Sunday, November 6, 2011

Bears, roller skates, and referees

Being a parent is like wearing a kevlar vest with holes in it while holding a crystal ball that turns out to actually be a snow globe.

There's a certain time during the day when the kids come home from school and you don't know what what to expect.  You don't know whose going to walk through the door.  Sure, they look like your children, but there are way to many variables.  How did their day go?  What homework did they forget to turn in?  Who did they argue with today?  What drama unfolded to and from school, let alone while they were there?  This gets exasperated when you add more than one child to the drama.  More often than not, it goes something like this...

3:00 child #1 comes home.  Says there's no mail when it's actually in his hand and he's trying to be funny.  I ask how his day was and I get "fine."  Child one plops on the couch and stays there.  All the knowledge that he has received during the day has traveled to his bottom and he can no longer stand and is pulled by gravity onto the couch and getting up to do his chores or whatever homework he has is just physically impossible.  And, no matter how much motherly prompting I give, it cannot compete with the gravitational pull.

4:00 child #2 arrives.  With child #2 there is usually some sort of drama.  The minute she walks in the door, child #1 starts with her.   Child #1 likes to poke the proverbial bear.  Whatever child #2 says when talking to me, child #1 has to interject.  Child #2 then starts to talk rather loudly at child #1 about minding his own business.  This banter between them goes on for quite some time.

4:10 child #3 arrives.  Child three has drama sometimes, but generally creates her own, I think, just for fun.  Child three tries to talk to me about her day and then child #2 and eventually, child #1 start talking at the same time.  It should be noted that children 1&2 have quieted down and really have nothing to say to me until child #3 arrives.  Then there's a barrage of "oh, I forgot to tell you..." at the same time child #3 is trying to tell me about her day.  This leads to frustration on everyone's part.

There is no way to ascertain what moods they are going to walk in the door with.  There is no way to protect yourself from the blasts that you will incur.  Henceforth, the holes in the kevlar jacket.  Then after about an hour, everyone is all yelled out and quietness ascends on my home like a peaceful friend.  A peaceful friend who only stays for two whole seconds.  Life happens.  There's arguments over who gets on the computer, who did or didn't do their chores, etc.  Then, at some point before my husband gets home, one by one the children remember that I am here.  They remember that I am their mom and not a referee (as I like to tell them my uniform is in the wash and my whistle is broke) and they come to me and ask how my day was.  They ask "how was work?"  They are warm and compassionate and wonderful.  And, then that moment passes and the stepford child in them flees and they are back to themselves. 

One of the hardest things about being a parent, for me anyway, is balance.  Not the 'how do I balance work and family and church and best friend time?'  No, the balance I'm talking about is my children.  I want the respectful child I raised.  The one who out in public acts appropriately and kindly.  Not the one who flies off the handle at the littlest thing.  The child who after homecoming buys dinner not only for him and his date, but his sister and her friend as well.  The child who finds her sisters bandanna for boo bowl that was lost knowing how much she needed it.  And, the one who helps the other one for no reason.  And, in all the trying to balance, here's what I've come up with.  You ready?  There is none.  You try wearing roller skates, while on a skateboard, on a high wire.  Now, find your balance, that's parenting!  My theory (and there are many and they change...a lot) is that my kids ARE respectful and warm and loving.  They will give their friends the shirts of their backs.  They'll help you with your schoolwork at the detriment of their own grades.  When they come home, they are exhausted.  There's teachers who 'don't like me'; who 'don't understand me'; who 'didn't see so and so cheating off of me and I don't want to be a tattle but I hate it' drama.  Then, add in all the high school drama.  They come home.  Home to me.  Home to where they can let down their guard and blow off steam.  After all, home is where you are loved, unconditionally, no matter who you are.  So, yes, finding balance is important, I guess.  To me though, it's about my home being a safe haven for my children to totally be who they are, warts and all.  Just some days I wish it were more yoga and less MMA ring.  Now, where did I put my roller skates?

Until next time,
Pray for two of my dear, dear friends who's father's are in the last stages of their lives.



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