I was yelling at my children again while driving home from the grocery store. Asher and Levi were getting on each other’s nerves, and they were fraying the very ends of mine. On such occasions, I can sometimes tune them out. At other times, I might crank up the volume of the radio until my ears are throbbing to the beat of the music and I have successfully drowned out their nagging voices. While the music is blasting, the boys either stop their evil-doing and laugh and squeal and beg me to turn the music even louder or they’ll stop their evil-doing only to focus on a common enemy – me. They’ll whine and cry and kick the seats in protest. And, then there are the very rare moments when I’ve reached a state of mom-vana.
Mom-vana: The state of ultimate happiness resulting in supreme zen mothering; like nirvana but higher, more evolved. Buddha should try locking himself in a house with small children and see how easy it is to transcend all suffering.
If I happen to be in a state of mom-vana, I can speak with kindness to my darling children and gently redirect them from negative behavior to peaceful conversation or educational activities we can enjoy together. Sadly, the state of mom-vana eludes me most days.
On that day driving from the grocery store, I stopped at the traffic light, whipped my seething, contorted face around and chewed them both a new one. At which point the 4 year old said, “Just calm down, Mom.” And I laughed. And then they laughed with me. And I realized that we all needed to chill out. “You’re right, Levi,” I said. “I need to calm down.” Since then, I’ve been making more of an effort to do just that.
“Is that so, Deborah? And how’s that working for you?” I hear you sneer. Well, just ducky, thank you. I’ve turned a corner because I now:
- Let myself off the hook for having bad days and not being the model mother 24/7.
- Allow my children to have bad days, too, without researching strategies to prevent all forms of misconduct every time they melt down.
- Make memories.
A note about #3. I lose my shit sometimes, but I don’t want my kids to look back and say, “All I remember about childhood is that Mom used to lose her shit a lot.” I want them to say, “Sometimes Mom used to lose her shit, but remember all the fun we had?” In an effort to feel like I was actually in control of this parenting gig and not in a constant state of reaction, I decided to seek fun and make memories….even if that meant going sledding.
After Gabriella and I saw The Pee Wee Herman Show on Broadway, we decided that Asher would get a kick out of the show, too. We got the Pee Wee’s Playhouse DVD box set to test the waters, and sure enough, Asher loved Pee Wee. Last week, Gabriella took Levi to see a movie, and I took Asher to see Pee Wee; his first Broadway show. He sat motionless and mesmerized throughout the entire performance. I actually couldn’t tell if he was enjoying it until the very end when he stood up with the rest of the audience to give the cast a well deserved standing ovation and an enormous smile.
This wasn’t just any Broadway experience, mind you. Thanks to our magnanimous stage manager friend, Lois, Asher (and I) went backstage after the show and uncovered all the amazing secrets of the playhouse. Lois showed him how the puppeteers operated the puppets and how the deep fried onion rings seemed to catch fire and how Pee Wee flew. That’s right boys and girls, Pee Wee flew way up Mecca Lecca HIGH!
And just when we thought we couldn’t stand another minute of excitement, Lois asked Asher, “Would you like to meet Pee Wee?” And we were off to seek out Pee Wee. Along the way, we met Melissa who maintains the costumes and Josh the sound guy.
“Look who’s coming, Asher,” I squeaked. Miss Yvonne was just as gorgeous off stage as on, and she chatted with Asher for a spell. Before we met Pee Wee, Lois introduced Asher to Jambi and Cowboy Curtis and Bear, too. “Wait!” as Pee Wee said to the King of Cartoons in his show, “Let me pick up some of the names you just dropped.” You’ll forgive me for sharing. It was truly a magical experience.
I got all misty-eyed when Asher met the cast. He was very personable, and the performers were all incredibly sweet with him. More than once, a cast member said to Asher, “You look like you could be related to Pee Wee!” “It’s a Jewish thing,” I said. Other than that, I tried to keep my big yap shut so that Asher could drive the conversations and make his own memories.
Thank you Lois for enabling the memory making. You rock!!
Thank you to Melissa for gifting Asher some rare and magical Jambi gems. Thank you Miss Yvonne, Cowboy Curtis, Bear and Jambi for giving Asher your undivided attention and for fielding his questions thoughtfully. And thank you Pee Wee for being such a mensch.