Its finally here. The day I have been anticipating for over three weeks since my husband left for India. I am so excited I can hardly contain myself. Plans are set and ready to implement. I anticipate one interruption in my plan but that will not really ruin anything. As I drive home from work I play my favorite music. Just thinking of my plan evokes a sense of enthusiasm. I get home, do a load of laundry, sweep the floor and wipe off the counters. In one hour I should be ready to set the plan in motion. The dogs start barking. A knock at the door. I wonder who it is? I peer through the frosted door window, and with mixed emotions, I welcome my mom and stepdad. We exchange hugs and kisses as she hands me a nice fresh ice coffee from Dunkin Donuts. My plans have been foiled. The time to relax and enjoy the serenity of my home without any interruption is gone. I set a new plan in motion, enjoy time with my mom and stepdad. My alone time should roll around some time in the next month. I just have to figure out a way to get my husband and sons to leave the house for a few hours. I’ll even settle for just one hour.
Running, running, running, that is all I did today. Unfortunately, I was not running to improve my health. It was running around for everyone but me. Now that it is 9:45 p.m I can start to take a few minutes for me. Oh no wait a minute, my dogs are demanding their walk. Maybe when my head hits the pillow tonight I can have time for me. Maybe I will dream about running.
I put my arms out and he runs to me
While in my arms he puts his head on my shoulder
I tighten my embrace
I gently comb my hand through his hair and wipe away his tears
He looks me in the eyes and gives a look as to say, thank you for being there for me
I kiss him on the check
He kisses me even harder on the check, turns around and runs back to play
No words needed
He is all better for now
No formal higher education other than high school
Two kids by the age of 20
Married to the popular boy who doesn’t know how to be a husband or father
Crying at night because she cant feed her children more than hotdogs or mac n cheese unless someone from the family offers some groceries
Crying because all of the family possessions are burned in a fire and she has no way to replace them
Frustrated and sad because no matter how many jobs she works, she has to tell her children that she cant afford to buy the new toy on the market, or pay for a fieldtrip…
Smiling because she gets off early on Tuesdays and gets to be with her kids
What could I possibly learn her? Because of her…
I learned that an education can get you a good paying job, but it does not define your character
I learned that no matter what age you have your children, love them like there is no tomorrow
I learned to marry for something more than popularity, and that sometimes love can be so strong that you are blinded by the truth.I learned that I want to have a man that is both a loving father and husband.
I learned that no matter what you can afford to feed your children, help them appreciate the work it took to provide the meal
I learned that the family has to come together in a crisis to make things better. I learned team work, compassion, perseverance, and self sacrifice.
I learned the value of money. I learned how much hard work it takes to pay for college and other things I wanted. I am learning how hard it is to say no to my children when they are crying for something. My biggest regret is making my mom feel bad when she couldn’t give me money for the things I wanted. At the same time, I want my kids to see that nothing in this world is free without some hard work behind it. So I will let them want, although I’m hurting inside, it an attempt to help them appreciate what it takes to get it.
I am learning that the time I spend with my family watching movies, vacations, family holidays are the most cherished memories. And I smile knowing I get to spend time with them.
There are many great philosophers who discussed the idea of whether one learns best from the experience itself or if one has to actually experience it. For me, I know I do not have to experience everything personally to learn from it. Unfortunately, my mom experienced some of those things for me. She saved me from some of those hard life experiences. Because of her I knew what I wanted for my life. I learned I was going to have to do more than just have my hand out expecting others to help. I found guidance and strength in my mother’s experiences. I learned how strong my mom was in the face of adversity. And I am glad I have a mom like mine to lead the way!
The question is, could I learn from her? The answer, a definitive yes, I learned a lot from my mom. And I am still learning.
There are days I can not remember where I put my keys, if I brought the dogs back in from the cold, or if I locked the door upon my departure. But for some strange reason, music has the power to evoke an emotion or memory as if it just happened. I am overwhelmed with nostalgia as certain songs play.
Smoke on the Water, Stairway to Heaven, Another Brick in the Wall –My mom and dad sitting with friends on the coach at our house on Karlov. Its late at night and my brother and I are pretending to be sleeping.
Galileo (Indigo Girls) – First drive to college. It is snowing and my friend’s brother volunteered to drive the U-Haul for me. Love that record!
If I Could Reach – The song my instructor played as I was on my last sparring practice in preparation for my competition for top ten. I made it!!!!
Can You Feel the Love Tonight, Believe – Songs I played when I met my husband to be. I’m in my little house doing my own version of what people call dancing.
Little Boy on His Knees, by Cheri Keaggy – The song that came after finding out that I was pregnant. Guess what, I had a little boy. In fact, I was blessed with 2 great boys.
Lazy Mary – My son Kern, about 10 months, in his pajamas, sitting in front of the stereo, bouncing back and forth to the beat to the point that he falls over. It was soooo cute!
A New Day – I heard this song a few weeks after my father passed away. I found out I was pregnant with my little Andrew. Every time I play the song I want to dance with my little guy.
