Thursday, October 29, 2015

Be a Good One

"The most important thing she'd learned over the years was that there was no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one."  -Jill Churchill

As a stay-at-home mom of five children, I often feel less like a mom and more like I'm providing some sort of catch-all service.  I'm a cook and a maid and a nurse and a handyman and a hairdresser and a wardrobe consultant and a party planner and a chauffeur and and delivery man and a peace-keeper and and a disciplinarian.  It's a twenty-four hour, seven-days-a-week job.  There is no vacation time-even on vacation.  Sure, I get a break every now and then, but I'm still on call.  During those breaks, no one is filling in for me-the work just piles up.  And believe me, there is always something to do.  From laundry, to meal planning, to grocery shopping, to house cleaning, to bill paying, to helping out at school, to making sure everyone has everything they need for that day when they walk out the door in the mornings.  People often ask me how I do it all.  They tell me that they only have two kids and they have a hard time keeping up with things, and how exactly do you DO it all?  I just shrug and murmur that I'm highly organized.  Usually when I get the "How do you do it all" question, what I really hear is, "You're a little crazy."  When I'm out in public with the kids, I regularly receive several "Are they all yours?", "You've got your hands full!", and "Bless your heart." comments.    I chose this life, and I believe if you're going to do something-anything-you should do it to the very best of your ability.  It might be a nonstop, never-ending job, but the pay and the perks are well worth it.  What pay and what perks, you ask?  My payment and perks come in the form of random hugs and kisses, thank yous when I've made a favorite dinner, laughter when we play tickle games, squeals of delight when a bag of new craft supplies appears for no particular reason, small grins when they find I've made tasty treats while they've been at school, late night hand-delivered drawings of our family, and even texts when I'm away asking if I'll be home to kiss them goodnight.

I recently gave my school-aged children a small assignment.  I wanted them each, individually and privately, to write down five things that they think are a part of my job as their mother.  At the top of everyone's list was Food.  I guess that's a no-brainer, right?  Feeding my family is a very important part of every day.
Next on the list: Help.  Help us get ready for school.  Help us at bath time.  Help us get a good education.
Then I could tell that they started to really think about what else should be on their lists.  Keep us healthy.  Keep us in shape.  Make sure we get enough exercise.  Make sure we are active and involved with things.
And on everyone's list, there was one more answer-one more thing that, when they all sat and really thought about what my job involves, was very important to them: Spend time with us as we grow up.

That's really the most important thing, isn't it?  TIME.  Everyone has time, and we are all in charge of how we spend our own time.  We prioritize our lives, allotting time for work, play, sleep.  Do you know when the best times happen around here?  When we haven't made plans-when we haven't scheduled every minute of every day.  The best times are the Saturday mornings when the kids drift down from their beds, one by one, to snuggle with us or each other on the couch.  The best times are when we're working in the yard and the kids have been playing outside all day and we build a bonfire and eat snacks for dinner because, why not?  The best times are when unexpected family or friends stop by, just to say hi, and end up staying for hours.  The best times are when we decide on a whim to pack it up and head for the lake or the ocean because, what's stopping us?  The best times are when we all decide to stay up late for a movie and the kids eventually nod off to sleep because they know mom and dad secretly love carrying them up the stairs and tucking them into their beds.

So, how do I do it?  To tell the truth, I really am highly organized.  I'm also a little crazy.  And to answer those questions from family, friends, and random passersby:  They ARE all mine, my hands ARE full, and I feel VERY blessed.

"I will let them be little, fill their hearts with laughter, help them grow wings, nurture their sense of wonder, inspire them to believe, and love them like there is no tomorrow." -Unknown

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Greyson is Eight

There's always one, right? There's always that one child who keeps you on your toes and questions every single thing you say and has answer for everything. That child for me is my middle child, Greyson.
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And while Greyson has always been that one child, this year, he's taken it to a new level. For instance, in the mornings when I go into his room to wake him up for school, he has requested that instead of just opening the door and saying his name, I should ring a small bell he has on his bedside table. Why a bell? Because he likes the sound it makes and it's much nicer to wake up to than my voice. 

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Also, Grey is no longer content getting dressed as soon as he wakes up. This takes up too much time, you see. He now puts on his clothes and socks for the next day right before he goes to bed. Greyson is all about efficiency. (And I am all about choosing my battles wisely.)

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 Greyson has never been a child who has been excited about school, but he recently informed me that he's probably not going to go to school longer than I make him, because he "already knows everything worth knowing."

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I remember those frustrating toddler years when Grey didn't speak. He would hum along to songs on the radio and even make up a few of his own tunes. These days, he listens to the radio or watches YouTube videos and makes it his mission to learn every word correctly to every country song. He won't actually sing along to them if he thinks anyone can hear him, but once in a while I can catch him rocking out to some Zac Brown Band or Blake Shelton.

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 Speaking of YouTube, let me tell you about Greyson's favorite videos to watch. These include, Extreme Snowmobiling, Extreme Dirt Biking, Extreme Dirt bike Fails, and pretty much anything else with the word "Extreme" in front of it.

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He took his first spin on a dirt bike this year, and hasn't been the same since. After school, he quickly drops his backpack and picks up his helmet and off he goes to get dirty and take chances. He is quite the daredevil and has made friends with the neighbor boys who share his love of the sport.

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 Between YouTube and the dirt bike, Grey still finds time to help out whenever he can. He loves mowing the grass on the riding lawnmower, and he loves anything involving power tools or building.

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Grey also stepped out of his comfort zone this year and joined the summer swim team. And while the other kids would listen to the instructors and patiently wait for their turn to practice a new stroke or kick, Grey would be doing underwater handstands or doing back flips or seeing how long he could hold his breath with just his face in the water. Somehow, though, he managed to learn the breaststroke, backstroke, and freestyle, and during races he made everyone laugh with his carefree jokester approach to competition.

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 This year, when I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, Grey gave me this list: a motorcycle, a 4-wheeler, a snowmobile, a trailer, and wood. What's the wood for? To make his own garage to store all of these toys, of course!

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 As if all of these things aren't enough to make Grey the unique boy that he is, I'd like to mention one more thing: Food. Food is a very touchy subject for Grey. As with everything else in his life, he is very particular about what is for dinner, and exactly which parts of the dinner I will be making him eat. His favorite foods include salad, peppers, baked potatoes and fruit. He loves chicken and biscuits, as long as he doesn't have to eat the chicken, spaghetti and meatballs, but skip the meatballs, and a complete turkey dinner, without the turkey. In fact, if I'm in the mood to see Greyson flip out, I'll tell him we're having steak for dinner. I might as well tell him I'm serving him POISON.

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 So, I know I've said many times that Grey is a handful, but really, he wouldn't BE Greyson without all of his opinions and mannerisms. Someday, after I make him finish school, he's going to do great things. His ambitions, his determination, and his stubbornness will take him far. Oh, and by the way, if you ask him why he is the way he is or why he acts the way he acts, he's got an answer for you: He can't help it-that's the way he was born!

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Happy 8th Birthday, Grey!  Momma loves you!