Book Club: Dr. Reivich’s Pick05/02/2013
Once in a While She is Wise
Positive Parenting by Dr. Karen Reivich
My dresser mirror is scattered with Mother’s Day letters and poems taped along the edges. When Aaron was in kindergarten he wrote me eight Mother’s Day love notes, scribbled on pink slips of paper, which cover the top corner of the mirror. My favorites are “I love cuttling (sic) you” and “I would trade anything for you”. I took the latter to mean I was a keeper, but his turn of phrase still makes me laugh. The next Mother’s Day my son Jacob wrote me a poem that included this stanza “My mom always likes to organize and once in a while she is wise”. Correct on both counts. Jonathan, when he was about seven, made a “Top Ten reasons I love Mom” list that included “I love watching cooking shows with you” – the irony that we watch cooking shows together, but I never actually cook, was not lost on me. Over the years, there are less new Mother’s Day entries taped to my dresser mirror, but the ones there still make me smile when I read them.
The truth is Mother’s Day in our house isn’t as big an event as it used to be. Guy and Shayna will bring me coffee in bed, while the boys sleep another few hours. Now, almost 15, I don’t tend to get love poems from Jacob and Aaron. Jonathan still gives me a big hug and tells me he loves me and Shayna, at 8, is good for something tender. We’ll have the best of intentions to make it a special day, but those intentions will likely get lost amidst the driving here and there, dashing to bring one kid somewhere, rushing to pick up another kid from somewhere else.
Despite its more low key version, it’s still is one of my favorite holidays. On Mother’s Day I spend a little more time thinking about who my babies have grown to be and how I have helped them become good people. When I look at them, I feel that “I done good” sense that we’re often too busy to acknowledge. I’m a big fan of starting traditions (most, if I’m honest, that don’t last long enough to warrant that title) and here’s one that I’m starting this Mother’s Day. I encourage you to try it out. I’m calling it my I’ve Done Good list. I’m taking a few minutes to write down some of things that I see in my kids that let me know I’ve done a good job as their mom. The list includes: Aaron feels things deeply and gets involved when someone needs help; Jacob knows the joy of witty repartee; Jonathan has a posse of friends to whom he is deeply loyal; Shayna will break into song and dance at the drop of a hat.
I’ll continue to add to the list and you can bet that once it’s done I’ll tape it to my dresser mirror.
Karen Reivich, Ph.D.
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