Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Glue That Holds Her Family Together

This is how another neighbor described my friend who just had the brain tumor removed. I thought a lot about that afterward. How many of us wives and mothers could be described that way? It could be the definition in the dictionary under the word mother. It's the reason why my worst nightmare, before losing any of my dear family members, is leaving them behind, orphaned and widowed. I just want everyone grown up first before anything happens to me. So, one of my goals is to one day outgrow the job of being the glue that holds everything together. I hope I have a l-o-n-g time to work on this goal because it is far from being reached. I hope by the time it is, they'll be attached enough to me, they'll keep me around anyway. I wonder how many of us, or to what degree want to keep our children dependent on us? There has to be a fine line between nurturing and cutting the apron strings. Sometimes raising kids seems like a tightrope walk and too often, I need that net below me because I seem to let go when I need to hang on or hang on when I need to let go.
Papi came home with a bike for the Things, someone passed it on to them. It has training wheels. They're 6 for crying out loud,but they seem out of place perched on top of that thing. It is a little on the big side for them, and hard to maneuver but even worse is how hard it is to watch them ride it any farther than the next door neighbor's house. They have also decided it would be fun to visit other kid's houses. So I find myself walking them over and hovering, way more than I ever did with the older children, who took these steps much earlier. I don't know if it's just because they are different from the others, or that I'm older and wiser and more cautious or if it's because they're the babies. They may be saying helicopter now, but they are making up new terminology as they go. Thing 2 said, climbing on some apparatus, that he needed help because he was "scared of kites". Thing 1 told me he has "eleventeen" dollars in his "Pinky bank". There's more but I can't think now. They all have haircuts. Thing 2 asked me when we went to scouts if the others would see his haircut. I assured him they would. He tried to cover his head with his hand. Papi thinks he got a bum deal 'cause most barbers get paid but he has to pay them to let him cut their hair.
I'm mourning the end of summer because I'm a weird mom. I hate back to school. If I had any influence over my kids and didn't work, I would home school, I hate back to school so bad. I got almost all the clothes and supplies we need and I'm feeling poor, too. That's not the biggest reason why I hate it. I hate the get everyone up and out the door routine, the pickup and transition time, with homework and then packing the lunches and backpacks and getting to bed, all on such a stricter timeline. Plus, I like being around the kids all the time. The Things got into the all day kindergarten class! I was shocked. Gigio has a new teacher, who seems nice and the teachers I know think she's great. Carino has the same teacher Gigio had last year so I know he'll have fun. We had meet the teacher night tonight. I felt like leaving them all with their teachers because they were all going in 4 different directions and no one would listen or obey. It took way too long to get through 3 classrooms and sign-up booths and out of the playground and to the car. The Things are excited but they really want to go back to Ms. Davies class and it is hard for them to understand why they can't. They don't seem adverse to their new class however, so they should be alright after a few months. My neighbor 2 doors down will drive in my 4 with her 2 if I will pick them up! This opens up all kinds of possibilities I never imagined. Of course, any time I need to work later, I will have to swap cars with Papi or Enigma since they only fit in the van.
Speaking of the van, I have tried in vain to get the speedometer fixed, but you can't, you have to fix the transmission, which turns out to be the problem. We replaced the transmission and since it's not the exact same one, it doesn't read the speed right, especially past 50 mph. I don't like not knowing for sure how fast I'm going or gaging my speed on the people around me, but it doesn't look like I have much choice. The mechanic who put in the new one will look at it to see if there is anything he can do but I am running out of time, so he won't likely see it till after I will be forced to plead no contest. sigh! That is, if I can get through the phone line tomorrow, which I couldn't today. Other wise, I will be a "failure to appear". That's OK, I probably am a failure to appear. I rarely seem to show up right before all those things get clogged in the toilet or something is set on fire around here either.
The other day our neighbor's bird got loose. It perched in a tree directly behind our driveway. They tried and tried to coax it out, and after 2 hours gave up and called the fire department. They showed up with 2 trucks and an ambulance. For a bird! What were they going to do, give it mouth to mouth? As it turns out, they just have to stick together in case they get a real call while they're out. Whatever. So this big fire truck parks in our driveway and sends the basket up after the bird, right after I left to go to work. I knew they were coming, and Enigma was on her way out to drop the boys off at a friend's and go to work. She had no idea and freaked out when she saw all the trucks and people. The first thing she thought was, "What have my brothers done?" They were also blocking her exit out of the street so she had to call work and tell this strange story why she was going to be a little late. She took a picture on her phone for them to see. Sadly, they still didn't get the bird who doesn't want to be got, but is still too young to feed well on it's own. Shooting itself in the foot. Sort of like a lot of humans do. If only we were all just a little smarter. I'm really trying to be more aware and have a better perspective so I can figure out how to stop doing that kind of thing to myself.
