Monday, August 25, 2008

Welcome Home!

Have you ever come home from vacation with a pit in your stomach because you knew that reality was waiting right inside your front doors? That's exactly what happened to me early this morning (12:15 a.m., to be exact)!

We have had one of the busiest summers ever, vacationing, visiting family, going to family reunions, traveling for business, etc., and as much as I've enjoyed all of the wonderful time we've spent together as a family, I was thankful school started today so that we could start a routine again. This past week Dan and I traveled to New York City for a little get-away to celebrate our 10th anniversary. We had a wonderful time together--sightseeing, riding the subway, shopping, seeing Broadway shows, and talking about the kids, of course. Then we came home.

Our plane was delayed for over an hour so we walked through our doors after midnight. I had given myself plenty of pep talks to prepare for the chaos and reality of real life again, but I've learned that no preparation is ever really adequate. I went in to steal a kiss from my boys and knew as soon as I opened the door to their bedroom that something was not right. It smelled horrible! I turned on the hall light to get a closer look and found my sweet little baby sound asleep in a puddle of throw-up. He was matted with it and so was his bedding. We had no choice but to wake him up and bath him. Dan plopped him in the tub while I stripped his bedding and threw it in the washer. The poor child didn't know what to think, especially when we looked at him in the light and noticed that one of his eyes was glued shut, thus requiring eye drops (I certainly would not respond well to this kind of treatment suddenly in the middle of the night).

I was pretty good-natured about it all, laughing to myself about the welcome we'd received. Then we went to the grocery store today and my laughter nearly turned into tears. It wasn't when my little guy screamed for the first ten minutes of our trip because he wanted to drive his own little shopping cart around like his older sister; it wasn't even when his shopping cart tipped over and the long metal pole announcing that he was a "shopper in training" happened to slice into a display of 12-pack cans of coke, splattering coke all over me, my groceries, and the grocery store (no, the coke didn't splatter--it gushed out like a geyser and started pooling on the grocery store floor. I was so covered in it that my flip-flops no longer flipped and flopped--they were literally stuck to my feet from the sticky coke syrup); I think it was when Boston tipped his cart over and dumped the contents out FIVE times after the coke episdode that I began to lose my grip a little bit.

The phrase, "Welcome home" just kept repeating in my head. Our vacation had definitely come to a complete and abrupt end. Oh well, that's motherhood, and I still wouldn't trade it for anything else in the world!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Like Father, Like Son

I know this blog is primarily about motherhood, but I can't help but write a small posting about dads, as well. After all, they are pretty important in this job called parenting, too. I have often marveled at single mothers who are somehow making it on their own, being a full-time parent as well as the bread winner. I could not manage without the help of my husband, so my hat goes off to anyone who is doing this demanding, difficult, but delightful job of parenting alone. And here's to you dads!

My six year old is starting to really care about what he wears every day (I'm learning that happens to most kids at some point, girls even sooner--Hence, the book My Squishy Pants). I was trying to help Nate get dressed for church Sunday, but every time I suggested something he just shook his head no. He finally pulled out a long-sleeved white dress shirt and some navy blue slacks and told me he wanted to dress just like his dad. I tried to discourage him, telling him how hot he was going to be, but he was insistent, so I shrugged my shoulders and proceeded to help him pick out a sweater vest (yes, sweater), a belt and church shoes and socks. When he was dressed he marched into the bathroom and informed his dad that he expected him to wear the same thing.

My husband looked at me with big eyes and whispered that he'd rather not wear a sweater to church. I told him to go with it, and because he's a wonderful dad, he did. He called Nate into his closet and together they picked out each item he would wear that day, from the navy blue slacks and white, long-sleeved shirt, to the sweater vest, tie, brown belt, shoes and socks. I couldn't help but smile as I heard them conversing and watched them walk out of the closet together, a near perfect match (one sweater was grey, the other navy blue).

I thought of how wonderful it was that my son was trying to look and act like his dad--if only it could last until he's a teenager. I couldn't pick a better role model for him and was touched that, even though he's only six, he thinks his dad is a pretty cool guy and he wants to be like him. I was also filled with gratitude that my husband is the kind of guy I want my son to emulate. It made me realize that I want to be someone my girls would want to be like as well. You never know when these dear children are watching or what habits they are picking up on. My husband had no idea that Nate would notice how sharp he looked for church each week in his white shirt and tie , but Nate did notice and it affected him enough to want to copy it.

They say that the most powerful way to influence others is through example. As scary as that is for an imperfect mother, I know it's true, and I'm actually extremely grateful that I have the opportunity of influencing my children for good each day. After all, although I make tons of mistakes, no one loves them like their dad and I do. One day (probably all too soon) their friends will have a stronger influence, so I'd better soak it up while I can!

The funny part of this story is that we hadn't been to church for even five minutes when Nate looked over at me, and in misery said, "I'm sweating." He wanted to take his sweater off. I couldn't help but chuckle. I wonder what next week will bring.