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A Different Kind of Mother’s Day

At 10:00 p.m., Gracie glued the final strip on her timeline project for school and then asked if she could take a bath.  I sat with her in the bathroom and about two minutes after the warmer than warm water poured over her, she burst into tears.  “Mommy!  I ruined your Mother’s Day.  I am so sorry – all the other mothers were out having fancy lunches and doing fun things and you were stuck with me doing homework.”  And the tears that immediately filled my eyes promised to spill down my face, but I held them back, afraid that she would misinterpret their meaning, that she would think that I was crying over missing out on eggs with hollandaise sauce, champagne mimosas, and a relaxing day reading a novel at the beach. 

Yesterday started out badly.  I was trying to put the roast in the crockpot for dinner (yes, such a plebian meal for Mother’s Day, but it worked with our plans for the day) and ended up flooding the kitchen.  And, it really seemed to head downhill from there.  Our original Mother’s Day plans were to go to church, take Abigail to riding lessons, head to the beach for an afternoon of paddleboarding (or paddle falling oh so gracefully as I like to call it), have my mom over for dinner and finish off the evening with a Harry Potter movie.  That was a pretty full day but I thought it would work.  On Wednesday, we realized the girls were singing at both the 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 services.  A little more of a scheduling juggling act, but still, I thought, doable.   Then, on Thursday Gracie came down with the awful stomach bug that’s plagued my little family for the last couple of weeks.  She was better by Friday, but missing school doesn’t mean you get to miss out on the work.  She wasn’t really feeling up to doing any kind of work on Thursday or Friday and Saturday was filled with Girl Scout outings and making presents for her grandmother and really just being a kid.  So, that left Sunday.  And, as I am completely wont to do, I vastly underestimated the time it would take for her to finish everything.  I also apparently vastly overestimated the numbers of hours in a day. 

By noon, I was a little flustered wondering why Mother’s Days were easier and more relaxing when the girls were babies.  Well, hello!  When they were babies, there was no school work and reading deadlines and scout meetings to plan and dentist appointments to reschedule and chorus performances to attend and streaming piano recitals to share and do we have snacks for the horses at riding lessons and can we fit the paddleboard in the back of the van with the girls’ boogie boards and if I spend fifteen minutes with my grandmother will it be enough time or will the girls wear her out.  Life has changed a lot since the girls were babies, some of it difficult and heart-wrenching (let’s just say that watching people you love deteriorate before your eyes is hard) but most of it is vastly rewarding and heart-bursting.  The baby years are very, very difficult and exhausting and the toddler years are trying and frustratingly head-knocking, but this season of parenting, where the girls are gaining some independence but still so desperately need us for guidance is difficult in its own unique way.  I love it.  There is no doubt it is hard juggling the commitments and the schedules and the paperwork (although, this may just be me.  I think there needs to be an intervention program for parents with ADHD who have school-aged children) but, really, sitting on the couch with Gracie talking about the voice that the house elves use in Harry Potter and if the use of third person is a way demonstrate they have no identity of their own?  Priceless. 

There were beautiful moments throughout the day.   The heartfelt card from Steve.  A neighbor delivering a Girl Scout silver dollar to Gracie from a stranger who only knew my little girl from selling Girl Scout cookies.  Sitting with Abigail, reading One Fish, Two Fish, in my new swing that Steve and the girls gave me.   My grandmother smiling over her little homemade presents and telling me in a voice that still holds the melody I remember from my childhood, “I love you more than you know.”    A text from a friend just when I needed it most.  Steve ordering me a new kindle late last night, an unexpected expense for something that I don’t need, simply because he saw how crushed I was that I couldn’t use my mother’s any more and because he knows that reading to me is like breathing. 

Still, by 9:00 p.m. I was completely frustrated with the day.  Gracie had reached the point in her day where the smallest thing sends her into a tailspin.  After a mini meltdown from both of us, we sucked it up and an hour later her timeline was finished and awesome and as she sat there in the tub, tears of regret pouring down her face, I scooped her up and hugged her tightly and told her that she did not ruin my Mother’s Day.  I explained to her that helping her with her homework is not a burden;  it’s a joy (even if at times I don’t feel joyful about it).   I tried as gently as I could to let her know that there was nothing we could have done on Mother’s Day that would have given me more happiness than simply being her mother.

She didn’t ruin my Mother’s Day. She (and her sister and her daddy) made my life complete.

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