Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Sara and Melissa talk about....Motherhood

We've been running a column series to get more personal with our readers. This month, we're talking about motherhood, with Mother's Day right around the corner. We understand and respect that this topic and holiday may be difficult for some of our readers. Being mothers is something personal to us, but we understand if you do not want to read any further than this sentence. 

We're always open to topic suggestions, so please don't hesitate to share those in the comments. We'd also love to know if you can relate to anything we've said or hear your own thoughts on the topic. So don't be shy. :) We look forward to getting to know you as much as we're letting you get to know us. You can find our previous columns here, in case you missed them.

Melissa Amster:

I have now been a mother for fourteen and a half years. I never imagined I'd be a mother to boys, let alone to three kids, but here I am. (I only say this because I grew up with one sister.) Today, instead of reflecting on what it is like to be a mother, I just want to share some of my favorite things about each of my kids.

E, my fourteen year-old:
I still can't believe E is a teenager. I see pictures of him from when he was a toddler and he has grown and changed so much during all this time. I've seen him go from Wiggles to Wicked. (I like the latter phase SO much better!) He's become my Broadway buddy. We listen to musicals together all the time, and when we're not listening, we're singing show tunes. We've also watched a bunch of musicals together and I love his enthusiasm for them. I also love how he is so good with little kids (my friend's daughter loves him) and how well he connects with adults. He usually sits in on video chats with my friends and talks with them like they're his friends too. Whenever my best friend visits us, he gives her the biggest hug. He's smart and talented (acting and clarinet, especially). He also makes me laugh with his impressions and his improvisational acts. I sometimes have glimpses of what he'll be like in the future and I like what I am seeing.

Big M, my twelve year-old:
When I was twelve, I didn't want to be seen with my parents. (It was a pre-teen thing back then, but I'm guessing it still is these days.) Big M is the opposite. He loves spending time with us and all he ever wants to do is cuddle. He's the most affectionate twelve year-old I've ever met. He's also very musical, especially when it comes to playing piano. He has taught himself how to play and is better than I ever was even with several years of lessons. It blows my mind to listen to him play. He also has a great sense of humor and likes to tell jokes or play pranks on people. He's really good with coding and video editing, as well. He loves animals and would have a menagerie in his room if I let him. While the usual sibling rivalry happens, he will still spend hours playing with his sister in the basement and laughing over inside jokes with his brother. I still remember a time E was upset about something and Big M said one word in a funny way and it made E forget all about being upset. He and I always joke about what if he wasn't born to me and someone else was. I am thankful that is not the case though.

Little M, my nine year-old:
Little M has the best sense of style. She's always putting together her own outfits and sometimes ends up looking like Punky Brewster. She's passionate about the environment and is always making sure we're not wasting water or electricity. She gets so mad when she sees litter on the ground. Little M also cares about what is going on in the world and likes to engage with me in conversations about it. Like her brothers, she is both funny and caring. She's also musical, even if it's just with a recorder for now. She wants to learn how to play the violin when she's able to join the school orchestra. She sings the songs that E teaches her and it's so cute to listen to her when she does that. She's fun to talk with, even if it means she's going to bed really late because she wants to ask a lot of random questions. Every time I look at her, I tell myself how lucky I am that she's my daughter.

Aside from everything mentioned above, I love, love, LOVE that all three kids are avid readers! When I am able to go to the library again, I'll be bringing home a huge stack for them.

Left to right: Little M, E, Big M

Sara Steven:

My oldest son turns fifteen next week, and while attempting to think about and plan some sort of celebration for him during the age of COVID-19, a truly terrifying fact, a horrifying realization crept in amidst the ice cream cake (mint chocolate, per his request) and gift ideas (Steam gift cards and something called Apex Legend coins) - a fact that I’ve been trying to avoid like the plague for the last few years, at least.

My son is turning fifteen. He can get his driver’s permit. This. Year. How did this happen?

When he was so much younger, I used to imagine what it would be like when he reached his teen years. I’d picture my sweet, happy boy a lot taller, full of conversation, and while I always suspected he’d be just a little bit snarky given my own personality, I knew he’d also have a sensitive side. I’d picture him doing more grown-up things, like going to high school or (gasp!) dating, and then thoughts turned to my sweet, happy boy behind the wheel of a beater up junker car he’d have purchased with his own money he’d saved up from his first summer job, or maybe he’d drive our 2008 Toyota Camry because we’d made plans to hold onto it for him, and he’d be more than enthusiastic because it would be his very own car, and it would be free, and who could say no to a free car?

Those thoughts felt trivial and silly, considering there were several years ahead of the both of us. More than enough time for me to get used to the idea that there would come a day where he’d become another driver on the road. And now, it’s officially here.

My suspicions have been correct, for the most part. Shorts I’d purchased for him just a few months ago in preparation of our hot Arizona summers are too small on him now, given his penchant for frequent growth spurts. He’s quiet around those he doesn’t know well, but if he knows you, look out. He’ll most likely drive you crazy with his need to banter and argue multiple points incessantly. He’s full of a lot more snark than I ever could have imagined, and the sensitivity is there, hidden away, presenting itself when I least expect it, because much like his mom, he doesn’t like to show it.

He tells me he’s getting his driver’s permit, and then his license, as soon as he’s able to. And there’s no way he’s going to drive our Camry, equating it to a commercial we saw once on TV, where a teen is bequeathed “Beige Betty”, a hideously old station wagon. I don’t think our Camry is all that bad, but apparently my son thinks so. Before COVID-19, he had plans to get his first summer job, and to save money. Those plans have changed, but not where learning to drive is concerned, and I don’t want it.

Picturing him on an Arizona roadway freaks me out. Even with my plans for him, with driver’s education and a defensive driving course. It’s relinquishing the reins, it’s trusting that he’ll be safe and okay, it’s another step closer to losing that little boy and watching this boy morph into a young man. It’s another life skill I have to impart onto him, and I’m a lousy driver. Ask anyone who knows me. But I’ll do my best, and I’ll do my best to hide my fears, because I need him to know that I think he’s capable, and I know he’s more than capable. And let’s be honest- sixteen is right around the corner. I have to get used to the idea now, just as much as he needs to get used to the idea that his first car most likely will be the Camry, our own special version of “Beige Betty”.

Here’s wishing a Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there who have been there, done that when it comes to those tough teen years, and those who are either on the brink or have several years to go until you’re there- I hope you have a wonderful day!

1 comment:

dstoutholcomb said...

My youngest turns 15 later this month. We all have boys in the same age range.