Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Rambling Around

My mind is bouncing today, maybe in part because much of my day yesterday was taking care of this sick little girl. Things are just off around here. What is it?
When did my baby grow up? When did she get too old to watch Daniel Tiger or Sesame Street? She asked me to change the TV from PBS to "Girl Meets World" or "Phineas and Ferb" or even watch a movie instead of the little kid shows.

I've never been out of the PBS stage . . . It's unfamiliar and uncomfortable.

She snuggled her feverish blond head into my chest as we watched Frozen on my iPad--at least she hasn't outgrown Disney princesses yet. I'll hold onto what I can.

Remember last year when I cursed the month of February for its annoying combination of perfect weather and overwhelming allergens? Well, I stayed on the drops for most of the year, and they are doing very little for me. Yesterday was the worst day yet, and I still struggle to breathe without sneezing. I think my body's fight against the pollen is bringing my mood down with it.

Or it could be all of the sick people around here. Lily made it to school half-day yesterday, but Eve is still home today, and now Brad is coughing and aching and fevering. We had to cancel our trip to Idaho this weekend to see baby Thomas get blessed. That was a hard decision, but I can't bear the thought that we could get Heidi's kids sick. This cough is a bad one, and it could hospitalize a baby, so we're keeping our contagion to ourselves, thank you.

And something else swimming around in my head today: Parenting is hard. It's hard to know when to step back and when to intervene. When to let the hammer of justice fall and when a merciful hand is necessary. When to be the parent with advice and consequences or the parent with the shoulder perfect for muffling brokenhearted sobs.
For instance--school projects. I don't do my kids' projects for them. When they are on display at school, their projects look like they did them. Sometimes they feel bad that their projects don't look as finished as some of their friends', but I hope it's teaching my kids to work for themselves. What do you think?

And I hate it when they procrastinate till the last minute. Does that teach them to do a half-baked job just so it's done? Or does it teach them that they are capable of their own work and taking care of themselves? I never know what to do and what is the right choice. What do you think?

What about negative self-talk? "I have no friends." or "I hate myself." or "So-and-so is so perfect." I never know how to respond in these situations. I know I often say the wrong thing. Is that going to affect their self-concept for the rest of their lives? How do I help them work to conquer their weaknesses without giving them a skewed view of their flaws?

One thing I will never know is this: How do parents of "perfect kids" do that? How do these kids get great grades, excel athletically, play every musical instrument, feed the homeless, win student body elections every year, and still manage to sleep nine hours a night?

I don't want perfect kids. Really, I don't. I love my quirky, crazy, loud, imperfect, sometimes lazy but always clever kids. They are the center of my world, and I wouldn't want it any other way. But some days I wish that my kids weren't so hard. Some days I wish for carefully folded sock drawers and clutter-free backpacks. Some days I wish for no fighting over whose fault it is that the floor is sticky and no disagreement over whose job it is to clean the area in front of the bathroom--is it the bathroom person's job or the hall person's job? (Yes. This happens regularly around here.)

And then I get a hug around the middle or overhear a funny conversation or find random junk glued together as "sculpture," and I head to bed with a grateful prayer in my heart.

Thank you for my life. My life full of sickness and heartache and trouble and commotion. My life full of crazy and haphazard and funny and LOUD. My life full of the people I love who make my life . . . mine.

But sometimes . . .

I told Brad yesterday that all I really want is a few days in a row of "regular life." No one sick. No one fighting. No major crisis brewing that drains me emotionally and physically. It's been a really long time since I've had a few days in a row of regular.

I don't want "normal." Just regular.

Maybe sometime soon.


  1. I hope you get a few regular days, too. I totally hear you. Parenting IS hard. You worry about a certain child so much and then when you think that child is ok, you worry about another one. Sometimes you are overwhelmed with worry, sometimes you are overwhelmed with joy. Sometimes you are calling in back up (Dad) to deal with the attitude. HOw many times can your heart break? It's not as easy as you make it look.

  2. I don't think anyone has perfect kids, and I sometimes worry that the ones who look too perfect are holding in feelings/reactions that may come back to bite them later. At any rate, I often had periods of time in the winter when my kids were nothing but sick, and that's about as demoralizing as it gets. When everyone finally does get well (and they will!) it will be like a breath of fresh air gusting through the house…and your endorphins will soar. In the meantime, hunker down and wait for that coming spring, knowing that you are a good mom who is loving her imperfect kids into caring, responsible adults. (I know, because I've seen evidence in your "older" generation!) ;)

  3. It's so hard to be at home with sick children when you know they'd give anything to be out racing around and you'd give anything for a little peace and quiet. It will look all be over - the sickness and the various stages of negative self-taught and procrastination. These young ones will be every bit as well-adjusted as their older siblings and you will get those 'regular'days. In the meantime you are doing a wonderful job of mothering. Pat yourself on the back!

  4. Regular days are nice, aren't they...I hope you get some of those soon.
    Oh, I'm with you on that negative self talk. My son has tried it a handful of times with tennis and I really don't have much of a tolerance for that at all. It makes me angry. My husband is much better at handling those situations! (It's funny how I don't have tolerance when he does it but I talk negatively to myself all the time!)
    I have a friend who sits with her son every night doing homework and watches over him and checks everything. He gets straight A's. This is just not me. I don't think holding someones hand all the time teaches them to be very independent ...what happens in college? My son gets all A's and B's all on his own. He's admitted that he could get all A's if he put more into it...but it's not his main focus and I've never put high importance on grades. I'm all about the effort. Maybe this isn't right...but you have to have balance and like you can't excel at everything. And perfect kids? I like what Susan said about that! :)