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Accidental Motherhood

May13

I was afraid to become a mom because I knew I would fail at it.  I didn’t grow up with the overwhelming urge to have babies. I’m a practical girl and I knew that my impatience and imperfections meant I wouldn’t be the best candidate. So God tricked me into it. Although I willingly entered into the endeavour of ‘baby making’ with eyes wide open, after about 6 months I decided that No, in fact, I did not want to be a Mother. I came to this conclusion sitting outside the lab waiting for the pregnancy results I knew would be negative. But they were positive.  So for 8 months I tried to wrap my mind around the idea of being somebody’s mom. And then my first daughter showed up, 4 weeks early and just a week shy of Mother’s Day. And I entered into a love like none I had ever known before, or since, with the exception of her younger sister who came exactly 4 years and 4 months later. Another practical joke on the part of God. In a struggling marriage at the time, the marriage counselor we were seeing asked “How can you be pregnant, you don’t even like each other?” Not particularly what I needed to hear, but I suppose a fair question in some ways. My second daughter arrived 7 weeks ahead of schedule and a week shy of us having to move. Never a dull moment around here.

Twelve years later, I am still a screw up. My premonitions about being a failure as a mother were true. But what I hadn’t bargained for was how wonderful it would be. How life changing. How much I would love them and miraculously, they would love me, in SPITE of my many failings. I guess God knew I needed to learn a little something about unconditional love. Being a mother doesn’t just mean we have unconditional love for our children, it means they give it back to us. We fail and fail and fail some more and these little people keep on loving us. I have learned to say I’m sorry, a LOT. Admit my failings, get up, dust myself off and keep going, even when I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. Because, well, I don’t!

There are days I want a studio apartment. To live alone with no one else’s mess but mine to clean up. Some peace, solitude and a bathroom all to myself. But then the moment passes and I realize how boring that would be. How blessed I am to be surrounded by loving chaos.  How undeserving I am of this boundless love from these unique little beings who don’t always like me but who always always love me. My cup runneth over!

I’m not a mermaid, but I play one on television…

October6

I’m living with a mermaid. She masquerades as a 7 year old, but really, she’s a fish out of water. She wants to spend most of her time in the water, watching mermaid videos on youtube or searching the internet for swimmable fins.

I’m not sure what started it all, although Ariel has always been her favorite princess, from a very early age. But then she discovered H2O. No, not the real deal–water. It’s a show. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H2O:_Just_Add_Water  Leave it to my uber-computer literate kids to stumble onto a show filmed in Australia that, as far as I know, is no longer in production. And then to become obsessed.

She has relentlessly implored me to search for a mermaid tail for her. And believe it or not, they’re out there. But the ‘swimmable’ versions start at $80. Undeterred by a lack of funds and the far off date of Christmas, when Santa might come through, she has fashioned her own ‘tail’. She stuffed both of her legs into one ‘leg’ of a pair of pink tights and waddles around the house with a bikini top on. The bath tub is her ocean and she films herself with a little digital video camera, creating her own videos while playing a mermaid.

I happen to love it. I love her imagination and that she has the freedom to create a little alter-existence. After all, what else is childhood for, if not dreaming, making believe and spending part of your time, at least, under the sea?

In no hurry for someday to arrive…

June21

Someday there won’t be naked Barbies on my living room floor. Or Littlest Pets waiting to set sail in my bathroom sink. Someday, my house might be cleaner, but as much as the clutter drives me crazy some days, I have to say, I’m in no hurry.

barbie

Before I know it, I won’t be tripping over toys. My girls will be young women and the evidence of their childhood will only be visible in my memory. So pardon our mess. It’s the stuff of life. I believe in playing and imagination and creative clutter.

lpsboat

I want them to have the tools of childhood always at their fingertips. Playdoh, bubbles, Crayons and markers…when my oldest was little I would buy toys that she wasn’t even old enough to play with yet. Because I wanted her to have everything. I was the same way with books. And I’ve always had a basket of miniature musical instruments, at the ready for their sweet symphonies. My only real regret is that their childhoods aren’t more stuffed with adventure. So when I am tripping over toys or watching their latest self-made production, I try to remember to savor it.  Because childhood is over too soon.  And once it’s gone, there’s no getting it back.

