Parenting Fun

Be Still My Melting Heart

On occasion, children create moments that melt hearts. As a mama, you want to grab the nearest roll of the Quicker Picker-up to soak up every drop… Maybe because you’re a clean freak and can’t stand the thought of drippy heart staining your good linens … But, more likely, because you want to lock that messy ball of melty moment in a vault to sneak into and hold every now and again.

Even boys need to share the, albeit rare, heaviness on their hearts… especially when that heaviness is in the arena of sports disappointments. A mom sometimes panics when surprise tears well up in the eyes of her nearly grown little boy at the most random of moments.

Is someone hurting him?? Is it a girl??!? What kind of life altering struggle has befallen my son??!

He fights to choke out a few words that express a deep pain at a loss in that afternoon’s hockey game, and, while I feel relief in the quick realization that no one was breaking my son’s heart, or face, …  those choked up words strangle my heart and I still want to say all the right things!

After a little coaxing to understand the current hardship, in all my imperfect mama wisdom, I respond in soothing tones and share waaaaaay too many words while my mind questions me at every syllable…

Am I talking too much?

Am I being too hard?

Is he analyzing the thread count of his jeans??

Not being hard enough?

Maybe I should listen more?

Wow, the knees are pretty worn on those jeans.

Is this even helping?

He’s gonna pick a hole in those jeans!

Should I stop talking?

“Dude, leave your jeans alone for a sec!” I don’t claim to have any discernible amount of patience.  We arrive at the moment where I am certain his eyes have glazed over and the innocent jeans will need a patch, so I wrap it up.

“Ok, buddy, how about we do some Christmas shopping on Amazon?”

His eyes moved! He’s alive!! “Bored to death” seemed to be sniffing at the edge of literal there for a sec.

The evening then proceeds in normal jovial fashion… hugs, lame jokes, typical goofy atmosphere. With the regular bedtime routine of praying, tucking, hugging, tickling, and the sort, complete, hubby and I retire to the kitchen table.

The first 30 seconds are the most peaceful, as the boys lay in near darkness, holding their breath in ultra silence, doing that “hearing with your eyes” thing, waiting for the perfect moment to get up and go to the bathroom. Never fails. They take their turns staggering out with squinty “I just woke up” eyes because obviously sleep hit hard and coma-like in the past minute since tuck-in.

After the theatrics, the boys each return to bed, the next 5 minute phase of silence has passed and I hear a “Mom, can you please come here?”

“Buddy, I was just in there!”

This is a very regular occurrence… always one more hug…or kiss… or report of some cool mind-blowing trivia that must be shared this second lest it be lost forever.

I’m a sucker tho.. I always go in ooooone more time. I lean in to see his face, dimly lit from the hallway light, and my boy says …

“Mom, I just wanted to say thank-you for taking the time to talk with me today.”

Clean-up in aisle 2, bring the Bounty.

Dr. Jekyll and the Blood Moon

There exists but one window in our home that peeks towards the southern sky, and so it is that our walk-in closet became the cozy venue that hosted the lunar eclipse gala. Thick fuzzy blankets spread on the cold laminate floor (yep, still waiting for that plush chocolate brown rug to finish off the new closet), I squished together with only 2 of my 3 handsome fellas as we lay in wait to each claim our view of the brilliant moon’s time in the spotlight… Or rather, out of the spotlight. A warm memory to be cherished.

With slumber party whispers, because, in the dark even your inside voice takes on a certain bullhorn quality, we observe the slow cloaking of the bright glowing orb which eventually leaves only one tiny portion lit giving the perception of an enormous eyeball engaged in a cosmic staring contest with the teensy shy star down to the right. With Mars keeping score, the orb ultimately grants victory to the little star as it darkens into an eerie red slumber.

Unfortunately, only 3 sets of heavy lidded eyes were to behold this sight. As thrilled as he was while being tucked in the evening before, those that truly know my baby will understand my futile attempts to wake him at 1 am for the rare event of the red moon. A soft coaxing voice, gentle nudges, kisses on the cheek…all met with sleepy, faint smiles and confirmation that he would love to come lay with us in our moonlit nest…that is, until this mean mama had to make it clear that this would require acting upon the absurd notion that he dislodge himself from his current cocoon.

