Primal

How do we learn to love our children? When does it begin? Where does it grow from? Is the love just there all of a sudden or does it bloom over time?

This last fall was one of tragedy. I watched a Mama lose her baby. This Mama waited a near-eight months to meet her child and spent a mere 12 hours with her. Then this Mama lost her baby. In seconds, that tiny, beating heart slowed to a stop. And just as quickly as she was there, she was gone. Yet the longing, the seed of adoration was planted. And now this Mama will spend the rest of her life longing for a different ending.  A do-over she will never get.

As a Mama with three children, these last couple months have been humbling.  And it makes me wonder where the love comes from.  That feeling that washed over me when I took in my new babies and cried because the love so violently gripped my heart.  I have that same feeling even now, when I lay next to a sleeping child, whether he is nine, six or four, as I watch him sleep.  Peacefully, trusting and innocent in my arms.  Where does it come from?

I watched as this new Mama grew that love.  Witnessed as it rose in her like a building wave, crashing into her heart, breaking into her soul.  The love seemed to scare her, feeling foreign and unexplainable, yet coursed through her like nothing she had felt before.  And then the being for whom this crushing emotion was felt, was gone, leaving her raw and starved.  So what is the Mama to do with all the love that was left over?  That love that wasn’t there the day before seems so familiar now.  That love collides with a loss so profound it cannot be explained, for the word grief seems painfully pathetic in comparison to the feelings this loss actually illicits.  But the woman is now a Mama.  She is changed.

I have learned that children do not make the Mama.  The devotion to a life other than your own is what makes the Mama.  It’s a love with which we are all familiar whether we make the same decisions about bedtimes, school, discipline or vaccines we all share that unfathomable adoration for our children.  And to hold all that love in your heart for a child who is not in your arms, at your breast, in your sight, forces one to conjure a strength so powerful that it almost seems impossible to trudge on.  But even without the child, she is still a Mama.  The Mama is in her now.  And she will never again be the same.

And after witnessing this, I will never be the same either.  I’ve come to recognize that the love of a Mama is the most basic of our actions.  An unlearned emotion which all of a sudden and uncontrollably just exists.  The love of a Mama is only known to another Mama.  The love of a Mama is Primal.

Peace, Mamas.

 

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Mama Needs an Outlet

An outlet.  An outlet for frustration, exhaustion, stress and yes sometimes anger.  Mama needs an outlet.  Sometimes that outlet comes in the form of a few stolen minutes with a book (which does not rhyme or have pictures), a television show (with no songs or matching games) or an uninterrupted phone call (not with the nurse from the pediatrician’s office describing in great detail the color of your child’s snot).  The thing is we don’t have enough of them because we spend so much time with the f’n kids- which seemed like a great idea at one point…

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I am a sponge, absorbing all the fears, anxieties and concerns my children have.  I am an outlet for their worries: Who will I sit with at lunch?  Where does the library book go?  What if there is a fire alarm?  Will Emma invite me to her birthday party?  I lost my Croc.  Harry told me there are tiny bugs on my toothbrush.  Julie went home today because she had an itchy head.  Oh dear god.  All these worries are unloaded on Mama.  And in turn, I make their fears go away, all the while soaking in the worries and carrying them now as my own.

And they are heavy.

In addition to the concerns they have, there are more: Do I have enough gas to make it to the gas station?  And what if I run out of gas?  Do we all walk down the road together?  What do I carry the gas back to the car with?  Do I have my credit card?  Did that bill get mailed out on time?  When is that conference for Cub?  Crap, I forgot cat food.  How are we going to retire before we are 80?  Is the fucking government still shut down?  These are the day-to-day thoughts that run wild, flitting from one concern to the next.

And they are heavy.

On top of home concerns, there’s a butt-load of work anxiety too: When is that deadline?  Can I rely on her to have that to me on time?  Can I really refrain from screaming at that meeting?  What is my password again?  No, I don’t give a shit about how your dog woke you up last night or the cute thing he does when you walk in the door.  I hope I am the only one who can smell my armpits right now…  The work worry compounds the home worry and the kid worry…

And it’s heavy.  Break-your-back-heavy.

