When the kids were little, they liked helping me clean the house. They would literally cry if I didn't let them help. And I, being the wonderful mother than I am, would let them (insert selfless pat on the back here). Letting the kids help was actually more work than doing it by myself ... they never actually removed any dirt or mess ... they just rearranged it ... but I figured they would get better in time.
I was wrong.
By the time they were old enough to be of any real assistance, the ecstasy of our weekly"National Cleaning Day" had long since worn off. Whatever thrill they once felt at being helpful has since been replaced with "it looks okay to me".
Hence, "National Cleaning Day" is just as much work for me as ever ... maybe even more so, as I know have to ride herd to keep my cleaning-impaired children on task.
When the kids were little, changing from daylight savings time to standard time had definite perks. By the time I got off work, it would be dark. If the kids were particularly trying in the evening, I could proclaim "Bedtime" whenever I wanted! It was dark outside and they couldn't tell time, so the poor things fell for it. I didn't abuse my power very often, but I do remember one Saturday when I'd had about all I could take by 5:30 or 6:00, and in my most authoritative voice, and with as much energy as I could muster, I declared "BEDTIME". And, like birds with a blanket thrown over their cage, they slept until the first light of dawn ... and I do mean the first light of dawn.
When the kids were little, I could get them to eat almost anything ... simply by changing its name. This assumes, of course, that it didn't have any obvious vegetable-like shape or look particularly nutritious (leafy greens are next to impossible to disguise). I love tomato soup. The kids turned a pale shade of nauseous at the mere mention of it. So, I prepared "porridge", called the three little bears to dinner ... and they gobbled it up. Apparently, it was just right:)
There are things I don't miss about them being little, though ... like searching the backyard for enough silverware for dinner, and I can honestly say I do not miss Barney or Baby Bop.
But I do miss them running ... literally running ... to my bed each morning to give me a hug and kiss and cuddle. I miss them bringing me dandelions from the backyard to grace our dinner table (sometimes with a dirt clod attached, and sometimes with no stem at all). The dandelions would sit in a tiny vase, bought for just such an occasion, until they went to seed.
I miss them crawling into my arms to be held and rocking them to sleep.
And now, my oldest, Tara, is on the brink of adulthood. She'll be in college next year. Jana and Dave will both be in high school. Gone are the days when I was their whole world, when a cookie and a kiss fixed anything. Gone are the days when I, alone, could make everything better.
I will never be mentioned in history books. No monuments will be built in my honor, and no buildings or roads will be named after me. My only legacy will be my children. I may never do anything worthy of notice to anyone but them, but that's okay, because how they remember is me is what matters most.
As Jacqueline Kennedy once said "If you mess up your children, nothing else you do really matters." I still have dreams and aspirations, but my goal isn't to become rich and famous ... it's to make sure I don't mess up my kids.