When your first child turns 9, you think you still have years and years to enjoy them, but by the time the third one turns 9, you know, in a flash of lightening it’ll all be over. Yesterday, Tucker turned 9 and while everyone stood around eating cupcakes, I looked over at Blondie and thought to myself “Omg, next year, she probably won’t even live here when his birthday rolls around!”
It seems like yesterday I brought him home, and now he’s halfway to the coveted 18th birthday! I know they never stop being your kids, but when they don’t live at home and come running in the living room to see what Santa brought, it’s just not the same…
Everything about Tucker was different. He was the celebration of stability. It’s no secret that our early years were a bit of a roller coaster ride, but we had finally reached this place in our lives where things were going really good. The electric bills were paid, we had enough groceries, raising kids was the center of our joy. I was the room mother, soccer coach, slumber party host and I wanted another baby with all my heart and soul. My hubby did too, so when Christmas Eve brought me a dream that I was pregnant, I couldn’t have been any happier.
I remember Christmas Day, 2002, I knew for fact I had to be pregnant. I am one of those dreamers- my dreams tell me things ! Some people might not believe in that, but I do. Being that it was Christmas Day, everything was closed, there was no way to prove my suspicions. I hate to give out news and then take it back, so with bubbles in my stomach I watched Blondie and Pickles unwrap their presents and went through the day of family gatherings without saying a word. As we laid our heads on our pillows that night, after all the excitement of the day, I said to my husband “we’re gonna have a baby!” And I will never, for as long as I live, forget the smile that was on his face.
You know how you’re supposed to wait a few months before you go around announcing to everyone, just in case? Well, I told my hubby to keep it to himself for a while, but on New Year’s Eve he spilled the beans to anyone and everyone that would listen… and off we went on another journey. I don’t do pregnant well. I get sick. I don’t get to be the cute girl with the perfect basketball shape and a glow on her skin. No, I swell from head to toe. My kidney’s shut down. I get pre-eclampsyia. With Tucker, I spent the last few months in a hospital with the ugliest flowered wallpaper border on the walls- all I could do was watch HGTV all day and pray they were gonna start a new show called “Hospital Room Crashers”.
There were some really scarey moments in there where I wasn’t sure we’d get through it, but finally we got far enough along that he could be induced. He was premature, but he was so beautiful when he was born. He had a perfect complexion and the cutest tufts of auburn hair. I marveled at his little fingers and little toes, and most of all, I was so happy that he was absolutely healthy.
I couldn’t wait to get out of that ugly room and get him home! And I must say, life has never been the same. For one, I’ve never been on time anywhere since then. It’s been 9 years, and I still haven’t quit running behind. But I did at least make peace with my tardiness.
I’ve learned more from Tucker than I have learned from any other child. He is my biggest challenge, but it takes challenges to help us learn and grow. Before Tucker, every mom I knew credited me with having more patience than most. Now I know, I just had children who were so mild mannered I had never been truly tested! He didn’t sleep through the night until 1st grade. Talk about insomniac! And when the kids don’t sleep, mama doesn’t sleep! He still struggles with falling asleep. I think he’ll move out before I get a good night’s sleep again. Nine years without good sleep, now that’s a test!
He is amazingly smart. But there is a downside to having a child that smart. He argues. He will argue about anything and everything, he always has to be right, and he forever has got to get in the last word. I’d like to tell you I have no idea where he got that from, but the lady staring at me in the mirror knows it’s all her fault!! But, I am the one who said debating things is the best way to learn and he definitely debates. He learned to multiply in a five minute lesson quite by accident when he was just in kindergarten. All because of an argument with his brother. Dylan was complaining that his 3rd grade homework was much harder than Tucker’s homework, and in that argument he said “you don’t even know how to multiply so you don’t know how hard it is.” To which Tucker replied “well that’s not even fair to say, no one has tried to teach me how to multiply.” I was impressed by his point of contention, so I tried to put multiplication in a nutshell. I explained that it was a way to add in groups. I offered a few examples, like “If I gave you, your brother and Blondie all 5 pieces of gum, how much gum would you all have?” Then I showed him how to make that into 3 x 5 = 15. I was shocked at the fact that he wasn’t at all confused. He learned the concept easily. He did the 1’s, 2’s, and 5’s right then. Within days he could pretty much multiply anything. He never ceases to amaze me.
You know, adopting four kids was particularly hard on him, because he was used to being the baby. He was MY baby. And then not 1, but 4 more little people came in and threatened his place in this world. He already had some challenges. He has ADHD, he’s borderline OCD, he’s got a mild hearing loss that was caused by chronic ear infections as a baby, a speech disability, and his natural temperament is more difficult than my other children ever were. But he loves deeper, and has the sweetest heart of any child I have ever seen. He’s the extreme on both ends. It’s a challenge to manage the child who can be both the best and worst you’ve ever seen. But I thank God every day for challenging me to be his mother. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
He’s the littlest of the big ones and the biggest of the little ones and it chokes me up to know that one day soon, he too will be ready to go!