am I doing, am I really making a difference? A few weeks later when I had to terminate someone (for good cause), I still felt like a terrible human being. I thought about the nurses and what they did every day and just was not completely satisfied anymore with how I was spending my time away from my new babies, who still had health problems of their own. Don't get me wrong, I still loved the company I worked for and the people I worked beside, but something was suddenly missing. Still, I pushed my feelings aside and kept doing what I knew I did best, and my ambition and drive propelled me forward. We had an excellent nanny stay and take care of the babies and she sent me pictures of their milestones and I secretly hated that I wasn't their to witness them myself.

Flash forward  two years and Tommy is offered a position in Virginia where I could be home with them. It was a tough decision. I had a good chance of moving up in the company and advancing my career if I stayed, but I wouldn't be able to pursue some of the other things I had always "just thought about", but never had time for, and I would likely have less time with my children. So, we moved. It was exciting and the most stressful thing I have ever done. Here we were in this beautiful snow covered place and Tommy was gone ALL THE TIME. I knew no one. I had never been by myself with the babies, hardly ever, let alone 24 hours a day for multiple days at a time. The babies were just reaching that ever so wonderful phase of the terrible twos and threes. I quickly sank into depression and started trying to find ways to dig myself back to the smart, confidant, and capable women, mother and wife I knew I was. I volunteered at the hospital, my heart was there with those babies and families, who were enduring the roller coaster that we did. The sleepless nights, the questions, whys, hows, life and death?

I made some friends, thankfully, that helped keep me sane for brief periods of time. I became passionate about essential oils and started an at home business that I still have and love but struggle with it because its outside my comfort zone (marketing) and so different from Human Resources Management which I could do with my eyes shut.

Then in April, the stress of three, 3 year old triplets, frequent trips away for Tommy and long hours, the loss of my professional identity and missing my family came crashing down. I was a different person. I was not the mom I wanted to be, I was not the wife I wanted to be either, I was overwhelmed and not me at all. In fact, I didn't know who me was at all anymore, outside of "the triplets mom". A title I will always proudly wear and I am lucky enough to be their mom, but the adjustment from working full time and living close to family and friends I had known my whole life to not working and having to form new friendships and support systems was no joke. Its like starting all over from scratch. No matter how beautiful and wonderful a place is, there are certain things and people that just cannot be replaced. Instead of being able to do the soul searching I was hoping for when we moved, I was simply trying to make it through the day and keep the kids and I in one piece.

BUT, I'm coming back to life. We found a small church that we love and we are getting involved in a way that I have always wanted to in the church. My faith has kept me going through some pretty difficult times, and I still go there to find my peace. But better yet, Tommy is coming with me and we are going and doing it as a family. I've started running, and I've even started a running club? So hard to believe as I have never been an runner, but its been a great outlet for me and I physically feel the best I have in a long time. All the while, I have been applying to HR jobs and going on interviews only to get nowhere, which has been a huge blow to my self esteem. But maybe there is reason why that's not meant to work out. Maybe, even though I was great at HR, I could be even better at something else and I could help people more than I have ever been able to. Maybe I could be one of those nurses helping those babies? Maybe I should go back to school.

I got so lost after the move here with the adjustment of such a new and different life that I forgot one of the reasons we did it. I was supposed to explore other options and decide what I wanted to do, instead I panicked and said "I need to go back to work" because that sounded easy but maybe the right thing to do, even though its scary is go back to school. I suddenly remembered what I realized when I went back to work after having my babies and losing my dad, that life is so, so fragile. And if we are going to spend all that time away from the people we love the most, make it count. And as much as I loved my co workers, my boss and those employees,  and those people mattered, my job there did not hold the same value for me that it once did.

Now, I am not depressed. I feel I am becoming the mom I always imagined I would be (of course I have my moments). I am not afraid all the time, I don't feel alone all day, I have hope again. My main purpose will always be my children. But someday they will move on and start their own families, and who will I be then? I want to make an imprint on the lives of others. I want to share my hope, and belief in miracles with other families and parents who are struggling. Once again,  I feel like I have climbed my way out of a dark space and God has shown me which way I need to go and its always the opposite way of which I thought. We think we are so smart, but sometimes, we just have to keep going until he shows us the way.

