We like to celebrate birthdays big in my family … my mother coined the term “birthday week.” So last night, we had a bunch of Jaden’s friends over to my parent’s house for an outdoor movie. The party didn’t start until 7 p.m. which is quite late for a bunch of 7-8 year-olds. I had thought we’d be able to start the movie around 8 and then kids would be picked up by 9:30. Not so much … turns out the sun sets at 8:30 ish and it’s not even really dark enough to show a movie outside until almost 9 p.m. Sure wish I would have known that before 7:30 p.m. on the night of the party. Needless to say, I had a lot of stalling time with 15 kids running wild. Annnnd one might say I didn’t do the best job planning either. That doesn’t change the fact, that I was highly unprepared to entertain my own children, let alone the 15 that were dropped off at the front door.
We played Red Light, Green Light. We played ghost in the graveyard, which apparently is called fox in the cornfield when played in daylight. We played pick up the broken pieces of balloons in the grass. We sang happy birthday and eat Minecraft rice crispy bar cake (because it’s something that I can make Jaden-friendly because of his food allergies). I was running out of stalling activities and the sun was still very clearly still in the sky. I texted my sister, who was upstairs, and asked for HELP!!! ok it was a mayday signal. I was in over my head, and I had no idea how on earth to control the situation. Just because you are a mother, does NOT mean you have the gift of controlling mobs of little people called children. I was in over my head and sinking fast.
My sister and brother came outside and asked me what was next – presents, another game, start the movie? They were there to help. I was a deer in headlights and didn’t know what to do. At first they thought maybe I was just being flighty Mel – the one that can’t really focus enough to make a decision. Then, they saw my face and realized that I really didn’t know what to do … they jumped in to help. It was decided that it was time to open presents, then we would start the movie inside and move outside when it was dark enough. THANK YOU!
The rest of the night turned out great. My sister continued to give me pointers on what to do next. When they had all been picked up, I was feeling both like a failure and that I accomplished a miracle, But most of all, I had such a profound appreciation for teachers. They actually choose to do this on a daily basis and most of them actually like it. Saints I tell ya.
Being able to control small mobs of children is not easy – it’s a god-given gift, one that I do not have. There are many talents God did give me, just not this one. It’s also evidence that just because you have lots of children, does not mean you are a good with children. I love my kids to the moon and back, but for the most part, I have no clue what I am doing. I relay on books, parenting groups, prayer and advise from other moms on how to mother. It does not come easily for me, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to be. I find that I’ve got the loving and playing with my children down pat, but not the disciple or getting them to do what they are supposed to do thing down.
I continue learn a lot from my sister in that department. She has the god-given talent of being in control of young people. She is able to captivate their attention and get them to quiet down so they can listen. She shows strength and discpline. She is my role model when trying to be a better mother. Ironic because she isn’t a mother herself (yet). But lordy has she taught me lots and shown me how to be a better leader in my own homes. (Side note: my own mom teaches me a heck of a lot in this department as well!)
Lessons I learned on Jaden’s 8th birthday:
- 8 years goes by really super fast
- Jaden is my favorite 8 year-old on this planet!
- I have little to no experience (or talent) in being in control of 15 people under 4 feet tall
- It doesn’t get dark enough outside for a movie until 9 p.m. and the time between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. can seem like an eternity
- When having a “build your own trail mix” bar – kids really interpret that as a “fill my bowl with candy and skip the cereal” bar
- Having lots of children does not mean you are good at being in charge of lots of them
- Mobs of children can be intimidating
- My sister is an amazing teacher
- My 8 year old, Jaden, is an incredible little man
- I would miserably fail at being a teacher
I have now delegated the motherly task of planning my children’s birthday parties to my sister. She will be in charge going forward. It’s for everyone’s best interest …