Monday, July 27, 2009

What I'll Miss

In an effort to really "soak up" every moment with my children this summer, I have made a specific effort to mentally take in every situation--good and bad--hoping I won't look back one day and wish I had lived in the moment more. Without realizing it, I found myself mentally categorizing every scenario, task, and experience into two different groups: "What I'll Miss," and "What I Won't Miss" about mothering young children. Here are a few things I came up with.

Things I Will Miss:

Holding a sleeping child
Watching a sleeping child (they are so innocent and sweet when they're asleep)
That a trip to the park makes their whole day
That I can tickle a smile out of a grumpy child
That a kiss makes everything better
Speaking of kisses--an endless supply of hugs and kisses available at any time (only works with little kids)
Tiny arms wrapped tightly around my neck
Kids on my lap, snuggling and reading a story together
Uninhibited singing by my little ones
Everyone waking up with a smile
Small expectations (pb&j for lunch every day, mac & cheese if we really splurge)

Things I Won't Miss:

Fruit snack wrappers
Car seats
Sippy Cups
Potty Training
6:00 a.m. wake up calls (which consist of my two-year-old asking for a movie and chocolate milk)
Screaming fits
Shutting the front door at least 15 times a day because a child has gone in or out and left it open

I sat in my kitchen the other night chuckling under my breath. My husband and I were working together to get dinner ready, trying to have a conversation, while the rest of the house held total chaos. Kids were screaming, crying, whining, pounding on doors, and more. If I hadn't known better, I would have thought I had more than four kids! As I strained again to hear what my husband was saying, a picture passed through my mind of what our home must look like to an outsider, and I couldn't suppress a small giggle (I've come a long way--it's usually tears I can't suppress). Just then, a thought ran through my mind, adding another bullet to my "won't miss" list.

I'm sure not going to miss this when the kids are grown and gone.

But as soon as I thought it, I immediately regretted it, because the truth is, I think I'll miss pretty much everything about my children being home--even the chaos. I can totally picture in my mind the day I get up to a quiet home, do my daily routine without interruption or noise, and go to bed with the same deafening silence (excepting small talk with my sweetheart, of course). And I'm willing to bet there will be days when I wish I could go back to a simpler, louder, crazier time, because something tells me that even though there are many days I want to run away and hide, the truth is, when it's all said and done, I have a feeling I'll look back on these days and think they were the best days of my life.

So, for now, I think I'll condense my lists into one big one: "What I'll Miss." That way, if I do ever find myself missing this stage of life, I can read my list and find comfort in the fact that at least I didn't take it for granted.

Well, better go--the front door is open again!:)

Monday, July 20, 2009

To My Mother

Forgive me for being so personal, but I've decided to dedicate this week's post to my mother.

Most of my earliest memories revolve around the woman I call mom. From sneaking chocolate chips with my older sister in our farm house in Raymond, ID and getting caught, to riding my bike up to the corner service station in Cokeville to chat with my mom while she helped my Grandpa with his books, sharing a snickers bar and soda pop, to learning how to sew in our basement, carefully unpicking imperfect seams, my mother was at the center of my life.

Despite lots of moaning and groaning, my mother was determined in our family scripture study each morning, gathering us in the living room to take turns reading from the Book of Mormon before she sent us on our way to school. She always hugged and kissed us and professed her love to us before we left, and I remember being grateful I knew my mom loved me.

When I entered jr. high, I was privileged to play volleyball with my mother as the coach. She was spirited, dedicated, and highly successful. Everyone loved her signature cheer leading jump after great plays, and it never got past me that she rooted for every underdog and made each one feel valuable. We were undefeated my whole jr. high career, but even better than that was playing for the best jr. high coach around and my biggest fan, too--my mother.

High school and college came and went, my parents supporting every athletic event and extra-curricular activity possible, sometimes traveling hundreds of miles to be there. They supported me through a mission and the transition that came afterwards. And when I became a mother myself, my mother was right outside the curtain, waiting to help me begin this incredible, daunting journey.

When life has been hard and I've needed careful advice or sometimes even just a slight change in perspective, my mother has said just the right thing to help me get back on my feet again. She taught me how to work, to read, to pray, to love--the most important things I do each day as a mother to my own four children.

As I have grown older, I have learned an important truth--that you never outgrow your need for a mother. A mother's work is never done, even when her children are grown and gone, and she is never tossed aside like clothes and shoes that we've outgrown or that have gone out of style. Moms never go out of style.

I've also noticed mothers never outgrow challenges either. My mom still has her share of hurdles to cross, one being the challenge of hearing loss, but still she manages to be a mother, a grandmother, a fantastic children's librarian, a wife and a friend. She's overworked and under appreciated, as most mothers are, but she still keeps plugging along because, well, that's what mothers do.

So today I just want to say "thanks" to a remarkably talented woman who has influenced my life in more ways than she could know. And I hope that somehow she knows how much I love and appreciate her, but chances are, she'll go to bed tonight like she does most nights, wondering if she's making a difference at all, thinking back to all the ways she wants to be better, rather than all the ways she's already great, because mothers have a tendency to do that.

So, just for today, I want her to know she's fabulous and I'm so glad she's my mother.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Talk about Multi-Tasking!

Have you ever wondered if you were taking the multi-tasking idea a little too far? I mean, it's pretty much a mandatory trait these days as a mom to be able to talk on the phone, pay the bills, and tie a shoelace all at the same time, right? In this fast-paced world, if we don't become adept at doing at least two things at a time, we will simply find ourselves further and further behind.

So, where do you draw the line?

I've decided the car is one place. I no longer try to have a phone conversation, change the radio station, and keep the car between the white and yellow lines, all while trying to resolve some conflict in the back seat, as the issue of safety comes into play.

I've also tried to limit my multi-tasking while at church. It just didn't seem appropriate to be planning my week's menus, coloring a hand-out for my primary class, and painting my fingernails (j.k. I've never actually done all of this while at church, but I have thought about what I could be doing while I'm just sitting there--I'm telling you, multi-tasking can be addicting to the point you don't know how to relax and enjoy the moment), while I listened less-than-attentively to the speakers. Yes, church is definitely one place I allow myself to let all my other responsibilities go and just take in the real purpose of being there.

The place I continue to struggle is in my home. I almost feel lazy if I'm not trying to complete a number of tasks all at once. If I'm sitting down to enjoy a good book, I have to get up every so often to change laundry or clean a bathroom or something so I don't feel like I am wasting time. Even when I watch television (which is rarely), I have a book to read or some little project to do at commercials. Otherwise, I would feel like I was using my time poorly. I put an earpiece in while I talk to my sisters in the mornings so my hands can be free to get work done, and I find myself responding to e-mails and writing blogs while juggling dinner. I have to wonder if the pioneers had the same phobia. Somehow, I doubt it. I have a feeling they were content enough with completing one chore at a time, putting one foot in front of the other, not feeling a need to do everything all at once.

Yes, I'm pretty sure I have become addicted to multi-tasking to the point of insanity. How can I be so sure? Well, let me just say that my husband walked in to the bathroom the other night and caught me brushing two of my children's teeth at the same time--one with one hand, the other with the other hand (I must say the child's teeth I was brushing with my right hand ended up with cleaner teeth than the one's with my left; however, I am sure that with more practice, I can build up the coordination in my left hand and be brushing teeth in record time!). This is quite impressive as it is, BUT the part that takes it to the next level of multi-tasking insanity is that I was accomplishing this task while going to the bathroom!!

Talk about multi-tasking! At least I spared you the pictures!