And it’s okay.  It’s normal.  I know this now.  I have accepted worry as a part of my life that will always be there.  Lurking.  As I would sit in the dark, nursing my babe, new to Mamahood, I would run through worse-case scenarios.  What happens if I drop him?  What if when I am in the shower, the cat smother’s him?  Is that real?  What happens if I wake up in the morning and find that someone has taken my baby?  Where would I look?  Thank god I turned off Lifetime and Dateline.  I spent so much time letting in all of this stuff.  And that’s just what it is, right? Stuff.  It’s taking up space in my already cloudy mind.  Taking up so much space that sometimes, I don’t have enough time to let in the good stuff.  The stuff I should be focusing on.

Mama needs an outlet.  I found that in running.   This weekend, I finished my first 5K.  And it felt awesome.  I trained for it, planned for it and did it.  All for me.  For the first time in my career as a Mama, I did something for myself.  I ran in the evenings, while husband put the kids to bed (added bonus), I ran on my lunch break at work (yes, my armpits were totally smelly), I ran on the weekends at 7:00 in the morning.  I ran in the rain.  I ran for me.  This was my outlet.

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Find your outlet Mamas.  Let out all that you let in.  Unload the worry you carry for your kids, your homes, your husbands, your jobs.  Let. That. Shit. Out.  Because then you can breathe again.  It has taken me eight years to find my outlet- far, far too long.  It was a disservice to my children and myself.  I could have been a better Mama.  I should have focused on the good stuff. I am making up for it now.  I have my outlet and I am not going to ignore the deep necessity to have something of my own.  It’s not selfish or greedy.  It’s enriching and empowering.  Find that outlet.  Even if it’s wine.

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Peace, Mamas.

Mama Forgets. Twice.

Cub began third grade this year and one of the special ways his teacher celebrates each student is to send home Corduroy, the Adventure Bear for a weekend.  Each student takes a turn to welcome Corduroy into their home, to take him on an adventure.  This weekend, it was Cub’s turn.  And we forgot him.  I know what you’re thinking: Winning.

When Cub ran off the bus on Friday afternoon, he was wearing a Christmas-morning-grin.  Lunging to the porch with a large bear.  This is Corduroy!  I got him for the weekend and he’s going to do everything with us!  Joy.  Dear God, just don’t let us lose him- better yet, please don’t let Zook rip his leg off…  We take out the bear.  There is an instruction page and journal for Cub to record his adventures with us.  Most importantly, Cub needs to read aloud to Corduroy.  Okay, here we go.

Saturday, Cub had a soccer tournament.  Four hours of watching, waiting and playing.  Husband lucked out had to work and was only able to make to the last game of the day.  Getting out the door was quite a cluster…  Packing lunches, finding shin guards- why the hell are they not together?!  Then the socks have to go on.  But what?  You can’t do it alone?  As I am packing Cub’s leg into his sock, my spine is beaten by Zook’s boot.  It’s unseasonably warm this weekend- 75 today- and no, child, you can’t wear your boots.  Finally out the door.  I have sandwiches for everyone, snacks and a couple hidden treats to serve as Tangible Rewards– certainly NOT bribes, what kind of Mama bribes her children?  I do however, recommend the Tangible Reward system.  You won’t be disappointed.  Promise.  It was a little ride to get to the tournament and we picked up a couple friends on the way (one for me and one for Cub) but by the time we got to the game, Cub realized we had forgotten someone.  Corduroy.  Shit.

