Sturm und Mom

The Storm & Stress (& Joy) of Motherhood

Archive for the tag “Love”

Happy Father’s Day to the Best Guy in the Entire Universe!

I never thought I could ever find such a great guy as I have in you, and you happen to be the best Father ever!  Who could be so lucky?

Here are some ways you rock, Sweetheart:

You are (in no particular order of awesome-tude) funny, kind, an amazing cook, handy around the house, defender of the weak and innocent, interesting, well-read, well-thought, a philosopher, a play-fighter, Daddy Robot, reader of bedtime stories, endurer of bubblegum pop, extremely competent, sympathetic, reliable, and you always have our backs.

We love you so much!  Have a great day!


You Just Don’t See Her

Twice, I’ve had my psychic gut sucker punched this week.  The first was by David P. Goldman aka Spengler, who blogged “Everything important that we do in life, we do alone, and in our own way, for there is no-one else to do it for us.”  The second was by my friend Marie’s mother (who’s quite the case study in psychic sucker punches all by herself.)  Marie was telling her mom she was finally wearing the braces at age 48 she first needed 35 years ago.  Her Mom commiserated that they just didn’t have the money then, but she knew “that God would make sure that one day, you got what you needed.”

For a 21st century snow-plowing, helicoptering, handholding, Purel squirting, extracurricular chauffeuring Mom, this hurts.  Somehow I developed the idea that, if I do everything right, my kids would be set.  They would arrive at the doorstep of 18, or 21 (or if things continue the way they are, 37) and not have a problem in the world.  They would ace exams, pick perfect partners, pay their full balances, never visit payday loans.  The drops of life-sucking misfortune would sheet off the oily feathers of their healthy self-esteem.  They would never doubt themselves, or feel unloved.  I had come to believe, that even though we live approximately 80+ years, my kids would do all the important living sometime in the first 20.

Yet in my own life, most of my big stuff happened waaaay past 18.  And, as for the “good foundation” trope:  I’m not denying a good upbringing is a precious gift, but in my case I was raised by a people with mental illness, drug addiction, chronic unemployment, and I had been walked-out on by not one, but two different fathers.  Why this might explain volumes about my constant twitching, I still wasn’t sentenced to a life spent in Ontario Housing on the Finch/Jane corridor.

Why I can’t fight my kids’ battles — well, not all at least — and ensure that their life is easy-peasey-lemon-squeezy, there is something more precious I do owe them.  My epiphany happened during a concert at Tall Girl’s school.  She had “problems” with a girl in her class, and I when I heard that name called out behind me, my head snapped to the face .  A typical mean girl, she was indistinguishable from every other insecure, gawky tween in the gym.  Suddenly, she jumped up and ran to an adult entering the auditorium.  Polished, professional, 4″ heels, hair that had been properly attended to after she got out of the shower, dressed all in navy and cream.  This was a lady who was someone in the world.  But to this little girl, she was Mom.   And all the meanness dropped from her face, and she tried to desperately get Mom’s attention.  Pulling gently on her arm, pleading, swerving her head between eyes and Smartphone.  Then, the resignation that comes from being dismissed and ignored.   And as the heels clicked off, I realized that this is where the poison my daughter sees weeping from the tree, pulled down by gravity onto the next victim.

All this girl wanted, was to be seen.  All everyone really needs, is to be really seen.  Everything important, we do alone.  But it is this alone-ness that I can help, by loving the real kid I have, not the kid of my dreams,  or the kid that I think should have.  What a burden is lifted from us, when we know that the other knows us and accepts us that way.  The first thing you learn in crisis counselling is active listening, or how to rephrase what someone has told you and say it back to them.  I’ve heard you.  We can’t fix every problem, but we can be present, always with love, as our precious children solve their own problems.  And we can hear them, and accept them as they are.  My job as Mom isn’t always to move mountains for my kids.  Sometimes, it will mean being the rock that they can rest on, and letting them know that the true them is never really alone.

Post-script:  That very day, Tall Girl came home with the former-Mean Girl’s phone number.  Bullies often turn on their own, and so too with this girl.  After breaking down in tears in class, Tall brought her to the bathroom and calmed her down.  (“It’s just a natural reaction to help someone who’s crying beside you, Mom.”)  After, she asked for her number.  Like I said, sometimes you just need someone to see the real you.

I Think I’m Normal, But I’m Not

We take up a lot of path when we go walking

Today’s Parent On line sent out a call for parent bloggers: “Topic: What makes your family unique?”  Gee, that’s a tough one, I thought.  I’m so normal.

Except I’m not.

I keep forgetting that the rest of the world doesn’t have six kids, 10 and under — or, as I like to put it,  2 kids 3 times.  I mean to us, this is normal when you have a 10, 8, 6, 4, 3, and a baby: dinner for 8 every night, $43 dollars for a fast food meal, boxes and boxes of hand-me-downs waiting for the next kid to grow into them.  We love our life, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything, but sometimes I forget just how weird we must seem.

Weird like this:

  • We will be shopping in the Toy Department for 21 consecutive Christmases, before our youngest outgrows toys.
  • A jacket is worn by five different children, before we donate it to Goodwill.
  • We have to get two hotel rooms.  Otherwise, we’re breaking fire regulations.
  • Costco is our regular grocery store.
  • I have been playing “Bear in the Big Blue House: Time to Go” intermittently for 8 years now — and I’m still not done toilet training.
  • My husband calculated that we have changed 20,170 diapers costing us $7,100.  (He did a spreadsheet.)
  • We wore out our crib, our supersaucer, two highchairs, a bouncy chair, and two strollers.
  • I was going to try to list some of the funny places where I breastfed or changed a diaper, but I can’t think of a place where I have not breastfed or changed a diaper.
  • We take our 3 month old babies camping with us, because otherwise we would never go camping.

So you see, I’m a little unusual.  And deep down I know it.  Both my husband and myself came from families of two kids (a boy and a girl) and, while I always wanted  5 or 6 kids, I didn’t think that it would actually happen.  If you had told me while I paced with my colicky first born that things would turn out this way, why, I just might have screamed louder than her.

But, I’m not that weird.  We don’t do family closets, all wear the same colour, or co-ordinate outfits from Gymboree.  We attend the local school, listen to the local radio, and the girls’ go-to outfits are jeans and a T-shirt.  We play Wii and watch iCarly.  Yet, when I’m out and about with my 4, 3 and 7 month old people always smile and comment “how busy you must be.”  Meanwhile, I’m thinking I’m having a break with only half the crew along!   Sometimes I feel like a professional mother.

And that’s okay.  Because there is nothing like having 6 little people crowding your bed to wish you Happy Mother’s Day.  Or seeing the 8 year old reading her younger brother and sister a story — while she’s holding the baby on her lap.  Or knowing that you don’t have to worry about how the kids are going to entertain themselves on your camping trip — they have 5 playmates already along.   Things might be noisy and a little crowded, and OH!  the laundry.  Lord knows I can stretch a dollar until it screams.  But in this texting, tweeting, IM-ing world today, sometimes you just need a hand to hold,  a real live warm hand of someone who loves you.

As of last count, we’ve got 16 of those.  And that kind of weird is great with me.

Want to read more about the crazy life we lead?  You might like these posts:

Feel Free to Kick Me If I Nod Off

Why Your Kid is Happy and You’re Not

School bans balls…Next, children

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