Saturday, December 9, 2017

I'm a Mother

We can choose to remember the bad or we can recognize the good...

I did not come from a nurturing home. The majority of my memories involving my mother are not tender, loving or endearing. They are painful, hurtful and emotionally damaging. For many years the sting of these wounds stayed with me. For many years my judgment of her was harsh and unforgiving.

When I became a mother I vowed that I would be the kind of mother that I wish I’d had. I didn't want to be anything like her.  But a few years into my own path of motherhood the judgment I felt of my mother slowly gave way to understanding.

It happened shortly after the birth of my third child. Quite suddenly, the task of caring for the endless needs of my 3 young children (all 3 years old and under) became a mountainous task that left me with little strength at the end of each day. For the first time in my experiences as a mother I found myself losing my patience and snapping at them for doing very childlike things. The stress was overwhelming. I felt like a meager portion of butter being scraped across a dried out piece of bread. There were many times that I became frustrated with my son for wetting the bed (again) but then I remembered my mother and I bit my tongue. Each time I felt that I couldn’t take the noise from all the crying, fussing, yelling and whining another minute I remembered her and hit my own head against the wall instead of theirs. She was on my mind through it all.....keeping me from repeating her mistakes. And without condoning her I grew to understand her.

Time and motherhood have healed those wounds and now I’ve come to forgive her.

She once told me in later years (while seeking my forgiveness), that she “did the best she could.” My pride and lack of perspective made me think that was a pretty lame excuse.  But not anymore.  Now, I get it. I understand. Years ago I forgave you fully, completely and have since then learned to love you. Though t's always difficult picking out a mothers Day card for you because nearly every card I read at the Hallmark store I have to put it down because the words in the card are not the truth I lived.

Recently I’ve been coming to realize how much of what I do as a mother came from your influence and example. I just wanted to share these things with you on Mother’s Day to thank you for the good that you did do:

Because of you I am a runner.
I remember seeing you many times as I drove the bus home from school. Through my window I’d spot you jogging along our old country road wearing your canary colored polyester warm up with thin black stripes down the sides of the arms and legs.

Because of you I read to my children.
When I was little I laid on your bed at naptime as you red me stories like Yurtle the Turtle, The Pickle Chiffon Pie and Petunia the Silly Goose. As I got older you read books aloud as I sat behind you playing with your hair. The Hobbit, Amy’s Eyes and Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites were among my favorites.

Because of you I cook healthy meals for my family.
Each morning at breakfast there was hot food on our plate. Eggs and Oatmeal were not my favorite, but they are now. My lunch consisted of a whole wheat sandwich, an apple and a quarter for milk. You never gave me fruit roll-ups, potato chips or pudding cups. Just the basics my body needed for a foundation of good health. Each night you cooked our meals from scratch and made sure we had a meat, grain, and vegetable on our plate with a large glass of milk to wash it down.

Because of you I read daily from the scriptures.
One of my earliest memories of the scriptures was seeing you read from the pages of your old, worn copy. The black leather was weathered, the pages were soft from being turned as you read intently, reverently and frequently.

Because of you I volunteer at my kids school.
I was always so proud when you would come to volunteer in my class in elementary school. Many of the kids would tell me how pretty my Mom was and it made me proud. Having you there made me  feel popular among my friends. One time a kid was teasing me and another kid intervened and told them to leave me alone because “I had a cool mom.”

Because of you my children take piano lessons.
We always had a piano in our home even though you couldn’t afford to pay for lessons. I learned by hearing you play that when I became a mother my children would take lessons and learn to play.

Because of you I decorate my home.
You sewed curtains, painted walls, stuffed pillows and hung flower boxes with red geraniums from the outside windows of our old farm home. On a limited budget you decorated our house and turned it into a home.

Because of you I manage the money in our home.
How many times did I see you upstairs at that desk punching numbers into that silly adding machine amidst frequent groans as you balanced the checkbook. When I’m at my computer paying my bills online I remember you and smile.

Because of you I am grateful for my dishwasher and dryer.
Countless times I saw you hanging clothes on the clothesline outside and upstairs in the hallway along the bannister rail. For years you washed dishes by hand in that old farmhouse sink cooped up in a tiny kitchen away from the rest of the house. Every load of laundry I throw in the dryer, and every dish I place in the dishwasher I am grateful when I remember you.

Because of you I am a Mother.
You never earned a college degree or held a full time job. Whenever someone asked what you did, you never hung your head but responded graciously, “I'm a Mother.”
And now, I do too.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I had just spent the day in Joseph's 2nd grade class helping to sort through hand drawn self portraits of "What they Want to be When they Grow Up." They were adorable. As I flipped through each one I couldn't help but smile at the diversity in each child's dream. I've known many of these kids for years and so it was fun to see them imagining themselves in future careers that seemed incredibly fitting, even at this young age.

Another observation I noted was that none of the little girls had said that they wanted to be a mother. I found this very interesting and frankly a little sad. It made me reflect upon our modern world, realizing that being a mother and homemaker is truly becoming a lost art. Many people today don't view motherhood as an acceptable occupation simply because there is no monetary gain.

That same day Lauren walked into the room with her toy phone wanting to have a pretend conversation.

"Pretend I'm at college Mama,"

"Okay," I said.

After a few exchanges back and forth, I began to wonder about what she dreamed of being when she grew up.
Given her girly nature I could imagine her saying that she wanted to "do hair." She loves using her pretend flat iron and hair dryer on anyone who will sit for her long enough.

So I asked her,

"What do you want to be when you grow up Lauren?"

Her reply came after a big sigh (apparently I should have known the answer, but I'd never asked her before.)

"I want to be a Mommy." she said wrapping her little arms around my neck in a backwards hug.

Her answer warmed my heart and reminded of a favorite poem that I heard years ago. And although my little ones faces aren't quite so pudgy or smudgy anymore and they fight and bicker all the time, I still would rather be a mother than anyone or anything on earth.

I'd rather be a mother than anyone on earth,

Bringing up a child or two of unpretentious birth...

I'd rather tuck a little child all safe and sound in bed,

than twine a chain of diamonds about my [carefree] head.

I'd rather wash a smudgy face with round, bright, baby eyes,

Than paint the pageantry of fame or walk among the wise.

-- Meredith Gray

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Public Display of Affection

Something I don't want to forget...

Saturday, I dropped off Jacob and Joseph to their soccer game early so I could take Lauren to her game which was scheduled at the same time.  Just before pulling out of the parking lot I rolled my window down and yelled to them standing next to their team.

"Bye boys, good luck on your game!"

Jacob yelled back first, "Bye Mom!"  followed by Joseph, "Bye Mom, I love you Mom!"

I wondered for a minute if he had accidentally said I love you since he was standing next to a bunch of his friends...  My heart swelled anyway.

Later that evening I brought it up when we were home.

"Joseph, did you mean to say 'I love you Mom' in front of all your friends this afternoon or did it just slip out?  I hope they didn't tease you about it after I left."

Amused, they both smiled and said...

"Why would I/should he be embarrassed about that? You're our Mom and we do love you."

I feel so grateful that the boys still tell me they love me every day, hug me in public and aren't too "cool" to publicly display their affection. I hope it will always be this way.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Fight or Flight

Sometimes Jacob likes to pretend he's asleep and then scare us when we come to check on him just before we go to bed. He's a night owl and often won't fall asleep until we do.

Late last night I was taking our babysitter home when Aaron had a great idea to get him back. Jacob had gone downstairs to use the bathroom so Aaron quietly slipped into his bed and waited in the dark for him to return (with the intent to scare him). When Jacob came back to his room he closed the door (making it pitch black) then proceeded to climb into his bed. At that moment Aaron jumped out from under the covers and growled a fearsome "Raarr!!!" Jacob gasped then immediately started yelling and punching him as hard as he could. After a few moments he realized it was Aaron and sunk into his arms crying. ):

So I know it's really bad but I when Aaron was retelling the story to me later that night we both had a heck of a laugh. Aside from scaring him to death we also learned some important lessons about Jacob.

Lesson 1- Find other ways (during the daytime) to scare him because we probably scarred him for life. (I don't think he'll ever climb into his bed again without first checking to see if anyone is in it).

Lesson 2- If there really is such a thing as the "fight or flight" instinct, I know which one Jacob has. It kind of makes me proud that he didn't scream and run off. He makes me so proud to be his mother- my little man in the making.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Taco Time

When the kids are cold I like roll them up in a warm blanket them carry them over to the couch to get cozy.

I frequently hear them say......"Mama, can your roll me up like a taco?"

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Things Lauren does that make me smile...

-Pose like this when I let her know I'm going to take her picture. (I was trying out our new camera and wanted to test the lighting in this shot). She was happy to oblige.

-How she pronounces "remember." It sounds like 'B-Member.'
"Mama, B-member when I was a little girl...when I was 4?" (Something she started saying only days after turning 5.)

-The little songs she makes up when she is playing or doing things around the house, then how she gets embarrassed, (then mad) when you tell her you like her song.

-The way she hops up and down with delight every time she gets excited. She does this for a lot of things but I especially love it when she does this after seeing me put on something pretty (especially if it's a new outfit).... It's how I know that I look really nice.

-That she comes into our bed in the middle of the night at least 3 to 4 nights a week and always come over to her Daddy's side of the bed. One morning I asked her why she never came over to my side and she replied, "Because Daddy is always so nice and warm."

-The sassy way that she talks back to her brothers and refuses to be bossed around.

-The way she "decorates" her room with bouquets of artificial flowers purchased from the dollar store.

-How quickly she can trash her room but at the same time how well she plays with her toys independently.

-The grumpy face she makes when she doesn't like something someone has said or done.


The best part of Saturdays soccer game was not the goals Jacob scored... It was when he actually passed the ball to his younger brother, and then Joseph passed it back.

Oh, and when Joseph roughed up that dirty player on the other team (who was twice his size)...that was pretty cool too. He's feisty like his mama. (: