Summer is here and I love it! More than anything I enjoy being more relaxed in the evenings with my son. I’m not stressed out with the hustle from work to pick him up only to rush home to realize I have nothing to cook for dinner. On a school night, this is when I realize we’re now an hour behind schedule if we expect to get homework done, play, shower, prepare for tomorrow and read a book all before waking up to do the same thing all over again.
Our evenings during the summer leave me feeling much more like the mom I dream of being. A mom who always lives in the moment. A mom who seems to exude joy while picking the few weeds in her immaculate yard and waving lovingly to each passerby.
I seem to hear his giggles more clearly and the hugs are a bit sweeter. There are games on the patio, hanging out with neighbors, swimming, biking, ice cream and staying up too late. Summer is filled with all of the moments we hope our children will replay in their minds as they remember their childhood.
I’m guilty of filling my plate too full more often than I’d probably like to admit. And I’m certain I’ve missed an extra hug here and there with my son. However, others in our lives that are incredibly important need us to slow down for them too. It may be a friend, a neighbor, or a co-worker who is stressed out from the daily happenings that can wear us down. You never know when slowing down for someone and simply asking how they are could really change the momentum in their life.
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I don’t feel compelled to be my son’s friend.
I have a desire to act lovingly towards him. Nurture. Protect. Guide. Provide him with tough life lessons. All of those lame parental terms. He’s literally the only person I’d actually lay in the street for. Does it make me lame? Boring? Maybe to some. #idontcare.
I recently filled out documents that had this question: “Describe how you define the role of a parent. Additionally, list your strengths and weaknesses.” How would you answer this? It was much more difficult than I thought it would be.
What a double edged sword! Strengths and weaknesses?!? That list could vary depending on the status of how the morning went at drop off. Or what color my son was on that day. (The dreaded color coded behavior chart!!!!) Did I have to threaten to give away all of his toys to get him to tie his shoes? I can’t be the only one who has those types of mornings.
The truth is that I have strengths and weaknesses. Both as a parent and a person. Sometimes I’m a crappy friend who becomes very caught up in my own day to day life. Thankfully, I have very forgiving people in my world.
It took a long time to really absorb the question. My reflex was just to answer in genetic bullet point responses. But the question really got to me. I did make the list. I had more strengths written down than I thought I would. My biggest weakness is stress management. I have some stressors that I simply cannot control. I have to be committed to letting those go. At the end of the day, all it does is steal my joy. It robs my son and me of moments. I own that and it’s getting better everyday. Remember the bachelor season where that diva had the anthem, “Don’t let anyone steal your sparkle!” Her mama was right, guys!
My biggest strength by far is acknowledging that I don’t know it all. I will never have this parenting thing down. I will never stop growing, evolving as a person, or know everything about the world. It doesn’t mean that I’m always chasing the next thing or that I’m unsatisfied. It doesn’t mean I don’t have confidence. It means I’m always growing. I feel that is the best thing I can show my son. My heart strings pull when I see that our shoes are almost the same size. But I don’t ever want him to stop growing.
My son and I had a roaring good time this weekend! We’re talking fort building, pizza party, mountains of legos kind of time. One of the highlights was THE HEARD MUSEUM, located in McKinney.
I haven’t heard many people mention it so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I’ll admit, I usually gasp at the thought of going north of 635. So the questions is… Is it worth it? Here’s my take on it…
- Cost: Very reasonable Adults: $10, Seniors 60+ & Children 3-12: $7, Heard Museum Member & Children 2 and Under: FREE
- Parking: #Winning. Parking is limited. However, this was not an issue and I magically found a front row spot. It didn’t seem like a packed place. And I didn’t see any jerks inventing parking spots.
- Staff: Very nice! A young girl provided tickets and pointed us in the right direction.
- Play area: Humble & Historic. As you begin and end the trail outside, there is a small play area, Pioneer Village. This is primarily 50 million pounds of wood mulch with numerous wooden old houses.
- The Main Event: Dinosaur Live! My son LOVED this! The first Dino on the trail was a life sized T-Rex that actually startled him. It moves in ways that makes it pretty entertaining for anyone. The small details, like the eyes scanning visitors, make it so much fun!
My son enjoyed the ease of the map and it made him feel like he was really leading us to the next big find. Each dinosaur moved, made realistic noises, and one even spit! There’s even a spot for a photo op with a Triceratops.