I Hope You Dance – A song I want my boys to live by. I use to dance with them in my arms and sing this to them when they were little, ( off key I might add). My Andrew still lets me pick him up and dance with him when I play either song by Celine Dion. I’m not sure why, but a great sense of emotion pours over me almost every single time. He senses my sadness and puts his head on my shoulder and hugs me.
When I get older and my memory fades, I hope that the power of music takes me back to all these wonderful memories. I have my playlist ready!!!
I’m sure my kindergarten teacher was not expecting to have this ball of fire in her room. I couldn’t sit still and definitely did not want any part of participating in “circle time”. My teacher was at her wits end when she had a conference with my mom. Lisa, my teacher asked, “Why wont you sit on the floor during circle time?” My response I said in my head, “I hate sitting on the cold floor especially when I have to wear these ridiculous dresses and tights mom makes me wear. Why should I sit on the cold floor when I am comfortable in my chair.” The words that come out, “I don’t know.”
First grade: I’m pretty sure I am the reason my 1st grade teacher retired. The school I attended had trailers for grades 1-3. One day I decided that I did not want to go back into the trailer so I convinced 2 other students to hide under the stairs with me and watch the next class come out and play. Bad idea. The next thing I know we hear all these whistles. Guess what, there was a search for 3 missing first graders. Oops. Mrs. Sanders, “Why did you do that?” My response as I shrugged my shoulders, “I don’t know.” My response to myself, ” I thought it would be fun and I was bored in that trailer.”
Second grade: I went to school during the days when putting gum on the students’ noses, tape on mouths, taking away chairs, and standing in the corner was a form of discipline. Well, if a photographer randomly took pictures of my class, there is a 99% chance that the photos would have me with gum on my nose, tape on my mouth, no chair, and standing in the corner. The only reason I say 99% and not 100% is to account for any absences.
Third grade – 6th grade: Sent off to a private school. I’m not ready to test the waters yet.
7th grade: Here I go again. Hibernation time was over. Consequences… come and get me! The irony was that the majority of my defiance was toward my math teacher. I say this because I am a math teacher. You know that saying, what goes around, comes around, well there is a lot of truth in that!!! I think I wrote about 20,000 lines of , I will not chew gum, I will not talk, I will not…, I will not…One time I taped 5 pens together so I could get my writing done quicker. The problem, my teacher did not appreciate my ingenuity and expected me to rewrite it. My response, “Not going to happen.” I spent the majority of my lunch recess standing facing the wall.
8th grade: The worst was still to come. I made the strictest teacher at my school cry. No, I mean it, the guy was literally crying. I can’t even write about all the terrible things I did, the list would be too long. I know I spent a good part of my 8th grade year in his detention room. He had this punishment where you would had to sit there and count the leaves on the tree. If your estimate wasn’t close to his, he would make you stay an extra 5 minutes. Well, it got to the point were I didn’t even have to count the leaves, I knew the answer.
I can remember all the terrible things I did and the harsh words that came out of my mouth, but the thing I can remember the most is hearing that same 8th grade teacher expressing his concern for me. How? I’m telling you, I gave this man the run for his money. I probably turned his dark hair to grey, but some how he kept trying to talk to me. He kept giving me consequences but followed that up with “a talk”. Of course to keep my “cool reputation”, I could never let him know that I was listening to him. I heard his words but I just didn’t let him know- at least at that time. I did return to my arch nemesis (or so I thought at that time) to express my deepest and sincerest apology.
Fast forward a few years and I do complete 175. I know its suppose to be a 180 but a girl still has to have a little fun! I graduated with honors for my bachelor’s degree and my master’s degree. And no, my children have NOOOOO clue how I was as a student. I’m going to save that for when they graduate high school. The apples fell far away from the tree on this one, thanks to their dad.
I say to my fellow teachers and colleagues, keep up the good work because,”you may never know”. You may never know if you made a difference in the life of a child. It may take years to find out that answer or it may never come. I never had the opportunity to go back to the other teachers and apologize. I wish I had the chance to go back, but unfortunately they will never know.
So the next time you ask, “Why did you do that?” Be completely prepared to hear “I don’t know.” It is a legitimate response.
If only for a moment I could go back in time,
not worry about the fact that I was just hired for a new position,
not worry about my young son and husband,
If only for a moment I could go back and make the decision again,
the decision to travel to see my father
If only for a moment I could go back and tell him before he was in a coma how much I loved him
If only for a moment I could give him another kiss and say, “I love you” while he was aware that I was there
Today, I try to live in the moment
I take every moment I can to tell my family how much they mean to me. I know that my boys think I am crazy but I have this obsession of making sure I give them a kiss and say, “I love you,” before I leave. I will hunt them down in any part of the house, and I mean even the shower, just to do this. I follow up my kiss with, “I love you, see you later”, never “good bye”. Good bye sounds so permanent to me. I know, I think some thing is wrong with me too, LOL.
I never want my kids to think, if only for a moment. I want them to live in the moment.
