Sunday, May 11, 2014

Where the Positives Always Beat out the Negatives

 My oh my, how the days are running by me. I look back at the pictures and feel like we have been so busy, and yet during many of the days it felt like they were dragging. I think that's the great paradox of being a stay at home mother.
 This weekend we were excited because Maddy finally got to go see the school she'll be attending next year. They had their screenings for second graders and the parents got to ask questions and play with their other kids/chase the school chickens while the second graders were inside. Afterwards there was plenty of time for Maddy to play too--and they all had a blast playing on the zipline and tire swings and running around.
 Apparently this chicken is "Lacewing." Later Maddy said there was a chicken named Burnt Toast too. I like the names. They have a very Harry Potter feel to them. She said there is one chicken that doesn't have a name yet. I'm thinking it needs to be Flitwick or Honeyduke.
 Some people are curious why I am switching Maddy's school. We actually quite like her current school. But the story of how she got into her new school is pretty miraculous (in my mind) and it feels SO right. I hate switching her again. I had serious misgivings about it. But she is SO excited and I get chills every time we have been there--I just know it's the right place for her. She knows it's the right fit for herself too, and having a zipline and chickens definitely helps. :)
 Even Granty got in on the fun. Man alive that kid is cute. He has been wearing Maddy's old cowboy boots around the past few weeks even though they are too big for him. Thank goodness she got the brown ones and not some pink bedazzled ones. :) He looks like a kid from the fifties. All he needs is a capgun and a button up plaid shirt.
 So we had an awkward exchange with a neighbor that came to our door with his son still in pajamas (seriously, what the heck?) to ask if our lawnmower was broken because our lawn was so tall. It was Friday, and John already was going to mow the lawn again on Saturday (like most men that work for a living), and I was just confused what the guy wanted. I tried to figure out if he was looking for us to pay him to do it or if he was complaining? I'm still not sure, it was weird. I felt embarrassed, but John had mown it the week before and not realized that the blades were on the highest setting, so it looked better after he cut it, but I knew it would grow out fast (and it did). Made me feel weird, especially since our other neighbors have been mad at us because we let our cats go outside sometimes (they're mad because they don't think cats should ever go outside, not because my cats do anything bad). It's sort of left a bad taste in my mouth as to what our neighbors are thinking of us. We are quiet and keep to ourselves a bit, and I wonder if that has made us seem like bad people? Anyway, the lawn was mowed again, this time on the lowest setting, and the cats are kept inside a bit more. So...maybe people will just let us live in a bit of peace. (I want to be a recluse in the country so bad).
 Good news is that we got to go on a date this weekend. We went to a place my friend recommended called Tupelo Honey. That is fried okra and oh boy was it tasty. It was so nice to be together alone. I had a REALLY rough week with our cowboy boot wearing fellow.
 This past week I have been thinking a lot about my mothering, and with today being Mother's day it has made it even more of an acute practice. As I have struggled this month with Grant and his three year old ways, I have found myself in tears many times. I have questioned whether I am a good mother. Wondering whether God was thinking straight when he sent me a little boy. Asking whether it should be this hard while he's still so young. Wondered if this is normal three year old boy antics or perhaps something more. I've found my heart drawn out in a near constant conversation with my Heavenly Father. Sometimes I feel bad that the prayers are sort of casual, as I am moving and working and have no time to stop--not the bent head and on my knees sort--and yet emotionally I have never been more on my knees. Somehow I feel that he knows. I often think of this scripture:

"Humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto him. Cry unto him when ye are in your fields, yea, over all your flocks. Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening. But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness. Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you."

 I know some people don't like Mother's day. They feel like it is another day to shine a light on their failures. Their misgivings. They think mothers are hyped up to some impossible standard that they will never achieve. I feel sad for these mothers and women. I can empathize with their sorrow and their concerns. I can see how those that wish to be a mother can be hurt by a day that celebrates what they long for but are denied. However, I am glad there is a Mother's day, because it reminds me not only to appreciate the mother that I have, but to look to myself and try and appreciate the mothering moments that I am in the process of creating.

 I guess I sort of think it's sad that people let the idea of a day take away from their happiness. They give their ideals of what the day should mean power over their lives when they could take ownership of it to mean something uplifting. On teacher appreciation day I don't take it as a chance to belittle myself that I am not a teacher, or that I am not living up to some sort of ideal. I take it as a chance to celebrate the good that comes from the people who choose to dedicate their lives to making the world a nicer place to live. And when people choose to denigrate Mother's day, it hurts me because I think it's okay for me to be proud to be a mother.