Since we moved, I have written less and less, and when I do, my words haven't always been positive but I had to be real. It doesn't mean I don't love my kids or appreciate my blessings, it just means I am human and I am flawed, but I'm figuring it out. And I will still always choose them, for they are my reason for living and what got me through the grief of losing my dad. They are my dream come true and everything I do is an effort to be the best person and the best mom I can be for them. The days I have with Georgia, JoJo and Mickey are easier, their smiles, their laughter, their words fill me up. I'm glad I can enjoy and appreciate all of it and that I'm finding the new me, while staying true to myself. I will never be the same person I was before the kids, just as I will never be the same person I was before I lost my dad and I'm learning its ok to let her go. There are parts of me that will always be there, but there are parts of me that have been gone for awhile. I'm excited to see  what the future holds and for this evolving "me" that is always learning, always growing, and always, always a mom before anything else. But at least now, I know who that mom is, again.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Highlights of Year Three

Its a rainy Monday morning in September and I just dropped my kids off at school for "Pajama Day". They couldn't wait to get to school and show Ms. Terrie their Pj's. I come home to a quiet house and this weather makes me really want to crawl in bed but I have little time to write as you know, so I poured myself a second cup of coffee and here I sit thinking of the three precious faces I just dropped off.

I realize the last several posts from me have touched on a lot of the challenges we have on a day to day basis raising triplets, but I want to make sure I also capture all the joys in detail. The little things that happen in between or simultaneously with the challenges that light up our lives. Sometimes I need to vent about the hard stuff but sometimes its better to focus on the good stuff and that is what I am trying to do. Not ignore when I'm feeling beat up as a mom but also remember to be present.

This year I've seen the kids grow more than ever. Before my eyes they have grown out of the baby stage into the little kid stage. Sometimes it makes me sad because I loved the baby stage, even with the sleepless nights and poopy diapers. I just loved it. But it also makes me happy to see the little people they are becoming (when they are not fighting). Last year around this time they could speak two or three words at a time. Its crazy to think I was worried about their speech. Now they speak in full sentences and don't stop talking. We watched Cinderella the other day and they were asking questions so fast I didn't have time to answer and they all had different questions! After the movie was over they started reenacting it, they would pretend Mickey was the prince and the girls were chasing him around the house and fighting over who gets to dance with him. Mickey has become so aware of his surroundings. When we are driving places he will say, that is where is school is, or there is our church street, or the gym is that way. He could totally be my navigator. I may never be lost again with my little man in the car. He also sees a sign with a picture and thinks its  a street. So its may be bird street, or Elmo street, or circus street or airplane. Its really adorable.

Both Mickey and Georgia are very affectionate and will tell me they love me or Georgia likes to say we are best friends. I don't think there are any sweeter words in the world than loving words from my children. Jolynne is a little more complicated. She is very picky about when she gives affection and she doesn't like to say I love you. It will be interesting to see how she deals with her emotions as she gets older.

In the Spring, all of the kids graduated into big kid beds. Mickey was happy to have a bed like mommy and daddy and the girls got beautiful bunk beds which they call their castle. We had to decide whether to get twin beds or bunk beds and whether or not to separate the girls. Ultimately we decided they can stay together for awhile, which given how scared JoJo gets in the middle of the night, I think it was the right choice. She doesn't like to be alone. Twin beds would have taken up the whole room so we opted for the bunk beds. When I saw it put together I was immediately concerned about them being on the top bunk. I didn't think they were ready. Lucky for me the girls would rather sleep together on the bottom anyway, so we lucked out with that one. They are so cute cuddling together at night and this probably sounds stupid but I cant help but imagine them as babies still in my belly doing the same thing.

We had lots of fun visits from family this year. Grandpa, Grandma Lou and Aunt Ryan came to see them. Ryan stayed for a week with us by herself and until Tom and Mary Lou joined. We enjoyed showing them around Charlottesville and the kids loved have them around. We sure have missed living closer to them.


For 4th of July, Nana came with Auntie Kristy, Uncle James and their cousin baby Mayla. The girls were obsessed with Mayla of course. We celebrated the holiday in town and saw fire works and had our faces painted. Mom and I walked the Monticello trail together which was nice. I miss just walking with my mom. After the holiday, Tommy and I took a mommy and daddy trip to Turks and Caicos. Nana stayed with the kids and they had so much fun together painting, doing crafts, making cookies, playing outside. It was really hard when Nana had to leave.



Another big milestone last month, the kids started pre-school twice a week and they love it. They go on Mondays from 9-6pm because that's the day I volunteer at the hospital and then on Wednesdays 9-3. The first day it was weird having them gone, but actually I think its been very good for them, and for me. I am able to go to the grocery store or take care of my doctors appointments, or go for a run outside. They are bringing home different crafts every day, learning their letters and making new friends....and they haven't even been sick that often, which I have been pleasantly surprised so far.

