November 22, 2013
"Did your mom take you to see your first Nutcracker?"
Kid 6 asked me that tonight as we were waiting to watch Moscow Ballet's The Nutcracker.
Of course she did. Good mom's take their daughters to see the Nutcracker I told her.
"So it's kind of like a tradition," she decided.
I spent more time tonight watching my daughters watch the ballet than I did watching the performance myself. The awe in their eyes made me a little teary wondering if this is how my mom felt so long ago sitting with me at my first ballet.
I clearly remember my mom taking me to see The Nutcracker probably when I was about Kid 6's age. It may have been a Girl Scout outing because I also remember my mom's friends and their daughters being with us.
I've always said I want to give my kids experiences, not things. I'm certain I learned that from my mom. My kids don't necessarily have the newest and latest clothes, toys or gadgets, but I work hard to make sure they get to experience life.
They've been fortunate to have travelled more than most kids in their classes. Like my mom, I've taught them to appreciate the arts and to enjoy spending time in nature. They willingly entertain themselves with a book - their love of reading comes from me via my mom. My mom laughed, danced, sang and played with me and my sister.
It's exhausting being a single mom working two jobs, but I try every day to fit in a little bit of mommy time. Yes I'm crazy busy, but not too busy to remind my kids I love them. Our newest habit is every morning Kids 5 & 6 crawl back into bed with me for 10 minutes before they leave for the bus. Sometimes we talk, sometimes we doze. But it's a peaceful way to begin our day together - together being the important part.
Just like my mom did, no matter where I'm at or what I'm doing I will drop anything and be with a child who needs me. Even sick teenagers need home-made chicken noodle soup and some extra TLC.
Even as I got older and didn't "need" my mom I always knew I could count on her, no matter what.
Today Kid 4 and her preteen friends launched a text campaign to get me to bring them Subway to school for lunch. She didn't know I had already planned on doing that, so I played along for a little bit telling her and her friends oh no, I couldn't possibly leave work for half an hour to do something as trivial as bring them lunch at school.
I've been told that I'm "too available" for my kids. Really?
Admittedly my coworkers did look at me a little funny as I left to go deliver lunch, but that's OK. Maybe when she's 16 and hates me she will remember the day I brought Subway for her and her friends. Or maybe when she's a twenty-something trying to be an adult she'll know she's not too old for my chicken noodle soup.
When she has a problem or is afraid, I want her to want to come to me.
I don't ever want my kids to look back and think "my mom wasn't there for me when I needed her."
Someday, I hope my kids will continue the tradition and sit with their daughters at The Nutcracker and remember that cold night in Memphis long ago when the lights went down and their eyes lit up. And maybe they too will get a little teary eyed with the memory.