I’m so sorry buddy.  We completely forgot him.  I bet you’re bummed.  We will bring him tomorrow when we go apple picking.  Okay…?  Fine.  Whew.  Dodged that melt-down bullet.  One down, forty-three to go.  The day was hot, long and by the last game, I was ready to be the one to have the melt-down but we survived with only twenty-two minutes of crying and one horrible port-o-potty visit.  Which I won’t elaborate on but I will say this: They are not suitable for young children.  And two people cannot fit.  Well.  Two people cannot fit well.  And then there’s the smell.  And the— Okay, I’ll just stop there for tonight.  But there could be an entire future post focused on visiting a port-o-potty with a two year old.  Just an FYI.

Sunday.  Gor-ge-ous day.  Amazing- even for Autumn in Vermont Standards.  Beautiful drive to the orchard with zero complaining- pretty impressive because it’s about a twenty minute drive from home.  As we walk through the first row of apple trees… Mom!  We did it again!  We forgot Corduroy!  Crap, that fucking bear is ruining everything.  We sit down for a minute- because now, I am pretty sure we are all trying not to hyperventilate.  We have to get him!  Husband tries first: The day’s not over.  We could play chase in the yard when we get home…  Cub doesn’t even humor him with a response.  We have to get him.  Mama looks at Daddy.  Go.  Please.  I say this with my eyes.  But he gets it.  Husband stands up.  Cub smiles.  He’ll be back (in approximately fifty minutes) with the damn bear.  With Corduroy.

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While I can say that dragging (or forgetting) the bear around this weekend was a pain in the ass, it was also a wonderful opportunity for me to listen to Cub read aloud.  He’s a wonderful reader- better than I know I was at his age- but he often reads to himself before bed, outgrown the evening ritual of being read to.  We still read plenty to him but it wasn’t until this weekend that I heard him read aloud.  It was amazing- like tears to your eyes amazing.  Thanks to Corduroy, I was able to witness my child read, hear him form the words, hear his inflection of tone, hear him enjoy a journey.  I asked Cub if he would read to me sometimes before bed after Corduroy was gone.  He obliged with much more optimism than I had anticipated.  I am beyond proud to report that this is a pastime that will not end when the bear is returned to school tomorrow.  Thanks Corduroy.

Peace, Mamas.

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

My little Mooch has turned into a bit of a fibber.  I know it sounds naive but I am shocked he’s turned to lying.  My oldest, Cub, has never been a liar- almost to a fault, if that’s possible.  So I was quite shocked last week when I popped in to his kindergarten class and the teacher approached me asking if we were “all packed”…  For what?  For your trip- and are you really going to swim with sharks?  That’s so exciting!  Ahh… No.  And what the hell are you talking about?

At first, it just started with little things, like what someone had said.  But today it was down right lying.

Mooch: Today on the bus, a big kid got on the bus and said Little kids have to sit in the front! and pointed at me.

Me: Really?  Who was he?  What did you say?

Mooch: Well, I told him to Zip it.

Me: Wow. What did he do?

Mooch: He walked away.  Oh and you don’t have to ask Cub about it because he was there…

Me: What do you mean by that…?  If I ask him about it, would he tell me the story the same way?

Mooch: Um.  No…  He actually didn’t hear anything.

Me: So he didn’t hear this but he was sitting in the same seat as you?

Mooch: Right.

Me: Riiiight.

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What the hell kid?  He’s such a little fibber!  I know kids fib because they are insecure and looking for praise, acceptance and admiration.  Right now, this poor bug is trying so hard to fit in with his friends.  It’s hard to see him so insecure right now.  He’s always been my kiddo who was so sure of himself, easily befriending anyone who showed interest.  I still remember the love note I wrote to him on the eve of his kindergarten registration… It’s happening… And it’s heartbreaking to see his self-esteem plummet.

We talked up kindergarten so much.  He was so excited.  You’ll make so many friends!  You’re going to have so much fun!  Kindergarten is going to be a blast…  In hindsight, maybe we talked it up too much.  (Damn hindsight!  Where were you a couple of months ago?!)  I think he’s feeling let down.  And I think I caused it.  We wanted him to be so excited about kindergarten that we talked it up constantly.  We didn’t leave out the parts about how something new can make us nervous, or that it will take some time to get used to a new school with a new teacher and new friends.  We did say those things too but I think we played up the fun factor and he was really excited… Only to be disappointed.  Kindergarten is hard work.  It’s not easy to make new friends.  It’s tough to listen and focus for hours on end.  It’s a challenge to remember where your backpack/lunch bag/coat/ homework folder are supposed to go.  It’s hard to belong.

