Monday, February 20, 2012

Sunday afternoon

I wrote this yesterday and never posted it, so here you go:

I am sitting in the kitchen surrounded by my children.

Girls making cupcakes to be exact.

Sometimes they are just so kind to each other my heart spills over.

And then the next second they are irritated. Voices rise, annoyed, exasperated.

But the irritation is somehow dispelled relatively quickly and they are working together again.

Lucy gets a little too interested in the treat-making so Claire instinctively distracts her and lures her upstairs to play "witches" (her new fascination since she's decided she wants to be a "mean witch" for Halloween next year).

I am in love with my children.

And I am in love with the "moments" that help remind me of that love.

Sure, there are many moments that leave me in exasperation:

Earlier today I sat on the piano bench for two hours trying to become a tiger mother which resulted in tears for one child.

I've nagged Elle twenty-five times to please cut those fingernails that are all chipped off with a rainbow of different fingernail polish colors.

There are the guilty moments every single day where I don't think I can ever be enough. They're the ones where I realize after fourteen years of mothering I still don't know how to ask questions in the right way to get one child to open up or where one child thinks I'm ignoring them because I'm trying to finish a text to one of the young women or trying to pry myself out from under so many mounds of papers and emails and never-ending clutter. There are heart-sick moments where I watch Lucy start to hoard food and my heart turns black because I'm at a loss at what to do about it.

And there are the moments, especially the last couple weeks, where Max and I are suffering from allergies so bad we wish we could just scratch our eyeballs right out and we can barely breathe or concentrate. It makes me snippy with everyone even after we both went to get steroid shots to help ease some of the symptoms (this happens every single year right about this time and it puts me out for a while...the last two years Max has joined me in my misery, poor boy).

But luckily the good moments outweigh the frustrating ones and somehow make them disintegrate into nothingness:

(1) Dave and I return from a little trip. The kids are already snuggled in their beds. We bid the babysitter goodbye and I go watch them sleep.

Lucy breathes deeply, snuggled in a ball with her arm tightly wrapped around her Ariel doll Claire gave her for Christmas. Claire's head is tilted awkwardly against her penguin "pillow-pet," sure to give her a kinked neck in the morning. I rearrange her gently. She sleepily glances up at me, puzzled at first, then at ease with a little gleaming smile before she drifts off to sleep again. Grace is sprawled diagonally across her full-sized bed, mouth open, exhausted. Elle I cannot see, she's tucked too tightly under her covers with her fan whirling full-blast above her and Max is cocoon-like in the king-sized picnic blanket friends gave us for our wedding that he has claimed for his own.

(2) At church I look down the row at my children. They are quietly smiling in unison. Apparently something very funny has just taken place. Their eyes sparkle and their hair is askew even though we just barely got to church.

(3) Max is up early. He has made himself two giant-sized pancakes dotted with chocolate chips. He piles them up together and eats them up.

He makes another batch of the same when he gets home.

He is a bottomless pit. And I love it because when he eats he's in the kitchen where I spend most of my time, and things spill out about his day.

(4) Elle calls her little sisters "hon" and "babe." Grace, the one who she is usually impatient with, comes and tells me about a kind note Elle spontaneously left on her pillow.

(5) At dinner the kids are mesmerized and excited that we've pulled out and dusted off the good old fondue pot. Lucy stands up on her chair and starts to rub Dave's head in adoration in the middle of a conversation. Everyone starts giggling in unison at Dave's annoyed (we're really working on manners) yet bemused expression.

(6) I am up early. I check to see who's awake and hear soft talking in Claire and Lucy's room. I peek in to see both girls snuggled up in Claire's twin-sized bed. Claire is deeply engaged in telling all the details of the Cinderella story to her mesmerized and adoring little sister. I can't help climbing in with them. There is electric delight between all of us, warm and cozy snuggled up like bugs in a rug. Grace discovers us with a giant grin and wriggles her way in between us. We are caught up in the delight of the moment.

To be a mother is grand.

Yes, there are those not-so-grand moments.

My hard-worked organization flies out the window when the kids get home from school. Lucy throws a fit at the park when I really think she's outgrown those things. I get huffy at Dave for no reason because my ears itch. I'm continually tired out of my mind and no one can seem to flush a toilet.

But luckily the grand moments come along like those magic erasers I put my kids to work with.

