1.08.2009

1,045 Little Lessons

I've been known on occasion to take myself too seriously. The last few weeks have been one such occasion. I'm feeling overwhelmed and uninspired. I've been forced (once again) to recognize that perhaps I'm not the mother of the year; this year or last. In fact, I've never been nominated.

Yesterday afternoon, while I was seeking escape from my lonely little pity party by watching another episode of The Secret Life of the American Teenager and finding solace in TV moms who have also been passed up by the mother of the year committee, Aidan found me and asked for my help. He's taken it upon himself to rebuild the Lego Batmobile George bought a few years ago. George and the kids have built this car two or three times, then they take it apart and put it away in the closet.

There are 1,045 pieces that make up the Batmobile, and 86 pages of step by step instructions to assemble the car. Talk about overwhelming. I sat down on the floor to help Aidan and started to worry that maybe we had lost some pieces along the way, or that Aidan might have missed some steps or put pieces in the wrong place. Here are two fundamental differences between Aidan and me: I don't like to follow directions and I worry; Aidan loves following directions and he doesn't worry.

lego lessons

I looked at the huge box of Legos sitting before me, then I focused on the page of directions that Aidan was working on, and I let my worries go. I helped Aidan, one step, one Lego and one page at a time. Together we accomplished quite a bit.

lego lessons

I have no doubt that as a parent I have skipped steps and put pieces in the wrong places. But this is what I learned about parenting while playing with Legos: When I discover a missing piece or a piece out of place, I can try to fix it. If I can't fix it, I can move on. If a piece is missing, I can find a replacement. If it's the wrong color, I just have to hope that no one notices.

In the end, despite missing, misplaced or mismatched pieces, the Batmobile will still look like a Batmobile. We can do our best to put all the pieces in the right places, but even if we screw up, it'll still turn out pretty cool.

I might not ever be the mother of the year, but hopefully I'll be remembered as the mom who sat on the floor and played with Legos (thankfully a position in which I find it hard to take myself too seriously). Now back to page 37 of the instructions; we only have a few hundred pieces left. I'll be back when it's finished and hopefully I'll be in a better mood.

38 comments:

  1. Good job so far, & good luck!

    I grew up in a "Lego Family"... my dad and his brothers see legos as the ultimate toy. So, my younger brothers always got lego kits for Christmas. They were the ones who had a hard time following instructions, so we usually worked together to get the little star wars figurines finished.

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  2. Molly, I'm sure you know that by trying, you are winning. You are the mother of the year. At least to Aidan. Don't you remember reading those facist dictators-the "What to Expect" people that we all read while pregnant (with all due respect here...please forgive the name calling). Even they said that we are all the experts when it comes to our own children. And we are. And superheroes, to boot.
    We.are.mommy.
    Keep up the good work. Can't wait to see the lego car.
    Best wishes,tt

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  3. oh, this is perfect for me.

    thank you.

    i just disassembled micah's indiana jones legos (as he cried) telling him "this is what legos are for!!!!!"

    ugh.

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  4. You already know that sitting down and spending the time with him is what matters.

    Why are we so hard on ourselves?

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  5. I recently started following your blog, via a friend of mine MimiCharmante. And now I see we have even more connections. I also have an Aidan who has a Lego obsession! I am the designated "piece" finder in our family ;-) Infact I was just going to write my blog for tomorrow about Legos. It is wild and fun to see how, we (you and I), as total strangers are on the same stream of thought.

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  6. I think you can win the profound mama of the year award. :)

    Don't you love those lessons that come along just as you need them?

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  7. Wow - such a beautiful post on many levels. As parents, we often forget about the process of parenting and instead focus on the final product.

    It would be a better world of better people if we weren't so uptight.

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  8. We must be on the same wavelength, I too have been feel so overwhelmed by the whole motherhood dream.
    My husband felt I was being resistant to parenting. Just having some days of being alone all day with the kids and it's all on me to keep everyone happy and entertained, so exhausting. My kids think I am terrific though you know! Sounds like Aiden thinks you are pretty terrific too. BTW how could you not win mother of year after the BEn 10 paraphenalia you created!!

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  9. and you know, even if it turns out looking nothing like a Batmobile but a grey and black pile of stacked legos, your kid will feel great knowing you spent the afternoon on the floor doing something that was important to him.
    Don't be too hard on yourself for "escaping" every once in a while. We all do it. Mothering is hard! I had a day like that yesterday, and its something I've been trying to overcome. Luckily, the day ended with us letting our hair down, dancing wildly to terrible techno music and throwing a ball in the house. It was the most fun I'd had all day!

    Thanks for being honest. Sometimes the blogging world can seem like one big Martha Stewart showdown, and I get sucked into it both as reader and writer. Your honest post is refreshing!

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  10. I've been feeling the exact same way lately (the pity party, I can't keep up with it all, I'm failing everyone including myself, way --- are we just expecting too much?). I've also been feeling, on top of it all, like I'm missing my friends.

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  11. Sometimes it really is the little things. All 1,045 of them. :)

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  12. Opps! Sorry that last comment was from me, Katie. I was logged in as my hubby.