The fibbing is a symptom of a much larger ailment brewing.  Insecurity is ugly.  And right now this virus is coursing through his veins.  Telling his class about going on a vacation to swim with sharks made him feel special.  Made him feel cool.  Maybe made the other kids like him… Is it sick that I want to go with him and sit with him when he’s lonely?  Hold his hand when he’s scared, hug him when he’s been hurt?  The thought of him needing these things from me and not being there to provide them, is about the worse feeling imaginable in all of Mamahood.  I want to be there every second to say the right thing and make sure he’s always okay.  I know it’s irrational.  I know there are some Mamas who would say that we both need to suck it up.  But I don’t care how bat-shit-crazy it sounds.  I wish I could be by his side in case he needs me.

I need to trust that I have done my job well.  And that’s hard- especially when I lay in bed, feeling like I have failed in some capacity about fifty percent of the time.  How do I know I am doing the right thing?  Parenting is such a tough job.  And I am so scared that I am fucking up these perfect little souls.  Like I am unintentionally ruining them.  I need to trust that I have done my job well.  And I need not own my poor Mooch’s feelings of insecurity but empower him to be the amazing little human he was born to be.

Tonight, I overheard him tell his brother that he wished he was a fast runner like another kid.  I took the opportunity to say the following:

If you want to run faster, challenge yourself to run faster- but only if that’s what you truly want.  People are best at the things they love.  If you love to run, you will be fast.  And if you love to draw, you will be a wonderful artist.  Please don’t try to be anyone other than who you are.  Because you are such a gift.  And others will like you for you.  

Silence.  Breathing in the moment and thinking that I may have filled his little heart with hope and love, I watched him.

Mama, Graham said that some ladies have a lot of hair in their pits and some don’t.  Can I see yours?  My pits?  You want to see my pits?  Yup.

Seriously.  I give up.

Peace, Mamas.

Kindergarten Hell

We are in Kindergarten Hell.  My sweet, charming little Mooch left on the first day of school with a mere wave and what walked off that bus was a fib-telling, tantrum-throwing, rule-hating little demon, packed inside the shell that once was my son.  What the hell.  Where did my sweet, polite child go?  He went to Kindergarten.

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First there was the meanness to little Zook (whom I have no concern that he can hold his own) then there was the tantrum at soccer.  Soccer.  All was kosher until I whip around to seem my child (or what was once my child) stamping across the soccer field in the middle of the game sobbing and screaming.  The screams were barely decipherable (my hope was that they were completely indecipherable), the tears were flowing, arms swinging wildly in the air.  I hate soccer!  I hate my team!  I hate it!  I hate soccer- and my team! Sob.  Sob.  Sob.  After about 10 minutes of rolling, kicking (not at the soccer ball), drooling and snotting on the sideline, he finally was able to tell me what had offended him to this extent: He hadn’t yet scored a goal.  Really?!

There’s been meltdowns over the order of tooth brushing, nightly book choice, “wimpy” [insert item of clothing or footwear here], getting out of bed in the morning and into bed at night.  We have had hitting, pushing, pinching, throwing and fist-pushing (pushing your closed fist into someone’s stomach without the quick force of a punch- but with the same outcome). We have had arguing over meals and drinks and I’ve answered questions like Why can’t I have cookies for breakfast? Everyday.  (Which reminds me, I totally need to do a Things I Wish I Could Say Part 2…)

