Every time one of the kids asks the question, “Why?”, I cringe and prepare myself for an epic battle of How Smart is Mom. I always lose at this game. Every “Why?” leads to another “Why?” There’s no end until I throw up my hands in defeat with my final answer, “I’m not sure.” Questions of morality are the most difficult. Opening the door in their minds to discuss the horrible things people do to each other does a number... [Read More]Read more
It was 9:10 p.m. We had been at the football field for three hours. The sun had set long ago, and the air was chilly. I stood with two friends and my husband when we heard the referee say the words we had been longing for, “That’s time coach.” Followed by an addition we could have done without, “There are eight plays left. Do you want to play them?”
Ugh. I wanted to answer for them, ” No. Just make the never-ending night of football finally end.” One player from our team chimed in and yelled, “Let’s finish playing.” Of course it was our son. Our son who had been awake since 6:15 a.m. wanted to play those final eight plays. Sometimes all those talks of persevering and finishing what you start and always giving 100% come back to bite you in the rear end.
They finished their eight plays to end their first scrimmage of the season. The field quickly cleared as parents dragged grass-stained children (players and siblings) home to bed. The clock read 9:32 p.m. Mondays should not end with children awake way past bedtime on a school night and mamas who desperately want off their feet. I believe we broke the world record for fastest bedtime routine for four children.
This was not how I imagined parenting 12 years ago when I was days away from becoming a mother. I saw myself rocking a baby and kissing scrapped knees. I envisioned pushing little ones in swings and teaching kids to ride bikes. I saw myself sitting in folding chairs at concerts and bleachers at games. I gave no thought to the day-to-day business that would connect the dots of childhood milestones. There are hours spent coaxing kids to do homework, wake up, get ready for bed, or school, or church, or countless other excursions. There’s sickness for kids and parents. We’ve seen common colds to lasting conditions that require monitoring. There are long nights and early mornings in blistering heat and freezing temperatures. There’s driving, cooking, cleaning and teaching.
I could see the game, but had forgotten about all the scrimmages and practices. I struggle with feeling I’ve met anyone’s needs adequately. Standing in the dark and our boys and a friend huddled in a baseball dugout watching a movie on an iPad (courtesy of a mama who had enough forethought to grab it on the way out of the house) left me feeling deflated. That iPad saved one mama from having to be asked for the one-hundredth time (literally) if an antsy son could go to a playground we couldn’t actually monitor from where we were. This was not how I pictured mothering.
Football spectators were bothered by ruthless moths swooping into pockets and hair and even my mouth, which was disgusting and gross, but also funny. The fields were wet, and near the end of the scrimmage, I could no longer give my 100% attention to the game. I wasn’t actually watching my younger sons, Apple was, and my birthday-celebrating daughter was off digging in the baseball infield dirt with someone else’s child doomed to the same fate. Twelve years ago I never imagined this would be part of my motherhood story.
While last night isn’t what I thought being a parent would be like, I love it all the same. I know those daily acts of love — standing in the rain, wiping a nose, studying spelling words — will be what I miss the most when the kids are grown. It won’t be the milestones I’ll want back.
I’m grateful there are activities for our kids to use to grow in their passions. I’m even more grateful for parents of my children’s friends who have become my friends as well. Those mothering friends who walk beside me in the parenting trenches, dragging me when needed, were never in my imagined parenthood. They’ve become cornerstones of my story. I’m grateful for the memories spent huddled in the wind, rain and cold or on hard metal bleachers watching our kids compete, perform and grow. It’s reassuring to know I’m not alone in the ever-changing world of parenting. Truly, on the those long, cold nights when all I want to do is curl up on the couch, but parenting duties call, misery really does love company in the form of the the women standing next to me.
It was bound to happen. The Tooth Fairy failed to appear last week. I’ve lost track of the number of times the Tooth Fairy has visited our home, but apparently, even she was worn out from the first week of school and the early mornings that came with it. Thankfully, if we were going to fail as parents, we chose the correct child. Our third son is a laid-back, happy-go-lucky, joyful person. C woke up to find our ceramic lost... [Read More]Read more
My tumultuous emotions revolving around my oldest starting middle school has everything to do with me and not much to do with him. This is my selfish mama moment. He’s ready for this next level. He’s capable. This next chapter excites him. I thought I was terrified of the big, bad middle school filled with hormones where my son will be exposed to heaven knows what. I am, a little, on-edge for the doors, both good and questionable, that will open... [Read More]Read more
The start of school leaves me emotionally unraveling every single year. I loathe that summer is coming to a close, but I desperately want just a few moments of daylight hours to myself. It’s obvious the kids and I could use a break from each other. They’ve started bickering and picking at each other. I have lost all motivation to accomplish anything productive like getting out of bed and fixing breakfast. I need school to start, so I’m forced into... [Read More]Read more
I overheard one of my boys refer to himself as a “city boy” and couldn’t help but giggle. Living in the heart of Wyoming makes it almost impossible to be a legitimate “city boy,” even if you do live in the state’s second largest town. At 50,ooo people, give or take, our town is larger by far than all but the Wyoming capital. We have ample shopping and restaurant options compared to most of our state and even a public... [Read More]Read more
I’ve talked for years about a specific hike on my bucket list: Harney Peak in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The Hills aren’t far from where we live and a stone’s throw from where my husband grew up. Each summer for almost a decade, we’ve driven roads through the Hills with me proclaiming how someday I’ll hike Harney Peak. Time with just Craig and I has to be planned and thought out. There’s not much “free time” to work... [Read More]Read more
Last week, we were hiking in Glacier National Park and a grizzly bear trotted across the trail about 50 feet in front of us. My thoughts were convoluted in that 40-second encounter. I wanted to take a photo, but self-preservation took top priority. The six of us were clumped together as we watched the bear trot across the path and wander up a brush-covered hillside. It wasn’t until the bear was out of sight that I realized I was holding... [Read More]Read more
I felt my cares wash away looking over Logan Pass inside Glacier National Park, located in northwest Montana. The rugged peaks, dotted with what remains of the diminishing glaciers, give way to lush green meadows, vibrant blue lakes and rock-bottom rivers. My everyday worries and to-do items were pushed to the farthest reaches of my thoughts thanks to the natural beauty that surrounded me. National parks are a favorite vacation destination for my family. We’ve viewed some impressive vistas, but... [Read More]Read more
Today is the cleanest my bathrooms will be all year. Every nook and cranny has been scrubbed and disinfected. The rest of the house will follow suit in the next few hours. We have a house guest to pick up this evening. We’ll welcome a stranger into our home for a week-long visit. It’s the sixth year at least one of our kiddos has participated in a Challenger Sports British soccer camp. The coaches for the program are college-aged people... [Read More]Read more