June – Like Children Awaiting Parole, by Cathy Moryc Recine

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.”  ~John Lubbock

You can almost feel it in the air. There are some kids that are counting down the days as if they are awaiting parole. The school year is almost finished here in New York and summer vacation is about to begin. It seems like just yesterday it was the first day of school for my kids and I can remember their excitement and nervous anticipation of meeting new teachers and friends.

Where did the time go?

I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the past 10 months and if you don’t mind, I will pat myself on the back and congratulate myself a little bit too.  You see I take great pride in the fact that my kids have not missed the bus at all this year. Nope not one day.  I know you are thinking “so what?” and I am well aware that many parents do this with great ease and poise but I will be the first to admit I am not exactly a morning person (especially before some coffee) and 3 of my 4 kids (that‘s 75% for my fellow math lovers) are not morning people either so the odds are not in our favor.  I should also mention that not all of these mornings have exactly gone smoothly. Its true and unfortunately I am the one to blame and I take full responsibility.  I have accidentally confused breakfast orders, attempted to pack healthy snacks for school and demanded weather appropriate clothing. Don’t judge me.

Of course its not just about getting the kids up and out to school. Other things happen at home throughout the day as well. There are drop offs and pick ups for pre-school, laundry, dishes, and vacuuming.  Repeat. All while trying to keep up with the ever challenging task of keeping a 2-year-old happy. And then, when that bus delivers them back home after school the second shift starts. That’s right.  Homework, after school activities and finding time for dinner.  Sometimes those things get combined, homework and dinner happen in the car to and from the afterschool activities. I like to think of it as time management.

And now here we are in June. The grand finale so to speak.  Homework begins to ease up until finally it is just no longer assigned during the last weeks. After school activities start to slowly come to an end.  There are dance recitals to watch, trophy days for sports, school trips, and end of the school year parties.  Just today, I watched my daughter’s first grade class during their field day.  The kids played various games on the field as the parents clicked away on their cameras. Kids being kids and running as fast as their little legs could to try and win the relay races. They ran around playing the games and the parents cheered them on.  All the kids had so much fun and they were so proud of their teamwork and accomplishments…

not half as proud as the parents were of them course.

After they completed all the games, we had a picnic lunch and then all the parents were invited to the classroom to watch a Flag Day presentation given by the kids.  They recited songs and facts about the American Flag.  This provided even more photo opportunities for us parents. And then just a few minutes later, there were tears. None of the kids were crying though. These were my tears. So many mixed emotions and as much as I love my country, these tears had nothing to do with patriotism. My daughter’s very thoughtful teacher made a slide show with her own photos of the class from throughout the year. She included everything from the first days of school, holidays, birthday parties and even those extra special moments for the 6 and 7 year olds, including the loss of a tooth.  All of these photos, one after another, on a giant screen while “Forever Young” by Rod Stewart played.

Suddenly I was reminded that these were the moments that occurred after we rushed out of the house in the morning and before we ran from one after school activity to the next while trying to do homework and finding time to eat dinner. It was easy to see how much she has grown and matured right in front of me, only I was too busy trying to accomplish all the things that needed to be done each day to really notice just how fast it was all happening. I was reminded how quickly the school year had passed and deep down I know the summer vacation will go by in what will feel like a blink of an eye.

So for the next couple of months I will do my best to slow things down a bit and savor those rare moments of nothingness that are sometimes taken for granted.  I will take many more photos and I will continue to be a proud spectator and cheer them on.

After all, I will always be their biggest fan

Cathy Moryc Recine writes a monthly parenting column for Muse In The Valley.  She lives in Manorville  New York, with her husband and four children ages 9, 6, 4 and 2. She works as a mom,  yet still finds time to enjoy the things that keep her unique.









Embracing the Mess by Cathy Moryc Recine

My floors are sparkling. No, not because they are so clean. 
2 words- glitter glue. ~Cathy Moryc Recine

Am I an expert? Nope. Do I have any experience? A little bit. Would I want to mention my diaper changing abilities on my résumé? Definitely not.

Yes, I’m talking about Motherhood and I still have so much more to learn. 

For those of you that do not have children, maybe you have seen some of those commercials for diapers, wipes, formula, toys etc.?  You know, the ones where the babies are smiling and children are laughing? The moms appear relaxed and refreshed? Its not exactly like that. No, not exactly.  Yes, there are some of those moments but there is more to it, much more.

Like most other moms, I always knew that I wanted to be a mother.

Exactly ten years ago this summer, I learned I was going to be a mom for the first time.  My husband and I had just moved into our house that we were waiting to have built. We were both working full-time and had long, crazy commutes each day.  Family and friends would visit us and comment on how “we had rooms to fill” or something like that.  Blah..blah..blah.

