Posts filed under ‘parenting’
Last summer we went camping with our daughter and son-in-law, and on that trip, a grandchild learned about fishing. Here she looking out at the lake after the caught fish was thrown back in the water.
Let’s catch another one, Daddy!
At Home With Books hosts this popular meme. Post a photo taken by you or a family member, one that’s clean and appropriate for all eyes. Then go and link with Alyce on her blog and see all the other photos.
It’s easy to forget what makes toddlers laugh, the little things that amuse them. Like standing on one’s head or playing peek-a-boo from under a table or blanket.
My husband and I babysat our two small grandchildren in the summer when their regular babysitter was on vacation. We learned anew that:
high chairs and tables make great crawl-under structures
it’s funny to wear a sandbucket on one’s head as if it were a hat
blowing soap bubbles outdoors and chasing them is fun
simple food is best, not mixed together, except for macaroni and cheese
popsicles drip, but they taste good
cereal and cucumbers make a fine snack, as do the tiny tomatoes growing in the garden
water play is fun and the splashpad at the waterpark too
[In early December] Some things we remembered this weekend
it takes longer to get ready for outdoors
mittens make it harder to hold on to things
sometimes we just want to play in the house
we can play the piano and make up our own songs
we can make snowmen with playdough, then smush them into a blob, and
look out the window at dogs and people going by
“Grandma, I want a nack [snack].”
From Grandma’s point of view, a small one in winter jacket, mittens, and boots looks like the Michelin Man, only much cuter.
Denise Bud Rumble wrote
But, no matter the age of the mother, or the daughter, the relationship stands as it always has, ageless – a mother, a child, the instinct to look after one another just a part of who you are.
Her statement is true, and it’s one I appreciate more since having children of my own. When my children— as babies, toddlers or teenagers— were happy, I felt good, but when my children struggled with a chronic illness or a difficult diagnosis, I felt miserable too. When a daughter hit adolescence and nothing seemed right, we were both in pain. One rebelling and the other trying to protect.
There was a time in the early years of parenting when it seemed to be a one-way communication. Mother loving and taking care of new baby. Mother getting up at night, feeding the crying hungry baby, regardless of the sleep she’s missing or how tired she feels. In time, though, the baby learns to respond, with smiles and baby kisses. One day much later, the child notices that mommy is sad or angry and asks “why” and offers a hug or a smile. Years later, it’s the young woman giving her mother advice on clothing or makeup, or listening and asking questions, which my daughters do for me from time to time.
I’m in the middle, my mother on one side, my daughters on the other, each of them asking of me and giving back. Each of them caring when I’m feeling unwell, each of them celebrating successes with me as I try to do for them. They’re important to me, part of my relationships, part of my family.
Not all these moments are going to be happy for I am as much like my mother as my daughters are like me. We want and crave our own individuality. Jane Christmas, author of Incontinent on the Continent, affirms that she is more like her mother than she wants to be. I have at times felt the same way, straining at the invisible ties that bind us together. I want to be myself. I want to be different from her, just as each daughter wants her own identity.
We’re enough alike and different creatures from each other. I may be their mother, but I cannot mold them, only prayerfully guide them to be the best they can be. I have made mistakes and can admit that. I am both a kissing mother and a scolding mother. Sometimes the scolding is necessary. Sometimes the ”no” is a safety issue. I have to agree with the quotation by author Pearl S. Buck who once said:
Some mothers are kissing mothers and some are scolding mothers,
but it is love just the same, and most mothers kiss and scold together.
The week of Word on the Street, our daily newspaper carried a review of author Jane Christmas and her book, Incontinent on the Continent:My Mother, Her Walker, and Our Grand Tour of Italy. The book was just out from Greystone Books and was a book I just had to read, or perhaps an author I must meet. I’ve done both, met the author and read the book.
The book is as much travelogue of Italy as it is about the author trying to mend her relationship with her mother. When the author broaches the idea of the two of them—mother and daughter— going to Italy, the first reaction from her mother is, “Now, what are you going to do about that hair?” A typical reaction. The author writes, “if she could fix my hair, she could fix my life”— a life, the author is convinced, that has never met with her mother’s approval.
In spite of the attitude, the author bravely makes plans for a six-week trip, a decision she asks herself over and over if it was the wise thing to do, given her mother’s extensive health challenges.
I’m not going to tell you more except to say that mother-daughter relationships are not always easy ones. We’re too much alike or we’re too different. I have daughters and a mother, so much of what Christmas wrestles with is common. She’s not the first to write about the mother-daughter relationship and she probably won’t be the last, but her take on it is what sets her book apart. Any mother or daughter could read this and laugh and cry with her. I invite you to read the book for yourself.
To learn more about this author, click here.
Soon our family will expand by one more little body. My daughter will have her first, and I will be a grandma for the first time. I have a small chair awaiting this infant whom I look forward to meeting and cuddling.
Thoughts of meeting this little one usher in memories of when the mother-to-be and her sisters were small, when the house was busier and noisier than it is now. I remember toys spread around the floor during playtime, cookie crumb trails, food that made its way somehow from a small one’s hand to the floor next to the high chair, tears over a bump or hurt, surprise visitors that meant a playmate for an hour or two and many more moments of both joy and distress.
There were sleepless nights that spilled over into tired days, evenings when dinner wasn’t ready when my husband returned from work when he must have wondered what we had done all day. Sometimes those days just got away from me, with a child ill and fretful, teething, or just uncomfortable for some reason. Plenty of those, but not overshadowing the good ones that I choose to remember today, the others to let go.
At the end of the day, when the toys were tidied up and supper dishes done, when the baths were over, the children sat on their bed in their pajamas awaiting a bedtime story and night-time prayers. Time to be thankful that everyone was well and safe.
Time to tuck in and give a kiss goodnight, another hug, and depending on which child was speaking, a request for another drink of water, another story or some small way of extending the day just a little longer. Then looking in awhile later to see them fast asleep and ready to go to bed myself.
I remember, too, the planned picnics with another mother and children, going swimming, heading to the library for a new stack of books to read, water play on the lawn on a summer day, sitting on the shaded porch and reading on a hot day, neighbourhood children playing in our yard in the sandbox or soaring on our swings with my own girls. Also days when the visit ended too soon and a child, having a lot of fun, didn’t want it to end and hid, hoping to prolong the visit.
Desmond Tutu said, “You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them. “
And so I feel about this little one and the mother-to-be, Lord, grant them health and safe passage. Today we celebrate.