Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

I have very mixed feelings about this holiday. On one hand, I think it is nice to have a day devoted to recognizing and appreciating mothers. On the other, my expectations are way too high and I am always let down. I know, I need to change my expectations and I will truly learn to enjoy and appreciate the holiday.

This morning, I woke up alone in my bed to the sound of Pinnochio playing in Connor's bedroom. Spoons were clanking and milk was being slurped in the kitchen letting me know that the children were awake and being taken good care of by their dad. I chose to just lay in bed a while longer when Todd came in and offered to make breakfast. I really like cereal, so I declined and went out to the kicthen. Todd and I sat alone at the kitchen table and enjoyed our bowls of cereal...in peace.

What a great way to start the day. Todd also had no meetings, so he started cleaning up the morning dishes and straightening the house...he wanted the basement to be clean so we could watch a movie together tonight (he and Connor are downstairs watching Iron Man...there a just a handful of movies I can watch more than once...I thought Iron Man would be one of them, but 30 minutes into it and I was bored). He helped me get the kids ready and we all had a very peaceful, emotional free morning.

That's how you should always start the sabbath. We could have had one minor melt-down, but I chose not to battle Abi in the fight for the right hair-do. After Curling Abi's hair and combing it out, she proceeded to place 2 headbands in. A thick white one and a thin sparkly purple one. At least the colors matched her dress, but she looked like someone from an 80's work-out video. I had to laugh.

We got to church and sat down in "our" pew. Connor wanted to sit alone..three rows behind us. But that is the Paulson's bench (ha ha ha laugh if you know about "assigned benches" on Sundays), so I picked him up and sat him down where he could join our family(mistake #1...never do something that could embarrass Connor...it spoils his mood).

Brief Sidenote: I was considering suggesting to the Bishop that next Mother's Day, he reserve the front five pews for just the women in the ward. Then ask the men and children to sit in the back. This would allow the women to fill their spiritual reservoirs without interruption.

The opening song started, I was able to sing the first verse before Abi took my hymnbook away from me and asked me to help her with a puzzle. So I smiled and helped her with her puzzle (not even humming along because it was a Hymn I was very unfamiliar with).

We all made it through the prayer..announcements (Carly is starting to get restless)....sacrament hymn (Connor tries to draw an airplane)....Bread (airplane doesn't look right...meltdown #2)...water (Abi refuses to sit still and is using me as her human jungle gym)...first talk (Carly has fallen victim to her Father's soft tickling and is cuddling closely with him nearly asleep which Todd rubs in my face and I reply "Come on, it's Mother's Day. Can't she cuddle like that with me?")...Primary kids sing (Connor is asked by his parents and multiple people around us if he is going up to which he replies "No" getting more and more frustrated with each reply, you CANNOT change this kids mind)...Second speaker (Carly wants her mommy! I hope to have her cuddle with me, but she has other ideas and starts yelling and hitting so Carly and I leave quickly with Abi trailing behind)...Third Speaker (I see Todd storming out of the chapel with Connor who has had his worst melt down of the day).

At that point I started mumbling about how Mother's Day is an over-rated holiday and if we just didn't celebrate it then we would never have high expectations of our children acting "perfect" for one day and the visions of all of us sitting quietly on a bench for a whole hour wouldn't even be in my mind and I would be more realistic and only expect what should be expected of a 4, 2 and 1 year old. I also swore to Todd that I was writing off all Mother's Days and not celebrating them anymore. I told Todd to give me the keys and the kids and I were just going home. As I am marching out to the car feeling sorry for myself Todd says to me "Make sure the kids go straight to their rooms and they don't watch any movies. They have been so bad today." Bad thoughts went through my head and I was sending Todd zingers through my mind. He helped me carry kids to the van and load them in when he replied, "Wait, it's Mother's Day. I will take the kids home."

Relief.

Brief Interjection: Last night I was so beat from working in the yard all day, that I failed to check on Connor after I put him to bed. I was out cold. Connor's bedroom light had been left on ALL NIGHT. I know I don't sleep well unless it's dark, so he sort of has a good excuse as to why he was a little off today. It's my fault and I hope I only make that mistake once.

My neighbor saved me a seat next to her in Sunday School. The lesson was on keeping the Sabbath Day Holy. I loved it the very most when an incredible sister in the ward spoke up and said something like "When my children were younger I dreaded Sunday's. My husband was in the bishopric and with all the meetings, I had to get my kids ready by myself and sit with them on the bench alone. I got nothing out of my meetings and the day started off by prying children off of one another and settling arguments." I was so glad to know that I was not alone. Tears of joy were streaming down my face. I love that honest sister who has had so much life experience. She always makes me feel good. My neighbor sees my tears, to which my starts giving solutions to problems she thinks I am having (maybe she thought I was crying because she thinks I am not starting my days out happily...little does she know that it is just one hour on Sunday's that have got me hung-up) and I start sending bad zingers through my mind that way like "you do the math...3 kids, 2 laps...all of them want to be sitting in someone's arms...how do you make it work...you don't know what it's like...blah blah blah. My neighbor is actually a very sweet person she didn't deserve to be in my line of fire.

