Friday, May 22, 2009

Summer Daze

I loved this summer song growing up:
Oh, what do you do in the summertime, when all the world is green?
Do you swim in a pool, to keep yourself cool,
or swing in a tree up high?
Is that what you do? So do I!

Oh, what do you do in the summertime, when all the world is green?
Do you march in parades, or drink lemonades,
or count all the stars in the sky?
Is that what you do? So do I!

I don't know about the equinox and solstice, but for the Buttcho's, Memorial Day is the beginning of summer, a season with two requirements: 1. the pool is open, 2. school is closed.
From grad

As a child, summer meant freedom from the days stuck at a desk in school, from early bedtimes and even earlier mornings, and from smelly stale lunches in the cafeteria. It meant playing Charlie's Angels on our bikes with our walkie talkies (I was Kelly) in the big dirt field all day long. It meant trips to Lake Powell, and a week by myself at grandma's house.

Summer remains my favorite season, I don't even resent the bugs and humidity, they are a necessary evil in my green world with lazy sweltering days. Is there a taste that screams summer more than crisp cold green grapes munched on by the pool on a dreamy steamy day? Is there a place more hopeful than a backyard at dusk full of children chasing fireflies, grabbing for them just as they go dark? Is there a sound more heavenly than the jingle of the ice cream truck when your clothes are doused with sweat and the heat is threatening to break you? Is there a smell more scrumptious than the perfectly blended mix of toddler skin, sunscreen and chlorine from a pool?
From grad

Every Memorial Day weekend, I have the kids make a list of the things they want to do in the summer. The list has a very small affect on our actual plans, but a bigger affect on their ability to dream and to sense the season of summer upon them.

Kennedy wants to sleep in (Ellie asked what "a sleep in" is)

Steve wants to go to the pool every day

Wally wants to ride bikes

Ellie is too busy with her social calendar to come up with a list

I want to enjoy the simplicities of summer by going on a serious screen and shopping diet. How long can we live without TV or Facebook?!?!?

Randy wants to hike on the top of a big mountain

So, what do you do in the summer time?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mama Drama

Every Mother's Day I feel like renting a limo to take on the guilt trip. It's inevitable, and I wish I could at least ride it in style.

Leading up to this day of celebration, stories of the women who gave all they have for their children seem to come out of the woodwork. Mothers who happily go without personal time, adult interaction, exercise and even sanity to make time to play with their children. Women who go without any kind of luxury and sometimes even food to make sure their children have the very best. They are women who know their most important job is raising their children. They embrace it and honor it and are fulfilled by it.

I start to wonder if I'm that kind of mom. And then Wally sneaks up to my Diet Coke to steal a sip and I squawk as if he's robbing an egg from my nest. And I know. I'm not. I never was. And (tearing up) despite my best efforts, will never be.
From Mother's Day

Instead, I'm the kind of mother who counts the minutes until bedtime, and skips the story if I'm too tired. I'm the kind of mother who turns all the field trip forms in late and serves cold cereal for dinner. I'm the kind of mother who uses the TV as a babysitter. I'm the kind of mother who (ouch) yells when I'm at wit's end. I'm the kind of mother who does not thrive on self sacrifice, but feels lonely and resentful and completely unfulfilled by motherhood. None of these make me proud.

Normally that's where my story ends. I vow to do better and then spend six months belittling my abilities and wondering why I ever even had children since I'm the world's worst non-abusive mother. And wondering what deficient character trait makes me unable to "know" like other moms.

But this year, I'm crashing my own guilt trip. I'm realizing that the pieces of motherhood I resent are a part of, but not the definition of the job. The part of motherhood I love, the part that energizes me and sustains me and I do well is worth celebrating.

Because I'm also the kind of mother who follows her hair-brained ideas, children in-tow. I'm the kind of mother who takes (drags?) her children to political rallies, unusual churches, family reunions, recitals, museums, roadtrips across the country and anywhere I can to show them the greatness of the world.
From Mother's Day

I'm the kind of mother who camps even though she hates it, who plays in the snow even though it's miserably cold, who jumps off the high dive even though she's terrified, who wakes up at 5am to run even though she's tired and slow, and who plants a garden even though she's suckish at it (their word, not mine) to help them understand grit and determination.
From Mother's Day

I'm the kind of mother who makes wickedly cool costumes for Halloween and book reports, dances to salsa music for breakfast on Cinco de Mayo, and is always good for a prank on April Fool's Day, so they feel the celebration of life.
From Mother's Day

I'm the kind of mother who relishes her child's friendship with the girl at school who speaks no English and "barks like a dog", who sings Happy Birthday with her kids to the homeless man at the restaurant, and who shows up at service projects, even planning a few of her own, to show them humanity, that there's a need for us beyond ourselves.
From Mother's Day

And I'm the kind of mother who would be honored to die saving my child's life, who stood between the angry dog and her 8 year old, who steals kisses every chance she gets, who goes to check in on them "one more time" before going to bed, and who will always make them call home, because I love them to pieces.

But I'm the kind of mother who has passions beyond them. I'm the kind of mother who loves alone time with their father, working with her sister, and retreating with friends. And so should they.
From Seattle

I'm starting to embrace the idea that despite the moments of despair, I am actually getting more out of this arrangement we have than they are, I am the one doing the "growing up"; better yet, that they do not expect nor want me to sacrifice my hopes and dreams and friendships and self in their name.

And that they love me too.

From Mother's Day

What kind of mother are you?