I have a threenager and a seven year old, both boys. They fight – A LOT. They’re also sweet and loving at times, they share toys most days, and they protect each other. Did I mention they fight a lot, though?
I am the polar opposite of a hoarder. Clutter gives me anxiety and I rarely have a hard time letting go of things – especially if I have not used them recently. Oh, sure – I will keep items that may come in handy or have a possible use in the near future. However, I just feel better when things have homes they belong in, and my house is not overgrown in trinkets or random useless items. If I love it, I keep it. If not, it gets donated, recycled, or chucked.
‘Tis that time of year once again. Time for…. The Sicky Ickies. Every fall my kiddos have fallen prey to the germs of their peers, spread especially well by sneezers who lack arm control, goober pickers, and snack sharers. Sprinkled about a classroom, to the naked eye these little joyful children appear innocent enough. Look a bit closer and you will begin to see a parent’s worst nightmare. You will see… a cesspool of unrelenting germs hell bent on causing tummy trouble, ear infections, pink eye, the flu… you name it, they got it. Now that we’re talking about it, can you excuse me, please? Just gotta wash these hands REAL quick.
Life sometimes moves fast, but this fall has been… just, WHOA.
I asked my husband this week, “In our entire 18 plus years together, have you ever felt this busy before? I mean, can you really remember a time in our lives when we had this many demands on us – had this much crammed into our schedules and our daily lives?” He glanced over nonchalantly and said….”I don’t feel that busy, really.” And he meant it. And my jaw dropped.
As a boy mom, I have a quiet but vast knowledge of all the best superheroes, video games, and fart jokes. My home is always loud and always crazy, then at night it fades to the quiet sweetness of cuddly, sleeping angels. I gaze at them most nights for at least a couple of minutes each while they sleep, just before turning in myself. Their sweet deep breaths are a refreshing peace after long, eventful days. I am done having biological children of my own, but I know I am not done with this mothering gig.
Whether it ends up being pups, cats, kids, or giraffes… I love to feel needed, to care of others. I think I would like to foster children in the next several years if at all possible. As much as I sometimes complain, recently I have noticed that this complaining is a lot less frequent. As these boys have grown, their reliance upon me has changed. With increased freedom and independence myself, I am starting to enjoy and appreciate them more. I feel like the first couple years of motherhood are just a really difficult test of survival skills, peppered in with sweet moments of baby cuddles. While wonderful in their own way, for me these baby years were not all sustaining. I love the interaction, the give and take, in the relationships our family enjoys now. I love the silliness and the quirky personalities that are developing. I love seeing these guys take on new challenges and learn new skill sets.
My first grader had his first spelling and math tests this week. He is learning (age-appropriate of course) about 9-11 and asking big kid questions that I find exhilarating to be able to discuss with him. He wrote an actual love letter tonight to a girl in his class and proudly showed it to me, asking for my feedback. My preschooler is learning how to play practical jokes… today he purposefully left a fake doggy poo and a fake bug on my desk while I was on lunch break, then giggled furiously when I came back to work and saw them. He now tells me all the time, “I love you Mama, you are so silly!” This kind of stuff to me is what little giggles are to you baby lovers out there.
I am so grateful to be their mom, and they have made me a less selfish person by somehow softening my sharply pointed anxiety and depression. They are forgiving, even when I start the day grumpy and crabby (cough cough, today, cough). We are learning to apologize to each other. Though I am not perfect, they don’t need me to be. They need to me to be real and present each day, warts and all. They see their dad and I occasionally bicker – but always make up, usually by laughing. These kids see us show up to help with their classroom, listen to endless Minecraft stories, and coach their soccer team. I watch them watching us. I find it fascinating that sometimes I can see them learning from our everyday lives together in real-time, and evolving with their imperfect parents into weird little wonderous humans.
We are all a work in progress, aren’t we? When we are young it is so easy to say, “I would never do that” or “This is right and that is wrong” or “I would never want this or that”. Things change, we change, life changes, as I have discussed previously (Perspective on Change). When I look back over how things have come to be so far, I am glad I didn’t know what would happen or where we would go. (You Just Never Know) Because where we are now, is right where we need to be. On the couch writing, checking our fantasy football scores, practicing spelling, laughing at AFV on the tv, cracking fart jokes, and cuddling with popcorn. Does life get any better than this? I think not.
My 6-year-old son is many things… funny, sweet, silly, loving, smart. He is also recently becoming a world-class liar. I don’t know whether to be disappointed or proud of his gumption, honestly.
As my big guy has grown up, we have grown to love a good kid movie on a rainy day. Ferdinand, Angry Birds, Trolls… you name it, we have seen it. We are getting pumped up for a great 2018 movie summer… Incredibles 2 is here in just a couple of weeks. Nothing like the anticipation of quality, family time entertainment with that buttery, delicious popcorn and a soda. We love the movies in our family.
I will never forget the first movie I took Ryan to see. It was… okay, well… I guess I did forget the first movie. But I do remember the events leading up to the first one, and I wanted to share as it cracks me up whenever I think of it.
I am writing this in a very, VERY quiet house. I realize it will be awhile until I type in this quiet of an atmosphere again in the near future.
We are on day two of summer break… MAY DAY! MAY DAY! Morse code… send in reinforcements!
I used to pride myself and question (yes, judge) the thought processes of those moms who were like “Ugh, summer break! What am I gonna do with these kids all day?!” Didn’t they WANT more time with their precious angels? Wouldn’t they thoroughly enjoy every extra second of quality time with their young children before their young children grew into teenagers who didn’t want to spend time with them?! Psshhh…
And then I had kids of my own.
My oldest son was telling me about one of his final days of Kindergarten this week, emphatically describing the thrilling events of his field trip with hand gestures, excited tone, and a very loud voice.
“MOM! We saw a human skeleton! And we played at the giant playground! And we raced around a table and hit the buttons that lit up! And we ate lunch together! And we sang on the school bus and I sat with Liam!” And on it went for about ten full minutes.
At the end of his animated story telling, I looked at my growing child. I mean, really looked at him. Wow, has he really grown up in the past year. He has gone from a nervous, distracted, hyper little dude who could not read or write, to a 4 ft tall almost first grader who tells me about every detail of his day, takes the bus confidently like a pro, and cracks better jokes than I do (almost). I see the shell of the little kid he was melting away into an actual ‘big kid’. It is both wonderfully satisfying and insanely terrifying. All of you parents know this feeling, I’m sure.