Mom thankful for every day with kids

RUSSELLVILLE, Mo. — While Lawson Sullivan, 7, was praising how fun his mom Jamie was, she didn’t miss a beat when his enthusiasm tipped over his chair.

While carrying on an adult conversation, the cheerful young mother easily transitions to a firm parenting tone if Lydia, 3, needs a behavior reminder.

Jamie Sullivan is at her best when she’s with her children, wading in the creek she and her siblings played in as children. As her mother was unafraid to get her hands dirty, Sullivan has made it a point to model adventure and enjoying life.

“I know every day when I wake up I’m blessed to have them with me, and I appreciate that.”

Baking brownies with Lydia or four-wheeling through the woods with Lawson, she realizes the blessings of motherhood and having her children with her.

When Lydia was nearly a year old, an accident put her in a body cast.

Sullivan and her husband, Lannie, had decided she would stay home when Lydia was born. She had been an elementary teacher.

In hindsight, that was quite a benefit, due to the full-time care Lydia required for a time. And just a few months after Lydia’s accident, Lannie was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Such a year changes a person, she said.

“You appreciate life much more when you live these situations,” she said. “Everywhere I am, they are, even when I’m cooking — and that’s where I want them.”

Staying at home gives her the liberty to volunteer for field trips and be room mom, too.

“I appreciate that because I know not all moms can do that,” she said.

And this spring, Sullivan stepped up to serve on the Cole County R-1 Schools Board of Education — something she has always had in mind.

“It’s my turn to help,” she said. “This is my community, and the school is a huge part of that.”

Sullivan’s father, Rick Farris, still lives on the farm where she grew up near Enon. And her mother, Cathy, and stepfather, John Trigg, live across the field from the home the Sullivans built.

“I don’t think you could drop us off in a city, and we’d survive,” Sullivan said of her family’s shared love of country life. “I’m able to tell the kids to go outside and play, and they have acreage to have lots of adventures.”

Her mother created many great memories, such as surprise Popsicles in the mailbox after school or mystery rocks at the creek with their names.

“I have big shoes to fill,” Sullivan said. “I try to do those things for my kids.”

Together, they spend the majority of their time outdoors — in the garden, feeding the cows, mushroom hunting.

“We’re outside people,” she said.

Family dinner and prayer every evening is a priority.

“It’s old-fashioned values; I remember being raised this way.”

When Lawson and Lydia have families of their own, Sullivan said she hopes they will carry on these traditions.

“I hope they sit in front of the tree on Christmas Day and read the Nativity story to their kids.”

The teacher in her makes plans for special outings and every morning has an unwavering routine.

She’s always looking for creative ways to spend time with the kids, too. They were excited the morning they walked into the living room to find she had taped roads and barns on the carpet.

“Especially in winter-time, I have to plan ahead,” she said. “Pinterest is a great stay-at-home mom tool.”

For example, they enjoyed the colored “crystal balls” made by filling balloons with water and food coloring, and setting them in the snow to freeze.

“It’s rewarding when it works … If it puts a smile on their face, it puts a smile on my face,” she said.

Until she became one, Sullivan said, she didn’t truly understand motherhood.

“Whether I go back to teaching or what’s in my life in the future, I will be a mom first. That’s my priority now.”

“They were both gifts to me from God; my job is to protect them, grow them and guide them to be good people.”

“Parenting doesn’t stop; it’s a lifelong commitment.”


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