Of course, my situation is quite good. I don't have to sit alone on a bench, Todd is there and he is very good at taking whichever child needs to be taken out. But, Todd does have the meetings on Sunday's. Thankfully our church time gives me enough time to get them all dressed, ready and out the door at a decent time. We've got a routine down and it's working great for us.

It's just that one hour, that one hour when I am given the opportunity to reflect on Christ's Atoning Sacrifice for me and the opportunity to renew the covenants I have made that I am overtaken by frustration and way too high expectations of my children that I allow myself to be removed from the true spirit of the meeting. I dread Sunday's because I know that for one hour, my kids will be kids and not these magical quiet little creatures that I have painted in my head. I spend so much time anticipating their arguments/outbursts that I won't be able to sit quietly reflecting on the sacred prayers that were said.

But I am there. I go. I will be in the right place at the right time. It is by my example that my kids will eventually begin to show more reverence. I can see it in Connor already. He is usually quite good at sitting quite and still for that one hour. He even picks up the hymn book on occasion and points to words while he tries to sing. Carly will try to lead the music with the chorister. Abi likes to say the prayer with whomever is saying the prayer.

I go. My kids go. It will get better.

But, back to Mother's Day. I came home after church to a silent house.

Relief.

I sat down on the couch and read for a while. Everyone was asleep. It was so nice.

Eventually Todd woke up and we had a nice visit. Then Abi who is always sweet and cuddly and happy when she wakes up came into the living room and cuddled with me. Carly was next with her loud way of letting us know she is ready to join the fun.

I made some cookies and we all shared some delicious dough.

Then I went in and lay down next to Connor. It was time to go to my mom's house to celebrate the holiday. Connor sleeps with his eyes kind of open, so I never know if he is awake or asleep. He smiled at me and put his arm around me. So I knew he was waking up. He said, "Hi mom. I love you so much."

THAT is Mother's Day. I celebrate Mother's Day every day. My children and Todd, without fail, will each do at least one thing every day to reafirm their love for me.

Todd does the dishes quite often, he pours compliments out upon me, and he loves to play with the kids.
Connor is always the first to give me a big hug and a smile and vocalize his love for me.
Abigail doesn't think she can live without me. How much more love is there than to be constantly needed?
Carly Belle gives kisses and makes me laugh daily.

I am a mom. I am grateful. I am relieved.

I mentioned that we went to my mom's house to celebrate (by the way, my mom is amazing..I should probably write a post all about her incredibilities some day...but that would be bragging and make all of you envious of me). It was great! The men took care of the meal and dessert. My grandparents were visiting from Roswell, NM and they hadn't met Carly yet, so we took the opportunity to take a 4 generation photo. As a few of you know...Carly HATES the camera (yes, she is trying to hit Abi), so this is the best shot I could get of all of us:

5 comments:

Janel Ogden said...

I'm glad that despite the horrid hour at church it was an okay day for you. I'm glad you got the four generation shot with your grandmother. I think your kids give it some personality! Hang in there---someday you'll be able to enjoy sacrament meeting again.

SamandJasonfamily said...

Motherhood definately has it's challenges, but the rewards are great! Love you Mel, It gets easier, Promise.

Miranda said...

Beautifully said! You should write a column or a book or something. You always express so beautifully what most of us are feeling.

Abi sure has a cute dress on :0)

Heather B said...

I agree with Miranda. I am wondering how long church has to be hard for... Are we doomed to not be able to reflect on the Sacrament until...all kids are over age 5?? That's kind of a depressing thought, but at least we know it has to end someday...and then one day we will be so lonely sitting on a pew with just our ol hubby, and we'll actually miss those screaming meltdowns. Well, that's what they say. I'm all for the women getting the front 5 rows on Mother's Day. GREAT idea.

Leah said...

It will get better. Mine are 6, 4 and newborn and compared to 4 and 2 Sundays are a picnic!

We had so many horrible Sundays when they were littler, and my husband is military and is almost never able to attend our Sacrament meetings (I can count on one hand the times we've been to church together in the past two years- it's that crazy!)

One Sunday was so awful I literally broke out in hives from the stress.

It gets better. It really does.