Monday, September 29, 2014

Being Thankful

Being Thankful on Food Therapy

As I head into the second month of school, I am finding it harder and harder not to be swept away in the chaos of our every day.  The summer days moved more slowly and there seemed to be more time to spend with my family.  I had looked forward to the first days of school because I thought it would give me some breathing space and quiet time to collect my thoughts and become "normal" again.  Instead, it seems as if the days rush by in a blur as I wake up to dark skies in the morning, rush everyone out of the house, curse the fact that I'm never going to keep up with the laundry or be able to keep food in the house long enough.

Being Thankful on Food Therapy

The afternoons are filled with three kids coming home at different times with different needs and different amounts of attention.  Logan wants to go somewhere/anywhere. Madison needs help with homework, only she doesn't want to do it when I have the time to help. Aidan just wants to eat, know what time practice is, and then skip out of the house to see his friends.  In between, there is dinner to prepare before leaving for soccer practice because it's too late to put together when we get home.

My brain is on overload and the words out of my mouth have begun to sound like manic crazy lady talk.  I know there is an intelligent woman somewhere in there.  Only, she appears to be caught in the ever-spinning tornado that rolls through the house in the middle of the afternoon.  There are times I hate the way I sound, the hysterical ear-splitting yells to get homework done, clean your room, why can't you pick up the clothes or clean the dried up toothpaste in the sink. I get sick of my own nagging.

There are also times when, for an hour or so, life seems to slow down, and I can relish the simple moments with my family.  As I look back at the past week, I wasn't at my best, and I had more bad moments than good.  Yet, what I keep telling myself is to stop looking at the times I could have handled a situation better and instead to focus on the good moments during the week.

My first instance came last Monday.  When Aidan was little, about the age Logan is now, he was home with me while his sister was in school.  He absolutely loved every moment we had together. He was my shopping buddy and my lunch buddy.  He never begged for anything and would clap in the produce section at the sight of broccoli as if it were a bag of chocolate covered raisins.  We'd talk about the colors, the types of fruits, sampling what we could. As a fifth grade boy, those days have long passed, and I can barely get him to go out to get ice cream, let alone actually shop in the grocery store with me.

These days I typically have three children in tow, and it is rare for me to have just one child at a time.  Usually, they are battling to be heard, to have a question answered, or arguing over what to do and where to go. Well, Monday was my chance to have Aidan, the ever-suffering middle child, all to myself because of an early dentist appointment.  We finished right when school was starting. I could have taken him back to school right away, which is my typical always-follow-the-rules way.  However, I was near Whole Foods and decided that we should go together and get a few things before heading back home toward school.  Of course, he was all for it only because it meant getting to school even later.

We entered Whole Foods and his eyes widened at all of the beautiful food around us.  He was grabbing things that we had to try, asking me if I'd ever had this or that.  He went crazy for the ready-made sandwiches, soups, and breads.  I looked at him and his wonderful eye for taste and food and thought this is my child.  I didn't know if he felt the same connection I did and truly got how special this moment was for me, how it took me back to an earlier time when it always was the two of us in the morning.  And, do you know as he said goodnight to me that night, he told me how he really liked spending the morning with me and asked when we could do it again because "it was so much fun." still my motherly heart.

My second instance came from my sweet Logan.  Logan is very different from Aidan.  When Aidan was his age, he wanted to be wherever I was.  In contrast, Logan is ready to hit the pavement running as far from me as he can get.  As we approach the school every morning, he has taken to letting go of my hand so that his friends don't seem him holding hands with his mom. He's only four! Yet, there are days as much as he wants to move into his own place and set his own rules that he also comes to Mommy for some cuddle time.  After a long afternoon and busy schedule after school, I was cleaning up the kitchen and preparing to cook dinner.  (Yes, I clean the kitchen before cooking. I create my own work.  Don't judge.)  Logan came into the kitchen with his favorite blanket in his mouth and wrapped his arms around my hips.  He snuggled his head onto my legs and then looked up to ask if I had time to cuddle with him on the couch.  I looked at the clock and knew, I just knew, I really couldn't afford to spare any time, but I also knew that I needed to make the time for this moment. I don't get asked for cuddles much any more, certainly not from the older ones.
These kind of days are fleeting. Before you know it, I will have more time than I know what to do with and there will be no young ones around for me to sit with and just ask for my time.  So, I dropped what I was doing and we sat on the couch rubbing each other's arms and leaning into one another.  It was worth every lost minute I gave.

And, finally, my third instance came over the weekend.  Aidan was out for the night with a friend and we had had a busy day with the whole family.  Usually, everyone is in bed around 9 or 9:30 and Gary and I have time to spend together.  This Saturday, while it was late, we decided to watch Captain America 2 with Madison and Logan.  So, the four of us piled into the bed along with the two dogs.  Gary and I were on the ends and Madison and Logan were snuggled together in the middle.  It didn't take long for Logan to pass out.  Madison lasted longer but not all the way through. Gary and I just looked at each other and smiled.  They looked so peaceful and sweet, young and innocent.  Madison had fallen asleep reaching to touch Logan's hand.  Sigh...again.

The week might not have been perfect, in fact far from it.  Hectic as usual.  I was batty as usual.  Yet, at this moment I choose to focus and reflect on those times that were special and beautiful.  Those are the times I want to savor and look back on.  They weren't major moments that happened in our lives, but they are the times that we will hopefully all look back on years from now as the good times we've shared as a family.  And, the simple beauty will always outshine the every day.