Tuesday, October 23, 2012

For a moment...

...all the world was right.

This week has been a bit difficult for me in terms of parenting.  Despite loving social media, loving the facebook, loving the blogging, and the sharing that occurs, I try really hard to keep it positive.  I try not to drain any social networking avenue with over dramatic posts about things that are challenging.  But this week has been a little hard.

It's one of those weeks where I am hyper aware of all the things I am doing 'wrong' that could end up screwing up our kids.  There is SO MUCH PRESSURE to be a good parent. I am not talking about the 'mommy-war' pressure, or the the pressure to be the 'perfect pinterest' parent.  I am talking about the stress that comes from wanting your children to succeed and be good. I am talking about the pressure that comes with wanting to raise Saints.  I am hyper-aware of how my actions are shaping the little people God entrusted to me...and this week, I am feeling the weight of what the responsibility means.  This week,  I am aware that I am screwing it up.

You aren't suppose to fight in front of your children- The husband and I have been known to get into it a few times a week:)  This never used to bother me, it is part of our dynamic.  This week though, I saw little Aaron watching us, his face looked a little frightened.  Mind you, our 'fighting' was not out of control.  It was simply tight tones and heightened volume.  But kids pick up on that stuff right?  And his face, well, it showed it.  And, I wondered if I am screwing him up.

You aren't suppose to let your children watch tv until they are two (so says some pediatric board).  As stated previously, little Aaron watches himself one or two 1/2 hour shows a day.  It is my sanity really, especially in the wee hours of the morning.  99.9 of the time, it doesn't bother me that I do this.  However, as he creeps closer and closer to his 18 month doctor appointment, I am aware that he only has around 10 words.  Again, 99.9% of the time I do not worry about this, he will get there...but this week, I wondered if maybe I am screwing him up.

You are suppose to read to your children.  My sister, Katie, has REALLY smart kids.  Like, the kind of kids that are tested because they are too smart to be in regular classes.  I asked her a long time ago what she attributes that to, and she said that she read to them since the day they were born.  That was her secret.  Read books and read them often.  So, I read books to little A, and I read them often.  Everyday since the day he was born.  This week, my cousin Liz posted pictures of her fantastic husband Roland reading their precious baby boy (just a month younger than Joseph) 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar.'.  When I saw the picture, I smiled, thinking about reading Lil' A books at that age.  Then, with horror it hit me that Joseph Michael has been alive for 3 months, and I have yet to sit with him and read him a book.  He has listened to the reading of books with lil' A, but I haven't taken 1 on 1 time, just him and I, reading. This week, I wondered if maybe that is something that is going to screw him up.

You are suppose to give babies constant attention.  This week, I realized that lil' Joseph Michael spends hours and hours on his play mat on the floor, or in his bouncy chair.  He is SUCH a good baby, such a content baby, such a happy baby. He cries when he is hungry or his diaper is dirty.  That is it.  He spends a lot of time staring, studying, watching the world.  The fact that he is such an easy baby, and Lil' Aaron demands so much time, makes it easy just to have him be in his bouncer, content with life.  But what if he isn't feeling the love that he should?  What if he is not getting enough attention?  This week, I wondered if taking advantage of his easy-going personality is going to end up screwing him up.

You are suppose to parent from a 'place of yes'.  I know that sounds cliche, but I believe it to be true.  Kids need to hear affirmation, love, smiles and permission to excel.  But, I find myself telling lil' Aaron no all.the.time. No! don't play so rough with your baby brother (crud, am I going to give him secret resentment towards the baby?) No! don't touch daddy's electronics (really?  material things? Do I want to show them that they have a high value?).  No! You can't have more drink at bed time, you have already had 2 glasses of 'wah-er' (did I seriously just deny water to my 18 month old?).  He hears no so much, is it going to end up screwing him up?

BUT THEN- (see how I always give a plot twist)

I had a beautiful moment that made all the world okay.
Across the street from us is a church (the one and only FAMOUS HOSSANA TABOR- thank you Religious Freedom).
That church has a park.

I try to take lil' Aaron over as much as I can.  Today after we finished dinner, I had the husband watch Joseph, and lil' Aaron and I walked over to swing on swings/slide down slides. After lil' Aaron slid down slides for what seemed like the ten thousandth time, he gave me his shocked face and gasped out loud in excitement.  I turned around to see that the trees in our neighborhood (my neighborhood is surrounded by BIG, BEAUTIFUL, LEAFY trees) were swaying in the wind.  As they swayed, leaves started falling. I am talking about hundreds of leaves, falling off branches and slowly sailing down to the ground.  Lil' Aaron was memorized.  Without even thinking I started chasing the leaves and handing them to lil' A.  He was literally squealing in delight.  He could not believe that HIS.MOM. could catch these fallen treasures.  I would go to grab some and they would miss my hand, he erupted in giggles.  Slow falling beauties, unpredictable in where they would land.  For a split second Lil' A looked at me with such a look of admiration.   A look that said clearly, 'om lowercase g...I have the coolest mom ever'.  We danced in the falling leaves, it was pretty darn awesome.  As we walked home the leaves continued to fall, and Aaron continued to watch, eyes wide open in excitement.  I kept reaching up and handing them to him.  Honestly, his joy was a sight to see.  And then I had my moment of realization.

I am screwing up.  A lot actually. I am not looking for comfort, or advice...I am not even looking for a pat on the back. I need to do better, try harder, and make a commitment everyday to be a better parent/wife/friend/etc...than I was the day before.  BUT, God works with us where we are at. And today, well today, my friends, I was the hero.  Because I was the magical leaf catcher for my son.  For all he knew, I was the one making the wind that blew them on us.  And, that moment was perfection.  That moment made a rough week of self-doubt disappear into a silent reflection of gratitude.  Because, yeah, my kids are sure to be a little screwed up (I mean, have you met their parents?!?!?!) but I am pretty sure, with the grace of God, they are gonna be okay.  And so tonight, for a moment...all the world was right :)  


  1. Beautiful post, per usual. I am sure I am not alone when I say that I have these feelings all the time. I like how you said that you are more concerned with raising your kids to be Saints. That is how I feel too. I don't care so much about keeping up with other moms; I want my kid to be a Catholic warrior - unafraid of society's pressures to be comfortable and selfish. But, how can I do that when I feel like I am constantly looking for comfort and being selfish. I tell myself each day that this is just a phase and this isn't how my life will always be. We are far from family and when we move back, things will be different. But, each day matters. This IS my life right now, and I can't keep waiting for the next phase when I can finally do better. So, basically what I am saying is I feel what you feel too.

    Let's pray for each other everyday? Ok?

    1. love that plan! Praying for each other, often :) Daily! Being given the gift of these little ones is so freaking amazing, I just want to be the best I can be, but so aware of where I am failing :) LOL. I have a feeling this will be constant in my life :)

  2. I know you aren't looking for compliments, but Mary you and Aaron are amazing. To even have the desire to raise Saints means you'll at least get half way... right? But even given that, your kids' parents have higher expectations than 90% of the population. You can't exhale just yet... I certainly haven't, but I can tell you you will see your fruits over time. My kids all watched TV, grew up without a Dad for the first 4 years of their life, got spanked, heard the no's, some I read to often but one always was disinterested. And now, at least for today my kids are well-adjusted, happy, resilient, smart kids who love Jesus... and I can sleep at night and so will you! Love ya! Jen

    1. That Rocks Jen! Thanks for making me smile and reminding me that as these boys grow there will be plenty of time to see the good results and maybe some of the 'screwy' mixed up in there :)

  3. All I have to say is, right there with ya, sista! Love you!!!!!