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My rationale is that he’s balking at his now-structured day, learning not only about numbers and letters but also about bullies and meanness.  Hearing new words and phrases, new jokes and insults- and trying them out at home.  On us.  There have been a couple times in the last two weeks that I have looked into his eyes, pleading with desperation… Please send my sweet innocent boy home to me!  Tonight, as I was tucking him into bed, he seemed sad.  What’s up Mooch?  How’s school?  Good. Is there anything you’d like to change about kindergarten? Silence and then…  Sometimes at Morning Meeting, the kids tell me to scooch over and I don’t have room to scooch.  Emma told me to scooch.  And I scooched.  And then Henry told me to scooch back.  But I had no where to scooch back.  Tears stung my eyes, my throat had that hard lump in the back.  As my Mooch looked down, he picked a chip of paint that had dried under his thumbnail… I didn’t have anywhere to scooch.  And then he leaned into me.

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So much is happening for him right now.  New friends, new rules, new words, new routines, new, new, new.  And he’s having a hard time catching up.  And I know he’ll get there but right now it’s really hard.  Hard to know what to ask and how to respond, when to talk and when to stay quiet, when to play and when to listen.  I can see that his behavior over the last two weeks has been a cry (okay, screaming tantrum) for direction, support and extra attention.  So that’s what this Mama needs to provide.  My dear Mooch, I will help you through this.  And you will learn how to be a kindergartner; I will learn what you need.  And we will conquer Kindergarten Hell.  Together.

Peace, Mamas.

Whoppers

Mama: What happened to your legs?

Zook: Fell me.  (Little man speaks in Yoda-ish format most of the time.)

Mama: How did those marks get all over your legs?

Zook: Boo-boos.  Fell me.

Mama (Yoda Decoder):   Those are boo-boos from when you fell?

Zook: Yeah…

Mama: It looks like pen to me…

Zook: Yeah…

Mama: Did you drawn on your legs with pen?

Zook: Um… Fell me.  On pen me.

Mama: You fell on the pen and that’s how it got on your legs?

Zook (Beaming Yoda): Yup!

Okay, 1. I need some kind of a trophy for mastery of this new language and 2. We need to have a chat about fibbing… As soon as I stop giggling.

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Peace, Mamas.

Mama Needs to Rally

Do you ever just feel like giving in to this chaos?  Like you are walking around in circles and into walls all day long?  Yeah?  Well join the club.  There are many wonderful things about motherhood.  And I do so adore my children.  And sometimes I want to throw them through the wall.  The whining is what’s been getting to me the most lately.  And with the end of the school year, I am feeling like I just don’t give a shit anymore.  Cub went to school twice this week with a jelly sandwich for lunch and guess what he’s having tomorrow… Sorry little dude.  Although he looks at this like a treat, I’m still feeling shitty about it.  I wonder what those lunch ladies think when the see what the kids have to eat at this time of year… Who else sorta gave up on packing a lunch encompassing the different food groups?  C’mon.  Where’s my slacker Mamas at?

The truth is I’m just tired.  Husband forgot to grab a key item required for dinner tonight so Mama had to stop at the store on the way home from work- along with 40,000 other Mamas whose husbands forgot shit too.  Do you switch lines when the competency level of the cashier is revealed or when you notice a handful of coupons in the customer’s hands in front of you?  Normally, I am not a switcher but my anxiety about getting home, dinner, showers and the bullshit that would greet me at the door got the better of me.  I made two bad switches before I realized it made no difference.  I was stuck in a suck line behind a suck customer and a suck cashier.  Great.  My husband calls while I am pulling out of the parking lot.  I can hear screaming in the background.  Shit.  The high point of my day came when my dear friend texted me to inform me that (thankfully her children are nearly as screwed up as mine or I’m not sure we could be friends) her son told another child at daycare that she smelled like a penis.  Boys. Rock.  And that actually gave me some of my energy back and lightened my mood a bit.

