I’m back! Sorry, got a little busy there for a week or two. Let’s see, first there was my son’s 8th birthday. I know, 8! I’ve heard from a few people who have been reading my blog since Miles was born, mostly other moms with kids that age. To you I say: Wow! 8 years already? What happened to us?!
Here’s a tip: don’t ever kid yourself into thinking that things will slow down at some point. Yeah, yeah, it all goes so fast, the days are long but the years are short — we’ve heard it all before. But still I catch myself thinking, “Once school is out/school is back in session/I finish this project/this birthday party’s over/etc. life will calm down.” Spoiler alert: IT NEVER DOES!
Something else always rushes in to fill the (oh so temporary) lull in activity. If you’re lucky, it’s a new assignment or fun invitation. If you’re unlucky, or just human, it’s a stomach bug or car trouble or worse. You never know. Ah, life. Such a rollercoaster.
Speaking of life’s ups and downs, I will say that although once again I succumbed to the insidious, unnoticeable-until-it’s-too-late birthday overload, I had a different perspective this year because of my late friend.
As my mom and I sat there at the kitchen table at 10pm slathered in green frosting, slaving away over 30 Minecraft brownies for my son’s class the next day – AFTER taking 14 kids to a Major League Baseball game AND keeping track of them all and returning them to their parents in one piece, thankyouverymuch, yesIdowantamedal – I wasn’t
that disgruntled. I just laughed and said, “Mom, that Creeper’s eyes are too close together.” (That’s grape fruit leather, FYI.) After all, we weren’t just making brownies, we were making MEMORIES, dammit. I know my friend would’ve approved.
Speaking of my friend, I watched her kids for an afternoon and they were just as busy and happy as you’d hope a 2yo and 4yo would be. We had light saber fights, we gorged on Goldfish and grapes, we had a grand old time. Although my heart did burst into a million pieces when the little girl picked up a toy phone and said, “I call Mama.”
I would like to say that I have a new appreciation for life and I am even more committed to being in the moment and letting the little things go. But the truth is I get just as impatient and annoyed with my family as before. Recently I read an interview with actor Chip Esten – aka Deacon on my beloved “Nashville.” I didn’t know the youngest of his 3 kids had leukemia at age 2. (She’s now 14 and cancer-free.) In the article, he says he “wanted to fall apart, but you can’t. You have to wipe your eyes and go back to parenting and breaking up fights over crayons.” Ain’t that the truth, Deacon Claiborne. But in some ways, that’s a good thing.
Another saying I’m sure we’ve all heard a million times but has new meaning for me is, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” Whether it’s grief or cancer or patience or how to make a child’s birthday special, we’re all grappling with something, often many somethings all at the same time.
On the way into school to deliver my son’s birthday treats – running in heels and sweating through my blouse since I was coming straight from a meeting – some of the teachers’ aides on the playground called out, “Minecraft cupcakes! Good job, Mom!” (And Gram, to be fair.) They smiled, I smiled. Recognition. Kindness. Connection. It’s what we all want, isn’t it? On the way out, I happily gave those ladies the extras.
SHOUT OUT O’ THE DAY: Happy extended Father’s Day to all the great dads out there! I know a lot of ‘em.