“You’re the coolest mom, ever!”
Is there any parent alive, that would not like to hear their child say those words? Don’t we all wish that we could not only be a parental figure, but our child’s best friend too?
Well, by some luck of the draw, I got dubbed the coolest mom ever, by Melissa, Mike’s middle child. Everyone heartedly agreed. And for the first time, I really think they all meant it.
It didn’t become that way over night. It took a lot of talking and listening and parenting and loving at my end, mixed with a whole lot of silliness blended in.
When I went into this arrangement (the whole blended family thing), I went into it knowing that God had blessed me greatly, and that it was my job to be the best parent I could possibly be. I did not take the task lightly. Through a lot of prayerful guidance, a lot of research on step families and blended families, and a few “off the record” sessions with a counselor friend of mine, I know it changed who I was, and who I was about to become. I was no longer a mother of two, I was a mother of five, and believe you me, it changes everything.
But if you take out the parental role, and instead look at my coolness (read: silliness) factor, you’d have thought your parents were nuts, if they behaved the way we do.
Let’s look at the past weeks events:
End of last week: Mike and I, being the crazy, spontaneous people that we are, had a water fight in the kitchen. Yes, water was everywhere. I even went and got the big water gun. We were drenched, and laughing and the kids seriously thought we had lost it. The funniest part was, that the younger two were not even there. It was only the older three. The ones you would think would be rolling their eyes and saying “Oh my gosh, this is embarrassing me”. Instead, they jumped right in, head first, laughing and actually cheering me on! I lost the water fight, and was drenched from head to toe, but it wasn’t about winning, it was about having fun and living a little on the edge. The kids couldn’t believe that we had water all over the kitchen and that we didn’t care. We did clean it up, or rather Mike did, while I went and took a hot shower. Don’t I have the best man ever?
The weekend: We spent the entire weekend out at the lake where we are moving. We played in the sand, we swam in the lake, we went fishing and we went out on our friends boat. And when I say we, with the exception of the boat ride, I was right there with them doing everything.
I played in the sand right along with them, we built retaining walls, dug holes and made crumbling sand castles. I played in the sand, because I wanted our oldest girl, age 12, to remember that even though she is almost a teenager, it’s still okay to have fun. It worked.
My oldest son, age 12, dared me to swim to the buoy and back (probably a quarter to half mile swim. They didn’t believe I would do it, so I did. And I think I might have gained hero status in a ten minute swim. (never mind that I thought I would die halfway back!) While I was in the lake, I helped them find shells, fish and baby turtles. What mom does that? They certainly didn’t know any others. I swam in the lake to remind them all, that I could be a kid too and have fun. It worked.
When we went fishing, I allowed them to fish first. I helped only when asked, to allow them to have the freedom to try things on their own. I almost got hooked by our seven year old, as she wildly swung her pole to cast. I untangled fishing lines, I pulled slime and seaweed off the hooks and I took pictures. And then I joined right in with them. Getting my own pole, I came out on the dock with the two oldest girls and fished. We didn’t catch anything, but I did it to show them again, that I could have fun too, and that even when we aren’t catching anything, we can laugh, find things to giggle about and be silly. It worked.
When they went out in the boat, I stayed on shore so they could go in smaller numbers, giving them a little one on one time with Dad, while I stayed and played or talked with the ones that were with me. I did this, because I wanted them to remember, that special time with parents is important. That it’s not always about being with both parents, but remembering that each child is special to us, and we wanted them to have a time to bond with that parent. It worked.
The entire weekend, was amazing.
The other night: We were watching something on TV while eating dinner, and someone did something really, really silly on a TV show. I mimicked them. I copied verbatim what they did. I know I looked ridiculous, I know I looked stupid, but I did it anyway. We were having fun and laughing, and it was fun. That was when Melissa uttered her words. After a moment or two of laughing, she looked at me with the biggest grin, and said “You’re the coolest mom, Ever!” I didn’t act silly because I wanted attention, I acted silly because I wanted them to remember to have fun always. Guess what? I think it worked.
I got a new title, a new respect and the best five kids a mom could ever ask for!