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Sunday, April 1, 2012

peace be with me

I remember when I went to catholic mass as a child, my favorite part of the service was the part where you shake hands with your neighbors and say, "Peace be with you."  For the budding extrovert that I was, this was more than just an opportunity to stretch my legs and get a break from the monotony.  It felt truly wonderful to wish other's peace and to have peace wished upon me.  It was like so many people affirming it in one space might make it so.
I also liked the part when our priest, who spoke with a lisp, said, "Go in peacth."

Something wonderfully unexpected has happened to me as a mom.  I am nervous to disclose this out of fear that it might vanish like fog in wind, yet it feels to miraculous not to share.

I am arriving at a place of peace with my children.

That is right.  You heard it here.  Possibly there is nothing left to blog about anymore. 

The girls have been showing such signs of maturity lately, not the kind that makes you want to cry but the kind that makes you feel like all your hard work is paying off. They don't fight nearly as much. They seem to get it that if they treat each other well and share their stuff that it is more fun. There is so much less useless crying and territory disputes for the hell of it. They seem, at least some of the time, contented. 

When I put healthy food in front of them, they don't complain.  They eat it because it is what is expected of them and, for Ella anyway, she gets that it is good for her.  Maya doesn't have nearly the power struggle tantrums anymore.  Ella is beginning to get outside herself and make choices that include considering other people's feelings and she apologizes unprompted now. 

This peaceful place, where I can be doing something and the girls can happily co-exist together for more than 5 minutes without an argument, is so long overdue and so amazing to me that now I feel a bit of panic. 

We just got here and now they are growing up and won't be little anymore.

All at once time feels like it is screaming by me and it won't be long before Maya doesn't talk in her high-pitched, sing song and Ella won't be my number one fan.  This hasn't been the fleeting feeling I have had many times since becoming a mom, but a solid perspective that has wound itself into my neural circuit and held fast, though it is still so new you can smell the fresh paint.  It's like I woke up and realized how great my life is and my kids are and that the true cost of a perpetual state of overwhelm is one I will pay in moments of grief and regret later when my kids have grown up and moved on.

I blame it on the Disney commercial that bleeds my heart every time I see it.  It shows little girls running around in princess dresses and says something like, "Do it now.  There are only so many mountains left to climb, so many more chances to make these memories and not too long before she finds her own prince charming."

A brilliant marketing maneuver for sure, but only because it is TRUE.  Some people need to get a terminal illness to force them into perspective.  I apparently need a sappy Disney commercial and a case of hyperthryoidism (yes, it is still here and yes I am on pharmaceuticals now) to do the job.

Honestly, I pray for this perspective to last.  Whenever someone asks how old the girls are and I answer "4 and 7", they say, "those are the BEST years."  I thought that about 3 and 6 and wished I could pause them forever there.  Now, 4 and 7 seem ideal because they are so fun AND independent.  I am so afraid of the age where I think, wow, remember how fun THAT age was...  I fear I am not that far away from thinking that.

I want to slow time down and, since I haven't figured out how to yet, I am instead just relishing them. I am setting aside tasks and lists (sometimes) to play with them, dance with them, examine the minute bug on a pine cone or play hopscotch.

Or as I did this morning, give in to their request that I get in their bath with them and let them wash my hair and pour water over it like I have done to them a thousand times.

I've also been doing a better job and dropping what I am doing to work with them when they fight instead of just telling them to knock it off as my parents did with me and my sisters.  I've been appealing to their own desires to be treated well and trying to really teach them the concept of "do unto others."  Fingers crossed, I think it is working.

I've decided the ideal would truly be to have enough disposable income that you could pay someone to do all the stuff that takes up all your time- the cleaning, the laundry, the grocery shopping, the cooking.  If someone else did all of that I would have so much more time to just enjoy my kids before they are no longer kids.  Why are the people who need to give the most, the parent of young children, also the ones with the most to do?

 It would be so nice to abandon laundry in favor of nurturing these little souls.  Especially since they are in such a great place right now. But, since no one is going to mop my floors anytime soon, I once again have the opportunity to get comfortable having things undone.  I'd better because, after all, there are only so many more chances to....

1 comment:

Zoe K said...

Peace be with you, honey! I know this feeling; this month has flown by so quickly, I'm wrestling with the reality that I have to finish the semester, get my new wheels from frankfort to bangor (it's not registered!), do my taxes (oh yeah, i'm that person. SO late), hopefully nab an internship, AND get everything (tuition, flight, etc) in line for Scotland. And what do I do with my time now, you ask? I apparently thought that choir, rugby, woodsmen team, organizing the dairy class for the semester, and nannying were great ideas. How do you live to the height of your capabilities and manage to have coherent memories of what you've done? How do you let go of something you love to have just a moment to breathe each day? What are the perpetually-curious souls on this earth to do???

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