I realize there are school buses and school cafeterias for a reason. It's a good idea to prioritize when to use all those helpful tools and prioritize our lives for balance. But as I drop off and pick up every kid from school, I feel like I am adding that extra touch of care and stability to their lives.
Honestly my favorite part of the day is often picking up my kindergartner, Isaac, from school every day. He is happy to see me and happy to be getting out of school and not too tired yet. We hold hands on our trek back to the car, which is usually parked about a block away. He tells me the most exciting thing that pops into his head, or tells me how hungry he is and how he wants some ice cream.
For us, that means a trip to the frozen yogurt shop a couple miles away. We go and have a chat, and a treat while we wait to pick up the next two kids from school. The next two kids aren't quite as happy as they get out of school, as they are more tired, and maybe had some type of difficulty in their day that they can't wait to express to their mommy for sympathy.
This is an important role for me as mom that the school bus driver wouldn't provide for them.
Every morning I walk into their rooms, and sing "Good morning to you...Good morning to you..." in the happy birthday melody. On occasion I have flipped on the lights and tried other ways of rousing them. It didn't go over too smoothly. They complained and requested the singing, which makes me feel appreciated for the extra efforts I make to make their day start off right.
While making their lunch every morning, I sometimes wonder if they should buy lunch. Maybe that would be easier on me? The cafeteria food isn't made with personal love and attention to their preferences and individual needs. The cafeteria doesn't occasionally send a love note. The cafeteria requires them to stand in a long line which sucks up their little play time. So in the end, they only buy lunch in an emergency, and I feel like my job as a mommy is valuable. Today I got to put Jr. Scrabble Cheez-Its in their lunch. I know that these little things make lunch more fun and varied.
In the jacuzzi this weekend we spent an hour in the round-robin "happy" game. Sometimes we play the "grateful" game, and this time we had each person say one thing at a time that makes them happy. I expected the game to last 15 minutes but we just kept coming up with happy things for a whole hour. It was a great reminder to the whole family that all these little things that make us happy are in our everyday lives. It is a nice reminder that we are indeed happy and the little things count.
As I write this, I am in the process of getting a Valentine gift together for each child. They are just at the age where they all want what the other has and of course they love presents. I got them all KRE-O Transformers. I purchased a huge bag of them at the Women's Assistance League, and divided them up into three Tupperware containers. I know eventually they are going to end up in one huge Tupperware bin, and finally going back to the donation pile. It's the cycle of life in a home with little kids.
What makes a childhood special are the little moments that we give our children that no one else will. After a trip to the bank this week, I told the kids we were going on an adventure. We drove half a mile and parked the car.
We discovered a new park and a new beach cove. It even had a tunnel through the rock that they could climb through. They got their shoes and pants wet hopping onto rocks as the waves crashed around them.
Yes, it's more work for me, as my car now has plenty more sand to vacuum, and someone collected some "kelp branches" to bring home. These adventures enrich their life and mine. They all add up to a HAPPY life, thanks be to God.
Copyright 2014 Marya Jauregui
About the Author
Married to her longtime friend and mommy to 3 high energy children, who demand her constant attention, and direction, Marya serves on the board of directors for a Domestic Violence non-profit. When not working, she is working out, taking the family for nature walks and adventures, or at the movies. She lives in Southern California and feels absolutely blessed to enjoy the beauty of the area every day.