As we travel you will see many different things. You will see beautiful things, you will see hard things, you will see happy things, and you will see things that will forever leave you changed. That’s a good thing my love. I hope you meet the world, that you come to know it as your friend, and that you learn to love it with your whole heart.
I hope that no matter what you see, that you never stop opening your eyes wide with wonder.
They say that family dinners around the table are very important. I completely agree. Mostly because it’s character building. It’s very important to learn how to feed people that do not want to be fed, while attempting to have meaningful conversation. It’s kind of like highschool math…it’s unclear HOW this is going to help you in your future, but it will.
I guess It teaches patience. At least I’m assuming that’s what it does, it hasn’t worked on me yet, but we are all awaiting this gift with eager expectation.
Sometimes on Mother’s Day I find myself reflecting on how I’m doing as a Mom, and today, these are my thoughts…
We are never going to be perfect. Sometimes we are going to be messy, and human, and moody.
Sometimes we are going to feel real shitty at this. That’s normal I think.
Sometimes we are going to lose our cool. Like when I held the tablet out the car window and threatened to let it break into one million pieces if EVERYONE DIDN’T LISTEN UP RIGHT NOW. I scared them so badly that then I spent 45 minutes comforting them.
I’m going to call this bonding.
I was going to be the Dr. Oz of parenting. I was going to be a guru, and then I realized that I would probably have to teach my kids to stop acting like wild raccoons at the grocery store. I don’t want to be negative but my kids are 10, 8,6, and 3. This is never going to happen for me.
You are not going to get advice from me on teaching toddlers to read, or getting your kids to stop gagging on their vegetables. I could however offer a step-by-step guide to watching them chew on the same vegetable for two hours, until you eventually give up and let them spit it out.
I am not very perfect at parenting, but I do love my kids enough to cuddle with them while they smell like pee, and I feel like that’s kind of a lot.
Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I see that you’ve grown over night. Your face is more defined, your eyes look older. A part of me is excited and in awe; I know you have so much ahead of you. Another part is scared because time is racing and I can’t slow it down. I’m afraid that I haven’t always been awake and noticing, and that somehow I have slept through the magic of your growing. I wonder, have I enjoyed you enough? Have I given you what you needed? Is your heart still whole? Is your spirit unbroken?
I’m not always good at this. I’m not always as good as I want to be at being your mom. I want to be great; and sometimes I am, but sometimes I’m not.
Sometimes I get it, and sometimes I don’t.
Sometimes I do it right, and sometimes I completely miss it.
Everyday I make mistakes.
While usually we are being quaint and adorable like a live Norman Rockwell painting, there are a few other things that get us from WHYGODWHY in the morning to Netflix-O’clock at night.
We clean things so they can be destroyed right exactly before you drop by. I don’t mean to brag, but my kids are capable of making my house a major health code violation in ten seconds flat. Sometimes I think about posting pictures of what my house looks like when it’s clean – just for reference.
Welcome to my home. Here is a picture of what my house looked like one time last week. It could also look like this more often if I had 47 maids and manservants.
Dear First Born,
I remember the day I first held you in my arms. You became, and I also became. I’d thought about motherhood for a long time, about how I’d be and how you’d be. But I was still so unprepared. Heaven and Earth kissed for a moment and I’d never felt so sure and so uncertain all at the same time.
I know you think I wear yoga pants and athletic-T’s because I spend my days doing pilates while my kids practice Mozart on their harmonicas. But, I’m here to tell you, I wear them because they’re stretchy.
I like to think of myself as fun and relaxed, as brave with a touch of crazy. I’m the one who loves to laugh and awkwardly dance in public, the one who jumped off the cliff first and who shaved her head because she felt like it. I’m the one who traveled across the world alone.
So naturally, I thought I was going to be a really fun parent. A free spirit, spontaneous and unconcerned with dirt or danger. I’d probably raise kids who were sponsored by Red Bull they’d be so fearless and capable.
When traveling it’s easy to focus on the adventures we will have and the things we will see. I dream about the glow worm caves in New Zealand, I envision long hikes up peaks with stunning 360 degree views. I picture the togetherness we will feel around late night campfires.
Also…in those dreams no one has a bad attitude or a headache and someone is playing classical guitar in the background. NBD.
As I’ve travelled with kids I have found, that the adventure is great…but only if we take care of a few basic things first.
In our single years, we trekked across the world unrestrained. We didn’t hold sleeping babies until our arms cramped up. We didn’t weather a toddler’s tantrum while one of us was pulled aside by the TSA for inspection. People didn’t glance at us getting on the plane trying to hide their fear that our seats would be close by. We didn’t fill our pockets with Juicy Fruit gum, or collapse a stroller at the gate.
1. They don’t share. AT ALL. You are pretty sure that you will be working on this until they are in their seventies. The main problem is that the other kids give them WHATEVER they want, WHENEVER they want. When you ask them why, they say things like, “She screamed so I gave it to her.”
You are really excited for their future parent-teacher conferences.
2. DRAMA. That noise that sounds like they’re being de-limbed in the back bedroom? That is the noise the youngest makes when their sock is “bothering them”.
Look into my eyes and let me tell you, there are no limits.
When I was young, I felt small in a large world. I was desperate to belong, so I tried to fit in. I tried to reduce myself to a puzzle piece in a giant picture. I tried to have straight edges and to not take up too much room.
The problem is I wasn’t made to fit. I was meant to live large and free and uninhibited. We all were. It took me a long time to realize that; it took me a long time to set myself free.
I hope that isn’t the same for you, dear one. I hope you burn fierce, burn loud, burn wild, burn bright. I hope you’re unapologetic about the fire that’s inside you.
I have raised four threenagers. The first one was a kleptomaniac. The second one was a nudist with a rage problem. The third one was a tiny dictator. The fourth one is not out of the woods yet.
When I discovered my first one had a problem with stuffing his backpack with other people’s baby monitors and sound machines, I realized that I had failed as a mother. First step Sophie the Giraffe…next step diamond heist. I was plagued with visions of visiting him in his orange prison uniform.
Turns out being three is not permanent. I don’t usually find iphones and name brand sneakers in my nine-year-old’s backpack. So, hang in there parents.