Preschool Pride

With the beat of the rain on the roof, the crowded room is dark and the screen on the TV is showing the pictures from the year.  My youngest daughter is munching away on her goldfish crackers in her stroller.

Today my oldest daughter graduates from pre-school. Two years ago we entered this room for the first time. Her cries of “Mommy, don’t leave!” still echo in my heart. I walked away that first day feeling like a bad mother. I couldn’t stop crying for leaving her to start her school career.

The lights are back on as the commencement ceremony is about to begin. The room is silent. Then, applause erupts as each student walks across the room to the teacher holding their certificates. My heart stops.

I look at my beauty standing tall, waiting for her cue. The reality of her growing up into this amazing young lady shudders through me. To my surprise my tears are falling, my nose is sniffling. My hand holding the camera begins to shake.

She skips across the room, unlike the walking her classmates were doing. She sits down with her class smiling at the cameras. When the teachers release them, she runs at me with her cap slipping from her head.  We gather our things as she says good bye to her friends.

The three of us cross the doorway onto the now sun- beamed sidewalk. I feel the familiar tears arrive again, yet they feel different.

The walk is filled with knowing my daughter is growing up well.  I am so proud to be her mother.

Summer sick days

With no back up help, my four-year-old daughter and i have the flu. My two-year-old daughter pretty much has the run of the house. Wiping up messes, filling waters and flipping DVDs is all I have the strength to do. Hubby had to go to work. So it is just us.

My body aches in exhaustion. Before I know it it is lunch time. Then, the front door opens and in walks my darling hubby. Such relief, to say the least, to see him. While we can’t afford him to take a day off, I can’t afford him not to be here. It takes a lot for me to say that. Been self-reliant for too long.

As the day progresses in pjs and soda crackers, I realize that putting pause on our day is important. I never do it for wellness days and only extreme sickness. When mama goes down so does the house. With my partner in parenting filling in for me, I took a much needed nap. having batteries half -charged, I clean up the house a bit,

As dinner hour approaches, I still don’t feel one hundred percent.
Do we ever?

Why is it hard for moms to stop? Supermom is a fantasy. Treat ourselves first so we can help our loved ones.

What I wanted as a new mom

I look through the photo albums with my oldest of when she was a baby, showing her what she looked like tiny. With all family and friends that were around in the pictures, she loves the thought that she used to be that small. My youngest pops up beside us on the couch and the three of us continue to look through both baby books.
With a pang in my heart, I would never want to go back to those days. Days that were filled with domestic duties set in isolation. There was no one to rescue me so I could nap while my husband was at work. There was no mom to come bring me lunch, nor a grandmother to spoil my daughter.
If I had a chance to offer ideas to people wondering what to get a motherless mom it would be the following:
Time, Meals or Coffee. When you pop by (always make sure she is expecting you, never surprise her.), a meal that she can pop in the oven for dinner is a huge relief and time-saver so she can rest or play with the newborn. Also, offering to watch the baby so she can nap or shower is very kind. A take-out coffee is very popular and can be such a treat for a mom who may not have left the house for the day.
Housekeeping. If budget permits, send a housekeeper even just once would be a treat. Or, without asking, wash some dishes or bottles. It takes ten minutes of your time without a baby in your arms to accomplish most domestic tasks. I know from personal experience that one task with baby in tow can take hours some days.
Books. There are great books from Hope Edleman on being a Motherless Daughter and Mother. I wish I knew of them in the early days with my oldest. Granted there is not much time to read, however the books can be flipped around to read testimonials from fellow motherless moms.
Play dates. If there is a second (or more) newborn in the house, a play date for the older kid is a wonderful gift. The exhausting weeks spent with a newborn and an older child can add to an exhausted mom’s day. Taking the older child out to the park or play in the play room is a win-win for all.
Reflecting on these points that I had wished for, my kids scamper off and race each other around the living room. I watch with a smile. After surviving new motherhood and a second baby, I do love the present time with them. They turned out okay- I think. I guess you can say, so did I.

Preggers Rant. What to say to a pregnant woman.

I settle my two and four-year-old hungry daughters at the last available Starbucks table. I dish out the treats and pull out their waters from my bag. I sit myself in between them and exhale out loud. Sipping my coffee, I spy a very pregnant lady sitting at the table beside us looking at my girls.
I remember all too well that feeling of wanting to have the baby out. It’s the comments that came from random strangers that hurt the worst. Some of what I was told was:
You are so huge!
Better get your sleep now.
It’s just a myth you eat for two.
Is what you are eating good for the baby?
Both third trimesters were spent in extreme hot summers, everywhere I went: It must suck in this heat for you. (DUH!)
When all the while I ultimately wished I had said: “Don’t touch my belly unless I can touch yours!”
Since being a mom twice over, I feel a kinship to seeing expectant moms. My oldest knows to go open a door of a struggling mom. Nowadays, when I see a pregnant mom I say things that I wished I heard more of, like:
You look beautiful.
You are glowing.
You don’t look pregnant.
Your baby is lucky to have you as a mom
My girls finish their snacks and declare its play time. I pack us up and see the lady looking sad as she rubs her belly. I catch her eye and smile, “ Congratulations. You look amazing.” She beams a wary smile. “Really?” she asks hopefully. I nod emphatically.
Smile and pass it on is how we can support moms at all stages of parenthood.
Had I known that the baby stage would pass so quickly I would have hung onto it tighter. Having said that my youngest gives my legs a bear hug.I love this present.

No surprises or….

T’was the night before Christmas of my 36th one on this planet. Not a cat was stirring, not even a child. I stare at the ceiling of my darkened bedroom. My husband snoring away in his slumber. In my heart, I feel no excitement. I am looking forward to seeing our young daughters enjoy their Santa surprises.

I can’t remember the last Christmas I yearned for. Maybe, I am too old to look forward to Christmas surprises, or even birthday surprises. For years I have either picked out my own gift, or let my husband take over the domestic duties. Rarely do I open a surprise on the special occasions.

My eyes grow heavy and I drift off. I am awakened my anxious three year old wanting to go down a floor. We ramble down the stairs, the four of us, holding back the kiddos until we can feed the cat and start the Christmas morning coffee ( bonus for me!).

The kids tear into what Santa left. Over the course of an excited hour the squeals and delights are still echoing off the walls by the time I open my presents. A book I asked for, accompanied with a favorite wine, make me smile. I did feel a prediction, but it’s still nice I got what I wanted.

When we believe all the gifts are opened, my husband spies another one. It’s an envelope addressed to me. The kids run off playing with their new delights. I open the envelope and find a large gift card to my favorite spa.

I smile at the thought of an afternoon alone getting pampered. Then, the real first surprise of a long time drops. My dear hubby tells me it’s for an appointment he booked me in 3 days!!!! He will still be home for the holidays during that time.

Tears spring to my eyes at the spontaneous surprise. After 16 years of marriage it is not about flowers on Valentine’s Day, it is about taking care of one another when you least expect it.