Saturday, May 24, 2014

Mother's Day Movies

What's the matter with this, I ask?

For Mother's Day, Ken got me a copy of Oklahoma! and Rees got me a copy of Les Miserables (plus lots of candy and drinking containers and homemade cards). After the festivities and exclamations concluded, we were discussing what to watch first when Rees picked up Oklahoma! and asked, "So what's this one about?"

I began, "It's famous. It begins with a cowboy singing--"
Rees held up his hand. "Don't say any more. I can't even ... Please watch that one when I'm at work."

I have failed as a mother. What a caveman.

I'm still thinking about this, almost a week after watching it.  Lifechanging. Thank you, dear Rees! I guess you're not quite a caveman.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Full Circle Room

Five years ago, Ken and I moved out of our downstairs bedroom and into the den, pulling out the futon for ourselves every evening (And putting it back together most mornings.). Rees moved into our old room. He was fourteen and wanted some privacy from the quadruple boys' bedroom in the handling of his lung chores ~ certainly everyday stuff like nebulizers and flutter valves, but also occasional IV medication pumps and the exacerbations that kept him up coughing all night. Those were bittersweet times, for I would always awaken to bring him popsicles and warm honey-lemon drinks and we would watch DVDs on his computer in the middle of the night.

This past weekend, he moved into the garage apartment and Ken and I got our room back. This is good. Mostly. I'd been getting comfortable with missing him this past year already, due to classes, work, and friends keeping him away, but this is different. Little things over the past few days have unnerved me, like I don't know if he did his saline rinse because the bottle isn't drying on the bathroom counter because he has his own bathroom counter now. Like in my morning routine, I can't grab his nebulizers to dismantle and boil because it isn't his room anymore and the nebulizers aren't there and how do I know if he took care of them himself and if they're growing creepy germs? See? Unnerving. Of course, I do have a key and can go check if I want (!).
Rees roofing his place (and our garage).

Doesn't he still look like this?

I'm so glad we gave him that space. It was truly a pleasure for us to pull out that futon and give him the gift of his own room for those important years. Having it back to ourselves is wonderful, but not in a frantic, Oh thank God that's over, way. The timing is perfect; the gift has come full circle; the home is at peace. Not all parenting has such obviously perfect outcomes, but this one has, for all the years involved.

(Now I'm going over there to take apart that nebulizer to dry out...)

Happy weekend, friends,

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Just Wrestling?

I thought I understood about boys and violence. For the past three months, I've listened raptly to their stories of wrestling club practice. I've smeared lotion on their mat burns and scrapes, clucking sympathetically and proud of their swagger. I've exclaimed over the tough-looking singlets (but I don't tell them how adorable they look; not manly...):

Can you stand the cuteness??? Living room practice.

And then I watched them compete at the end-of-season state-wide tournament.

I was sniveling female mess. I was mad at the opponents for being mean to my sons (They weren't.); I was mad at my sons for being afraid (They weren't.); I was mad at the coaches for being mad at my sons (They weren't.). Due to hundreds of wrestlers and hours of waiting, I watched other boys' matches and was mad at the aggressive ones, mad at the shouting parents, and mad at the referees for pumping the winners' fists in the air (Hey, that makes the other kid feel bad.). Clearly, I'm a softie who wants everyone to get a trophy for trying and doesn't like making a big deal of winning. So far, our family has only been involved in individual endeavors like martial arts, cross-country skiing, hiking, and hunting. I am a bad sports mother. I kind of hope they don't want to wrestle any more.

Yesterday had only my littlest boys competing (Joseph, 4 and Luke, 7). At this very moment, I am skipping today's matches, where Ian, almost 10 and John, 16 are wrestling. They're bigger; they have more muscles; they'll hit the floor harder. I can't handle it.

I told all these feelings to Ken last night and he stared, practically slack-jawed at me and tried very hard not to smile. "Honey, it's just wrestling," he said softly. Clearly, I'm a girl.

I know and believe in all the rough-and-tough stuff for boys. I want them to be protectors, comfortable and proud of their physical strength that mirrors virtuous strength . I just don't want to watch wrestling anymore. I'll make sure to have the correct potions and ointments and snacks and a listening ear for when they're home. I'm the mommy, not the coach!

Here is a link to our club, which has very nice and helpful coaches. Very strong and scary, too, but it's OK if men are a little scary. Go Arctic Warriors! Go boys!

And now I've got to get a good snack ready for the after-tournament debriefing...

Happy weekend!