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Friday, April 28, 2006

Fun Mom

Yesterday on the playground after school, a girl in Luke’s First Grade came up to me and said, “Luke’s so silly. He’s like my personal entertainment.” A nearby girl concurred, and Luke responded by falling to the ground and rolling in the wood chips. The girls laughed, but I was annoyed because I was trying to get him off the playground and into the car. Later Megan told me that I have no sense of humor.

Her comment brought me back to last Sunday when we had a lovely dinner with a family from Tom’s church. The mother told me that when her three children are misbehaving she often tells them, “I want to be a fun mom. And I’m not getting to be a fun mom.” I reminded Megan of this line last night. “I want to be a fun mom, too,” I said, surprised to find tears coming to my eyes. “I don’t like nagging and yelling at people.” Before the words were even out of my mouth, Megan reached up and hugged me with a little “Oh Mom” smile.

She responds much better to my sadness than to my anger. For a moment she seemed genuinely sympathetic to my plight as the person who has to keep everyone else on schedule when they’re not necessarily cooperating. Then, knowing full well it was already bed time, she sucked each spoonful of vanilla ice cream as slowly as possible in an attempt to make a long ice cream point on the end of the spoon.

We’ve been hectic all week, what with Megan having an Irish dance performance and extra practice, Luke having his first baseball game, and Tom and I each having night time meetings. We’ve become the family I didn’t want us to be, and the result is that everyone is tired in the morning and moving slowly, except for me who’s rushing from child to child, reminding them to brush their teeth and such. It really does help when I remember to laugh. Monday morning I couldn’t help it when Luke started asking about the gift certificate he had received for his birthday. He wanted to spend it while Megan was at her Irish dance rehearsal, but he couldn’t get the words out of his mouth.

“Where’s my gift fortisicate?”
Tom laughed, “Your what?”
“My gist forsitercate?”
Luke started giggling.
“My gift fortistercate!”
He collapsed on the floor in laughter, still not dressed or ready for school, but that time I couldn’t help laughing.

Occasionally we laugh at Luke when he doesn’t want us to, and I have to beware of this because, despite his Jim Carey personality, he really is a very sensitive boy. Last night after dressing for his first baseball game, he came to me and said very quietly, “Mom, I’m a little worried about my first baseball game. What if I don’t catch the ball? Cause I’m not a very good catcher. Or what if I catch it, and I don’t know who to throw it to?” He looked like he might cry.

“It’s OK, Luke,” I said. “You know all the grown up baseball players, even the all stars we were talking about at dinner? None of them were very good catchers when they were seven. But you know how they got good?”

He shook his head.
“They just played. And eventually they got good.”
He smiled and went to find his glove.

As a mother, I sometimes feel like a seven-old-catcher, so afraid of dropping the ball, I forget to enjoy the game. I want to be a fun mom, too.


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