Maybe it was time. 

I had friends with newborns, nieces and nephews of various ages. I thought I was prepared. I was so wrong.

My sister had just given birth to her second child shortly before I found out that I was expecting. She welcomed a beautiful baby girl that she named Angela (also my sister’s name).  However, some of the happiness and excitement became overshadowed by the fact that her baby would stay in the hospital because of some serious birth defects.

I remember when my husband and I went to visit her in the hospital for the first time. We had not told anyone that we were expecting yet.

There I was holding my niece in the NICU.  Monitors were beeping, tubes and wires everywhere. I later watched as my sister took care of her baby along with the nurse and doctors.  She comforted her in a way that only a mother could.  It was at that moment I started to understand what being a mother was all about.

Several weeks had passed and my husband and I were hesitant to announce our pregnancy but finally we decided that we should.  The very next day the phone rang very early in the morning.  It was my mother. She was crying. I can still hear her words and remember the feeling of the tears running down my face. There aren’t any books, tv shows or magazine articles that could possible prepare you for something like that. Baby Angela had spent her entire life in the hospital. Just four short months.

The sadness, guilt and worry I felt were overwhelming, but it was nothing in comparison to what my sister and her family were experiencing.  I admire my sister so much for her strength and courage that she had in the time that followed, especially for her son who was only 8 years old at the time and trying to make sense of the loss of his baby sister.

Exactly one year later, I gave birth to my baby girl who carries her cousin’s name as her middle name.  None of my 4 children had the chance to meet their cousin but as they get older they will get know more about her.

Even with all of her sadness, my sister was truly happy for me becoming a mother.  Having the bond of motherhood brought us closer in so many ways despite our 11 year age difference. There has always been laughter even through the tears.  I can remember looking through some maternity clothes she saved for me that she wore during her first pregnancy 8 years earlier.  I called her on the phone right away as I was trying on the shirts with big buttons, bright colors and busy patterns and told her that Ringling Brothers Circus called and said they wanted their costumes back. It was my way of telling her thanks but I can’t wear these clown clothes. I must admit that these days I feel proud when my kids say something sarcastic because I know exactly where they get it from.

What has motherhood taught me so far?  

  • Most of all it has taught me so much about love and patience.
  • I’ve learned that no matter how much you plan, things rarely go the way you think they will.
  • I’ve learned to always keep a sense of humor so that my kids can learn to find laughter and something positive in the most difficult situations.
  • I’ve learned to live in the present moment because time goes by so quickly and you never get it back. Never.

What do I want most for my kids? 

  • I want my kids to not just know they are loved but to feel they are loved too.
  • I want them to always be happy. No matter what choices they make.
  • I want them to know its ok for them to be themselves and not what other people think they should be.
  • I want them to understand that it’s ok to make mistakes as long as you have learned something from it.
  • I want them to be accepting toward everyone and to always be aware and respectful of another person’s feelings. Even if they don’t agree.
  • I want them to be able to look back at their childhood and have great memories not because of the things they had or the places they went, but for the way they felt.
  • Most importantly, I want them to know that I will always be there for them. Always.

Has motherhood changed me?

Maybe it has in some ways. Somehow the things that were once so important have become almost meaningless and the things that I have over looked or took for granted are now a priority. It has made me appreciate all the ”little things“ in life and the miracles that happen each and every day.  I focus less on all the things that really don’t matter. I used to worry about my house being a mess. It’s still a mess but I just choose not to worry about it so much anymore.  I’ll have plenty of time to fix everything one day. But today is not that day and most likely tomorrow won’t be that day either.  I’ve learned to embrace the mess and all the chaos associated with now having kids ages 9, 6, 4 and 2 years-old. Instead, right now I’d rather listen to what my kids have to say, to me and to each other. I want to see their smiles and hear their laughter, and more often than not, referee their arguing and console their crying.

Most days are challenging, some days more than others, yet somehow it all feels very natural too. Of course there are times I just want a day off. Some days I just want to stay in bed. I don’t want to carpool, go grocery shopping, do laundry, help with homework, cook dinner and all that other stuff that we all do. Every. Single. Day. Then I am reminded how much I am needed and then I remember how it’s all worth it because one day I won’t be needed the same way that I am now.  I’m far from perfect. I doubt my kids will ever think they had the perfect childhood and I think I’m ok with that.  I guess I’m still really the same person I’ve always been. Only better I think. All because of them.

Happy Mother’s Day

Cathy Moryc Recine lives in Manorville  New York, with her husband and four children.  She works as a mom,   yet still finds time to enjoy the things that keep her unique.