Friday, October 22, 2010


I have three.
Three boys.
They are my world.

I am going to stray from my usual triathlon chatter to talk for a bit about my boys. Don't worry, I'll get right back to my swimbikerun babble shortly.
But something happened yesterday that truly had a profound effect on me.

A few nights ago, I went to bed in tears. That sounds a bit too dramatic for what was happening but the truth is, I was at the end of my rope. I ended my day feeling useless. My mothering felt ineffective. I have been feeling totally incapable of reaching through to my boys. I stare at photos taken from earlier years and find myself sad. Things were easier then. I was hardly ever 'mad' or upset with them. We just cruised around doing things you do with babies. We've watched a lot of family videos lately from when the kids were 1, 3 and 5 or ages near that and I tell ya..they were SO cute!! Oh I miss that stuff. Sure, they were much more dependent upon me for the basics in life--getting them dressed, feeding them, washing their faces in the tub, and for that matter, carrying them. But they were small and I was their world. It was easy for me to carry them around, hang their coat on the hook, plunk them in their high chairs for lunch and then throw a ball around the playroom.
I'm totally simplifying things of course. It really wasn't that simple. But somehow, I feel as if I am spinning my wheels right now. The boys are 11, 8 and 6. They are fabulous children. They really are. I'm their Mom so of course I think that but hey, I really do think they are awesome kids.
And yet.... every-single-day I have to tell them the same things over and over and over and over! I tell one not to drop their shoes at the bottom of the stairs, another to put clothes away instead of throwing Clean clothes in hamper because it's easier, please pack your soccer stuff (we do this 5x week so it should be easier by now!), where is your coat?, dont' throw the kickball inside, blah blah blah blha blah. I write things out it all seems SO totally unimportant. But the jist is that I'm talking about basic things around the house that each of us needs to be responsible for. We are a family of 5 and I do feel that as each child grows, he needs to be able to do things for himself and to help keep things rolling along smoothly. Having to explain these things day after day after day after day after day, it starts to feel like nobody is listening.

So that's that.

Last night I was about to go to bed. Mark asked me if Cameron (he's 11) told me the story about Jack. (ficticious name)
Earlier in the evening Cam had told me that there was something he wanted to talk to me about but he never did.
So Mark told me.
Cam started the story by saying that "something happened today with my friends and I hate it when this happens."
At recess, Cameron saw some boys over in a group. Some of them were boys he plays with. As he walked over, those kids ran away and he saw Jack on the groud, hurt. Jack ended up in the nurse's office getting ice for his hurt leg.
Later on at lunch, Cameron was already sitting at a table with some friends. ( I am not sure if they were the same ones that had been bothering and I believe hurting him outside.) Jack came over to sit there too, limping and holding the ice bag.
As Jack started to sit down, this boy that had hurt him, swooped in and 'stole' his seat and left no room for Jack.
Jack left and found an empty table and sat down alone.
The rule in their cafeteria is that once you sit, you stay there. The teachers don't want the kids moving around.
Cameron is a rule follower...Big time. However, he decided to risk it.
He stood up from the table where his friends were sitting and moved to sit with Jack.

When Mark told me this, tears just spilled out of me.

That's My boy. He gets it. He totally gets it. I am actually blown away by how sweet that was and how proud I am of him. Cameron is not the child who is most comfortable in social situations. He has felt awkward along the way while trying to develop friendships. It hasn't been easy for him. And despite the fact that he now feels 'safe' with this group of popular boys, he still went out on a limb to reach out to this poor little guy who was undoubtedly feeling horrible and sad yesterday.

At that moment I realized how undeniably wrong I had been in feeling so much frustration with these little kids.

I was allowing myself to get so hung up on the day to day mundane tasks. The small stuff. The details in our world that make our homes run more smooothly but don't mean one iota in the big picture of life. Who really cares I guess if Nick's shoes are alwasy left at the bottom of the stairs with his coat on the floor?
If I can somehow show these kids that kindness and compassion is what matters, then I feel I have succeeded. Tonight at dinner, I will have Cameron tell his brothers the story. He clearly has a lot to teach all of us.
Thank you Cameron. You're awesome.

I have to 'smack' myself every so often, when things are wild and crazy around the house. These kids are here because I brought them here. I mean truly, I 'made' them! They didn't knock on my door and ask for this life. I brought them into the world and it is my responsiblity, with my husband of course, to show them the way. I am so so insanely lucky to have them all. Two of my 3 kids spent several weeks in the neonatal intensive care when they were born, one was born prematurely via emergency c-section, one was at high risk of brain damage since the cord was wrapped twice around his neck for 12 weeks during my pregnancy (I used my swimming history to 'will' him to do flip turns while he was swimming around in there to unravel himself--it worked!), and yet all of them are incredibly healthy.
I am Lucky!!
So how dare I feel exasperated like I do at times. It's normal, I know, but I need to step back and remember all this. The important things.

