MOTHERWELL SAID WHAT?…Motherhood and Waiting: From Boys to Men

Motherwell is a digital publication created by Lauren Apfel and Randi Olin “that tells all sides of the parenting story.”

Lisa Romeo, the author of this essay which is part of Motherwell’s series on Motherhood and Waiting “teaches writing to graduate students, and publishes a blog for writers. She is proud of her two young adult sons, boy number one and boy number two, and is committed to the never-ending practice of motherhood and waiting.”

God willing, I too will reap the benefits of waiting.

“From Boys to Men”

Here you are again. Waiting. It’s what parents do, or at least what you think most mothers do, or anyway, it’s what you do.

First, you wait to conceive, wait for the fertility tests to reveal what flaws and whose, wait for the drugs to work, wait for that positive pregnancy test. You try to, but can’t describe the fearful waiting through a high risk pregnancy, the anxious waiting of prenatal testing, the watchful waiting for boy number one to blossom. Wait for the right time to have the second baby, wait after the miscarriage to try again, wait for that strangle-throated boy number two to leave the NICU.

Wait. Hope. Pray. Wait.

Continue to original post

Advertisements

To The Domestic Violence Survivors I Work With: About Your Children

I volunteer for the domestic violence organization you are brave enough to seek safety and assistance from.

We are acquaintances at best. Perhaps we’ve exchanged pleasantries in the common area after a session, but I don’t like to chat or linger too long out of respect for your privacy. When I visit the shelter, you often leave before I arrive.

My job is to care for your young sons and daughters so you may have a few uninterrupted hours to do what you need to do to move forward.

Since little ones aren’t armed with the emotional maturity and language to understand, let alone navigate trauma, I brace myself before each appointment. As an unknown adult in a position of authority, I show up expected to be tested with tantrums, outbursts and physical displays of anger.

Like you, I’m a parent. A mom who wonders how my boys conduct themselves and interact with others anytime I release them into the world. With this in mind, here are 5 observations I’ve made about your children.

Each one is remarkably capable. A preschool aged boy insists on opening his own snack wrapper. Another wants to search for parts to build a Lego tower without guidance from a grown up. A third takes the initiative to find and put on his own jacket, zip and bundle up. The phrase, “I can do it by myself” is prevalent.

They take care of one another, especially the siblings. A toddler with few words makes sure his older sister has a hat before going out to play. A big brother unties a knot in his younger brother’s necklace string. Their instinct is to help and protect.

The children are kind. A brother encourages his sister to ride the tunnel slide for the first time and waits so they can go together. A school-aged girl teaches a cranky toddler how to fold a paper airplane to distract him from his tired mood. A little brother lets his older sibling try out his new rubber snake. They lean toward what is positive and good.

They are loving. A young girl reaches out to hold my hand as we walk to the lunch table and asks me to rest beside her on a bench to watch the clouds. They talk about you with adoration and beam the moment they know you’re close enough to accept a knee high squeeze.

And filled with joy with every pump “to the moon” on the swings, every giggle as they cook up an invisible order of hamburger and fries, bounce and roll of a deflated basketball and stomp in a dwindling mound of crunchy snow. Amid the pain, your children’s default emotion is happiness.

Motherhood is challenging enough under less strenuous and terrifying circumstances. I respect your strength, determination and resilience. You are a survivor. Your children are survivors.

As you all continue to regain power and heal, please know I am here. Consider me part the village.

Two Sides of a Coin

Beach picture of the boys

Bubbe and The Skootch are two sides of a coin.

Bubbe, now a smidge under nine was the two year old who got off the classroom rug at dismissal only after he knew the other children had a place to go and the little guy who sat in the corner and covered his ears at birthday parties.  He is the child who relishes in engineering golf courses and marble runs out of anything he can get his hands on and the boy who recently told me after I advised him to push back as needed, “Mom, I’m not that kind of kid.”

Four year old Skootch, on the other hand, is a one speed, rock and roll, let me smell you ninja machine.  He is the kid who proudly wakes his parents at two in the morning to show us the late night grape juice he poured for himself, the child who sings loudest at birthday parties, the one who pops a balloon and tries to fix it, and the boy who loves a good boxing match.

On a recent family outing, we found ourselves here;

stepping_stones_museum_children

The Celebration Courtyard of a nearby children’s museum.

I’m pretty certain this foamy, cerulean hued open play area is meant to encourage calm but on this particular Saturday it looked more like a loony bin for babes.

Bubbe naturally made a beeline for the blocks.  Swarms of children surrounded the construction materials, moving in and out, taking them at will.  He tried to grab what he could, but the other children kept getting there first.

The biggest boy of the bunch became a regular culprit.  Not a caregiver in sight, this young Lummox grabbed at our son’s small stash again and again without so much as asking.

Bubbe began to hold his temples in distress; his thoughts piercing the cerulean calm.  “What am I going to do; how am I going to manage this problem?”  Thirty seconds of frozen agony seemed like a lifetime for the poor boy.

Our golden-haired fire hydrant watched Bubbe desperately trying to get his bearings, sensed the angst, and swooped in for the rescue.  He marched right up to the Lummox who was twice his size, waved a southpaw, pudgy finger up at him and yelled, “Hey this is our space and you don’t take anything from here!”  Then he stepped in and offered a right hook.

The Lummox jumped back, recoiled, and found a new space from whence to steal.

As soon as The Skootch was confident that Bubbe’s artistic space was clear and safe, he asked his brother, “Ok, now what?”

Bubbe gave the order.  “Go get a couple of blocks.”

“Alright,” The Skootch scurried off and successfully returned with the coveted blue, foamed mass.

For a serious ten minutes, Bubbe constructed and sent The Skootch into the wild as the little boy happily obliged his big brother’s instructions.

Together they created quite the structure.

Too pooped to pop, Skootch lied down in the center of the masterpiece.  “Thank you for building my castle,” he said.

“You’re welcome,” Bubbe replied.

We never expected to have two children; Mac and I were content with one, healthy Bubbe.  The Skootch was a happy accident.  We wouldn’t have it any other way.  Our sons, these brothers, are a gift; to us and to each other.

They are most certainly two sides of a coin, but together their value is immeasurable.