Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day

Money is extremely tight this Mother's Day, so when Mark came in our room Saturday morning to wake me up for help with E and said, "I hope you don't mind, but... I don't think I'm going to do anything for Mother's Day," I responded with a, "Good! It'd be crazy to spend money on any extra luxuries right now. I'm glad you didn't secretly plan anything." And, surprisingly, for the first time in my life, I wasn't the girl who forced a smile and said, "Oh, that's fine." I meant it. I was happy that $5 hadn't been wasted on a card, and was looking forward to a day with my family.

I also firmly believe that God rewards us for our sacrifices, teaches us lessons in the give and take of the world. Parenthood offers examples every day. For each action (of chaos, frustration, defiance), there's an equal and opposite reaction (of tranquility, love, and happy compliance).

Mother's Day began when E refused to let me sleep in an extra half hour. She came bursting through our door (really need to get that lock fixed) and crashed into the side of the bed, happily screeching, "MAMA!!!" at the top of her lungs.

No sleeping in for me, but I screeched her name, too, and scooped her up into my arms for a big Mother's Day hug.

Throughout the day, chaos ensued. Her temper tantrums consist of usually short-lived high-pitched screeches. Then, somehow, it escalates into uncontrollable sobs and crocodile tears if she doesn't get her way. The first screech-fest happened when Mark helped her out of our bed, and she didn't think I was coming with her.

Then, heaven forbid, I stopped to pee on my way to the kitchen to get her breakfast -- screech!

Other screech-worthy moments:
She wanted my oatmeal, instead of hers.
Her dress was too picky -- she opted for a cotton dress, mismatched pants, and a sweatshirt.
The sun was too "bright."
Her pants were too warm.
She wanted the TV on.
The TV beeped too loud.
We had to turn the TV off to leave.

She wanted to wear my shoes, instead of hers.
It took too long to pack the car.
The seatbelt was too tight.
She wanted a snack.
The raisins in her trail-mix were at the bottom.
The applesauce wasn't pushed to the top of her applesauce packet.
She squeezed the applesauce packet too hard (into my purse).
She wanted to watch Little Tikes Land in the car. Fine. I grabbed my phone.
Every time she touched the screen, it paused.
She didn't want me to hold the phone.
Her shoes were on.
Her socks wouldn't come off.

We went out to eat at a restaurant with my mother-in-law, Betsy, and sister-in-law, Kim...
Mild annoyances to screech-worthy calamities:
The high chair didn't have a buckle to play with.
She climbed out, then had to be put back in.
She didn't want pizza, would only eat my steak-fries.
The woman sitting behind us looked at her (when she tried to touch her hair).
I wouldn't let her hang on me throughout my meal.

At the science museum...
She wanted to play with her stroller latch.
The stroller latch got stuck.
She wanted to run down the stairs.
She wanted to run up the stairs.
She wanted to play at the bubble station.
She ate 4 handfuls of bubbles.
I wouldn't let her buy the $13 ball in the gift shop (that she took upon herself to bring to checkout).
She wanted to keep riding in the elevator.

A quick stop at Walmart...
She wanted to ride in the cart.
She simultaneously wanted to walk.
She wanted applesauce.
She spilled applesauce on the floor.
I wouldn't let her run away.
She wanted sunglasses.
The sunglasses wouldn't stay on her face.
She wanted a helium "Clearance" balloon.
She wanted milk.
They only had half-gallon jugs (I let her drink from the jug).

Panera's for a light dinner...
She wanted some other kid's balloon.
She wanted water.
Turns out, she just wanted the straw in the water cup.
She spilled water on herself.
She only wanted yogurt (Panera's has the kind in a tube).
The yogurt wouldn't come out of the tube.
She wanted me to help.
Then she didn't want me to help.
She also didn't want the yogurt squirted on her plate to eat with a spoon.
She threw her spoon on the floor (then ate my apple).

On our way home, Mark drove through squinted, sleepy eyes, and I took videos with my phone of E on her yogurt-sugar high, kicking her heart out in the back seat. He said, "Well, that was a wonderful day," and he meant it. I responded with, "It was, wasn't it?"

Between the tantrums, we laughed, played "I spy" in the backseat: "I spy your nose," I'd say, or "the doggie." "There's doggie!!" she'd laugh and snuggle her stuffed puppy. We saw Auntie Bee's pugs and sang "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" to them.

At the restaurant, even while she was hanging on me, I stole some snuggles and laughed at how she stole my fries. When sitting got to be too much for her, Bee swept her off to the mall next door while I had dessert in quiet company, and she brought back three wonderful things: my (happy) daughter, a ball, and a new stuffed puppy dog. At the museum, we played with bubbles and had fun riding in the elevator.

Even when she was at her most tired in WalMart, we made it to checkout by stopping to visit every helium "Clearance" balloon on the way. We drank milk straight from the jug! We danced to "Walking on Sunshine" while wearing sunglasses, and bought lipstick.

At Panera's, Kim told me that she wouldn't care what anyone thought of E's screeching, that, in fact, she would teach her kids to yell like that. And I laughed, and it reminded me that I never used to care what anyone thought of me, and I certainly don't have time to worry about it now.

And, even on the way home, after E took the straw out of her cup and spilled it down the front of her, after she cried for snacks that she had long ago eaten, she found comfort in pointing out the moon -- just a sliver on the horizon. She hugged my hand and said, "Oh, Mama..." and we sang, "Moonshadow," with E's contribution to the song: "Shadow... mooon! Shadow... mooon!"


Mark said...

Aww honey, that was a beautiful day and I wouldn't have wanted to have it any other way.

KJ Gifford said...

This is such a beautiful post Gretchin!