My guys:

So after my Proud moment last night with Cameron, I was able to keep the happy Mom hat on and accompany my other little guy to his field trip today!! Oodles of 3rd graders at a cool mine in Western Maine. It was 37 degrees and SNOWING when we arrived! Yikes. It turned out to be a fun day. After learning some interesting facts about all the valuable gems and minerals found on this site we went into a real bona fide cave! Actually, a tunnel. It's a man made tunnel that they used to mine in. Check it out!!!

black tourmaline

open your eyes Tommy!


I'll post again soon and get back to Triathlon!!! I have a few new developments that I'm excited to share. Actually, I've been scheming about things for a while but the plans are finally in place.
I can't wait for 2011!!


Mary IronMatron said...

You are such a good mom, and Cameron is a good, good boy. I'm proud of him too! Doing something like that takes a ton of courage. :)

Running and living said...

Wow, what a story! I was just thinking the other day, as my boy is 5 and quickly catching up on life, how to teach him kindness and compassion, which are so so important in life. Great job with your kids Ange. And one of these days they might even surprise you and remember to pack their soccer stuff!

Kim said...

aw ange - i love this story. you are a wonderful mom and you have amazing boys.

Aimee said...

Aww..what a sweet story about Cameron. That takes a lot of guts to do what he did...that's awesome!

I do know how you feel though. Sometimes I feel like all I'm doing is nagging my boys to pick up their shoes, pick up their toys, etc... Then I remember that those are the little things that don't really matter. My boys are amazing little guys who are sweet, gentle, and caring. I need to stop nagging so much and just take the time to enjoy them!

Annie Crow said...

What a great story, and what a great reminder about what is most important in this life. Thank you.

Angela and David said...

You are clearly an amazing boy and brought three little boys into the world who will make the world a better place! Can't ask for much more than that.

cheryl said...

That's a great story. What a great little guy!

So sad to see you wearing a puffy down coat! brrr. Please don't send that weather our way.

Pedergraham said...

We have been having parallel situations here, only at 1/3rd of what you have! On the first part--the repeating myself--I sat down on Monday night and wrote a list of 9 expectations for Lelia, because I was sick of having to remind her to bring in her swim bag, put her dirty laundry in the basket, brush her hair, make her bed, etc. Surprisingly, it worked. I also added small details, like "Start violin practice with a positive atitude." Not as much progress there, but some. But, the best part is that I don't have to listen to myself repeat the same instructions over and over. What a great idea to have Cameron share that story with his brothers. Hope you don't freeze at soccer this weekend!

Alili said...

*sniff* Goodness - pure goodness. :)

sallyaston said...

I'm a mom of 2 boys aged 8 and 11 (my 11yo is also called Cameron!). Write that story down, or make a mental memory of it. Its obvious that he has learned that compassion from home. So, no matter how you feel you are doing, that just validates that you are doing lots of stuff right!

donna furse said...

You know you've done a great job with your kids when they behave signficantly better outside the home then when they are home. What Cameron did was truly amazing given his age and situation he was in at school, it shows what great role models you and your husband must provide for them on a daily basis.

dawn said...

what a terrific story! I have one five-year old boy and I often think about how I will teach him to be good person and think of others when I'm not around and not prompting him. Thanks for reminding that being a parent is the MOST IMPORTANT job in the whole world. I'm a high school teacher, a wife, a friend, a teammate and sometimes I feel pulled by all those responsibilities -- but the truth is.....all of those people involved with those jobs have mostly been shaped already. It's my five-year-old that needs me the most (well...besides the husband). Thanks for the perspective check!

MaineSport said...

I think we get the best indication of who our kids are when we're not with them. Great story, Ange.

Pam said...

Ange, thanks for blogging about the good parts of parenthood. Yours is one of the few mom blogs that doesn't scare me half to death about having children. Just kidding. Sort of. Anyway, great post:)

Caratunk Girl said...

Aww, Cameron! That is so awesome, that takes a lot of guts. Good for him.

Laura said...

such a wonderful post and something all of us mothers need to hear. It's so easy to get caught up in the BS at home. I know I do. You hit the nail on the head w/ all of your frustrations. Thank you for sharing this story and raising such an amazing kid!!!!

Melissa said...

I like your new caption. :)

Marni said...

you are an awesome mom!! Not sure when we will have kids but I know who to go to when I need advice and start to freak out!
Love ya Ange!

Kevin said...

Nice post about the family.


The Lazy Triathlete said...

I can tell you are good mom.