On Thanksgiving Day, I took Stephen swimming at the YMCA, just the two of us. We had a blast–we swam around, carefree and goofy in a way I can’t be when I have the whole crew. I listened to Stephen’s endless chatter: questions, stories, make-believe games, and truly enjoyed him. I remembered that he is just a little boy; when you’re the biggest big brother with 3 little brothers, you look old and capable by comparison–I forget that 6 is still so young.
When we got home, reality returned: 2 fussy babies who needed diapers changed, nursed, wanted to be held; a 3 year old who wanted to play, needed a snack, fell and scraped his knee, had a tantrum and couldn’t get his socks on. And carefree, fun mommy vanished and was replaced by strung-out-frustrated-grumpy mommy.
Now, when stressed-out mommy rears her head, Stephen tickles me under the chin and asks, “Where’s my mommy that I went swimming wi
th? Where did she go? Where’s my fun mommy I went swimming with?” He asks this in the high-pitched sing-songy voice he uses to talk to the babies, as if he’s playing a game to tease out Fun Mommy.
He writes me notes and draws me pictures to remind me to be happy.
He always notices when I’m sad or stressed and tries to make me feel better, picking me dandelions and asking if he can help me.
So I am learning from my children to be carefree, fun mommy. They don’t care if the laundry is folded, or if the toys are picked up, or if the milk got spilled. They just want to play and have fun. They want to live in the moment; they giggle for the joy of giggling.
Now that the babies are a year old, I feel like I can finally lift my head and look for fun mommy again. I am a work in progress, and I’m blessed to have my little Stephen to remind me to be happy, and enjoy the cuteness of the babies and the yellow of the dandelions!