Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mother's Days

It's not a typo. It's not a post on Mother's Day, rather a musing on any given day in which a mother goes about being a mother.

Yesterday I left our house around 8:15 am - a good 75 minutes after Caitlin left it to catch the 6:55 am bus for Jr. High. That's going to be a rude awakening for Maggie and Ryan in the fall. Unlike Caitlin, they are not self-starter material. They don't turn off the alarm by the fourth buzz and they don't leave their beds without considerable coaxing.

I started to make hot lunches then remembered it was a 1/2 day of school. Not that they can't make their own lunches by now, but it's something nice I can do for them when they have to eat at their desks. It feels more like a meal than a snack.

Work has been busy and yesterday was no exception so I was very relieved when my husband decided to work from home (he's been sick for the better part of a week). It's hard to leave work early (or even on time some days) and while they are old enough to fend for themselves for a 1/2 day I feel better when they have some supervision.

Wednesday nights are the youth program at our church so I usually end up driving right back to where I came from a couple of hours later. My husband graciously offered to let me work late and bring the kids there on his own. With gas at $4.50 a gallon and a pile of work on my desk I was more than happy to agree. The first Wednesday of the month is small group time, so our three kids are delivered to three different homes. By 7:05 we had dropped the last one off and after paying a bill at a local store we stopped to grab a bite to eat (I hadn't had dinner yet) and catch a bit of the Bulls playoff game. We talk about our days and I hear how there were some issues with a pick up basketball game in our driveway and having to change to warmer clothes before leaving and am grateful Dad took a turn in my after school world.

(I had to pause for a minute here while Maggie came up to tell me a joke. "Mom, the mom has blonde hair and the dad has black hair - What color is the baby's hair?" Mom answers "No hair." Maggie replies "Did you hear me practicing it?!")

So an hour passes and the food hasn't come - they are packed and they have a new cook but the waitress is so kind and apologetic and bringing free Diet Cokes and chips and salsa - we tell her she is redeeming the whole situation but we're starting to worry we will have to leave to pick up the kids before the food actually arrives.

This is our date night.

We finally get served and pay less than half the bill (God's provision) and manage to round up all the kids. I try to get some more information about the after school antics while I have only one of them in the car and watch the face deflate from pure elation after youth group to feeling scolded all over again and immediately regret bringing it up. I say a silent prayer and somehow manage to say something encouraging before the next one gets into the car and chats away about how miserable she was on the way here and didn't even want to come but then had the best night. We get home around 9:30 pm to four messages on the answering machine three of which want calls back that night.

I realize I never told Dan to make the kids shower that afternoon and none of them have seen soap and water since Monday. Caitlin obediently gets into the shower at 9:40 and Maggie and Ryan set alarms that they will ignore for 7:00 am so they can shower in the morning. Before they head upstairs, Maggie says, "Oh I need to bring salsa in to school tomorrow for Cinco de Mayo." Then Caitlin adds, "Who's going to bring me to school in the morning?" Confused, we inquire why she isn't taking the bus. She says, "Because I'm going to Springfield on the Field Trip and need to be there at 5:45 am."

We exchange the "Did-you-know-about-this" glance, and quickly determine neither one of us had any idea it was this Thursday.

Wonderful husband says he'll drop her off in the morning if I pick her up at night (one year that was 11 pm). I enthusiastically agree.

Caitlin continues, "Oh and I need $20 for lunch and dinner." Dan and I exchange yet another glance knowing full well we have 87 cents in change between the two of us and most of it isn't silver.

Wonderful husband goes to Walmart 15 minutes shy of closing for salsa and $20 cash back.

Dan returns around 10 pm as Caitlin emerges from the shower and announces there's something else she needs from the store now. I dig through purses and linen closets trying hard not to keep the other two awake until I find what she needs.

Around 11:30 I plop into bed. I remind myself to apologize to my mom again for my entire school life, thank God for the day and the kids he has entrusted to me and for a husband who runs errands while sick.

I am exhausted.

And I am so blessed.

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