When I pulled in the driveway, I could hear the screaming of the “chase game” from the driveway.  Rally.  Dinner was nuts.  Zook is crying.  Why is he crying?  He wants a spoon.  Wait he wants a fork.  Wait he wants ice cream.  With a fork.  Ugh.  Unload dishwasher, load dishwasher, pick up the corn and rice off the floor.  At this point, I actually almost started to cry.  I think because I realized that there wasn’t a clean kitchen towel in the drawer.  And I knew there wasn’t one in the basket upstairs either.  And yes, it sounds trivial but the absence of the kitchen towel midst the crying and demands of Zook, the whining and arguing of Mooch and Cub and the fact that I still had so far, so far to go before the calm could set in, really, really started to get to me.  Suck it up Mama.  Rally.  Showers, screaming , soap in eyes (it’s the tearless kind for God’s sake!) clip 60 (yes, 60) nails.  Read an Elmo book.  God I hate Elmo.  Quiet.  Snuggling my babies with warm soft hands on my cheeks.  Almost there.  Lights out and done.  Breathe.  And good news folks!  We get to do it all over again in 24 hours!

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There are just not enough hours in the day- so cliche right?  So true.  I am barely getting by here.  Summer has got to come.  No more homework, no more projects, no more searching for library books or forgetting sneakers on gym day.  No more hunting for the perfect item for Share Day.  Oh sweet summer.  I think I am craving the serenity more than my kids.

Rally.  That’s what I feel like most of my life has come to lately.  I am so tired.  Stretched to the point of exhaustion.  And I know that’s the reason I yell and have a lack of patience.  I know it’s me and not them.  But (I am about to admit something terrible here) sometimes I feel like I just don’t want to care anymore.  Like I am just done trying.  I know I shouldn’t yell and sometimes in the moment, I even think Why am I yelling right now?  Stop!  Stop it, Mama!  But no.  I yell and spend the next hour feeling like shit.  That’s more the cycle I speak of.  More than the chores and endless whining from the kids.  It’s me.  Mamas (and the Papas) reading this who have toddlers and babies… I used to be like you.  Said I wasn’t going to yell.  Said I wasn’t going to lose my temper.  Read all those Zen parenting books and blogs.  And then my kids could talk back.  And that all went out the window.  This is a judgement-free zone.

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So where do we go from here?  We start over.  Tomorrow the sun will rise again.  The cycle might start again.  Or it might not.  I am not in control of their behavior.  But I need to be fully in control of my own.  And of my responses to their behavior.  Breathe.  Tomorrow I’ll be back on the wagon.  It won’t be perfect but as long as I keep trying to make things better.  As long as I keep giving a shit.  I can do better.  I owe it to them (and myself) to be better.  And that’s all I can do.  Rally.

Peace, Mamas.

Twenty-Four Hours as a Mama

Wednesday

5:00pm- Husband calls: Cub has (another) migraine and is going to skip lacrosse.  Again.

5:15pm- Mama arrives home, takes dinner (prepared last night) out of the oven.

5:20pm- Cub vomits.

5:30pm- Mama tucks Cub in bed with Tylenol and bucket, ensures that towels are covering every square inch of carpet surrounding his bed.

5:40pm- Mama sits down to dinner.

5:45pm- Mooch complains of stomach ache.  Shit.

6:00pm- Mooch goes to bed.

6:15pm- Mama cleans up kitchen.

7:00pm- Mama brings Zook up to bed, which is shared with Mooch– Who is now moaning.

7:15pm- Mama nearly loses her shit and Husband comes up for relief.  Did I mention I appreciate this man?

8:00pm- Mooch, moaning again.  Shit.  It’s coming.

8:02pm- Mooch vomits.  Mama is a little slow with the bucket.  Mama brings Mooch downstairs to bathroom, cleans him up, changes his shirt.  Husband attempts clean up.  With Mama’s bath towel.  Never mind the last bit about appreciating him.

8:15pm- Mooch goes back to bed.  Mama finishes clean up.

8:30pm- Quiet.

9:30pm- Mama goes to bed.

9:45pm- Moaning.  Mooch vomits again.

10:15pm- Mama tucks Mooch back into bed.

