Today started off with a bang. My husband was kind enough to take over kid duty today and let me sleep in. Last night I decided to check my sons biology homework and inadvertently forgot to put his workbook back in his binder. Faintly, deep from dream world, I heard the habitual notification from my phone. When I got up to check it, I had 15 messages from my son that looked something like this. Mom. Mom? Mom? Did you take my biology flex book? Mom, are you up? Mom. Mom. Mom? Can you please hurry and bring my book? And just like that, I was off to the races. I threw a pair of sneakers on and the first pair of shorts and sweatshirt I could find and I was on my way. Of course, he takes 0 hour which is 45 minutes before school actually starts so now it was a battle between me and the bus in front of me that stopped every couple of feet. Finally I arrived at school and wouldn’t you know there was no one working the front desk? I just walked right in and down the hall I thought his classroom would be in but the room was empty. Luckily the teacher has a distinctive voice so I followed the sound and luckily found my son sitting in the front row of what looked like the lab. Like my old 8 year old self trying to pass a note all those years ago, I whispered Chase a few times which caught the attention of every student in the first third of the class and he met me in the hall to grab his book. I didn’t see this coming for my Monday morning. You just never know. How did your day start off? Hopefully less hectic than mine.
While some parents are focused on how smart their kids are, how many A’s they have, if they are ahead of the curve when it comes to sports and just about anything else, I came to a realization tonight. As I stood on the side of the road watching my daughter on the float in the homecoming parade, I saw something that made every fiber in my body smile. As she stood there waving back at me, she had the most beautiful, genuine smile on her face. If I wish for my kids to excel at anything, I pray they excel at happiness. That is the only thing that really matters.
I had such a great evening. I am so darn serious sometimes. Last night, I spent some time with Mr. Silly. I must remember how blessed I am to have a son who is so light hearted and full of life. He is a reminder that the happiest people of all are the ones who are more silly and less somber. He is a free spirit with clever wit and has a laugh that makes my heart sing. He is so curious and genuinely compassionate. He is a mixture of red bull and pop rocks, just exploding with excitement to live his life. His excitement toward learning is exhausting and contagious at the same time. He is a talker, a communicator and I love that he enjoys sharing with me as much as he does. He makes me laugh and he finds a way to pick me up when I have lost my way. I am so blessed for the amazing life I have. He is a reminder to not take everything to heart. He is an example of freedom and happiness and his spirit is surrounded by the most beautiful light. He is funny by nature and kind to the core. He is a ray of sunshine on a dreary day. He is my sparkle on the dullest day.
I am so grateful for so many amazing things in my life. My heart is so full. What are you grateful for today?
Today you are a teenager. It seems like yesterday I was bending over your crip watching you sleep. I know this may sound kind of creepy but I still watch you sleep. I can’t help but wonder what amazing things you do in your dreams. You amaze me every single day. From the very beginning, I knew you were different. Not different in an odd way but amazingly unique, especially for a boy. Even the way your mind works is unique. You see things from a different angle than most and you are able to to reach a destination taking a path that most would never discover. You are gentle and kind, sensitive and silly. Your heart is enormous and those little thoughtful acts I catch you do, fill my heart with pride. You are competitve but mostly playful. Your laugh is infectious, it always makes me smile. You do things 100%. You feel things that intensely too. You are so smart and scientific to the point I worry about your love to experiment. You are free from worry and always comfortable to just be you with no concern about what anyone thinks. You are less concerned with popularity and more concerned with video games and doing the things that make you happy. You Are going to do something amazing because you ARE amazing. All those qualities that are so different than the rest make you stand out in a way you cannot help but shine. That’s what you always are to me, a bright light on a gloomy day, a kind word on my hardest day. Happy birthday to the love of my life. Always do you because you are perfect just the way you are. Carry your silliness and happiness and compassion for others into adulthood and never stop being sensitive and kind. Never let anyone dull your sparkle because where I stand, your future is beautiful and bright.
The dog gave them away late last night. I heard the distant sound of giggling outside my door and I wondered what in the world they could possibly be up to. They were excited, silly and running around happily at the news of school being canceled because of the impending weather. Just like that, in that moment, I was taken back.