    Sorry!

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  13. Who would have guessed that our kids would teach us all we need to know about parenting.

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  14. Oh, how this resonates for me. Thank you for the clarity.

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  15. so much I want to say here, but I'll leave it at: you are building a lego car with your boy on the floor. You are a priceless gem of a person for doing that.

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  16. It's so hard sometimes to feel good about the job we're doing, but I have to say your doing pretty good girlfriend!

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  17. Lego Lessons. Fantastic! We could all apply those to any situation in our lives!

    Oh, babe, do you have any idea what another 1,045 pieces of "stuff" would do to me? I shudder to think of it!

    What happened to the good old days when you didn't need directions to use Legos. That's just funny!

    Those kids are so dang lucky to have you as a mom! If they EVER want to trade you in (which they won't!), will you be my mom?

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  18. Ah yes... the allure of Legos. My son ADORES them and I have had to sit, eyes crossed, trying to figure out directions to build the newest thing, many times. I shudder to think how many individual pieces we actually store in this wee house of ours. I am unapologetic when the vacuum sucks some of the little buggers up!! How's that for a bad Mom?? ;0)

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  19. working on legos really relaxes me. i go to my happy place.

    until i see that they tore apart harry potter world after i completely rebuilt it for the third time. bitter.

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  20. Molly,
    Hope your spirit lifted the more you built... hope your soul felt less alone as these loving comments pour in. We all just love your honesty. I don't think it's possible to be everything to everyone 100 percent of the time. My number one goal this year is to find balance and after reading this post, (and identifying with that inner voice of doubt) I am adding gentleness... to myself. Love the lego metaphors... so perfect. Ours have mostly been put aside, but my immersion in legoland ( and those little pieces and thick booklets filled with endless instructions) feels like it will part of me forever.
    a big x and o one of my favorite mothers!

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  21. Molly,
    Hope your spirit lifted the more you built... hope your soul felt less alone as these loving comments pour in. We all just love your honesty. I don't think it's possible to be everything to everyone 100 percent of the time. My number one goal this year is to find balance and after reading this post, (and identifying with that inner voice of doubt) I am adding gentleness... to myself. Love the lego metaphors... so perfect. Ours have mostly been put aside, but my immersion in legoland ( and those little pieces and thick booklets filled with endless instructions) feels like it will part of me forever.
    a big x and o one of my favorite mothers!

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  22. must have needed to make sure you had that hug and kiss:)

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  23. Beautiful post. I needed that..It has been one of those days here too! Parents--especially stay at home ones--can be too hard on themselves. Taking time out for us is just as important as the time we give....I also think the quality time we spend connecting with our kids is enough. Your little guy will remember this and thank you for it one day!

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  24. Hey, I call it the day a success if I am not the featured on the five o'clock news for anything. Mommyhood is HARD. So many wardrobe changes and U-turns and bad decisions, (ours)) not the kids... We are just as much likley to have a meltdown and mood swing as the little tweerps we are raising and I think thats OK. We are not superhuman. Just normal human.

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  25. amen sister!

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  26. you think you are not mother of the year?? I don't know any mother that would sit down (for the 3rd time) and try to tackle such a hard lego project. I bet you kinda had fun too. I nominate you as mother of the year thats for sure. I wish I had a mother like you.

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  27. Molly, I love your new banner shot - it's gorgeous!

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  28. My 6 year old, just leaned over my shoulder and said "wicked cool"- can I get that. I had not even read a word of your post. So than I had to read- well most of it.

    I like the new banner.

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  29. beautifully put, molly...
    and by the way, i love your banner :)
    HUGS to you!

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  30. I don't think there is such a thing as Mother of the Year. We do the best we can for our kids. If they remember being happy and loved when they are grown then THAT is what matters. It is the very little things that matter the most.The quiet moments.
    last year I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 42 and it opened my eyes to many things. The most important was how my kids are and that they are happy and loved. That gave me so much peace and happieness.

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  31. wise one step at a time. be gentle with yourself. i think you rock. i'd nominate ya.

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  32. I relate to the parenting insecurity (doesn't everyone who cares) and to the worry. This was a beautiful post.

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  33. I had that kind of week too - maybe it's the beginning of the year and the realization that winter is stretching ahead for months...
    It's amazing that, in that mood, what I want to do is curl up an escape, but what I need to do is PLAY.

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  34. We all have those moments as parents! But I think you did a great job of seeing that kids don't require perfect parents or "parents of the year" they just need parents that spend time with them and love them, and by your not having to be perfect your kids learn a profound lesson as well. That they don't have to be perfect either. Cause being perfect is a heavy burden!

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  35. (sigh) all the world's problems could be solved by legos...

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  36. Oh, I'm so glad that my Aidan is past that help-me-with-this-2,000-piece-Lego-set stage, though I must admit that it helped me to be a much better follower of directions. I'm glad that your low days have passed--I felt the same way the first part of January. I blame it on the post-holiday letdown.

    I'm sure you're working too hard at being a mom to notice what a good job you do.

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