Lessons My Daughter Taught Me

img_4342-2A week away from Christmas and my shopping is DONE!  The presents are wrapped, we did our family trip to visit relatives, baked goodies for the neighbors, the stockings are hung by the chimney, with care… we FINALLY get to spend this amazing holiday, just us, in our new home, relaxing…

NOT!

Five days.  Five measly little days away from arguably the greatest holiday EVER and my toddler breaks her leg.  Her sweet, tiny little leg that I made.  That I spent practically a year getting huge, eating Chick Fil A everyday, peeing every 12 minutes, finding stretch marks on my thighs even though the oils and potions promised that WOULDN’T HAPPEN… all so completely and incredibly worth it when I held that amazing little perfect person in my arms.

The tiny fingers and toes.  The soft, fuzzy hair.  The intense gaze into my eyes as if we’d already met each other.  I’ve spent every, single moment of my life since that second line appeared, trying to protect her.  I know how to handle every tantrum.  I know how to navigate what makes her anxious.  I know that a kiss on a boo boo will instantly fix everything, until I heard it…

Crack.

I don’t know a parent alive that wouldn’t feel their stomach shoot up into their throat when they get that feeling.  That moment when they know that they will need to have the answers.  They will have to put aside their tears and be strong and know exactly what to do.  Except we don’t.  My child, in particular, has only gotten sick once in her little life.  But there we were, in the ER of Women’s and Children’s, waiting for someone to help my baby who was confused and scared, and being it’s now an hour past dinner time, hungry.  The urgent care facility gave her a ring pop and I half hoped it would distract her, but as I watched her, nervously clutching the sticky orange sucker, I realized how something so normal… so everyday as playing in our own home, could send our children to the hospital.

It’s every parents nightmare to have to sit and wait as their child whimpers in pain, for some stranger to come help them… because we can’t.  We can’t do our job anymore because we failed somehow.  All I could do was be grateful that it wasn’t worse, but then I thought… “What if something worse DOES happen one day?”

Suck it up.

2 hours later, I’m ordering her chicken and fries, as requested and telling her how she’s such a big and brave girl.  Mentally noting to call the pediatric orthopedist the next morning to schedule her appointment to get a cast.  Instead of baking cookies and dancing to her cartoons, we will be giving pain medication and making sure she wiggles her toes every couple of hours.  As I ran over the list of “To Dos” that the nurse practitioner gave me so I could give the full report to my husband, I hear her little, tired voice in the backseat, “Thank you for helping me at the doctor’s Momma.”  I sobbed silently the rest of the way home.

We finally got her settled in bed later that night and I told my husband how heartbroken I was over the whole thing.  The next day while we watched a movie and ate snacks on the couch, I hear her soft voice again, “Is your heart better Momma?”

And right there I learned something.  Children are miracles.  They’re better than us in every way.  On every single level, they exceed us.  This, not yet 3-year-old, who had only hours before been spinning around, dancing in our living room, was not only thanking me for stroking her trembling arms while she was being moved from one room to another, poked and prodded by people she didn’t know, but she was making sure that I was OK.  I have never admired a person so much in my life until this point.  I have never been so proud of anyone until that moment.  She’s usually very sensitive.  She cries easily and very, typically girl.  Which as many parents of daughters can relate… girls are drama almost immediately.  But here, in a time where I expected her to be falling apart, she was stronger than I’ve ever been.  I also learned that no matter how much we try to plan ahead to make sure our children are safe, it’s impossible to protect them from everything.  Accidents happen.  We will cry.  We will face that painful realization that our children are not indestructible.  However, they are resilient and much more intuitive than we can understand.

So, as our holiday plans changed… as I desperately scan through Amazon Prime for lap-friendly toys, as we play the same movies over and over to keep her happy, as we wake up through the night to soothe her and wait for her pain medicine to kick in, as I schedule doctor’s appointments and check off all my duties per the nurse practitioner, I am thankful that my husband can work from home to help lift her spirits.  I am thankful that although this next month will be rough, she will be just fine.  And I am thankful that I get to be a mother to these girls.  Because even though this was one of the most heartbreaking moments we’ve endured so far, I know there will be more, but I also know that I was born to be going through all of the highs and lows with these two, amazing little people.

I have enjoyed getting back into my writing so much, and I love finding my new groove in life, but nothing compares to being a mother.  These girls make me a better person and I will never take for granted the lessons they teach me on a daily basis.  Big or small, they’re invaluable.

I hope everyone else’s holiday goes a bit more smoothly than ours!  I will be sharing my prime rib recipe on the next post as that’s our special Christmas meal, but today… I’m sharing one of my sweet girl’s favorite dinners.

IMG_3438.JPGSkinny Chicken Fried Rice

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2-3 Chicken breasts, diced

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp oregano

3 green onions

2-3 cloves garlic

2 carrots, peeled (or use a handful of baby carrots)

3 eggs, scrambled

2 packs of Uncle Ben’s Brown Basmati rice

3-4 tsbp soy sauce (add to taste)

  1. In a large skillet, heat the tablespoon of olive oil and cook the diced chicken with the garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, onion powder, salt, pepper and oregano.
  2. In a small skillet, scramble your eggs and set aside (you can use black pepper for taste, but hold off on the salt)
  3. In a food processor, pulse the green onions (use the green shoots and the bulb), carrots and garlic until it’s finely diced. Once the chicken is cooked through, tossed this in and cook with chicken until tender.
  4. Microwave the rice per instructions and add to chicken mixture, toss in the scramble eggs and mix around until well blended.
  5. Drizzle the soy sauce, make sure not to add too much.  You can taste test to your preference.

I usually add some red pepper flakes or Sriracha after for adults!