Let me preface this by saying that I could never be thankful enough for the privilege of being a mother. I also am blessed beyond words to have a beautiful, smart, creative, strong, loving mother who is still a huge presence in my adult life.
With those sincere words having been said, I will let a good sense of humor take over in the telling of my story. Things like Facebook allow us to peer into each other’s lives like never before. Information once only shared among very close friends has suddenly become everyday chatter. In this way, I was able to see how many of my fellow moms spent their Mother’s Day. Manicures, pedicures, shopping, lounging, family trips, beach excursions, special meals, and a variety of cards and gifts rounded out the list.
There were many things on my imaginary list that I knew would just have to wait until my toddler is no longer a toddler. I am aware of and fully accepting of her needs and desires, and I know that having a routine is one of the best things I can do for her at this point. I am certainly not trying to paint myself as some kind of mommy martyr; I have just more often than not chosen the path of least resistance and chosen to save adventures away from my children until they are a bit older. I was thoroughly looking forward to spending Mother’s Day with my children, and also a great number of family members including my own mom and mother-in-law.
All the moms handed over most of the menu planning to the dads for the day at our house. We quickly realized that it was hard to give up all of the control, as nice as it would be not to do the grocery shopping or cooking, or maybe not even the cleaning-up. This part of the day went pretty smoothly, though my husband told me after everyone had left how close the large flame on the grill had gotten to the side of the house. I noticed this morning that the fire extinguisher was still out there on the porch, “just in cake”, as our toddler would say. Just for the record, my dad and my father-in-law are both skilled on the grill, and all ten pounds of meat came out tasting wonderful.
What I was a fool not to anticipate was the fallout from taking our daughter out of her routine. Instead of staying awake all morning, she took a power nap on my lap during church. Yes, that made it easier for me to focus on the pastor’s message, but it made it harder (oh, so much harder) to get her to rest once we got home. My brilliant idea was to give her a snack and get her upstairs to complete her nap before the rest of our family arrived to spend the day. After watching her flop back and forth like a fish for half an hour or so, I told her we should go say hi to everyone who had arrived, and that we would just have to try nap later. At least by this time my husband had returned from his conference, too, so we were all together again.
In terms of my little girl’s mood and ensuing actions, the rest of the day was comedic. One activity after another ended in indignant tears. I bent one mommy rule after another to keep her happily playing with everyone, but she clung to me in her fatigue and got upset if a loving family member tried to pick her up.
Somehow, though her day didn’t go as I had planned, she ended up playing with and hugging everyone who had come over. She played with her daddy, which I know made his heart sing after being away for two days. All of this drove home one of the most important lessons I’ve learned as a mom: things will often stray from what I’ve planned. What I’m still learning is that this kind of straying is okay. Maybe someday, when I’m a really wise and mature mom, I’ll even admit that my plans for my children aren’t the only way or the best way. Maybe I need a few more Mother’s Days.