In the past few days, I’ve spent a lot of time vacillating between feeling like things are finally starting to feel easier, from a motherhood perspective, and feeling like mine and Andrew’s challenges in raising children simply flow from one set of circumstances to another.
For example, a couple days ago, I asked our three kids to get washed up for dinner. Now, remember, they are only 5, 3 1/2 and 23 months old. The older two know how to do a pretty good job of washing up at this point (they know Mommy will ask to smell their hands to check for the remnant scent of hand soap. No scent. No eat.) 3 1/2-year-old Landon, who is otherwise in a robust stage of alternately playing with his younger brother, and purposely hitting him in the head with any number of different household objects, called Gabe to accompany him into the bathroom on that particular evening. As I went to check on the three of them–making sure they were not turning their bathroom floor into Lake Hull, as has occurred on several other occasions, I discovered the most heart-warming scene: Landon and Gabe were squished onto a step stool together in front of the bathroom sink; older brother teaching younger brother how to wash hands.
“See, Gabe, you do it like this,” Landon went on to explain. “You get the soap in your hands, and rub them together while you count out loud to ten…”
I just about melted.
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Today, as I was pulling into the neighborhood after having the kids out all morning–and very much looking forward to my hour of “quiet time” during which I’d work on my new novel (instead, I am sitting here typing this post), I discovered an amazing site: the remnants of our cul-de-sac’s mailboxes after our across-the-street neighbor’s 15-year-old son hit it with their car…
Then it hit me: the ups and downs as a mom will never end. It’s not like I didn’t suspect this before, but when I went out to check with the boy’s mom and see if there was anything I could do to help out…seeing her crying at the shock of what her son had done…feeling bad for him in his distress…worrying about what would happen to their insurance premiums (three out of their four children are still teenagers, and, I would assume, still on the parents’ car insurance) and how they would get their car repaired…worrying about what her husband would say…I saw the anguish in her eyes that I feel like I know so well, even though we are both mothers at drastically different points in our lives of raising children.
“It’s always something,” she joked with me and the other mom who’d also come out into the street to offer help. The other two of us nodded knowingly.
For me, the “always something” consists of refereeing squabbles, cleaning up potty accidents (yes, still), dealing with tantrums, sorting out who said what to whom…but regardless of what age a mother’s children are, I imagine it will always be the same to a certain degree. There will always be something to deal with. And as moms, we will always be needed in our roles as mothers.