Month: May 2015

Goodbye school; hello summer

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Their talent shows are over. The dance recitals are done. Tuition payments are finished. (Insert huge sigh of relief.) Final exams are completed. Lost library books have been found. (Thank goodness.) Lockers are cleaned out, and our college student is checked out of her dorm and back home. Graduation ceremonies have wrapped up and, my house is already full of extra children. All of this can only mean one thing…school is out for summer! There are some really happy children in the Baniewicz household and one happy mom ready to exhale. This family is ready to celebrate and welcome summer with open arms.

Right now their report cards are strewn across the kitchen counter. Half-zipped backpacks clutter the ground with used markers and papers spilling out. The teenagers’ backpacks are over-stuffed with notebook after notebook filled with Spanish, chemistry, and Algebra notes. Soon, these will all be forgotten for a few months and set aside in their bedrooms.

Meanwhile, it’s time to catch up on lost sleep, exhale from the stress of finals, and play. It’s time to go swimming (whenever it decides to actually warm up outside), have friends over, and roast marshmallows for s’mores. It’s time for summer camps, summer sports, and hopefully a vacation somewhere in between. For the little ones, it’s time to catch fire flies and put them in a glass jar by their bedside. It’s time to run barefoot in the grass (and hopefully avoid chigger attacks), and stay up past their bedtimes.

For my husband and I, it’s time to rejuvenate because somewhere along the line we blinked and another school year ended. Where did the time go? It depends who you ask.

My oldest children will tell you their time was spent studying and doing homework into the wee hours of the night. I would say had they started earlier in the night, they could have gotten a lot more sleep. Nevertheless, there were many hours spent on the computer doing research, writing papers, and editing videos.

We would all say a large amount of time was spent participating in extra-curricular activities. I should know since I was often the main taxi driver and their biggest fan cheering on the sideline.

There was time spent on the volleyball court, basketball court, baseball field, and in the athletic center. There was time spent at school dances where my teenage daughter looked well beyond her years in her sparkly dress and four-inch heals. At some point, like most teenage boys, my son practically grew overnight.

There were birthdays and celebrations, fall and spring break. There were flu bugs, fevers, and sick days. There were awards banquets and parent-teacher conferences.

All in all, it was a really good school year and now we are going to enjoy summer. Because, before long, my husband and I will blink again, and those backpacks will be filled with brand new crayons, markers, and neon highlighters, and notebooks with crisp, white pages waiting to be filled.

Compliments of the Atchison Globe.

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Mothers and Motherhood

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Mothers are required to have many gifts and talents in order to successfully raise happy, healthy, children who eventually move out of the home. I don’t mean move out of the home because you push them out the door and change the locks. (Although, I have heard some children may need a gentle nudge). I mean because they have grown to be independent, self-sufficient adults who are prepared to face the world, thanks to their mothers and all those who helped raise them. But, it isn’t Father’s Day yet, or Grandparent’s Day that is celebrated tomorrow. Tomorrow is solely in honor of our mothers and mother-like figures in our lives. With that said, the following are a few words that I think describe the mothers in my life:

M stands for mind reader. A mother needs to be able to know what is going on in her child’s mind. In other words, a mother is required to hear what her child does not say. This may be one of the most important things a mom can do, because often, it’s what is not said that speaks volumes.

O is for opinionated. “When your mother asks, ‘Do you want a piece of advice?’ it’s a mere formality. It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.” (Erma Bombeck). I grew up with this type of mother. She never even took a breath before she started spewing out the advice, and she still doesn’t. Lucky for me, she has been more right than wrong in the advice she gave. As a mother, I often find myself passing on advice she gave to me.

T stands for tireless. Sometimes motherhood is tiring. If you ask my mom, she will tell you she is still tired and she’s in her 60s. I believe it because as John J. Plomp said, “The one thing children wear out faster than shoes is parents.” If you have ever been around a two-year-old for more than twenty minutes, there is no further explanation needed.

H stands for giver of hugs. “A mom’s hug lasts long after she lets go.” (Author unknown). A hug is just one example of how mothers show their children they love them. The simple act of hugging our children can dry tears, heal hurts, and tell them we understand. Many times it has much more impact than any words we could ever say.

E is for experience. When I was pregnant with my first child, I read, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, What to Expect the First Year, and more. What I certainly didn’t expect is to feel like, even after all I had read and after attending several parenting classes, was that really, after my first child was born, I didn’t know much at all. John Wilmont said it well, when he said, “Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children, and no theories.” In my case, the only difference is I have five children.

R is for rewarding. A mother is not rewarded with a paycheck even though this is probably the hardest job she will ever have, and one that bears more responsibilities than a CEO. Nevertheless, motherhood can be extremely rewarding because to some, “a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs, since the payment is pure love.” (Mildred B. Vermont). As a stay-at-home mom for over 18 years, I have to agree. Moms are paid with sticky artwork where more glue is used than paper and glitter. They are paid with sloppy kisses from a giggling, drooling baby. They are paid with a beaming smile after their child recites one line in a two-hour play.

Lastly, S stands for strong. A mother is required to be strong, especially when she feels her weakest. “It takes someone really brave to be a mother, someone strong to raise a child, and someone special to love someone more than herself.” (Author unknown).

Thank you, mom, for your endless sacrifices and countless ways you have loved me over the years. Happy Mother’s Day!
Compliments of the Atchison Globe.