11:30pm- Mooch vomits.

Thursday

1:40am- Mooch vomits.

3:35am- Mooch vomits.

4:30am- Cub comes in.  He’s awake now.

5:00am- Husband gets up to shower.  Mooch and Zook are up now too.  Ugh.  Mama hides.

6:00am- Mama is up.

8:30am- Mama arrives at work and gets to close the door to pee and eat snacks without running defense for the last bite.  Amazing.

5:35pm- Mama arrives home from work.  Husband has dinner on the table.  Appreciating him again.

5:45pm- Mama remembers Mooch has Open House at preschool.  At 6:00pm.

6:05pm- Open House.

6:45pm- Home.  Mama scarfs down the rest of dinner.

7:00pm- Husband tucks kids in bed.

7:35pm- Quiet.

8:02pm- Zook has to pee.  Ugh.

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M&Ms really pair better with red…  Cheers, Mamas!

Dear Mooch

My Dear Sweet Mooch,

Tomorrow, we will accompany you to Kindergarten Registration.  On the eve of this monumental event, I felt it necessary to write to you in a effort to put words to my thoughts during this experience.  Your life began with a bit of a rocky pregnancy.  At a few points, there was real reason to worry but you came into this world a soft, fleshy, pink lover.  You latched on within moments of your birth, despite being born via cesarean, and didn’t let go for 16 long months.  You were affectionately dubbed Mooch due to your tendency to beg all the food and affection anyone had to offer.  The name stuck.  And to this day, you are my sweet Mooch.

You were the easiest baby.  Which I desperately needed.  Coming off the emotional bender of raising your brother, your calm, peace and need for constant cuddles was warmly welcomed.  I could have held you for days at a time.  And sometimes I did.  To this day, you will give out affection in the form of hugs, kisses, snuggles and hand holding without reservation. Rubbing your warm cheek against mine before you close your eyes is the highlight of every day.  You take care of others’ feelings, sometimes more than your own.  You recognize when someone has been hurt and try to make it better.  You are inclusive and empathetic.  You love without abandon.  You are one of the brightest lights in my life.

Your favorite color is secretly purple.  I know you don’t want your older brother to know.  You asked for the purple glitter at the store and I watched you grin as you smeared it on the fresh glue.  You love to play house and enjoy pushing the stroller- no doubt pretending you are a loving, softhearted dad just as your own.

You are a child who loves to give love.  Never lose these parts of yourself.  You will be tested.  Your gentle heart will be broken.  You will be left out, hurt, embarrassed, lonely.  I desperately wish to tell you that you will be spared the harshness of others but it would be a lie.  Please do not let go of the love you have for others.  The softness of your soul.  These are defining attributes and the best parts about you.

Thankfully, I still have another few months to prepare for the hole you will leave in my heart when you are gone from me for hours each day.  When you will begin to have a life away from me.  I will let you go because there is a whole world of people out there who will benefit from your kindness and love.  You will touch lives, I can guarantee that.  People will be better because they know you.  Better because you can share your gifts with them.  I am not quite ready yet but I am aware that this is the first big step in the direction of letting go.  Always be my Mooch.

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I super love you to the moon and back and beyond.  More than all the leaves on all the trees in the whole wide world, more than all the stars in the sky, more than anything.

Mama

Mama Project: Paint

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My lack of time seems to manifests in different ways.  One of the many (many, many) goals I have is to be better at planning and implementing projects with my children on a more regular basis.  Usually the project is filled with anxiety (for me), laughter (for the kids) and ends with a mess.   But today, the project was nothing but bliss and pure fun, ending with giggles at the sink.  Did I really choose paint for the first project…?  

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Paint, paint, paint.  Little one had freedom to use fingers, hands and elbows.  We ended up using all the paint on this one picture.

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Having fun with my children and watching them enjoy a project I have planned provides me with deep satisfaction.  I feel like a better Mama and in turn, act like a better Mama.

The mess was so worth the time spent together!