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mind-over-motherhood

Being more than "just Mom".. honestly.

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three little birds

My Birds Don’t Fit Into Their Pretty Little Easter Baskets Anymore

(Don’t think you’re seeing things. I really have posted twice in one week after months of .. nothing.)

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While I haven’t written in a long while – and I haven’t managed to spend any time reflecting on last year’s goals, much less make new ones of this year, I have had an eventful 2013 anyway.

For instance, I registered a kid for high school in the past month. Which may not seem to be a big deal to those who have already done this, but it hit me like a ton of bricks. While we busily went to meetings and interest sessions and learned about optional academies and scholars programs, etc., etc. I felt floored by the fact that high school now requires almost as much preparation as college did when I was the Owl’s age. While that was a revelation in and of itself, nothing – and I mean, nothing – prepared me for that moment when I was parked in the high school parking lot having just dropped off my little bobble-headed toddler’s high school applications. That’s when all the busy stopped and the reality hit me. . My time with him under my roof is shrinking at as rapid of a rate as he is growing. We only have four years left with him.

I have to look UP to him. His shoulders are broader than mine. His feet no longer fit on the steps of our staircase. At last check he was 5’6″ and 126 pounds. I get startled almost every afternoon thinking there is a random man in the house, only to realize.. it’s him. My kid. With a booming, deep voice.

Oh, and I took the Pelican to MIDDLE SCHOOL orientation. (I can’t even elaborate on middle school. It speaks for itself.)

And she has started borrowing my shoes (because they are now her size.) And coming into my bathroom each morning before school to borrow my flat-iron for her hair (there has to be some irony in the fact that I loved her baby blonde curls so much and all she wants now is to straighten them). And I had to teach her how to shave under arms.

They’re growing like mad.

I’m pretty certain that here on this very blog I’ve stated that I will not be that mom who is lost when my little birds have all flown the nest. But suddenly, I feel panicked.

Easter always makes me feel so nostalgic for little babies with blonde curls adorned by bows, monogrammed/smocked dresses, and peter pan collars… kids who would still sit with the Easter Bunny and take a photo. Toddlers who would run barefoot through the grass hunting Easter Eggs while their hair and linen dresses tried desperately to keep up with the speed at which they sought out those glorious candy filled eggs.

My kids could not care less about Easter Egg hunts anymore.

The other 51 weeks of the year I am quite happy that they are big and over all that stuff, but this one week of the year, I wish they were little again.

The years are flying by. Really. And I am panicking. Because I know what’s next: they’re going to hate me soon.

So, for the moment, I’m taking a nostalgic look back (blocking out what the reality of those toddler years was like) and missing them. And then soaking up the beauty of the stage they’re in now. While I can.

And just to end on a positive note, thank goodness my sister and brother waited years behind me to have kids, so I could have baby/toddler aged nieces and nephews now.

Easter 2000 2004 2006 0000585049324 Egg Hunting at Amy's on the Bayou - 2004 Easter 2003 Easter 2003Lauren was obsessed with Libby the puppy dog - 2005 (Some things never change.)
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Woodpeckers and Great White Herons

If you read my blog and don’t know me, at times you might be led to think that I don’t enjoy being a mom too much. Nothing could be further from the truth, though. I do love my kids and love being their mom. I really do. My three little birds make me smile and laugh and entertain me. Every day. They are each incredibly funny in very different ways. They have such super soft kissable cheeks – even though a couple of them don’t let me test that very often any more. I love watching them dance: pure joy. They often amaze me. — They’re turning out to be pretty incredible little people in their own right. Probably in spite of anything I am doing. (I’m certain that most, if not all, of these are the same feelings every mom has for her kids.. at times.)

I also feel extraordinarily blessed to be able to stay home with my kids. I don’t take that ability for granted. At all.*

I have the constant knowledge that one day they will be out and on their own. And don’t tell anyone I said this, because (1) it is contrary to my goal of having enough “mores” in my life so that I don’t skip a beat when the 3 little birds fly away and (2) My wonderful-and-pretty-incredible-husband will have ammunition for his argument that I will be pitiful when they’re gone (to which I am determined to prove him wrong), but… I will miss them. A lot.

My Three Little Birds are beautiful blessings.

— What comes next in this train of thought may seem like my child-induced ADD kicking in again, but bear with me.. it will make sense. Eventually. –

Birds are kind of a running theme in my life. Not on purpose. Just a bunch of isolated things that coincidentally come together in a bird theme.

~ Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” song has been sort of a mantra for me since having my third child. It’s even the ring tone for my house phone # on my cell. Really.. how can you not find a smile and a deep breath in these lyrics:

“Rise up this mornin’,
Smiled with the risin’ sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin’ sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin’, (“This is my message to you-ou-ou:”)

Singin’: “Don’t worry ’bout a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.”
Singin’: “Don’t worry (don’t worry) ’bout a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right!”

