Last week, I was telling one of my colleagues about how we all woke up in my house at 4 a.m. to watch game 7 of the NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors. He chuckled, shook his head, and said, “I bet this is at the top of your list of things your 22-year-old self never thought you’d do.”
And it got me thinking.
Yeah, if my 22-year-old self could see me now, she would definitely be laughing…and probably be a bit confused. Growing up near Beverly Hills, I went to an all-girl’s prep school through 12th grade. I had very little interaction with boys (other than my brother and his friends) and I certainly had nothing to do with sports.
Today, well, today I’m a busy working mom in Israel, running after my six sons, ages 5 to 16, on a daily basis. So, having given some thought to my colleague’s words, here are 10 things my 22-year-old self wouldn’t believe.
1. I wake up at 4 or 5 a.m. to watch NBA games with my boys.
2. I spent time this week reading a book about athletes who have overcome terrible life situations to get to where they are. It’s a great book, but still….really?
3. We’re redoing our guest bathroom soon, and putting in a (as we’ve coined it) boy toilet. That’s a toilet that connects to the back wall rather than the ground, allowing you to actually clean the floor and get to the bottom of that never-ending missed-the-toilet-again pee.
4. I am constantly hearing myself saying, “Guys! Stop fighting in the family room. At least go into a bedroom to do it.”
5. I spend far more time at my kid’s basketball games than I do fixing my make-up, my hair, my anything.
6. I encourage their sandal tans and giggle at their accomplishments in this area. (But yes, I’m constantly running after them with sunscreen.)
7. I have found myself actually saying these words at the doctor’s office: “This [fill in the blank with any given injury] isn’t going to bring his profile down and keep him from a combat unit, right?”
8. While on vacation in Venice, we spent hours admiring armor, swords, and other weaponry, taking pictures of it all and Whatsapp-ing it back for our 5-year-old to see.
9. Last summer, while visiting family in the States, we spent more time at the Nike outlet and sporting goods stores than we did almost anywhere else. We even returned to the sports stores a few times as our designated afternoon activity—just to walk around and admire.
10. Last week, I actually said both of these phrases: “I think we should hang up until you’ve finished repelling down the side of the mountain,” and, “Make sure the donkey has enough to drink.”
My life is definitely not the one my 22-year-old self would ever have envisioned, but when I reflect on these crazy mom-of-six activities, I see a pattern. These might not be the activities I favor most in the world, but they are the ones that my boys love.
And I try to stay connected to my kids where they are, not where I want them to be. Rather than molding my kids to my expectations and goals, I’m working on molding my expectations and goals to the kids.
Do I love sports, sword fighting, and the idea of combat units? Um…not so much. But I do love these ever-rambunctious, always developing, and thoughtful guys. And I’m working at being the mom they need for their interests, their activities, and their development, rather than making them the kids that I might expect them to be… even in the midst of the pee-splashed bathroom, the blaring sports channel, the ball-filled house, and the sword-fighting adventures.