Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mom Appreciation

You know how as you get older you realize that your mom must have been superhuman to do all the things she did for you and your four siblings...

Yeah. That's my mom. I'm just barely starting to appreciate what she did for us.

Before I came to the FP most of my friends didn't have kids. Or else, when I saw my friends, their kids were elsewhere.

In the FP it's a little different. A bunch of my friends have kids--and their kids are rarely elsewhere. So I've been hanging around kids a lot lately. And my church calling is in primary so I interact with kids there too.

Now. When you hang out with moms and kids a lot as an adult who doesn't have kids, you start to notice things. And these aren't the things I noticed when I was a kid living with four other kids. It seems that my perspective has changed (shock, shock).

I notice all the things moms get to do. And now I realize how most of the time the things moms get to do are usually things they would rather Not do. (No mom has said those words to me, I'm taking a guess. But I think I'm right.)

Let me illustrate. Father and son campout was this weekend. The Rock took an 8 year old with him and they went off to play in the river and eat good food. I settled down with a book and left my messy kitchen for later (read: the next morning). Then, I got a phone call. My friend K wanted to come over an watch a movie. With her two daughters. Of course I was pumped (except for the cleaning of the kitchen part) but...I blasted through the dishes at high speed, swept the floor and started making popcorn. K shows up, and says, "Sorry for inviting myself over...I just...I couldn't make myself clean our house, and I needed to get out of there--"
I interrupted her and said, "Dude. No worries." And I meant it. The woman is a saint and she has people over to her house all the time, and watches other people's kids and generally does It All, and I was pretty sure she needed a WAY bigger break than she was getting by coming to my house.

So the girls try to sit down to eat the dinners they brought with them--turns out my bar stools aren't kid friendly (as the littler girl pointed out to me) because they tip over when a kid tries to climb up in them. They asked a jillion questions and told stories just about as often and HAD to see the pop corn as it popped (but the littler girl was too short, so I had to leave the popcorn on the stove to burn while I went to find a stool for her so she wouldn't use the bar chair and tip into the flame).
(I have broken into a sweat at this point, and I don't think it was just because it was hot in the kitchen from all the cooking).

Then K told me she had run into L and invited her to come with her daughters. And that was good becasue L probably wanted to get out of her house for a while too. PAR-TAY at My House.

I ended up with two moms and five girls all crowded around my laptop to watch Hotel For Dogs. You've probably never seen that movie. And that brings me to two points: 1. Kids movies are inane and a waste of time for adults. 2. Kids are wiggly, easily distracted, talkative during the movie and prone to revealing any mysteries of the plot that were previously keeping the adults semi-entertained.

As K was leaving she said, "After I put the girls to bed, I think I'm going to stay up and watch another movie." I interpreted that as: I'm going to watch a movie with a real plot. And no one talking over the movie saying, "I'm Georgia! I'M GEORGIA! NOT YOU. I'm THAT dog. I AM!" Sweet, sweet silence.

Today, a four year old came to sit by me during the first hour of church. I felt duly flattered. Then a dad and his two boys sat down by me. The baby started crying, then his 3 year old started clamoring for attention. Then, the three year old's pants slid down to his knees, but the dad was trying to comfort the baby and--it was borderline disaster. I scooped up the 3 year old, pulled his pants on and held him till the mom came about fifteen minutes later.

Then, I spent the rest of the meeting keeping the four year old somewhat entertained. We looked at pictures of Jesus and some of families (What are they doing in this picture? Where is the baby? What are they eating?). Then, she colored in the children's magazine I happened to pick up from a table in the lobby. Then, she started drawing (thankfully I had scrap paper), then she wanted me to draw (do you see how I'm not really listening to the talks...see how I'm thinking about what activity she can do next? it was nice to have a legitimate excuse for drawing pictures during church for once!), so I started drawing connect the dot pictures for her. She liked them, which was both good and bad because then I got to draw more.

Then, we went to primary. Then...well, let's just say we had a pretty good lesson in spite of the howling, running, cock-a-doodle-doing, the shrieks of "LEAVE ME ALONE!,"and turning off-and-on of lights ("It's NIGHT! now! Now, it's day!)

So with that little taste of almost motherhood, I'm seeing that the best mother's day gift I could have given my mom 15 or 20 years ago was a day by herself--one where she could have decided what she wanted to do. If she wanted to hang out with her friends, she could have (without having to bring along coloring books and snacks) and she could have stayed as long as she wanted (without hearing Is it time to go yet? I'm bored repeated over and over again). Or if she wanted to watch a movie in silence, a movie with a plot that was actually interesting she could have. Or she could have quilted, or scrapbooked or...Done whatever it was she wanted to do.

That would have been a good gift.

You know though, once you start hanging out with kids, you start to miss them when they're gone. There's no one telling you stories, or showing you the song they just made up, or spinning on your office chair. And all that silence, while relaxing at first, isn't quite as fun as all the noise was.

So. Happy Mother's Day to all you Mothers. And for those of you with kids, you can come and swap me places for a day when you need to have just a little time to recoup. Because you and I will both enjoy the change of pace. --Lu


Frau Magister said...

I feel the same way around my nieces and nephews. They wear me out even if we just watching a movie. I really admire parents for putting up with it all the time. At the same time, I envy the blessing of having children and getting to interact with them and help them learn and grow.

As a child I always respected your mother but I never feared her, the way I did some of my other friends' parents. Looking back on some of the shenanigans we got up to at your house, I'm even more impressed that she let us do the kind of silly kids stuff we did. The only I really remember her disapproving of something we had done, was when we dressed up one of your brothers like a girl. Good times.

Carrie Nation said...

Well put. I've been having similar experiences out here with all my friends who have kids. I love how they say my last name. And I love when they want to tell you stories, even when they don't make sense. And like you, I miss them when they're gone. But I know too that someday you and I both will be the ones needing the peace and quiet!

Lora:) said...

You know, it's sad but true what you said. There are days as a mom that I long for just some quiet solitude-to be able to read a book during the day, or use the computer without having to play Mickey games. But then I go to bed and think back on the day and say to myself "I sure love my boys. They are so funny and great." When you have it, you don't want it. When you don't have it, you miss/want it!

Amanda said...

I loved this; it even made me a little misty eyed. And, I'm glad that you have a realistic sense of motherhood. I think I was a little naive when I had Lillian. I knew it was hard work, but I didn't have a concept of exactly how hard it is. And then look, I did it again. I'm such a sucker.