The look on my four-year-old daughter’s face says it all. She just handed me an invite in the shape of a tea cup with her hand written letters on the front, “Mommy.” It invites me to the pre-school’s Mother’s Day Tea for the first hour of class. At the bottom in italics, No siblings please. My heart sank. Without thinking, I told her I would go if I can find someone to stay with her younger sister. Her face fell to the ground.
We make our way out the door and my shaky hands give away my emotions. One of the teachers stops me to ask what is wrong. I tell her I don’t know if I can go because I have no one that can take care of my youngest. Her voice is filled with confusion as she is asking me if there was not an aunt or a grandma around to take her. We have no one, I inform her. I push the stroller to the side walk and move on. On the walk home all I could do to stop crying was to bite my cheek.
Just when I think I can move forward in the small village that we are raising our daughters in, this harmless invite shreds it to pieces. My husband works during the day and with some out-of-town trips. The little family we have close is still on the mend for cancer-prevention surgeries. There is no one to turn to when I need the kids watched for five minutes, let alone an hour. My mom has been gone a long, long time and my mother-in-law lives in the next province. It’s just how it is. I work at home with them near. They run all my errands with me. Despite the bad days, the good ones show what a great trio we make.
I settle my girls into the kitchen table for lunch. Facing the kitchen window, I run the tap to drown out the tears that are racing down my cheeks. I cannot not be there for her tea. It is not her fault there is no one to watch over her sister. In a fit of raw emotions, I post a picture of the invitation on Facebook at the unfairness of it all. I urge my Facebook friends to hug their moms tight. Within minutes, I am overwhelmed at the kindness and offers to sit with my youngest so I can go to the tea. After a sip of water, my rational side takes over. I have two offers from friends who would love to take my two-year-old for the hour. I can work this out.
Feeling much calmer, I tell my four-year-old that we can go with her to the Tea. Her whole face lights up as she runs up to me. She timidly asks if it will be just the two of us. I nod and give her a bear hug.
It’s just an hour, but will be a lifetime memory for my eldest and I.