As my kids have gotten older, my bad moments have gotten progressively harder to recover from. They are bigger, more embarrassing, and often include angry, leveling stares. There are no surprises. No wondering if I meant it. They know who I am. Plus they remember everything.
As a whole I’m declining guilt on this matter, because I’ve got guilt on backorder and the last thing I need is some team going through my brain to expose my mental hoard. Sometimes I will bomb, and normally I’m okay with that. But after the reality of Spring Break I’ve decided that it wouldn’t hurt to built up some Mom Cred before summer vacation. A little padding, if you will, to smooth over the inevitable failures that await me.
While pondering how to go about doing this, I noticed a poem on the wall in front of TWO’s Sunday School class. It sounded vaguely familiar. Cute. Sweet. I’ve walked past this poem for at least seven years, ignoring it every time. Someone even sent it to me this fall, so I know I’ve read it. Maybe you’ve walked right past it too. It’s called, “How to Really Love a Child.” Until this week I never paid any real attention to it because in the back of my head I knew I didn’t need it. I love my kids. They know it. Period. Buuuuuuut…this week I felt end-of-July fatigue, and the despondency of early August.
Nothing like a taste of summer panic to push a mom into searching for help, line-by-line.
Line One: BE THERE.
A good place to start, the whole BEING THERE. Especially since I’m already physically there. My brain? Well, it’s often in hiding. Not on purpose, just by default. But not this week. This week they got my brain, too. (We’re all still recovering.)
I was there. And I creamed her. It was fantastic. (Clearly my pride was there as well, which backfired because she’s now determined to beat anyone else who sits down to cards with her. And her smack talk? It creams mine. Fantastic.)
Just a little spur-of-the-moment lunch. Me and my daughter. I was there for chatting and coloring and praises of my well-behaved offspring. (Who later went home and shared the news of our inclusive spur-of-the-moment lunch with my other offspring. <<sigh>>)
Because I was (really) there for this I’m proud to share the important news that the lyrics to “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” have officially been changed to “Stinky, Stinky, Diaper Change.” (DM me for details.)
I was here, and barefoot, for this moment. Sort of. I mean, I was technically there, but this photograph represents more of an emotional truth. Because the real moment was cold, and our feet were moving to keep the blood circulating. So I had to use one that I took on a warm day, several weeks ago, hundreds of miles away from the beach. But this is how our flowery moment went down in my head. Which I sacrificed to be in the moment. (And it’s important to teach your kids how to be there in the present and fake it in the future, right?)
That’s right. That’s my puckered hand. In the moment. In the moon bounce. Letting that girl in the red shirt know that if she stole the ball away from TWO, I’m was comin’ for her. And I was pretty much twice the size of every other kid in that moon bounce. Or any moon bounce in the whole place…
I’m still looking for the part of the poem about how “being there” excuses me from all other chores because obviously this massive cotton pile-up was caused because I spent all of my time with my kids and no time doing anything else. But I digress. Because I was still there for the moment. You just can’t tell because it was on the other side of the window. And I knew it was, so I trudged all of this laundry from the solace of folding in the basement which made me close enough to hear, “Mama? Can we have a hammer? And some paint?”
Thinking ahead to line two, which was “Say Yes as often as you can” I did. Every time they asked. Until the request included the back fence. (More on that next week.) It was at that point that I realized just how long the poem was. But if nothing else, at least a full week “being there” made us appreciate each other’s company…all the way to separate sides of the house.
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