There are moms out there who see their children through rose colored glasses. Their child can be at the playground kicking another child and the mom will see nothing but spirited play as opposed to bad behavior. I don't do that. I see my kids for what they are. Nothing better, nothing worse. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for other people, even those whose titles would imply unconditional love. But, since their glasses are apparently poo colored, I thought I would take a moment to introduce them to my kids.
First, let me introduce you to Tabbi. She's the oldest, and while she didn't spring forth from my loins (and at times pushes me to declare no association with her whatsoever), she lives in my home and is treated like my daughter. She is a tween going on 18 and her teenage angst leaves little to be desired. She's moody, sullen at times, and difficult. She wants to be a teenager, dress like one and act like one... and when you say no, she isn't always cooperative. But, here's the secret that even I don't realize sometimes... She is also a really good kid. The scope of her misbehavior is so small in comparison to what it could be, that sometimes I sit back and say "did we really just have that fight about skinny jeans and tight tops?" She is a straight A student, has been for two years now, and she tests off the charts on standardized testing. She is bright, creative, and while she would like the world to think that her little brothers make her crazy... when she thinks no one is looking, she holds Will's hand as they walk to the pond outside my parents' house. And when you least expect it, she offers to help you clean the house (and doesn't even ask to be paid). She is fighting her way through the pubescent nightmare that is a 12 year old girl, and while sometimes it seems otherwise... she is coming out the other side a beautiful young woman, inside and out.
Will is the next in line, and though he is the middle child in our small Brady Bunch, he is not to be missed. He is loud and he is active. He wants nothing more than to be the center of attention (unless it is a school music program... then he wants no part of it), and he has never met a stranger in his life. He wants to be BFFs with the world, and play trucks and run around from sun up to sun down. He is lively, active, maybe even a little wild at times... goofy and nutty and sometimes you just wish he would sit down and couch potato it, just for a few minutes. To sum it up, he's exhausting. But, when you walk through the door (be it me, Uncle Mike, Grandma or a friend of mine he hasn't seen in awhile), you will be met with such excitement that even the worst days can be completely turned around. He is the boy who goes out of his way to befriend a child who is left out of play, even when he sees that the other kids aren't giving him or her the time of day. He will run around in circles, and then pause to crawl in your lap and snuggle so deep into you it's like he never wants to stand up... and then its off to the races again. He's smart, he loves books, and the only thing in the world that he wants (besides trucks) is for you to return the love that he will give to you unconditionally.
And lastly, there's Jack. Jack is a tough one, because most of the time I describe him as evil. He is the child that will see you perching on the edge of your seat, and he'll walk up and push you off. He is stubborn and delights in rough housing, the harder the better, and laughs when someone gets hurt. He will walk up to you and scream "hit hit hit" while punching your leg as hard as he can. And then, he will crawl up into your lap and hug you with the same gusto and squeal loud and clear that he loves you. He is almost 3, and all snakes and snails and puppy dog tails, but at the same time he'll get your attention, smile big and say, "YOU!" like you are the light of his entire life. He is a scruffy, scrappy giant of a boy with so much more to say than his speech delay will let him. He's a scary one, because you never know if it is going to be a body slam or a hug when his arms encircle you, but either way you know that it is with the utmost love and affection... even when it's the body slam.
So, these are my three children that some people think are vile. Tabbi can be quiet and moody, most likely pouting while the boys are shouting. The younger ones run in restaurants and you practically have to pry the iPod out of Tabbi's clenched fist. But, they're mine. And, I love them. And, their family (those who matter most) loves them. And, guess what? We do that unconditionally. Like our titles say we should.