“Isn’t that so funny?” is one of Gabriella’s favorite new expressions. Gigi, as we call her, loves to laugh. And sing. And dance. On our recent visit to Ireland to see her and her mommy (our daughter Erika) and daddy (our son-in-law Richie), I was reminded how very important it is to laugh. To actually have fun with your kids.
Every time we go to Ireland—and really, every time I travel—I am reminded of the universality of mom-feelings. On this past visit, we spent a lot of time at playgrounds—another thing Gigi loves. I loved playing with her there, and I also loved watching the other moms and kids at the playground.
One day we had the great good fortune of a long time on the swing. There was no line of people waiting, as there often is, for the toddler swings. As I pushed Gigi, a young mom pushed her son, a little boy who seemed about Gigi’s age (2 ½). His mom looked as if she had been pushing him on that swing for a very long time. In fact, she’d become almost robotic. Back and forth, back and forth.
Then she looked over at me, sighed, and said: “Ohhh, it feels like forever. The days feel like forever. “ As I nodded in instant recognition of those feelings, she went on to tell me how early her little boy gets up, how he doesn’t nap much if at all, how hard it is to get him in bed at his usual time now that the days are light so much longer, and . . . You all know the rest of the story well.
A few moments later I noticed a very energetic grandmother playing with several of her grandchildren. They were having a ball. The kids had set up a “store” under one of the climbing structures and she was “buying” all kinds of things from them (including ice cream—which definitely got Gigi’s attention!) Soon the kids tired of that game and ran on to another, and this very engaged grandmother looked over at me with both a big smile and a sigh and said, as she ran after them,” I am absolutely exhausted!”
Sounds familiar, yes? Days that feel like forever. Chronic exhaustion. It comes with the mom-job, with keeping up with these little energizer bunnies. Which is why I love watching my daughter and her daughter have so much fun together.
Yes, Erika’s days often feel like forever. And yes, she is most always exhausted (especially now that she is pregnant with Gigi’s little brother or sister). But even amidst it all, they do have fun. I wish I had a video of Gigi dancing with her mama in front of the mirror, traipsing around in her mama’s shoes (what little girl doesn’t love that?), or waking up in the morning carrying on conversations with herself interspersed with “Isn’t that just so funny!” (Not caught on video!) But we did have fun with her new scooter, new sunglasses, and glasses for Corduroy—and how about tutus for headdresses? I suspect it’s the having fun part that gets many moms through the not-so-fun parts of the mom-job.
I’m not sure I was that much fun as a mother. But I hope you are!