So go grab a cup of coffee and a donut, ahem, I mean a low-fat muffin, or depending on the time of the day maybe some wine and chocolate, and sit back and enjoy the story!
I’m SO honored to be here today…Natalie was an inspiration and wonderful, patient source of advice when I was just starting out. I’d never have imagined I would here be writing my own Mommy Moment one day (instead of just stalking her site as usual…) Thank you, Natalie!
There were just so many things.
There was the groceries, and the laundry, the unpaid bills. Phone calls to return, laundry to fold, emails to respond to, meetings to schedule, writing deadlines to meet. My mother-in-law was losing her battle with cancer, my husband was breaking into a million pieces right before my eyes. I was spinning in space, trying to make sense of it all, trying to make it all somehow be OK.
There were just so many reasons.
I packed so carefully. Ballet shoes and tap shoes and leotard and tights. After-class snack, bottle of water, hair elastic to make that perfect ballerina bun in her glossy, chocolate hair. Toys and books and fruit cut into tiny pieces for the little one, hoping to keep him entertained during the long hour his sister would be dancing her heart out.
Bag in the car. Baby in his carseat, buckled in tight, battered giraffe lovey tucked between his pudgy fingers. Mirrors adjusted. Parking brake off. I double checked that the ballet bag was on the front seat. I answered a text, set a reminder to bring fruit juice to preschool the next morning. I buckled my seat belt. Turned the ignition. Put the car in reverse.
And that’s when I saw her.
My beautiful, confused, horrified-looking little girl. Waving frantically. Watching me prepare to pull out of the driveway, turn down our street, and drive two miles to ballet class.
Without her in the car.
There was just…too much.
I downplayed it, of course. Made silly faces. Said “Good girl! You stayed in a safe place and waved to Mommy so she could see you. Silly Mommy almost forgot to put you in the car! Your ballet shoes would have had to go to class all by themselves.”
Finally, I had her laughing. At the idea that her ballet shoes could do her routine to “Welcome to the ‘60s” without her little feet in them. At the idea that her Mommy could ever forget her for longer than two seconds. Because I couldn’t, of course. I would have remembered. Mommy always remembers. Silly Mommy.
Would I have remembered?
She danced into ballet class with stars in her eyes, all smiles, all love and trust and forgiveness. I sat down on the floor in the lobby with my baby in my arms and sobbed.
There are so many things…and still, there’s no excuse. No reason ever good enough to have such complete and total mommy-brain blackout that a three-year-old in a tutu could be left standing on the front lawn while her scattered, distracted, over-extended mother almost drove away without her.
I know every moment of motherhood won’t be perfect. There will be so many moments when I fail, so many times when even my very best efforts won’t come close to being good enough. But this moment? Opened my eyes to a truth that had been right there in front of me all along. Except I’d been too busy doing things to ignore it.
There are so many things.
Some of them will have to go.
These days, there are more emails than I’d care to admit languishing in my overstuffed inbox. The dry cleaning should have been picked up weeks ago. I’ve forgotten about invites to birthday parties, skipped out on bridal showers, let the junk mail pile up in a messy heap on my living room floor. I’m learning to focus on what’s really important…and letting the rest of it go.
But because of all that? I’m a better mom. A better wife. And hopefully, a saner, less overwhelmed person who laughs more and scowls less.
And who will never leave her kid standing alone on the front lawn in a pink tutu ever, ever again.
Oh Jenny, I didn’t read your Mommy Moment until I put it in to the body of this post, and at the same time I was preparing to publish this, I’m Skyping with a friend telling her that there’s just too much going on right now and some of it has to go. I SO GET THIS!
We all take on so much as moms – it’s a tough gig and so easily overwhelming. There’s no manual out there for what we do, so sharing stories like this helps us all learn from each other.
Now head over to Karma (continued…) and say hello to Jenny. If you are a Twitter addict, you can find her there, and on Facebook, and Pinterest, too! And if you are a new follower, make sure to tell her that I sent you!