Sunday, May 29, 2011

Flowers for Abraham

We've got these pretty weeds growing in our backyard.

My 8 year old agreed to pick the abundant flowery weeds for $1. Since that means a chance to browse the dollar section at Target and actually walk out with something she wants, she was very very eager. Unfortunately, my 6 year old had a hard time understanding that these were weeds and therefore, could not stay. She reaped the discarded flower-weeds as Allie pulled them out of the ground.

A little bit later, I saw her at the back door with a bouquet of them in her hands. I slid open the door, told her how beautiful they were and followed it up with, "those have to stay outside. You can't bring them in the house." The smile fell right off her face, and her expression started to turn into one of near heartbreak. She stared solemnly at me with her sad, wide brown eyes.

"But mom... these flowers are for Abraham?" 
"Abraham Lincoln. These are for his grave!"

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Wishes For My Daughters: Reflections On Being A Mother

As I stack the basket of freshly stuffed cloth diapers near the pack n play; as I listen to the older girls make paper lanterns and discuss the creep factor of Dora's talking map; as I enjoy the momentary lull of feeding, changing, and entertaining the baby, I find a rare moment of relative peace. Reflections of my 8 years of experience as a mom soon followed. I found  myself wondering, do I wish anything were different? Turns out, yes. There are many things.

In no particular order:

  • I wish the bathrooms would stay clean longer than a day.
  • I wish I didn't have to throw out entire loaves of bread because they put it back in the pantry but didn't close it.
  • I wish I never had to walk into a kitchen to see spilled milk left pooled on the floor, or cereal crushed into the kitchen tiles.
  • I wish homework helping didn't make me want to scream, and that bath times didn't end with a quarter inch of water outside the tub, still.
  • I wish I didn't have to request their help more than twice.
  • I wish I didn't waste so much energy trying to be the Ideal nutritionist, cook, maid, tutor, playmate, scheduler, teacher...
  • I wish I didn't feel so burdened by how much extra house-work they create.
  • I wish I wasn't usually too tired to enjoy them more.
  • I wish sometimes I didn't really want to sell them to Gypsies.
  • I wish I didn't waste so much energy feeling inadequate.
  • I wish I 'd never spent so much time feeling ashamed to admit these feelings

But of all the things I wish were different, there is one thing I wish will never change-

I wish my girls NEVER doubt that however mean, frustrated, exhausted, unfair or demanding I may sometimes be, I ALWAYS love them. Even when I don't. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Apologies To My Mother

In honor of this upcoming Mother's Day, a list of all the things I'm sorry for putting my mom through:

Dear Mom, I hope you accept my sincerest apologies for all of the following:

  1. The times you asked me to do something, and I said I would but didn't. I'm sorry.
  2. The times I forced you to referee petty disagreements between me and my sibs. I'm sorry.
  3. The times I said I'd be home at "x O' Clock", didn't, and then fought with you about why I shouldn't be in trouble. I'm sorry.
  4. The times you toiled in the kitchen after a long day of work to make dinner, and I told you I wasn't going to eat it. Rudely. I'm sorry.
  5. The times I told you "you don't know what you're talking about!" I was wrong. I'm sorry.
  6. The times I checked out books from the library or rented movies without you knowing... until you got the bill for the over due fines. I'm sorry.
  7. The times when I wouldn't accept "no" for an answer. A thousand apologies! I'm sorry.
  8. The times I asked for your help and then got angry when you gave it. I'm sorry.
  9. The things I destroyed, intentionally or not, at your and dad's expense. This includes, but is not limited to: the cabbage patch dolls I beheaded (mine and my sister's), the barbie dolls I scalped, the two windows I cracked practicing goal shots in the yard and the alarm clock I broke trying to shut off
  10. The times I swore I didn't have anything to wear to school, although my closet was bursting with clean clothes. I'm sorry.
  11. The times I didn't let you use the bathroom in peace. I'm truly incredibly sorry. 
  12. The times my mode of operation was stuck on DON'T. STOP. TALKING. And all you wanted was a little bit of peace. I'm sorry.
  13. The times I ate that last piece of cake/pie/whatever, that you were saving for yourself. I'm sincerely sorry.

For the sake of brevity, I'm going to stop here. Just know that this is far from a complete list!

Then I started a list of things I appreciate about my mom, but then decided to list only a few of them. Not because there isn't much to be grateful for, there's much. But because each of these items is at the heart of everything my mom did for me. So here goes-

Dear Mom, 

Infinite thanks for:

1- Your enduring love. I know I wasn't the easiest kid to raise but, I kept you on your toes, right? =D

2- Not loading me onto a boat to the Philippines with a hobo sack, a snickers bar and a note saying, "DO NOT RETURN TO SENDER." Or even threatening to.
Looking back, I can imagine you were tempted many, many times. Probably even several times a day.

In conclusion,

Happy Mother's Day, mom! 
Even though I forgot to send a card, I want you to know I'm thankful for you every single day.

Love Always,
Your Best First Daughter