Monday, April 21, 2008

Nothing Special About Multi-tasking

by Mary Stosich

Multi tasking is the grief of my motherhood. Rarely did I take enough time to enjoy the minute with awareness and appreciation.

One night, our first-grader Danny was in bed crying. He refused to tell me his problem. I coaxed and pleaded. Finally he gave it up:

“Mommy, our teacher asked us to think of a special memory of our mother, and then she will write it down and we can make a card for you.”
“Why are you so upset about that?”
Then Danny replied with this shocking, devastating, horrifying statement, “Well I don’t have any special memories of you!”

Frantically I started naming off some memories, any memory! “What about reading together?”
“No, that’s not special.”
“What about your birthday party?”
“No, that’s not special.”
“What about teaching you to ride a bike?” He was the only kid I knew whose mother could or would run 6 miles along side the bike. Impressed? Never-mind. I was still multi-tasking by exercising while I taught him!
“No, that’s not special. See what I mean? We don’t have any special memories!”
More tears.

I resisted the urge to shake him and say, “Listen here! I love you!” I also resisted the urge to crawl in bed and bawl.
I finally asked, “Well, my special son, what would a special memory be like?” His clincher question that helped me with some perspective:
“Did you ever save my life or anything like that?”
The closest I could come to that was still way beneath his expectations—something about holding his hand after his tonsillectomy. (I might have been reading a book also.)

Well, I didn’t say everyone else had to be aware or appreciative of our experiences, but we need to be. You see, about that same child, I have one of my precious memories. I have it because during one quiet moment of his babyhood, I put it there on purpose. I wasn’t multitasking. I had lost so many other pictures during my motherhood. I couldn’t bear to lose this one too.

I shut out the rest of the world for just a minute and leaned over the side of his crib where he was cuddled with his blue blanket, blissfully asleep. I memorized his soft face, the way his skin looked, the perfect profile of his little forehead, nose and lips. I touched his fat little hands and traced around his fingertips. I listened to his soft breath and stroked his dark curly hair. My tears fell on his blanket.

Twenty-two years later I have that memory because I was aware. I thanked the Lord and asked him to help me never forget it.


Lisa McKendrick said...

It always makes me sad when I look at a picture of one of my children and am jolted by what I've already forgotten about their childhood. I sometimes feel like I'm in that money chamber where the bills are flying all over the place and you've got to stuff as many as you can in your pockets before the time runs out. There is so much to cherish when it comes to kids. Ironically, as your blog suggests, slowing down and grabbing a crisp bill and stuffing it deep in your pocket is perhaps more meaningful than a crumpled wad.

Emily Cushing said...

Such a sweet post. After I read it I went and took a picture of my sleeping newborn.