Please, Savor Every Little Bit of Motherhood

This has been a year of change – a year of change at home, at work, in my writing. I’ve watched my home transform from a busy hive of teenage girls and boys – ski racers and pole vaulters and children I’ve witnessed transform from kindergarten to graduation – to a place of quiet, a place where I find myself with much of the extra time I always dreamed of.

I’ve watched my daughter grow and blossom from afar, hoping to catch a glimpse on Instagram or Snapchat as she lives her dreams hundreds of miles away, savoring every image I see of her as she tackles college like she took on a ski course.

I’ve watched my son rest and heal and grow taller and stronger, towering above me as he faces his challenges head on every day, savoring each day we are together rather than missing his absence.

I’ve watched my classroom evolve with new technology, new students from all over the world, and new classes that have pushed me to intense levels of simultaneous exhaustion and joy, savoring each time I see the smile on their faces as they find their confidence.

I’ve watched my writing transform, seen my website grow and blossom and become more beautiful than ever before. I’ve watched my audience change, witnessed my words reach out into the universe – infuriating some, and soothing others – savoring every opportunity I have to connect.

And as I’ve learned with nineteen years of motherhood, I’ve learned to savor every moment. I’m training myself to be present, to notice, to look up, to feel gratitude. I’ve used Instagram to record #365gratitude – sharing a moment each day to savor the ordinary.

So when Midlife Boulevard asked for writing about motherhood, and working moms, I knew just what to submit – and I’m happy to share it with you here, today. My story about savoring every little bit is featured today – you can read it here – and while you’re on Midlife Boulevard, be sure to savor every little bit of their amazing content, too.

Motherhood Is Meant To Be Savored originally appeared here on mamawolfe.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusYelp

The Words Get Stuck

I keep thinking about how I should sit and write this all down

about how there must be a poem or some sort of way to

explain,

express,

or at least remember what I’m feeling right now

these moments that are slipping away

 

But they don’t come

I’m still frozen in place

pen poised, heart full,

but still

the words get stuck in my mind

 

Every morning I wake early

pour my coffee, pick up my favorite pen

open my journal

and stare at the page

immobilized

the birds outside my window attempt to rouse me with their song

the moments thunder through my mind

but the words get stuck

 

It’s all in there, I know

the feelings and memories and hopes

but still, I just stare

maybe afraid that if I write it down

it really is real

you’re really growing up

graduating

and beginning the next chapter of your life

without us

 

Sometimes you wake up right in the middle of it

the staring momentarily interrupted as you pad down the hall

your hair tousled from sleep

you’re quiet, and mumble ‘I’m tired”

we hug and I kiss your forehead

as you quietly pour coffee

and head back to your room

 

Sometimes just that is enough

to make me weep

to remind me of what I’ll miss

your spirit

your eyes, cerulean against your freckled skin

but, still, I stare

the words stuck in my heart

 

I’ve even tried writing at night

convinced the melody of that country music song will drift down the hall

and trigger something

help me make this moment something tangible

determined that the words are there

waiting

 

But still,  I just stare at the page

hopeless

helpless

afraid

that it really is real

 

Sometimes you walk in mid-thought

the pen poised, the words on the brink of explosion

you’re breathless from track practice

your smile spreading across your face

you’re happy

you tell me about your day

you show me something on Instagram

and hiccup

and head down to your room

 

Sometimes I tell myself this will be the day

the words for this indescribable, exhilarating, devastating feeling will come

even if the tears fall alongside the page

even if it reminds me that yes,

this moment, like so many others

is real

and fleeting

and powerful

 

I tell myself this will be the day

I will make it happen

I will create words to look back on

to mark this moment, to revive all the moments

you’ve been here

you’ve been my baby

you’ve been my girl

 

I’ll mark this moment forever, I think

so that next year, when the quiet surrounds me

and your bed stays neatly made

I’ll hear your hiccup

and smile.

Santa Cruz Beach
Santa Cruz Beach

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusYelp

I Thought I Knew What Was Best For My Kid-But He Had Other Ideas

Ski racing at Squaw Valley
Ski racing at Squaw Valley

I got a text from my 14-year-old son the other night suggesting I check ig – that’s Instagram for parents without teenagers. Intrigued, but somewhat hesitant about what I might see, I clicked over. A quick video popped up, taken from the handle of a shopping cart rolling wildly across an icy parking lot in the dark in Mammoth Lakes, California. Screams of delight pepper the soundtrack, accompanied by the comment “What a way to start off the Olympics with some of our own games #slidinanddrivin”.

Yes, my son was unsupervised, in the dark, far away from home and it made me smile. Why? Because surprisingly, it’s what’s best for my kid.

When he was born prematurely fourteen years ago, he spent the first six weeks sound asleep. Watching him snooze, all five pounds of him curled up with a smile on his face, I figured mothering a boy would be easier than I expected. I figured he would always be so sweet, calm and compliant. I figured he would spend the next eithgeen years or so waking up in the room at the end of the hall, and that if I kept the cupboards well-stocked he would be pretty happy to be home. For the most part, I figured right.

What I didn’t count on was his independent, indomitable spirit. Once again, at age thirteen, he forced me to flip through the parenting handbook of my soul and struggle to determine what was ‘best’ for him.

I never in my wildest dreams imagined that he would voluntarily move away to boarding school. I know parents who have had to send their kids away to ‘save’ them, but for my kid, the thought of not seeing his smiling face or hearing him pad down the hardwood floors on his way to the kitchen each morning left me breathless. Panicked. Terrified.

