Sunday, December 15, 2013

A decade of motherhood

Every other Saturday night I go to bed knowing I have to wake up at 4 AM to prepare my lesson for tomorrow. I have the responsibility to teach a class at church every other Sunday. So, early this morning I am up, I've finished my preparations, and am now reminiscing about my past under the lights of the Christmas tree. I just sat down in my huge Lazy-Boy rocking chair and looked out the window into the night. Outside my window you can see other apartment buildings and, at this hour of the morning, a few street lights and the lights of the cars driving by. It's quiet and peaceful. The kids are all sleeping. I felt empty sitting in that rocker all by myself. I felt like something was missing. Perhaps a sad baby in my arms who didn't want to sleep. The feeling of holding a small child is priceless. They are so small in your arms. You can feel their warmth through their hair as their head presses against your cheek. "I'm rich!" I think to myself. And every time I see parents with kids I think the same thing, "They are so rich!" It doesn't matter how many you have. Just one will do the trick! A friend I made in my Russian class said, "You are so lucky to have children in your life. Especially during the holidays." She was a girl (for me a girl is anyone 30 or younger) who was single and searching for companionship in this great city of LA. She said, "Looking for someone in LA sucks!" I just can't imagine having to do that. I dread the thought of that. I feel deeply for all the people out there that are desperately trying to find someone compatible. But that's another discussion all its own. I just want to enjoy the feeling of having children in my life. That being said, I need to make some changes. I'm not the best mom I could be. I haven't been speaking very nicely to my kids and that needs to change. My oldest son just turned 10 and I realize I won't have him with me for much longer. I want him to always know that his family loves him even if he doesn't really like to be with us. I think that kids that know they are loved are so much more secure in life. I was very secure because my parents loved me. I wasn't the most confident teenager or the most outgoing or successful person but I always knew I could go home and be loved if I wanted to. So, here are the things that I think I can change if I try really hard.
  1. When I'm mad about a mess a kid made, just shut my mouth for 30 seconds before I say anything.
  2. Make a list of words I will never say, and a list of consequences if I do say them
  3. Say two nice things to each child daily (real things, not lies) 
 I am pretty proud of myself though. Yesterday, my oldest son had to prepare for his piano recital. He had to compose his own song and write it out on music paper. He'd been working on it for about a month at my request every time he practiced in the mornings but hadn't really finished. He wasn't very excited about it either. His approach is usually, "How can I get this done the quickest?" and isn't concerned about its quality. Well, he really wanted to do something else but I told him to fix a few things. There were errors in the quantity of notes he put in each measure, he'd forgotten to write in the clefs, etc., etc., etc. So, he was working on it and got frustrated and crumpled up his paper and managed to rip a hole in it too. (Usually when he does this, because he's done it before, I yell at him about having pride in his work and not doing sloppy things. And usually, he gets angry an yells back and then nothing happens.) So, this time I said nothing and just got him a new paper and told him to re copy it. I didn't act mad. I just talked to him calmly. He didn't get angry either. But, I noticed that as he recopied he was crying quietly and I thought to myself, "I sure hope he has learned that doing crappy work just causes more work in the end." In the end, he produced a musical piece that looked nice, he could read and play it, and it was correctly written. I was proud of him for being responsible. But man! that kid does not care what people think. I know that should be a good thing, but sometimes it's not. He doesn't want to please anyone. Most of my kids want to please their teachers or me but him no. I could go on and on. But I'm not going to. I'm going to make a list of the good things about my 10 year old.
  • He loves food and is always excited about it and doesn't like to waste it.
  • He always takes his dishes to the sink after he eats.
  • He doesn't like to sing  but sometimes I find him humming to himself. It's cute.
  • He's literally my favorite hiking partner. He's fast. He's strong. He doesn't complain like a baby. He doesn't talk a lot during the hike, which permits me to daydream and enjoy nature fully. And he recognizes beauty in nature because he will remember places we've been and want to return.
  • He's transparent.
  • He's handsome.
  • He is an excellent artist.
  • He can take care of his little sister and brother with love.
  • He lets me put my arm around him when we walk sometimes, which is cool because he's getting taller. I want to snuggle my boys as long as I can before its not cool anymore.
  • He's very passionate about what he loves. 
  So, I'm starting from December 15th, on my goals to be a better mom in my speech. Good luck to me! Good luck to you! Happy Holidays!

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