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Life has begun to stabilize for me. Learning to embrace myself lovingly coupled with making my manic side understand that the people closest to me are truly on my side and suffering just as much (if not more) alongside me has helped me develop an awareness and new perspective on the effect I have on the people I hold dearest, morphing them into people I relied on rather than just cared for. They have become my friends, guides, helping hands, gentle reminders, rude awakenings, brutal reality checks, and heartbreaking realizations. To put it simply, their everyday presence in my life gives me everything I need to be well and happy.

Meet Number Four of ‘A. Kenimond’ crew (aka “The Virtue Crew”)

Prudence Anne Kenimond

Birthday: April 23, 2009

Virtue: Freely Sharing and Giving all her Gifted and Bequethed Blessings to those with hurt feelings, heavy hearts, or coinless coffers.

Motto: Stings like a scorpion, buzzes like a bee, always going to ask for another treat for ME!

Prudence appears to be the meekest of my three children but to my heart she whispers the loudest. She has a truly generous nature with the rough exterior of a hearty salesperson never afraid to ask the question, get the reward, or take the no. It is appropriate that she wears the Santa Hat in our family because though she may always, always, always, be the one asking for something else, hands down she is always the one to give up her way or things in light of helping someone else who is really in need of a little pick me up. Her kindness comes in the form of kind words, gentle touches, helpful gestures, and always with a question of “How can I help?”. To her I would entrust the wealth of the universe because I know she would never stop asking for things people didn’t want, would find ways to use everything she found, and would always give away what others needed until everyone had their fill. She is a special star. It is rare indeed to find a gentle nature willing to take everything endlessly, give away freely, and never let the excess go to her head.

I absolutely love immediately after posing for an adorable photo in the Santa Hat she had found in the basement, she dropped down on all four and started panting and begging for attention like a dog. That is so Prudence. She is so amazingly considerate of the extensive amount of alone time I have been needing to manage my bipolarity. I respect her and am humbled in her maturity to be able to give her mother freedom of space at the age of six. Just as innocently and perfect that shes our little beggar, she is always willing to ask for some time together, test the temperature of my bipolar waters, to see if she might just be able to coax the raging lion to turn back into a nurturing mother once again, even if only for a little at a time. When it doesn’t last long, she is honest enough to let me know she wishes I could spend more time with her, but she never makes me feel bad about needing to be alone. Because she needs alone time as well. My skin and bones angel understands the bare bones of what matters most in life – being able to ask for what we need, take whatever we can get, and be happy with whatever manages to trickle our way.

After introducing the beggar of our “Braidy Bunch” I feel it is important to introduce the man that makes everything possible. He is truly the backbone of the house. He is the heart, the help, the how, and the eternal push to keep us together. Without him I struggle to imagine how life would continue on for our little family. With so many broken pieces existing within me, he represents the glue and surface for which to arrange and adhere the puzzle together. My one part is nothing without his two parts to make us a wholly functioning family.

Patrick Albert Kenimond

Birthday: September 23, 1978

Virtue: Freely sharing his noble nature and bright resonance for the benefit of others in need of assistance and attention.

Motto: Family always comes first, friends always receive help, always try to help others often, and always appreciate whatever is leftover for ME.

Patrick is my genie in the form of a man-shaped bottle. We met in August of 2001, “officially” started dating the weekend of November 16-18, 2001, and have fought to stay together ever since. With countless arguments, millions of misunderstandings, a couple crazy fights, tons of tragedy, and lots of love we have managed to battle the epics dungenous pits of disillusionment, desperation, despair, horrible poverty, plagued health, unhealthy politics, extreme loss, epic hopelessness, and utter exhaustion. Somehow no matter how bad things may be in reality, he is able to sugar coat it with a smile and funny quip, brush it away with wise words and keen intelligence, or heal the hurt with a comforting hug, loving kiss, or compassionate silence – whatever the case might need. This man gives of himself endlessly because he truly believes there are others out there who have it worse and so he should be doing his part to heal the pain around him. I count myself among the luckiest stars in the sky because I was granted the ability to call this father who knows all about all that it means to love the “Daddy”of our crew. Their is no pillar stronger than a man who has all the love in the world for those he loves most. How grateful I am for his ability to be so strong in the face of my chaotic storms of life. He truly and brilliantly represent what it means to be “Number One”.

