Monday, January 6, 2014


Sometimes when I stop to consider that my Boston would be the baby of our family if we had not adopted Berkley, it astounds me. That means my baby would have just turned seven years old! Thank heavens that isn't really true.Still, I can hardly believe Boston is in first grade, that in only one short year he will have the opportunity to be baptized, that he is learning to add and subtract numbers in his head and loves to learn interesting facts about unusual things. How does this happen so fast?

The thing about Boston is that it hasn't been an easy journey so far. Not from day one. He was the one child we didn't get to take home from the hospital because his lungs were not functioning at full capacity. He was in the NICU for a number of days and then came home with a huge (and I mean huge) oxygen tank attached to him, making it difficult to even hold him. When we finally got his oxygen levels up to normal, we noticed he wasn't gaining weight. At two months old, he wasn't even his birth weight, even though I was supplementing and working hard to help him gain weight. He spent a week at Primary Children's Hospital, where they finally decided he suffered from failure to thrive and I stopped nursing so I could make sure he was always getting enough to eat. It was then he contracted RSV, then a month later another ailment. And it just never ended. The first year of his life was spent at hospitals and doctors' offices.

When we finally got him healthy, I realized the toll it had taken on me personally. I felt like a complete failure as a mother. I was exhausted in every way--physically, emotionally and mentally. No matter how I looked at things, I just kept thinking if I had been a better mother, we could have avoided many of Boston's health issues. Not only did I feel I had let my baby down, but since he had demanded so much time and attention, I also felt I had been failing my other three children. All in all, it was a difficult year, and one that had left me feeling completely depleted and downhearted. My dreams of being a really good mother went right down the tubes, and I remember thinking I would take just being a "regular" mother over the failure I was sure I was at the time (that sounds so funny, I know, as if being a "regular" mother isn't enough anyway). It's amazing how circumstances in life can beat you down to the point that you lose all sense of who you really are and what you are accomplishing. I had definitely lost perspective. No matter how hard I tried to see the good I was doing, all I could focus on was my flaws. I had to really turn to the Lord for help to see things clearly again.

For whatever reason, Daniel and I decided to put previous plans of having more children on hold. In fact, we decided our family was complete; after all, we had two girls and two boys now, and who could really ask for more than that? Thus, Boston became our caboose. Now, it is not really in my nature to coddle and baby my children much. Truthfully, I think that may be a weakness I have. I do love to love them and hold them and shower them with words of endearment and praise, and I love to hug and kiss them to death BUT I also love to see them grow and mature and become independent. And so, I tend to work towards helping my children reach new steps of independency right on cue (maybe even sometimes before they may be ready). I love it when my baby starts sitting up on his own, or when he starts to crawl or walk or talk. Some moms dread these milestones, but I rejoice in them! To me, it means my child is learning and growing and is ready for the next stage of life, and that makes me terribly happy. Anyway, with Boston, I think I may have let go of my natural tendencies a bit and allowed a few too many fits, gave in a few too many times, did things for him in a few too many instances because one day I woke up and realized my little boy was not really doing all that well. And that is not a good realization as a mother.

It happens so easily, doesn't it? I mean, especially with your youngest child (or the one you think might be your last anyway?). Since you're not as worried about another child coming along and you needing this child to be independent and secure and under control, you just sort of sit back and let things happen. At least, I think that's what I did. And it worked out great for quite a long time. Boston was cruising along just great--until I decided one day that he needed to start pulling his weight around our home. WHAT??? He didn't really want to. And I learned that training a toddler is much easier than training an older child who is already set in his ways. I felt terrible. This was painful--for me, for Boston, for the whole family. And I had nobody to blame but myself for my lazy parenting. Note to self: Lazy parenting just never pays off in the end.

Needless to say, these past two years have not been easy. I feel like I have spent countless frustrating moments with this sweet boy, working to reteach and retrain him, and he has resisted quite a lot. There have been a lot of meltdowns, a lot of tears, a lot of "I'm sorry's," and a whole lot of "I love you anyway's," but this mother has sure learned a lot from this seven-year-old, let me tell you.

