By Paula Schmitt, The All Sports Mom
Rusty irons. Cracked 1875 spectacles. Chipped, faded paintings. Dusty,
yellow paged books.
Ah, these are the good things in life.
Yes, you may know me; I am the ultimate antique shopper and my motto is and always will be “the older the better”. Just ask my sons. They see all too well how their mom will search high and low for that Dasher butter churn, even though she won’t actually be making homemade butter any time in the near future, or for that handy dandy ice cream scoop where the handle is just barely hanging on, even though we already have two others that work like a charm and will scoop on demand.
The nerve of kids nowadays. They want everything shiny, hip and new. God forbid they keep anything for more than, say, two months. Unfortunately they just don’t see the beauty in a 200 year old treasure the way that I do. They don’t seem to be capable of imagining what it may have been like for the original owner so many years ago. I once left home to pick up some milk and returned with a beautiful, slightly worn 1890’s ladies bureau. My children greeted me at the door and took one look at my pride and joy and asked if I had stopped at our local dump on the way home. I asked them to take a closer look, to look beyond the loose handles and scratches. They obliged. Then they continued to ask if the past owner had taken a sledge hammer to the piece while out in the pouring rain.
For Christmas this year the item I wanted most was a “new” antique chair for my desk. Of course, my boys thought this a riot. They asked me if Santa shops at his local flea market or watches the newspaper for a good yard sale. Comical. My quick reply was that they better talk nice about Santa or they’ll be sorry come Christmas morning. That quieted things down a bit.
So I confess. I love old stuff; objects that have meaning and have been cherished over the years. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that. Someday when I am gone from this world I hope that all the things I own and care deeply about will be passed down to others and bring joy and happiness to someone else’s life just the way my precious antiques have brought pleasure to mine. However, for some reason I don’t expect that my Revlon curling iron purchased at Wal-Mart will be quite as valuable or distinguished as the authentic circa 1920’s Bell telephone I bought for my husband last Christmas.
By Paula Schmitt, The All Sports Mom
As a mom there is life B.B. (before boys) and then there is life A.B. (after boys). I question any mother’s sanity should she decide to continue onward for that junior basketball team of five. I know all too well what it is like to raise boys. I have four and quickly stopped there as I pondered the consequences of my future. Not a pretty picture.
A mother knows she has boys when…
The walls and accessories in each of the rooms of the house are shades of blue;
She gets a shower of gold upon every diaper change;
She finds that her home and the surrounding yard of said home are decorated with every sports ball imaginable;
She begins to imitate the sounds of toys to family and friends daily, i.e, toot-toot and vroom- vroom;
The television set only knows Bob the Builder and Thomas the Tank Engine;
Frogs and lizards become indoor pets, naturally;
The walls in the house have dirty handprints throughout (so artistic);
She enjoys the karate chop of her favorite action figure come playtime;
During holiday season shopping her cart is filled with Hot Wheels, G.I. Joes and Nerf balls;
Doing laundry she discovers pockets filled with rocks and dirt;
Everyday when her children come home from school and when asking them what was the highlight of their day they respond, GYM;
There is a constant stale odor lingering in the air (you know, farts are funny);
The permanent position of all toilet seats throughout the house is UP;
She can no longer see the blue paint of her children’s bedroom walls since sports posters have covered every square inch of wall space;
She grocery shops every week and the food magically disappears within a couple of days;
All her children’s clothing features the word NIKE;
She is off at a sports event 365 days of the year;
She’s on a first name basis with the staff at the emergency room;
The teenage girls are swarming the house like bees on honey;
She thanks God for those boys every night.
I am a brave woman. Let’s not forget strong, too. Not only have I carried and delivered four boys, but over the years, I have lived in the same house with these four boys. Yes, I am their mother and most days I am proud to announce this to the world. Then there are the days I would like to get into my car (ALONE), wave bye-bye and not look back.
What kind of a mother am I?
One would think that after living together under the same roof, sleeping together, eating together, watching videos together, together, together, together, that these guys would realize that they are stuck with one another and there’s no way out. Could it be that simple? Not in my house.
It’s 7 a.m. and I am awakened by an alarming sound. No, it is not the pounding of a jackhammer and not even the sound of a 747 jet flying overhead. It is two of my darling boys having a yelling match in their room across the hall. Such a pleasant way to start the day.
I enter the boxing ring.
“Ahem. Good morning boys. How is everything going in here?” I ask sweetly, with an all teeth showing smile on my face.
