Somewhere On the Learning Curve of Life and Parenthood

It's Summer.

In Minnesota, that calls for a, "Can I get an amen?"

AMEN!

I thought sending Gabe off to Kindergarten last fall was tough, but this summer vacation thing  is proving to be a different sort of challenge. 

My three littles

My three littles

This "vacation" (really? vacation?) has begun with lots of change for our littles.  Gabe is home from school, Isaiah is figuring out how to go in the potty, we have a new childcare provider, bedtimes are later 'cause its been so nice out, and we've been going here and there and everywhere as the school year is wrapping up.

My kids don't like change.  And, as much as I don't want to admit it, they might have inherited this from me.  I like routine.  I like things to be consistent, orderly and somewhat predictable.    This whole summer-thing is throwing us (and me) for a loop.

I figured that out, yesterday, when my three-year-old dropped trow in the middle of my boss' daughter's graduation open house with the intent to pee on their lawn with about 100 onlookers.  It seemed to happen in slow motion.  I was eating a pulled pork sandwich with Addie on my lap, when I turned around and saw the whitest of white little bottom halves exposed, followed by my husband's voice yelling out, "Pull your pants up!"

Was that my son?

Then Addie grabbed my plate of food and pulled it onto my lap (and my new dress).

Then Gabe began clamoring around a cage next to the house. "I caught a rat! I caught a rat!  Hey!!  Hey!!  I caught a rat!"

Oh, and this is after the van door completely fell apart after we arrived. (It now has a big piece of blue tape on the handle that says, "NO.")

But, it was before the same publicly exposed three year old had a total meltdown  - complete with screaming, crying and kicking - because he had staked his claim on one of the swings, and someone else sat on it. 

We left shortly thereafter. 

Okay.  So the above is just the stuff life is made of, but we are all out of sorts, and even the little things are throwing us over the edge.  I feel it, the kids feel it, and I haven't asked him, but I bet Trever's feeling it.  Nothing seems to feel right or fit right.  Even as I type this I'm annoyed by the infant swing that won't shut off because there's a short in it somewhere.  It just keeps going back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, with no baby in it.  I could take the batteries out, but I can't figure out how. 

AHHHHHH! 

Sorry.

Back to the story...I came home from the open house feeling like we'd failed as parents. I know. I know.  I shouldn't.  But, don't we all feel that way when things aren't perfect - when we feel (real or perceived) shaming eyes upon us.  I can just hear people thinking....oh those, "bad parents," or "those people with the rotten kids," or "the people who really brought down the party."  No one probably said that, but its where we go, isn't it?

So, when we got home, I took a few breaths, and spoke these words as I was changing out of my now-spoiled, new dress.

"I'm not perfect." 

"My children are not perfect."

"The van is not perfect."

So, there you have it.  Now you know.

We're not perfect.

But its not just the party that had me feeling that way.  Lately, been feeling more losses than wins on the parenting front.  Having a kid in school is a LOT of work, and it requires some skill.

Over the course of the past nine months, I've forgotten to pack after-school snacks, a plastic spoon to go with the pudding cup, a few dress up days (WHY are there so many???), money for an event, a special after-school thingy, and more, I'm sure.  Lord, help me when all three are in school!

One thing I know is that the work of becoming a better parent - the kind my kids need - continues on.  That, at the end of the day, they look to me (and their dad) for support, encouragement, protection, love and guidance - especially during these times of transition.  That, even if we make a public spectacle of ourselves, we regroup and carry on.  I may not be perfect, but I've been given this amazing gift of motherhood and, instead of dwelling on all that makes me crazy, I will dwell on that which makes this the best part of life. 

Cause we aren't perfect, and, just like everyone else, we land somewhere on this wide, wide learning curve of life.  Lately, it just feels like we're testing out somewhere towards the bottom.  Let's support one another.  No shame.  No criticism.  Even the kind done in the quiet of our hearts. 

Oh, but the rat turned out to be a chipmunk, so that feels like a win.

How's your summer starting off?