In addition to school, the girls started their first ballet class last week. Its perfect for them because they already to pretend to be ballerinas all the time. So far they seem to love it. Mickey was a little bit jealous so I took him on a mommy and me date this past weekend. In the spring he will be able to play tee ball and maybe soccer too, but in the mean time, he doesn't understand why there is no "Prince" class. Its so stinking cute but sad at the same time because he really believes a prince class should exist.

A couple weeks ago we took a little mini vacation to their first amusement park, Busch Gardens and we had the best time. It is the third year in a  row we have gone away for Labor day weekend and just spent time together as a family. Labor day weekends are turning out to be my favorite weekends of the year because we have no distractions. Just fun. There was a ton of rides for them and the they all rode the little roller coaster with me. They look terrified in the pictures but don't let them fool you, they are still talking about how fun it was. We tried the log ride but that one was a little too scary I think. On the rides, their little faces would light up and they were grinning from ear to ear and giggling. It was like pure happiness. I will never forget it.



Its hard to believe they will be 4 years old next month. My babies who were only two and half pounds at birth and struggled to breathe, are thriving and turning into little people. They are my favorite people and there is no where on earth I would rather be than with them and their dad. When they smile and laugh, my heart lights up inside of me in a way it hasn't for a long time. They are my reason for everything I do, even the things I try to do for myself to make myself a better person, it is really all for them. I want to be the best mom and person I can be for them. I can't wait for next month and to take them to Disney World for their birthday. More family time and surrounded by things they love... rides, and princess and all things Disney, and each other of course. Its going to be magical.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Triplet Threenagers

I'm sure most people, if you are a parent, remember age 3 very well. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have triplets at age 3? Just imagine your child (or one of them) at age 3. Now imagine there are three of them.

I feel like the third year of my children's life has been largely undocumented by me in this blog. I have managed to write about their one on one trips with me (although not in as much detail as I would like), their third birthday and the loss of one of their dear nannies...and that's it. When I started this blog I was writing probably 2-3 entries per month on average. Then I looked back at my entries last year when they were two...and I pretty much said the same thing, I have no time anymore. This year has been a year of tremendous growth, which I feel is really important to write about, and that I will hopefully capture in my next few entries. But this has also been another one of the most overwhelming years for me as a mother. As babies, I watched them overcome so many health issues and struggle to survive, I lived every day afraid of what they may have to face next... and now I feel like that is me, metaphorically speaking. I wake up in the morning and take a deep breath, grab my coffee, and walk upstairs, unsure of what awaits me. Will it be emptied clothes drawers, water covering the bathroom floors, a roll of toilet paper stuffed in the toilet or even better, a package of wipes, blue toothpaste on the hallway carpets, poop in their beds or black paint all over the walls and furniture. As the kids grow, they are becoming more independent which I longed for the past year. The first two years of their life we did everything for them and after we moved to Virginia, I did everything for them. It's hard to imagine now. My babies for the first time, are officially kids, and capable of dressing themselves (for the most part), eating, playing independently and talking.

This time last year the kids were approaching three years old and they were being evaluated for early pre-school. I was concerned they were not speaking but one or two word phrases or able to do things on their own. Now they don't stop talking. I love listening to Georgia make up her own songs and walk around the house singing or Jo Jo singing during potty time. I love what a sweet heart Mickey has become, complimenting people, saying please and thank you and expressing his love for everyone. I love to hear them tell me about their favorite things, even though I already know what they are.

They also tell me what to do, and they demand it actually. "Mom, make me dinner, wipe my butt, go take a shower, open this, go get my clothes.... They tell me what they want, a bath, a different shirt, what show they want to watch, what they want to eat. Mostly pizza and cookies. They also tell on each other. Mickey pushed me. Georgia hit me, Jo Jo is looking at me. LOL. I thought I would have a few more years before that started, but no. They spend A LOT of time, in time out. They love each other so. Watching them play is like magic. They are built in friends for life. They pretend to make meals for each other, pretend to be prince and princess and bad guys and wicked witches. They pretend to care for babies and clean the house and cook me breakfast, lunch and dinner (if only that one was for real). Its amazing how well they play together and how big their imaginations are. But they also fight constantly. Especially over toys and for attention. They all want to sit on my lap at the same time. It's very flattering, but also exhausting at times. Each of them are between 34-40 pounds each. One thing I think I struggle with as a mom of triplets, more than other moms do is that my kids never get one on one attention, they never have. Not even as babies. That is why I made a point to take them on those trips individually this year. But they are always fighting for my attention. I wish I could give them more of it, but between taking care of them, trying to get stuff done around the house, trying to be a good wife, and daughter and friend, I am missing stuff as it is.

