Thursday, October 14, 2010

You Came Back!

Mary is very outgoing, and she enjoys going to the Mom's-Day-Out program that she attends twice a week.  She also likes the nursery at church and the childcare at the gym.  It sure makes things easier for me!!  I know she likes being with me too, though, because when I return, I'm always met with an exuberant "You came back!" This exclamation is often followed by lots of running around the room and exclaiming to everyone, "My mommy's back!" "That's my mom. She came back." (I am not  exaggerating!).

Lately, the "you came back" routine starts when we pull into the parking lot.  I say, "Here we are.  Are you ready to go play with the kids?"  She usually says "Yes.", and lately she's started adding, "And you'll come back." Of course my answer is,"Yes, I'll come back."

There's a psychological term for this.  The psychologist, Mary Ainsworth, coined the term "securely attached".  This aspect of Attachment Theory is explained as: "Securely attached children exhibit distress when separated from caregivers and are happy when their caregiver returns.  Remember, these children feel secure and able to depend on their adult caregivers.  When the adult leaves, the child may be upset but he or she feels assured that the parent or caregiver will return." (

So, there you have it -- making my kids feel securely attached is part of my job (a big part!).  Being with them is a blessing, but being away from them can be too.  What I'm trying to do is to make sure that they feel the security necessary to be sad when I leave and happy when I return.  And, according to attachment theory, the attachment that they feel to me as kids will transfer to how they relate to others as adults.  This parenting stuff -- it's so important -- it really matters.  And while I'm so far from perfect, I know that when I do my very best to love and care for them, then (Lord willing!) I'm raising them to be securely attached adults, who are able to love and care for themselves and others.  And, really, isn't that what it's all about?

For now, I'll just do my best each day, and...

"Yes, Mary, I'll always come back."

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

These are the kinds of problems to have!

When we first moved into our condo (last month), I posted a status update on Facebook about how much I missed my DirecTV and DVR.  Watching local channels, without the possibility of pausing or forwarding through commercials was just too much for me.  One of my friends commented in response to this complaint, "These are the kinds of problems to have!" And I thought, "Isn't that the truth? How lucky am I, and yet I complain?"

For the last few weeks, through the postings of a Facebook friend, I have been following and praying for the precious little life of Baby Ewan.  His parents started a blog (, documenting Ewan's fight for life.  He was born with a heart problem. His mom, Kirsten, explains that, "Ewan has been diagnosed with a congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot with Pulmonary Atresia, which consists of a combination of four defects in the heart. It is estimated that Tetralogy of Fallot occurs in as many as 5 out of every 10,000 births. There are several forms of Tetralogy of Fallot that range in severity. Ewan is diagnosed with the most severe form." Each day he lived was a miracle, but also wrought with pain for Baby Ewan and his family.

Ewan went to heaven on October 3rd.  As I read Ewan's mom's daily account of happenings in his life, and then her varied responses to the loss of him (which you can read here and here), I began to think about my own blog (this blog)!  When thinking about the posts I've written lately, I couldn't help but think, "These are the kinds of problems to have." Somehow the fact that I am not in a book club seems almost laughably unimportant.  If the only thing I have to say goodbye to is my house, I am amazingly fortunate! And I know that Kirsten would give anything for Ewan to be two like Mary.  You get where I'm going with this.  Problems, schmoblems!  Really!

So I've thought long and hard about what I should do.  I decided that I'm not going to stop writing this Mommy-with-a-Masters-themed blog, even with the relatively unimportant worries and complaints that I have.  The writing is good for me.  There are times, too, when I feel like the things that I say resonate with others in a way that is helpful.  But, in honor of Baby Ewan, I will forever go forth with a different perspective.  I want all of you who read this blog to know that I will try very hard not to take myself, or my issues, too seriously.  From now on, I'm going to double my efforts at being deeply and completely thankful for my dear children.  I will hold them closer and love on them more.  I will cherish these moments and days, because there may come a time when I have them no more.  And I will pray.  I will pray for Ewan; his parents, Kirsten and James; and all who know and love them.  I will pray for all children who are sick, and those who are dying, and for the friends and families that love and care for them.  I will pray for all who have lost children and loved ones.  I will pray for myself, for my husband and for my kids. And I will pray for you!  

For now I'm thankful that my problems are the kind that are desirable, but I know that this can change in an instant. I encourage each of you to pull your loved ones closer today, and make sure that each day ends with the satisfaction of a life well-lived through people deeply-loved.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Book Club

Those of you who know me, or have read this blog, know that I love to read.  I have always felt like I would really enjoy being in a book club.  Making that happen, though, when I have three kids and a husband who works a lot, has been difficult (in fact, impossible so far, given the fact that I'm not IN a book club).  Book club is something that I often think I'll add to my life once I have less parenting responsibilities (or at least don't have to find babysitters to do everything).

A few weeks ago, Gregory (9) brought home a permission slip that said that the librarian was offering a book club for kids in 4th and 5th grades who are interested.  The kids who sign up are able to choose between two books (a more traditionally "boy" book and "girl" book), and they meet with the librarian twice a week (during lunch) for a month.  Gregory, very excitedly, brought me the permission slip and as I signed it I said to him, "I think it's great that you want to be part of the book club.  I would love to be in a book club." And dear Gregory responded by saying, "Mom, I think you would like the book we're reading.  If you wanted to read it with me, I could take some of your ideas to book club and share them with the group."

Two things about his sentences struck me.  First of all, I was thankful for his considerate response.  He HEARD what I said, and he responded with the only thing he could think of that would help.  Secondly, he didn't realize that HE was one of the reasons I couldn't be in my own book club.  This is my (current) life: On the one hand, I'm not free to do all the things I know I would enjoy, because much of my focus in on raising my kids.  On the other hand, because I'm dedicating so much of myself to raising my kids, every once in a while one of them responds to me in a way that makes me know how important (and rewarding) this life's work really is.

One day I will be in a book club all my own.  I will read books, get together with other adults who have read them, drink wine and talk for as long as I want!  But someday, all too soon, I will have to hear about Gregory's books over the telephone from somewhere other than my own home.  While he's here, I will try to cherish these moments -- the glimpses of the man he will become -- and, rather than resent the things he keeps me from, I will look for the joy in (and give myself some credit for) the kid that he is and the relationship that we have!