Being a mom is all I ever wanted in life.
When I was a little girl, I dreamed about my wedding, my husband, and my children. I had them all named by middle school; however, I never dreamed I would have four boys.They are the joy in my life… My reason for living… And the reason for every gray hair.
When I thought about raising kids, I always thought that loving them unconditionally with my whole heart would make them strong, well-rounded, good-hearted human beings. When my oldest was born, I made every effort to ensure that he had all the love and attention he needed to develop his self-esteem. I wanted him to believe he could accomplish anything, attain any goal he set for himself. Mission accomplished. The side effects of all that self-esteem include being a little too prideful and self-absorbed.
Live and learn.
Of course, some of that is his genetic make-up, which he gets from his dad, but I’m sure some of his hyper-ego is a result of the fact that his mother made him her whole world; that is, until his brother was born.
Unlike the eldest brother, my second son was the sweetest, most relaxed baby I could have ever imagined—a beautiful baby boy with blonde hair and big, beautiful blue eyes. When I was pregnant with Tyler, my biggest concern was that I couldn’t love another child as much as I loved my first baby boy. John Michael had made me smile every time I looked at his sweet face, and he was my reason for getting up every morning. However, like God does, He made my heart big enough for two beautiful boys, and my life was perfect!
Then there was puberty!
I was ill-prepared for the challenges of puberty, and just for kicks, God threw in another baby boy, a divorce, and my mom’s unexpected death at 56-years-old. I wholeheartedly believe that God loves us, but that he also has a sense of humor. Fortunately, there was that baby boy I mentioned. Jordan was such a blessing and my salvation during a time in my life when I could have easily withdrawn from the world. His big brown eyes and brown curls melted my heart, and I needed to be needed. He kept me busy enough so that I didn’t have time to dwell on my sadness. No time for a pity party. Thank you Jesus!
I finally found a soul mate. He has a sweet heart, but he’s younger than I, and had no children. He had never been around children.
Actually, challenging isn’t a fair description. Daunting might be a better word to describe being married a second time after being separated and living on my own for more than four years. My husband is a wonderful man who loves me more than I’ve ever been loved by anyone, except maybe my parents. Love doesn’t solve all problems, and it certainly doesn’t ensure smooth sailing in a marriage. We made it through those first extremely difficult years, and we have our fourth beautiful boy as a result.
Austin makes me laugh when the older boys make me want to run away, and he’s our reward for staying together in those first few years when I didn’t think that was possible. When I was about to get married the first time, my soon-to-be mother-in-law told me, “you don’t just have good and bad days…you have good and bad years.” Truer words were never spoken. Sticking it out during the hard times is worth the effort. A lot of marriages never get to see the really good times, because they never pay the price. They never overcome the struggle that creates the true happiness in marriage. I believe that God is the centerpiece that makes staying during the difficult times possible, and neither John nor I could be where we are without our faith.
I never dreamed in a million years that being a mother would be so challenging, and I spend as much time praying for my babies’—my sweet special boys—survival, success, good judgment, good education, good work ethic, etc., etc., as I do thanking God for entrusting them to me. There are always worries; there are always fears; there are always challenges; there is always laughter; and always tears. I wouldn’t trade one minute of my life, even on the worst day.
I am Shelley Bonney, mother of four boys ages 21, 18, 11 and 5. I was born and raised in a small town in Texas, and I’ve been living in Louisiana since 1996. I have been a legal assistant for 24 years, and I love my job. In my spare time, when I’m not at soccer games or school functions, I enjoy gardening, baking, and cooking.