Today is my Ellie's fifth birthday.
I talk about my children here and there on this blog but I don't dwell on it because of two reasons:
- I started this blog as a release from my stay at home mom life. Everything I do at home is for my kids, this is for me.
- I don't like to talk about my kids on this public forum. Anyone can read this blog, annnyyyyyone. So I am careful about what I post. No personal info beyond their first names and no pictures unless it is taken from afar or from behind.
But when it comes around their birthday's I like to dedicate a post to them.
Well, I have done that for my oldest, Anna, each year since I started the blog.
But I realized the other day that I have never done this for my youngest, Ella or Ellie as we call her around here.
And I had a bit of mom guilt for a second.
And I think I know why I probably never wrote a post about her.
Because for most of her life, Ellie has been really difficult.
And really hard to like on most days.
Now, if you are infuriated or insulted by these words, you might want to skip out now.
Because you obviously have never had a difficult child.
Or known someone who has.
My Ella has been a huge source of love, laughter and smiles for me for the past five years.
But she has also been a huge source of stress, heartache, tears and frustration as well.
I don't remember when exactly it started but I think its fair to say around her 18 month mark she started being difficult.
Think terrible twos only it started at 18 months and it is slowly going away at age 4 1/2.
I won't go into details but it has put me over the edge as a mother and definitely made me feel like a failure for a long time.
What did I do wrong?
Why is she like this?
Why can't I have a "normal" child?
Then I would feel extra guilty because there are parents out their with bigger struggles or couples who can't get pregnant and here I am crying at night, praying to God to help me get through one.more.day with this child.
We discovered therapy for Ella in the spring of 2012 and after years of torment, we saw a light.
In our lives.
I felt free for the first time in four years.
Last summer, we were all over the place and a cousin mentioned on Facebook how we were doing so much.
But what she didn't realize was that we had felt "trapped" by our child for all of those years.
We rarely ventured out farther than my parents home in central Illinois and Chicago.
When we needed to go out of state for my nephew's birth/birthday parties, we maneuvered it like a military drill.
The hubs would stay at home with her one day (because of his awful work schedule), a dear friend would sit one day and our faithful high school sitter another day.
While my oldest and I handled the trip alone.
I was too embarrassed to take her anywhere.
Until last summer.
When the dam broke.
And she became the person I knew she could be.
The person I prayed she would be.
Not easy and happy all the time.
But a person who could love life.
And be happy.
And show it.
So instead of going on and on about the bad times, here are some amazing things I want you to know about our Ella, who we love so very much.
- She is named after my dear sweet grandma or second mom, if you will.
I loved my gramma so much growing up, maybe more than what is considered normal.
When I was first pregnant with Ella, my gramma was 102 years old.
But she was slowly slipping.
I know, we shouldn't have been shocked to see her slipping at age 102 but she was so full of life all of her life that when she wasn't anymore, it was, well, shocking.
So when I was early in pregnancy, Gramma Ella or "Great" as Annie called her, got sick and was going downhill.
The last time I saw her alive, she touched my belly and said "I think its a girl".
She also knew that if it were a girl, it would be named after her.
She passed away 2 months before I found out, it was indeed a girl.
Ever since my gramma has passed, I feel like a piece of her soul is inside Ella.
Now, I know it might seem like an insult to my gramma because Ella was such a difficult child but Ella has so much energy and so much spunk.
And that she got from my gramma.
- She has the best sense of humor.
At age 5.
She is a comedian and has been since she was a toddler.
She loves to make everyone laugh in our house.
I have no idea where she got that from........
- She wants a pet in the worst way and loves animals of all kinds.
She has her pretend dog and cat and even gives them water and food.
I will constantly come into the kitchen and there will be 2 bowls on the floor.
One with water and one with cheese nips.
Because cheese nips are "what doggies like best".
Lord help the pet we someday get.....
-She does amazing in school.
Before she started school, I was a little concerned because of her past behavior.
But she is thriving.
And loves school so much.
The teachers love her and she cracks jokes to them all the time.
She should be hitting the Vegas circuit any day now......
- She is one tough cookie.
Yet very sensitive.
If that makes any sense?
She fell hard off her bike this summer and didn't even shed a tiny tear.
But if you don't include her?
She will walk away and cry alone.
- She is a homebody.
Would literally stay in the house forevah if she had her way.
I have to bribe her, BRIBE HER, to go to the store or the mall.
She is one hoarders show away from worrying me.
But she loves to snuggle on the couch, play intensly with her toys and color and read.
And she isn't just like this in the cold months.
Pool, park, home.
Those are the only places she would love to be.
So I guess the positive spin is that I am making it a place she loves to be?
I will go with that.
- Family is so important to her.
She loves her grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncle so much.
And talks about them non stop.
When am I gonna see them? When do we go visit them? Can I talk to Mamie on the phone?
Which makes me so happy because our blood family lives so far away.
But yet she has this strong connection with all of them.
And our Illinois/extended family means so much to her too.
- Her sister is her world.
They fight, they hit each other, they yell at each other but the first thing Ella says when I pick her up at school, every time, is "is Anna at home/in the car?"
And the first thing Anna says when she gets in the door after school is, "where is Ella?"
They might be 7.5 years apart but they are tight.
They even call each other Ramona and Beezus at home.
When no one is listening.
And that makes my heart sing.
The past five years have been hard, I'm not gonna lie.
But they have also been amazing.
Because I have been pushed to my limit.
And have been blessed to see that I am indeed a better parent than I thought.
Thank you God.
For having faith in me.
To raise this child.
And keep her alive this long.