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A Long Essay on Mother's Day.

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Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Long Essay on Mother's Day.

If I were to use a scale of 1-10 with 1 being the worst and rate my day with my littles yesterday, it would have been a negative 5.

And I wish that were an exaggeration. J had been out of town since Monday, we were at the cabin with my dad and my aunt and planning to pick J up late in the evening.

But I felt like all day long it was one thing after another.

"Don't do that."

"Oh no, get off the kitchen table."

"I told you no jumping on the furniture."

"Please don't talk to me like that."

All. Day. Long.

I joked that this is how parents find themselves at the brink. That my exhaustion from a week of single parenting coupled with E's monkey tactics and H's newfound ability to defy any adult in a 10 mile radius could be it for me.

And then, just like that, hours later they are sound asleep in the car strapped in their five point harness seats next to each other and I look at them and love oozes out. I forget about the days battles and horrible moments because now they are still. J gets in the car at the airport and the hours of stories I have to tell him fade to small sentences. It was a long, rough day. And I am tired.

This morning, the sun is shining in and J lets me sleep in and takes the littles to the coffee shop to pick up coffee and donuts to surprise me with.

T and M call from their moms wishing me a Happy Mother's Day and I sit in bed reading, enjoying the quiet I didn't know I needed.

I started getting hungry and wandered into the kitchen and just then I see the van in the driveway. So I run back to bed, knowing H will want to surprise me.

I hear pitter patter feet rush down the hall and everything from yesterday is forgiven. Forgotten. It's a new day as they kiss me and hug me and wish me a happy day with my favorite coffee and a chocolate donut and drawings and pictures that mean the world to me.

Because I just want to cherish them right where they are right now.

Even if that's at the stage of climbing monkeys and the freak-out fours. (And yes, I will be the first to tell you that so far, age four, is the hardest stage yet.)

Once again, I've been served a big, huge overflowing glass of perspective that I surely didn't order but obviously needed. Especially this week.

Because when I wrote about our visit to the mausoleum, I left out a really big part. A part that has been heavy on my heart and mind and something that has overwhelmed me to tears more than once.

I did not expect what happened next.

As we climbed back into the car after visiting my mom, I was short and frustrated with H. He was poking around and I wanted to buckle his seatbelt and get going before the rain came in.

My words were sharp.

We had not pulled more than 100 feet away when he saw across the cemetary a Lightning McQueen balloon at a grave.

He pointed and asked and I knew it had to be a child's grave.

Yet, I said yes when he asked if we could park and get out.

So we got out of the car and walked across the cemetary to find the grave of a little boy. Who would be the same age as H right now.

Who passed away when he was 2 1/2. In the thick of a love affair with Lightning McQueen.

A love affair just like H's not so long ago.

There were balloons and Lightning McQueen cars around his grave, including an engraved one on his tombstone.

H didn't touch a thing but asked me more than once to read the tombstone.

And I read to him the words that a mama, just like me, had to write, not so long ago about her little boy that left this earth much, much too soon.

Her words are exactly the things I would write and say about H.

About a full of joy boy who was so precious and loved. By all.

A car pulled up behind ours so we scurried to the van. Afraid that this was someone visiting the boy's grave.

Because it was.

And as I climbed back into the van after buckling my kids in, tears came rushing forth as I watched this mama wipe away the dirt and grass that had crept onto her son's tombstone since her last visit. Most likely just the previous day.

As we drove away and I tried to gain composure, H asked about the boy by name.

And I lost it. Completely.

For now, he wasn't just a nameless, same aged boy, but a boy with a name that my son now knew and remembered.

It has put everything into perspective this past week for me.

And I mean everything.

My complaints about the sassy talk and the climbing and the overwhelming crazy days seem to have no validity anymore because I can't get that mother standing at her childs grave out of my head.

I am not a perfect mother. I am quicker to anger than I'd like to be. I often times choose the wrong battles. I could go on and on of where I'm surely failing. But the one thing I think I'm getting right is to love and cherish my kids where they're at.

They are silly and sassy and say the wrong thing at the wrong time way too often. They wake up too early most mornings and stay up too late some nights. They forget their manners and sometimes fall off their chairs when we're eating dinner. They are poky and sometimes, on the days where I have reached my limit, my tongue and my words are rude and harsh and not the way I want to parent.

They can be whiny and I get exhausted. And they don't always listen the first, or the eighth time.

I spend hours traipsing to appointments and conferences and reading information for them and about them. And most days I end up just having to trust my gut and on those days I usually end up stuck in traffic and lost on my way to a doctors appointment no one knew my littlest little needed, except me.

They are expensive and spill things on new clothes and leave marks on walls and furniture. Toys get left out and bikes left outside. The day after the house gets cleaned, inevitably one of them spills a glass of milk, or better yet, juice.

But, at the end of all this, at the end of the day, and especially today, Mother's Day, I have them. I get to love them.

I've got my littles. Whose features I have memorized and whose sleeping faces I admire late at night.

And I've got my bigs. A bonus I never knew I had coming.

So it is today that I am remembering my own mom and also thinking of a mama I know only through her son's grave, who I'm certain is missing her little Lightning McQueen who filled her days with joy.

I am counting my blessings, appreciating them, even on the days where my complaint list could be long.

At the end of the day, power struggle through power struggle, I have them and I will be the one that loves them the most.

That's all I could ask for.

{For the record, H was invited to be in this picture too and told me very kindly; "No, thank you." This is putting my words into action. Letting him be and letting it go. It's not worth fighting about, is it?}

Happy Mother's Day!


Anonymous dadio said...

It was certainly a non stop challenging day. Thanks for your prespective, I also need to remember how blessed this time is.

Love to all

May 9, 2010 at 1:59 PM  
Anonymous Unplanned Cooking said...

Wow. I am often alone with my kids as my husband travels for work, and sometimes I do find it challenging to stay calm when the job is relentless. But your post put things in perspective. That is heartbreaking.

Happy Mother's Day.

May 9, 2010 at 4:45 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

Thank you for this reminder to keep things in perspective. Sometimes, the things that seem to drive us most crazy can disappear with the reminder of how precious life really is.

May 9, 2010 at 6:24 PM  
Blogger Coma Girl said...

When my husband travels for work, I get overwhelmed too. It's hard being a single parent, even if for a few days.

And my daughter was horrible yesterday too - is there a full moon?

May 9, 2010 at 6:27 PM  
Blogger Jon, Sara, Tyler, and Sophie said...

What a heartfelt post! Thanks for sharing, Samara.

Happy Mother's Day, and everyday, to you!

May 9, 2010 at 8:35 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Very insightful post.

Hugs and happy belated Mother's Day to you!

May 10, 2010 at 8:16 AM  
Blogger Gina said...

A very heartfelt post. Happy Belated Mother's day to you S!

May 10, 2010 at 9:27 AM  
Blogger Stacy said...

Every day, I am a sigle parent. And everyday, even though I only see her for a few hours due to work, I am short with Madison. She can not do things fast enough for me, and is sassy as can be. I am quick to get loud, and others are quick to judge my parenting. But at the end of the say I know that I am the one that loves her most, and I am the one that she will always count on.
Thank you for putting it all into perspective for me, and the rest of us. Your story of that day what very heartbreaking but it happened at such at time when God knew you needed it and knew that you would share it to the rest of us.

May 11, 2010 at 3:40 PM  

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