Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Love, Routines and Stalking My Grown Children

Everyone has a certain routine that you follow for at least one thing in your life. Getting up in the morning? Sure, you always use your left hand to throw back the covers; you swing your legs over the side of the bed first, then you slowly sit up; you sit there for a minute (or three), blinking the sleep from your eyes; you push yourself up and walk like a zombie to the restroom.  Admit it. Your routine is eerily similar to that one. Which I will never admit to being my own. Unless maybe I'm tortured with the withholding of chocolate; then I might admit to something like that.

For a bipolar child, routine is not only helpful; it's critical to maintaining somewhat normal life functioning.

While Bug may be successfully outgrowing the need for an excessive amount of routines in his life, there are still some areas in which the following of routine is absolute. Before he leaves for school, he'll call me and we'll go over the list of last minute things to have accomplished: Did he eat breakfast? Did he brush his teeth? Did he take his medication? Yes, yes, yes, Mom. Then we exchange I love you's and Have a good day's, and we're set for the day. At bedtime, I have to spray his pillows and bedding with lavender scented Febreeze, get him tucked in, and then he closes his eyes while I spray the air above him. He likes feeling the mist as it falls softly on his face; breathing deeply of the relaxing lavender scent.  We again exchange I love you's, Sleep well's, and I promise him that nothing bad is going to happen during the night.  If I miss any part of that, he can't fall asleep. He'll get up and wander around, making up a multitude of reasons why he Just. Can't. Sleep; until we realize that we skipped a step.  Go back into his room, complete everything in order, and he's out for the night.

I'm not sure how sleep is accomplished when he's at a friend's house, or on the nights he camps out in the living room. But I know that on nights I enforce sleeping in his own bed, these steps...this routine... Totally. Necessary.

I just can't say with any degree of certainty if it is more necessary for him....or for myself.

As my boys get older, I keep catching myself clinging more and more to the idea that there HAS to be something they still need me for.  We've already well established that it's not my cooking. They admit to anyone who will listen that their mom is simply sucktastic in the kitchen.  I readily admit that this is the reason I still do their laundry for them, rather than make them do it themselves. Oh, I made sure they CAN do it; I'm not quite THAT mom, the one who has crippled their child to the point that they'll never be able to take care of themselves. And I really do want my future daughters-in-law to not hate me because my boys need taking care of to that extent.

But I just can't seem to make myself start letting go of them yet, either.

Have you ever read "Love You Forever" by Robert Munsch?  It makes me cry and smile, all at the same time. And because it does, I can ignore the slightly stalker-ish thing the mom does in the part of the story where her son is a grown man. I can ignore that, mostly because I am *almost* convinced that I would not do that.

Love You Forever

by Robert Munsch

A mother held her new baby and very slowly rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while she held him, she sang:

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
My baby you'll be.


The baby grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was two years old, and he ran all around the house. He pulled all the books off the shelves. He pulled all the food out of the refrigerator and he took his mother's watch and flushed it down the toilet. Sometimes his mother would say, "this kid is driving me CRAZY!"

But at night time, when that two-year-old was quiet, she opened the door to his room, crawled across the floor, looked up over the side of his bed; and if he was really asleep she picked him up and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. While she rocked him she sang:


I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
My baby you'll be.

The little boy grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was nine years old. And he never wanted to come in for dinner, he never wanted to take a bath, and when grandma visited he always said bad words. Sometimes his mother wanted to sell him to the zoo!

But at night time, when he was asleep, the mother quietly opened the door to his room, crawled across the floor and looked up over the side of the bed. If he was really asleep, she picked up that nine-year-old boy and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while she rocked him she sang:
I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
My baby you'll be.

The boy grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was a teenager. He had strange friends and he wore strange clothes and he listened to strange music. Sometimes the mother felt like she was in a zoo!

But at night time, when that teenager was asleep, the mother opened the door to his room, crawled across the floor and looked up over the side of the bed. If he was really asleep she picked up that great big boy and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. While she rocked him she sang:

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
My baby you'll be.
 That teenager grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was a grown-up man. He left home and got a house across town. But sometimes on dark nights the mother got into her car and drove across town. If all the lights in her son's house were out, she opened his bedroom window, crawled across the floor, and looked up over the side of his bed. If that great big man was really asleep she picked him up and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while she rocked him she sang:

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
My baby you'll be. Well, that mother, she got older. She got older and older and older. One day she called up her son and said, "You'd better come see me because I'm very old and sick." So her son came to see her. When he came in the door she tried to sing the song. She sang: I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always...
But she couldn't finish because she was too old and sick. The son went to his mother. He picked her up and rocked her back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And he sang this song:
I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
My Mommy you'll be.

When the son came home that night, he stood for a long time at the top of the stairs. Then he went into the room where his very new baby daughter was sleeping. He picked her up in his arms and very slowly rocked her back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while he rocked her he sang:

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
My baby you'll be.

 These boys? They will ALWAYS be my babies. And I will always like them, and forever love them.

And I'll probably do their laundry for a little while, yet, too.

*Sorry about the spacing. I tried and tried, and just couldn't get it to work right. Ugh.

6 comments:

Karen said...

Well thanks for making me cry. I've read that before but it's been so very long - and it must have been way before I had kids of my own.

You are definitely that mom, minus the weird stalker part. It's the love that I see in you.

LunaNik said...

That damn book creeped me out so much that I threw it away. My daughter got it at a book swap at school. I read it to her and her sisters once and then threw it promptly in the trash. I also "yelled" at the mom who donated the book (she's a friend of mine). She laughed and said the reason she donated it is because it creeped her out too!

As for routines...establishing routines is my greatest downfall. I'm just not a routine girl which I'm sure is detrimental to the children on some level because kids need routine.

P.S. Luuuuv that your routine includes lavender febreeze!!!!!

Cecily R said...

Routine is what we neeeeeeed around here. I think the only routine we have is that we don't have one. It's kind of exhausting really.

So I think I might be the OTHER mom. Sigh. But I'm with Karen. Being THAT mom is what makes you a great one.

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Now I have to call my mom. Thanks.

Flea said...

I'll be honest - that story creeps me out a little. So does the idea of ebony escorts reading your blog. ;) Love the way you mom your boys, though. :)

T said...

that book used to creep me out a LOT... especially when someone would read it from the pulpit in church (seriously, happened once and I was DYING with laughter at the stalking mom - hoping she'd get arrested for breaking and entering)

then I read more Robert Munsch books - and I decided that he didn't take any of it seriously so I don't have to either.

Routine is King... I'm afraid we have too many days where it goes out the window and I can't quite get with the program... gotta work on that one :)