back up

If you watch this family video you'll see and hear the following:

1. My 3 precious angels. 

2. Their bed hair. 

3. Crocks are only cute on the littlest of feet. 

4. Background noise, I'm sorry for the loathsome roar of yard machines.  Just look at the kids and maybe you'll forget.

5. The boys have accents. How did I not know this?  They have their own way of pronouncing certain consonant and vowel sounds. It's delightful. 

6. Back up. You will hear me say "back up" approximately too many times. This is why I'm writing today.

Dear reader, 

I have grieved for 2 things since we re-discovered this video that found it's way to vimeo.  

First, my kids are growing up too fast and I miss THESE little people with cute voices and precious pronunciations. Tiny crocks. Curls. Little hands. And a voice that hadn't changed yet.  Secondly, I grieved the way I mothered in this video.  I don't think of myself as this kind of mom, the kind that says "back up" so much.  I have told myself all week this was not my norm.  My oldest said it wasn't, but what does he really know or remember? 

WHY. Why did I say this so many times?  Of all the moments of living with little children, this is exactly the kind of moment I want them to get up close!  In fact, I was talking to the TV telling this alien version of me, "NO!  Tell them to come close!  Let them get up in that basket! AND show their faces!"  If I could undo something I would undo the incessant "back up" instructions from these 5 minutes.  There's other things worth a do-over, but this is the one I know about this week.  So I offer this advice for any mom who'll heed it.  

Don't be like me.

My advice to moms in the moment with their kids:

1.  First of all, I'm just glad you're in the moment.  Anything you stepped away from will be there when you get back.  Just maybe turn the stove off. 

2.  Watch their faces.  If you're videoing them, catch their faces.  The butterflies aren't the stars here, my kids are and they didn't get enough face time.  

3.  The thing you think you're there in the moment for isn't really the thing.  It's your kid(s).  So, don't worry about the messy hair, jelly faces, and kids acting like kids.  Just live that moment.  Suck the marrow out of it.  
  • Engage but don't take over.  
  • Encourage but don't force.  
  • Enjoy every millisecond of the moment because when you watch the nearly 5 minute video 6 years later you'll wish there'd been an hour of footage.

4.  Let the kids get in on the action and as you won't regret it!  Did I repeatedly say "back up" in an effort to see the butterfly action? to referee?  I think the video version of myself was in the midst of inner conflict too.  I caught myself encouraging them to pick one up and then would say, "back up".  With 3 boys, even when they were little, we deal with competition and the quest for fairness and justice daily.  Maybe I fell into the pattern of trying to head off trouble at the pass.  I don't know.  It's just annoying now and I wish I hadn't done it, because the best moments are when they were up close and engaged.  

5.  Tell the story of the moment over and over.  Tell the kids stories about when they were little.  Keep the memories fresh and alive.  I don't do this enough and then when I try to make myself remember I go blank.  Pray and ask God to help you remember the moments like this that can so easily slip away and be forgotten as life rolls on.  

These moments are absolutely some of the better parts of my life.  I'm glad for the precious memory re-discovered and for the lesson learned from it.  Looking back at how goofy I behaved and dealing with how annoyed I am now 6 years later is better than having missed the moment altogether!  So give yourself grace like you would a friend here, Wendy.  You weren't perfect, but that's not the target anyway. #worldsokayestmom

How about you?  Do you have a favorite moment with your kids that brought a life lesson too?   Were you a dweeb of a mom like me and lived to learn from it?  I'd love to hear about it!

Here's to saving our backing up for the dance floor!