I have three.
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. Funny...as 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.
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!!!
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!!