I was so frustrated after the fact at a case I interpreted recently. They were trying to ascertain the defendant's date of birth and instead of just saying it automatically like most of us would, he kind of stumbled over his date and the judge interrupted that there wasn't anything to explain about a date of birth. The prosecutor added that if you tell the truth you don't have to try to remember your story. The whole thing was, as eventually he was able to explain and I was able to interpret, he was born (dates changed, same setup) January 5 but his ID was May 1. They acted like he purposely gave false info to the DMV, and told him he'd have to let his mom know she had him 5 months late, but the thing is, in most countries, the day is listed, then the month, not the other way around like us. So, their whole mindset was narrow-minded and wrong. I'm sure, because of other details, honesty is probably not a quality of this defendant, but the whole date of birth thing was an honest cultural mix-up. I could tell the defendant felt frustrated and angry, because he really wasn't given a chance to clarify that. I am not allowed to interject anything of my own, so I just had to walk away with that knowledge. The thing that is frustrating, is I know one side feels offended and the other side self righteous but if both sides understood the other like I do, there would no longer be a misunderstanding. Bridges were burnt instead of built and there was nothing I could do about it. It was just a little thing, but countries end up going to war and conflict occurs between groups after little things like this pile up and build up over time, getting bigger and bigger till it's a huge mess.
Speaking of languages, we are going back to the Spanish congregation at church. Sort of. Papi just seems to really need it right now. Gigio and Carino are happy to switch. I can go anywhere and be happy. Enigma will just stay put where she is. The Things are not ready. They are going to stay with Enigma. If it doesn't work too well for those 3 going it alone, I will have to swap over, but I know I'm more needed to help out in the Spanish Ward, so we're going to try to keep me there. Hopefully the Things will gradually visit from time to time and get comfortable enough to swap over with the rest of us.
And since I'm sure my parents are dying to know, Gigio's rocket came in second in the Space Derby. Carino was 5th. We survived! It was fun. Some people had the most fancy paint jobs! We had kid ones! I loved them.
In an effort to join in the popular sub culture, I dry packed a gob of cans of dry goods early last week with another neighbor. At least something won't spoil for a long while now. It was fun.
I'm surprised I have so much to write about when I get NOTHING done anymore. Time seems to slip away everyday before I can get anything accomplished. It's not helping that the florescent lights in the family room in the basement are burnt out, so I can't clean it anytime after 6 pm about because I can't see enough anymore. I can't work on it before then because it takes a full day of interruptions to get food on the table. I feel like my van. I am not on the same time schedule as the planet earth, and unfortunately, the earth is the one going 90, and I'm in a 25 mph zone!
I finally got the pool squeaky clean just in time for a child who will not be named to have a fit and fling a shovelful of dirt into it. Said child is on the road to kleptomania and so after an episode which has hogged a lot of time and I won't get into that so as not to bore you with all the details and spare the pride of said child, child got put on the work crew to pay the fine for the crime, pulling all the weeds out "the judge's" garden. Some of those weeds are taller than the judge. Plus house arrest. Too bad for my kids I go to court too much, huh? It will prepare them for life though.
Might I mention that some people don't know how lucky they are? One friend mentioned having a struggle with a rebellious child. I'm thinking, out late, bad friends, drinking, etc. What's going on? The kid is not wanting to do their share or help mom and talks back! Sulks around, acts like it is a pain to live at home. How old is said child? The kid is 12. This is their 4th child to reach this age. First one to act like this. LUCKY! OH, SO LUCKY. Lucky to have had 3 kids that didn't act like kids and lucky to finally get a real live one! Now the fun begins in earnest. Perspective, such an interesting concept. It's like a theme that keeps popping up all over me lately. So, friend comes to me for my perspective, because of course, I have evil live children. :) I hope anything I said helped, but one thing I heard me say made sense, so I'm trying to remember it myself. It came up that one thing they thought of trying to do didn't seem like a punishment and I said that discipline doesn't have to be a reward or a punishment, it just has to teach. Sometimes we forget that.
Gosh, I think too much when I'm busy not blogging! I'm falling off the tightrope ignoring my kids now and they are so happy they can finally watch TV, so I will go interrupt and read them the last chapters of the fascinating story The Lightning Thief.
But first, I will regret ignoring them, and tell you I got another hug today. From Joanna. She is so fun! She has Things too and tells the BEST jokes, and faces some big challenges with a great spirit. If someone else had given me this, I would have passed it on to her. Who says I can't? Now, you have 2 of 'em, buddy! Also, I will have to give it to some other fine people but maybe after I go save the house from the kids. It will have to be a P.S.
Oh, before I go, I should confess this is really a Random Update! April fools! (In August). And I should mention that my buddy's tumor was BENIGN! Whew!!!!!! She will be in rehab for a while, but we expect a full recovery! SO, if you are the glue of the family and you feel one side of your body is weaker than the other sometimes, DON'T ignore it till you suddenly go paralyzed on one side, get in to the doctor for a checkup right away!


Gerb said...

Whew! That was a long one, but a good read. I must agree that I am also a weird mom who hates back-to-school. I love having my kids around, too (and not just because the 3 oldest can babysit the younger ones for me).

Joanna said...

Wow! You've had a busy week. Thanks for the hug.

Now seriosly - you've left me hanging on your story. :)

caramama said...

Girl, there was so much going on in this post I can't even remember all the things I wanted to comment on!

I will at least say that I've been thinking a lot about the line of nurturing and letting go. I thought it would be easy, and already it's hard. Much harder than I realized. I guess it's just trial and error.