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Blog 8, a day late…

January9

Well, I was lying in bed around 1 a.m. this morning when I realized I’d forgotten to write my daily blog. However did you all survive without my ranting and raving (she asked sarcastically)? I guess I have fallen into the habit of writing at night, but I left the house shortly before 6 for a much-needed girl’s night out, and didn’t get home til after 11–and also totally forgot about it! So, I guess my perfect record is now flawed, but I doubt this will be the only time I forget to blog this year…still, technically, I am writing #8, so it still counts, I just get points off for tardiness.

While laying in bed the other night, I thought of some really clever topic to blog about, but I have since forgotten what it was. If I don’t write things down, they’re gone. I guess I’ve always been this way on some level, but it used to just be song lyrics and poems that I’d forget if I didn’t get them down on paper. For awhile I even carried around a mini tape recorder in case I was driving when genius struck…but now, it’s not just the poetry I forget, it’s everything. My grocery list, the stuff I need to get at Target, my name.

At the library the other day, realizing that all 3 of our cards had fines (yes, it’s true, I resort to using my children’s cards if I rack up too many fines on mine) so the jig was up and I had to pay $14 bux to check out some books. Anyway, the nice lady behind the desk asked me if I knew about their online account access. Yes, I told her, I do, I just forget to do it anyway. And once you’re a day late, they won’t let you renew your books, which is rather lame. I mean, sure, charge me the late fee, but let me renew the dang thing. Otherwise it’s another week before I remember to actually return my books to the branch, and in the meantime, I continue to acrue fines. Actually I think it’s their master plan, to snare us into paying exorbitant fees. But since I love libraries and so many are being closed or in danger of being closed, I don’t mind so much kicking down the occasional money to them. It’s like they’re my charity–plus, if you add up all the books I get to read for free, it’s really a deal!

My point though, was that I told the lady, I used to remember things, and she said, “Don’t tell me, then you had kids.” And I said yes. I’m guessing she hears that a lot in her line of work and I got the impression she doesn’t have children of her own. But I told her I have a theory, that when our children are born, some of our brain cells are transplanted to them, so we are then at a deficit. She sort of agreed and added that kids don’t even use them as well either. That was a fact I hadn’t considered, but ain’t it the truth…like that whole ‘youth is wasted on the young’ quote. The older I get, the better is sounds…

Night-owls, nesting and a featherless future…

January5

This seems to be a recurring problem…waiting til the end of the day to blog and then forgetting or falling asleep or being manipulated by my children to lay down with them until I fall asleep along with them…UGH! Their sleeping schedule is all messed up from having 2 weeks off, which I probably already mentioned…and they are relentless in their effort to avoid going to bed. They double team us and sadly, they usually wear my husband and me down. I think maybe there were too many years where I was alone and therefore gave in way too quickly out of sheer exhaustion. And now, as a result, they know all my Achilles’ heels.

My husband and I tried to watch a movie. We put them to bed and started and stopped it several times. We threatened, cajoled, took things away, etc. but still they kept getting up. I kept thinking, this is a job for Jo, the Super Nanny, though I would never admit defeat to a national audience, er, wait, maybe I just did. I guess when it comes to bedtime, I’ve always broken the rules. As babies, I nursed them to sleep, I took them into my bed, I never made them sleep in a crib, and even now, the family bed still exists–and really, I don’t even regret any of those decisions. It would just be nice if they could go to bed, on their own, at a decent hour, and stay there. But I seem to have shot myself in the foot with all my indulgences. As a result, they require, no DEMAND, a bedtime ritual. For me to lay with them, sing to them, etc., in order to finally usher them into dreamland.

Most days, I realize that this is a fleeting thing. Before too long, they will push me out of their beds, their rooms and their lives…and that is why I am repeatedly suckered into giving them their way…because I know someday, in the not too distant future, they will wean themselves from me, as they rightly should. But it will be then that I be-moan the quiet, the empty bed and the all-too-frequent opportunities for alone time with their Dad.

My older siblings and friends are experiencing empty nest, and although there are days when my girls drive me so crazy I think I will fly the coop, I try to live in the moment, as much as possible. Because I realize, that before I know it, I will be left sweeping up the feathers of their childhood, in my quiet, chick-less nest. And it will be then that these maddening evenings will have turned into wonderful memories and moments whose return I long for…

Life, goals and Kid-Vision

May1

I decided a while back that I need to be more disciplined about my blogging. I used to do it more regularly, but lately, not so much. I read blogs a lot and I am always envious of those who are paid to write them. Or, even if they do it for free, at least they have a prominent soap box on which to stand. I am a writer, a rambler, a wordsmith, and so, like any artist, I want to find people who appreciate my work. So far I am mostly, perhaps entirely, undiscovered. And that’s okay, because I also blog for myself, to remember things that happen and just to have an outlet for one of my passions. Anyway! So my goal is to blog at least once a week and I figured Friday is a good day because it’s the end of the week, usually less hurried, and I can look back on and comment on any goings-on that might be of interest. And I can, in essence, sum up the past 7 days.

