save their lives.

I just read the most powerful powerful post... 

Photo: Ashley Malena Photography
There really are NO WORDS  describe the emotion that I was feeling as I read this post.  This is surely an answer to a prayer that I have had in my heart for years.  My baby is only one, but I have worked with children in preschools and child care centers for years and I have seen as parents disconnect themselves from their children's learning and growing and depend solely upon the "teacher" or "professional" for their child's development.  

If they only knew the importance of their input and involvement in the lives of their children!

It made me think back to when Hannah was in the NICU.  She was only in the NICU for 8 days but during those days I feel like I depended so much on the "professionals" opinions that I forgot that I have a, I have THE voice in my child's development.  And she has a voice too...but I am the one who helps her express it.   In some ways I feel like I have carried that dependency with me through this first year.

This is quite possibly my favorite part of her post and made me all teary-eyed:

"I begin to look at my children differently. I loved them before, but through a bit of a fog. They become not little people I am taking care of, but fascinating, complex, unique beings I have the privilege to watch unfold. Finding a break from the whining suddenly becomes less important than trying to soak them in fast enough before they grow up on me.

Sam has a day off for teacher's conferences. We walk down the street to the river and throw stones in. We wade in the water and squish the mud between our toes. We gather leaves. We make up stories. The day is so beautiful I want to cry. I used to think all these things my children and I love to do together were some precursor to the real stuff. Just us passing time till they were old enough for others, those who knew what they were doing, to step in and take over.

I think about my own mother. I can't remember much of anything from the years I spent in public school away from her. Trigonometry? Took the class. Got an A. Can't tell you what the heck trigonometry even is. But I remember vividly my mother showing me how to turn a hollyhock into a dancing girl. The sound of her voice singing "Sandman." I am a writer because I sensed her love affair with the written word and wanted in on it. Suddenly, I realize its these little things filling my days with my kids that is the real stuff. I know, now, certainly, I am the expert on my children.

Whether or not Sam goes to preschool was not the issue here. What was? Having a mother who is empowered enough, and in tune enough with him to make good decisions on his behalf."

But then she wrote this and I was a sobbing mess:

"One night after I tuck him in, Sam begins crying.

I open his door. "What's wrong, honey?"

"I'm afraid of the monsters."

I start to try and convince him there are no monsters, as I have before, but stop and try to think of things from his perspective. When I leave it will still be dark. The shadows will continue creeping up the walls and unexplainable noises will keep ringing in his ears.

"I'll tell you what. I'll kill the monsters."

"What?" Sam wrinkles his nose. This isn't the response he expected.

I whisk out a light saber and run around the room on a murderous rampage. Sam giggles while I describe falling limbs and severed heads.

He's okay now. So we go through our "Mugga mugga, butterfly, kissy kiss" routine again. One final hug. Sam locks his hands behind my neck, looks me in the eyes for a moment with pure affection and says, "Mama, you save me."

The startling sweetness of his words makes me smile. "Yes, sweetheart the monsters are all gone. I saved you."

He looks me in the eyes again. Even though his vocabulary is expanding, he opts to tell me with his eyes what he wants to say. He holds my gaze and, unblinking, looks at me deeply, directly, indicating there is more to his words.

"Mama, you save me," he says again.

For a moment I am still. I want to pick Sam up and hold him until he is too big to be held anymore. I want to put his words to music, to paint them in a mural. To scream from the rooftops the joy/heartbreak and excitement/exhaustion that is being his mother.
He knows now I would set the tubes and monitors aside and hold him, hear him. More importantly, I now know I'm strong enough.

"Do you feel the power?" I say in the dark.

Sam leans forward and whispers in my ear, "I feel it like a light saber.""

To me she describes the power that Mothers hold in their hands, yet just have to realize it. If all Mother's realized this we would indeed live in a better world.  It's something I am going to have to remember to realize everyday...

It seems kind of weird but as I was reading this post I was listening to music and I'm sure no coincidence...the song "Everyday" by Rascal Flatts came on and I found myself thinking of the lyrics from the perspective of my child.  (Yah, yah,  I know you are all sick of my obsession with Rascal Flatts but just keep on reading. ;)

You could've bowed out gracefully
But you didn't
You knew enough to know
To leave well enough alone
But you wouldn't
I drive myself crazy
Tryin' to stay out of my own way
The messes that I make
But my secrets are so safe
The only one who gets me
Yeah, you get me
It's amazing to me

How every day
Every day, every day
You save my life

I come around all broken down and
Crowded out
And you're comfort
Sometimes the place I go
Is so deep and dark and desperate
I don't know, I don't know

[Repeat Chorus]

Sometimes I swear, I don't know if
I'm comin' or goin'
But you always say something
Without even knowin'
That I'm hangin' on to your words
With all of my might and it's alright
Yeah, I'm alright for one more night-
Every day
Every day, every day, every day
Every day, every day
You save me, you save me, oh, oh, oh
Every day
Every, every, every day-

Every day you save my life. 
I remember learning in my years as an Early Childhood and Special Education Major that that I am the advocate for my child!  I am a hero to my sweet, quirky, energetic little child.  And you know are the same thing to yours!


Brianna Tuckett said...

Thank you for that Laura! It truly warmed my heart!! As an educator I love to have parents' input because no matter how much time I spend with their child it is a drop in the bucket compared to the time they have spent with the child. I in no way EVER claim to know a student better than the parent. Some parents don't get invovled because of pushy educators, but on the other hand some parents don't get involved because they aare busy, lazy, or just don't care. I think if more parents AND educators could realize that its a balanced partnership between the two that makes the most difference in a student's life, we would see amazing things start to happen. Thanks again! That was a touching story!! :)

Wii are the Nelsons said...

What a great post to share. Loved the story about the mom killing the monsters =D

Lauren said...

gah! you should have posted a warning: this will make you cry too!
This is how I feel about being a mother to a T! Thanks for sharing this today :)

I agree we MUST get together if you ever come out this way!

Alli said...

Tears, tears all over the place! How touching. And SO important. We owe it to our kids to be that hero for them.

~ kietra ~ said...

Well put. Thank you for sharing. Being a mother is the best thing in the whole entire world!

Alyssa said...

I love this post. Thank you, Laura. Looks like you are a fabulous mommy! :)