Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Mother's Day Poem

For that day when you ask me what it was like for me when you were little.

I don't know what I am doing -
at all.
I falter on a daily basis.
I fail you on a daily basis.
I am not consistent like I should be
with timeouts
with discipline,
of any kind.
I give in when you whine, not all the time
but some of the time.
I put you back in pull-ups after trying underwear
because I was too exhausted to spot clean the carpet...
I raise my voice way too much, in fact
I have screamed at you
more than once.
And I slapped your hand
(only once.)
I lose my temper and am frustrated with you
almost every day.
I give you lollipops and chocolate milk at the grocery store
just to keep you quiet.
I bribe you with stickers.
I plop you in front of the T.V. just so I can
talk on the phone,
have a moment of peace and quiet.
We don't have as much structure in our day
as you probably need.
I buy you too many clothes
and shoes
and hair bows.
And I fight with you about which
and shoes
and hair bows you wear
and when you wear them.
I don't bathe you every day
or even every other day.
I don't brush your hair every day
or even every other day.
I don't remember all of your milestones.
We rarely go to the library.
I haven't taken you to the dentist
or eye doctor
but we go to Target at least once a week.
We don't have as many play dates
as you probably need.
You share a room with each other.
You wake up early and I make you go
back in your room!
So I can lay in bed just a little longer...
I feel like I'm doing it all wrong
all the time.
I feel guilty about what I am doing with you
or not doing with you
all the time.
I am exhausted
and puzzled
and afraid of messing up
all of the time.

Because I love you more than I knew was possible.
You are wonderful, kind, happy little girls
and I just want to do right by you.
I want to give you love,
give you things
and experiences
and joy
and hugs
and stories
and fun
and faith and hope.
And I want to teach you about love
and life
and letters
and numbers
and music
and movement
and I just never know if I'm teaching you
at all.

But I try.
I try really very hard -
to protect you and guide you and honor you.
Because I cherish you
and I want you to cherish yourselves
and others.
Being your mother is the most important
and overwhelming
and special
thing I've ever done.
And, the truth is that I'm making it up as I go.
And that seems crazy
but it is just the truth.
I always mean well but that doesn't mean
I'm doing well.

But we read books together every day
and snuggle
and hug
and sing
and make eye contact
and eat together
every day.
I gave you each other.
I have never yelled at you for spilling something
or making an honest mistake.
I praise you without bidding
and encourage your imagination.
I can calm you down,
I am almost always the solution to your problems
(even if I am also the cause.)
I answer your questions and listen to your stories.
I dry your tears.
I bandage your wounds and
tend to your fevers.
I have you vaccinated.
I let you cook with me
and make messes
big messes.

I won't know what were the most important things
I did or didn't do
-and what things didn't really matter at all-
until it is far too late.
And I know I'll always wish I did a better job
at so many things
because you deserve so much

But, if what you are really asking
when you say
“What was it like for you when I was little?”
“Am I a good mom?”
Perhaps in your asking,
and in my absolute resolution to tell you
I'll learn what what I'm seeking
and maybe even after all that time
you can tell me too,
that I was
a good mom after all.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Funk Soul Brother

Something weird happened to me this weekend.

I was in Funkville, I mean like knee deep in sludge in the valley of Funkville. I was a Grump-o-la to say the least. I remember being very annoyed at my children for needing things, like breakfast. I was ignoring my husband's attempts at being chipper and productive, my only friend was the dog and that was mostly because she doesn't talk. I just felt really, blah. Adam kept making plans for the day, asking me what I wanted to do - I growled under my breath something about laundry and cleaning our room, growing more irritated and blah by the minute. I saw that he was making a sort of schedule for the day, for whatever reason, this really bothered me. I'm a big believer in lists and schedules but didn't he know that weekends, which I hardly ever get to experience these days, are for RESTING!?!?!?!?

I sensed my boiling point at which, I turned to my favorite member of the family, the dog, and asked her if she needed to go outside. Her little black ears perked up and I took it as a yes. After coming back from our walk I caught a glance at Adam's "schedule" for the day. First on the list 9am - Play with the Girls. OK, so cute, I can be on board with that one. I looked at the next item 10am - Run. To this I had a very strong knee jerk reaction which was total and utter youth in revolt. I went ballistic, screaming and throwing things. Well I didn't actually do that but I felt like going crazy. The last thing I wanted to do was go for a freaking run. I was in the midst of a terrible no good very bad day and I just wanted to be left alone. I needed to mellow out, relax, unwind and quiet the ever churning gears in my brain. I just wanted to sit still.

But... I was trying to make up for sulking during breakfast, so instead of throwing things and screaming I put on my running clothes and shoes and joined my little family in a drawing game at the kitchen table. A few minutes later, I helped the girls get dressed, Adam dug out our double jogging stroller and in a silent "getting ready rag" we assembled our needs for the next half hour or so - a short list that included; ipod, poo bag, an extra poo bag (just in case), Nalgene topped off with ice water (heavy on the ice), keys, wallet (in case we stop at the farmer's market), some kind of snack for the girls (almonds this time around) and, oh yes, our dog and her leash. Basically, a million years later, we exited out our front door.

It was a really, really pretty day - the kind of day that people think we always have in Southern California. Again, this kind of pissed me off. You must know just how determined I was to stay in a foul mood. Just to prove to everyone (meaning no one, because no one was around but us) just how stoic and noble I really was for suffering this run for the good of my family, I decided that I would push the stroller for the first half of the run. This is no small feat, the damn thing weighs about a thousand pounds.

So I've painted the picture clearly. There I was - Lady Grump-o-la, Queen of Funkville, pushing a heavy stroller, essentially a piece of furniture on wheels, through my neighborhood. I must have been quiet a sight with a sour puss firmly planted on my face.

But then the weird thing happened.

I hit my stride.

My breathing was labored but steady, my heartbeat was quickened but strong.

I was running and I felt good.

I felt more mellow, more relaxed, I felt myself unwinding. And although we were running to some pretty awesome tunes blasted on the stroller's MP3 player, the noisy gears in my brain finally shut up.

It was the best part of my day.

This is weird because for sooooooooo long I have sort of rebelled against exercise. I didn't like it, it was hard, it was something I knew I should do and so I did but I never, ever wanted to do it. This small weird little victory of truly enjoying that run feels big. It feels big because its coupled with the same old tired habits and thoughts that food will comfort me. Clearly, I've been feeling blue for a few weeks, and, sure I've reached for some fatty comfort foods but they just don't do the trick like they used to do.

In the effort to not take up permanent residence in Funkville I think I need something. More specifically I need to do something. I've been toying with the idea of signing up for an event, I have one in mind but it's a little on the insane side. I think the goal of having something to work towards other than just the number on the scale would help me immensely.