Mama Monday - The Little Things
I'm a little late in posting this Mama Monday, but I figure if I'm just now getting a moment to write it, there are plenty other mamas getting their first breath of oxygen for the day that might need to read it! This post is inspired by my little munchies, and makes me think of my own mama. The theme has been swirling in my head and heart the last few days, and is still taking form even now as I write.
You know what things I remember fondly from my childhood? It wasn't getting the Barbie Dream House of my dreams, the pink Power Wheels, or Kid Sister for my birthdays. No, I never got any of those things, though I wanted them ever so desperately. It wasn't the Disney vacations and family trips to Europe...those didn't happen either.
In fact, I don't think our little family of three ever went on a family vacation together. As a single mother who worked very hard to put herself through school and work full time while raising us, my sweet mom couldn't afford those kinds of luxuries. But I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt I had no idea then I was missing out on anything.
What I do remember is Candyland. According to my memories, my mom and I played every single night when we lived in our condo at 91st and Delaware. Before bed time, she would make me a glass of chocolate milk and we'd play the beloved game. I don't remember winning or losing. But I remember it being magical.
I remember my mom reading books to me. Berenstain Bears books even. You KNOW how long those are. And I know I chose them intentionally to extend story time and snuggling with my mama. I remember The Color Kittens and a handful of other sweet board books that now sit on my littles' bookshelf which I now get the privilege of reading to them.
I remember my mother sitting with me in my bed teaching me prayers before I went to sleep. She taught me the Lord's prayer and Hail Mary. She also taught my brother and me early on to pray before dinner. Every night we sat, our little family of three, around our dinner table and prayed, "Bless us, Oh Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty. Through Christ Our Lord, Amen."
I remember riding my bike alongside her while she walked and jogged in our neighborhood, and at La Fortune park. I remember feeling so "big" when she would let me ride a little way ahead of her and circle back around to meet up with her. When I got older, she bought me a pink and white pair of roller skates that I wore down to nubs skating around the block. She even let me wear them to the grocery store and would send me to the other end of the store to get items on her list for her! That was a superb thrill...until we got in trouble with the store manager!
I remember her taking me to McDonald's for breakfast on Saturday mornings (when breakfast used to be served until 11:00 AM), wearing her sunglasses inside because she didn't have her "face" on!
My mom never missed one of my brother's soccer games (though she may have been balancing her checkbook during a portion of them), and she never once missed one of my recitals. Or any of our other performances for that matter. To be clear, I know for a fact she sacrificed a lot to make sure we had those activities in our lives. When I asked her years later why she spent all that money on us, she said, "I decided early on that just because you kids didn't grow up with a mother and a father in the house, didn't mean you had to miss out on anything because of it."
As much as I am committed to enriching my kids' lives with interesting and cultural activities, supporting local businesses and being a part of our community, I'm reminded lately that it's the little things that bond us to our babies. The elaborate birthday parties and trips that require copious planning, packing, and excruciating car trips are memorable and worth it, but not the stuff of life when it all boils down.
We missed Luchapalooza this year, which is a bummer because all four kids are still talking about it from last year. But we did have some of our best friends over for a play date on Saturday, and you know what we played?
And last night, as I was bustling around the house trying to clean things up (I swear two days ago my house was spotless...) I noticed him crouched down with his hands crossed on his knees on the front porch. I opened the door and leaned down and asked him what was wrong. With tears in his eyes, he said his friend next door had gotten in trouble and was in her room and couldn't come out to play. He burst into tears sad because he hadn't been able to play with her since Friday and he said no one wanted to play with him. I held him and let him cry for a minute, then asked if he wanted me to take him on a walk around the neighborhood so he could ride his bike. He sniffled and looked at me and asked, "really?" Of course, I told him, and as I slipped on my flip flops, I realized I'd never done that with him before. The poor kid has had to ride back and forth in front of our house on the side walk since he got his bike because he's not allowed to ride in the street!
That walk was so sweet, and was a true adventure for my sweet five year old. He was so thrilled at how fast he was going, and fascinated by the bumps in the road and all the different streets we had the option of turning down. What a small thing for me to do for him that made such a huge impact on him! He already asked me if we could do it tonight, which we were unable to, and I promise you not a day will go by this week that he won't ask to do it again.
So tonight, after my children each asked to say a prayer with me before bed (Aidan asked for the Lord's Prayer and Alec asked for the "Bless-us-oh-lord"), I sat down to pour out all that's been swirling in me. And with sweet thoughts of my Hero of a mama and a fresh glass of chocolate milk, I'm inspired to slow down and love my children through the little things.
I hope you'll take some moments this week to do the same!
Love and Honey,