Since we have not yet been able to incorporate Patrick’s work into a completely work from home position, I get to play dress up with my “corporate pirate”. The job title which he holds is labelled “Senior Account Representative”. What this means in reality is this good man dedicates his life, literally being on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to help service the needs of a major children’s cancer research hospital. The sad thing is that while Patrick is happy to give his life to helping sick children get better, he has to do so by sailing through the scumbag resources of yet another money grubbing, slaveholder trading, careless corporation hell bent on preying on people’s desires, dreams, and emotions for financial profit. The company he works for rakes in millions of dollars from the hospital while the man ACTUALLY responsible for single-handedly managing almost a million dollars worth of their business does not even receive enough compensation to support his family in a manner that would leave him stress free while being chained behind the desk at corporate headquarters. I am actively searching for opportunities for springing my husband from the corporate slavery into the welcoming hands of honest and helpful laboring. If in the meantime I can manage to take down the company he works for as payment for the hell they have put my husband through, I will gladly be working towards that as well. While Patrick may be a “corporate man” through and through, I am the sneaky bitch that has been wading through all of his dirty sordid details and won’t give a god damned second thought to cashing in on all the bullshit practices they pretend don’t happen, the horse load of crap they shovel their clients, the egregious acts of preferential treatment (inside and out), and the incestuous relationship that exists among the upper management. When you break my man down to nothing, hell hath no fury like a starved and insane mother fighting back to get what should have been given all along and taking great pleasure in acquiring “accrued interest” on past debt and obligations left unpaid and unfulfilled. Added manic bonus: there is nothing more generous and giving to the world at large then providing people with a prime example of what happens when you take what isn’t yours, lie about what you are giving away, keep more for yourself than you should, and never give back in any meaningful way. I just pray I am given the opportunity to prey on those who have been slaughtering my family’s chances at honest happiness and healthy homely living.

I love to watch my husband interact with our children. He truly has shared his open heart and honest nature with all of our girls. Most specially I believe our littlest princess, Providence, was blessed with the most charming aspects of her Daddy’s personality. She is adorably comedic, laughably audacious, and lovably ornery. It can be so infuriating knowing she is blatantly disregarding proper behavior but so insanely enthralling that you can’t help but throw on a smile and laugh along at the show. She sings, dances, poses weirdly, makes funny faces, bosses you around, messes things up, screams loudly and frequently, and so much more yet she never fails to provoke a smile when she truly needs one. Of the bunch, she is our natural comedian and mood elevator. When Mommy is screaming like a manic buffoon, she pops her head around the corner with a goofy grin, then steps out and starts mimicking Mommy’s wild hand gestures and emphatic gibberish tirade that stops me immediately and lets the rest of the family breath a sigh of relief that Mommy cooled down. Her ability to dance around the flames of uncomfortable situations is amazing and might explain her natural inclination to stumble around awkwardly yet somehow always managing to find her way to a happier time and place.

Providence Aurorarose Kenimond

Birthday: July 9. 2013

Virtue: Bringing light, life, and laughter to all those lucky enough to feel her heavenly warmth, loving glow, or cosmic attraction.

Motto: Always be moving, always try to be happy, always try to move others toward happiness.

Meet Sleeping Beauty of the A. Kenimond crew, the reddish-golden-blonde haired, blue eyed anomaly among a group of brown hair and green eyes. While Providence was still growing inside me her sisters started calling her Rose, being obsessed with the movie Sleeping Beauty at the time. For a long while Patrick and I considered naming her Rose but we felt that since she was the third child coming so far after the first two (pretty much Irish twins) we didn’t want her to be the odd one out not having Daddy’s initials or a virtue themed first name. So we created a way to incorporate the girls’ name into our PAK plan by adjoining Rose (“Briar Rose while in hiding) to Aurora, which is the real name of Sleeping Beauty. Interestingly enough the name came to mean Rising Dawn in my mind, which is so comforting considering I feel strongly that Patrick’s mother’s amazing qualities are shining through this petite bundle of chaos in some of the most beautiful and endearing ways. I especially appreciate this picture because the black and white truth of the matter is that Providence makes you feel blessed to be in her presence, her head seems to be filled with or surrounded by rainbows and exotic prints and patterns that weave wonderful magic into her aura, her lease on life and skill at making others happy makes me wrap her in patriotic colors in the hope her amazingness will seep back into the reality of America that used to be my idea of a perfect place to raise a family. With her St. Jude bear to keep her company, I love to look at my most energetic angel in her most restful state because it brings me peace of mind knowing that even little balls of fire burn out and need to rest up for the next show.

