Gifts for Mom, Grandparents, Besties and YOU🎄 ➔

I am sitting on the front stoop coffee cup in hand, daydreaming about a little cherry cheeked boy. The one that used to race up the front lawn (world around him be damned) in order to wrap himself in a Mom hug.

He could not get to me, then the center of  his universe, fast enough.

Breathless with awe over his bestest kindergarten day ever, he spilled the beans on his older sister misbehaving at recess. Then he handed me a crumpled creased Mother’s Day picture with a giant heart and an “I Love you” with a perfect backwards L.

I now watch this same child, I mean man-child (15-year-old to be exact) saunter past me with nary a glance. I detect a grunt however. I believe it’s in response to my same stupid and annoying question “How was your day?”

Being ignored fuels the feeling challenged response in me.

I try to work the crowd (you my oldest son) much like a comedian fires jokes at a non-responsive audience.

“Did the coach say anything in practice today about the line-up for next week’s game?”

“Nope.”

“I like the new logo on your shirt.”

Barely perceptible nod.

We do our Mother-Son dance, our new daily ritual. I talk. You balk. I show interest. You show disdain. I cry when you’re not looking. I think I am in some kind of mourning as if I have lost you. Yet you stand here before me so that makes little sense.

Then again it makes all the sense in the world.

I am clinging obsessively to the past when you cuddled and snuggled and gave me raspberries kisses and memorized Good Night Moon. When you climbed into our bed at the first crack of thunder and had me perform nightly bogey man checks. The tooth fairy and I had a fabulous relationship. I miss her too! And those crayola drawings made with those little hands. The ones aging in folders I still cannot part with. Poor Santa was dissed over 7 years ago!

It seems an injustice.

I raised you to be a proud and compassionate and independent young man. That is exactly who you are becoming. Instead of celebrating your incredible victory (and mine) I remain steadfastly stuck in the past.

I would appreciate if you would bear with me. When you become a Dad I think you’ll understand.

I am struggling to separate and allow you to test your wings. I am afraid I already know that you can fly. I am scared to death that you will fly away, far away and never want to nest again. I guess I want you to stay on the ground for a little while longer. I know it’s selfish to ask you to oblige and comply with my mom angst. I have laid out my emotional dilemma. It seems of epic proportions.

Perhaps I need counseling. Someone to talk me through raising a teenager.

Wait….

Did you roll your eyes at me just now? Mind if I count that as interaction between us? I mean in order to roll your eyes you must have been listening and that stands for something right? Your eye roll was accompanied by some mumbled words. I feel we are making progress!

You rummage through the snack drawer.

My mom instinct? I want to offer you a juice box and some fruit roll ups like the olden days. I leave you to scavenge.

I am left behind in your wake of Oreo’s and Doritos.

Remind me one more time. When did you stop checking under your pillow for the tooth fairy’s change? Why wasn’t I notified?

Our paths cross again in the evening. I remind you it’s time for electronics to be turned off for the night. Please say goodnight to your friends. I am still the parent around here and there are rules and this is my house and you need to follow them! I didn’t say any of that although if I had I would have sounded strikingly similar to my mother (minus the electronics remark) who I swore I would never become. Surprise!

In my 3 a.m. wakefulness I decide that a different approach is necessary if we are both to survive your adolescence.

=================================

The wind whips around making the bleachers feel awfully cold today. Look at you out there in your new baseball jersey! My fingers are crossed and I say my silent prayer that you don’t get hurt. Everything else is icing on the cake.

A Double!

I am Happy Dancing! Not that you can see of course. I recall the peer pressure lecture. Don’t worry. I will not embarrass you. It’s a silent dance. It takes place alone in my heart. Game over and the team disbands. I head towards the car. I used to run on the field ten times per game with water and wipes and questions about having to pee. And hugs too! Loads of those.

Are you heading towards me?

Do I hug you? (peers might be lurking ) No. I pat you on the shoulder right? Say “good game bud!”

I’m way overthinking this.

Whoa whoa whoa!!! Did you just kiss me?

“Thanks for coming to my game Mom. I’ll be home in a little while.”

==================================================

When you were a little kid you ran up the lawn. That’s what you were meant to do. As a teenager you saunter up the front lawn with puffed out swagger. That’s what you’re meant to do. It’s about growing up. I don’t have to like it all the time. I do have to accept that it will happen with or without my consent.

You know what? I may surprise you someday. I’ve decided to adopt a new mindset. The little boy I loved came happily home each day. The grumpy teenager I love begrudgingly so.

But in the end all that matters is that you still come home and it’s here that I can make all the difference in the world!

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Lisa Leshaw

Lisa Leshaw has worked as a mental health professional for the past 31 years. She currently conducts Parenting Skills Workshops, Group Counseling for Blended Families and Empowerment Circles for Women. As a consultant, Lisa travels throughout teaching Communication and Listening Skills, Behavioral Management Techniques and Motivational Strategies. To de-stress she performs in children's theatre and plays piano whenever requested. She is hoping to either write the next memorable musical composition or Great American Novel!

