I find that in many of the articles I read about motherhood, there seem to be two types of writers. The first paint motherhood as a land of eternal sunshine and rainbows and perpetual bliss, while the second tend to paint a more dismal picture- one of tattered patience and constant exhaustion. I fear sometimes that in my attempt to stay real, I come across more as the second type of writer. I would never want my kids to read back on their mother's experiences and think, "Gosh, we just drove her crazy, didn't we?"
I want my kids to know that they are the biggest joy in my life, but to also know when they face similar challenges with their own children and within themselves, that they aren't alone. I think one of the most common complaints among young mothers is when they hear, "My kids never behaved that way!" or "With all of the modern conveniences, life is so much easier nowadays for you young mothers!"
I think what most young moms want to hear is, "Oh man, I remember when my kids were toddlers. They were a handful too. Hang in there. You're not ruining them. This too shall pass and they'll love you for your efforts."
Writing down the little anecdotes, both frustrating and heart-warming help to keep my heart grateful for this time in my life. I know the day will come when I look back on these days and wish for them back.
Later that morning, I made gak for my kids to play with. I made the mistake of leaving them unattended for about five minutes and came back to find gak splattered all over the kitchen in big white clumps. Lauren had emptied the entire contents of her bowl and it was everywhere- on the walls and all over the floor. When I asked what had happend, Lauren explained in her best princess voice that she was, "trying to throw it at Calista's butt, but she wouldn't hold still."
Camden attends a dual language school and has been learning Spanish remarkably well. I love to see his little brain try to figure out words and phrases. He can get quite creative in his attempts. The other day he was asking me in Spanish for a "maza cacahuate."
"A what?" I asked.
After a few giggles, he explained that he wanted a doughnut. He had used the literal translation of "dough" and "peanut" to make up his word. I was so proud!
A few weeks ago we were playing a trivia game with the kids for family home evening. Their answers were the best.
Q: What do you call the yellow part of an egg?
A: A pupil.
Q: What do you call a children's doctor?
A: An animal doctor.
Q: Who was the first person to walk on the moon?
|My little Lauren has had a thing for make-up lately.|
It's easy for me to forget that every word that comes out of my mouth carries an impact. The other night, I went to tuck Camden in for bed and found him weepy. I asked him what was wrong and he said, "Mom, do you wish I hadn't grown up? Do you not like me as much now that I'm older?"
I was taken back and caught completely off-guard by this question. "Camden, why in the world would you ask that? Of course not!"
"You keep telling Luke, Lauren, and Calista that you never want them to grow up and to please stay little forever. Is it because you don't want them to get big like me?"
My heart sank. I had said that so many times, and jokingly told them that maybe if I pushed their heads down every day, they would stay little forever. Except I had never said that to him.
I did my best to reassure him that I would always love him, no matter what his age. I told him how proud I was of the young man he is growing up to be. But I was afraid the damage had been done.
He tearfully hugged me and told me that it was okay but I felt awful. There are few things in life that carry heavier guilt than when I feel like I have messed up with my kids.
That's when I have to remind myself that God made children resilient and very forgiving. It's us, the grown-ups, that would have it serve us well to turn back the clock and learn from our children.
I was talking to my sister yesterday and I was reminded through our conversation that motherhood is just as much a refining and learning process for us now as childhood is for our children.