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April Jeppson: It’s a great season in life to be a mother

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

I love summer. As a child I used to get a sheet and make a tent between two lawn chairs so that I could hide under it. I did not enjoy the feeling of the sun on my skin. My mother would be lying in a chair sipping her Diet Coke, and I’d be hiding under a blanket complaining about how I wanted to go inside. I can still hear my mother’s voice telling me that it’s nice outside and I needed to go play.

April Jeppson

Every time I use that phrase on my own children, it makes me smile. I’m a grown up, and I say grown up things. I tell them to shut the door and turn off the lights. I ask them if they think money grows on trees or if they wash their hands. I’m not sure when it happened exactly, but I became a full-fledged mom that says very motherly things.

The other day I asked my 7-year-old if she brushed her teeth. She said yes, but my gut told me that she didn’t. I looked right at her and said, “I used to be a 7-year-old that didn’t like to brush my teeth.  I’m better at lying than you are so you need to tell me the truth.” She looked at me as she processed the information that I hadn’t always been a mom. She quickly fessed up and went to brush her teeth. Not only am I a fully certified mother, but I’m pretty good at it, too.

It’s funny how fast I can come up with responses to say to my kids. This age group that I’m currently dealing with is possibly my favorite. Seven- to 12-year-olds I can handle. I was not awesome at juggling little ones. Nap times, temper tantrums, all the laundry and feeding schedules — I struggled. I rarely left my house and when I did, it was not with my kids. Who knows how well I’ll do with teenagers. But right now, I’m rocking this age group that I have in my house. It’s actually kind of fun.

My 12-year-old has a crush. I’ve been there dude, let’s chat.  My 10-year-old is nervous about school starting back up? I can relate to that, tell me your concerns. My 7-year-old hates brushing her teeth? Yup, I can handle that. My oldest and I were talking the other night. I was flipping through an old notebook of his and came across a rudimentary 3-D drawing that he’d done. It was the same one that I had all over my notebooks when I was his age. I showed him my shading techniques, and he showed me his. We chatted for quite some time about it before I tucked him in. This season of life with my kids is just pleasant.

I’m trying to enjoy it as much as I can. I know it’s going to become more complicated real fast. I know that one day I’m going to wake up and they won’t want to show me YouTube videos or what they’ve built in Minecraft. So as tired as I am some nights, I force myself to watch the show or listen to the story because I’m all too aware these are the things I’ll miss. These are the moments that build trust and friendship so that in the future when it’s not so good, we’ll have a foundation to fall back on.

I wish the smoke would go away and the sun would come back. I miss the feeling of the warmth on my skin. I miss being able to breathe in fresh air. And I really want to tell my kids to go outside and play.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.