Back to school! I’ve hear it ringing in my ear for at least two weeks. “I’ll bet you’re ready to for school to start, most moms are!” Well not this mom!

I know, I’m working, what difference does it make? Something about having my kid’s home, sleeping, playing and enjoying their day makes me as happy as it does them. Do they fight? Sure they do, what kids don’t?

Back to school at my house amid all the papers, pencils, and notebooks also means busy schedules, IEP meetings, struggles with homework, tears and frustration. I have 5 children; they’ve kept more than busy. We celebrate the accomplishments, even the small ones. Do I complain, sometimes, not much but probably more than I should?

My oldest son was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome in the 7th grade. He was a bright kid, onry to his siblings, and full of life. My oldest daughter, a very spunky little blond, born with a cleft of the hard and soft palate, learning issues came with the package. Middle daughter? Oh no, I’m not done! My baby when very little was diagnosed with congenital hypotonia. Please don’t ask, I still don’t know. Later, much later, she was diagnosed as intellectually disabled. She crawled late, walked late, talked late, but she was the happiest baby you’ve ever seen. She still is! Fourth child? He’s a gem just like the rest. He was almost four weeks early, born 01/01/01. I probably should have bought a lottery ticket. He entered the world with the cord wrapped around his neck; it seemed like hours before he took his first breath. He always struggles in school, shown signs of “tics” that may be associated with or related to Tourette’s but it’s never developed into any more than that. We discovered two years ago he’s color deficient. AKA color blind, but only certain colors. Baby number five; son number three. He’s much younger than the rest. A bouncing baby boy with the biggest brightest blue eyes you’ve ever seen. Waiting, just waiting for a child, just one without an IEP! Not too much to ask, right? Baby number five was born with 3 holes in his heart that would require heart surgery. Baby boy, child number five, also color deficient but only certain colors.

I hope you’re not under the impression this is a “poor me” story. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. I don’t enjoy school because of the struggles we share, the many tears, and hard work but there is a flip side to this story.

The flip side of this story is one of success and happiness.

We started the 2015-2016 year today. As I entered the school I notice the young mothers shedding a tear, placing the hand of their babies with someone they briefly met last year at roundup. I’m not one of those moms, I’m celebrating. I’m not celebrating because they’re back at school, I’m celebrating that we made it to another milestone.

Have they succeeded? You bet! My oldest son is in his second year of teaching and a brand new daddy, my oldest daughter will graduate from college at mid-term, my second daughter, third child,  is “in transition” is holding down a job, and functioning in a world that still has difficulty accepting diversity. My 14 year old? He’ll drive me crazy with excuses, make me nuts because he won’t do his homework, keeps me on the road with sports, and does it all with smile as he says “You know I love you mama!” My baby? He went to Kindergarten today! My blue eyed boy never had to have heart surgery. Did I cry today? Heck no! Not until now! I celebrate the first day of school but it’s not what you think.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Cynthia Smith Huhman

I am a mother of 5 children, with a difference of 20+ years from the oldest to the youngest. I’m a new grandma to a beautiful baby boy! I have worked in the broadcast business for 9 years; I’m putting myself through college, studying marketing and leadership, and I’m a self-proclaimed big mouth for Tourette syndrome and developmentally disabled. Previously divorced; I now co-parent with my significant other of 12+ years, in 2 separate homes. Unconventional, but with a combined total of 8 kids… his, hers, and little ours it works for us! I live for my coffee & vanilla chai. I love to teach my daughter new crafts & inspiring her creativity. I enjoy my gardening, cooking, wandering around the hills with my camera, and writing. You can also find me at my new blog http://momofmanytoes.weebly.com/ My motto: Pick yourself up and keep on moving!

5 Things Your Child’s Kindergarten Teacher Wants You To Know

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child raising hand in kindergarten class

I am a teacher. I have committed my life to teaching children. Of course, before I began this career, I had visions of standing in front of a group of eager-eyed children and elaborating on history, science, and math lessons. I couldn’t wait to see the “lightbulb” moments when students finally understood a reading passage or wrote their first paper. And then I had my first day. Children are not cut out of a textbook (shocking, I know) but as a young 23-year-old, it knocked me right off my feet. I was thrown into the lion’s den, better known as...

Keep Reading

To the Extended Family That Shows Up: We Couldn’t Do This Without You

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Family visiting new baby in a hospital room

This picture—my heart all but bursts every time I see it.  It was taken five years ago on the day our daughter was born. In it, my husband is giving her her very first bath while our proud extended family looks on. It was a sweet moment on a hugely special day, but gosh–what was captured in this photo is so much more than that. This photo represents everything I could have ever hoped for my kids: That they would have an extended family who shows up in their lives and loves them so deeply.  That they would have grandparents,...

