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UCLA’s legendary former basketball coach John Wooden got it right when he said: "It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen."
For many mothers, it’s the little things about raising kids that delight us - that warm our heart or instantly erase a tantrum-filled morning. These little things may not be appreciated or even noticed by other groups of people. They may seem mundane. Normal. Expected, even.
But there are certain expressions or events that we as mothers appreciate, applaud, or secretly crave. These “little” things become big mommy motivators or, as I see them, sanity-savers.
For those of you who don’t have kids or whose life is abundantly perfect and fulfilling, these “little” things will appear, in fact, quite small. But for me, and for many mothers, the following can make our mom-o-meters pulsate.
These are some of my favorite “Mommy Moments:"
1. Your young child is part of a group performance, and he/she looks straight at you in the audience and acknowledges you with a smile or wave. It’s that moment when your specialness is made visual for all to see.
2. You receive a note or drawing from your young child, and you find the examples of inventive spelling funny! You don’t even mind when his portrait of you shows a very swelled head or crooked nose. I love when my boys write letters. Here’s an example of my 8 year-old-son’s Dear Santa Letter (verbatim) that I’m sure Santa especially appreciated:
What I want for Christmas is: an electrical device that's remote control, that you can see and the remote when it flies in the air. What I also want is an electrical game that contains prehistorical effects that you think I would like. Please make me a better student and improving in quizzes and in my math. What I also want is a Nerd Gun bullet proof vest. I also want a Macaroni-and-Cheese nutcracker baker. The last thing I want is an ornament that has a picture of my Christmas tree.
P.S. I have a present for you to the right of my desk.
3. You attend a birthday party, and your child is one of the few who opts for the veggie platter.
4. Your child “graduates” on the toilet and starts wiping his/her own butt. (I can’t tell you how many times I heard my little son yell out, “Mommy, please wipe my bottom!!!” as I was right in the middle of teaching a piano student.)
5. You receive breakfast in bed, and you look down to see burnt toast, runny eggs and spilled drink on a tray proudly held by your beaming children.
6. Your child runs and hugs you in front of his friends when you pick him up from school. The older he is, the rarer (and more special) it becomes.
7. You hear your child say “please” or “thank you” to another adult.. without prodding. The adult’s compliment about your daughter having good manners can make your entire afternoon.
8. You can sleep in... uninterrupted. For some of us, this is all we need.
9. The grocery cart doesn’t squeak or have a broken wheel while you’re shopping. This may seem especially mundane to some, but any woman who has had to push a cart for a long period of time with a young child in it appreciates if the ride is smooth and stealth.
10. Your child plucks a flower and gives it to you. When my boys were young, they happily handed me bugs.
11. Your child cleans a part of the house without you asking... or without complaining. It’s messier than before, but you appreciate the effort.
12. Kid-created coupon books. I’ve never known a mother who has actually redeemed all the coupons in the book her child made her. But just the short written statement “I will do the laundry for a day” or “I will do all the dishes” is enough to warm the heart.
13. Hearing your child pray. I wish I had written down some of my children’s prayers, like the one asking God to make everybody in the world happy.
14. Funny sayings. Back in the 1990s, Bill Cosby hosted an entertaining TV show called “Kids Say the Darndest Things”; this is because children -- and their innocence and bluntness -- can be funny! Every week there’s something one of my kids says that cracks me up or surprises me.
15. Watching your child dance. I especially appreciate watching young children dance who have no sense of rhythm. They don’t care; they throw caution to the wind and move and groove to their own beat. There’s something completely pure and beautiful about that.
16. No sibling fighting on long car trips. If you have perfect kids, then you don’t appreciate this as much as us who don’t have perfect kids.
17. Doing nothing. On one Mother’s Day, my husband asked me what I wanted to DO. I said, “I want to do nothing.” “Nothing?” he asked. “NOTHING,” I answered. My typical day is filled with kids, work, cleaning, driving, shopping, negotiating, exercising, etc. Every now and then we mothers appreciate the art of doing absolutely nothing. And sometimes, for the busy mom, it's hard work to do nothing.
18. Quiet alone time. This one goes hand in hand with the above statement. Sitting in a quiet room is, well, quiet…and we like it.
19. A good book. I know many moms who treasure their reading time and who have, in fact, stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to finish a captivating book. We appreciate a fun book series. I’m willing to bet that many moms have read lately the Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games, and/or Fifty Shades of Grey books. There's just something about reading fantasy while wearing sweatpants and no makeup.
20. A cup of coffee or hot tea. No need to elaborate. But, in case I did elaborate, I'd add: sipping a cup of coffee/tea while sitting in a comfortable chair. Being able to finish an entire cup without having to stand or speak is, well, glorious.
There's that famous book entitled "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff"; I believe moms should embrace them instead.