Well, it's Mother's Day once again. My kids are in the teenage phase of their lives, which isn't always the most charitable time, so I had to be rather direct about the fact that I expected gifts. Thankfully, my husband very perceptively realized that it was best for him to take control of the gift situation before I resorted to listing all that I do for the kids during the rest of the year to deserve proper pampering for one day each May. I can't wait to see what I get!
When the kids were younger, I dreaded the teen years because I thought you were supposed to. To my delight, things have gone more smoothly than I was expecting- and with three in high school and one in middle school it seems like this would have the potential of being the worst of times. I guess the fact that I actually enjoy hanging out with my kids is suggestive of at least partial success in the mothering department, but what do they think about me as a mom?
A week or so ago, I saw a clip in a magazine where various celebrities were asked to describe their mothers in one word. What a great experiment! I put it to the test with my own youngsters, with mixed results as follows:
Girl #1 (age 18) - "Grumpy, moody". What? First of all, I only asked for a one-word answer, so technically she violated the terms of the assignment. Second, I think she was kidding, but I'll probably kick her out of the family just in case she was serious with that response. Off to a bumpy start.
Girl #2 (age 16) - "Hard-working". Well, it's nice to have a bit of recognition. A very factual response, but she's kind of a no-nonsense kind of gal.
Boy (age 15) - (with a tilt of the head and a look of consideration) "Complicated". I'm guessing most teenage boys find females complicated, especially a boy with three sisters. I'm assuming his response had more to do with my gender than my personality- I usually try to ensure everyone at home knows how I'm feeling and don't want any of that to seem complicated.
Girl #3 (age 12) - "Nurturing". Isn't she sweet? Since she's the youngest, she dotes on the animals and soaks up any affection she received from both the humans and animals in the house.
Rather than become all mushy about how much it means to me to be a mom or start to cry about the stupidity of having our kids so close together because now they're all going to leave the nest in quick succession, I decided to identify my favorite parenting memories that combine both "music" and "mom" in honor of Mother's Day.
1. Michigan playlist. Before we leave for our annual summer vacations to Michigan, I always make a family-friendly playlist that we can not only enjoy in the car on the way up but also around the house while we're there. A couple years ago on the car ride up I challenged myself to get to the house exactly as the playlist ended, which got more exciting the closer we go to our destination. I succeeded in my challenge, although my daughter accused me of making a last-minute wrong turn to exactly make my goal. That was the same car trip when I lectured the kids about how lucky they were to have a mom who exposed them to high quality music. They seemed reluctant to acknowledge the value of that- my words were met mostly with blank looks.
2. The Grammy CD. As I noted in a previous post, we traditionally have saved the Grammy CD for our spring break vacations since those trips have always involved extremely long car rides. The Grammy CD is the perfect form of audio entertainment, even if we have run the risk of being sick to death of all the songs by the time our vacations were over.
3. Raffi concert. When the kids were young, I found that Raffi was a pleasing entertainer for kids as well as adults. When I heard that he was appearing in a nearby town, I splurged on tickets. He did not disappoint for the kids' first concert- he played "Baby Beluga" for the encore!
4. Watching the Grammy Awards. I know that most people love the glamour and excitement of the Oscars, but my kids and I love watching the Grammys. It's impossible to see all those movies that are nominated for Academy awards, but we've heard most of the Grammy nominated songs, which makes the awards more fun. Also, the outfits are a little crazier at the Grammys- the kids like that!
5. Working in the kitchen. We don't have a t.v. in the kitchen, but we do have a docking station/speaker for iPods, and I almost never work in the kitchen without music, whether I'm cleaning up after dinner or getting ready to have our extended family over. More often than not, one or more of the kids is sitting at the breakfast bar chatting with me or (on a good day) even helping me. That comfortable feeling of talking with them about everything and nothing might seem forgettable on a day-to-day basis, but I will remember it when they're not around.
Since my oldest is a senior in high school, I am spending most of this year trying to mentally prepare for the changed dynamic that we'll experience next year when she's away. While it hasn't always been done consciously, music has indeed woven its way through our family's memories and experiences through the years. For most people, music can trigger memories from certain time periods or experiences, and I'm grateful that those triggers will help me remember being a mom to my wonderful kids.
Snap, I've gotten mushy after all. Such is the holiday! Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!
Filed under: Parenting