From the time my second son was born I could see the difference. My first son had an olive complexion and had a full head of dark hair. Andrew was pale and almost bald. He was the perfect baby who slept when he was suppose to, and ate without a problem etc. My older son Kern had me in tears because he wouldn’t eat or sleep. Andrew is very affectionate while Kern tends to shy away and resist the hugs. Kern is tall, Andrew is short – just complete opposites.
When Andrew was in kindergarten he liked to dress in dress shirts and a tie, while I was lucky to get my older son to wear clothes that matched. The easiest way to get Andrew to listen was to tell him that he couldn’t wear a tie to school the next day. I know I’m showing my age here, but I use to call him my little Alex P. Keaton, and boy did he live up to that nickname. He no longer likes to wear dress clothes to school , but he is like a shark when it comes to his finances, is on the Junior National Honor Society, and is very artistic. The first time I asked him for $10, he gave me the money I asked for accompanied by a promissory note he wanted me to sign to remind me to pay him back. This was at the age of 8 or 9. He is now 12 and has requested a leather briefcase for his important papers. What important papers could a 12 year old possibly have? But of course, my husband went out while on his trip in India, and bought Andrew his own leather briefcase. Kern doesn’t really think any papers are important, but the ones he does keep are thrown into a plastic bag that is in his closet. Kern couldn’t find a dime if he needed it, never really put effort into school work (until now), and couldn’t draw a stick figure if he wanted. Okay, maybe a stick figure and that’s about all! He couldn’t even copy the figures from Diary of a Whimpy Kid. Andrew had to help him. I just chuckle when I think about how different Andrew is from his older brother, complete opposites! However, despite all the differences, I see the common denominator (that’s the math teacher in me), the bond they have as brothers.
Andrew loans Kern money or reminds Kern that it is a special occasion and he should start to save to buy gifts. He even helps Kern with his projects that require some creativity. Kern helps Andrew with his pitching and ways he can drive to the basket to score in basketball. Even though Kern is 15 he still finds time to goof around with his little brother. They play flag football in the yard, and play on the same team against other kids on the block. It’s really nice to see how they rely on each other. I hope this bond continues when they become adults.
Even though my boys are so different, from personality to appearance, every once in awhile when I see a picture of the boys when they were young, my husband and I really have to look twice to see if it is Andrew or Kern. We also noticed that in many of the pictures from when they were little, they are either smiling at each other or hugging.
Are you the type of mom that looks at her children and just wants the best for them? As a result you try to micro-manage everything they do because you know what is best. You wish that you could secretly hover over them and manipulate them as if they were a puppet on a string so that every move was precise. If this is you, then you need to join our “Mother Hover Club”. This club was designed for the mother who is stressed about all the little things their child is doing or not doing. Trying to micro manage my older son Kern caused stress beyond belief. You want your child to be perfect in the eyes of others, just like they are in your eyes, and you try to make sure that happens, from making sure he knows how to properly blowing his nose, combing his hair, wearing clothes that match, caring about grades and doing projects a few days before, not the night before, and the list goes on. I drove myself crazy doing all of these things, until I joined the Mother Hover Club. The first step to recovery is to admit you are a mom who micro manages your kid(s). Then openly discuss this with the group and devise a plan of attack. The members of the club let me see that I am not alone and that they are there to support you. There are many moms out there just like me. Since joining the club, I have learned that some things are not worth stressing about. Now I know it is okay to step back and let my child try to do things and possibly fail, because as we all know, failure leads to success.
I had a break through the other day. This occurred to me when I was delivering a basket of clean clothes to my son, who of course will just throw it on his bed, another discussion for later. To my surprise, my son Kern, who is now a sophomore at Lincolnway East, was studying without me even saying a word. It was strange but a video of my son was going through my head as I was leaving his room, my infant son who would not eat and cried all the time, my son at 2 at the top of the steps nose running and coming to kiss me, at 5-12 hair a mess and ready to go outside and play, 9-13 wearing clothes that didn’t match at all but insisting that he is going to school like that, and 8-14 arguing with his father and I about his grades and his lack of effort. Now my son is 15 and it brings tears to my eyes to see my son, a young man, who will be leaving in 2 years for college, taking 2-3 showers a day and making sure his hair looks good (for the girls of course), wearing clothes that match, and not only doing his homework without my husband and I hounding him, but being on high honors and figuring out a way to bring up his honors chemistry to a solid A, while also being a 3 sport athlete at his school. It is funny how life goes by so fast. That video in my mind of my son took just a few seconds, but the stress and worrying sometimes for nothing, took years. Who knows maybe it was because my micro managing, but I think I am going to give the credit to my son, who took some of the advice from his parents, applied it when needed and disregarded it when it disrupted his agenda. After all, isn’t that what a parent is suppose to do? Guide and advise to help the child make good decisions. I cant be there for every moment to protect him from others, but I can teach him what it will take to make good decision that will help him in his future. In the end, it doesn’t really matter because he is turning out to be one great young man!!!
By the way, the Mother Hover Club does not really formally exist. I do have some colleagues here at CP that joke around about being part of this club. It is nice to hear all the stories about how, we moms, love our kids so much that we want the world for them! It’s just the stress we can do without. So just smile and know that your love and guidance is molding your child even if they wont admit it.