Thursday, April 06, 2006

Who's the teacher, here?

We went to Chuck E. Cheese today. It was the back up plan for park day, indoors, because it was raining. I spent time with my friends, my kids spent time with their friends. J managed to get his work done for school, so we were able to make it to CEC on time. Today was one of those days that makes me love to be a mother. My children listened when I asked them to pick up their toys, clear their plate, for the love of God, stop screaming. They love me. They really love me. And therein lies the problem. Take one 7 year old and one 4 1/2 year old and add them together. What do you get? 2 kids. That's right. Two kids and one mommy. This is a recipe for disaster. Of course, I actually have three kids, but the oldest one feels too old for kisses. She does grant the occasional hug, but she is pretty good about waiting and letting the younger kids have first dibs on the Mommy lovin. She was first-born for a few years before they came along, and remembers that. Tonight, both of my younger kids were all about me. They had to have me. "Mommy, we just want to BE with you!" Keep in mind, these children are with me, 1 on 2, every day, all day long. But tonight, they needed the mommy. So we picked out a stack of books, and burrowed under the comforter on my bed. With little one on one side and bigger one on the other, I read through titles like Edward and the Pirates, Circle Dogs and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Afterwards, they just wanted to be held, so I sat there, arms in semi-circles, one little warm head under each arm. And I realized, this is what life is about. It isn't about chasing after money, or the next load of laundry, or feeding the cat, though of course, those are all things that we do. Instead, it is about those small moments that are written indelibly upon our hearts, when we least expect it. It's playing "Push My Nose" with a preschooler, and cuddling up a 7 year old boy, who will too soon be too old for that kind of thing. My son has a difficult time in the bathroom. I know, kind of personal, but there is a reason I am telling you this. His difficulties are getting fewer and farther between and he hasn't had a problem in a few months, now. But tonight he did. And he called me. He wanted me to come and hold his hand. My first thought was he is 7 years old...he doesn't need me to hold his hand in the bathroom. But then I stopped a minute. Yes, he does. And isn't it wonderful that when he is sick, or in pain, or anxious, that I am the first place he turns for comfort? I went in the bathroom with him, and I reached for that warm little hand. He placed his hand in mine, and I was able to forget I was in the bathroom. We were just a mother and a child, connecting. It is so easy for me to get resentful at times when the kids don't fit into my carefully constructed block of Me Time. Bedtime is bedtime, and once you are there, had a story and prayers, told me a few things and had a kissing hand, I don't want to see you again until morning. That sounds mean, but remember, I homeschool, so I don't get a break. Night time is my only break, really. When something happens to upset this plan of separation, I get cranky. And honestly, more nights than not, my plan doesn't go according to my plan. I really need to stop and think: these kids aren't going to be kids for that much longer. I already have an almost 12 year old, so I know how quickly this time goes. And really, is American Idol (or the computer, or the laundry) that much more important than my childrens' need for their mother? (even if I feel at times it is just designed to stall bedtime and get me in there one more time?) I am reminded of the song Sunrise, Sunset. Turn around, and you're a young girl going out of the door. How fast will that happen? I don't want to be left staring at empty walls and asking myself where the time went and why didn't I spend it more wisely? I tell my children this is the perfect family for them. This is exactly where God wanted them, they have the exact siblings they are meant to have, the perfect parents for them. I do believe this. And these are the perfect children for me. What am I to learn from parenting? I homeschool my children, but really, it is I who get schooled!

Nine Things My Children Have Taught Me

  • 1. Sleep is precious, get it while you can

  • 2. Giving up the last brownie makes you feel better than eating it

  • 3. Everything is better after a hug

  • 4. Before you speak, calm down.

  • 5. Always assume positive intent

  • 6. Always ask "Where did you hear that word?" before you give the definition ("fag" is also a cigarette, oops)

  • 7. Work done with a smile isn't as hard as work done with a frown

  • 8. Complaining about it doesn't make it go any faster

  • 9. When in doubt, pray

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