children, gratitude, loss of parent, motherhood, parenting

Fill the Bucket

My Mom and me. I owe her all the beauty, humor and light in my life. The rest doesn’t matter because she showed me what love means. Even if you make a mistake or don’t succeed, if you have love in your life, you have everything you need.

Moms don’t really get the credit they deserve.  There isn’t actually any quantifiable way to say we are successfully raising our kids.  How much are we, as Moms, responsible for the successes and the failures of our kids?  At what point do we stop shaping our children’s outcomes and allow them to take personal responsibility for themselves and their own actions?  Even into adulthood, are Moms responsible when a grown child isn’t reaching their full potential?

I don’t have the answers.  I do know that motherhood can be extremely rewarding but mostly on an intrinsic level.  Sure, we have Mother’s Day but in general, our hard work and dedication is rarely recognized on an external level.  This really isn’t such a bad thing.  I believe life is about being your personal best and if the world sees it, great, and if it doesn’t, that’s okay, too.  All that really matters is how you, and you alone feel about the way you are living your life.  It also helps if on occasion, your kid says or does something that warms your heart.

Full Speed explained to me that he learned about ‘filling other people’s buckets’ at school.  Essentially, by acknowledging others, you ‘fill their bucket’ with kindness and appreciation.  He took these words to heart.  He told me as he walked over to meet me, that he shared with the crossing guard that he was a ‘really good crossing guard’.  Full Speed also plans to tell the lunch ladies on Monday that they are doing ‘a really great job.’

I may not get trophies or a big paycheck honoring the work I do as a mother, but after I listened to Full Speed I thought, “Wow, maybe I had a little something to do with the making of this remarkable kid.”

My bucket is full.

children, gratitude, happiness, humor, kids, life in pictures, mommyhood, motherhood, parenting

The Two Mouseketeers

Posing in front of the Disney Dream

There comes a time in your life when you finally understand that while you may not always get what you think you want, you end up with exactly what you need.

This blog about motherhood has always been my attempt to make sense of what it means to raise two active and highly spirited boys.  I have learned that while I may never totally understand their temperaments, they are pretty amazing exactly the way they are.  There is great freedom and beauty in this acceptance.

I have never appreciated their personalites more than I did on our Disney Cruise over the Labor Day weekend.  It was an absolute blast.  The boys and their phenomenal energy and spirit only enhanced the experience.  Well, except for the few times we were confined to our cabin.  At these points, I may have appreciated considerably less energy as would any rational human being.  Despite the slightly cramped quarters, the whole cruise was fantastic.  And best of all?  I got to bring home two of the best Mouseketeers any Mom could hope for.

children, gratitude, happiness, life in pictures, mommyhood, motherhood, parenting

Transformative

T.Puzzle and I on our date at Sonic.
Okay. So there are a lot of trials and tribulations to raising young children. The energy requirements alone are enough to make you faint. I still am lobbying the government for Sundays off from motherhood. Oh, and I would love some monetary compensation to call my own.

Besides these obvious pitfalls, there is a fantasic upside.

My boys are still at the age where spending time with me is almost as awesome as the impending summer release of Transformers 3.

Full Speed beams during our regular Thursday lunch on St. Patrick's Day.

I’ll take the good with the bad and spend as much time with these guys as I can while they still let me.

All I have to be is myself with them.

No transformation required.

Yet.

gratitude, happiness, kids, marriage, mommyhood, motherhood, parenting, self-discovery

2, 4, 6, 8 Who Do I Appreciate?

Do you ever wonder if your partner understands how hard you work to make everything seem easy? 

How when he may (or may not) reach for clothes for the kids, they are clean, neatly organized and always at hand?   This goes for karate uniforms, too.

Or, when he walks in the door, the kids are playing with each other in a respectful manner (someone had to teach them this and they need almost daily reminders of how to continue to do so), the house is clean (relatively speaking) and dinner is cared for (most nights).

And, what about all the learning these kids need to do that you have to help them with?  Eye appointments and doctors visits, too?

Believe me, I’m just getting started here.

Now, before you stop reading in protest Mad Dog, let me flip it around.

Do you ever feel like your partner understands how hard you work to provide for her and the kids?

How about all the long hours spent alone in an office (with no windows, mind you!) on endless phone calls trying to accomplish seemingly impossible business feats and doing so while making it all look easy?

What about trying to manage a team that is scattered across the nation that looks to you for leadership and expects nothing but excellence from you? 

Or the myriad of calamities and unexpected projects that pile up on your already overtaxed work schedule?

And what about the time spent away from your boys?  You know they are incredible and they grow by leaps and bounds every day, and you have to miss some of the really important and downright cool stuff.

You are handling all these things and doing it well even at great personal cost.  Does your partner get this?

Really?

I don’t know that I do.

Sometimes I’m so focused on feeling underappreciated in my own corner of the world that it begins to feel like a part-time job.

Are life and relationships ever going to be exactly how you want them to be?

Nope.

What can I do today to take care of myself, give myself the recognition I desire and honor and appreciate my partner in the process?

I love you, Mad Dog and appreciate you!

I guess that’s a start.

children, gratitude, happiness, kids, mommyhood, motherhood, parenting

The Movies

Yogi Bear and Boo Boo, 2010
Image by erjkprunczyk - Happy New Year! via Flickr

 

Mad Dog and I took the boys to see ‘Yogi Bear’.  If I’m being completely honest, sitting through children’s fare, especially the type common to theaters in recent years, can be a bit taxing on your sense of sanity.

I tried to keep an open mind to the inanity of it all. 

When my attention wasn’t captured by the movie, which was most  of the time, I quickly became absorbed in thought.  How could I change my perspective and appreciate this movie, this experience and this moment? 

Well, it helped a ton to hear the unfiltered giggles emitting from each boy on either side of me.  It also wasn’t the worst kid’s movie I’ve had to sit through either.

I couldn’t maintain a zen outlook the whole time.  In the moments I could, I sat back and was more content to watch Full Speed and T.Puzzle enjoy their cinematic adventure.  And enjoy it they did.

I counted myself lucky that we live close to a theater, had gift certificates to pay our way (thank you, Grandma and Grandpa!) and Mad Dog available to join us.

The movie didn’t end up on any of my top ten lists,  but the company was divine.

That in itself was worth the price of admission.