Monday, December 21, 2009

"Love is Life and Life is Love"

My friend Kayla LeMaire shared a poem today that she wrote back when she was 9 or 10 years old. My absolute favorite lines title today's blog.

Last night, as I checked on my boys before heading to bed, my husband looked in at my oldest and noticed he'd -insisted- on sleeping on top of the covers, with just a thin blanket over himself. As he closed the door, he looked at me and said, "He gets it from YOU, you know." To which I replied, "He gets WHAT from me?" And Mark looked at me with mock accusation in his eyes as he responded, "Stubbornness!" As I've told my husband before, our boys have a double dose of that-- from each of us. And he told me, "Well, he's got more of YOUR brand of stubbornness!"

I thought about it as I fell asleep. And I realized that that right there might be the reason my oldest and I so frequently feel like we're locking horns. He is -definitely- MY child-- and very much like me. So we're both very sure we know the answers, want to be helpful, think we know what needs to be done-- and are more inclined to do things OUR way, than how we're told. The difference is, (I hope anyway!) that I have a bit more tact and social decorum. I've had 30+ years to try to cultivate it. But at 7-- well...at 7, it makes you bossy and pushy-- and gets you in a LOT of trouble for 1) not listening, and 2) arguing.

So this morning, as he was getting up for the day, I came in and we had a talk about how we're going to try to get along a bit better. I love my boy. I -like- my boy... But I'm pretty sure there are days he doesn't believe either to be true. And that's just wrong.

It doesn't help that one of the biggest differences between us is that I'm an optimist, and he's a pessimist. I tell him frequently that I love him, and I hope I show him-- but he sure does get hollered at a lot. (Did I mention the inclination to argue and disobey?-- Yeah, direct result of raising free thinking children!) Now, don't get me wrong-- he's a good boy. Both of my children are. And I KNOW that I've been blessed with good children. But there are days when my oldest comes home, I'm smiling and happy to greet him-- and he squashes those good feelings with an icky attitude of his own...

And I've learned over the last 3 years that icky attitudes are contagious. You can only be cheerful against a pessimistic onslaught for so long before it gets you. Well, we talked about it, and decided between us that we're going to try to work on that. And today was the first day.

The first thing we did was continue working on their rooms. They've had their own rooms for almost a week now-- and two days ago, my boys started their morning by telling me, "Momma! We've gotten SO much for Christmas already this year! We even got our own -ROOMS-!" (I did mention I have wonderful little boys, right?)

Well, today, we removed my youngest's old bed from his room, and divied up the books and bookshelves. Unless a book was specifically given to one or the other, I divided them based on reading level and age appropriateness. I also took out my oldest's decorations and set them up in his room. Now, he has books he can read whenever he wants to, and not only helped me do all this, but thanked me for it when we were done. I love to read. And I have to admit, I love that my children love to read!

Well, after we did that, my boys headed out for the backyard and played in the lovely sunny weather for about 2 hours before it was time to come in and have lunch. After that, we hopped in the car and were going to go rent movies. As we pulled into the movie rental parking lot, my boys asked me if we could go to the playground to play. I hadn't even turned the car off, so I asked them, "Would you rather go to the park or rent movies?" And both of them said, "Go to the park!!" So I turned the vehicle around and headed for the local playground.

We played at the playground for almost an hour before I got too cold to remain. I stayed with my youngest and kept an eye out on my oldest-- and even ended up playing myself when my youngest invited me to follow the leader (lol). I brought our festivities to a close as the sun was starting to set, because I hadn't brought a jacket for myself, not expecting to be out very long when we left the house... though I made sure both boys were properly dressed before they were allowed to leave the house (:

As we slid down the 'dragon slide' as our last activity, and climbed into the car, I asked the boys if they had any particular movies in mind to rent. To which both of them responded, "But Mom... we chose the playground. We can't rent any movies..." And I said, "No honeys. I merely asked if you'd be -willing- to give up the movies for the playground. Not that you actually had to." (:

So after my boys cheered, we headed back to the movie rental, and I let them each choose 2 movies. The selection that came home with us?: G Force, the latest Tinkerbell Adventure, Santa Buddies, and Terminator Salvation.

I served up popcorn as we watched G Force. My oldest and I opting for the cheese popcorn, while my youngest went for the traditional buttered. None of us are real fans of the caramel. Then I made dinner: alphabet vegetable soup, with grilled cheese and bologna sandwiches, and they helped me make chocolate chip cookies for dessert.

While we ate, we watched the Tinkerbell movie. And finished up our evening with Santa Buddies. It was nice having a movie marathon with my boys.

There's a large recliner in our living room that I usually sit in. For a good portion of our viewing, my oldest was sharing the seat with me to my left, while my youngest laid on me. (: It's crowded, but I love getting to snuggle with my boys.

Then it was time for bed. While I read my youngest "The Fox and the Hound" (His current favorite book), my oldest read himself a story. Then, I sang, "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" to each of them. My youngest getting the traditional version, my oldest getting the version with all the kid add-ins (; Then it was time for hugs and kisses.

My oldest was needing a little extra attention tonight, so I laid down beside him and asked him about his day. He told me that he loved getting the books, and getting to play outside with his brother and the dogs, and getting to play at the play ground, and watching the movies, and getting to play video games (which is what the boys did for the first hour while I was still trying to wake up completely). He hugged me and told me that he'd had a wonderful day. And I thanked him for helping to make it happen.

And I have to agree with him. Today was a wonderful day with my family.

I love my guys. And they love me.

And that love is what -this- life is all about.

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