It was joyous. I love a good road trip anyway, but seeing my children enjoying it made it all the more fun. We played I Spy, the color car game (I made the kids watch for a certain color car. It was the best game ever.), and we pointed out neat signs, buildings, and practiced Piper's reading on the sides of eighteen-wheelers. After a few hours, it was a pleasure to release the magic movie screen from the ceiling of our van and cue the silence that a set of nappers brings. The kids were troopers and we had a fun ride.
We spent a total of ten days with my parents and had a great time. It's always neat to see your children through new eyes, and for people to see the things that you so love about them. It was also special to just spend the time with my parents, my sister and her girls, and just enjoy a leisurely week without hauling kids to school, making dinners, and endless laundry. Whenever I am around my own superMom, I am reminded of the childhood I had and it refocuses me on what is important. I recall only having a handful of channels on the tv, of quiet evenings reading on the couch when I was quite young, of playing outside and in because there was no cable and I was my own best source of imaginative play. I remember how I wanted to raise my own children before life became iPad and internet centered. Technology is the devil.
One of my personal internal Mom struggles is trying to keep my cool all the time. I've never had a quick temper, but there are definitely times when my patience is lacking with my kiddos. I have little tricks I use when I feel like I can't handle one more squeal or fight, or when I get tired of telling the kids to stop licking each other. Sometimes I just take a series of deep breaths, sometimes I sneak a bite of chocolate, other times I just walk away and start a load of laundry while I consider whether I have too little patience or if they need to be disciplined.
My biggest secret weapon is a little trick I learned early in my marriage. I ask myself three questions. Will this still bother me tomorrow? Will it still eat at me in a week? Will I wish I had handled it in a month? I am a very sensitive person, so in my marriage, this method has helped me pick my battles. It has also really helped me as a mom. Are the kids just being kids? Are they hurting each other? Did I just give instructions that are being ignored or disobeyed? It has really helped me be my own voice of reason when I am hanging by a thread. :)
When we were young, I remember hearing often that we were just kids. At the time it infuriated me because I thought I was 34. Now that I am actually 34, I am thankful that I had years of being "just a kid". I am so grateful that I had complete innocence for most of my youth. I pray daily that I can share that gift with Piper and Liam. I love them and I want them to have a complete innocence for as long as possible. Even if I do have to count to five in my head and keep a bag of chocolate chips in the freezer for self-calming.
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