Thursday, May 9, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

I got up at 6:00am with just one goal for the morning – start a roast in the crock pot. I make pot roast all the time. It’s not a big deal. Peel and chop onions, carrots, and potatoes; season the meat; add a little water; press start. When I do it all the night before, it’s a twenty minute process, tops. Yesterday I learned that when I do it in the morning, it’s a four and a half hour ordeal.

I thought I could get it done before Reese woke up. Wishful thinking! I went to the kitchen and Reese was already digging in the pantry for Cheerios (despite being told numerous times not to take food without asking).

“I wanna eeeeeat,” she whined, as if she’d been waiting all morning for her breakfast.

I guess I’m making the roast after breakfast. No big deal. Plenty of time.

I noticed that Reese’s pajama pants were damp.

“Reese, did you pee through your pull-up?”

“I did.”

“And is your bed wet?”

“It is.”

I stripped her bed and changed her clothes. While I was at it, I got myself and Allie dressed too. Then I started her sheets in the washer and made us each a separate breakfast - Cheerios for Reese, oatmeal for me, mashed banana for Allie.

After I cleaned up breakfast, I sent Reese off to play and put Allie in her bouncy chair (at my feet, of course, because I’m not allowed to leave her sight). I was peeling the second onion when Reese appeared behind me, holding up a Wal-Mart bag.

“Mommy, I wanna do this.” It was the supplies we had bought the day before to make Mother’s Day cards.

I was thrilled. She can make cards. I can peel and chop. What could go wrong?

Well, nothing if the bag of supplies didn’t contain a bottle of Elmer’s glue and three tubes of glitter. I totally should have known better.

I spread out the tablecloth and all of the supplies. I went back to the counter and picked up the peeler. Then Allie started crying. She wanted me to hold her. She does this a lot. People tell me to let her cry, but I rarely do. Plus, I knew her crying would lead to me rushing, which would no doubt end in some kind of accidental potato peeler or Cutco knife injury.

I strapped Allie into the Baby Bjorn. (Yeah, I know. Much safer, right? Now both of our fingers were in danger). I started peeling the carrots – now at arms length because of Little Miss Grabby Hands, and I had to stop every 30 seconds or so to monitor the glitter situation over my shoulder.

It was not going well. Apparently, my little glue-sprinkle-shake demo went in one ear and out the other. I had to keep running over to stop her from sprinkling the whole tube of glitter onto one dab of glue, and she needed several reminders to decorate only the cards and not the table or her chair – or herself.

By this point, there was glitter in everybody’s hair and in my pot roast. Allie’s fussiness had escalated into a total meltdown, which reminded me that I was cutting into her naptime, and I still had a pile of potatoes to peel and chop. With an exasperated breath, I put everything on hold.

I fed Allie a bottle and got her down for a nap. Then I helped Reese finish her cards and clean up her mess. I got her a snack and turned on the Tinkerbell movie. The house was quiet. I chopped the rest of the potatoes and seasoned the meat.

At 10:30, I finally pressed the start button on my crock pot.

With Reese occupied and Allie asleep, I went to my bathroom and shut the door. I needed to decompress.

When I was pregnant with Reese, I did my best to mentally prepare for pregnancy, labor, and the financial burden of diapers and college savings. I tried to get ready for the big hurdles I knew I would eventually face – teething, potty training, discipline, sleep schedules.

I did not, however, prepare for the constancy; the intensity; the all day, every day.

I used to think Mother’s Day was about recognizing the big picture of motherhood and giving thanks to the women who birthed us and raised us, the women who love us unconditionally and would do anything for us. But those are the easy parts.

It’s the small stuff that is the real challenge of motherhood. It’s the interrupted showers and cold dinners. It’s the need to say things like “please don’t put your foot on my sandwich.” It’s the fishing-poop-out-of-the-bathtub nights and glitter-in-the-pot-roast mornings. It’s the deep breaths of patience and silent moments of prayer.

Mother’s Day is just as much about the day-to-day little picture as it is about the higher purpose, greater love big picture. My pot roast story isn’t just a funny story about a crazy morning. This is my life. This is every mom’s life. All day, every day. But few people see the intensity of our little picture routine and we don’t often talk about it, which means it often goes unnoticed.

This year, thank the mothers in your life not just for the big things, but for all the little things too. Thank them for the willingness to wear a curious infant despite the inconvenience. Thank them for supporting a toddler’s love for messy arts and crafts. Thank them for the things no one else sees - the messes made and cleaned, tantrums thrown and calmed, and tears cried and wiped. All day, every day.

And if you ever see sit down for a nice hot meal and see a shiny fleck of glitter in your food, just smile with understanding, eat it with gratitude, and know just how much love and patience is sitting on your plate.

Happy Mother's Day to the all day, every day moms!

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