Monday, October 23, 2006
My Momness
This weekend my daughter and I were watching the movie "Cheaper by the Dozen-Part 2". She is my movie partner. Each Friday or Saturday night we pile up in her bed with some popcorn and watch a movie.We call it our Girls Only slumber party. She loves movies as much as I do. Even if it is not a "kids" movie, she will watch it with me. While we are very strict about anything even remotely related to violence or obvious sexual content, other subject matter I let her watch. It has given us the opportunity to talk about a lot of subjects that do not normally come up in conversation. When we watched "The Notebook", we discussed being married for a long time, growing old together and love staying strong even if one person changes. Also we touched on Alzhiemer's. Deep subjects for a 5 year old but she is an old soul. I am so thrilled that she shares my love of the silver screen, as opposed to my husband. The joke is he never saw a movie he couldn't sleep through. Anyway, at the end of the movie, the oldest daughter gives birth to the first grandchild and thanks her parents for teaching her that there is
"No way to be a Perfect Parent, but hundreds of ways to be a really Good one.
That one line really stuck with me.
What ways am I a really Good One?
Before we adopted our son, I read everything I could about attachment, health, milestones, developmental delays, post institutional effects, feeding, sleeping and bowel habits. You have your game plan in place. Then your child arrives and you throw about half of what you have learned out the window. And lo and behold, your child thrives anyway. Throughout the last 7 years that I have been a Mom, I find that as parents, you are constantly bombarded with do's and don'ts from real and so called experts ,TV, print and other parents. This will cause even the most self confident Mom, second guess herself at times. But I think I have finally become comfortable in my momness. My kids are happy, healthy, compassionate and kind. They work hard and play hard. What more could I ask for. I must be getting some of it right.
I have also realized the importance of creating or embracing our own family quirks and traditions. It is what makes us The Freeman Family of Four (FFOF),which is how we refer to ourselves. I have come to the conclusion that I do not want to be totally like any other Mom. That;s fun of being Mom. You are allowed to make some of it up as go.
I bought myself a silver Hermit Crab charm.
I am not a jewelry person in the least. If it doesn't have some kind of meaning , than I rather not bother.The 7 rings I wear daily might seem to tell another story but not really. I wear my wedding and engagement ring, both of my grandmothers wedding bands and a sapphire(my birthstone) ring from my husband on my left hand. On my right, I wear two rings that are my children's birthstones (ruby and amethyst) and my father's high school graduation ring. He passed away 14 years ago and it is my most prized piece of jewelry.He was truly a role model of the type of parent I want to be. My mom too. They gave me great memories unique to us, traditions passed down, and hilarious happenings that only my brother , sister and I could ever understand. I grew up surrounded by love, devotion and family loyalty.We might not have been raised,by the book, we wrote our own. We are all successful, happily married and raising children of our own. What more could you wish for your children.They must have done something right.
So why a hermit crab as my own personal symbol of being a Mom.
Let me explain.
We went to the beach for an end of the summer last hooray. My kids have inherited our love of the beach and ocean, or anything that involves water. My daughter loves to collect beach treasures. This trip she pulled out of the ocean a shell that was the home of a hermit crab. Which of course she insisted on keeping in the bucket of shells and some water. Three days later when we arrived home, that little crab was still alive. So that led to a trip to the local Petsmart and collecting all the items for a Hermit Crab home. We dug out an old glass aquarium we have and filled it with sand, a coconut house, water dish, food dish, driftwood to climb on and extra shells in case he wanted to move into new one. Oh yeah, and another Hermit crab because according to the Hermit Crab Care Book, they don't like to live alone. And a thermometer and humidity gauge. You see they also like the temp to be between 72 and 85 and the humidity between 70-90%.They ate special hermit food and also apples, peanut butter, crackers and a host of fresh foods. Yes, I am the resident crab specialist. And of course, about a week later,Crab #1 dies. Followed by a trip back to the pet store to purchase another hermit crab. These two have lived happily for the past 2 months. Of course the interest in them for my daughter as waned. While I am still diligently checking the temp and humid levels several times a day, replacing water and food daily and cleaning out the cage. And putting them in the kitchen sink for a little exercise and a chat. This is the essence of being a Mom, proof that as a mother there is no end to what I will do for them. No task too great or too small. I will be as devoted to a pet they love as I am to them. My love and care of these two crabs is an extension of my love and care for them.Even if the big one loves to pinch me with his big claw. Even if it really hurts. And even if my daughter thinks it is so funny we he does this and I scream.
So everytime I wear this charm , it is my Medal of Honor, my Purple Heart, my Heart on my Sleeve (or neck).My little Mom Award to myself. Or maybe it just reminds me it's all the little things that add up the most.
It will make no sense to anyone but the FFOF.
These are the things that until you become a parent , you just don't get. A part of parenting that you would miss out on. Not just taking care of your family, but taking care everything that defines your family. Daily, I feed 16 mouths. Me, my husband and my two children. Two hermit crabs, a cat and a dog. Six rather huge goldfish and two plecos. I love it. How boring when I only had to feed four, Husband and I and dog and cat.
And since some eat more than once a day, I actually am in charge of 31 meals a day. 31 chances to be a good Mom. 31 chances to love.
A few of the hundreds of ways I am a good parent. Not perfect, not always right. I make mistakes.
But each minute of each day, I have the chance to be a good Mom. A chance to redeem myself sometimes.
I hope my two think, the Best Mom.
I want to be a One of a kind Mom.
They are One of a Kind Children.
We share a One of A Kind Love.
I have the Hermit Crabs to Prove It.


Anonymous debness said...

What a great story! Thanks for sharing,

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh I do the love the FFOF!!! ~Maegan

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