We ended our Mother’s day festivities last night with a Mother/Daughter banquet at our church. My mom made the 80 mile trip (nabbing an award for being the farthest traveler) without my dad as he caught a cold at the last minute and didn’t feel like traveling. Since Brennan had just seen her, and had fair warning that she was coming, it was lovely to see her sprint with a huge smile on her face at my mom, and give her huge hugs saying hi Gran! (Last weekend it took her about 2 minutes to warm up.) Obviously I was glad to have a visitor and both girls seemed to shine with a willing audience-my poor hubby was asleep on the couch when she arrived, he’s in job transition, starting a new one today so zombie-dad it was last night. Keeley sang with the kids choir and both kids begged for more cake pops at the event, which was packed with awesome singers, kids showing off their band performances, and scripture/readings, and ended around 9!!! I personally hope they both sleep in, because their naps were iffy, and wow, that’s late! All in all, it was a good time and aside from a minor ‘discussion’ on getting dressed appropriately, things went as smoothly as could be expected.
As I was waiting for my mom to change so we could have a late night visit, my mind started wandering. Obviously mother’s day is a day you celebrate mother’s, but what about birthdays? The original birthday celebrates mom and baby. Then after that, we celebrate a first birthday and I’ve heard that usually that’s a celebration that you’ve made it that far
without eating your young as parents and so a lot of people really throw a big bash. After that it becomes about toy trucks and blocks and whatever else kids gravitate to as they age. Once I had kids, though it seemed a bit unfair. I did all the hard work, right? Then I thought, wow, I should really call my mother on MY birthday. Then I realized: we’re in this together. The kids birthdays aren’t about toys at all. They’re about celebrating how far we’ve come as a family.
You see, I’m not the same mom to Brennan as I was to Keeley. Number one, I have more experience, but more importantly, each child is so different that you can’t possibly be the same to them all the time. Sure the rules might be the same, but each child grows with you. From the first time you discover that something the size of a sesame seed is starting to form layers of genetic code in your belly, something happens. Some moms have to quit smoking or drinking, others take up prenatal yoga, and still others have emotional hurdles to clear. Pregnancy can be a confusing time for a multitude of reasons, and yet you’re growing, together. It’s a miraculous thing, and of course it has an end date. Sometimes it’s sooner than others. Sometimes you lose a child, but sometimes you get to that fabulous, scary, painful, hard, BIRTH day. A day to celebrate how far you’ve come, and to rest and ramp up for ALL that is to come (that you aren’t even aware of yet). Then there’s sleepless nights, and please stop crying, and oh you have gas. Duh. (Hey daddy, burp the kid every chance you get, it was gas!) First smiles and giggles and stuffed toys to love. Building towers that fall down over and over. Alphabet and oh you know eventually there’s going to be harder times than this. Oh how sweet, though. Because nothing ‘free’ was ever all that good to me. Working hard is something I’m used to-even if it’s just my brain that’s doing the work. That whole process is growth, and change, swollen bellies, and tired eyes and bleak smiles at 3 a.m. If kids were perfect little machines from the day they were born, we wouldn’t appreciate them nearly as much. There’s just something satisfying about growing (through body, giving up or adopting, or fostering), isn’t there?
So the next time you’re bleary eyed at 3 a.m. or frustrated at 4 p.m., remember that you’re in it together. You have been since the start.