Sunday, February 27, 2011

Hang in there baby...

Hang in there's going to be ok!
The goings not always easy. As hard as we sometimes try as parents, siblings, daughters/ sons, coworkers, friends,and all the other roles we fill daily we can't make those we love truly happy. As an adult I've had lots and lots of experience with this, as a parent I can't get over the fact that I can't fix all of my baby's problems. I'm hoping technology soon creates a magic parent wand that we can wave over our kids heads and make it all better! Instead I can only do my best to help him through it.
Marty as you can tell had a pretty emotional week. He returned to school reluctantly Monday, he'd heard that a storm was coming and he desperately hoped for a snow day. When it didn't come he was mentally unprepared for the start of the school week. I can tell he had a rough time at school, he has a hard time making friends, and when I picked him up one night he asked me if I liked him. My heart broke. Of course my first thought was I've failed as a mother. My own son does not know how much my world revolves around him. I have not shown him the depths of my love; the lengths to which I would go for him because I like him just that much. Wait. Take a deep breath. This is not about me. Or my parenting, but rather Marty is out in the world and he's discovered that it's not always so easy. What I wouldn't do to take on the second grade for him, but I simply can't. He has lots of ups and downs ahead of him, I can't hold his hand through all of it, and frankly if I did then he'd learn nothing. As a parent I have to step back and recognize that all that I've learned that meant anything to me was from experience, the good and the bad. And I'm still learning.
 Marty had another rough night Thursday night as well. At some point during our practice for spelling bee auditions the stress got to be too much for him. He broke down and spoke about how sad he's been. There are lots of things I'm working on to make sure he can start to feel better. I'm going to relax a bit so I'm not adding any extra stress while he's working through this. And it makes me remember my childhood and what the stressors were there. And as I thought about what to write today I recalled a picture of a kitten hanging on a rope and it said Hang in there does get better. And that's the only message I can think to give my sad little guy. It's not much but somehow I remember it all these years, the idea of a helpless little kitten knowing she will pull through. I also want to note that the kitten can't do it on her own and I fully believe it has always been my faith and relying on God that's gotten me through, with that said I'm asking everyone to pray for Marty. It kind of makes me think of George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life, because those of you who have been touched by the little guy know how special he is. Pray he finds peace, pray he recognizes how to hang in there!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

"I've been waiting my whole life to do something like this!" says the 7 year old

I am lucky, lucky, lucky! I forget this and it's nice to have a bite size little man to put things into perspective. The past week has been chock full of experiences with him that just plain make me smile.

I am fortunate enough to be invited to Marty's class to run an art lesson. It's kind of a mix between crafts and art history 101 (at a second grade level of course). I sometimes have a hard time getting prepared for the visit as my schedule is jam packed (I do not exaggerate there are days where every hour is booked and I find myself stressing how I am supposed to get from each destination and be on time, it really doesn't help that when it comes to being on time I'm a little bit of a control freak) but somehow I make it in and am able to spend a couple of hours with by far the most interesting class Marty has had yet. Just having the luxury of this experience is a blessing! I'm fortunate to have a flexible work schedule and to get to visit my son in his class, I think in parenting the most important piece is being involved and since my child's life really revolves around what happens in that school being present means so much! You don't always get to hear that your kids are grateful for your being involved though and I thanked God because on this particular visit Marty made it clear that he thinks I'm cool and is glad I'm there; we were making city skyline collages and Marty said "I've been waiting my whole life to do something like this!" His whole life. I don't care that it's been only a short seven year wait; I feel like a super hero: I make dreams come true! Isn't that basically the biggest reward of parenting?
Among other things Marty and I had the week off and I've been trying to be creative in how we can keep occupied and get much needed tasks taken care of.
We traveled on Monday to Sacramento to bounce off energy (yes just before the storm hit). Marty practically bounced off the walls at Sky High an indoor trampoline fun house; I bounced too but I think my achy shoulders are still paying the price, it seems like the whiplash of over 30 minutes of jumping isn't as pain free as it once was.

Tuesday I somehow was able to get Marty to participate in a cleaning extravaganza (much needed). It always surprises me when he throws himself to the floor and cries about things, when do they grow out of that?
Wednesday and Thursday Marty spent time with his dad. They enjoyed this new snow, Marty was especially excited about snowboarding in powder. I of course being sans child grew bored out of my mind and spent some of Wednesday working, and all of Thursday wishing my friends and loved ones had time off too. Vacation time can be very lonely when you have no one to share it with.
Ah Friday is bitter sweet! I spent the day with my sweet nephew whom I always seem to get at nap time. Though before he slumbered we took a quick trip to the store for lunch. Bobby makes adult expressions to everyone who passes as I heard several comment "did you see the look he gave me?" And I did catch some of the looks they are very mature (but super cute from a tiny thing)! And he and I were happy until he could go no more and needed sleep. Tears, screams, whimpers, and then slumber. Phew!!!

