I was asked to write again. And as such, experienced this dichotomy between feeling appreciated or wanted and at the same time a little guilty and sad. Maybe that is part of this crazy balancing act we all go through when we have to let some things fall through the crack and realize the one thing that was keeping it all together was the one thing that we had to let go!
Anyway, it has been a while and too much jumbled chaos has filled all the moments of my life and left no time for the quiet reflection that cleanses a soul and helps tell a story. So I cannot put it all to paper, er, screen. I don't know if it is just the having five kids thing or the time I have dedicated to coaching or taking care of chickens or the seven kittens or the nine bunnies (and that is nine only because we gave five away) or the fact that one of those kittens came home one day pregnant because I just hadn't gotten them all fixed yet.....because I hadn't worked out the time (it's ok to judge, but don't be surprised if a "live animal" package shows up for you at the post office)....or because one of our kids was feeling neglected and needed more from me and it seems that someone always needs more and more and more, and then the babysitter quit and ..... before I spiral here I am going to take a moment to tell some stories. Hopefully humor is actually what we all need a little more of but sometimes I wonder if I am grossly mistaken. (When I finish laughing at this whole universe, I will let you know.)
As it turns out, there is another parenting thing they don't tell you about in the pregnancy book that is equally important to all that "What to Expect When You are Expecting" stuff. (And that book by the way, is essentially a fairy tale with a cute little ball of baby in the happily ever after.....the hard stuff comes AFTER that baby gets home....the pregnancy was the EASY part. Thanks for that little exclusion, Book!) Anyway, here's the thing: One day, if you are so lucky, you get the opportunity to teach your teenager how to drive, or at least, how not to drive like you do because there is no way it will pass the driving test!
So, by the grace of God, Aidan turned 16 in February, and has since been chaufferring me around (it's about time) and what they don't tell you is that you don't realize how important that breathing stuff really is until you sit on the passenger side of the car the first time your teenage driver gets behind the wheel. (Who knew that Lamaze stuff would come back around!)
Seriously though, for the last few months, (and by few I mean like half a year) Aidan has fallen behind in his school work and has subsequently not been taking his voice lessons each week. Never fear though, I like to be challenged so the first time he asked to cancel, I showed up and became the "substitute" vocal student. I figured, hey, teachers do it, why can't the student? So on most weeks, I show up to his voice lessons to learn how to control my breath, project, open my soft palate and transition through the vocal ranges flawlessly (which I'm sure comes with practice, at least that is what she tells me) but the biggest benefit has been the deep belly breathing that we sometimes do to relax me on those few occasions I tamper with my human side and come in stressed. It was as if the universe just knew I would need this technique because in that first moment with Aidan behind the wheel, I think I stopped breathing for oh, five hours of that 20 minute car ride before I realized I needed to put those lessons to good use.
Deep breath in, relaxing the chest, filling the belly, and out....instant relaxation....well, instant once we were safely home....and after I reminded him that he needed to turn the car off BEFORE exiting the car. Details.
Since that day, I remember my belly breathing (and try to stop clenching all the muscles in my body or grinding my teeth down...and keep my choicer words to myself, among other things) and he has only forgotten to turn the car off two other occasions, so we're making progress.
And I guess, on this Mother's Day, that is all one can really ask for, progress.
So, to all you moms, Happy Mother's Day! May it be one big belly breath after another, rinse and repeat, and perhaps a little progress thrown in for good measure.