We made it through the main event in about 30 minutes. It’s a casual, not congested stroll through the trail.
- Animals of the World Exhibit: This was unexpected! Just off from the front desk, is a great exhibit! I think I may have enjoyed this more! They have lemurs, an iguana missing a claw, owls, Texas sized snakes, and giant shells collected by Miss Heard herself!
My favorite find had to be the Mosasaurs! This giant sea reptile was excavated in 2008 from Duck Creek in Garland. It is sure to impress anyone AND IT’S LOCAL!
In all, the price is fair and the kids will love it. As a parent, the highlight was just getting outdoors and feeling like we checked out of city life for a minute. There’s something about being on a trail outdoors and experiencing life through your child’s eyes that is magical.
Check ’em out!
Life is tough sometimes, y’all.
Other times…I can’t even handle the indescribable beauty I’m graced with. What is difficult for me, could be easy for you. Having grace for one when they fall short is showing what you are capable of.
At the end of each day a political race doesn’t matter. Your really shitty work day doesn’t matter. That jerk who cut you off in traffic….that also doesn’t matter.
Comparing ourselves to the next family or the mom in the carpool lane who just seems to freaking have it all…. stop. I can assure you, it’s hurting you more than you think.
Can you think about a time you thought you had it all? Perhaps it’s a wedding proposal, a pregnancy, a graduation, a career move. Whatever it is, I can imagine you felt thankful. Beautiful. Happy. Optimistic. Anything positive.
Fast forward a few years. Do you still feel the same passion? I don’t mean “Oh yeah, I’m lucky… I know.” I mean real passion.
When you thought you had it all, your passion became your normal. That is incredible.
What humbles me the most is remembering that normal is a cycle on your washing machine. Life is a cycle. It can be delicate, heavy, normal. No matter what cycle you run it on, it must be handled with care. If we’re being real, life will give you the light load and the dark load. It’s even going to yield that ridiculous load you wash and then dry 3 times only to want to just start it over again in the washer 5 days later.
And that is normal. Learn to love your normal.
My son keeps cutting out Princess Leia tattoos and laying them on the bathroom counter for me to find. It’s day three. The first one I was so excited about I immediately applied it.
That’s so cool and a GIANT ego boost.
I don’t know how much longer he will think I’m this awesome. Today when we rushed out the door and I hurried him off to school, he still managed to steal my heart.
We did our normal exchange of hugs and kisses and “Please be on a good color. Be respectful, okay?!” As I walked away I heard “Mommmmy!” I turned around to find him racing to me. Typically this would be a “Crap. I forgot FILL IN THE BLANK.”
It wasn’t. I got it right today. He was running to me for one last hug. One last kiss. One last smile. He said, “Our hug wasn’t tight enough!” I looked him in the eyes and told him how right he was. How he has the most special hugs I’ve ever felt. And how I knew he would have the best day ever. It was such a moment that a dad even stopped me to tell me how sweet it was.
Our days are busy. Sometimes they just don’t go right. I’m learning how a “good day” is more about your perspective. I enjoy my job. I think we are doing amazing things for a lot of people. I’m proud to be a part of it everyday. No matter what, if I’m having a bad day at work and I think about that little boy…. work always fades.
When I play back that first grade boy with glasses, obsessively combed hair and a love of all clothing with a collar…. nothing else matters but that moment. Living life with him is always a good day.
Staying in the moment isn’t always easy for me. Loving my son is. I often feel pulled in 10 different ways. This often leads me to feel I’m halfway good enough at anything. I feel an enormous sense of responsibility to equip myself as best I can for not only his betterment, but my own as well.
This book… you need it.
Not only for parenting. But for the relationships in all aspect of your life. The questions behind the questions is really an accurate title for this book. It’s far more than a “How can I stop my kid from being a jerk sometimes?!” or “Teach me how to not screw my kid up!” kind of book. It encourages each of us to slow down and dig a little deeper.
Our children learn from us. They hear us. They see the world through us. Especially when we don’t think they are tuned in. This book instills family values and the power of personal accountability.
When we as parents hold ourselves to a higher standard and remain accountable first, our children directly benefit.
We won’t get it right many times. (And relax, it’s okay!) But how we handle ourselves in those moments may have a bigger impact on their development than the good times. Children are resilient and amazing little people. We should help them preserve that for as long as possible. I’m thinking we would all learn something really beautiful along the way.