5 years wiser

See this kid?


She’s turning 5 years old this week.

5 years old.

These years have simultaneously lasted a brief minute and an eternity. During this past 1/2 decade, I’ve both laughed and cried harder than at any other time in my life.

A little background.  The three females Jason and I are parenting did not start out with us as precious little sweet additions to our family.  They all seemed a bit irritated to be here for the first few years of their lives.  For whatever reason, our genetic soup doesn’t make easy babies or toddlers.  They are, simply put, horrible little beings until they hit that late preschool age. Then, all of a sudden, we find ourselves really enjoying them.  We are completely willing to admit this could be a total inability on our part to deal gracefully with the unpredictability that this age group brings…but I think it’s more than that.  I think we just make early-life monsters and then they become lovely…with monster being their back-up personality.

This number 3 brought with her a hefty dose of awful. For a myriad of reasons, (non-stop ear infections with subsequent tubes, two big sisters who talked for her and 4 other family members who scrambled to get her every desire with every peep she made) this little one decided to start talking later than our other kids.  To add to the stubborn side that she shared with her sisters, she learned to SHRIEK for whatever she wanted.  Shriek in a way that would make people cover their ears in restaurants, make judgmental moms roll their eyes, and on one particularly embarrassing shopping trip-made an elderly Target check-out lady shield her head in defense of the pack of gum that Edy chucked at her head during one of her fits. She literally COWERED IN FEAR of my then two year old.  All I could think was…”I get it lady.  I assume the disaster position in my own home on frequent occasion. Also, tell me again how you decided not to have children because of kids like mine.  That was super helpful.”

Oh, she learned to talk. So much so that sometimes when she is telling me one of her stories now, I let my eyes glaze over and wonder if the blood I’m picturing flowing from my eardrums is actually happening.  It hasn’t yet… but I’m not totally certain it won’t so I’ll keep checking.

One time not long after her second birthday my husband walked into our bathroom and found me curled into a ball on the floor of my closet.  TWO was so damn hard with this kid. It’s hard for any kid and maybe because we added her late in our reproductive lives when our other two were 8 and 9 years old or maybe because we entered the busiest season of both of our work lives or perhaps it was simply the perfect storm of all of the above but TWO  was particularly hard with Miss Edy.

Back to the closet story.  I felt Jason stare at me for just a minute before he asked the obvious question…

“Ummm…Hon?  What are you doing down there?”

This man has stepped in and rescued me from myself more times than I’m sure he cares to admit so I hopefully looked up at him and said exactly what I had been thinking.

“You’re going to have to figure out how to get me out of this. Like soon, because I can’t do it anymore. Simply can.not.do.it.”

“Get you out of what?” he asked cautiously.

“Oh!” (because of course I was surprised he didn’t already know…) This whole parenting three kids thing.  I’m gonna need you to fix this for me.”

Jason is my fixer.  He can fix anything.  Anything in my house and most issues I’ve presented him with in my life. He can fix it ALL so SURELY he’ll be able to fix this, RIGHT?!?!

Because he is my fixer he always knows which approach to take with me…whether a good hug and some encouraging words or some tough love.  The approach he took that day was somewhere along the lines of…

“Well…that’s not an option. These kids are kinda a life long commitment…soooooo….I’m gonna need you to get up, go back to bed and OH…by the way, call your doctor on the way and tell her you’re in a tailspin and that you need some help.”

And I did .  I made that call and she prescribed some magical little pills that helped me pull out of that tailspin until I could pilot straight on my own again a few months later.  At some time near there I read this quote:

“The next time you’re on your knees why don’t you stay there?” and I instantly knew I needed to make another call.  I said a desperate prayer to God that said something along these lines…

“Hey BIG GUY.  I know I’ve been kinda distant and I thought I was all grown up and for whatever reason didn’t need you anymore but dude I AM DROWNING RIGHT NOW.  This anxiety of parenting and working is killing me (thanks for the extra spice you added to our number 3 by the way–that was a nice move) and I surely don’t deserve your comfort and grace based on my whole PLAYING IT COOL act I’ve been spouting for a few years but yeah…if I could move back home for awhile that would be great.”

And just like that…I remembered why I used to pray daily.  And not just memorized prayers or simple…”please bless everyone I know and thanks for the food and stuff…” prayers but I started REALLY TALKING TO HIM again.  And guess what?  He doesn’t hold grudges or say “TOLD YOU SO!” or make you beg.  He shows up.  Every time. Wherever you are. What a lucky group of kids we are to have a Father that allows us to boomerang home on a daily, and sometimes hourly basis.

So, why do I share this long and somewhat personal story?  Because recently I was talking with a friend who told me she almost felt silly sharing her troubles with me because I “always have it together” and “everything works smoothly” for me and I just started laughing.  Like big time laughing.  Followed by a whole lot of embarrassment that I put such a front out when internally I’m spiraling sometimes.  We all are.

So, for all of these reasons and more I am celebrating this week. We were blessed 5 years ago with an answer to prayers–some of which we didn’t even know were on our hearts. This kid…she is a FIRECRACKER.  Our friends nicknamed her The Sleeper Cell because of the inability to predict when she will go off–an aptly rich and accurate description. I used to say that she MIGHT be the one to break me until recently when I realized that she actually did break me. Which is why it’s funny that one of my favorite quotes is actually a lyric by the recently deceased Leonard Cohen:

“There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”

Happy 5th Birthday Edy Grayce Lake, thanks for cracking me open and letting the light back in.




  1. Annie Bananie says:

    I love you!

  2. Oh hon. Parenthood the most traumatic and amazing thing to ever happen to us, isn’t it? God knew you could handle your little Sleeper Cell but also that she would stretch you beyond what you thought was humanly possible. I’m sure her firecracker spirit will serve her well later in life. Until then…wine. 😉 xo

  3. Ii was once told that being a parent and raising children is the hardest job in the world. I do believe it! It’s too bad we don’t receive a handbook for each child when we bring them home from the hospital. You and Jason are doing a great job of raising your 3 girls. They each one have a different personality. God will always be there to listen so get down on your knees. Love all of you!

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