Sunday, August 14, 2011

August 14, 2011 ~ Day 247
Glad To Be Here

I'm sitting in a child sized chair at the kitchen window looking out over an orange tree full of fruit.

A light wind is rippling through our trees, and in the background all that can be heard is the hum of the refrigerator.

Six months have now passed since we moved to this wonderful, cheerful, welcoming house. Six beautiful months which have been such a blessing for our family.

Even through the hard times, we've really pulled together as a unit here... and despite the fact that its front door recently managed to maul my kid's fingertips, I really feel this is a house of love. A house of great energy. (A house of healing!)

Pretty soon, I know I'll hear the slew of familiar noises that herald the return of my husband and kids from their Sunday of adventure.

He, a magnificent father, has taken them swimming at the beach and biking along the boardwalk. At least, I am pretty sure that's where they've been... given the notable lack of swimsuits hanging from the bathroom rack and child-sized bicycles scattered across our driveway.

The kids will return sandy and exhausted, probably cranky, yet having enjoyed the best afternoon of their week.

For this, I am truly grateful.

When I dropped my eldest son off at summer camp a few days ago, he sighed wistfully and remarked,

"I wish my Dad would be picking me up from camp today."

I knew what he meant. Moms are fine, and as mothers go he thinks I am ok ~ I make the cut. But dads, especially *his* Dad... dads are fun.

I've tried many times to be the fun parent ~ grabbed the bikes or the bathing suits, taken my kids on surprise outings.

What I've discovered along the way is that it isn't what you DO with them that makes it fun... it's who you are.

I am a nurturing, responsible, loving parent who likes to have long conversations with my kids and get to know their personalities. I like to treat them with respect, and share with them the things that we both love.

My husband is a hands-on, active father who likes to take them out into the wide wide world - giving them the chance to expand and grow. He exposes them to risk and adventure, in a good way. He teaches them about confidence, which is SO important.

Nothing makes me happier than to sit in a quiet room reading a good book, with the people I love nearby. I am never more contented than late at night when my entire family is winding down for the evening and I know they are safe, well-fed and taken care of. With my husband sitting close to me reading or working, or holding my hand while watching a movie - I pretty much feel like the luckiest woman on the planet.

Someday when our children really become readers, one of them may end up sharing my enjoyment of this kind of activity. There may come a day when I sit in companionate silence with one or more of my kids on a rainy day... all of us appreciating the joy of a good book. I can almost envision us doing that with "Harry Potter" in a few years, just as my mother used to read the "Anne of Green Gables" series with me.

Honestly, I'll probably never be the mother that laces up her jogging shoes and takes her kids in the stroller on a multi-mile run ~ or who runs races with them at the park.

I have many friends who are fabulously athletic and do this often, with gusto. I admire them so much! I wish I could be that mom, and at times I have tried to be that mom.

In the end though, that's not really my style.

I spent a lot of time in my teens and early twenties wishing I could be more like other people ~ more laid back and outgoing like my big brother, more sassy and confident like some of my closest friends. Funnier.

Having children and experiencing my thirties has shown me how to let all of that go and accept and appreciate the good things about just being myself.

I am the mom that wakes up to give medicine on schedule in the middle of the night. I am the mom who will go out of my way to find pumpkin pie in the summer time to give to my kid who was having a bad day... or to bake it from scratch if I can't find one at the store. I'm the mom who will make my kid a paper airplane for the four hundredth time because all of the rest of them are stuck in the neighbor's tree. LOL!

I'm proud of being a mother that my kids can depend on, even if I'm not the funniest or even the most fun parent to be with.

My daughter has recently taken to hugging my legs and saying, "Lap! Lap! Mommy!" which means that she wants me to sit down so she can climb in my lap.

When I pull her up on to my lap and cuddle with her for a moment, burying my face in her wispy hair with its soft shampoo scent, she smiles and tries to pet my head like a dog.

"I lu yoo Mama!" she confides, and then giggles happily because she knows she has just said something heart-meltingly cute... and also because she knows she is participating in a special ritual with her mommy.

"I love you too, angel," I smile back. I cherish these moments with my little girl.

As bony and thin as I've become again lately, I'm so glad that my children (and my husband) still think that I have a comfortable lap to rest in. Their love is the highest honor and best gift I've ever received in my life... better than an Ivy League diploma or career success; better than anything.

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