Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mini Words of Wisdom

Some kids are just so smart. Yesterday morning, I took Riley and Finn on an outing while Logan was attending her acting class. Yes, as she nurtured the “diva within”, I filled the two hours with something that could entertain both a 4 year old and a 2 year old – the park! I felt like a great mom bringing them over and doing something solely for them without the opportunity to get something I needed done on the side. It goes without saying that they were thrilled.

So we went and they cheered and danced all the way from the parking lot to the sidewalk and on to the jungle gyms. I realized that Finn was not next to me at one point and quickly turned around. There he was, backed into and on purpose, a four-inch deep sludge puddle. The mud-line was somewhere above his ankles and no shoe parts were visible. “Yucky Mommy!” he announced proudly.

Now, I can only tell you how happy I was that he was wearing his backup sandals, not because his nice ones required days and days of searching to find his extra-wide size 61/2, not even because he threw one of those nice sandals away and I didn’t catch it in time so I had to purchase another pair, but because just that morning he was wearing the new pair and sprayed the hose all over the nice leather, leaving them a wet mess. So I freaked. This was my second (and final) set of footwear for the little man to wear that day and now every ounce of them was covered in goopy mud.

I huffed and puffed and sighed and said, “I think we need to go home.” And then Riley, who was twirling with happiness moments earlier, looked me right in the eyes, smiled and said, “This just isn’t as much fun as I thought it would be.”

“I say that all the time Riley,” I half joked. But then I felt horrible! I pulled those mud-filled clod hoppers off his fat feet and rubbed the shoes and his feet all over the grass until although they were still brown, it was just a thin coat of drying mud. We stayed and played for an hour and I know they appreciated every minute.

Sometimes I wonder why my kids seem to be losing their ability to bounce back from little disappointments here and there like they used to. Sure they’re getting older and feeling the word “no” more and more. But I bet it’s not their age that’s leaving them more disgruntled, it’s seeing their mom not bounce back from all the silly day-to-day stuff like I should. Yes, I need a break and no, I don’t really get one. But a summer helper of sorts is in the works and will hopefully add some adult time into my life.

Instead of shooting out my normal bite-back boomerang response of “This isn’t as much fun as I thought it would be either!” I’ll say it with a smile. This whole stay-at-home-mom thing may not be exactly like I thought it would be, it may not be fun all the time, but it is fun and it is, beyond any shadow of a doubt, my number one career of choice. I wouldn’t give it up for anything in the world.

Sometimes it just takes the quick wit and intuitive understanding of a four year old for me to see it all clearly. Another point for Riley girl.


mary said...

Parents look at their brand new baby and their plan is to make this world safe and warm and happy. They keep the boogyman away and swell with pride just gazing at this sweet bundle of pure love. Their child's smiles and laughs and ability to learn thrills them. They are so blessed. This is the best life - the happy life they have created for their child and they are energized. It is an innocent time of angels and Santa and learning animal sounds.

Then the world enters and brings spilled milk and other types of interruptions that complicate their tranquil space. The perfect child messes up and the perfect parent messes up too and ... their invincible world seems to take on a new definition with challenges and loss of patience, sleep and energy... and then they go to the park with the best of intentions and meet up with a mud puddle... just like you.

Riley focused you when your day became unraveled. The ability to "bounce back" like you said, to laugh through a rainy day, to feel the joy even during disappointments. How wonderful to have noticed the lesson and grabbed the summer moment back for yourself, Riley and Finn.

You will never have as good a time as now to teach your children. They will never be as totally involved with you, care about your reactions to situations, to their accomplishments and their mistakes and need you and want to be with you as much as they do now. They think you know everything - soon they will think they know everything.

Get and give all you can from these years and have fun! Share all your wonderful qualities and lessons of patience, joy, imagination and above all - "laugh at the puddles". I wish I did - more often. Equally as important a part of "it all" is to forgive yourself when things don't go quite right.... and do take a break from the day to day stuff. Make that happen.

susan said...

I love reading your blog not only for your entries but for your mother's comments. It's nice to have some motherly wisdom from someone who has been through it all. In a way it helps me feel more connected with my mom. I think she'd be telling me a lot of the things your mom tells you about kids and parenting. Thanks Molly and Mary for being such wonderful people!