I think I had forgotten the kind of mom I was planning to be. In fact, I don't think I forgot, I know I forgot. All of my hopes, plans, and project ideas were tucked neatly and orderly away in a file drawer until today, when I was reminded of great plans of rock experiments, soda-bottle ocean dioramas, Christmas stories each day in December, homemade gift tags, a lady bug project to learn to count, family home evening templates, general conference activity sheets, and so on.
I've been meaning to go through my file drawers for a couple of years now, but put off the hours-long project for another day. Another day came today, when home alone for hours and hours, meant I could spread paper all over the floor in safe piles that would not be stepped on, colored on, or paper-airplaned with.
I'm amazed at not only how much I had filed away, but what I had filed away. Seriously? Did I really think I was going to use that stuff?
Yes, I did.
But instead, as I sat there vacillating between the 'to keep' pile and the 'toss' pile, I remembered those specific visions of future mothering moments. And now I found myself thinking: Don't I have enough to clean up already, without having my child walk around with a 2-liter soda bottle filled with vegetable oil and plastic fish swishing it back and forth to imitate the ocean?? Did I really think coloring cute little ladybug templates and attaching together with butterfly clasps would teach my kid to count any better than them standing on the edge of the sofa and daringly practicing aloud, 1-2-3-(and then jumping!). Did I really think those magazine articles would somehow help my children become responsible and hard-working more than a pet goat and my threats and bribes?
Sure, we have craft-class twice a week during summer, I'm a sucker for homemade birthday cakes, and I've even convinced myself to sew a costume or two. But as for all that other stuff? My recycling can now runneth over with tossed magazine cut-outs, online print-outs, and photocopied templates of visions long forgotten.
As I sat on my office floor amidst piles of papers, the brightly colored magazine pages stared up at me as I remembered clearly my early mothering days and the big dreams I had. I recalled the vision of me, wearing a cute apron, smiling nice and big, while passing out craft supplies, and calmly and nicely speaking the instructions to patiently waiting, smiling children seated around the table.
As I tossed the 2-liter soda bottle, filled with vegetable oil ocean diorama instructions into the 'toss pile', I recalled last week's craft class around our kitchen table: As usual, I took on the role of 'Delilah' the craft class instructor and welcomed them to class. Joshua immediately started yelling, "Stop talking like that, you're Mom!" As I threw the craft supplies on the table, I told them to be nice, not make a mess, and if they fought and argued about cleaning up, we'd skip craft classes for a month. I told them to figure out the instructions by themselves and only bother me if there was a serious injury with the scissors. Ellie whined about Drew taking her marker, Luke couldn't unscrew the glue lid, Joshua cried because Luke said a horse doesn't look good on a monkey's tummy and therefore he wouldn't help draw one, Drew pestered everyone, and I told everyone to stay seated and not touch the scissors while I ran to the Stake Center to pick up Megan who was arriving home from Girls Camp.
My reality now is a far cry from what I KNOW I pictured it being when I filed away dinosaur jello instructions, rhyming riddles, and gift-tag templates, a decade or so ago.
I do very little that I thought I would. I do very little that would be found in a magazine. So it came as somewhat of a surprise to me that I held a 'Halloween Ghosts' story and craft project idea in my hand, struggling to decide exactly what pile to put it in. I reminded myself that I'm almost thirteen years into this parenting thing, and some things are likely not to change, including the fact that I detest Halloween.
So there you have it.
Years worth of visions and ideas tossed in a heartbeat without a second thought.
Except the Halloween Ghost craft that I surmised belonged in the 'to keep' pile.
You just never know.
Somethings do change.