Respond to the call that ignites your spirit. ~Rumi
Snuggled in my blanket, laying in my bed, my daughter walks towards me wrapped in her black and white comforter, and she immediately jumps in, head to head, we look at each other and smile. It is late, I am tired, but I embrace the approaching moment: “Remember the story I used to tell you” I say… “Once upon a time, there was a little girl walking in the forest… “ She smiles, and says: “What was the rest?”. At that moment, I wasn’t so sure, every time I told that story it changed. I always invented the parts after “forest”. The best moments, when she was little, were like this one, in bed telling stories. Now 17, it didn’t feel any different from when she was 4 (except for the convo) .. Because I was present, aware and mindful, both of us connected in a childlike way which, for some, is rare in these days of technology, ruthless rushing, and go go go! That same day, my son, while playing his game, was singing all his favorite songs. When he was little, he would belt out “Jesus Take The Wheel” by Carrie Underwood, but never once would sing on demand. He was always shy of singing in front of me, and now, even though his voice has changed, sitting in the same room with him as he sings Rhianna.. he melts my heart as much or even more than when he was a small, cute snickerdoodle of a child.
If it is the only thing I do.
When I was 15 years old, I told my mother: “When I grow up, I want to be a mom”. Not just any mom, I wanted to be the “best mom ever”. My dream was simple, I wanted a hubby, a house, a white picket fence, and I pictured myself washing dishes while watching my kids play in the yard. It was a simple, and fierce dream I kept with me for a very long time. I had not a clue what challenges lay ahead of me 32 years ago.. Truthfully I am pleased to pickles that I didn’t know what parenting consisted of: Challenges, tantrums, sickness, sleepless nights, arguments, limit setting, discipline, spit-up, throw up, pain, heartache to name a few. I studied 4 years of child development and thought “I knew it all”, to discover that no textbook, theory, or psychologist had all the answers.
I’ve worked many jobs, my first two being: babysitter and server in a Drive-In snack bar. After graduating from high school, I followed my father’s footsteps and dove into the insurance industry. For 8 years, I worked in an office with some amazing people, yet it didn’t feel right. Then at age 25, after being laid off from my job, I decided I wanted to be a teacher. 4 years later, I was certified, and pregnant with my first. Of the 16 years of being a mom, and a certified teacher, I taught full-time for 4, and part-time for 4 (approx). I just couldn’t leave my children to anyone else. My 1st dream was to be an at home mom. Yet for some reason I felt guilty for being a single mom at home.. maybe because the plan didn’t execute exactly the way I desired.. or did it? I received social assistance, which I would call “my pay” for raising my children at home. If the government was subsidizing daycare a 7$ a day (I justified to myself), well I was practically saving them money.. PLUS the little money I did receive went right back into the economy. Fast forward to today, and here I am an “at home mom” again, not because I chose to, yet because I am on sick-leave. My kids are now 14 and 16, and do not need me during the day so much, but I feel blessed to be here with them, enjoying moments I would have missed if I was working a 9 to 5 job.
“I looked on child rearing not only as a work of love & duty but as a profession that was fully as interesting & challenging as any honorable profession in the world and one that demanded the best that I could bring to it.” ― Rose Kennedy
I am living my dream after all…
When Mike Dooley coined “thoughts become things” he wasn’t far off the proverbial path. I mean, this is what I wanted, but why do I feel guilty?….
….Because our society values work for pay. Yet, motherhood, in today’s world is not always valued as work. Then those nasty buggers in my brain start to devalue what I am doing.
There is nothing more valuable to me than being there for my children. Doing their laundry, baking them cookies, listening to their stories, watching them dance, hearing them sing, wiping away tears of teenage angst, sharing in their accomplishments. I am here! I am here for myself, and I am here for them. This must be valuable enough? Last night, when I went to sleep, I kept on thinking about the week coming, and how I am going to manage to feed the kids (an issue which comes up every so often). Both teens were in my daughter’s room playing a video game.. as I heard them laughing together.. they were happy, however: I began to cry! Knowing they were busy, I gave my tears some space to shed thinking my two would not hear me…. yet they did. They came rushing out.. with smiles on their faces (because they think I am cute when I cry).. “Oh my depressed mom!” sighs my daughter in a cute roundabout way (she was smiling and made me smile). “Whats wrong?”.. then I go on and on and on.. about them not having everything they need..etc.. and my daughter says: “Mom, when we are crying because we are hungry, then you can cry too! We are ok!” she says. “We ate your good spaghetti, and made cookies… We are going to be fine!”
Have I told you HOW PROUD I am of my children?
The both come up to me, and my puppy joins them as we have a family hug. Then I said: “Who taught you to be so positive and wise?” We all laughed because usually I am the one who gives the positive speeches. So this morning, after a moment of guilt for being home another day, I said to myself: “If being a mother to my children is the only thing I do for the rest of my life then so be it…
... and that my friend is quite enough for me because I am livin’ the dream..