It’s that time of year again. May – Spring’s December. Because here we go, entering the craziest month of the year. The month where, at the height of exhaustion, we pile on Field Trips, Field Days, Birthday Parties (so all the summer birthday kids won’t feel slighted since no one is ever around to help them celebrate in July), projects, Living History Days, End of Year parties, End of Year gifts, End of Year plans followed by Summer plans … because if you didn’t sign up in April for Summer camps – I hate to say it, but you’re toast. And emails, oh so many emails. Emails about emails, asking if emails have even been seen. Emails begging for a reply … at the very least acknowledgment.
It’s in moments like these that I feel sorry for the room mom that has me in her class.
I’m not sure what constitutes a “one of those” moms, but I guess I’m one of them. I had a friend tell me the other day, “I know this won’t hurt your feelings, but, well, you know … you’re one of ‘those’ moms.” What? One of those, huh??
The truth is, my feelings were a tiny bit hurt as I wondered what “one of those” meant. I don’t think “one of those” means organized or on top of things. And, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t mean ahead of the game, apprised of grades, orderly, timely, prepared or even aware (Field Day?… what’s that? And we were supposed to buy a t-shirt last week and have it Tye-died? Who knew?! … oh, that email … opps!)
As I thought about her comment, I wanted to give a defense – to add to the conversation a few of the reasons behind my being “one of those”. Granted, I can be a flake and I am absolutely calendar challenged and I have opened an email and forgotten to respond; but, I also have lot on my mind. Five great kids, five different lives (3 of which are in that interesting teen stage), five schedules and five unique personalities that take time. So, what might look like flakiness or forgetfulness on the outside, often has more going on just below the surface. Because I do tend to drop balls or be late when I have a kid who happens to decide to talk – really talk – about the time I needed to be somewhere. And I admit not caring very much about the tie-dye shirt because it’s a lot of work for something I know will never be worn again. And what might appear uninvolved is actually hands-off – and I’m thankful the kids step up even when their end of the year project looks a lot less snazzy than their neighbor’s. Because I want the kid to do it himself. And I’m finding that as our younger kids go through these motions, I’m less and less concerned about how their project makes me look.
Yes, I struggle to remember things like orthodontist appointments. (I try to schedule appointments for my 3 that are in braces at the same time … but it doesn’t always work.) And, I can’t be at every activity. So, I drop off and leave a kid – sometimes even when it’s a game, not of a practice. And, the kids have had to find a ride home, on occasion walk. It’s not that I forgot or that I don’t care, it’s just life. Well that, and I might sometimes forget.
Yes – I guess I’m in the ranks of “one of those” moms. For me, it’s probably because we had our kids back to back to back. For someone else it might be because they work or because a dad isn’t in the picture to help … or for other life reasons. Even though “one of those” isn’t THE Mom (the one who has it all together, who is the room mom, who organizes and coordinates and prepares and delivers all the year-end stuff) our kids can still feel loved.
I know. Because, my mom fell in and out of “one of those” status. Because she too had lots of kids and a lot on her mind. And I never felt slighted being a child of “one of those.” Not once. Even when I watched her drive away from the Piggly Wiggly without me in the car, I knew she loved me. And I always felt safe. Because she left a wake of love behind her, everywhere she went. So when the Produce Manager saw me watch her drive away, he was quick to phone our home with a friendly, non-judgemental heads up, “Sue, did you leave something at the grocery store?” And they laughed and he waited with me until she came back. Then, she lathered me with apologies and words of affirmation. We all smile at the memory even today.
So here’s a shout-out to all the “one of those” moms. Grace to you as May hits your in-box. Summer is almost here. Don’t worry about what others are thinking. Love your kids. It covers a multitude. Because, you can only do what you can do. So might we fully experience the moments rather then simply exist through them… and remember to slow down and listen and savor in the midst of the crazy. And if you’re in “THE” Mom category, give the “one of those” the benefit of the doubt, because we’re all in it together and you have no idea how grateful we are for you.
Thanks for walking the road with me.