There are times that I think that this role of "Mother" is too much to bear. On those days that the kids all pick fights with each other, the days that my patience is no where near where it should be, the days that Christopher has been called out to work, and I am a single parent for long stretches of time, it is at those times that I wonder if I am in over my head, if I am failing. There are those times I would sell my soul for just five minutes of solitude. If we were to be honest, as mothers we all have those moments. The test, the real test is do those times outweigh the times that Motherhood is a gift?
Yesterday I felt like Motherhood is a gift. I put a lot of effort into "making memories" for the kids. I lay awake some nights wondering if "I have done enough", if I have measured up to my own impossibly high, sometimes unrealistic self expectations. That all sounds very over dramatic, but no one ever said that I wasn't. I sometimes need to just stop, just stop and breath. Stop all of the planning, all of the thinking, and allow myself to be in the precise moment that I am in. Stop living "for" tomorrow and love today. Yesterday reminded me of that simple lesson.
The day started off as nothing overly special. At no point did I ever guess the joy that the simpleness of the day would bring to me. The plan had been to get together with my friends and their children and meet at the movies for cheap Tuesday. We would then head over to the splash pad. Riley invited a friend to come with us. It fell through. My friends were not able to get together, and I had already promised the kids that we would go. It was no big deal. At some point in the morning I had a genius idea... Christopher could take them! I have sat through endless mind numbing children's movies, the movies that the kids love, and I leave thinking that I would have rather poured rubbing alcohol onto open sores than have sat through that movie (ie. all of the Alvin and the Chipmunks). Let Christopher
My kids are actually very good at dealing with disappointment. Sometimes I think that I feel worse about letting them down, than they feel let down. They were disappointed that we were not going, but they took it really well. Riley's friend Karina asked if she could still stay at our house until 9:00. I told her she could, and that was all she really needed to take the sharp edge off of the blow. I sat trying to think what I could do with them that would be fun, but cost effective and time effective. We decided to take a trip to the local cheese factory. The Ivanhoe Cheese Factory is a real favourite of ours.
There is a huge window that looks into the cheese factory and allows the kids to see how cheese is made, it even has a little step for them to stand on.
We pulled into the cheese factory and the kids all spilled out of the car. The first thing that they all went for was the big plate glass window. The four of them (Grace was away at a friend's trailer) stood up on that bench, their little faces smushed up against the glass ( I wonder how often they have to clean that window). "Awww they're not doing anything" Karina said, and then "oh look over there". It was like they were playing a game of eye spy in the cheese factory. After a long time peering through the window they descended upon the free cheese samples like a pack of hungry dogs. I looked at them and their faces were alive with complete joy. I purchased my feta cheese, my asiago cheese and my parmesan cheese. I lined up to pay while the kids all squealed and compared notes about their favourite cheese samples. As I got closer to the cash I only saw great big bags of cheese curd for sale. I asked if they were todays, and the lady behind the counter told me that they were yesterday's curds and that was all they had left. I decided against buying the cheese curd. If it's not freshly made that morning, it does not have that amazing squeak that I love. No squeak, no love. I paid and then rounded them all up, and then loaded them all into the van.
As we were driving into Tweed it occurred to me to ask if they wanted to go to Maple Dale Cheese to see if they had any curds the back seat roared back at me "YEAH". We turned onto highway 37 and headed over to Maple Dale Cheese. http://themiddleagedwomanwholivedinashoe.blogspot.ca/2012/05/maple-dale-cheese.html
They only had cheese curd samples. The kids were not disappointed, but again threw themselves into curd testing. They each wanted a different kind. In the end I purchased a bag of regular curds and dill curds. The kids piled into the van and I wandered over to the vegetable truck parked in the Maple Dale Parking Lot. I LOVE fresh veggies and fruit that you can buy from local farmers at this time of year. I came away with some beautiful large red tomatoes and some tiny new potatoes. Life was good.
As we drove home I took my head out of my own thoughts and began to listen to the conversation in the back seat. I feel very blessed right now because at this moment in time the kids all have really nice friends. Many of their friends have been their friends since nursery school, and I know their parents extremely well. I have known Karina since she was just two and her parents moved to Tweed from Toronto. We became friends, and the girls have been friends ever since. Right now the kid's friends blend beautifully with our family. I don't have to pretend with them, I can just be my goofy self and they are o.k. with that, and more than that even my kids are not embarrassed. As I drove, the kids were all passing back and forth the bags of cheese curd. "Oh Tristan you are right! These curds are so good with the squeak". I smiled. The four kids all began to talk together. Karina is Riley's friend, and yet she plays with all of them, she is like an adopted member of our family. I am not sure how they got onto the subject of boyfriends and girlfriends but Elly began to tell them about how "Drake really wants her to be his girlfriend". I shot a look back at her, her little cheeks red and an extremely self important look on her face (she's 4). Karina the voice of reason "Do you like him Elly?" "Yeah, he's adorable" says Elly looking bashful. "Then I think that you should be his girlfriend!" It was all I could do to hold back the hysterical laugher that was bubbling in my chest. They then got onto talking about "Honey Boo Boo." My kids love to watch Honey Boo Boo. It is not educational (although it does always make feel very high class when I watch it, much as hoarders makes me feel like a great housekeeper), it is pretty much trash, but it is pretty entertaining. Karina had never seen the show, so the kids began to explain it to her, with back stories and most hilarious impressions. Riley tucked her chin right into her neck and then squinted her eyes "I make sghetti. My family loves it. It's a family recipe." Riley then recalled how "June Bug" makes sghetti. Her face is revolted as she tells Karina "She mixes margarine which she calls butter with ketchup, and then puts it on their spaghetti noodles". Karina of course provided the correct response with hysterical laugher and "Oh that is gross". There was a point in the impressions that I laughing so hard that I thought that I may have to pull over at the side of the road and wait it out.
I walked into the house after that drive feeling lighter than air. My life is a blessing. Motherhood is a gift. I not only get to watch my own children grow up, but I get to watch their friends grow and change too. It really is a gift. A gift that I would not have received if I had not be open to living in the moment. Yesterday I allowed myself to just relax, the day was not as I had planned it to be, but it turned out better than anything I could have ever tried to plan. I am not going to pretend that it's all easy from here, because it's not. This life lesson will not change the way I look at the world from here on out. I will have those days of self doubt and wishing I could hit rewind and do the day differently. I would like to think that that pure joy that I felt will however pave the way for me to just let life flow more often and sit back and enjoy the ride more often.