Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Sunday, Emily made 130 sugar cookies, complete with frosting and sprinkles for FBLA week.  I wandered in and out the process, asking if she needed help and then moving on to other things as she did not.  She packed them all up, did most the dishes and went upstairs to pack her bags for school the next day.  Monday, she drove herself to seminary at 6 a.m. (popping in to say good-by at 5:40), then drove herself to school, where she handed out cookies during second period to all the FBLA members.  Then she drove to her first softball practice of the year (at another school, as we don't have softball), met the new coach, worked hard in the rain, drove home.  Five minutes here to eat and she and Rachel left for Symphony in Salem.  Came home at 9:20, singing and laughing.  Did a little homework and went to bed.

I feel pretty unnecessary.  I did a few dishes.  Didn't help frost. Didn't take the cookies and help her hand them out.  Didn't help find the containers to pack the cookies.  Didn't gather her softball clothes.  Didn't remind her of practice, homework, practice gear or seminary.  Didn't wake her up.  Didn't meet the new coach.

She just did it all on her own.

I suppose I should be proud of her--which I am.  Proud and pleased as ever.

But sad.  And unnecessary.  A spectator.  Watching her do it all on her own.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Things I No Longer Do

1. Iron my kids' jeans.

2. Have a weekly schedule for cleaning. (Now my kids are older, it must be done when they are home. The plan is always to have them help and do their part. Doesn't always happen, but I don't want them to think the house gets cleaned magically by little fairies when they are away.) Laundry remains on Monday. That is etched in stone with me.

3. Iron everything once a week. (I miss the convenience of having it all done. Just can't seem to find the time/motivation to attack that massive pile!

4. Send everyone in my extended family birthday cards. (I wish I did that. That was nice of me.)

5. Mop the kitchen floor every night. (Yes, I know that was a little obsessive, but that floor showed everything. Perhaps my current floor does too, but my tolerance has increased.)

6. Go on every single field trip with every single kid.

7. Do my hair every day. (Some days it is better to have your hair pulled up than be late!)

8. Set out an after-school snack each day. (Some of my kids are expert at foraging; some are expert at baking. I have lost control of the after-school kitchen.)

9. Make my children make their beds every day. (sigh. Wish I still did that.)

Things I Will Always Try to Do

1. Read with a child every night.
2. Read scriptures as a family.
3. Pray together, morning and night.
4. Have instrument practice happen in the morning. (So sold on morning practice!)
5. Have dinner as a family. (O.K. some nights this just doesn't happen. But we try!)

That's it. Just the basics.

The jean ironing got swept away in the wake of real life.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Mothering and Old Ladies at the Grocery Store

I have become one of them. The old ladies at the grocery stores that tell the young mothers with small children to enjoy it--it goes so quickly!

I read 3 posts this week about them. It started here then went here, then lead to here.

I agreed with them all.

I remember taking my small children to the grocery store. It was hard. It was work. I was exhausted by the time I got home. I remember going to a bargain store-where bag your own groceries and save a little money-with small children in tow and one on the way. By the time I left I was sure the money I had saved was not worth it and vowed to never go there again. And I don't believe I did--with the kids. I took to shopping at night--late night. Alone.

I remember staying at home with 2 boys in our student apartment and looking out at the parking lot and feeling lonely and isolated and just a little bit bored.

I remember yelling too much about too little.

I remember being frustrated with the difference between what we needed and what we could afford.

I remember letting Elmo entertain them too often.

I remember envying my husband, in his air-conditioned office, surrounded by adults, having adult conversations.

I remember not being a happy mother enough.


I've been here, at home mostly, for about 20 years.

I've adjusted. I've learned. I've found my place. I've realized that I could have been a very good science teacher but my children only have one mother and that's me.

In the Huffington Post article, Melton compares raising her children with her husband's job, complaining that people don't stop him and tell him to enjoy the moment.

Well, no, they probably wouldn't. Because it is really not the same. It is comparing apples to oranges. A job, a career, might be fulfilling-economically and personally-but it is not the same as mothering.

To choose to stay at home and raise your own children is not a job, it is more of calling, a commitment....even a privilege.

Somewhere between the diapers and laundry and field trips and classroom volunteering and endless cleaning up, I realized that it wouldn't last forever and I would be sad when this phase of my life was over. This has been the best choice for me and my family. I have been happy to be at home watching and coaching and training the best I could.

In the article, Melton refers to Kairos time and Chronos time. Kairos time being God's time. "The magical moments when time stands still."
Chronos time is everyday time: laundry, cleaning, changing diapers.

The day my last baby goes to kindergarten is in my current planner.

With that day staring me in the face, I have more of those "Kairos-time" moments than I had when I first started this mothering adventure.

My real regret is not having more of those moments when I was a younger mother. And writing them down!

So I will continue my quest to remind all the exhausted, exasperated mothers-of-young children-at-the-grocery-store that they need to enjoy their little ones because they are only little for a small moment.

