Sunday, May 30, 2010

Favorite Things

According to author Gary Chapman, there are 5 primary love languages we human beings use: physical touch, acts of service, gifts, quality time, and words of affirmation.
Each one is important for any healthy relationship, but most of us have a couple primary methods that are particularly meaningful to us.
It shouldn't surprise anyone that words are especially important to me.
One reason I'm so fond of words is that they continue on. When I'm having a rough day, kind words expressed in the past lift me out of the temporary mud. I can save cheery notes and reread them 80 or so times. I can scroll through uplifting texts on my phone and feel just as buoyed as I did when they first beeped through.
One of my new favorite things about motherhood is that my kids are old enough now to write me love notes.
Grace passed me the one above a few weeks ago as she scooted past me after Sacrament Meeting. It made me smile.
Grace--and the other kids--are with their dad this weekend, and I kinda miss them. Today in church I pulled out my music book and her note fell out. It made me smile. Again.
I tucked it back in so I can see how many days--and how many smiles--I'll get from that torn scrap of paper filled with first-grader handwriting.
Ten bucks says if it's still around twenty years from now it will still make me smile & feel the love from my baby girl.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Doing Something Right

From the first nights with my first little baby Gracie, my favorite part of the day is rocking & singing my babies. When they grew too big--and too many of them--for rocking, I reluctantly switched to snuggling in their beds with them for lullaby time.

I keep holding my breath, waiting for the night that they announce they are too old for nighttime singing.

Lately I've wondered if Grace and Mia were reaching that point. They seemed to prefer sister-giggle time to Mommy-singing time, which frustrated all of us. Lullabies are somewhat moot when the object of the singing is carrying on a private laughfest under the covers.

One night I became especially exasperated, after repeated reminders of the "be still and quiet if you want Mommy singing" rule. Playing the cheap trick of 'maybe-they-don't-value-it-because-they've-always-had-it' I said, "Girls, when I was a little girl, I never had lullabies at night. My mom didn't sing to us. Ever. So, if you've decided that you are too old for singing, just tell me and we'll stop doing this." I rather intentionally neglected to mention that, though my mom wasn't one for the lullaby thing, either she or my dad read to us every night, working our way through every volume of Little House on the Prarie, the Great Brain, and several retellings of Cheaper By the Dozen, so I truly don't feel deprived.

My kids saw it a bit differently, however. There was a moment of stunned silence. Grace asked, "You mean, your mom NEVER sang to you, not once, not even EVER???" Mia chimed in, "Didn't she even LOVE you?" I assured them that yes, Grandma definitely loved us, and did other nice things for us. She just wasn't a lullaby mom. Some are; some aren't.

Grace looked like she was about to cry. "But how did you do that, Mommy? How were you not SOOOOO scared at night?" Mia said, "Yeah, Mommy, you must have been SO brave, like, even braver than a kid is. You didn't even have singing at night." I told them that I had lots of sisters to sleep with at night, just like they do, so I wasn't scared. They weren't convinced.

"Poor, poor Mommy," Mia sighed. "You should have told us," Grace said. "We would sing to you." Mia whispered to herself, "I didn't even know there were kids whose mommies didn't sing to them every night."

I know this moment is fleeting. I know they are growing up faster than I can hold them here. I know that lullabies at night don't cover all of my parenting mistakes, or keep the world from intruding in all the ways that it does, and all the ways it will as time marches on. I know nighttime lullabies aren't the cure-all for every ill--societal, familial, or otherwise. I know that there are hundreds of ways to love your kids, and my favorite way won't work for everyone.

I'm just glad for one small moment each day of doing something right.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Mother's Day Recap

This might be my favorite age for Mother's Day, as the kids are old enough to write their own sentiments, and not old enough to censor them for coolness.

Grace's first grade teacher helped the kids write coupons for their moms. The theme seemed to be jobs you could do for your mom. Grace chose the two things that she is only allowed to do under supervision--unloading the dishwasher and washing dishes--and for good measure she generously offered to "bake some cookies" for me.

Mia filled out a pre-written sheet about her mom. Bold is Mia.

My mommy is so CUTE. Her name is WINDY and she is only 44 years old (yeah, in another decade or so...). I am pretty sure she weighs 10 pounds and is 9 feet tall. They grow up so fast! Her eyes are GREN and her hair is BROWN. Some people say she looks like me (if they're drunk or blind, maybe). There are a few things you need to know about my mom. Her favorite thing to do is GET CANDEE FOR ME (Hah!). She is really good at RIDNG BOOKS (aww, nice to know that somebody has that much faith in me). Her favorite color is GREN. Her favorite song to sing is MARE HAD A LITTL LAM ("Mia, when have you ever heard me sing that song?" "Never. I was just kidding.") Her favorite TV show is MAMAMIA (ahem). If I could get my mom something special just from me it would be DIAMONDS. I love her so much because SHE IS SO NIS. She loves me so much because SHE GITS ME PIZZA. Happy Mother's Day, Love, MIA. I LOVE YOU MOMMY.

Mercie drew a beautiful picture for me.

Eric's teacher was on the same page as Mia's. He brought home the following:
My special person. My special person's name is MOM. Her favorite color is GREEN. She likes to wear SKIRTS. She likes to go TO BY STUFF. I like it when she BE'S NICE. I would like to buy her LIPSTICK (since Mommy never, ever wears lipstick, what Eric really means is that he would buy me more Lightning McQueen cherry-flavored lip gloss, because I would share it with him, just like I do the other Disney chapsticks in my makeup bag that are "mommy's" because that's the only way to keep them from being smeared into the carpet).

All in all, a perfect Mother's Day.