Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Motherhood and the Energizer Bunny

I've been on vacation. Actually, can you call it a vacation if you take three of your four children with you? Either way, it being summer and all, we're trying to take advantage of fewer commitments so we can travel a little bit. My husband took my oldest son to Canada fishing for nine days, and I took the rest of the troops to Wyoming for a week to visit my family--a much anticipated trip.

Everything started out great. The kids played nonstop with their cousins while I rested, visited, snacked and enjoyed the beautiful fresh Wyoming air (all except the drones of mosquitoes, that is). It was exactly what I needed.

Unfortunately, the best things always come to an end.

Halfway through the week I felt my patience starting to thin. Between the tattling, the whining, the begging for snacks, and so forth, I realized that location means very little when it comes to children. They can drain my reservoirs just as easily at Grandma's house as they do in our own home. When day four came and my three-year-old hit me for the upteenth time, I found myself on the other side of a bedroom door, wiping my brow in exasperation as my little guy threw a fit on the other side--a scenario I've participated in all too many times lately.

My 85-year-old grandfather came out of the next bedroom and must have noticed my reserves waning. I let out a sigh of frustration, to which he responded, "The trick is to outlast them. Then they learn to respond better to you." I laughed at his comment as a picture of the Energizer Bunny immediately appeared in my frazzled head. No one outlasts the Energizer. The familiar commercial jingle repeated itself in my mind as I nodded in agreement.

As the day wore on, and my stamina wore thinner and thinner, I decided my grandfather was exactly right. Motherhood is all about "outlasting"--outlasting fits, poor behavior, groundings, potty training accidents, poor attitudes, and so on. Our goal is to become Energizer Bunnies, so we can outlast all the problems that arise in a day and thus produce happy, wonderful children.

So, on days when my endurance is low, I'm just going to remember that little Energizer Bunny beating his drum as he rolls along outlasting everybody. And maybe then I will be able to outlast my children's determination to be naughty. If only I had batteries to help me!

Monday, June 14, 2010


One last backpack full of papers/books made it home to my kitchen table a week ago, signalling the final days of school. I had already chucked a large amount of collectible items, so I tried to put a little effort into sorting and saving a few remaining mementos. Eager to read my eight-year-old son's writing, I began by picking up a story he wrote entitled "Fortunately." Just as I was hoping, it tickled me clear to my toes and made me chuckle the entire day. Here's how it went (with corrected spelling so you could actually understand it).

Fortunately, my friend invited me to his birthday party.
Unfortunately, they were riding bulls.
Fortunately, I was sick that day.
Unfortunately, my friend decided to wait until I got better.
Fortunately, I got to ride a little bull.
Unfortunately, I figured out the little ones are the wild ones.
Fortunately, I only rode for one second.
Unfortunately, another friend invited me to his birthday party.
Fortunately, we went swimming.

I just love catching a glimpse into the heads of my children sometimes. I never cease to be amazed at how clever and funny they are. They definitely keep me smiling. So, as a tribute to my son, I decided to dedicate this post to him and write my own story entitled "Fortunately." Here goes.

Fortunately, I am a mother.
Unfortunately, sometimes I'm not a very good one.
Fortunately, my kids love me anyway.
Unfortunately, I still want to throttle them at times (not literally).
Fortunately, I'm learning there are better ways to handle frustrating situations.
Unfortunately, I still blow it all too often.
Fortunately, my kids are very forgiving.
Unfortunately, they want to throttle me at times (not literally).
Fortunately, at the end of the day, they're still glad to be my kids, and I'm still glad to be their mom.
Unfortunately, they'll never be perfect kids, and I'll never be a perfect mother.
Fortunately, they'll always be the perfect kids for me, and hopefully I'm the perfect mother for them because I love them more than they could ever know!
Unfortunately . . . I have no more unfortunatelies.

Life is good, and I'm so thankful it's full of fortunatelies.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Last week being the end of the school year, my children trudged home every day and emptied their backpacks full of papers, books, art projects, etc. they had collected over the past nine months. Needless to say, the thought of going through all of it and choosing a couple of things to save was a little daunting. One day, however, I grabbed a pile of my eight-year-old son's papers and books and started sorting. In the process, I came upon his school journal. I didn't have time to read every page, so I simply flipped it open to see if there was anything interesting. This is what I read first.

"I like to . . .
play soccer out at reses with my friends
eat helthy stufe like brokly and stroberrys
play football and stare worse on the wii
swim and get wet
do my beste in school"

Obviously, spelling isn't one of the things he likes to do, and I am a little surprised by his desire to eat healthy food like broccoli. But, the thing that caught my eye was the last thing he wrote. He drew a picture of our family and wrote, "I like to be with my family a lot."

I immediately choked up when I read those words. Not that I thought he hated being with his family, but the fact that he wrote it in his school journal touched me deeply. So, I read on.

"My family . . .

We like to go to Lagoon;" (can you believe he put a semicolon here? The kid's grammar is atrocious, but then he throws in a semicolon--I love it!) "and my favorite thing to do is play sports like football, soccer, tennis, golf, baseball, basketball and racing; "(another semicolon--they must have had a lesson on these or something. And I love that the kid can hardly spell his name, but he spells every sport correctly) "My mom dose wired (I think he means weird) stuff I would not do like doing like landry every day of her life; (yet another semicolon--and glad he's noticed I do laundry every day) and going on baby rides with my brother; but I still love her very much;" (tears are dripping off my nose at this point, but the next one is the kicker) "My family is the best family there is on the planet."

Needless to say, I couldn't read more for a few minutes because my eyes were full of tears and I couldn't see the words anymore. Sounds a bit ridiculous, I know, but there's just something about your son admitting his love for his family in his school journal that gets to you. When I finally got a hold of myself to sift through a few more pages, I was again touched by what he wrote.

"My Favorites:"
Things to do: sports like football, basketball, soccer, etc.
Things to eat: sweets like candy and ice cream
Places to be: home"

I was expecting his favorite place to be to be Disneyland or the gym or his friend's house. I never thought he would say his favorite place to be is simply our home. But it meant more to me than he could know. And as I reached for yet another Kleenex, my heart was full of gratitude. I wondered to myself if I would list home as my favorite place to be and decided I would. Despite the constant chaos, the never ending list of responsibilities, the continual refereeing, and more, still home is where I choose to be. It's where I get to be. It's where I love to be.

I never did make it through all of the paperwork; in fact, just today I decided to ditch the project altogether and I threw everything else in the trash. But I kept the journal, just in case I need to pull it out one day and remind my son how he once felt about his home and family. Or in case I need to pull it out to remind myself how he once felt about his home and family. Either way, all I can say is that I hope that one day, when it's all said and done, all of us can say that we like to be with our family a lot, that we have the best family on the planet, and that our favorite place to be is home!