Sunday, May 17, 2015

On Survival and Sunsets: Mom-couragement

Moon Rise?
I asked for the same thing for Mother's day for the past three years.

I wanted to take a shower without any surprises. One where I don't come out and find something broken, or the house torn apart, or one where someone doesn't pry open the bathroom door and yell "SURPRISE!" because that happens, too. Also, the shower should be long enough to wash everything, not just the important stuff.

It would be nice if I could sleep in, too, but that's unrealistic. I didn't actually expect any of these things, because Mother's day is not about me. I'm not even sure it's about mothers in the way we think of them, so much as it is a celebration of nurturing, caring, and sacrifice. Not to diminish the special experience of motherhood, but these attributes can be found in other places.It's just that they are really special in the hands of a mother.

I often think of being a parent as getting this job you really want. You've watched others do the job, you know what you would do, or what you would do differently. You aren't sure what your strengths would be on the job, or what will be your weaknesses. You only know that you've seen some people who are great at it, some who are not, and you can do better than the worst and aspire to be the best.

When you are hired, everyone asks how you like your new job. You answer, "I love it!" because you do, and you've only been there a week.

A couple years go by, things start getting intense. You have a bad week, and no one asks how you like your new job anymore. They just tell you how lucky you are to have it.

Little by little you figure out your strengths, and the things you just never seem to get right. Yet, you can't delegate your weaknesses, and you can never resign. There is no Human Resources office. Trust me, I would have called for back up by now.

Sunburst through the window of an old farm building.
You go and talk to the boss, and He listens, and often refers you back to the Employee Handbook, and reminds you that He has an open door policy. Sometimes, it doesn't feel like enough. You want to say, "You really put me in charge of this person? Me? I'm useless before ten in the morning. I can't be the best candidate."

He says, "Yes, you, and only you."

At no other time will you ever be told that you are the only person who can do a certain job. It's a position divinely appointed.

Recently, at a neurology appointment for Little Mister, I was expressing some concerns about his erratic sleep schedule and how we've found only one method of getting him to go to sleep at night. My child cannot just lay down, close his eyes, and go to sleep.

"You do what you have to do to survive", she told me. One day this will stop and go away but for right now, it works and you do it. Then, this wonderful neurologist who is herself a young mother, went on to share about her son who will not eat a bite unless a certain cartoon plays and a live puppet show is conducted at the same time. "I tell people for a living not to let their children watch television while they eat."

She really does get this, I thought.

Then I thought about the puppet that I carry in my pocketbook. I thought of how our frustrations as parents only last for so long, and then it's something else. I thought about how I won't have to do a crazy bedtime ritual forever.

 Oh, and that shower? Don't worry, I'll get it on my birthday.

Sunset at the lake.


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