One thing I was always sure of was that I knew what was ‘best’ for my kid, and suddenly, I was stupefied with his idea that moving to Tahoe to live, learn and ski for the winter was what he thought was ‘best’. As Katrina Kenison writes, my husband and I “owed (him) the willingness, on our part, to refine and redefine our own idea of what ‘the best’ might really mean.”

It started out with really listening to him, hearing his goals, his dreams, his passion, and his rationale for wanting to leave home, leave his friends, his school, and everything familiar to take a chance on what might be. The more we listened, the more possible it seemed. So we let him take the lead, hoping that everything would work out the way it was meant to be, but ashamedly, holding out some secret hope that it wouldn’t.

We had it all planned out. He would live at home through high school, attending our alma mater just like his sister. It’s right down the street from our house, after all. He would ski on the weekends like he always had, ski race for his high school, and sleep in his own bed every night. He’d do his chores, continue his piano lessons, work hard in school and go to college. Maybe he’d even live at home until he got married…that all seemed so safe. So doable. So planned. It seemed like the best path for him – for all of us.

Jon Kabat-Zinn said that “our children drop into our neat, tightly governed lives like small, rowdy Buddhist masters,” Katrina Kenison shares in The Gift of An Ordinary Day, “each of them sent to teach us the hard lessons we most need to learn.” I think of this quote every time my stomach drops with anxiety, which happens on a daily basis lately. Relying on texting, Instagram and the occasional sc (again, for the teenage-deprived parents, that’s short for Snapchat) to get a tantalizing tidbit of his daily life is NOT what I imagined my life would be like a year ago. I don’t see his homework every night, I only hope he’s using the washing machine once in awhile, and have to trust that he’s eating his vegetables every day. I’ve released the control over his schedule to his ‘dorm parents’ and his stringent ski coach, knowing that now it is they who have his best interests in their minds each day.

My son certainly dropped into my life in the most exquisitely, incomparable, and unexpected ways. I’ve been forced to reevaluate my parenting, my expectations, and my need to control his path in life. I’ve stumbled forward, learning to trust that things will work out the way they’re supposed to, to mother by faith, and that maybe the hard lesson I need to learn is that ultimately, we are the only ones who truly know what is ‘best’ for us. All we really need to do is be willing to listen for it.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusYelp

I Took My Kids to Macklemore and They Survived

English: Macklemore(right) performing with Rya...
Macklemore performing with Ryan Lewis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was one of those surprise decisions, really. A ski mama friend, knowing I love Macklemore, looking for another mom adventurous enough to hang out at a music festival on a school night with our teenagers, called me. Of course, I was game-on. Not only could I see Macklemore live, but I’d get the Coolest-Mom-of-the-Year Award when I surprised my teenage son and daughter with the tickets. Win-win, I’d say – so I took my kids to Macklemore.

As so many well laid plans do, they became a bit complicated due to unexpected pole vault meets and a bit more driving than I thought, but finally we arrived in Napa for the Bottlerock Festival – the first night of what is widely hoped to be an annual three day music event. We had the timing down perfectly, and when the shuttle bus dropped us off in downtown Napa the kids were like racehorses at the starting gate, hardly pausing to take the customary photo for the Instagram post. They were going to see Macklemore, and they couldn’t wait.

At Bottlerock, pre-Macklemore
At Bottlerock, pre-Macklemore

Being teens, the first thing they wanted, naturally, was food. Scanning the myriad of food trucks, we settled on two adjacent to each other and placed our order. Rookie move, mom. As the clock ticked down, the opening song thumped loudly throughout the fairgrounds and there he was-Macklemore in full glory. Food or Macklemore? I saw it in their eyes as they grabbed each other’s hands and sprinted to the stage area, leaving me alone with the food truck.

I started to wonder if I’d ever see them again, actually. Arms loaded with hot cheeseburgers and chicken sandwiches, I headed towards the stage, innocently believing their growling stomachs would find me . I was wrong. As I stood there, scanning the dark throng of tweens, teens, moms, and college kids, wafts of fragrant smoke filled the air, I realized they were nowhere to be found. I was standing there like a soccer mom with an armload of snacks and no children in sight, feeling just a bit foolish. After multiple unanswered texts (not easy to do with arms full of food), I shoved the uneaten dinners in my mom-purse (moms always have purses the size of shopping bags, right?), grabbed my ski mama bestie and threw my hands in the air. Macklemore was on stage, and the crowd was wrapped around his finger.

The collective energy of the young people, singing along with him about love and peace and equality and harmony, made me smile. I wasn’t worried that my teens were somewhere out there, lost in the throbbing mass of humanity. I watched Macklemore crowd surf, trusting that his people would hold him up, not let him fall, and realized that that’s really what was going on for them. It’s no wonder people love Macklemore; he’s really a voice for his generation, and more.It’s not about flash or fancy cars or lavish parties, or any of the stereotypical hip-hop images that might come to mind when you hear his music. Macklemore is something different. He is what our teens are looking for- a message of hope. Of acceptance. Of feeling loved for just being who you are, not who someone wants you to be.

When the final song ended, the lights came on and the dust settled, my teens emerged from the masses with huge grins on their faces and stories to tell. Yes, they saw some scuffles and overindulgence, but to me, that’s part of the deal. Life isn’t perfectly behaved, and it takes all kinds of experiences to learn how to navigate through it. But life was certainly in that fairground that night. Macklemore was singing about it. My kids were hearing it. We all were believing it, and hoping that we can make it come true. They survived. They knew how to handle themselves. They didn’t walk away talking about how they were going to start drinking or smoking or fighting-quite the opposite, in fact.

It was definitely a win-win, I’d say.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusYelp