I am not the same mom.
I am definitely not the same mom that I was 3 years ago, losing a child will do that.
Before Devin got sick, I was the type of mom that dressed my four boys in matching outfits, made sure they all had perfect hair cuts, no electronics rule during the week, adhered to strict bed times, naps at all costs, and absolutely no gum chewing. Yep- that's right, no gum chewing. Two nights before our last normal Christmas, someone "elfed" us. If you haven't had the privilege, it's a fun holiday game-someone rings your doorbell, runs and leaves a bag of treats. Guess what it included?! I let my kids chew gum for the first time. It was a memory that they will always have and one that comes up often. They later told me that they had all snuck gum before, all except Devin (he was only five). I recorded it. Their faces and excitement was priceless. I will never regret breaking the rules, especially ones that didn't really matter.
We spent eight months and three weeks fighting for Devin's life, it was filled with what was really important- trying to find a cure, making as many memories as possible with my boys, and filling every moment with love and hope. That's all we had space for and that was all that mattered. On October 20, 2017, Devin lost his battle to DIPG and everything changed. So many little things that mattered before Devin's diagnosis, don't matter anymore.
Now life is about picking my battles and letting things go. Of course, I don't want my kids to be disrespectful, misbehaved kids. My job is to make sure they are kind humans who grow up to be contributing members of society, but worrying about some of the typical "mom" things that I thought were important are so insignificant now.
If my kids don't finish dinner, it's ok. They are 15,13, and 11 now and the times of "that could feed a family in Ethiopia" doesn't apply. Do I want them to waste food? No. But it is also not worth it to me to rage a war and give consequences if they don't eat everything on their plate.
Do they have strict bed times? Nope. Of course they need sleep, but in our house going to sleep at the same time every night doesn't work. Actually, right now, as I type away in my kitchen, two of my boys and their friend are doing all kinds of challenges- more water has come out of their noses, one of my sons threw up from eating a spoonful of cinnamon, and there is hysterical laughter. Oh yeah, it's a school night. Some might see it as chaos, or I'm too laid back- everyone is entitled to parent they way they see fit. I never intended to become a different parent, I was very happy with my controlled chaos. But, I didn't have a choice. The only choice that I had was how to keep going, how to move forward. I had lived through the worst case scenario (losing a child is exactly that) and it completely changed my perspective on how I parented. I'm not saying that my way is right, but it's right for my boys and I. I would obviously give anything to have all four boys here. But, for the three that are, I am grateful to be able to enjoy a little bit more than worrying about sweating the small stuff.