I feel that even with all of my five million blunders, for my losing my cool with my son this past week, for my forgetting something for Maddy's school, for all of my imperfections that make me feel like I am messing these adorable kids of mine up for good...well, for all of that, there is also the times I hold them when they are feverish, push them on their scooters, let them try and fail and then try and succeed, discipline them because I care about their characters, wash the sticks out of their hair with strawberry shampoo, and try to encourage them to find their talents and work hard. Every single day of this stay at home mom thing has challenged me. Every single day has been difficult in some way--even the really awesome days. I am in charge of two little people (just two! think of those with 5 and 6 and more!) and all I can do is try my best.

I want to say that again. All that I can do is try my best. My best will never be awesome. But it's my best. And my best also happens to include the most love for my kids that anyone in this world can have for those two souls. So my best is their best for now too.

How can I disparage myself for a work that is the most important thing I will ever do in my lifetime? The work to love even when it is hard. The work to teach them even when it is uncomfortable and inconvenient. The work to push beyond my native selfishness and grow my soul larger. They are working on me as hard as I am working on them. And I love them and motherhood and myself for it.

And if you're a mother, you should too.

 So for every time you see a picture of my kids doing something awesome, like free lego builds. Remember there were five tantrums on the way out.

 For every pretty picture of a made over kitchen, there are sad moments when you are sitting outside the door of your child crying as hard as they are on the other side.

 For every victory, there is a load of laundry.
 For every good thing you might do, there is going to be something you do wrong and have to apologize for. There will be kids fighting, counters that are sticky (again! whyyyy??), and t.v. that is too loud.

 It's okay. I just tell myself over and over; It's OK.

 Sometimes the ball will hit the frame and break the glass.
 Some days your hairdo's will be masterpieces.
 Some days only the carbs will save you.
 But most days
 if I really try my best
 and tell all the negative nellies in my head (and the negative neighbors that are all too real) to hush
 I am able to be present in the moment and realize

 the bad hard moments don't wipe away any good that I've done. The good stands alone for what it is.

 The great news in life is that life is not a giant math equation. The negatives don't detract from the positives. Each moment that we lift and guide
 and wash
 and dig, and explore--those moments add to our lives. And if you haven't read this post, then do me and you and your whole life a favor and go read it. She says it better than I ever could. So happy dang mother's day. You're doing it. So am I. Hope you have a really awesome day. I know I will...that sunshine yellow cardigan I got for my present today isn't going to wear itself! :)


Anne Lake said...

Thank you!☺ been thinking about you a lot recently and how we need to talk. Hope you are well.

luvnmy10 said...

Love Love Love this post! 3 year old boys. I understand, so happy you do, too. I like to say they are horribly wonderful… in the same 5 minutes sometimes :). Love you!

RaeLynn said...

This is fabulous. I feel sorry for the people who hate Mother's day (both men and women alike). I love Mother's Day. I know I have a massive amount of imperfections but I also know that I'm doing the best that I can in my present circumstances. Wonderful post with beautiful pictures. Atta girl.

Dee in BC said...

Happy Mom's day. I think we all do the best we can. I try to just enjoy the day & let others keep their opinions to themselves. No one is perfect & I've found so many of the most outspoken critics aren't parents themselves.
Regarding your neighbors- I feel for you. Again I wish people would keep their opinions to themselves. Unless your cats are messing up their yards or your lawn is long enough to be a fire hazard why make someone's day less happy ?

Emily Foley said...

My husband and I were talking about the Mother's Day hate yesterday. He always conducts in May and it's so stressful because finding speakers and not offending people on this controversial's so annoying. Can't we just enjoy Mother's Day and if you're not a mother don't worry about it? Kind of like Rosh Hoshana? I don't celebrate it and I don't care if other people do...

Noah and I had a really tough relationship for a lot of years and 3 was probably the worst. I know how you feel about that. So many days spent crying together because neither one of us knew what to do with the other. He still prefers his dad but we're getting better. :) You're a great mom and just what Grant needs, even if it doesn't feel like it sometimes. You always post the happiest pictures of your kids so I know you're doing something (everything) right!

I'm that way with praying some days. Some days I feel like all I do is pray in my mind to get through the day or to help somebody who needs it. I've been really sick lately with the flu and an awful head/chest/beast of a cold and I have done almost nothing, but on Friday I cleaned the floors and on Saturday we cleaned the whole house as a family and at that moment I was a good mom and had a clean house, and that was important to me.

Also, stupid neighbors. Cut your grass on Saturdays like normal people and then kick everybody else in the shins.