(Maddie has a habit of using the wrong word for things in a way that is cute and gets picked up by the whole family. She calls flank steak “Franklin steak”, binoculars “noccis”, and forget me nots “don’t forget mes”.)
I have a real dislike for signs and sayings that joke about being messy in the name of good parenting. Such as “please excuse the mess, the children are making memories”, or the one about good moms having sticky floors and happy kids. Yuck. But I definitely have a tendency to go too far in the other direction. I love my kids, but I don’t like kid stuff, don’t like playing kid games, and find that I too often expect them to behave like small adults. Sometimes I feel that I vacillate between managing my children and entertaining them, when neither is quite right. Yes, sometimes I want to be left alone. Sometimes I need to be correcting, teaching, or disciplining. But mostly I want us to be together companionably… you know.. “making memories”. I have not figured that part out. (But my floors are spotless.)
Well I am about to get my big chance to work on it as my middle daughter’s preschool year has ended, and my first grader will be home for the summer in two weeks. Religious education is over for her, soccer has ended for both of them, and ballet ends at the end of June. So I am trying to plan some fun activities for all of us to do, just me and the kids, during the day. I am good at putting things like this off and then never doing them, so I decided to list my ideas on paper.
Summer goals for the kids. I wrote.
Hmmm. Get everyone a well child appointment and tooth cleaning. Yes, but not really what I was going for.
Take the kids camping. They have been begging to do this, but I don’t know anything about it and should just leave it up to Matt.
I felt stumped. I wanted it to be something that was me, something that would be a real part of their childhood, but something I would enjoy. I am not athletic and my tolerance for parent-directed kid crafts is very low.
Take the kids to the library every Wednesday. Okay, better. Not very creative.
Take the kids to daily Mass every Wednesday, and then to the library.
Get quality children’s audiobooks from the library for them to listen to during their quiet time….Can I think of anything that does not involve the library?
And then I was suddenly on a roll.
Help kids do a show: pick a story, have them make costumes and a set.
Teach kids to play checkers
Take kids to historic gardens nearby and let them take pictures with my phone
Help them make two elaborate desserts of their choosing
Be brave and invite two new friends over with their mom and siblings (ahhhh!)
Send out one handwritten letter with pictures per week to family member
I like it. That’s enough.
I went outside to do my evening chores, was weeding the garden and enjoying the sunset. It was our second day of sun after a week of rain and clouds. I got curious about my potato plants, dug around, and pulled out three good sized red ones that I was unnaturally excited about. I then stood in the garden for a good ten minutes wondering if I should plant any more light colored sunflowers or if I should switch to burgundy and deep orange for the rest of the season.
Back to thinking about my garden, my decorating colors. my self.
Then I hear a little voice from the open window, and see a small person waving furiously. “Hi mom!” She calls down. “There’s a kitten following you!”
Don’t forget me.
I wave back and hold up the cat to wave a paw at her too. “I love you! Meow!”