Friday, June 22, 2012

Laughing Till It Hurts

I realized this morning just how many things over the years have been so serious, so... depressing.  One of those moments where I caught a glimpse of the many things I've been through that have just been plain old tough.  Certainly not fair.  Just as this very sobering thought was beginning to really gel, I was caught off guard with one memory after the other of some pretty funny stuff. For every painful experience, it seems I can match it with laughter.  

I'm not talking about your regular laughs, either.  It's those times where you catch yourself laughing so much it hurts, while trying to catch your breath. Finally you end up muttering something that sounds like "whoo" as the laugh dies down, only to bubble up again a second later.  

Most of these times are of the you-had-to-be-there variety, but I do have an all-time favorite that translates fairly well.  Especially if you are a parent of more than one child.

Sitting across the picnic table from my friend Dianne, at "play group" (which, by the way, was so much more about us mothers needing to have other grown-ups to hang out with than providing enrichment for the kids) while she feeds her youngest child a bottle.  Her daughters are 6 months old, 2-year-old twins, and the oldest, 3½.  We are talking about the changes a mom goes through from first-time mother to the follow-up kids.  (Nothing against the follow-ups, it's just that the transformation from being a first-time parent to parent of more than one is palpable.)  Unaware that as she goes on in vibrant detail about how carefully she would go to a quiet place to nurse her newborn eldest, sure to coo lovingly, making eye contact at all times of course, and how WOW that's all changed now, the bottle has slipped from the baby's mouth and formula is dripping down onto the little cherub's face as she tries catching the drips with her tongue.  We other moms are all laughing so heartily as Dianne shares her story, tears of laughter streaming, that no one can make words and tell her what's up.  Of course when she realizes what has happened, we are all vaulted into further fits of "I can't breathe!" 

This morning I am thinking of so many times I've eeked out "I can't breathe!" - many times on the phone with Kerri and something just hits us both as hysterically funny, and as many times with my husband Paul when we are home in the evening watching sports and just being what we call "goobers".  

Yes, the painful times are still there, but I am forever grateful for so much laughter along the way. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Mom To Adults

          When Kerri was little she asked me to promise her I would live until she was 100 years old. I promised. That will make me a spry 128. I was twelve when my own mom died and for such a long time I've wanted very much to be a mom to adults. Of course living until Kerri is 100 will make me a mom to old people, but that's okay.
          I can think of so many things from when the kids were small that I am so thankful for. It's not like I was wishing away their young years so I could have adult children. We (people who love small children) experience so many little things that we need to pay attention to because they (the special moments) are here for such a fleeting moment: 
          Ryan getting off the bus a very upset first-grader. Problem: the big kids on the bus were making fun of a kid named Jimmy, and that wasn't right. He was downright angry. Ryan getting off the bus the following day, smiling broadly as he announced he figured out what to do about Jimmy. He'd decided to sit with him so Jimmy wouldn't be alone when those sixth graders picked on him. Ryan's dad asking him if he'd been concerned that the big kids might make fun of him, too. "No, I didn't think about that." No one made fun of Jimmy.  There's a brave kid with a big heart.
First grader Ryan
           Asking Ashley, so often easily bruised by what others said and or did, who had come downstairs for school in a rather funky looking outfit, if she was certain that was what she wanted to wear. "Of course. Mom, if I went to school with a pizza box on my head, the next day ALL the kids would come to school wearing a pizza box hat." There's a kid struggling with confidence but showing a whole lot of it.
Ashley in something sensible Mom no doubt picked out
          Kerri, seeing me in tears over who-knows-what (there were a lot of them in those early days): "Mommy, PRAY", while wrapping me in her gigantic one-of-a-kind hug. There's a loving little kid with a lot of faith.
Kerri - don't you just want to hug her?
          I wouldn't trade those (and so many more) special moments with my children for anything. They are tucked carefully away in my heart room and I pull them out from time to time and without fail they give me a special kind of comfort. Sometimes I don't need to pull them out, a precious memory will just pop out at the perfect time.           
          The moments I treasure these days are very different, but ones I had hoped for many times.  
  • Hearing Ryan tell me something about his son - well, there's an experience Webster forgot to find any words for. 
  • Having Ashley call me from the West Coast just because - there's a girl who could help Webster create a whole new volume. Volumes. 
  • Getting off the phone with Kerri for the eleventh (or twenty-third) time that day. So many words, all treasured, many perhaps not necessary but I don't want to let even one slip away. We'll use up all Webster's words and start making our own. 
          After any one of these phone conversations, I end the call and whisper a tiny thanks for that answered prayer:   I am a mom to adults at last.