A friend of mine mentioned the other day that she had been reading my blog. (I am always surprised when people tell me that they are reading my words. Shocked, but happy! I like it!) She said that she was enjoying reading my posts, but that they made her feel bad because, “It sounds so great! You are such a great mom. You guys always had fun together. My life with my kids isn’t that happy all the time.”
WHOAH. What? Did I really write that way?
So I went back and read a whole bunch of my old posts, and guess what? She was right! It was all sunshine, puppies, beach days and laughter. What the heck?
This blog was begun on the advice of a therapist. She was helping me to overcome my grief and depression after my kids moved out. She suggested that I write a series of letters and little stories to my kids. That I tell them how I was feeling, and therefore allow myself to move on. I thought that was what I had been doing all this time, but my look back has made me wonder.
If I was really trying to let go, and trying to feel happier about my empty nest, why did I focus so much on the best of times? Why did I only remember the great days? Wouldn’t that make it that much harder to move on?
If I wanted to feel better about not seeing Kate every day, shouldn’t I have recalled some of the, shall we say, “less pleasant” times together? Like perhaps the entire year when she was about 3 or 4 and had one ear infection after another, and I couldn’t get her to gain an ounce of weight? Or the time, maybe, when I locked my keys in my car, had to walk 6 miles home in the rain with baby Kate in the stroller, then use a fireman’s ladder to climb in a window because the house keys were also locked in the car?
Why didn’t I write about the time we went camping, and 13 year old Kate was so argumentative that I blew up. I hauled off and kicked a little kettle grill sitting on the ground. It was pretty stupid, because the grill was full of charcoal, weighed about 30 pounds and smashed the living hell out of my sneaker clad foot. But it was better than kicking her little butt, which is what I really wanted to do. Why didn’t I write about that?
Why didn’t I write about the time when my little Matt refused to get dressed for daycare one morning? Paul had already gone to take Kate to the school bus, and I had to get my boys out the door in a hurry or be late for work myself. I had already dressed Matt twice, but he took off his clothes again as soon as I turned away. Finally I told him, “You have two minutes to get dressed, or I am taking you to school as naked as the day you were born.” Sure enough, out the door I marched, with a naked screaming four year old under my arm. In November. He got dressed in the driveway.
Why did I always make Tim sound so charming, so funny and sweet? As if he wasn’t a real live boy!? Why did I do that, if I was sad about missing him?
I could have written about the times when Tim would argue back at us about everything we had to say. Or about the time when 3 year old Tim had a tantrum so long and so intense that I wrapped him in my arms and just held on. I used a holding technique that I had learned when teaching autistic children, wrapping him so tightly that he couldn’t move his arms, legs or head (Ever been head butted by an out of control kid? So not fun!). It worked, I guess. Of course, I hurt my shoulder, and Tim developed claustrophobia, but the tantrum ended, so what can I say?
Why have I left out all of the tough parts about mothering those three kids?
I guess because for me, the only way to let go is to tell myself that the job is done. To convince myself that no one could have done it better. I need my rose colored glasses to let me believe that it really was that great.
Otherwise, I might look back at all of my failures, faults and big mistakes, and I might decide that I need another chance to do it all again, only so much better this time.
These are my rose colored glasses, and I am keeping them on. For the sake of my now grown kids, I am keeping them firmly on!
Just remember as you read my lovely memories, that someday I might turn around and write about the time when all three kids were throwing up and I was crying and gagging as Paul mopped up and I did the eighth load of laundry of the night. I just might!