Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Old moms

Do not despise your mother when she is old...may she who gave you birth rejoice!  Proverbs 23:22,25

Our adoption worker sat in our living room a week or so ago, and informed me that we had enough training now that we could be respite providers (babysitters for foster parents) with their agency.  When I said I would be glad to do that, he said I should be careful what I offered, and by the way, what ages would I be willing to take care of once in a while, should they need me?


ALWAYS before, I would have said newborns up to two years old would be my favorite ages.  Especially newborns.  They are still little enough to cuddle and keep close to you.  You always know where they are.

But lately, I've noticed it's been a bit hard for me to take care of newborns.  My back is not strong anymore.  Cuddling a good sized baby at church a few Sundays ago made me realize I was pretty glad to hand him back to his young mommy, even if he was awfully cute.  Holding him hurt my back enough that I didn't really enjoy it, at least not in a standing position.

So I'm having to face the fact that I will be sixty in less than three years now.
Sigh...who ever would have thought I would get that old?

Another thing is that it's getting a bit harder to pull myself up out of my comfortable chair when the kids need tending too discipline wise.  I'm a bit slow now, hoping that they will resolve their problems without my intervention.  And sometimes they do, but often, once it gets to the point that I'm hearing it (It's amazing the selective deafness of a mother of ten) it's past the point of their resolving it themselves, and they need me to be there to help.

I have some really well behaved children if I do say so myself.  I thought about that a lot this afternoon, after an eye doctors appointment for poor Mary Susannah.  She has had a TERRIBLE time with her beautiful eye.  For two months now, after three clinics and six different doctors working on her and more prescriptions than I can count - some we only used a very few times before we were told to quit using that one and use this one instead - we are just now seeing real progress in getting her eye well.  It's been awful for her, and it's made her cry many times, because she's just so tired of hurting.

So we've been at this eye doctor's office in Fort Worth once a week for about four weeks now, enough that they recognize us when we walk in, and know my children.  The older doctor, father of two of the younger doctors in the office, always comments on my lovely family.  Today he told Mary Susannah she was his best patient, and that I have a lovely family of well behaved children, to which the nurse replied that she had not seen such well behaved children in the office in a long time, and gave my kiddos stickers to reward them for being so good.  Last week, the male assistant told me my children "looked like I cared about them."

It made my mind run back over the years, to other times people have told me that.  I remember many, many years ago, walking into a glass shop to buy new windows.  When I walked in the door with my crew, four little boys ages about 8, 6, 3 and a 1 year old in my arms, the man behind the desk came up out of his chair, pointed at them, and almost shouted at me, "You better watch those boys!  You better not let them run around in here!  You better keep ahold of them!"

Who, me?

I drew in a quick breath, remembered my Christian testimony, and told him, "Oh, don't worry.  They are going to sit down in these chairs and be really good while I pick out glass."
And they did.  I kept the one year old, my BIG baby Beau, in my arms, because there is only so much you can expect out of a one year old.  But the other three sat quietly.  The man relaxed, and even told me I won the prize for the strangest story about how the glass got broken (I'm sure he expected me to say my boys did it) when I told him - and this is true - that my jersey cow got into my entry hall, slipped and slid on the slippery tile and backed her fanny into my entry hall window, crashing it to pieces.
Glass picked out and paid for, we went to the car.  I strapped the boys in, climbed into the front seat of my big Suburban, and was about to drive away when I saw the man run out the door of his shop towards me.  I rolled down my window, and he said:
"Ma'am. I was very rude to you when you walked in today, and I just felt like I had to come back outside and tell you that you have the best behaved children I have ever seen in my life.  I'm sorry for what I said earlier, and I just wanted to tell you that."

Well, that sure made my day, and it wasn't the last time it happened, either...

Another time that stands out in my mind was at the Social Security office a couple of years ago.  I had gone there after our third adoption to change the kids names on their social security cards.  I had the three younger ones and Mary Susannah with me.  I ran into a friend, also a foster/adopt mom and mother of a large family.  She finished before I did, and came over to our seats to talk for a minute.  As she got ready to leave, she commented on how good my children were being.  I laughed and said I was sure hers would be the same, and she said, "No.  You people" (you people...as in you people who are short?  old?  you people who homeschool?  you people who wear dresses only and headcovers?  :o) )  "You have something, and the rest of us need to learn it."

Then today, the compliments at the doctors office.  Afterwards, we went to Aldi's to get a few groceries.  And I noticed, maybe because of what the doctor and nurses said just a bit earlier, that sure enough, not every child follows closely beside their mother's cart as she shopped.  We watched an absolutely beautiful set of twins consisting of a good twin and a bad twin - the bad one screaming and crying and yelling at her daddy and climbing out of the cart.  In the checkout line, we watched an older child sitting in the baby seat with a cast on his leg that just fascinated Luke, as he slung a jumbo sized bag of Smarties out of the cart.  And his mother picked it right up and flung it right smack into the child's stomach.  And he slung it right back out, and she picked it up and clobbered him in the stomach with it again.  He threw it out, and she smacked it right back into his stomach, declaring in a loud voice that if he did it again, she just might put it back on the shelf and not let him have it!
At which declaration, I thought, "Well, yeah, mama.  If you would have done that in the first place, you probably wouldn't have to do it more than once or so before he learned that kind of behavior isn't allowed..."

I'm not a perfect mom.  In fact, you can read about an amazing tantrum Tommy had in public recently HERE.  But I guess if there is one thing that "we people" or at least, "I" have learned, it's that you have to expect good behavior from your children, and not only expect it, but not allow anything else except good behavior.  There's not really much secret to it.  Just stay calm, and teach your children the proper way to behave.  Teach them to be ladies and gentlemen.  That should be one of the priorities of your days.

And it takes a lot of work, and this old mommy is more tired lately than she used to be.  Sixty years old is coming fast.  My rocking chair looks better all the time.

So, Mr. Adoption Worker, give me the older ones, the ones that can walk.  I might be old, but really, there is still a little good in me, yet!

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