Even if that particular shopping trip felt like an eternity!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Holding Hands

My baby girl and I navigate through a long list of errands on a rainy, windy day. Each stop requires unbuckling her car seat and helping her jump down. I hold her soft hand as we walk to each place, listening to her chatter: the dream she had last night, the cold wind, her boots she loves, loves so much, the baby she just saw that is sooo cute. Her hand fits perfectly in mine. She mindlessly grabs my hands after any separation. I cradle her sweet hand and try hard to form an indelible memory that I know will fade, regardless of how hard I try to hold it.

Later that day I grab my middle daughter's hand as we cross the street and then keep it longer than safety requires. She seems very aware that we are holding hands still. She smiles, she lets me keep her hand even though her fingers are barely curving around mine.

Some days later, I am walking with my taller-than-me older daughter. I instinctively grab her hand as we cross the street. Her fingers are longer, thinner and colder than mine. They briefly curve about mine, then quickly let go. Continuing to hold my hand is unthinkable right here in public view.

The moment the sweet little hand fits perfectly, willingly, into mine is a flash. I struggle to remember the other little hands that have held mine. I close my eyes and try to push back the heavy curtains of time. Only fleeting images come back.

I hold onto my last little girl's hand just a little bit tighter.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Happy to Help

Yesterday in the middle of a very busy day of many lessons to teach, a performance by the older girls at a elementary school and dance class for the littlest, I get an e-mail from a lady realizing that she needed child care for the Christmas dinner that evening. Oh darn! I had forgotten that I was in charge of getting said babysitter if such an need occurred. But I didn't think someone would call the very day of the event! Unfortunately I had no plan. So I started making calls, sending out e-mails, knowing I couldn't use my normal fall-back, emergency sitters---my own girls. They were off to their own events that night. Everyone over the age of 12 was busy or unreachable! An hour before I had to leave I got an e-mail from a friend offering her two young daughters. At the end of a phone call with her to hammer out the details, she signed off by saying, "Happy to help."

It has stuck with me. Happy to help. What a wonderful thing to declare.

I am often happy to help, but may not show it with my face or my actions or my tone of voice.

I am often not happy to help at the moment I am asked, but then become happy to help as the helping makes me happy.

Today my lovely middle girl asked me to french braid her hair. I was still in my robe and had no make-up on and had lessons coming in exactly 13 minutes. Not so happy to help right then. But I remembered. Stopped what I was doing and said, "Sure. Happy to help." And then I was....happy to help.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Help Needed!

Help! I've been left home (almost) alone with a 1/2 a pan of Layered Dessert! The 4 year old seems oblivious to the fact that I'm eating dessert at 10:33. This was brought on by my 14 year old daughter wanting Layered Dessert so much that she cracked walnuts and had a friend bring chocolate pudding to church for her to borrow. No problem for her and her amazing metabolism. Big problem for Mama and her not-so-amazing metabolism!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

22 Years

This morning my husband gave me the sweetest gift. No, it was not the flowers I'd love him to surprise me with, it wasn't the plant for the yard that I've hinted about, nor was it breakfast in bed that some people seem to like. He woke up on a Saturday and said, "Let's go get on that bike."

For some reason, I've committed myself to a mini triathlon with the women in my church---in a month. Some of my friends who are doing it have been biking for a long time. They go out together on Saturday mornings with the cute outfits and fit bodies and ride for long, long rides. Some of the ladies who are doing this have been training in the pool, whittling down their times and boosting up their confidence. Some ladies are even serious runners or consistent walkers. My busyness and bustle of summer combined with a case of serious procrastination may be my downfall come September 3rd.

The walk/run part of the triathlon is not worrying me. Me and my treadmill are close friends.

However, I have not been in a pool for over a year. I have never gotten in a pool in a lap lane with the intention of actually swimming a lap! Whenever we go to a motel with a pool (not that often!) I get in with the kids and swim back and forth on my back, trying to burn the extra vacation calories. That is the extent of my swimming. And truth be told, getting quickly into a pool is a huge problem for me, especially if it's even a little bit cold! My dear husband says that he is pretty sure I can't do this part of the triathlon! For some reason, I think I can, but now I need to get in that pool to get some practice. He has labeled himself a non-swimmer. He can't do a thing about helping me with this part.

The biking he can do something about. He bought me a ladies road bike from his brother for $100. (He found out yesterday it sells for $1100!) Last night he brought me downstairs and showed me his latest purchases for me "because I am the mother of his children." A new helmet and cushioned shorts. I made a fuss about the shorts--an extravagance I was sure I didn't need.
This morning was the best gift--a push out of bed and onto that scary bike! We rode in the morning sun around our small, beautiful town. A short, little ride. "Keep up, be a good riding partner, keep pedaling while you shift, stay out of the other lane(!), be able to turn and look behind you...." I found out that the shorts were not a luxury, they were a necessity!

Then he was on to spraying the weeds that had taken over our yard, cleaning the carpets and couches, an airport run to retreive our second son, mowing the large lawn.

This evening, he said, "Let's ride again Monday morning."

Better than flowers.

He's a keeper.