Confession…I’m in love with these two people that we spent this weekend with. You already knew that? Oh, ok, my bad. You’re right, I probably talk a little too much about my sister and brother-in-law. If you’re tired of hearing about them, then you may want to skip this post all together. But seriously, don’t. That would hurt my feelings.
Cecilia and Matt are what I like to call “neat” people. If you’ve had the opportunity to meet “neat” people in your life then you know what I’m talking about. Being neat is better than being cool or being fun. Because being “neat” means your cool and fun along with so many other things.
Whenever we planned a visit to see Cecilia and Matt, it was immediately considered a vacation because they made it a vacation. Every visit was a magical getaway where you were showered with the best food, great drinks, and fun activities that made you feel like you were at a 5 star resort mixing it up with the most elite. By far some of my greatest memories are trips we made to Athens to see them when Brittain was little, and then to their condo on the beach in Jacksonville, then to their house in Jacksonville. Pictures and memories are forever imbedded in my mind.
I’ve been keeping this under wraps for a while, and it’s been just about to kill me because when I get news like this I want to be able to share it. So, here is the big announcement, making it “Brittain’s blog official” (which means it’s really official now), Cecilia and Matt are moving to New York. I know, I know, you’ve already seen it on Facebook, but still, I had to also make it “Brittain’s blog official” or it just wasn’t going to happen.
Admittedly, I’m sad about this. I hate that I’m sad because this is a GREAT thing and a HAPPY thing and a reward for 2 people that are hard workers and deserve to be compensated for their hard work. But New York? That’s really far. As Brittain said when I was finally forced to break the news to her, “That’s even further than Jacksonville.” I really wanted to say that wasn’t true, but it IS true!
I’ve known about this for a while now, so I’ve had some time to try to come to terms with it. I’m looking at the bright, fun side thinking about the visits we can make to New York. Brittain’s never flown, so when I thought I wasn’t going to be able to console her after I broke the news to her, she perked right up when I told her that we’d get to ride in an AIRPLANE. (I gave her my excited face and then hid in my closet later to have a brief panic attack thinking about flying…which I don’t like to do…yet having to be brave FOR MY CHILD.)
I’m working on actually being excited about this new adventure for Matt and Cecilia. Because that’s what this is, it’s a new adventure for them and “neat” people deserve new adventures. That’s just what neat people do.
At the point where we pretty much knew the move was happening, we quickly put our heads together to plan one last trip to Jacksonville. Because of Dan’s work schedule, it had been a while since he had actually made a trip down there with us. And, because of Matt’s schedule, it had been a while since we had even seen him. So, this trip was a long time coming. As usual, we couldn’t have asked for something that was more fun or relaxing. Among their many “neat” qualities, they’re fabulous hosts. We never had to lift a finger because they had it all covered.
Not even Tropical Storm Beryl could keep us from making the most of our trip (although I secretly hoped it would keep us there a few extra nights).
My blog writing goes in phases. There are times when I have so much on my mind and so much to say and I watch the clock waiting for 7:30 p.m. to come so that the kids can go to bed and I can commence blog writing. A glass of wine is in my hand, my laptop is open and my brain is in full gear. There are also those times when it’s all I can do to make sure I post a few of the thousands of pictures I’ve taken of my children that barely make it to my computer from my camera.
But, I’m really excited because lately I’ve been inspired. It all started with a HILARIOUS article my sister sent me titled, “You’re So Not Almost Ready for a Baby, Even If You Think You Are.” I’m not a big reader and most times when my mom or sister send me things that have in the subject, “YOU HAVE TO READ THIS”, I don’t. For some reason, though, I must have been feeling like I had nothing else to do because when Cec sent me this article I decided to take a chance. The first time I read it I laughed so hard that I’m pretty sure I peed myself. It brought me so much joy that I have it permanently opened on my phone so I can refer back to it at any time of day if I just feel like laughing all over again. Wanting to share the funny, I sent it to a couple of friends, one of which returned the favor by sharing a blog post by a parent discussing the woes of the bedtime routine with 3 young children. Equally as funny as the first one, I sat there, not being able to take my eyes off what I was reading. I loved it because I could RELATE to it. I sat there wondering if this girl was writing specifically to me because SHE’S READING MY EXACT THOUGHTS.
