Tuesday, May 5, 2015

What they get instead

This morning I asked Rachel how things had gone in social studies yesterday after her week's wisdom tooth absence.  She looked at me and said "Mom, I told you yesterday!  Don't you remember?"

And the truth is that no, I don't.

These days that happens often enough that it's not a surprise to anyone.  Is it worse since my concussion?  Or just worse now that I'm 48?  I'm not sure.  But I know that if two people are talking to me at the same time, I get nothing.  And if someone tells me something while I'm not paying attention, I remember nothing.  It's embarrassing.

I worry that these kids, my wonderful youngest children, will get the wrong idea about what this means.  I worry that they'll think it means that I'm not really listening, that I don't care enough, that I don't love them enough.

I was fretting about this a little while ago and then I remembered again--this is the mother than I am now.  Plain and simple, no way around it.  I try to focus so that I can hear & remember, but sometimes I miss.  I try not to forget.  I try to make sure that people take turns talking, but you know how that goes.  These are my limitations.

It is true that my older kids got a young, energetic mother with a brain that worked better.  That mother was focused and intense.  But while those were good things, they weren't all good.  That mother was still trying to figure things out.  That mother was frequently overwhelmed and always tired. That mother was young in so many ways--idealistic, quick to frustration or anger, struggling to know which expectations were unrealistic and which were ok.

The mother I am now is different than that.  Despite the attention and memory issues, in many ways I think these kids are getting the best of me.  I am a gentler mother now, aware that many things that once upset me just don't matter.  I'm a more emotionally healthy mother and a better rested mother and both of those translate into more love and less anger.  My focus may not be great but my attention is less divided than it once was.  Without little kids around I'm much more able to enjoy the stage these kids are in and to facilitate their activities.

Do I wish I had yesterday's mental energy and intensity combined with today's understanding and calmness?  Sure.  But life doesn't work that way, does it.  So today I'm going to be grateful for the mother I was then, for what she learned, and that I am able to be the mother I am today.  And then I'm going to try not to get distracted when someone is talking to me.

[Russ adds that I'm still tired.]

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