Boston has a tender heart. He is very smart and loves to learn new things. He hates to see me upset or know that I am hurting in any way. He has certain insecurities my other children have not had, making adjustment to first grade very difficult for him. He has no real interest in sports, as my other children do, but has still tried playing soccer and basketball. He actually has great potential in athletics but no real desire, so we are still trying to figure out what he is passionate about. He loves to swim and is a very good swimmer and diver, but he is too concerned about certain things to join the swim team just yet. Because of his emotional needs, Boston has required consistent, with-it parenting, which has been exhausting at times but also has humbled me and opened my heart to loving him more. He is teaching me important things about myself and about motherhood that I don't think I would learn in any other way. I'm so grateful for that, even though many days are grueling and frustrating and difficult. There are also many days of happiness and growth, and those days fill me with gratitude.

I sometimes wonder what the future holds for this handsome little boy. I am certain he has gifts and talents that will bless the world, and I pray as his mother to help him figure out what those are. Growing and maturing can be so painful--for adults as well as children!! I feel I have been going through the process right along with Boston, as well as my other children. I am so grateful they are so very patient with me. Children are so forgiving.

One inspired thought I had as I prayed for guidance on how to help this sweet boy was that he needed a friend to call his own. This panicked me, I'm not going to lie. I am anything but a pet person. Getting a fish a couple of years ago was a huge step for me, so to even consider something bigger was monumental. But I knew it was what we needed to do. I also knew our family could not take on a puppy at this stage of things, especially since we are still living in our basement (5 more months, not that I'm counting:). I felt strongly that Boston needed a pet, a live friend that he could talk to, hold, and take care of--be responsible for--that was just his very own. So, I took Hallee and we went to the pet store. This is what we came up with. . .


Here he is from the front.

We had to get this huge terrarium for the gecko. Finding a place for it in our already-crowded basement was not easy.

Here are all my children on Christmas morning just staring at it. So cute!!
Yes, meet Oscar Oasis Conger, as Boston immediately named him. And I'm getting way ahead of myself because Boston actually got Oscar for Christmas, and this post is supposed to be about his birthday, but since it's mostly about Boston, I had to put it in here. This gecko has been amazing so far. Boston has fed him every day and talked to him and tried to hold him (we accidentally bough a non-tame gecko--oops), and he has made this little boy so very happy. I'm so grateful for inspiration.

Now back to his birthday. He had an absolutely wonderful day because his parents went out of town and his Grandma and Grandpa Conger took him out for breakfast at Granny Annie's (his favorite) where he got a free cinnamon roll that "he didn't even have to pay for!!" They gave him seven presents, and he had the best day of his life!! He really needed a day like that, let me tell you, as he had had a lot of not-so-great-days before that. Then his parents came home and told him how very much they loved him, and he was as happy as a seven-year-old boy could be.

His mother even took him to YoGoToGo a couple of days later because he had (finally) reached a goal of good behavior he had been working on.

It was so cute. I had physical therapy on my neck right before we went. Boston was with me. The therapist asked him what he could do with his little girl to help her make good choices. Boston told the therapist, "It helps if you set some goals with her." I loved it!
 This boy just happens to be one of the sweetest, most giving little people I know. He got Hallee's name for Christmas and wanted to save up to buy her a laptop computer. Not very realistic, but I love his heart. Here he is watching her open his present. I love this picture!

Here is another picture I love. I just smile when he smiles.

Okay, last picture. He and Regyn happened to match the other day when they got ready for church so I made them pose for a picture. Are these two adorable or what?

Let's look a little closer at their cute little mugs. . .

I sure love my children, each one of them. They each challenge me in different ways, but they also teach me and make me realize things about myself and about life that are so meaningful.

I am so very grateful for this little seven-year-old boy. He is such a joy in my life. Happy Birthday, son.

I love Boston's look in this picture. He is so serious. It cracks me up.