Big Pea’s 5th birthday was Tuesday, a day deemed by her as “the best day ever”! My Little Pony looked over us as we watched her open presents and marvel over Pinkie Pie who stared back at her from a cherry chip cake, covered with a sinful white icing.
This birthday, as with the previous 4, were filled with the excitement of ripping open packages. The wonderful tid bits that were inside, meaningless, until the next day. There’s something about the possibilities that those packages hold, the fun that may or may not be hidden beneath the My Little Pony wrapping paper. We told her she had to wait until our family arrived that evening before she could open packages. I mentioned to my husband that I was impressed by her patience, as she never questioned our decision, nor did she attempt to pick up, shake or guess what may be inside. A feat any mother would be proud of.
The time had arrived, family was here and the presents were awaiting their demise. As she began to rip open her packages, I realized or rather, allowed myself to believe for the first time, that we have done a good job. As a mother, I am my biggest critic. Yes, I bathe her, clothe her and feed her but being a mom is SO much more than the essentials. It’s the cuddles on the couch, the stories at bedtime, the security that we strive to provide, the proper education, the right answers to their questions and so on. I have heard it many times, “being a mom is a tough job” and to those of us who strive to go above and beyond what are capabilities may be, those words ring loud and true, daily.
Every day we face new decisions, decisions that we may not know the answer to, but damn it we give it our best shot! Recently my almost-2 year old “accidentally” stole a toy from Target (I say accidentally, because she did not know better at the time). Well shit! March it back inside, explain the situation and apologize to the nice woman at Target, while now being 10 minutes late and looking like the bad parent at Kindergarten! Don’t think she understood? Think again! The next time we returned to the store, she shook her head, no, and said “we have to pay the lady first”! My point is that although we don’t think we are making an impression, we are, in everything we do!
To further prove my recent, self recognized “mom worthiness” to only myself (yes I’m standing on my soap box here), I very reluctantly asked Big Pea’s new Kindergarten teacher how she was doing and he replied, “she seems very well adjusted”! Little did he know, that those words shook my inner self to the core and he must have thought I was crazy, as I let out a big sigh of relief, my eyes relaxing, my very being letting go of some crazy idea that I was somehow screwing her up or worse yet, had already screwed her up. It was as if I had been holding my breath for the last 5 years, and all of the wind that I had accumulated came rushing out in an instant! Well adjusted may not sound like much, but 23 years earlier, my mother did not get the same response! I believe my Kindergarten teachers response to the very same question was “Well Mrs. X, we’re a bit concerned as she cries at the drop of a hat and she colors EVERYTHING black”! I can only imagine what my poor mother was thinking at that very moment, embarrassment, failure, wondering what on earth could be wrong with her child! It is only as a mother, that you better understand what your parents once went through.
My motto with my kids has always been “don’t screw this up”! I have a long line of screw-ups in my past, but this isn’t a meaningless friendship, a lust for a new boy or a math test. These are tiny, innocent, little humans and without our guidance, things could go awry very, very quickly.
For now, I rest in the fact that this is the longest running non-screw up thus far! I’m OK with that. I have yet to succeed, per say, but I’ll allow myself, for the first time, a very small pat on the back. Something every mother should reward herself with from time to time!
OK,OK and maybe her dad had a hand in all of this too….