And just like that they wash away the endless scuffs that continually manifest themselves throughout our house, the frustrating things are washed away with love and I'm left with the sparkle of the good things that make me burst with motherhood gratitude.

There is no school tomorrow and we are all happy as can be about that.

The weather is perfect.

So we must head to the park to suck the marrow from it before it turns wickedly miserable in a couple months.

21 comments:

  1. I have followed you for awhile now, but never commented. I just wanted to tell you this post was so inspiring and well said. Thank you for sharing.

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  2. This was lovely:)

    Max making pancakes reminded me that it's Pancake Day here in the UK tomorrow. We have pancakes (crepes mainly) for breakfast or tea. There's also pancake races:)

    There's loads of ideas for toppings for pancakes but the favourite is lemon & sugar. Do you & your family remember taking part in pancake day when you lived in the UK? I bet Charity loved them on her mission:)

    Happy Pancake Day (or Shrove Tuesday)

    Luv
    Julie

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  3. I just started reading your blog a few weeks ago after my sister recommended it. And I actually saw your mormon.org profile when it came out first. I just LOVE you! I feel such a connection with you even though we've never met. I love stopping by your corner of the internet because it's uplifting and REAL. You comment about the happy things in life, and about the disappointments. It's so optimistic and it's really rubbing off on me. Thank you so much for that!

    p.s. What big sister calls her little sisters "hon" and "babe"???? That is completely adorable!!

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  4. we conserve water around here and have trained the kids to flush only once in a while. "if it's yellow let in mellow, if it's brown flush it down"
    you have done it without even putting any effort into it. congratulations.

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  5. Wow... That's just got be VERY excited to be a mom someday! :)

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  6. I am a new follower... I actually happened upon you through pinterest, it was your post about your family reunion at christmas time, and you had great ideas for games with large groups of people, and the picture was in a cultural hall... I had to, of course, look! I have fallen in love with your blog. Thank you! It is inspiring, and uplifting, and I hope there are so many people out there that can refer to this blog and say, I know mormons aren't crazy people, because she is not crazy! :) thank you for putting life into such well written words!

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  7. You know I love your blog since I am a "frequent comment-er," but I thought this post was even more well-written and touching than your usual posts. (I really loved it!)

    I have a question about Lucy's illness that you could maybe consider tackling in one of your Friday Q & A posts. You've talked about how her illness makes her gain weight more easily, and a few times you've talked about her hoarding food. Why does her affliction not only make her gain weight, but also give her the desire to hoard foodand?

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  8. You know I love your blog since I am a "frequent comment-er," but I thought this post was even more well-written and touching than your usual posts. (I really loved it!)

    I have a question about Lucy's illness that you could maybe consider tackling in one of your Friday Q & A posts. You've talked about how her illness makes her gain weight more easily, and a few times you've talked about her hoarding food. Why does her affliction not only make her gain weight, but also give her the desire to hoard foodand?

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  9. You know I love your blog since I am a "frequent comment-er," but I thought this post was even more well-written and touching than your usual posts. (I really loved it!)

    I have a question about Lucy's illness that you could maybe consider tackling in one of your Friday Q & A posts. You've talked about how her illness makes her gain weight more easily, and a few times you've talked about her hoarding food. Why does her affliction not only make her gain weight, but also give her the desire to hoard foodand?

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  10. This brought me to tears. Thank you for that.

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  11. Beautiful and so well said. Love, love your blog. You are such an amazing person!

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  12. Try the swimmers ear drops (or even straight up alcohol!) for your ears when they itch!!! I've woken up many a night with itchy ears (and making annoying sounds to try to "scratch it" and annoying my husband ;)) and done the drops - works every time....

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  13. Beautifully written! I love how you don't disguise the sibling rivalry and your irritation with your family at times...but I also love how you stop to revel in the moments of being in love with your family! Thank you for this...it's reminded me to do the same thing.

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  14. you are amazing. and i want to be just like you.

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  15. love you shawn. thanks for the reminder that motherhood is a dream underneath all the hard stuff.

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  16. I'm sure you get a lot of advice of different "things" to try for allergies. I thought I'd throw another one out there for you. Have you heard of NAET? We've had incredible success with it for allergies amongst other things. You may want to google it and see if there's a provider near you. I love your blog. Thanks for being so inspiring!

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  17. I loved this! I feel like even with the "real" moments you express on here, you can tell that your home and family are just oozing with love!

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  18. Has anyone ever told you that you should be a writer? Magnificent!

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