Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Beauty and the Bruise

Sarah told me the other day that she wants to be a hair stylist when she grows up. I think she might make it big in Asia. She also told me today that she wants to be a "creator". She wants to be "an artist, a  really good sewer [a person who sews], and a girl with the best cursive."

My mom used to tell me the story of when I was little. I was about eight years old. My family moved from New York State to California and they tested me to see where to place me in school. I don't remember a whole lot about the testing, but I think it involved some sort of IQ test and an interview with a psychologist. The psychologist asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. My response was "A hairdresser or a gymnast." When the psychologist met with my parents she expressed her concern that my aspirations were not very high. My mom thought, "Good grief. She's eight years old, she's in gymnastics, and she got a Barbie Head for Christmas. What do you expect her aspirations to be?" Maybe my parents should have bought me the game Operation instead so I could aspire to be a surgeon.

To be honest, I have never aspired for any type of businessy career. My only desire through childhood, college, and now was/is to be a mother. My mother was a great example. I was home with her until I went to kindergarten. I never went to preschool. I remember following her around and learning how to be a mom. She taught me how to vacuum, dust, load a dishwasher, set a table, make pigs in a blanket, wash grapes. I have good memories. Even though I have few vivid memories of being home with my mom ages birth through five, because I was so young, I remember her presence. I remember her hugs, I remember her counting to three and swinging me into my crib at naptime. I remember sitting on the couch with her and watching Donahue, Young and the Restless, and General Hospital. I didn't always sit and watch the TV, because I was probably busy coloring in my coloring book, playing with my paper dolls or my Little People dollhouse and ferris wheel. But having her there was a comfort. I knew if I wanted to, I could hop on the couch and lay my head on her lap and she would scratch my back.

I even wanted to wear hats just like my mom.

Rachel has been potty trained for a good eight months or so, but recently I've been trying to train her to do it all by herself. Usually the conversation goes something like this:
"Mommy, I nee' go potty."
"Ok, go ahead. If you go by yourself and come back with your panties on, I'll give you a piece of chocolate."
She chuckles and runs to the potty and comes back to tell me, "I go potty!"
Then I give her a dark chocolate Hershey Kiss. I'm on such autopilot with the routine, she'll probably work it until she's like ten years old.

Well, this all happened today, except Rachel did not come back with her panties. In fact, I don't think she even began her day with panties. She couldn't go to her room to get panties because George was sleeping in there. So she did not earn her chocolate. Needless to say she was not happy about it, so she took it upon herself to retrieve her own reward by climbing onto the kitchen counter to raid my Kiss stash. I believe this is the first time she has ever climbed onto the kitchen counter. Unfortunately, Rachel is not a natural-born monkey and she fell off the counter and banged the side of her face on the floor. She was very sad and spent most of the afternoon on the couch pouting. I'm pretty sure she was more disappointed that she didn't get chocolate than about the painful bruise on her cheek. Anyway, my point is that I held her for an entire half hour. She rested her head on my chest and let out an occasional sob. I enjoyed every moment of it. Not because she was hurt, but because I got to snuggle with her and soothe her with my make-it-feel-better kiss stash. It made me feel like a mom.

A few years ago I was grumpy about staying home with my children. It wasn't that I didn't enjoy it, but it seemed mundane and frustrating at times. I complained one day to my husband and he kind of put me in my place. Ok, so he did put me in my place. He reminded me that I have the best job in the world. My attitude changed from that point. I agree that it is the best job in the world. At the end of the day I might have a rainbow of melted M&M stains on my white shorts from a toddler that has no sense to wipe his face before giving my leg a hug, a piece of elbow macaroni squished on the bottom of my flip flop, hand prints on my windows and a dented dishwasher, but I love it. I love I can be there for my kids. Even if I steal a moment to catch a glimpse of Shephard Smith or Anderson Cooper in my bedroom in the afternoon (on the TV), my kids know where to find me......and they do. Everyday at 4 o'clock I hear shouts from downstairs:

"Moooommmmm! Can we watch TV?"
"Yes!!! Please do!!"

And for some reason each child thinks they need to ask me individually.

(Ok, so I was only going to post the picture of Wendy and Sarah with the chopsticks in their hair, but I have issues with being brief.)


  1. I love this entry. I've been having such a hard time enjoying being a mom and wanting to go back to work (where I received bonuses and awards for my accomplishments). Each day I feel like my brain is turning more and more into mush. I found some of my college papers the other day and seriously couldn't believe I ever wrote them. They were awesome! Today I just write comments on Facebook. But you're absolutely right that we need to be there for our kids. Even if they don't remember a single thing I do for them, at least they'll know I love them and was always there for them. And I guess I can always go back to work in 18 or so years. :-)

  2. I always find comfort in your blog Melinda! I think I'm at the point where I resent my "job" sometimes, but you are right. It is the best job out there! Have you heard this quote: "The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only--and that is to support the ultimate career." ~C. S. Lewis. Being a mother is definitely a high aspiration in my book, and i'm still aspiring : )

  3. Thanks, ladies! I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who gets frustrated with motherhood at times :) Brooke, your brain is not turning into mush. I think as mothers we are using our brains in more creative ways than we did in school. I always appreciate your comments on Facebook too! It's great to get feedback when I post something because it makes me feel connected to the outside world.

    Katie, I love that quote! I had not heard that one before. I will add it to my files. When my mom used to go to dinners for my dad's work she was often asked by others if she worked outside the home. Her response was sometimes, "No. My husband earns the living and I make the living worthwhile."

    Sometimes I miss bringing home a paycheck. Sometimes.... But I think in the end we will truly realize the value of our work and will receive the ultimate paycheck :)