Thursday, January 16, 2014

There's a rocket in my gutter!!

These are my kids. I love them dearly.
My kids, and anyone who has spent at least 1 day with me knows this: I am not a morning person, and my kids are. 
They like to get up before the sun, I like to wait until the sun is confidently above the horizon before I roll my snooze deprived, worn out, mom body out of bed.
I, however, enjoy a bit of peace and quite in the morning. You know, that magical moment when the husband has left for work, everything is still and silent, except the few mouse ticks and keyboard clicks, and all of your precious angels are still precious and angelic because they are still asleep. That one moment you have the house to yourself and you can hear your own thoughts, and then just about the time you get bored and lonely - you hear a bed squeak. The next few moments are just as magical. First the bed squeaks, then a thump as their tiny, groggy feet hit the floor, then the door knob twists and the sound of tiny, stumbling steps gets closer, and closer. If you are anything like me, and your kids are anything like mine, the next thing you hear is "Why are you up so late Mom?"
Why am I up so late?!
It's not late at all. See. My kids know I am not a morning person, so when I am up before them, they just assume it's still night time and I must be up late into the night. The next conversation goes something along these lines
"I'm not up late dear, it's morning."
"But the sun isn't up"
"Then why are YOU up?"
"Uhmmmmm my body told me it was time to get up....?"
"Probably because it is. Good morning!"
"Good morning Mom, What's for breakfast?"
Why must they get up so early?!
Why do I force my worn out, tired body out of bed before it's ready?!
Because I am their mom.
We all do things for our kids that are more than unpleasant. We also get to do the fun things with them.
Friday night, Isaac took me out on a date. He is 6. He came to me and said "Mom, would you like to go on a date with me?" And then upon whipping out a gift card from Cold Stone (I'm assuming came from his Dad's secret stash of gift cards) continues with "I'm paying!"
So hand in hand we were off to Cold Stone for a Mother/Son date I won't soon forget, complete with awkward silence.
After the 2ish minutes of awkward silence I did what any good girl on a date would do, I reached over - turned off the radio and asked him how he was doing.
He replied that he was good, and I could hear the smile on his face.
I began to ask him about how school was going and after about 3 randomly vague questions, the flood gate opened and I got to hear all about  his 6 yr, almost 7 yr old world. Who plays with who at recess, where he sits for lunch, who gets hot lunch all the time (and wishes they could have cold lunch), who always brings a cold lunch (and wishes they could get hot lunch once in a while) and how apparently he has it the best because he gets to pick his hot lunch days and gets cold lunch the others. I, as many parents do, "mmmhmmm'd" and "uh-huh'd" my way through his tangled, random comments and remarks. Then it dawned on me. As I sit here, admittedly pretending to listen, but thinking about the 1,000 other things that need to be thought about, a thought came to my mind;
This is his life. It may seem petty and unimportant to a "grown up", but to an "almost 7 yr old" Who gets the swivel chair in class is headline news!! The new game at recess is what's on the sports channel!! This is his life you are pretending to listen too!
Being a parent is more than just making sure your kids have a house to come home to after school, it's about making sure that when they are in that house they know and understand that the responsible adults in that house care about them, love them and will listen to them when they need to talk.
Being a parent is about listening to the seemingly small details and realizing that they are huge deals to these children you brought into your family. This is their LIFE they are talking to you about. This is their life you are pretending to listen too. It's about  more than just recess and lunch and swivel chairs. This is their real world. They seem small to us, because we are looking at mortgage payments, vacations and what the next pay check looks like. Their tiny world isn't as big and grown up as ours. Every year it gets bigger and more grown up and if we don't listen to recess, and classroom stories now, what makes you think they will want to talk about boys/girls, dances, dates, drugs and school schedules when they are older?!
They won't.
If we don't fix the broken train tracks, or get the Nerf rocket out of the gutter now, they won't come to us when they're failing a class or when they just got back from the worst date EVER!!
Being a parent is redundant, your kids never stop needing you.
Even as a grown woman, I still call my mom almost daily. My mom still takes time out of her busy life to stop whatever she's doing and talk to me, or put me on speaker phone and do what she needs to do while I yap on the other end. I vent about the not so new and latest thing Ashley has decided to get into and ruin. I vent about how loud and high strung Gary can be. I vent about how sassy and 7 Isaac is getting.
But I also get advice on how to handle these things in strides, and about how it's a nuisance now, but in reality, it will all be over in a moment. She laughs when I complain about the very thing I did when I was "that age" and she reassures me when she can tell I'm having a bad day and just need someone to remind me that I'm doing the best I can.
I call my mom because I've always been able to talk to her about anything and everything. From the time I was 7 to tomorrow.
Talking is more than just communication. Talking to your kids is parenting. You will never know their struggles or heartaches if you don't listen to them.
The words "grab a towel and dry these dishes" were not uncommon in our home growing up, because after the 2nd or 3rd plate, you just start talking and pretty soon you're spilling your emotional guts to your parents and they are there and seem to have all the answers, because they too were there once.
Am I a perfect parent?! OF COURSE - She said sarcastically!
My goal this year is to listen to my kids. Really take the time to hear what they are saying. Encourage them to "grab that towel and dry", go on more dates with my kids where it's just the 2 of us to talk and listen. I want them to understand that their parents are here for them no matter how small the problem or exciting news is to us, we care about their lives and what is breaking news for them!!