It seems like just yesterday that I was a robot moving through the hours of my day. My life had become diaper changes, feedings, sleepless nights. Bath time, play time, Barney, Sesame Street, Teletubbies, rewind, repeat. My house became a place of tantrums, and learning to write ABCs and colored bath fizzies to make bath time last just a couple minutes longer. My house was becoming smaller with Johnny jumpers, strollers, high chairs, books, toys, barbies, trains, my little ponies, webkins. The more it filled up, the smaller I felt. It was taking over. The stuff. Those two little crazies that I brought into this world were completely starting to steal the show. It was their house now. Their stuff. Their schedule. I was Kayleigh’s mom or Chases mom. That is who I had become. Most people didn’t even know my real name. The days were long. I thought some weeks would never end. Life seemed so hard back then and I was always exhausted just wanting a few quiet minutes to myself. The mere thought at how fast the time flew by brings tears to my eyes. I look at them now. My daughter is 16. Can you believe she can drive? And Chase turns 13 this month. How I miss their little toddler faces, their dirty hands and dirty diapers. What I wouldn’t give to go back for a day, a week, a single minute. I would look at them, I mean really look into their eyes and study their faces. I would listen to their little voices singing their favorite songs and I would watch them play. I would stand next to their beds for hours and watch them sleep. If only I could go back.
What could I possible say to the moms out there with little kids? One day, in the middle of exhaustion when you stop looking, your kids grow up. How can it be you think to yourself? Where does the time go and why does the period between toddler and teen go so darn fast? It’s hard to explain and I’m guessing there is not a mom in the world who doesn’t feel this same way. When they are small, you get so caught up that you forget they won’t always be this small. My advice, love them, hug them, play with them and take a million pictures. You will forget what they look like until you pull that picture out. Maybe it’s because you cannot bear to remember. You miss that little face at every age and every year you get all tangled up, all caught up in different stuff and when you’re not looking….you know the rest. Look at them, enjoy them, embrace every single moment and be careful what you wish for. These moments, this time, it will pass. Don’t be in a hurry. Cherish the time because it is all you ever have. And the memories, write them down. Put them in a journal. Start a blog. I only wish I had done that sooner. The best gift you can ever give is your time. Spend it wisely. Spend it on them. You will have more than enough time to yourself in the blink of an eye and then, you too will wish for a time that feels like a blur, when you were completely overwhelmed, exhausted and hoping bedtime would come just a little bit sooner. Then, like me, you will lie in bed and listen to them giggle a floor away and you will smile to yourself as you fall asleep and visit a time long ago when they were still little.
A mothers love goes deep.
It goes deeper than the look on our face or the mood that we’re in.
It goes beyond our mistakes, our flaws, our bad choices.
It goes beyond our grades, the way we look or the degree hanging on our wall.
A mother sees it all, the whole picture, and none of that makes her love us any less.
She sees the look on our face as stress.
She hears the anxiety behind our words.
She sees our value on top of our degree.
She sees our flaws as uniqueness, our beauty that goes far beneath our skin.
She sees our bad choices as stepping stones that help us get to the next place.
She sees our strength, our beauty, the magnitude of our heart.
She sees and she does not judge.
She looks and she always loves.
A mothers love is like the ground beneath our feet, always solid, always safe and always welcoming.
A mothers love never ends and is always felt deep in our heart no matter where she might be.
When it comes to being a mom, I have learned a great deal this week. I cannot kiss boo boos and make them better. I cannot heal broken bones. I cannot take away a fever or my child’s pain. I cannot fix much of anything. What I can do, is always be there through the good times, the sick times, the hard times, all the time. That is my superpower. I will always be there and hope that will be enough.
Today is a very special day! It’s no secret I have lived away from family for several years. My heart breaks when I cannot be there to share the special moments with the people I love. I got a HUGE surprise yesterday. I found out my brother booked my mother a ticket to fly out and spend her birthday here with me. What can I do to make the day special enough to let her know how much I love and appreciate her? Everyone deserves a day when the world stops to honor them. Everyone deserves to feel good and happy and special.
As a mother myself, I know all too well the sacrifices me make for our family, especially our children. We put our lives on hold to give everything we have. People forget that we are only human. We do the best we can while we are often dealing with our own personal issues that we don’t bother to burden our families with. We carry a lot. Sometimes it becomes heavy but we put our best effort at a smile on our face and we keep being wife and mom. Life isn’t always perfect for us but we are so busy making life as perfect as we can for everyone else that sometimes everyone else forgets how important we really are. Kids are selfish and immature. They like to blame mom for everything because the day comes when mom stops fixing everything. It’s tough being a mom. It’s tough to love your kids so much that every time you see them hurt, you feel that pain twice as much. You spend hours at night praying that God will take that pain away from them and make it your own. You love them so much that you put up with their disrespect and you see past the things you wish they hadn’t become. You love them unconditionally while at the same time they continue to test and put conditions on you. It is hard and it is rewarding and it is a role many can’t separate from. We lose ourselves in our children and then one day they go away and we are standing there tearfully wondering where the time went while we were busy handing over every piece of our heart.
Again, how can I let this wonderful woman know how very special she is to me? I know it hasn’t been easy but she’s always been there even when I’ve pushed her away. She is my most loyal friend, my most honest critic and I am so very grateful and honored that she is here with me.
Life is short. We have to show people how important they are each and every day. We have to find a way to push our egos and selfishness aside and say thank you to the person who nurtured us from the time we were in her womb. Thank you mom for never giving up on us even when you should have. Thanks for always forgiving through the things we said that hurt deep enough to leave scars. Thank you for being a constant source of love and protection and for providing a place my heart can always call home. Happy birthday and I wish you a day filled with many moments of love and appreciation. I wish you a day to be selfish and important and happy and free of worry. You have always been and always will be my very best friend. Thank you for sharing this day with me.
So, this is how my Mothers Day would have gone if I were writing the story….
I woke up to two kids sitting in my bed smiling and waiting to read me their lists of why I am the greatest mom in the world. My heart swelled and my eyes filled with tears as I held onto every word. They really captured the essence of all I do and their gratitude toward me was felt beyond the words they spoke.
They couldn’t wait for me to hear all the ideas they had for the day. My son knows how much I’ve been wanting to go for a bike ride around the lake, so after a delicious breakfast at Syrup, we would be heading to the lake. We packed some drinks and stopped to take in the beauty of the water as we sat there taking in the gentle breeze and feeling the sun on our face.
After the ride, we sat on the big deck at Mama Rojas to eat some chips and salsa and enjoy the view. It was so calm and peaceful and no one was in a hurry to leave this wonderful spot. Next, we headed to the movies to see Neighbors. The kids went in to see Spider-Man while me and Scott went into the theatre to have a few laughs.
Next, we drove home and made it to the hot tub just in time to watch the sun set. It was an amazing day and one I will remember always.
Now for the real story!
I was getting dressed in my closet when my daughter came downstairs. She knocked and asked if she could come in…and she did to borrow a shirt. Are you kidding me I thought quietly to myself as I continued to get ready for church. We got in the car and Chase called Kayleigh a jerk because she wouldn’t slide over and the arguing and name calling continued until we dropped them off for religious ed. We grabbed a cup of coffee at Starbucks but the air conditioning was blasting so we sat outside. After fighting with the wind concerned we would blow away, we sat and finished our coffee in the car. Off we drove to church where my son finally stepped outside himself for a moment to say ” oh yeah, Happy Mothers Day” in the middle of the priests sermon. We then sat in the car and my husband remained parked trying to figure out what to do next. Clearly, the day before, I had stressed how much I wanted to go to Syrup for a nice breakfast but as we sat there I finally said, “Can we go, I really have to go to the bathroom.” Next thing I knew, we were pulling in our driveway. It was now 12:20 and no one had eaten and I certainly didn’t have anything planned to eat for the day so there we were.
I told everyone I wanted my van cleaned for my birthday and when I didn’t get that I asked again for Mothers Day. So, I decided to go out and gift myself a clean van. Next thing I know, my daughter comes out and starts to clean along side of me. I really did not want the help because it needed to be cleaned deeply. Then out comes Chase cleaning the windows I had just cleaned with windex a few minutes before, only he was using a dirty rag with water.
I am going to end the story by telling you my van did get amazingly clean and we did go out for dinner at a place with tv’s so we could watch OKC Thunder lose in the last minute of the game. Then, we stop for air because my tire indicator came on only to discover I had a nail in not one, but two tires. So, until we get new tires I will not be driving my nice clean van. And the timing really stinks because a day earlier our pool pump stopped working.
