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Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy to Be Mom

Even if I had had the time to sit down and write over the past weeks, not much exciting would have been put on paper.  It would have been limited to stories about colds, snotty noses, coughing spells in the middle of the night, raspy voices, more snotty noses and Vicks.  That pretty much sums up the past few weeks.

Then came the other day at the playground.  It was a sunny afternoon and perfect to spend an hour after naps outside, running, climbing, chasing and sliding.  The playground is part of a recreational area, managed by the city of Los Angeles.  There are picnic tables, baseball fields, basketball courts and around a large field lies a track that is used for strolling, walking, jogging and other workout activities.

As the boys were climbing, going down slides and chasing each other, a little girl caught my attention.  She must have been approximately the same age as Kai.  She had beautiful blond curls that bounced around as she was playing in the sand.  Next to her sat a lady, who certainly wasn't her mother.  I assumed she was the nanny.  All of a sudden the girl got up out of the sand and walked over to the fence.  While holding on to the wire, she pointed and said: "Look Maria!  It's Mommy!"  I looked in the direction she was pointing and as I clocked a blond woman strolling over the track, talking to (what I assume was) her friend, the little girl called out "Hi Mommy!" and waved enthusiastically.  The blond woman didn't hear or see her.  The little girl hesitated for a moment.  Then, she hung her head and with a sad look on her face, returned to the edge of the sand box where she sat and just stared at the sand in front of her.

It is by no means my intention to start the discussion on the pros and cons of nannies, but it reminded me of a conversation I had had with a nanny at that same playground a few months ago.  She told me that she had been the nanny of this little boy for practically his entire life (he was 5 at the time).  His father was a producer, his mom didn't work.  "So," I asked.  "If his mom doesn't work, then why are you practically raising this boy?"  The answer: "because his mom goes for pedicures, wine get-togethers and spa visits with her girlfriends."  I remember at that point, my mouth just dropping open.  I was so dumbfounded that I was unable to get a word out of it.

Seeing the little girl, desperately wanting to connect with her mom and not being able to do so, broke my heart and as I am writing this, my heart goes out to her.  All she wanted, was to connect with her mom.  The person she should be connecting with.  On the playground, at home, in the park, heck, in the grocery store.  Don't get me wrong, a break once in a while from being a mom is nice.  Some pampering, hanging out with friends, I am all for it.  But when I look around at these playgrounds I see so many children with nannies / baby sitters, that I couldn't help but make certain assumptions when I saw the events of that afternoon unfold in front of my eyes.

Seeing the sadness and disappointment in this little girl's eyes, made me realize how happy I am with the life that I live.  Though I still teach part-time, I get to spend amazing quality time with my boys.

I get to go to the playground with them and push them in the swings:

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I get to tuck my boys in for the naps and get to see how Kai prefers to fall asleep for naptime:

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On those beautiful days that he actually takes the nap, I get to wake him up and walk in on this:

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I get to experience this "view from above".  The baby, grabbing on to my legs, with no intention of letting go until hugs, kisses and more hugs have been delivered:

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I get to be there when Kai discovers a new hiding place:

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And finally, I get to be the one Kai comes to to show off his new footwear:

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Honestly, it would bother me if I wasn't there to share those moments.  I LOVE those moments and am so incredibly grateful that those moments are MY memories of my children growing up.

Yes, there are absolutely days that I wish there was someone who was willing to take my little devils off my hands, so I could regain my sanity.  But despite the sleep deprivation, the toddler tantrums, the moments of needing to count to 10 100, I love being a mom and I love taking them to the playground, being the one whose arms they run into for hugs and kisses and to be excitedly told "I LOVE you Mommyyyyy!!"

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