Monday, September 29, 2014

I hate thinking of titles.

Something strange is happening here.
I don't know what to do with it.
I don't know what to do with myself.
For 4 years I have been the mother to an intense (funny, curious, smart, strong) girl. (can I borrow the word spicy??)

When she was a baby it was the hardest.

When she was cranky-she was CRANKY. And that happened a lot. More than not. No one could hold her but me. I had to hold her all the time. She didn't want me to hold her. She didn't want me to put her down. No single activity would occupy her for more than five minutes. The only thing that soothed her was begin outside, talking a walk. And even that would only help for so long.

I spent most of my teenage years babysitting. I studied child development in school. I nannied. I worked at an orphanage. I spent a lot of time with a lot of kids.

In all that time I had never met anyone like her.

And in public, at family functions, at dinner parties, at play dates in the park, mostly people didn't understand. They tried to be kind and 'Why? Is she just hungry? Is she just tired'…but no. She just napped two hours. She just ate more than I did lunch. She is just this way. It's her way. I don't know why she refuses-screams bloody murder with a pouty lip and real tears refuses-to let ANYONE else hold her. Even her daddy somedays. Not grammy or pop-pop. Grandma and Grandpa. Not good friends she sees all the time.  Sometimes it was like she just didn't want anyone to LOOK at her.

I spent SO MUCH ENERGY playing, singing, talking, teaching, comforting, (even when she refused to be comforted) feeding… I started early teaching her to identify her emotions and teaching her how to deal with them. ('screaming is not allowed in the living room. If you are angry and need to scream, please go to your bedroom.' -this I have said on a daily basis for two years. 'If you are confused you need to use your words and ask questions.' 'If you are sad, let's talk about it-please do not scream')

For 3 years I have been the mother to a fun-loving, cuddly boy.

This boy is ONLY interested in doing something if it is fun. Riding a bike totally loses its shine after two days. Potty training is only fun when the treats are mixed up daily (Really, who wants to get M&M's two days in a row??) and never ever ever ever gummy bears. Stickers are for the birds after one use.

When he is in trouble, he laughs! When in time out he laughs! After hitting his sister, he laughs! After kicking Joki, he laughs!

He just wants to laugh ALL THE TIME.
He loves life.
He always wanted to be snuggled. Which is adorable.  And also, it made making dinner quite difficult for two and a half years. The first 2 years I could only make dinner with him strapped to my back. And when he got too big for that I put him on the counter and he cooked with me. (please read between the lines: 'cook with me' means MESSSSSSSSSSSSSSx100000)

But the point is: I have been NEEDED. In real physical, emotional, demanding way for four years. Four years of rarely having enough space or quiet to think my own thoughts. It's survival really. All of you mothers know that. And fathers too. Just get through today.

And dinnertime and bedtime…don't even…just..wwwhhhaatttt planet do we live on? Worst time of every single day. There are beautiful moments thrown in there sure- but some of you talk about LOVING bath time -its so sweet. And bed time is so peaceful and calm..and I  just want to move to your planet..because…wow. Its like a scene from a horror film over here. Screaming, running, lots of nakedness, wicked laughter (because, you know, Bub thinks me asking for him to get his pajamas 1600 times is hilarious), slamming doors, coming in and out and in and out of doors, yelling 'I NEED ANOTHER SNACK!!' and 'BUT MOOOOMMMMMMMMMM IM STILL THIRSSSSTTTYYYY' 'MOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY you forgot my song!' (even though we sang five.)

(Are you tired??)

Ok ok enough about what its been like for 4 years…here is what is happening now...

Peace is happening.

What?

Yes.

They are playing TOGETHER. QUIETLY. NICELY. IMAGINATIVELY. FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME. (hours!)

No one is helping me cook. No one is following me around the house demanding to be held for hours. No one …. is needing me.

I find myself sitting alone at the kitchen table after a meal, the posse already having put their dishes in the sink, staring at the wall. It's been so long since I've been left alone in this way that I have NO IDEA what to do.
Do I get up and clean? Do I read a book? Do I…I don't even know what my other options are. It's been THAT long.

And it's such a fragile magical thing…I'm almost afraid I'll break it if I start doing something-using my brain in some capacity. I'm sure that if they heard me thinking my own thoughts the posse would rush in with an abundance of needs.

So mostly I find myself staring at the wall or slowly mindlessly scrolling through news feeds and blogs and weird internet stories about the Irish trying American junk food and where the most affordable mountain towns are. All the while in secret parts of my soul I am in awe…eyebrows raised, stopped breathing, no words kind of awe.

I never thought this would happen. I've probably jinxed myself by writing about it.

BUT what I just really want to say is….'Its true!!! They grow up!!!'  And I feel a bit sad about it.

3 comments:

  1. Yes ma'am - they do grow up... and they never stop! I've wanted you to stop for so many years I've lost count (how old are you, anyway?)

    As a somewhat objective reader (listener/observer) the really cool thing to me is that the peace you are now experiencing, the independence you're witnessing in your kiddo's lives, etc, etc (and yes, I know that's redundant!) is the direct result of all that you've invested in their lives - the countless messes making dinner that you allowed have taught bubs creativity; taking your time while hiking and observing e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g God ever created along the way is an acceptable way to live life; the "enduring" all the insanity at bath/bed times have afforded each of them the ability to know "I'm ok even if my world is falling apart" (even if they are the ones tearing the world to pieces!!) - though not necessarily their actions; the countless hours of holding sis for whatever her reasons have affirmed in her that it's ok if "She is just this way."

    Sometimes it feels that we are just hanging on, simply trying to survive. Yet the reality is that our children are always watching, always paying attention, always learning from us how to "do life."

    I just want to say that I think you and Brad have done a pretty fantastic job of teaching, modeling, demonstrating, exemplifying how to navigate through all the ups and downs of life, when we're doing well and when we are not, when we feel on top of our game and we feel like utter failures in parenting (and sometimes in life!) And let me encourage you both to continue on. To continue to navigate through your own lives, with all its twists and turns, its surprises and disappointments, and to trust in the One who holds all things in His hands... and as you do sis and bubs will continue to "grow up" well, as wonderful and as sad as that is.
    Great job, Meem and Brad! I couldn't be more proud of you both!! :)

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  2. What's crazy, Ami, is that our house was maddening at bath/bedtime, too, and I was always SO drained afterward, but now with some distance, I *so* miss those times! All of it is something that you don't appreciate fully until it's gone and you can't get it back. Enjoy the quiet moments as well as the loud, insane, exhausting moments, because so much quicker than you realize, you'll want all of those little (and big) moments back! -- Chrys

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