I Promise to Show Up for You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter in garden

My child, I hope you know you can count on this: I will show up for you. I will show up when you wake in the middle of the night, when you get up too early or stay up too late. I will be there to make your meals, read you a story, and tuck you into bed. I will show up when you are sick—taking time off work, bringing you to the doctor, cleaning up your throw-up, and sitting up with you. I will show up at every game, sitting in the stands or a camp chair, freezing or...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Growth Is Tangible, and When It Is You Hold On Tight

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mom putting bike helmet on child

I never expected my sign to come in the form of a plastic bag. As a parent, you’re told over and over how fast it all goes, to cherish these times because they’re gone in a blink. You see the gradual changes in your kids as they move through milestones. One day, they can hold their own spoon. They begin stringing words into sentences. Their ages are counted in years and no longer months. You watch these things happen every day, but I didn’t realize some transitions would come in tangible ways, like a grocery bag filled with wet swim...

Keep Reading

Some Nights They Need You a Little More

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy sleeping, color photo

Some nights they need you a little more, mama. Because of the bad dreams or the bogeyman they are adamant is under the bed. Because firefighter daddy’s schedule leaves him missing goodnight tuck-ins and bedtime stories several times a week, sometimes leaving them a little needier and more emotional. Some nights they need you a little more, mama. RELATED: I’ll Lay With You As Long As You Need, My Child Because they are sick. Because they feel safe in your presence. Some nights they need you a little more, mama. It’s not always easy. It’s not always (okay, hardly ever)...

Keep Reading

Sweet Babies, I’ll Be There

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two children lying in bed, color photo

When your world is calm and peaceful, I’ll be there. When your world is chaotic like an ice cream shop on the hottest day of summer, I’ll be there. When you need a Band-Aid applied and a boo-boo kissed, I’ll be there. When you want to perform in your Frozen microphone like you’re performing for a crowd of 20,000 people, I’ll be there. When you feel lost and alone, I’ll be there. When you feel you have nowhere to go, I’ll be there. RELATED: I Will Always Be There When You Need Me, My Son When you need a pep...

Keep Reading

I’m in the Big Little Years

In: Kids, Motherhood
black and white photo of little boy and little girl standing in a window together

I’m in the big little years. It’s when you’re no longer in the tender season of babies and toddlers—those sweet, smothering, exhausting years of being constantly touched and needed . . . . . . but you’re not yet in the big kid years—navigating boyfriends and driver’s licenses and bracing your heart for the impending ache of an empty nest. I’m somewhere in between. I’m in the years of having littles that aren’t so little anymore, but still need you for so much. They have big feelings. Big ideas. Big dreams. But they have mostly little problems (even though they...

Keep Reading

1-Year-Olds Are Wonderful

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood, Toddler
1 year old baby smiling

Newborns—who doesn’t love them?  The captivating scent of a brand new baby, their fragile little bodies laying so delicately on your chest. Everything that comes with a newborn baby is just absolute magic. But have you ever had a 1-year-old? I used to think the newborn phase was my favorite, nothing could ever be better than having such a tiny helpless little human rely on you for absolutely everything. I could hold my newborn for hours, soaking in every tiny little detail before it became nothing but a beautifully distant memory. But I’ve realized it’s 1-year-olds who have a special...

Keep Reading

My Kids Are All in School Now and It’s a Little Lonely

In: Kids, Motherhood
Woman looking out window alone

I had just dropped my children off at school. All of them. My youngest has just started full-time. It was my first full day on my own since she began, and I had really been looking forward to it, so I took myself into town to do a bit of shopping and grab a coffee. Just me. The kind of days dreams are made of, right? I could suddenly breathe again.  I only had myself to answer to.  I got my latte and something to eat. And then I cried.  My eyes filled with tears as I sat in the...

Keep Reading

I Love You Even When I Say I Don’t

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter touch foreheads

“I love you even when I say I don’t.” These words came out of nowhere from my 5-year-old. I was standing in the bathroom with her (we still don’t like to go potty without mommy standing right there), and she wouldn’t look at me while talking to me. You see, my 5-year-old and I have been in more spouts than ever before. She’s found this new attitude in her first couple months of kindergarten, coming home with new phrases including, “No, I don’t want to–you do it.” It hurts my heart, makes me frustrated, and leaves me asking myself where...

Keep Reading

Big Questions at Bedtime Don’t Require Perfect Answers

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and child at bedtime

Last night at bedtime, my son asked why everyone has to die one day. The thought of my sweet 7-year-old grappling with the weight of such a question hurt my heart. He looked so small tucked under a fleece blanket, clutching his favorite stuffed panda. How could the same little boy who just started second grade wearing a space backpack stuffed with bright, wide-ruled notebooks ask such a thing?  Perhaps my children are more aware of the inevitability of death than other kids their age due to the passing of various family pets over the past few years, or perhaps...

Keep Reading

If Someone Needs a Friend, Be a Friend

In: Friendship, Kids, Motherhood
Three kids with backpacks, color photo

“If someone needs a friend, be a friend” it’s the running joke in our family. My husband will say the phrase to our four kids when discussing certain life situations in a lovingly mocking type way. They’ll all look at me and chuckle. I giggle a little myself at the corniness of it. But I always add, “It’s true.” It’s a phrase I’ve used more times than I can count. To teach them all to be includers—the kind of kids who look for the kid having a bad day and seek to brighten it, the kind of kids who stand...

Keep Reading