Sometimes I wonder if the screaming and yelling is for attention or is that a normal thing all three year olds do? Maybe both. But when they all three scream at the same time. Oye. Some people seem to look at me as some kind of super mom, but I'm not. I'm doing what I have to in order to take care of my children and make it through the day. It's not easy, but I'm not great at it either. I make mistakes all the time, and most days feel like I'm doing a horrible job and just getting by. I find myself in awe of the single parents. I dread anytime Tommy has to leave for a trip because the nights are the only break I get. Trying to take them to do regular activities we usually do as a family is more challenging with three toddlers when there is just you. For example, last Sunday I took them to church. After it was over when we were leaving I got them all strapped in their car seats, which anyone with toddlers knows is a process even with just one. Then Georgia decided she had to go potty. So normally if Tommy was there, I could just take her and he would stay with the other two, but when he's not, I have to unstrap all three and take them all back in side, then Jolynne smashed her finger in the door, so I had one that was going to pee her pants and another who was crying and hurt and I'm not sure where Mickey went at that point. Lately sometimes it feels that it is rare if Tommy and I are all together with the kids. Our social life seems to mostly consist of him taking the kids or me, or one of use going solo and the other staying home with the kids. This is all due to sicknesses and work/travel schedules. Funny thing is we just had an amazing vacation together without the kids in Turks and Caicos but that feels like months ago.

There have been some days where I feel more tested than I have ever been and I know there will be many more. Sometimes I feel guilty for even thinking "this is hard" because of how much they struggled when they were born and how hard it was for us to have children. But I can say there is nothing that fills my heart up so than watching how far they have come. Even though they fight, yell, scream, order me around and don't listen to anything I say, there are those sweet moments in between every day where I am amazed by them. By how smart and sweet they are. They know their ABCs and can count way past 10. They remember details of things that we did a year ago when they were two years old that blow my mind. The way they love and take care each other at such a young age. Mickey will ask "Georgia, are you ok" as he rubs her back if she seems upset. If they fall down they help each other back up. They hold hands if they are scared of something when walking somewhere outside. Its adorable. When we do have a chance to go do things together as a family, those are my favorite days. They love when mommy and daddy are together. They love to get out of the house and do new things and their smiles are contagious. Those times, I live for and will cherish. But I will cherish this time I have had to be home with them too. Even though its been hard, its been so good for them and they have grown up so much. I am grateful I still have another year or two left to take naps with them periodically and watch them dream and let them put their arm around me as they drift off to sleep. I'm glad we still have more time to learn from one another before I send them off into the world every day at school. I struggle with how out of control I feel as a parent. I have no control over anything it seems most days. That has been a challenge for me. But I will really have zero control when they start school regularly because they won't be with me. That is a very scary thought for  me and luckily not something I have to be ready for quite yet.

I'm sure I am still forgetting so many little things about their threenager year. I'm looking forward to writing more again about our journey. There is still a lot of good stuff to share about the kids progress, but there will also be some really real moments and deeper thoughts I will share that may not seem so positive. But they are real, and that is me. I love my life and my family and my children more than anything but our life is not perfect and that is not how I want to paint it. This is our story, its a beautiful one, filled with love and with tears just like description to this blog says. I don't want to be super mom, or target mom, or active mom, or helicopter mom, cool mom, OCD mom, or labeled as anything really. I hate those blogs you read that say "the five types of moms you see at...". Why do we have to fit into a "type". I'm pretty sure I have crossed over all of those "types" at one point or another. I just want to feel normal and understood as a mom. And I want my kids to know how much I love them but also the ups and downs of being a family and maintaining healthy relationships with each other. It's all worth it. It always has been. This is it and I couldn't live without any one of them.

In the next entry I will talk more about their accomplishments this year, milestones, holidays and family reunions as well as, including pictures. But here are some other of my favorite pictures of them so far this year that capture their spirit and personality.

Halloween 2014

With Nana at Carter Mountain 2014
Picking out a Christmas Tree 2014

After visiting Santa Claus

Snow Day 2015

Pirates and  Princesses

Dr. Jo Jo and Princess Georgia
Yes, he's my brother

Georgia's boss face

Sister love

Getting big!
Summer Ice Cream

Mickey loves fried chicken
My little man

Jo Jo learning to Hula

Mothers Day 2015

Dinner downtown
 Georgia's Caterpillar

Jo Jo and mommy

Playing Catch

Say cheese!

Peach Festival

Friends Forever