Provi-dov loves to draw all over herself. When it is arts and crafts time she will usually sit down with her sisters and me and attempt to contain her creativity to a piece of paper. However all too soon she moves on to doodling on her own personal canvas. Funnily, every time she starts drawing on herself she brings the job to Mommy, pointing her little finger to the back of her neck and shoulders, and will not relent until I have completed sufficient “work” on her body. I usually take this opportunity to paint her with the ideals I hope she grows to adore and represent: peace, love, balance, and happiness. 

Always difficult to find pictures of the one that is extremely talented at blending in with the crowd and effective at hiding from the spotlight yet somehow always demands your attention.

Patience Alexandra Kenimond

Birthday: April 18, 2008

Virtue: Giving all of herself to defend what is right, protect that which is innocent, and love everything in between with the tender heart of a fragile princess, the mighty endurance and exuberance of a “tom-boy”, and the acceptance and tolerance of a soul wizened by time and depth of character.

Motto: In your face or behind your back, I will do everything to keep you on track.

When it comes to our oldest, finding pictures of her is difficult. While she demands to be the star of any show, she rarely wants to be the only face seen. I think of this and my heart melts because I see how she plans to help everyone get along, how concerned she is for those who are hurting, and how helpful she when there is work to be done. She is the essential party member of any good crew because where others are lacking, she steps up and takes the lion’s share of the responsibility and does so in such a loving manner that you feel better knowing she helped you get the job done and thankful to have such a reliably comforting presence in your life. There is no one way to describe this little wonder, full of energy, life, and skills beyond measure. Her talents are so versatile and always seem to kick into gear the second she needs them and always with an air of grace that does not come naturally to many. Her body is lithe and muscular, strong and healthy, and yet when she is around you she give off a feeling of superior intellect and deep understanding. Often times I must remind myself she is a seven year old little angel that needs to be sheltered from the things she’s fully capable of grasping and retaining and even advising on, yett still to young and innocent to be darkened by humanity’s dirtiest deeds. Being around her is kind of a mind boggling experience for me because I feel so similar to her in so many ways yet feel profane comparing myself to her mighty presence because I am honestly humbled in her intangible power and grace. It is hard to fathom having the weight of responsibility to raise someone who was born better than I could ever hope to be. I’m so glad that Patience came first because her powerful persona prepared me to pave the way for three similarly powerful “baby-people” into my life. I coin the term baby-people because each of my children feel as though they already came premade with more personality and character than I could ever dream, hope, and imagine possible in a grown person, let alone the pint sized people bodies they are squeezed into and therefore deserve equal respect to that of any other “people”. Side note: this picture is a fluke. My house is not usually this clean and cutely together, nor do the girls ever manage to all get together at one time for a good picture. One in a billion chance to get them like this, so please don’t think I am one “together” people who keep a clean and beautiful house to take perfect pictures in. My house usually reflects my state of mind, always one or two steps away from being what I need it to be.

When I speak of Patience’s talents, I believe the core essence of why she is so epic is because she has a natural drive to be perfect, a natural talent starting out “better than most” at everything, and the desire to always “be the winner” that she channels into focused determination to surpass whoever she needs to beat. She truly is astounding to watch in action. Powering through a chapter book beyond her reading skill level, practicing an iPad game repeatedly to dominate Daddy’s highscore, running laps around the basement to “get faster” … it doesn’t matter what she is doing – she rocks it out. She truly is my little rockstar because no matter how hard the burden is to bear, she will shoulder that mountainous task and build her self a solid stone bridge to success. She is just that amazing.

It is ironic to me that as I finished the last picture, I wrapped up with precisely 2800 words evenly. Because next I am uploading the newest photo we have of the coming addition to the Virtue Crew, who will bring our child count to four but feels as though the with it the weight and wealth of 700 angels in one heavenly baby-body that has yet to grace us with his much appreciated and long requested yet never expected gift of bringing a beautiful baby boy to the likes of the A. Kenimond crew. We finally get to welcome into the world a pint sized version of the love of my life. And even with the manic man-hating bitch raging inside me, all parts of me are excitedly awaiting the joys of defining how boys can be beautiful, graceful, and virtuous while carrying the honest and heavy burden of being a “real man” in a weak-man’s world.

