Have you ever opened your mouth and been SHOCKED to hear yourself sound exactly like your mom? Sometimes when people hear themselves parroting Mom, they lament the fact that they now sound old, or that they have started turning into someone they didn't want to turn into! I can't tell you how many times I've heard Mom in my words these past 4 weeks. But I don't groan. I do weep, but I don't lament the way I sound. Here's why: I realize I'm now learning about motherhood without her. So her words -- even in my mouth -- are an assurance that some of those lessons are from her, passed on back from when I was growing up and watching her in her role. Here are a few precious motherhood lessons I am now applying from the school of Sue Benzing.
1. Enjoy your children. There was NEVER a question about how Mom felt about her kiddos! She enjoyed them at every age -- for real! Babies, toddlers, school age, teens -- Mom enjoyed the journey, and found pleasure as we grew and changed. Some of the things she'd say to my sisters (these are my strongest memories, since I was so much older as they were growing up) have popped out of my mouth with Sus. "You are a Dollyanna-Pollyanna!" she'd say when a tiny one was all dressed up -- I've said that to Sus. "Do you want to keep all those dirts?" she'd ask when changing a diaper or washing a face and the child fussed at the process. "You like your dirts? You want to keep them?" So good natured! Not frustrated at that menial task or the unhappy recipient. "You are just being a naughty! I will put you in a garbage can. What color garbage can do you want?" This faceteous question was always posed to a non-speaking baby -- and clearly since the baby could not choose her color of garbage can, she would not be going in one. Mom explained that logic to me -- haha! Mom's words to her children reflected her enjoyment of them. Why be so grouchy? Why not enjoy those precious babe -- even the tougher parts? They are only that age once -- don't long for it to pass! I have reminded myself of this so often when I think ahead to how it will be a bit easier when Sus is a bit less fragile and easier to understand. THIS is today -- enjoy her!
2. Spend time with your children. My mom read to us for hours, when we were very small, and continued when we were older and could read ourselves. When we were tiny she sang songs in baby talk. When we got older, the baby talk did not stop -- and it was a CONSTANT source of humor! Nicknames were abundant (that would be the case for Susan! She probably has a couple dozen nicknames already!!), and silly conversations were entirely engaging for her. I remember Mom giving the girls their bath on the counter in the kitchen and spending forever playing with their hair, making funny styles with the wet hair for our viewing pleasure. She certainly could have rushed through the bath, and bundled the baby off to bed as quick as a wink, but instead, she took her time making it more fun for everyone.
I'll finish with part 2 soon. Unless I hear myself teaching new lessons. :)