Monday, May 23, 2011

It's part of the job, but it's in the fine print

When I signed up for this motherhood gig I thought the job was mostly about rocking babies and pushing jogging strollers. Really. I was THAT clueless. But there nothing like "living it" day in and day out that helps to bring reality into focus. And apparently, this parenthood deal is a bit more complicated than I first assumed.

I am Butt Wiper in Chief. I have been wiping other peoples butts for over a decade now. Yes, it's been 10 long years of monitoring the elimination patterns of persons who um...aren't me. We should be closing on this season of Derriere Care, but in a cruel twist of fate, our youngest has a prognosis that includes extended potty training years. But someday, maybe even someday soonish, there will be nary a diaper in the place and I'll never here, "Mah-ummmm (my kids can make mom a 2 syllable word) I need you to come wipe my buns." Moms of older kids remind me that I'll miss these days, but I can't imagine grieving the title, "Butt Wiper in Chief."

There is another role that was probably in the fine print of the job description - the fine print I never read. It's a role that IS rather extraordinary and unfortunately a challenge for me. It's that of a humble listener. This weekend was crazy, and today my kids need me to be present, and available. They've all needed to come over and sit with me awhile. Abby just sat snuggling and talked my ear off for 20 minutes. The others have done the same. Kids need to be heard and seen -they need to know I think they are worth knowing, not 'cause they are my kids, but just 'cause they're cool.

I was really grumpy this morning, especially about the chaos of our house. Messiness makes me crazy. My kids LOVE to wallow in messiness. It's a difference we have yet to resolve. So as the morning went on my anxiety mounted as I realized I was losing the battle. Just in the nick of time (almost - I bit the heads off of only two of my children for general slobbery.)I quit caring. It's just mess - the mess will always be here. My kids, probably won't always want to sit on my lap and tell me about their lego creations, or the book their reading, or pretend to feed me plastic food. Carpe Diem right?

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