My nine year old, Joseph, quickly drops the towel he is about to whip at his brother and says, “Oh, hi Mom. I’m about to get in the shower.”
His 12 year old brother, Phillip, strongly disagrees.
“Yeah, right you moron! I was going to get in the shower and you tried to stop me so you could get in first. Tell Mom the truth!”
The truth would be nice. My eyes turn to Joseph.
“Moooooooom, I’m supposed to shower first today! He showered first yesterday!” Joseph wails.
“Who cares? I was up first and ready to get in the shower before you, then you come in, swinging your towel at me like a mad man saying you’re getting in the shower first.” Phillip says, pointing his finger in his brother’s face.
This is not going well. I believe it is time for some motherly mediation to get the day rolling.
15 minutes later…
“What? No way! I’m having the rest of the Captain Crunch cereal this morning, not you.” Tony, my oldest, yells at his brother, Nick.
Here we go again. I exit the laundry room and enter the boxing ring for the second time this morning.
“Ahem. Is there a problem here in the kitchen guys?” I ask once again, putting on my big cheese smile.
“Yes, there is a big problem. Tony thinks this box of Captain Crunch cereal has his name written on it and it only belongs to him. There’s only enough for one more bowl and I’m having it!” Nick yells as he grabs the box out of Tony’s hand.
Then to make matters worse, Tony goes into the drawer, gets out a pen, takes the box from Nick and starts to write his name on the box. This is getting ugly.
Mommy Mediator to the rescue.
Seven hours later…
Ah, peace and quiet, the boys have been at school all day. I notice it is time for them to return. I hear their bus and see them walking up the drive. I have missed them.
Like always, I go outside to the end of the driveway, happy to greet my boys. Then I hear a terrible sound. A heated conversation between not two, but all four of them as they are approaching me.
I should go back in the house, lock the door and throw away the key right now.
“Hi guys! How was your day?” I ask as perky as possible.
They don’t even notice me but instead pick up the basketball and start shooting hoops.
“What are you talking about, jerk? I can slam dunk better than you and jump higher!”
I truly dislike the name calling. Let’s try this again.
“AHEM! Hi guys, how was your day?” I say, this time a bit louder and not so perky.
They all chime in, “OK.”
End of conversation with mom and back to the arguing about who is better at basketball.
I think I will leave them to battle this one out alone. Mommy Mediator is taking a break.
Before I go back into the house I turn to the boys and call out, “Hey guys, any of you want to challenge your mom to a free throw contest?”
Silence. That shut them all up in a hurry as they know their good old mom could win that contest hands down.
I gaze out the back kitchen window to see you sitting peacefully under a maple tree, while the leaves are gently floating to the ground. A robin has perched on a limb and captured your thoughts. I watch as you smile and reach towards the sky.
I peek out the back door and call to you. You turn to me and our eyes meet.
I notice your black, satiny hair, and how it glistens in the sun. Arms up and open, you glide as light as a feather into my welcoming arms.
I stand and turn to go into our home with you beside me. You hold out your tiny hand and I take it into mine. I remember the day when we first met, not that long ago. I had waited many months for that special day. To see your face, hear you laugh, and to hold you in my arms.
You will not remember your journey home as you were very young at the time. It was a very memorable day for me and will not be forgotten.
As we are walking together you look up and ask, “Mama, does that birdie have a mama?”
We stop and I kneel down next to you and answer, “Yes sweetheart. I’m
certain that birdie does have a mama and I would bet that its mama is very close by.”
“I hungry, mama. Do you think the birdie is hungry?” she asks, squinting in the afternoon sun.
“I am quite sure that the birdie’s mama will feed its baby birdie. Just the way I feed you when you are hungry. Now, how about some lunch for my hungry little girl.”
As we are eating our lunch I know that your inquisitive mind is at work when you ask, “Mama, why did you choose me to be your little girl?”
I am speechless at first. I rub my hand over your smooth hair and reply, “Angel, I prayed for you to find me and I asked God everyday to help you and here you are. Mama has been truly blessed.”
“Will the other kids find a mama soon?”
Her concern for the other children tells me just how compassionate my thoughtful little daughter is and I am a very proud mama at this moment.
“Sweetie, you are very kind to think about all the other children. I pray, in my heart, that they too, will find a mama and a loving home.”
I watch as she continues to take a bite of her sandwich as she swings her legs, rhythmically, back and forth under the table oblivious to my infatuation.
This child of mine so gentle and innocent. I only wish for good things in your life and that as you grow you may experience the beauty that surrounds you day by day.
Just like the robin perched in the maple tree.