Marty spent time with his uncle though just to make the arrangements was enough to make me crazy. To Marty Mammaw not answering the phone means "she's playing this game again." Which I think is appropriate as I think he learned that phrase form her.
But it's Friday and I'm glad to be going back to the routine but I feel like this off time flew by. I felt like I hadn't made the best of it. And then God gave me my moment! Marty and I cuddled up on the couch for our date night (he hates that I call it date night because he doesn't want to be on dates with his mom, but I still use the phrase to make him appreciate that this quality time is special for him, and maybe someday when he's on a real date he will recognize the importance of respecting your date, he has the potential to be an extraordinary man, but I digress...) so we're on the couch watching Veggie Tales and a Bible story starts to play out. He asks if the characters in the Bible were really just like the cartoon (I explained no, there has never been a feud between towns where shoes and pots were thrown). I took out my Bible and read the real verse in Luke to him. He got out another of my Bibles and tried to read from it. Beautiful. Then we started a conversation about how people say God answers. My amazing son told me he talks to God everyday, he said "that's basically the point of me talking to myself, so I can talk to God." It seems so simple through his eyes. But he was confused because he had never heard God respond, I explained to him that it can be like when he asks me for something from me I don't say anything I just give it to him, and when he's just talking and I listen to his stories I don't always respond but he knows I'm listening. Before I had finished Marty was telling me he already knows that. He wasn't disappointed because he'd always felt like God was walking right next to him. And those were his words to describe it. So like I said I'm so very lucky; tonight my son renewed my faith. I honestly have been waiting my whole life to hear something like that!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

It's better than an outhouse!

The search for a bathroom is not always going to produce the most glamorous results, as I learned Saturday whilst waiting in line with an older woman. Her frustration at the very act of having to wait for a toilet was nearly enough to make me want to find facilities elsewhere, mostly out of fear of what type of bathroom emergency called for such aggressive behavior and do I really want to follow it? Fortunately she was under 3 minutes (nothing big can happen in 3 minutes), but as she left the restroom she scowled at me and said "it's better than an outhouse." And it was. It's fortunate that sometimes negative moods are not contagious but somewhat humorous. Her misfortune at having to wait to empty her bladder made my day, is that horrible? I hope someday my bad mood puts a smile on someones face!
Along the negative line, my mom hat has been pretty snug this week as Marty's been in Trouble (note the capital t). Marty went to the principals office. Crap. Let me give you the full details: Marty had a substitute teacher on Friday, he loved Mr. Little. He even told me stories about how great Mr. Little (who he says is not little) was, is, and Marty hopes will be, as he wants him to sub in the future. On Monday Marty returned to school to his current teacher's disappointment. The sub had left a note. The dreaded note. Apparently the class had been disrespectful and a handful of the students were sent to the principal, lost recess for the week (heartbreaking for Mo), and wrote a letter home to their parents. When Marty got in the car Monday evening I could see something was off. I only had to ask the simplest mom words "hey, what's up?" You could hear Marty's soul shattering as he claimed that the sub had written a note. I reacted with confusion and asked wasn't the sub great? Marty agreed he had been great but that was before he knew he wrote a note. Then he let me know how he'd been sent to the principals office. He exclaimed "I just hate being in trouble!" Who doesn't?
I must admit though as much as I hate Marty being in trouble as well, I am always impressed with the way he works things out in his mind. I need to add more to this story to explain: two weeks ago Marty was playing with a friend who decided to trace his middle finger, ugh, but my lovely child chose to be a co artist to this piece by adding the "F YOU." He didn't need to write out the word it was oh so clear. He was scolded by his teacher, dad, and me, grounded at both homes and lost the privlidge of late bedtime. That's it. A very stern warning at school. I believe this to be a serious offense, he got off easy! But I ask you what kind of child asks the adults in his life to be consistent? My type of child. As he was going on and on about how he used to like the sub but now he didn't he exclaimed "and mom when I wrote the f you on the playground I didn't have to go to the principal but for goofing off with the sub I do? F you was way worse." Yes Marty I know. And I can't explain either.
Kids get it. It's scary and it's more work for parents teachers and caregivers, but they know what's going on. I'm working on my consistency with Marty. I'm starting to notice he doesn't tell on himself the way he used to, he's learning a little bit about manipulation. That's healthy, but I'm trying to be more aware in this mother son dance we're doing. He's bright so I no doubt will have my hands full. But even with trips to the principal, f you on the playground, I'm certain he knows right from wrong so I guess I have to look on the bright side of things at least it's better than an outhouse!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Marty's Mom/Heather

"Mom, when will I be in 6th grade?," I hear the child ask from the backseat on our way to school this morning. This question of course follows a lengthy conversation about a friend of his who actually is in the 6th grade and must be letting Marty in on the coolness of that world. "Well, let's see you're in 2nd grade now so plus 4 years and that's 6th grade...well more like 31/2." "Yeah 31/2!" He's excited that the half a year he has already put into this school year counts towards his time served. He's that much closer to being a middle schooler. Cool.
I on the other hand am thinking "ahhhhh!!!" I know what he will be exposed to not just in middle school but over the next 31/2 years of elementary and I'm frightened. Public school we all know has gone way way way south; check out this site to see how bad it is! But even beyond the education he receives I remember his first day of kindergarten and thinking "this is it!" I could no longer protect him from social psychological damage. I'd allowed him to grow up whyyyyy??? And he continues to grow. Whether I like it or not.
Isn't this the way it always is with kids? Moms want to keep their babies as, well, babies; and kids, they can't wait to grow up! I've come to recognize that a part of that has to do with the fact that I fully identify myself as Marty's mom. I've been spending the last couple years trying to figure out how I can be Heather too and finding a balance between the two. It's not always easy and I don't always make the best choice, but I'm trying. As a co-parent you not only feel as though you need this you are forced into it when your child is with the other parent. And if you don't learn the balance you can end up feeling quite frankly like crap; when your whole world is your child what else is there when they're gone? There's me. That's a good thing.
But I'm not forced to give it all up. At Marty's 7th birthday a friend of his came to me and said "Marty's mom...." and as I laughed I felt a sense of pride too. No one else get's that title. No one can ever take that from me, I am Marty's mom. And I am Heather. None of this changes ever, even when he's in 6th grade!