With a due date of October 11, 2015 (based on an ultrasound performed August 14, 2015 to determine how far along I was in my pregnancy [puts me at 32 weeks]) and a C-Section date of October 6 at 7:30am, we are all happily and anxiously awaiting the arrival of our little Prince.

Patrick-Henry Albert Kenimond II

Birthdate: Fingers crossed for an early delivery on September 23, 2015

Virtue: Granting the freedom to be “me” to one and all alike, with all the nobility of a home-family man and the brightness of the brightest star in our sky.

Motto: Honest living for truthful happiness, perpetual peace and free freedom for one and all.

After waiting 32 weeks to put some semblance of a face to the tiny personality blossoming inside me helped me reach an unimaginable level of euphoria that was so overwhelming it became calm and sedating in nature. I couldn’t be more thrilled to finally get confirmation that everything is progressing normally with the pregnancy. I wasn’t worried because the pregnancy has been the one thing that has been reliable throughout this chaotic time of my life but it still feels good to get positive affirmation to what you already believed to be true.

Ultrasounds are so hard to watch and know what you are looking at. Even with this being my fourth pregnancy I still could only catch sporadic glimpses of the baby I am desperate to hold in my arms. As with the other three, my heart melted when we were able to see the whole face along with another a hand. There is something incredible knowing that a real little person is kicking around inside me, carving out a piece of reality to call home and making my life better before he has even exited the womb. We are so blessed with the healthy girls we have in our family, I can’t wait to meet a healthy baby boy who helped change my perspective on men and finally proved to me that true love always prevails and just because the devil is in the details, doesn’t mean the good guys can’t have fun playing around with truth and exercising extensive use of elaborate definitions to confuse the living hell out of the bad guys.

I had to share this one. The story that comes along with it is far too precious to keep to myself. Before my appointment, Patrick and I discussed whether or not we wanted to find out the sex of the baby. As always and with each child before, Patrick deferred to my opinion on the matter. I was in a place where no matter what we were having, I would be profoundly excited to welcome our newest little bundle of joy and since I would only be looking at a few weeks versus twenty to find out the secret, I felt I would be okay waiting until the big day for the reveal. I don’t think the universe or Patrick-Henry thought I was making the right decision. Throughout the entire ultrasound the technician kept having to tell me to turn my head so I wouldn’t see something telling. When Patrick asked if she knew what it was, I knew he couldn’t wait to find out what we were having. I was still okay with waiting to find out. Once the girls starting piping in that they wanted to know what we were having, I caved. I wasn’t going to withhold the information from everyone when I was the minority. And so as a family we decided to find out just what type of baby we would be welcoming. Turns out that little Patrick-Henry already takes after Daddy because he was all about showing off his manhood – the reason why I had to keep turning my head away. When the lady pulled up this shot and said we were having a boy, the room erupted. Patience and Prudence starting laughing, jumping up and down and shouting how happy they were. Daddy was beyond words. Joy, Happiness, Excitement, Proud, and Pure Fulfillment were all emotions positively radiating from his being. I was stunned into euphoric and blissful silence. Our family felt complete. Daddy finally has “his boy” to balance out the overwhelming amount of estrogen currently dominating house and home, Patience finally has a little brother to roughhouse and pal around with, Prudence finally has someone that will be able to funnel Patience’s aggressive activity needs away from her, Providence will finally have someone her size and age to contend with, and I will get to see how wonderful raising precious little princes can be. As the family went filing out of the ultrasound room, the staff got quite a show. My three little princesses dancing and jumping all around, Daddy beaming as he proudly strutted from the room, followed by me feeling as though I was radiating happiness. As I closed the door behind me, Patience turned around and said in her clearest angelic voice, “Thank you for having a boy!”. All around the office the nurses, staff, and patients turned to see who was so happy to find out a brother was on his way. The receptionists were gushing congratulations as we exited the office. I truly felt as though I were floating out of there buoyed and balanced by a cloud of happiness and an aura of peaceful surrender. Life is rough around the edges but it is sweet and gooey in all the right places just when you need everything to go your way.

Suddenly it feels as though heavenly good things are headed straight for me and all I need to do is open myself up for the once in a lifetime opportunity that I don’t want to pass up.