Monday, January 19, 2009

Perilous Times

Motherhood is not for the faint-hearted. Frogs, skinned knees, and the insults of teenage girls are not meant for the wimpy.
-- Danielle Steel

More and more I understand what my mother meant when she knowingly laughed at me. I was wishing away the "hard" part of motherhood...the potty training, the not getting enough sleep at night.

If I could go back in time I would laugh knowingly at myself too.

Motherhood. It just may kill me.

Sadly, I have a sinking feeling that someday I'll look back at this time and think it's easier than the next thing.


Yesterday my friend Janet and I were talking about the fact that her daughter will be nursery age next Sunday. It's a big milestone. I was remembering my own children starting nursery. It felt something like throwing them to the wolves. Nursery is a rough place. I've been nursery leader a few times and I have witnessed first hand the pecking order. Those eighteen-month-olds don't stand a chance. They get their toys snatched. They get smacked. When they trip over the inevitable scattering of toys with their already wobbly steps, they get trampled. Nursery was an uneasy threshold to cross.

We stepped across a different threshold last night. I think it was even more unsettling.

It was the first Youth Stake Fireside for Braeden. Parents were welcome to attend. But did that mean they were supposed to attend? I didn't know. I left it up to Braeden and he said he wanted me to be there.

So I went.

I was the only parent there who was not a leader also. That didn't bother me. I thought it was endearing and short lived that Braeden would want me there so I decided I'd enjoy it while I could. Braeden and his friends dismissed me from sitting by them so I was invited to sit by some friends of my own. (YW leaders who wondered what I was doing there. I explained. They understood. They're mothers too.)

Then I started looking around.

Then I got scared.

I've served in young women callings two different times. I was never (too) frightened. This was completely different. I was once again throwing my child to the wolves. Around me there was a lot of flirting/mischief/power plays going on. A sad girl stood all alone, waiting for an invitation
that never came to join a group. Girls talked too loud to attract attention from boys. Boys shuffled around, eyes averted. You could smell the insecurity in the air. It was nothing new but now my son was in the ranks. He seemed happy enough. I guess he didn't sense the impending danger I was sensing. He would turn around and smile at me from time to time. He was like the toddler at a playground who wants to be free of his mother but keeps returning to check in.

I was proud of my handsome boy in his white shirt and tie.

I was terrified.

I've made an alarming discovery. I didn't leave adolescence all behind like I thought I had! How terrible to have to relive being the only one not invited to a birthday party or being shunned socially through your children! It will be worse this time around though. I just know it.

Go ahead. Mistreat me. I can take it.

Just don't be mean to my children. That I can't handle. They're my very heart, unprotected, exposed to the world.

See what I mean? Motherhood. It just may kill me.


The Norlie Family said...

Thelma, you write so beautifully! You should write a book! Being a young mother I'm in the throws of the whole nursery scene. I'll never forget Kailey's first day and I actually dread the day my Garrett has to go. Looking forward in time scares me to death. So I just try to cherish these times of temper tantrums, diapers, and sleepless nights. A good friend of mine (who also blogs) said something so true about her babies, "The days are long and the years are too short"! How true is that? Before you know it Braeden will be getting his mission call. Then what?

lifeatthewhitehouse said...

I know exactly what you mean, Thelma! It's so scary seeing them grow up so fast. This last year with my 12-year old was huge. I saw her grow from a little girl to a mini-adult. She went from playing Barbie to wearing makeup and carrying a cell phone. And I remember all too well the insecurities and constant fretting over what everyone else thought of me. I know I would never want to go back to adolescence! And yet sometimes I feel like I am through her.

Janet said...

Beautifully put . . . you should be a contributor to Segullah. Look into that would you! Love--Janet

Anna said...

I remember ALL those wolves when taking Sawyer to nursery for the first time. They were a lot bigger and meaner when it was my oldest child. Somehow, dropping Asher off at nursery, brought with it all whole different crop of emotions, relief. He was the scruffy little pup that ran over the larger gang. You are onto the teen stuff now, waiting my time VERY patiently until that day and enjoying each day with my innocent young clueless cubs....until that day! Good thing your Braeden is a good kid!


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