Lemme tell you, its tough.
Really, really tough.
Want to hear about my Mother’s Day? Of course you do. Nothing waxes poetic like my life looking nothing like a Hallmark card.
It started with us being down by two kids, thanks to the two oldest being at a sleepover. It really doesn’t matter which ones you take out of the mix, once you change the family dynamic by one or two (losing, or gaining by having someone over), the entire herd seems to calm to a dull roar. It really does get quiet.
A morning filled with playing blocks in the family room with the littles, running church clothes over to the sleepover boys (because without prompting from me, all they’ll bring would be Pokemon cards, their DS’s and a sleeping bag), and enjoying homemade cinnamon buns made by the Hubs (who is thankfully not in jail for smuggling choking hazards disguised as children’s candy in to the country).
It was a nice morning, and the day was mostly fine, but as usual, the fighting ensued, and my two sweet, darling “Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde” personality children pulled out all the stops in their antics.
When one was sent to his room to “calm down” he …. he, um…… ugh. He threw a can of white trim paint against the floor in a fit of anger.
And it split open.
I only knew it happened because the Hubs, who was upstairs lying down fighting a migrane since 2am (Thanks, jetlag…..) called out, “well, what did you think was going to happen when you threw a can of paint?!?!”
So I did some quick research and spent the next hour or so sitting on the floor of the upstairs hallway, scraping paint off the carpet, soaking it with water, and sucking it dry with the wet-dry vac. While yes, cleaning it up himself would be the best idea for a “natural consequence,” it really wasn’t something in his skill set and I didn’t want things ruined further. He sat and watched and kissed any further Minecraft time bye-bye for the foreseeable future.
Then, we had the audacity to ask our daughter to help with something. Payback is a bitch, and I’m getting it tenfold with the crap I gave my parents.
Later in the afternoon, we also dared to ask “other son with a penchant for severe and quick personality change” to help clean something in the kitchen. Pretty soon, he managed to find himself in charge of cleaning the entire kitchen. To say he wasn’t pleased with this would be the understatement of the century. We didn’t care anymore. We were off to Mass. The two big guys could get this done.
Back to the “Original Child Who Wasn’t Having The Best Day,” someone wasn’t in the mood to go to Mass, and was doing everything he could to make sure we knew it.
I. Was. Done.
All the stress from the past two weeks, plus all that happened that day, plus the “blessings of pregnancy hormones”, plus running into other moms I know who I’m sure have far more compliant children than I….
I lost it.
I spent five minutes before Mass standing in a bathroom stall with Lilly, just hoping to get all the tears out so that I wouldn’t break down again.
But when I found The Hubs with the other kids, they were practically in the front row on the side of the Church. This wasn’t going to be good.
I made it until the homily, breaking up “I wanna use the little kneeler” fights between the two youngest, until The Hubs took Lilly off my hands to the back of the church. I settled in, started listening to the homily, and knew I wouldn’t make it. As Father began speaking about the beauty and dignity of motherhood, I felt anything but beautiful and dignified, and I searched the back of the church to locate The Hubs to “relieve” him of Lilly, back to the bathroom where I could hide again. The last thing this congregation needed was to see me doing the ugly cry up front and center, so I saved that for the bathroom once again.
The evening ended on a more positive note. Upon arriving home, we found that the oldest two had not only cleaned the kitchen, but also mopped the floor (wahoo!) and the child in question also made me a Mother’s Day card, thanking me for all that I do.
Groundswell, once again. Everyone likes to be appreciated.
So, this wasn’t meant to be a rant on “oh, no, pity my poor, imperfect Mother’s Day!” It really is just another day. And like other days, I get gifts of fistfuls of flowers from the yard, beautiful pictures of stick figures, one taller than the other with an initial over the heads so I know who is who, with a heart between them, and a shy smile while informing me of a task they completed for me, which makes me so happy, not only for me that its done, but for them, that they’ve met a goal they didn’t want to meet.
Motherhood is hard, because its not just about the flowers and pictures and framed photos of the kids in their Sunday best. Its about growing up. Not just them, but me, too.
Its about enduring morning sickness and varicose veins and round ligament pains and crushed lungs and heartburn and labor pains and recovery, all so God can bring another beautiful soul into this world.
Its about insisting on a job well done, because you know that learning the importance of a job well done now will actually be easier on them than learning it later, when it may be too late.
Its about learning that sometimes, the best way to teach someone how to control their temper is to control your own.
Its about repeating the lesson on the importance of hand washing and tooth brushing and how to properly have an argument with someone and how to handle sharp knives until you’re blue in the face, and then you keep repeating the lesson until they get it, because life could be dangerous without these lessons.
Its about learning how to take care of everyone; not just them, but yourself, so that they learn not only to take care of themselves, but also that you’re not a bottomless pit of anything.
Its about teaching them the beauty of life, the importance of love, the power of prayer, and our desperate need for grace, and doing it mostly by example and not lecture.
Its about dying to yourself and living for another. Every day.
And because God is so good, He wraps these lessons up in curly blonde hair, big blue eyes, interesting observations and hilarious comments.
And fistfuls of azaleas from the front yard.