~ Since moving to Florida, we have had a good number of Bald Eagle sightings in the wild.. as there are a handful of nests nearby. One nest that we were able to view through a telescope at a local research reserve was the size of a VW Bug! Such a rare thing!

~ My grandparents (whom I adored) were bird watchers. I remember them sitting on the porch of their home with the Audubon Society – Sibley Guide to Birds book and binoculars always close at hand. Their yard filled with bird feeders and bird baths. – And the same was true for my parents, and our backyard.

~ I remember, when I was younger, seeing the awe with which my mom and grandmother watched the pelican population return to the Mississippi Gulf Coast – after their numbers had dwindled in previous years. I became smitten with the pelican in a split second after riding in the car along Scenic Avenue with those two amazing women.. who were amazed by the mere presence of the pelican.

~ My great big extended family has many stories of birds that came to “visit” them the day (and days following) my grandmother’s passing away. Including me. I particularly remember when a gust of wind blew open our front door (because you know my kids can’t close it all the way ) and a bird flew into our house. It happened to occur when I was having my first breakdown since saying goodbye to my grandmother in the hospital.  Since then we’ve had random birds come sit – front and center – at family weddings and other important events of the like. The feeling of my grandmother’s presence strong in each and every occurrence. A bird sitting on the eave of my house looking straight at me, brings me peace and comfort.. and makes me smile, thinking of her. It’s beautiful.

~ One of the only things I enjoy about mornings is taking my cup of coffee and opening the blinds in our living room to assess what flurry of feathered friends are visiting the pond in our backyard each morning.. many times, My own 3 Little Birds will join me for the morning show. There’s always an array of beautiful birds. The ducks and the cormorants that float in and dive on the water. The occasional seagulls. The pair of mallards that make their nest in my neighbors’ tree grove each year. The geese that come each spring and allow us to witness their goslings growing each day.

~ My favorite sight, though, is watching as the beautiful white and grey/blue herons soar in from the sky and glide low over the water, landing in the grass at the water’s edge.

~ And then one cloudy and overcast day, we had a surprise visit by a rare pair of Sandhill Cranes in my backyard. They were bigger than my youngest daughter and absolutely beautiful. The only time in my life I have ever seen them.

My kids can be like the beautiful birds I have unintentionally become a fan of watching. My 3 Little Birds can soar beautifully, spread their wings and grow, make me smile with pride as they comfortably float through difficult situations, dive into the water around them with no fear, know when I need them to stay close to mom, make me stop in my tracks in awe of the beautiful creatures they are, and entertain me with their mere presence.

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That being said, there are those days.. when even Alfred Hitchcock has nothing on my kids.  Remember that old movie of his, “The Birds”?! Where the birds take over and attack everyone?! Some days, my kids feel more like THOSE kind of birds. The vicious ones that are attacking from every angle.** And on those days their “melodies” aren’t so sweet, pure and true.  They sound more like a 100 honking geese that are parked outside my bedroom window at 4 a.m. leaving a multitude of goose droppings on the lawn.

While they sound like honking geese, they feel more like woodpeckers pecking away at my head with their constant calls of “Mom”, “Momma”, “Mommy”. Repeat. Repeat again. And again. Then there’s their tendency toward speaking to me – or at me – ALL at one time. The volume level going up decibels with each word, as they try to be heard over each other. There’s absolutely NO respecting my need for a few minutes of peace and tranquility. They certainly don’t respect that my coffee time is sacred. Taking over the whole town. Nowhere to escape from them. Little woodpeckers pecking away at my head.  And it certainly seems like there are more of them than there actually are. It’s pretty scary.

So, they are an anomaly, these three little birds of mine. Part Great White Heron and part Woodpecker.

Parenting. Is. Hard. And often quite frustrating – no matter the (st)age of your child(ren). We can be honest about the hard/frustrating parts, while simultaneously loving our children and appreciating the ability to be parents. The two feelings aren’t mutually exclusive. – They can be that beautiful white heron gliding in low over the water as the sun sets, AND be the woodpeckers pecking away at my head. At the same time.

I am (daily, if I’m being honest) frustrated by and annoyed with my kids – while also loving them beyond imagination and being grateful to God for giving them to me.

… And maybe when my kids have all flown the nest, I’ll buy that Guide to Birds and add “Bird watching” to the mores in my mind.

(Actually, I’m already a “Bird Watcher” by trade. With 13 years of experience watching my 3 Little Birds. Can I put that on a resume?)

* This, however, does not mean that I can’t day dream about what it would be like to have them in after-care where they can do their homework with someone more qualified than me, while I go to work in tailored trousers, heels, a pretty crisp shirt and pearls – in the world of adulthood.

** Revisiting the story line of this movie led me to believe that this chick got what she deserved for following a man around and letting his needs completely take over her life.

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