Darla and Hudson came home from Grandparent’s night at school and came laughing into the bathroom where I was bathing Haley. “Mom- you know what Darla did?” Hudson asked.
“I’ll tell it! I’ll tell it!” Darla jumped in. She tells a story like her mom- barging right over top of anyone who might not tell it as well. “Mom- Beppe took us to ice cream! I was being funny and told Hudson, 'I wonder if they have awesome possum ice cream here.'
Then Hudson bet me. He said, 'I’ll let you shoot my airsoft gun as many times as you want if you ask the lady for awesome possum ice cream.'
I said, 'I’m doing it!' And Mom, no one believed I’d actually do it because obviously the lady was going to say no. Awkward! But I marched up the counter. I even said it with a straight face. I said, ‘Excuse me, do you have awesome possum ice cream here?'
The lady didn’t get the joke at all. She just said, 'Um…. No…' and I smiled and said, ‘Okay. Thank you!’ Then I went back to the table and everyone was cheering and laughing. Beppe even said the lady didn’t have much of a sense of humor if she didn’t think awesome possum ice cream was funny.”
Hilarious. My kids crack me up.
I’ve been a Mom for nearly a decade and it’s my favorite thing.
This year had a slight shift. After nearly a decade of tying every shoe, cutting up every piece of food, and clasping every car seat buckle, I have kids that wipe themselves and put away their own laundry. Okay, shirts are often wadded in the bottom of closets and my youngest is prone to not making it to the toilet in time… but I’m still counting it.
Naturally there are still plenty of challenging, exhausting, “go ahead and tantrum but I will NOT be interrupted while I watch your brother's baseball game” moments. We aren’t immune to slammed doors and “Never come in my room again!” or “I wish division wasn't invented and I’m NOT doing it!” I'm trading the physical energy needed to parent babies and toddlers for the emotional energy and brain space it takes to parent children.
Yet this year has been marked by sweet enjoyment, not merely in my role as mom but in really liking who my kids are as people (cool people that say “awesome possum” and dare each other to do weird stuff).
A couple days ago Darla said she wanted to go on a run like me. We pulled on shoes, swept hair into ponytails, and ran a mile and a half through rows of raspberry fields while the sun dropped low and clouds moved in. I caught bugs in my teeth with my wide smile. I whispered a prayer of thanks that God has given me an oldest daughter I identify with, who loves doing similar things, and is a companion for me even at a young age.
Hudson watches out for me. He loves to fix things and do "manly" things like lock doors and check the house for me when Sean is gone.
Recently we were sitting at the table after dinner and I asked him to take a shower.
“Argh! Why do I have to shower first?”
I raised my eyebrows. When I’m going on my third consecutive day of being the only adult home and am directing four kids in four directions, I don’t always negotiate well.
“Hudson Aaron, I wish someone would tell me to go take a hot shower. I’m going to do these dishes, help with homework, get four kids ready for bed, fold laundry and maybe THEN get a hot shower. I’ll do what I’m responsible for and you do what I’ve asked you to be responsible for. Be thankful all you have to do is shower.” (Yes, I was a little sassy and yes, I'm surprised when my kids are sassy... as if I don't know where they get it.)
He stopped his shoulder slouching pout and looked straight at me. “That's busy, Mom. I didn't know you have to do all that. I didn't know you wanted to take a shower. If you want, I’ll do your stuff and you can take a shower.”
He jumped up and began rubbing my shoulders and scratching my back in a sudden moment of compassion. “Really, Mom. We can even tuck ourselves in." His back scratching was somehow reaching tired bones and the weariness I thought fingers couldn't touch. I suddenly felt blessed to be the adult that gets to be home with them... no matter how many days.
When I tuck Everett in he wants to talk about everything. “Okay Everett, this is the last thing. Then seriously, it’s time to shut your eyes.”
The week of Easter he had a constant stream of questions regarding Jesus’ last week on earth. One night as he prayed he said, “…and Jesus, I’m so sorry those men did those things to you. Amen.” He turned to me with a hushed voice, which for Everett is a rarity. “Mom? Do you know all the things they did to Jesus? Did you know about the thorns made into a crown?”
He quietly retold the story of the crucifixion in the dark, while I silently sat beside his bed. It was in those still moments on Thursday night that I observed Good Friday- quiet, reverent, with the severity of the sacrifice told to me by my kindergartener.
Everett's growing faith, bold questions, and fresh way of hearing Scripture causes me to pause... and often drives me to Scripture to find the answers he's determined to have.
My face gets mashed most by Haley Kate. If we aren’t cheek to cheek with her arms nearly choking me, she thinks we’re too far apart. Her favorite thing in the world is “nuggling” and falling asleep while having her back tickled.
Her moodiness can be rough on a low swing but on the high, affirmation and affection bubble over as she can’t contain herself. “You’re my best mom ever! Oh mom, thank you THANK YOU for getting my milk- I love it.” She gushes and I laugh. I absorb some of her tenacity and passion about even the mundane.
Do you take mental snapshots of moments that warrant freezing? I love words so I try to memorize them as they're coming out of someone's mouth. Then I can associate them with the fleeting moment. It slows me down to absorb what I experience. I'm taking thousands of these snapshots in my every day with these four.
This week the freezable moment was in the form of a goofy story about awesome possum ice cream told to me Thursday night as I leaned over a bathtub scrubbing the most incredible toddler hair, in a bathroom that echoes the giggles.
Just throwing myself out there a bit...