Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Carousel Approach to Motherhood

Chris was working another Sunday shift, leaving mom and the boys at home. The boys were itching to get out of the house and pleas were made to make a jaunt down to the Children's Museum. Seeing the need for them to expend some energy, I agreed. We loaded up the van and the five of us made the trek to the museum.

The museum was packed. I should have known:

spring break + rainy day + cold temps + Big Ten tournament in town = lots and lots of people

Monitoring four boys at the Children's Museum alone on any day can cause a little apprehension. (Haven't we all watched a child abduction segment on Dateline a time or two?) But, watching four boys alone at the museum on a busy day can be maddening. I spent the majority of the time at the museum counting to four. Once I found four heads I breathed a sigh of relief for at least a minute and then the counting resumed. I felt like I was constantly shouting, "Stay with your brother," "Did you tell me where you're going?" and "Don't move until I find ____."

We made it through the museum and at the end of our afternoon the boys wanted to ride on the carousel. The boys patiently waited for our turn to enter. Once the attendant gave them the green light, they burst onto the ride. I permitted each boy to select their seat. Caleb chose a moveable horse, Connor a stationary stallion, Cooper a bench (I'm surprised too!) and Collin rode with me on a horse adjacent to Connor. The carousel began to spin and the organ music accompanied the rotation. Four smiles emerged as the movement and music grew in intensity.

At that moment I thought about the carousel and what I had to learn from the experience. No one rides on a carousel to get to a destination. You ride on a carousel to experience the joy of the ride: the sounds, the sights and the squeals. I need to take more of the "carousel" approach to motherhood. Quite frequently I'm consumed with arriving at a destination, be it the next meal, the next activity, the next stage, etc. While yearning for the destination, I'm not taking the time to enjoy the "ride."

I decided life might not be so bad when it seems like I'm just running around in circles, as long as I'm finding the joy in the rotation.


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