This week I watched my sweet girls make a home-made banner for their Dad’s birthday…and then they watched for him to come home from work and we all hid and jumped out to yell surprise. All their idea. I love watching how their minds work, and all the different ways they express their love.

Then one night, my almost 9-year-old asked me about heaven, and the thought of living forever baffled and upset her. I didn’t really know what to say because it baffles and upsets me a little too. I try not to ponder it too much–and I see more and more how much she is like me, at least in the matter of over-thinking things and worrying too much. And I feel bad for having passed on those traits, however unintentional. It’s in her DNA and I really had no control over it,…but the world is big and scary and I don’t have all the answers. So we prayed, because that’s what we always do when we are baffled and upset, or scared. I tell them to cast their cares on Jesus, because that much, I do know, will help.

Life is a journey and as I watch them walk their own roads, sometimes stumbling, sometimes getting hurt, it is my job to pick them up and dust them off and send them back on their way. A lot of days I’d just like to build a wall around them to keep all the bad out, but what kind of view would their be inside that brick tower? Life is too beautiful not to live it, not to take chances, because maybe you will get hurt, but maybe, just maybe, you will be surprised and blessed and happy. And most days that is how things go. For me, at least, the day-to-day living, is what I so appreciate about being a Mom–getting to see this old world through younger, sweeter eyes.

Bowling for Wise Men

December13

I have most of my Christmas decorations up now. This is no small fete, because in almost 15 years of marriage I have collected a lot. In fact, so many, that I am considering trying to down-size before next year. I love Christmas, and decorating, but still, it can get overwhelming. Anyway, one of my favorite things is the nativity I bought the first year we were married. They are carved wooden figures, made in El Salvador, and are fairly sturdy, though they have a few nicks here and there. Anyway, the other day, my 4-year-old had the wisemen out on the living room floor and was using them as bowling pins. Uh, they’re durable, but not that durable. I explained to her that they were special to me, and put them back inside the stable my Dad helped me build several years ago. I had to laugh though, that may be the first time in history wise men have been used in that manner!

Old Blogs, New Site

December13

Below this blog you will see several posted today but dated differently within the blog itself. I transferred some of my older blogs from another site, so forgive the incongruency of some of the time-lines. I just wanted to have them all in one place together.

Dancing in the Rain

December13

Written: November 2, 2008

My four year old was a little frustrated when she came into my room this morning…she had gotten up earlier to watch cartoons and I had lingered in bed, letting her Dad field the early bird while I caught a few more zzz’s. Upon waking up she had told me she wanted to go outside and play in the rain, but I had put her off, because I was still tired. Anyway, after awhile, tired of waiting on me to get up on my own, she finally walked into my room and said, “Mom, I wanted to play in the rain and now it’s not raining anymore and that’s why I’m mad!” Props to her for articulating her feelings with words. “Okay,” I said, sympathetic to her simple desire. “How about if you put on your rainboots and go jump in the puddles?” This alternative solution apeased her, so I rolled out of bed, threw on some clothes and went outside with her and my camera. At one point, she employed the garden hose with the nozzle attached, creating her own rain. It was such a warm day, perfect for dancing in the rain. What a lovely welcome to a reluctant Fall…

Little Pitchers Have Big Ears

December13

Written: July 29, 2008

Last night my 3 and a half  year old was playing ‘store,” one of her favorite pretending games, and so she was giving me things to ring up, since I was the “payer lady.” As I was totaling her items, she pulled out one of those return postcards that come inside magazines and handed it to me, then asked, “Do you take competitors coupons?” Her Dad and I then proceeded to laugh our heads off for the next ten minutes.

I guess it’s no secret I like to shop and as a result she is often along for the ride. Well apparently she over-heard me ask the saleswoman that very same question earlier that day and repeated it in her role-playing. Aside from giving us a good laugh, it is a reminder of how much our kids imitate our actions, both good and bad. Believe me, I’ve been the victim of both! But it’s also great to know that so much of what they learn comes from us and we have the tremendous opportunity, and responsibility, that goes along with that privilege.

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