I have realized something huge and that is that there are times when I start feeling I’m the only mom out there that feels like I’m barely making it through. No one really talks about how hard being a parent is. We’re inundated with things like Facebook, where everyone feels like they only want to show the very best of the best. I don’t get on Facebook like I used to and I think, subconsciously, it’s because reading it makes me feel like SHIT. I feel like the majority of status’s out there are things like, “I’m the happiest person alive” and “Never a day where I wish anything was any different”. I find myself scrolling down and down and down, just staring, hoping to finally run across a “I just screamed into a pillow because my kids WILL NOT SHUT UP” or “Today I’m wondering what I was thinking…” or “I’m feeling a bit depressed and overwhelmed and I constantly feel like I don’t measure up to every other mother I see.”
Do you do this? I quite often stare at people. Before children, I would stare at people who had good bodies, or those that I thought were beautiful, or when I wondered where they got their clothes. Now, I stare at mothers. I don’t discriminate. I stare at ALL mothers and for the most part I make up a story of how they are all better mothers than me. If she’s perfectly made up and has on perfect clothes and her kids are dressed to perfection then I wonder to myself how she got out of the house with everyone looking that way with everyone still smiling. I think, “Wow. I bet her kids have been bathed in the last 3 nights, and I bet she even got them to brush their teeth.” Or, if she looks haggard and tired I assume that means she devoted her entire day to her children and none to herself. So then I just feel selfish that I start rethinking that decicion to put my children in front of the TV for part of the day so that I could manage to get a few moments to myself.
I have days where I portray BOTH of these mothers. Quite often on Sundays we all appear at church looking like that first mother. Now that Dan is off on the weekends, he’s around on Sunday mornings to help get us all out the door, with clothes on. Of course, even with him here it’s still not easy. Church falls right in the middle of naptime for Coleman so there is whining and Brittain sometimes feels the need to join in the complaining with “I don’t want to wear that dress” and “I wish my hair was straight like Addison’s.” But somehow we manage to always get out the door, into the car, and into church. I always look around at those that might be looking at us. All I can think is, “You have no idea what we had to go through to get here and look like this.” And it’s true, they never have any idea.
I’m fortunate to have the help of many family members who live close by. I have a spot in my heart for those parents who live away from family. I have constant help and there’s always someone willing to step in when I need them. But there are those times when there’s advice given that doesn’t actually help me. I’ve never been one to cook, but since Coleman started eating actual food and liking it I started feeling like I should actually provide him something to eat. I’ve been really pleased with myself with the amount of meals I have on the table during the week. But it’s hard. Really hard. Because while the actual preparation of the meal isn’t the worst, by far, it’s the thought that has to go into deciding what to cook, then going to the grocery store to get the ingredients and planning ahead enough so that whatever I’m cooking is thawed and ready to be prepared. My favorite advice from everyone when I complain about cooking is, “Just use the crock pot. All you have to do is throw the stuff in in the mornings and when it’s time for dinner, it’s done.” Granted, the crock pot is a fabulous thing, but until it decides what to cook, goes to the store and gets what I need and then throws the ingredients in itself in the morning, it’s not that great, k?
I’m attempting a new mindset and that is just to take things a day at a time. The caveat is that I can’t regret the day or what I’ve done throughout it. Most importantly, when I finally sit down at night, I know that I have 2 happy children that I managed to keep alive for one more day. They’re clean, fed and asleep and I get to start all over again the next day and do it again. I’ll do what I can to make sure both kids get the attention they need. I’ll do my best to get dinner on the table. I’ll do my best to keep the house clean enough so that Coleman doesn’t find a morsel of SOMETHING on the floor to choke on. Most importantly I’ll love them and I’ll do what I can. I think they’ll appreciate that enough. I know they will. Fortunately for me I’m the only mother they have.
I love Mother’s Day because no matter what, you get recognized because you’re a mother. I have to admit that I outdid myself this year, having lunch at our house after church for the family. It was by far the most UNrelaxing Mother’s Day that I’ve had to date, but truthfully, it was the most rewarding. And really, I got even MORE praise than I would have gotten otherwise because I went above and beyond on the day that was in honor of me (and all other mothers, of course).
I am so thankful for where I am in my life, for what I’ve accomplished, and for what I have to show for it. My children are a reminder of all that I’ve done good and they’re my hope for all that I will strive to be for them.
To my Brittain and my Coleman, I hope I always make you proud. Thank you for making me a Mommy.
P.S. For the second year in a row now I won the prize on Mother’s Day for having the youngest child. When we finally get an opportunity to use our 6th Street Pier gift certificate I’ll surely have a drink to celebrate.