I woke up tired yesterday. (Perhaps it was the four hours of sleep I got?)
I made the usual rounds of waking up kids in the same order I always do. Annie first because her bedroom is closest to the stairway. Cole next because his room is next on my route. And Courtney last because her bedroom is at the end of the hallway (plus she's usually the only kid that wants a hug before she even gets out of bed, so its a nice way to end my rounds.)
I got breakfast ready, but couldn't muster up anything fancier than peanut butter toast.
I packed their lunches, but couldn't come up with anything more interesting than apples, cashews (for Annie), pistachios (for Cole and Courtney) and peanut butter sandwiches.
And then I filled my orange polka dot kettle with water and put it on the stove to make myself some 'coffee' since I kicked my Starbucks habit a few months back and replaced it with something healthier:
- 1 tea bag of Chocolate Yerba Mate
- 2 Tablespoons canned coconut milk (This stuff is the creamiest - I just keep it in a Mason jar in the fridge.)
- A few drops of Dark Chocolate liquid Stevia (It used to take a lot to make it sweet enough, but now that my taste buds can't remember what a Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha tastes like, I don't use nearly as much.)
And then I stood drinking my 'coffee,' staring blankly across the kitchen as my kids ate breakfast.
When they bickered, I was too tired to intervene, and decided they'd have to figure it out on their own.
When I noticed their hair was a mess, I was too tired to grab a brush and decided there was nothing wrong with sending them all to school with bed head.
When they didn't want to eat all of their breakfast, I was too tired to insist on one more bite so they wouldn't get hungry before lunch.
When I heard their electric toothbrushes turned on for no more than 10 seconds, I was too tired to care if all of their teeth rotted out of their heads.
When they weren't getting ready on time, I was too tired to care if they were tardy.
Had Josh Downs been getting the kids ready for school, this would not have been cause for concern on behalf of my children (because that pretty much sums up his approach to parenting) however, since my approach to parenting is much more hands-on (aka uptight) it was cause for great alarm in my children, who one by one, took turns trying to brighten my morning.
First, Courtney Lee hugged me before quickly reaching her arms around to squeeze my backside (I know it sounds strange, but everyone in this household with the exception of Cole regularly grabs my derriere.) and started singing, "Booty, booty, booty everywhere, booty, booty, booty everywhere." Please don't ask how my soon to be 12-year old knows that song.
And then Cole walked over, rubbed my shoulders for a few seconds and kissed me on the forehead. (I'm a total sucker for kisses on the forehead.)
And then Yans came up and started talking in her best pet-owner-offering-their-dog-a treat voice, saying, "Who luuuuuuuuvs their mommy? Whooooooo luvs their mommy? I do, I do, I luuuuuv my mommy, oh yes I do, oh yes I do!"
I think amongst the muddy shoes that never made it to the shoe bin, the toothpaste smeared all over the bathroom sink, the dirty socks that were left on the kitchen table, the endless amount of thoughtfully-packed lunches that weren't even eaten, the Rainbow Loom rubber bands dropped on the floor in every single room of the house, and the stacks of personal belongings set on the staircase that they walk right past for days without picking up, that I generally feel unappreciated, unvalued, and unknown as a mom.
But even if I am unappreciated and unvalued (Welcome to motherhood!) I realized yesterday through their individual responses that I am not unknown by my children.
In fact, they know me quite well.
Well enough to notice when I'm not myself.
Well enough to know what I value in relationships. (Thoughtfulness and humor being high on my list.)
And well enough to know what I needed. (Bun pinching, forehead kissing, and a good laugh.)
And to feel known feels good.
They might not ever be willing to give me a decent group shot, but at least they know me...