Friday, July 22, 2005

Motherhood - Am I a Different Person?

Not too long ago a friend wrote to me in an e-mail "Being around all of my friends who have children has simply underlined my decision not to have kids. Most of their personalities change for the worst." That made me wonder whether I have changed for the worst.
I wish that I were better at journaling. I would love to have a pre-pregnancy account of what I thought motherhood would be. How could I know? How could I understand just how fully my life would change? I knew that there would be no more 9:30 p.m. spur of the moment dates at Barnes and Noble for my husband and me. I knew that it would be weird to be called "Mommy”. I knew that it would be hard. Two kids later I realize that I didn’t know anything.
I didn’t know how being a mom would change the way I watch movies. I almost threw up when I saw “Panic Room” because the daughter was in danger and the mother seemed so helpless.
I didn’t know exactly why sleep deprivation is used as torture.
I didn’t know that any child reported lost would instantly turn into my child in my mind prompting me to memorize what she was wearing for the next three days.
I didn’t know that my world could revolve around a little being that weighed less than 20 pounds. And I didn’t know that I could enjoy that!
I didn’t know that a four year old could be my best friend.
I didn’t know that a 20 month old could have a great sense of humor.
I didn’t know that moms and dads agonize over discipline decisions and that the punishments really do hurt them more than they do the kid.
I didn’t know that watching a toddler eat could be so captivating.
I didn’t know how one tiny tear running down a soft, smooth cheek could make my heart break into a thousand pieces. And I didn’t know how hearing a belly-laugh could fill me with sunshine for days.
I didn’t know how many great books there are for children out there. And I didn’t know how bad children’s literature could be.
I didn’t know that I could love my husband more. Hearing him play “tickle monster” with the kids while I make dinner makes me fall in love with him all over again.
Not only have my kids taught me, they have also caused me to remember.
I had forgotten the joy of the feeling of snowflakes on my face.
I had forgotten the magic of a shooting star.
I had forgotten how much fun it is to scream and run around for absolutely no reason.
I had forgotten that macaroni and cheese is really, really yummy!
I had forgotten about bubbles.
I had forgotten that time is the greatest gift you can give or receive.
I am humbled and blessed that God chose me and my husband to be parents to my daughter and son. I cannot believe that He trusted us to raise them and help them become adults. I thank Him for teaching me and reminding me of wondrous things every day through my children. My prayer for them is that they will grow up to experience the same wonder through their children, should they choose to have them.
Have I changed for the worst? No, of course I don't think so. My friends who have chosen not to have kids may beg to differ, but I know that my kids have enriched my life in ways beyond my wildest dreams. How can I exhibit a negative change in my personality when I am overwhelmed by the positive? I pray that I can exude that positivity and can honestly show joy in my parenting - outside the home to friends, family and strangers alike, but most importantly IN my home with my kids and my husband. I want my family to know that I love them and treasure them and just plain enjoy them. I hope and pray that comes across in my life. I don't want to be one of those people who has changed for the worst.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Bonnie and Clyde

This evening as I was rummaging around in my jewelry box I found my great-grandfather's Sheriff's star. He was sheriff of a county in west Texas. He helped chase Bonnie and Clyde through Texas. I was casually relaying that story to my husband when our daughter started asking questions. How do you tell a five year old about a massacre? We just told her that they did some bad things - robbed banks and shot people - and when the police told them to come out of their car they wouldn't so the police had to shoot them. I really hope that she doesn't pursue it, but I know she will.

She asked me if I knew my great-grandfather. I told her that no, he died before I was born. She got to meet her great-grandfather. We called him Great Bigdaddy. He died when she was almost three years old, so she really doesn't remember him too much. That's such a shame because he was amazing. He was the best grandfather a person could have. And I got him. I still tear up most of the time that I think about him because I miss him so much. It wasn't that we were incredibly close or I sought him out to talk to or anything like that. He was so decent and respectable and just such a good, upstanding man that the world felt okay just because he was in it. His voice was my childhood. His scent could take me back to those days at the cabin when all we had to worry about was how much sunscreen we put on and who was driving the boat when we would ski. His presence was calming. I miss him so. I miss him so.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

First Post - How Exciting

Wow. This is a little odd, knowing that I'm putting thought and ideas out there for virtually anyone to read! It's a little cool, too. I've never been that good at journaling, but I'm pretty good at writing letters and e-mails. As long as I think I have an audience, I can write. Now I do. The pressure is on!

I took the title of my blog from my grandparents' lake cabin. The times that we spent at Cabin 77 were the best times of my childhood. My brother and I have vowed that as soon as we get a little bit ahead, we'll buy a lake cabin so that our kids can have the opportunity to have the same kinds of experiences that we had. But will they really? Back then - the late 70's - parents were much more willing to let kids run around and just be kids. We would leave the cabin in the morning, check in with them maybe a time or two during the day (mostly for food) and come back around dinner time. They never knew exactly where we were, but they trusted us. And they weren't paranoid about some wacko swooping in and carrying us off. I'm just not sure that if we did have a lake cabin I would be able to let my kids go for long walks unsupervised.

Yesterday was the Fourth of July. That holiday always reminds me of Cabin 77. We spent every July 4th of my youth down at the lake. The tradition was to load up the car, drive to the lake, unload it and immediately jump back in to go get our fireworks. We saved our allowance for weeks for that trip! Of course we had to get the Black Cat firecrackers so that we could blow stuff up. Then there were the bottle rockets - the kind that just went up and popped. I always liked "Clustering Bees" and "Ground Bloom Flowers" as my pretty fireworks. After we spent on the staples then we'd try one or two of the fancy kind. We usually didn't have to spend too much on the fancy stuff because Heath, the boy who lived at the lake, would always get the really good kind. His house was just three doors down from our cabin so we could see the fireworks that he and his family shot off. Everyone in the cabins all around would work together for our own fireworks show. We'd take turns shooting them off so that everyone could enjoy everyone else's. I remember sitting on our screened-in porch, smelling the gunpowder and watching the displays sometimes curled up on my mom's lap and other times just rocking in the rocking chair alone. I don't think my eyes could have gotten any bigger.

Last night my own daughter sat in our kitchen looking out the back door as my husband and I lit "Ground Bloom Flowers" on our back porch. It's not really the same, but she doesn't know any better! Her eyes were wide and beautiful. Maybe someday I can sit with her on the screened-in porch of our own lake cabin.