A Tale of Two Mommies

…because more seems excessive…

Life as Pictures…when life gives you sugar

(Image description: sunny, bright day looking out over a small field with flowering trees, some young evergreen, and other trees that have yet to get leaves. The ground is still yellow from winter with a little green coming in. The field recesses into the ground. The back of a boy wearing bright blue in the distance.)

We had a day to clean-up our town, which the kids were quite excited to do…They are still in the I want to help you stage. The seven-year-old Little Man was determined to make an extra trip with me to gather the trash he noticed during our walk the previous day. In the sun it was a little warm for my taste, but a nice day. It was the second day in a row where he held my hand and chatted about random things. My son is affectionate, but it’s always something done on his terms, so I’m never sure when I will be able to bask in it. He had a light and awkward grip on my fingers, but it was a comfortable feeling of closeness that he doesn’t offer elsewhere. For all the ways I feel like a terrible parent, especially over the last year, these moments I’m reminded that I’m his person…and that he’s inherently more forgiving of me than I am of myself.

Who doesn’t love a little randomly absurd whimsy as part of their environment? I’d noticed this piece of gnome artwork for a long time now on one of my very seldom departures from my home. I don’t know who did it or why it occurred to them, but it’s marvelous. The town clean-up day was the first time I’ve had an opportunity to capture it, so I took advantage.

(Image description: bright sunny day with a close up of a hollowed out alive tree. A dirt ramp leading up to artwork of a gnome in a red hat and jacket, blue pants, black shoes, green shirt. He has a white beard, eyebrows, and hair peaking out under the hat. He’s smoking a long pipe with pink cheeks. There are four small yellow flowers next to his legs. The paining takes up the entire opening of the hollowed tree. There is real grass on either side of the opening. There are woods behind the tree.)

Warrior Queen shrieks her single volume of displeasure often enough, but it doesn’t last long. Often there is an apology, which is fine. It’s not totally necessary, but I appreciate when my kids consider other people and the way in which their behavior impacts others. She’s always been more about the snuggles than anything else, though, and she offers them readily. Snuggle is her five-year-old default. I’m sure to not take it for granted because as freely as she gives this kind of affection now, some day it won’t be this way.

Little Man’s affection is often patting my arm or militantly insisting he scratch my back because he “knows how much I love them.” My son is considerate. It’s an anomaly in my eyes when he isn’t. A more apt descriptor, however, is to claim that he’s aggressively considerate. He offers so many kindnesses; sometimes they are inconvenient or inappropriate, but he’ll insist on them regardless. A piece of me feels bad for responding in a negative way to what he perceives as a good deed that must happen. But, I suppose that’s the point. A good deed is about the recipient. And, it’s a lesson his young mind still has to learn.

(Image description: a child drawing with a crease in the center of the a white piece of paper indicating the inside of a handmade card. There are stick figures at the bottom, one taller than the other. The figures are holding hands and smiling. Above the figures are pink and red hearts in a pattern beginning with read on the far left. The pattern occurs three times. At the top in a child’s hand is written, “I love being with you.”)

My kids have a competition of sorts these days. Little Man came home one day to give me a card he made at school during “Free Draw Friday.” I, of course, immediately forgot about every annoying thing he’s ever done in his life up to that moment.

(Image description: horizontal blurred tulip art project. The project is of the beads that are melted with an iron. The flower petals are multicolored down through part of the stem. The bottom part of the stem and leaves are different shades of blue.)

My son has been on a card kick lately, but it seems that whenever he has some kind of art thing to do at school, it becomes a gift for me. He’ll march into the room and proclaim in grand words (and volume) what he constructed for me that day. I wasn’t able to get the best picture, but I loved this gift in particular. My favorite color is blue, so Little Man is sure to assert when he creates something using the color.

(Image description: a handmade card made by a child oriented horizontally when the image should be vertical. It’s heavy-handed scribbled colors with much white between the swaths of blue, purple, and aqua. There is a purple and pink heart in the upper middle of the white page. The creator didn’t indicate a meaning to the scribbles.)

Warrior Queen not to be outdone also felt compelled to create a card for me, which is no less touching. Please, children, do go on and compete in your expressions of all the ways in which you love me…

I could have sworn that I mentioned it in another post, but I love it so much I want to talk about it again. My main drug is chocolate. I fully admit I have a problem. I should probably join a self-help group about it, but alas I continue to nurture my cravings on a regular basis. Mostly I stock up on chocolate chips these days because it’s cheap and convenient. They also aren’t so good that I scarf an entire bag in a sitting. Additionally it helps to be able to nibble a little throughout the day when I feel compelled to. This trick allows me to feel like I’m eating more than I am, but make no mistake, I tend to supersize my quantities regardless, but it’s a difference between supersize and SUPERsize and stemming the damage. I don’t voice all of this in front of the kids. I have an unhealthy relationship with food, so I’m trying to avoid making that a thing with the them. They both have a passion for chocolate as well…because I’m an excellent parent who nurtures good taste in my offspring. It’s stunningly uncanny. Regardless of what’s happening in their world, they know when I have a plate of chocolate chips, and invariably one of the kids will ask for some. Most of the time they will ask for exactly two specifically to give the other away to their sibling. Every once in awhile they ask for a little more, but it’s always a number divisible by two so it can be shared.

Sometimes I’m in a room with my kids and I feel an urge to move away leaving no forwarding address. Other times there are these sweet moments that may or may not be reminiscent of earlier years. Warrior Queen hasn’t napped for the longest time, but I guess she’s been wearing herself out lately. I’ve now experienced three occasions in maybe a little over two weeks of having her fall asleep on me. Other than needing to use the restroom desperately halfway through, it’s lovely. I’ll be reading. She’s sprawled out on my lap under my blanket. At one point during the second one, she rolled over and had her cheek resting on that one spot mid chest she used to love when she was a baby. I could look down and see her marvelous cheeks and pressed lips. It was perfect. The weight of her, and she’s always so snuggly. I periodically stroked her cheek and brushed her hair out of her face. My kids slept on me for the longest time, and one day they just stopped. There was no gradual ease out of it. The habit ended, and it was sad at the time, so it’s nice to have this bonus snooze…a little like the bonus hand holding of Little Man.

Sometimes I wonder if there is a fine line between good parenting and giving up. My husband isn’t working anymore, so he’s been taking over a good deal of tasks, like bus pick-up. It figures the day that I need to step in is pouring. I love overcast days. I love the rain. I don’t like to be out in the rain, but this wasn’t bad. When it’s a freezing rain, it’s unpleasant. I should have put Warrior Queen in boots when we went to retrieve her big brother…oops…I make this mistake almost every time. My feisty girl was all showered from school…nice dress on, but the puddles were a-calling. Part of me cringed as she went through the first one, but then I stopped caring. Whatever. She’ll change her clothes for the millionth time during the day, and I will have more room under the umbrella. And, while I’m not yelling at her for getting soaked, I took some deep breaths and vaguely watched where she was going. It’s not like things are busy in the neighborhood. I have to watch and pay attention, but it’s not a constant vigilance for cars. We are far enough down that there is plenty of warning when people are coming. Besides, the bestest puddles were essentially streams at the side of the road going into the sewer. She was happy. I was given a short reprieve from hearing a loop of, “Mom,” on two second repeats. That was a pretty big win. Little Man eventually made it home and I could hear about the benefits of the rain for the small rose bushes my husband just planted.

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