Why am I telling you this? There is a lesson here and it is that our expectations can sometimes ruin our day. If we have a day spelled out in our minds that goes entirely a different way, we end up hurt and disappointed. In hindsight, I should have just said, please drive to Syrup. And, I should have just accepted the fact it was way too windy to go for a bike ride that day anyway. Geez, it was too windy to even sit outside and drink coffee. And the movie? I felt guilty splitting the family because the movie I wanted to see was rated R but really would they have cared? Could mom be selfish on her day and see the movie she’s been waiting to see? And, I should never had planned to watch the game while we ate. There was a chance they would lose and I would have another reason to be disappointed and have indigestion.
Sometimes it’s better to let a day unfold on its own. Even if the stars perfectly align and we do everything we set out to do, there is always a chance we will end up disappointed. Perception and reality are two different things. And sometimes, we just have to accept that.
All in all, the day ended okay. It just didn’t go the way I expected it too and that’s alright. I can focus on everything that went wrong or I can focus on what went right. Sounds like an obvious choice to me. Sometimes we wish we could get a do over but we never do, so make the most of each and everyday and make sure you don’t personally add to the doom and gloom already looming around you. Maybe it’s the pressure of a designated day just for moms that makes us believe that day should be perfect. It’s just a day like any other that we hope the people around us, mainly our kids at least stop and say thanks. If that doesn’t happen, that’s okay too. It’s just one silly day a year.
How do you properly say thank you to someone who has cared for your body inside her own? How do you say thank you to someone who gave up hours of her own sleep to care for and cater to your every need? How do you show your appreciate for the one person who has always been honest, even when you couldn’t be honest with yourself? How do show your love to the one person who loved you through the times you believed you were unlovable and stood by you when the rest of the world seemed to turn away?
How do you convince someone that they have been a wonderful mother when they always feel they could have done better? How do you say that your best is and always will be good enough and more than your kids have ever deserved? How do you tell that person who is constantly second guessing herself that she is better than most. How do you convince someone who has given every second of her life worrying and loving and standing by you through every single moment of your life, the good, the bad, the difficult and the amazing that she has been a tower of strength to get you through it all? How do you tell her that now you are a mom and you understand the amount of sacrifice, the agony of watching your own children’s pain, the years of disappointment, pride and immense love that you had no idea existed until you too became a mom.
The truth is this. One day we are a selfish young woman and the next we become a selfless mom. There is no preparing someone to be a mom. No directions, no instructions….nothing. We are given this precious life who we are solely responsible for and it is wonderful and scary and painful and amazing. There is a special bond between a mother and her child and the day she holds that little baby in her arms for the first time, their hearts become one. There are no words, no amount of distance that could ever break that bond.
It’s not easy being a mom, I know that now. There is no greater hurt than when a child you sacrificed everything for looks you in the eye with contempt and disrespect. What do you do? You love them anyway. That’s just what moms do. The strong and loving ones do anyway. You love your children through every slammed door, every mean word, every hurtful conversation. You forgive them and you choose love just like that very first day when you looked in that child’s eyes for the first time. The most precious gift my mom ever taught me is that love is a choice we make each and every day. Love doesn’t always come naturally. Love does not erase anger and disappointment. That is why we make the choice to love our kids through it all, even when they don’t deserve it.
Thank you Mom for choosing to love me through the times I made it difficult. Thank you for being a daily part of my life even now that I am an adult and have kids of my own. Thank you for loving me and being the one and only person who has always been there no matter what you were going through yourself. And thank you for being the wonderful grandmother you are and giving my kids what I am sometimes not able to give myself. You are a kind, giving, supportive, wonderful woman. If only you could see yourself through my eyes. I realize there are no words to give enough thanks. There is no gift special enough to let you know how very special you are to me. But yet somehow, I know that you know how much you mean to me. Sometimes it’s in the little things, like the 5 times I call you everyday. But sometimes, it is just something felt in the heart and I feel it so I know you feel it too. Our hearts are one and I am grateful for you each and every day.
Thank you mom for being anything and everything I ever needed. Thank you for the lessons, the words of encouragement and for just letting me know if I ever got lost in the world, you would always be home. Thank you for teaching me to always make myself a priority too. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our giving and loving others that we lose ourselves. It is only when we love and are kind to ourselves that we can truly love and be good to others. Happy Mothers Day to my hero, role model, biggest supporter and most of all to my best friend. I am so blessed and grateful to have you in my life. Chance made you my mother, love made you my friend.