It was not the best Mother's Day in the brief archives of my 7 years as a mom.
I've been sick with a respiratory thing that knocked me out for 2 days previous. Moving hurt. I coughed so much that I was reminded that kegels are still an important exercise (a little reference for the other moms out there). I was in a fog. My body told me that I needed to sleep, so I did. I'm not complaining about being sick, just giving a little baseline so y'all know where I was at coming into today. Please, as you read this, remember baseline for today = still sick, worn out, restless, and missing my kids and husband.
The second time I woke up today, I had a little more energy. The first time I woke up, I don't think the sun was up yet, but sweet Willa was. She stood over me with a love offering of oatmeal for my breakfast in bed. I had taken "so you can rest" cold medicine the night before, and wasn't ready for anything. I (ungratefully) mumbled something about coming back in a while, and rolled over. A while later, both kids and Jim came into the room with pancakes, scrambled eggs (Jim - and Hazel and Alice - makes the best scrambled eggs) and coffee. And the oatmeal. I was touched by the breakfast in bed gesture, and grateful to enjoy it in relative silence while I pried my eyes open.
We went to church. The minister had a difficult time with a Mother's Day sermon. He admitted that he has a difficult time with that one every year. While I wasn't expecting or hoping for a sermon that would align with sappy Hallmark sentiment, I wasn't captivated by his suggestion that Mother's Day be used politically as an effort to stop all violence for the day. I am in favor of ending violence in our city and afar. But... dude. Being a parent is really, really challenging. I struggle every day with shaping the two small people who live with us. Ensuring their safety, their health, their education, their character.. that's no small deal. Can we just have a pep talk for that, please? Just a genuine, "it's hard work, and we're here to support that." This minister often speaks words that leave his mouth and travel into folds in my heart that I've forgotten; he stirs me, but today he didn't reach me.
We left church and came home for a small stop. I called my mom who mentioned that I should go to the doctor. I smiled at her concern and the familiarity of the conversation. I felt guilty for not having a visit with her planned. Then went to visit Jim's mom, and we came home for some rest time. The kids had been bickering. It wasn't a big deal, it was like the elevator muzak form of their fighting. It was kind of in the background, and maybe you could recognize it as tension if you really listened. I wasn't listening very well. I was sleeping.
The kids have a lot of pent up energy. It's been really cold this week, and I've been too sick to help them use up that energy. Jim's been using his time taking care of me, the kids, and the house. He's been awesome in a zillion ways while his mind's been on a possible job change. I am so lucky and glad to have him as a parenting partner (and scrambled eggs maker).
It was too cold to do anything as a family outside; I had no energy to do it anyway. It was too cold to make our annual trip to the greenhouse - the frost that's due to come tonight would kill everything anyhow. And the minister got it all wrong, and I had cabin fever from being in too much, AND I have PMS, and I'm a little freaked about finishing my internship and the next steps in counseling and GEEZ! I didn't even mention that I saw snow today!!!
Which cartoon was it that had black scribbles in thought bubbles above cranky characters heads? That was me for a while today. Black scribbles above my head, and spitty sheets, I had had it with the crappy day. I was trying mighty hard to take it all in stride and just enjoy the freaking day for what it was and then... then Henry turned in el Diablo.
He has had a difficult two weeks. He's testing boundaries and patience and unconditional love. Tonight while he was in his room during dinner for general bad choices and pushing buttons, I heard him spit. As in, he summoned saliva and released it, forcefully, somewhere in his room. He does not have a spittoon in his room. I went in, and asked where he spit. He denied spitting. I asked again. He was sitting in his loft bed, at eye level with my face. I noticed him look at his sheet while denying spitting. I asked again, he looked in the same place. Sweet friends... my brain shut down. I yelled like the opposite of muzak in an elevator about lying to me. He's lied twice in the last two weeks, and we've been having big talks about being trustworthy. I am clearly not getting through. He yelled back (in an equally not muzak kind of tone) that he didn't spit, and I put my hand on his sheet. Squarely in the spit. I calmly told him that I didn't want to see him anymore that night, and left the room.
I sat on the steps outside. I felt guilty/disappointed/exhausted/like a failure/alone/and overcrowded all at the same time. I sighed. I went in and talked to Jim for a minute, and then took a deep breath.
I went to Henry's room, and opened the door. He was waiting on the other side. Without saying anything he hugged me, and I hugged him. We climbed into his bed and talked. I told him I was sorry about screaming, and he said he was sorry for spitting in his bed. I wasn't mad. I wasn't grouchy. I was being a good listener, and asking him directed questions, and answering his questions. I was a good mom.
We finished dinner. I put on the Curious George movie soundtrack. It's the music I associate with my motherhood. I danced with 1 day old Willa in the hospital to that music. I sat on the floor with my children, and we were joined by Jim. We made a Lego spaceship. And spaceship garage. And ladder. We played for 90 minutes. They missed their bed time. Not by much.
This is an honest look at my day rough day as a mother, and this is my Mother's Day. I know some people who read these words are actively mothering young children, too. And maybe you didn't get a sermon that nourished you? Pals, it's really hard work. I hope you're feeling supported and loved for it.