Given that the boy can walk around tossing cookies in his sleep and is prone to being vexed at pulled pork while merely preparing a school lunch at 7am, this idea of waking the child at 1 am seems a rather kamikaze mission. But, in love for the sweet boy, I gear up and press on despite the angry groans and incomprehensible words, limbs flailing but then, just as quickly, retreating to grasp his crumbling cocoon. An offer to carry him to the viewing area was answered with more grunts of compounding dismay.

In my continuing perseverance, my brain pulls a book off it’s “currently reading” shelf and waves it frantically in comedic warning. A classic recommended by my 10 year-old, the bold black title pulses in my mind’s eye…”Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde”. I honestly don’t know how it ends yet, perhaps a partial factor in my retreat and decision to let this sleeping dog lie.

After a night of wonder, the morning dawns far too soon for the audience of three. My heart breaks just a bit when my little Jekyll wraps his arms around my waist and softly inquires why I didn’t wake him for the eclipse. A vision of the tiny rage-filled creature from a few hours ago threatening my mind’s capacity to believe this is the same child. Returning the embrace, I chuckle in sympathy…

“Oh, sweetheart… I tried”

Dancing Queen

Fond moments fill my tattered cerebral memory box labelled “the lifetime before my very own high heels and mascara”. I dust off an old favorite from deep inside, clearing a vision of my mama cranking Abba as we danced like superstars around the living room of our old house trailer. An 80’s brownish, or greenish, shaggy type carpet became our makeshift stage on this warm Texas afternoon.

My mom danced.
My little 7-year-old heart leapt.

(I’m certain time is rather skewed in this particular memory box since I seem to be aged 7 years in every recollection.)

I gaze up at her, golden blonde hair glistening in the sunlight that clamors through the window to join us as we brought the rhythms to life. I don’t recall if we were alone, but in my mind, this scene belongs entirely to us. In a chapter of our story that was not always abounding in joy, these moments fell on my heart like a fresh spring rain quenching the desperate thirst of winter weary foliage.
Her laughter … Oh, how I drank it in.

In that instant, we were silly and I loved her for it. Nothing shackled us while those happy notes flowed through our hair, brushing our ears to ward away all worries for that brief time. Twirling and swaying, her slender frame spoke the words the music intended to convey.
An angel in acid wash jeans.
These rare candid moments ignited in me a lifelong love of dance.

Fast forward a billion years and 20 lifetimes to last night, my boy cranks some 80’s metal in the car to liven up our long journey home. Grey leather seats set a new stage, air band of awesomeness ensues. My wicked cool drum skills on the steering wheel complementing his deftly moving fingers on invisible guitar strings. He lip syncs the lyrics as I belt them with passion, no holds barred.

All the while my brain observes, permanently sketching that golden hair, sparkling eyes… The laughter … The silly that I love him for. For a boy that has admitted embarrassment by his own mama’s dancing around the living room, we still move in sync to our own type of waltz.

Though my G may not find these moments as cherished as I, each air band session with my son is as rare and splendid to my soul as those afternoon dance parties with my mom.

Today I will tuck both those memories, though eons apart, side by side in a new box labelled “coolest moms ever – the musical”

Blood is Thicker Than… Snot?

Tuesday night’s waffle soup clean-up inspired a perusal through the annals of time… Well, more specifically, my Facebook timeline… To remind myself that vomit is a mere inconvenience, I’ve encountered MUCH worse. In fond memory, through vision blurring laugh-tears, I read the following post aloud to my toxic substance producing offspring.

One beautiful morning last spring, as I drop my child off at daycare, I reached to wrap him in a loving embrace at the exact moment he convulses in a sneeze….slinging the biggest, grossest, most vile blob of slimy snot directly onto the back of my hand at great velocity, ensuring maximum splatter and coverage ….. *GAAAAAAG* …. Very little grosses me out, including waffle soup, but this gooey green substance stands smugly at the top of that podium, resulting in all rationale fleeing the scene… Making horrific dry heave actions, which are beginning to frighten the little bystanders, I grasp for the nearest Kleenex box…. EMPTY!! In the background, I recall vaguely hearing my dear child’s profuse apologies as I stagger to the sink, with my cookies fortunately untossed, where I am able to finally free myself of this dripping disgustingness.
“Sorry, Mommy” – I go in for round 2 and come out unscathed. Time to start the day.
Good thing I love my baby.

Did I Give Birth to a Robot??

