Once upon a time, I saw on Facebook that a friend was auditioning for the Listen to your Mother show in Chicago. You write an original piece about some aspect of motherhood and then you read it. The twinge of jealousy I felt as I read her post quickly grew into more than a twinge.
“I want to do that!” I literally said out loud to myself. The problem was that though there are shows across the country, none were scheduled for Indianapolis. The closest one that still had auditions available was in southwest Michigan. So I went! And I was chosen! It made for lots of trips up and down US-31 for a few weeks for auditions, rehearsals, and then the performance itself on Sunday, May 7.
My piece was an edited version of two previous blog posts. My dear husband was kind enough to record a video of my performance (about 5 1/2 minutes). The transcript is below.
It was fun to have a new way to share the adventures of StepMolly!
Not too long ago, I was a single, 30-something woman living in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. My biggest concerns were keeping my basil plant alive and which dark roast coffee was brewing at Starbucks.
Then I met the most charming man named Tim…and now I am a wife and stepmom to two internationally adopted kids with a dog and a house in the suburbs. Actually, I’m not so much a stepmom as I am a StepMolly, which is the endearing nickname the kids bestowed upon me.
Lately, I have been thinking about these big life changes and the lessons I have learned. I have had an especially steep learning curve as a parent. I’m sure I’m not the first stepparent to learn some of these lessons, but they are new for me.
So, allow me to share some of the lessons I have learned as StepMolly.
Carry snacks. But if you forget to carry snacks, tic-tacs will do in a pinch.
Dessert is a powerful motivator.
Always insist they use the bathroom before you leave the house. Even if they insist they just went.
Soccer balls come in different sizes. This may not seem like a big deal or may even be a no-brainer for those of you who are more athletic than I. But when confronted with 5- 6 choices of sizes, let alone colors, it’s a paralyzing moment of indecision as to what would best suit my sports star daughter Ana.
A punishment of no TV hurts the parents more than the kids…especially when there’s a new season of House of Cards that I want to watch without them around.
There are few toys that thrill as much as a large, empty cardboard box.
Unless you’re 100% certain, buy each kid the same color. Of whatever it is.
Kids who you have to drag out of bed on a weekday at 6:30am will be by the side of your bed on Saturday at 5:45am, asking for breakfast and ready to begin the day.
The same children who do everything they can to bargain their way out of getting into the shower then complain when it’s time to get out of the shower.
They really do hear everything you say–especially when you’re talking about a sensitive subject in a low volume two rooms away.
They may not be able to find a misplaced, beloved stuffed animal but can find a speck of onion (or other undesirable vegetable) mixed in their meals.
Kids may be resilient, but make no mistake, divorce is hard on them.
Favorite colors are a really big thing. Like me, Ana’s favorite color is blue. Yoseph’s current favorite color alternates between tie-dye and golden–which is not the same as yellow, so please don’t make that mistake.
I love Christmas. It’s not unusual for me to have my tree up by Halloween. Well, I have learned that kids love the anticipation of Christmas almost as much as I do–especially Ana. So now I don’t have to feel embarrassed about my unseasonably early approach to Christmas–I can blame it on Ana!
And the #1 lesson learned: Those moments when they impulsively hug you or tell you they love you sometimes take your breath away. I have grown to love them and it’s so humbling that they have grown to love me, too.
But let me assure you that I am not the only one learning lessons in our family. Recently, Yoseph was the one who learned a lesson.
Our kids aren’t strangers to religion or discussions about faith. They attend Catholic school and when they’re with us, we attend an evangelical church. So I was surprised when during devotions one morning over breakfast, a reference to being God’s children prompted Yoseph to interrupt Tim.
“Wait,” he said, gesturing at me and Tim. “You’re God’s children, too?”
“Yup!” I answered. “Just like I’m Mimi’s child, and Dad is Gammy’s child–we are God’s children.”
“Oh!” he said to me, nodding with understanding at his lesson learned. “Just like I’m your child! And Mommy’s and Daddy’s, too.”
I nodded, swallowing the lump in my throat. He identifies as MY child! Through his lesson learned, he showed me his heart.
Oh, Yoseph. We have both learned so much about each other—and undoubtedly there is much more ahead. I’m so glad you know that you and Ana belong to me and I to you.