I have been going over boxes of old photos that I brought from Ogden at Christmas time. When we moved, I stuffed all of the loose pictures and ones that I had organized into photo boxes together into bigger boxes, which were stuffed into a unit that was basically a holding box for all the boxes of stuff that it took us 30 years to box together. Get it? stuff/boxes? I know...I'll stop now.
Anyway, I ran upon some 3x5 cards that were mixed in among the pictures. These are not just "any" 3x5 cards. These represent my life as a young mother like no picture could ever do. Let me explain. After Kindle was born, I remember being completely and totally enamored and in love with this beautiful girl. I had fought so hard to get her here. She was my all. Two seconds after that, I was frustrated, tired, pregnant again, and miserable. (believe me when I say a pattern was forming...) I was so ill equipped. Where was the instruction booklet for this kiddo that was so much smarter than I? I found myself chasing her around all day saying "don't touch that, get out of there, do you want a spanking(really? what a dumb thing to say to a kid...."sure mom....that's just what I want"...) What happened to all the love I was feeling for my little sweetheart? ...and why was she all of a sudden being so naughty? (what I thought was "naughty" then was nothing compared to what was to come down the road in a couple of years....you know who you are.) Regardless, I needed answers and NOW! My sweet sister-in-law Midge* came to my rescue.
*Midge: Red-headed mother of 10, state-problem-has-answer-woman of the year.
Mission: Save Denise....again.
First, she listened. She cried with me. She hugged me, and told me I
was going to be a good mother. Then, handed me a book on child
rearing. Why didn't I think of that? This started my obsession with
books on this subject...I have 13 that I kept because they were good.
(Others are at DI.) All I can say is that I GLEANED. I read it over
and over. I tried every suggestion. I wrote down quotes on 3X5 cards
and taped them to the inside of my kitchen cupboard for quick reference. That's where the 3x5's come in.
My beloved 3x5 cards. They told me what to do, when I didn't know what
to do...and helped me to hold it together.
I have kept them all these years...yellowed tape and all. I was not a perfect mother...I remember feeling like a failure sometimes, as a mom, but I really was trying.....and I also know that every mom has that feeling at one time or another. I don't think you have to be perfect. I think it's a learning process...trying each day to find a little more patience, more love, more courage to go about it one more day. Even when you are tired and frustrated. (this is the 50 year old me giving advice to the 20 year old me...)
I hope God has a note on his wall...reminding him to be patient with me. Because His undivided attention is what I crave...and when I am the most unlovable is when I need love the most.