Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Gifts of Motherhood

A fistful of flowers
First you have them, then they wear you out. Somewhere along the way you realize that motherhood can both tax your spirit and touch you in the deepest places, sometimes in moments right next to each other, and then you wash the dishes, fold the clothes, and get over yourself so that you can attend to helping those wee beings with everything that is more urgent than your list, your priorities, your needs. In the grand scheme, this gig called motherhood is short, and it rarely stays the same for long except that the dish washing, laundry folding, and getting over yourself part never goes away.


Each of us engage in the parenting role differently and yet we each have to find some way to feed, bathe, and grow the critters. They are miracles of energy and thought that come to tantalize us into a future that is not ours. We dole out bits of ourselves to them and hope that there will be something leftover when they are finished. Some parents seem to have rock solid children that can deal with the five minutes of actual attention per day that they, the parent, have to give. Some parents have children that demand more than we sometimes have to give even if it is way above the five minutes of actual attention given per day.


My children's favorite activity is playing, particularly making up stories with their toys and even better when sitting around in their pajamas. I'm no different. I want to hold my own thoughts for long moments, wear pajamas until noon, and have no agenda. However, someone has to prepare the food and keep things clean around here. This housekeeping business is time consuming when it includes three other people who do not fully appreciate the need to do things the mama way to limit messes and maximize playtime for all parties.


When my kids are unhappy with their lot in life i.e. me as their mother, I remind them that my job is to ensure that they are safe, healthy, and as smart and kind as they can be. I tend to yell when reminding a child to eat their breakfast for the tenth time as the clock ticks down "depart to school in five minutes" or when bedtime rituals stretch into the next hour or when I step on small toys blending into the carpet.


I want a recording of the Star Wars line, "Stay on target! Stay on target!" to play at will. There is probably an app for that.


The point is that I need to save my breath, it doesn't help. All of my cajoling, reminding, or even yelling do little to move the two beings that showed up in my belly. They have their own agendas, and it doesn't include the external world's need for them to be places in a timely fashion.


Maybe the whole problem is having to move along at a prescribed pace. I mean sometimes the seven year old wants to watch the episode the rest of us are sick of hearing because there is still something that pulls him into it. Sometimes he wants to wander around the tub for an hour. Sometimes the Roman story is too good to leave it until tomorrow. Truly, more ambling is needed in life. It's when we get our best ideas.


I came home today and found a package at my door stoop. The fragrance of my favorite French Tea came through as I opened it. I sat on the stairs, sniffing. I love that smell. I sent my friend an email thinking it was about our upcoming move.


While I was writing this, she called. She's pregnant. With twins. Five years I'm here and now she gets pregnant! She thinks I'm going to have some advice for her. Ha! I know nothing.


Those little beings will teach her more than she could ever wish to know about parenting. They will fascinate her, teach her about priorities, and she will never be the same. She will learn to get over herself, do the dishes, cook the dinner, and play even when she is tired, wants to do nothing or something, and she will not be able to resist! They will thank her with fistfuls of flowers and long hugs, and it will be more than enough.


Bob: It gets a whole lot more complicated when you have kids.
Charlotte: It's scary.
Bob: The most terrifying day of your life is the day the first one is born.
Charlotte: Nobody ever tells you that.
Bob: Your life, as you know it... is gone. Never to return. But they learn how to walk, and they learn how to talk... and you want to be with them. And they turn out to be the most delightful people you will ever meet in your life.
Charlotte: That's nice. 
Lost in Translation (2003)