School, ballet, driving practice, soccer, Friday nights, clean clothes, plays…life at the speed of kids.
As a mom, I have dreams of parenting perfection. In these dreams, I’ll make whole grain pancakes with fresh squeezed orange juice at the crack of dawn, do amazing science experiments that are messy and you can eat. I’ll make it to every meet and bring cupcakes, I’ll want to listen to their day at midnight, I won’t scream when they veer ever so slightly towards the center line…
Of course, I wake up. But really, I have sweet kids. They don’t require all those things.
Some days, the most my kids really ask for is a chauffeur and some good food.
And, deep down I know that what they mostly want is a bit of attention. They want to know that they are important players in our family, in the world.
And what really nurtures a child?
Over the years I have grown as a parent. I started out a young working mom. I remember a lot of rushing around, grabbing fast food and coveting that elusive “quality” time. I regret that I was too busy to nurture they way I had been nurtured…
But, things work out. My oldest is one of my absolute favorite people and is apparently just fine in spite of me.
Now, I’m a stay at home, homeschooling mom. My younger children have tons of time with me and it is fun and a blessing to me (and hopefully to them!)
But, although I have quantity AND quality time now, sometimes I do not hear. Sometimes I get all caught up in my “nurturing” plans and goals and, yes, forget to notice my kids’ thoughts and dreams.
A while ago, my youngest wanted to try and make a fruit smoothie from a recipe she found in a library book. Easy enough, right? The recipe was simple, but called for a few ingredients I didn’t have. I agreed we would do the recipe “when I had time”.
You probably know what happened then. Of course, I never had time to do this recipe that was not important to me. That same week, I made some fantastic stuff, including homemade pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and cookies—Emma even helped me make those.
But I was too busy to get the strawberries for Em’s smoothie that week.
We went hiking in the Shenandoah Valley.
We went to a Fall Festival. We painted pumpkins.
But I was too busy to get the frozen limeade for Em’s smoothie that week.
We went to the Farmer’s Market, we made awesome bird feeders out of pine cones and peanut butter (that was so easy and a hit–you can see the video below)
On Friday night, I heard Emma tell her oldest brother and his girlfriend about her smoothie recipe.
On Saturday, feeling a bit guilty, I bought those two simple ingredients…but I actually was truly too busy to pull out the blender and let her make her recipe.
On Sunday night, Emma and her brother and her brother’s girlfriend made Strawberry Limeade Smoothies.
That was one happy and proud little girl as she sipped her smoothie to accolades from her family. The smoothie was delicious…and so was the smile on her face.
She worked too hard for that smoothie.
I did not hear her about that silly smoothie.
So after 23 years of parenting….I sure do not have it all figured out.
But, it seems to me that even the smallest little steps do matter. Providing books and new experiences, listening to what excites them, figuring out what develops them and then doing that extra thing…whether it is making a smoothie or planning a trip to the Smithsonian.
Helping them accomplish something important to them…because we are Mom.
We may take away the sugar and the car keys…but we are always their biggest advocates and fans!
So, what is that one thing that your kid really wants to do?