The question that itched my mind as I came upon an intriguing scene last night. Lounging in the living room absorbing the silence of the day’s end… a victorious silence, probably something akin to that following the reverbing of final gunfire in battle (cinematic battle, of course… with settling dust & a dirt-smudged weary soldier gazing across the carnage)… I sit and assess the day, do a body count.  Zero again. I bask in the relief that patience spares lives.

A quick, but faint, new sound across the house breaks the coveted silence. I wait and do that thing where you cock your head, eyes peeking upwards like you’re searching for better reception…. nothing. Peculiar… perhaps it was a fabrication of my chaotic brain. Hubby inquires in a sleepy drawl… “What was that?” … Bugger! Confirmation that it was real and I do, indeed, have to peel myself from my cozy post battle reprieve. I stumble up my menacing stairs (still sensitive to an old feud between us), mentally drawing conclusions as I see the bathroom light on and match that fact with “sore tummy”, found in my mind’s Rolodex of the day’s kid conversations . A little perplexed about the complete silence following the mysterious sound, I approach the open bathroom door.  As my unsuspecting feet are greeted by a threshold of  warm gush, the mystery sound instantly floods back into my mind…Kind of like a full pot of creamy waffle soup, should such a thing exist, cascading out onto the clean kitchen floor.

And I am standing in it.

In the bathroom I witness my seemingly mute boy, oblivious to the surrounding ruckus, dispensing one last small serving of waffle soup onto the floor, still not quite having found a container that suits his purpose. He looks down, shrugs his shoulders, and turns to leave the bathroom. Noticing the sink and an empty cup on the way out the door, he pauses, turns on the water and proceeds to drink. Paralyzed on instinctive tippy-toes in my mire of yuck, grasping the door frame for support as though I will melt into this stuff, I can only watch in awe as he operates without expression, robotic… the boy’s lights are on but ain’t nobody home.  Water still running, he places the empty cup back on the sink and turns off the light. nope… something is amiss. Light back on..hesitates… then off again. Water still running, he repeats the light switch toggling process. I’m bursting trying not to laugh, after all, my baby is sick! My little robot baby that is peering coldly right through me. Finally the right synapses fire for the brain to convey the message that the water will stop running by pushing down the tap, not the light switch. On that note, he staggers quietly past me to return to his interrupted sleep. During the entire escapade not one word or sound escaped this child… only gobs of chunky fluid.  For a boy that wails and shoots fire from his eyes (another possible robot trait, oddly enough) when rudely awakened, this has me baffled!

As I do a final tally, body count is thankfully still zero… but, gosh, that’s a whole lot of carnage.

Opportunity knocks… Moms Lie in Wait

As any colossally awesome mom knows, there is an illogical amount of entertainment provided by skulking, at stealthy ninja volumes, just outside a locked bathroom door while on the flip side of that door sits your completely relaxed and unsuspecting 10-year-old. Though I’m certain a sudden solid slap on the door at about 3 minutes in would be fairly effective in achieving the desired result, I tend toward the visual and am willing to exercise patience (which, as a general rule, I carefully ration) so that I may indulge in the illustrated fruits of my labor. So I wait. Bated breath, adrenaline rising as the sequence of aural cues loudly herald the impending moment when the door knob clicks to unlock. Patience…just a bit longer… premature action will only give rise to a brief awkward exchange (making it super creepy that mom was lurking by the bathroom door).

Timing. Is. Key.

Tension rises, hunter instincts take over as the knob slowly turns, the door pulled open by an unwitting oblivious boy. Before recognition takes hold, I pounce with a fierce ROAR! Behold… my efforts have today borne fruit… his heart launches, like a rocket, into his throat, shoving out a girlish shriek on it’s way up, rising with such force he’s momentarily lifted off his feet, but then, somehow simultaneously, the fleeing heart plummets to the pit of his stomach (his subconscious utterly grateful that he is in post void condition) before bouncing safely back up into place… all within a split second. Munus Explendum! (Or “Mission Accomplished” if you prefer …but the precise process here is nearly an art form so likely deserves a little Latin)

(NOTE: Role reversed skulking not recommended… colossally awesome daughters should NOT creep up on napping dads, but that’s a painful story for another day)

Then, of course, I help my boy pick up the composure he spilled all over the floor and we laugh and hug and all is right with the world…

Nonsense makes the heart grow fonder.