I’ve seen a lot of facebook status updates from my mom friends talking about how sad they are to see one of their children start school. It sends me into a panic, the idea of the mini-ions starting school. Leaving me to go start a new adventure. I know that it is normal and a part of life for a child to leave the nest. In fact, I’m sure in 20 years, I’ll be kicking them out. But for right now, it makes me panic.
But I still have these two years with him. And four years with Mini-ion #2. And these are the ways and things I want to do to make the most of our time together.
- Be present. “How often have we found ourselves so busy with the household stuff that we can’t pause to play ball with our kids or build a fort? How often are we immersed in the fabulous and dynamic online world, responding to the tweets and facebook messages as they come while our children long to tell about the fantastic story they heard today? How often have we snapped at our kids for bothering us while we were blogging well ironically, about them?” Written by Swapna Thomas is exactly the reminder I want about how to cherish this time with the mini-ions and what I don’t want to be doing.
- Be sparky. “When you grow up and have children of your own, do please remember something important: A stodgy parent is not fun at all! What a child wants – and deserves – is a parent who is SPARKY!” – Roald Dahl
- Be in pictures. “…. she made it a goal to take a picture of herself with her children at least once every month. And that to use excuses about how we look, as women, is ridiculous, since our children will never care what we looked like, but only that we had physical evidence of the bond between mother and child. Aleida tragically and unexpectedly passed away in an auto accident in September of 2008, leaving 2 small children and a grieving husband. After she passed I thought of how those children must feel to have those precious photographs.” From this blog. It literally makes me mist up every month when I make sure I take a picture with my mini-ions. I can’t even fathom leaving my mini-ions behind, but if it isn’t my choice, I want them to see that I love them.
- Be grateful. Sometime after Mini-ion #1 was born, and we had made the decision that I would leave my high-stress, intense 10-year career behind to be a stay-at-home mom, I started to feel resentful. It was hard, harder than I thought it would be. I started to feel pretty angry. Then something in me said, think of how different it would be if you couldn’t stay home. What would you be missing between the long hours and the long commute? And immediately I knew I needed to find the good. As I would rock Mini-ion #1 to sleep, I would focus on a moment that day that made it worthwhile. All the lack of sleep, the loss of so many things that used to matter; it all started to not hurt so badly. Every day I was able to find a moment with Mini-ion #1 that made me smile, sometimes even chuckle. Then I became grateful for this amazing opportunity.
- Be alone. I’m lucky that my father-in-law wants to spend a day each week with his grandchildren. And I take him up on it. It’s his chance to spend some one-on-one time with them and really forge their relationship. It is definitely working because Pop Pop is one of the few people that Mini-ion #2 will run up to hug. The joy on both of the mini-ions’ faces when they see him and play with him is tremendous. With that 3.5 hours each week I will sometimes shop, clean or just read a book. And after those 3.5 hours, I’m really looking forward to seeing the mini-ions again after their play time with Pop Pop.
- Be a good listener. “Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.” — Catherine M. Wallace
- Be open-minded. I don’t want to be the naysayer, always shooting down their inventive requests. Unless it is dangerous or just wrong, I want to consider the fun or the learning or the memories they will have from some of the off-the-wall ideas they have. Like today, hiding in the tower at the playground with them.
- Be a record keeper. I have journals for both of them that I write letters to them, write the silly things they do/say and track some of their milestones. I want to write not just letters of love, but life lessons I’ve learned and words of confidence and inspiration for them. I want them to know how very very precious they are to me. I want them to know that there is a record of them, of their greatness.
Is that enough? Are there more ways I can cherish the times with them?
- Kristen Levithan: It Takes a Village to Raise a Mother (huffingtonpost.com)