Keep Reading

You’re Almost Grown, But You’re Always Welcome Back Home

In: Kids, Motherhood
Teen in room studying with computer and smartphone

Dear child, In the days before you could walk or talk, there were times when you would wail—when my rocking and shushing and bouncing were seemingly futile—but it didn’t matter. Each day and night, multiple times, I always picked you up and welcomed you back into my arms. As a toddler and a preschooler, you had some pretty epic meltdowns. There were times when you would thrash and scream, and all I could do was stand by and wait for the storm to blow over. Eventually, you would run to me, and I would welcome you back with a warm embrace....

Keep Reading

No One Warned Me About the Last Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding newborn baby, black-and-white photo

No one warned me about the last baby. When I had my first, my second, and my third, those first years were blurry from sleep deprivation and chaos from juggling multiple itty-bitties. But the last baby? There’s a desperation in that newborn fog to soak it up because there won’t be another. No one warned me about the last baby. Selling the baby swing and donating old toys because we wouldn’t need them crushed me. I cried selling our double jogger and thought my heart would split in two when I dropped off newborn clothes. Throwing out pacifiers and bottles...

Keep Reading

Parents Are Terrible Salespeople for Parenting

In: Kids, Motherhood
Tired mother with coffee cup on table, child sitting next to her

As the years of fertility start to wane, many of my childless peers are confronted with the question, “Should I have kids?” With hesitation, they turn to us parents who, frankly, seem overwhelmingly unhappy. They ask sheepishly, “Is it worth it?” We lift our heads up, bedraggled, bags under our eyes, covered in boogers and sweat and spit up, we mutter, “Of course! It’s so fulfilling!” It’s like asking a hostage if they like their captor. Sure, it’s great. We love them. But our eyes are begging for liberation. Save me, please. I haven’t slept through the night in years....

Keep Reading

Soak in the Moments because Babies Don’t Keep

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Roller coaster photo, color photo

I love marking the moments, the ones that count—making a note and storing them for memory. But I often miss out on them when it comes to our oldest. ⁣ ⁣The day he wanted to be baptized, I was at home with another kiddo who was sick. He called me from church excitedly, emphasizing he was ready and didn’t want to wait. I couldn’t argue with that, so I watched him go underwater through videos my husband and sweet friends in the congregation took. ⁣ ⁣On the day of his fifth-grade graduation, we found ourselves at the pediatrician’s office. Instead...

Keep Reading

Sometimes a Kid Just Needs a Sick Day

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy outside, color photo

My middle son stayed home from school today. He said he was sick. I’m not sure that is the truth. I was lucky enough to have a mom who was an amazing caretaker, especially when you were sick. She pulled out all the stops. A cozy clean space to be, a thermos with ice cold juice by your side, Mrs. Grass’s soup, and Days of Our Lives on the screen while she tidied up the house. It was the best feeling in the world to be home and cozy with my mom when I was sick. It felt cozy and...

Keep Reading

Sometimes We Need Someone to Just Sit With Us in Our Struggle

In: Kids, Motherhood
Sad woman sits on floor, black and white image

Early this morning, I told (yelled is more accurate) my sons to get up with the same furious ferocity I use every morning when I realize they should be ready to go, but are still unconsciously snoozing away. One son lazily said, “I’m up, Mom” (even though he was very much not up). The other son, who typically has no problems getting up, had overslept and immediately freaked out, thinking he would be late to school. He proceeded to have a mini-meltdown from the dark recesses of his bedroom. That overflowed into the hallway where I found him lying face-down,...

Keep Reading

Daughter of Mine, Do Not Let the World Extinguish Your Fire

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young daughter, color photo

Daughter of mine, I see the fire behind your eyes. Do not let it die. Daughter of mine who runs wildly and loves freely and whose anger is always whipping silently just under the surface like a pilot light, ready to ignite with one tiny spark. Do not let it die. RELATED: There is Wild Beauty in This Spirited Child of Mine Daughter of mine, one day you will become a woman, and the world will try to steal you and mold you and tell you who to become. Do not let it. It will try to fit you in...

Keep Reading

God Chose Me to Be the Mother of a Wild One

In: Kids, Motherhood
Woman holding child on the beach, black-and-white photo

It was just another typical fall morning. There was a time change so you were a little extra sleepy (also known as grouchy) but nothing too out of the ordinary. In a split second, that all changed, and the reality of what it is like to live with an unbelievably relentless little human set in like never before. I sat on your bedroom floor, laundry scattered all around, and literally watched my tears fall to the ground. I was on my knees. Physically on my knees just begging you to stop or begging God to give me patience. I don’t...

Keep Reading