I recently went to a memorial service where one of the daughters of the deceased got up and said, “I remember Momma in a happy way.” Now this was a regular family, with the regular faults and personality difficulties, and not the kind of life trauma parents live. But the line struck my heart. It seems like all I do with my kids is correct them, corral them, and generally try to keep them from burning down the house, killing each other, or blowing up the world. For me, there aren’t too many fun times. I want there to be fun times! I think of all the things I want to do with my kids, the things you do with kids without trauma, without issues, the things I dreamed of doing with my kids before I had a family. But that’s not the life I live and those things aren’t possible with my kids at this point in their lives.
Someday, will my kids look back at their lives, if they come to a point of any sort of healing, and say “I remember Momma in a happy way”? I want them to. Even if it’s little things, like making animal shapes with their pancakes on Saturdays sometimes or having water gun fights with them in the backyard on hot days, I want to have fun times with my kids. Whatever it is they can handle, I want to do that. I want there to be opportunities where I can place memories in their brain where they can look back and say, we had so much fun with Mom that day.
We talk about how our children’s brains are in a rut, programmed by their trauma and past, and how we have to help them reprogram their brain to create new connections. Well, my brain is in a rut, where all I do is correct and manage and it’s no fun for anyone. It’s time for me to get out of the rut and make some new connections in my brain.
Maybe my kids can only handle 5 minutes of fun before it overloads them and they sabotage. Maybe only two. That’s ok. I have no expectations. I will take those 5 minutes and hold them in my heart, stopping at the moment before the meltdown. I will write these times down so that maybe it will help me create more times of fun once in a while. These moments are not planned, predictable, because then our kids will definitely not be able to handle it. That doesn’t mean we haven’t made preparations to do something psuedo-spontaneous, like having the supplies on hand to make their favorite cookies, or pre-made the water balloons for the backyard brawl, or whatever.
And maybe, just maybe, I might start having fun with my kids. Maybe I will stop feeling like a jail warden and start feeling like a real mom, the kind of mom I always dreamed of being. Not perfect Pinterest mom, not perfect Facebook mom, but for a moment, just a regular mom playing with her kids. What a feeling that would be. I wonder how far that would take me through the warden times…. I think it’s time to find out.
If you try it – or have tried it – let me know how it worked out for you!