God has an interesting way of getting my attention.
Let me explain.
The BadAssMama has been in a bit of a rut lately. Rather than a celebration of joy and beauty and light, life these days has been more of a slog through the myriad of indignities and annoyances that comprise life with two-under-the-age-of-six. Rather than appreciating the fact that both of my kids (as well as The Hubs and I) are of sound body and relatively sound mind, I found myself complaining about, well, pretty much everything.
Now, don't get me wrong. I fully accept the fact that mine are textbook examples of suburban-working-mother-first-world-problems. But when you're in the middle of the mess, it can be easy to lose hope. To forget that the hard times don't last forever. That the kids won't always be little - or working on my last nerve most waking hours.
Last weekend on the way to an impromptu date night, The Hubs and I got into a conversation about life. Not the meaning of life or anything so far-reaching as that, but really our life right now. Over the course of the conversation, the topic rather quickly shifted to me - more specifically, the fact that he was worried. About me. He told me that he could see how much stress I was under. He referenced a passing conversation we had in the kitchen where I mentioned that I felt more like a drill sergeant than a mom. He told me that he was worried that I wasn't having any fun.
Fun. How the hell am I supposed to have fun when there is just SO MUCH SHIT TO DO?
And that, my friends, is the problem. There will always be things to do, but the time when my kids are small (and not yet mortified by my dorkiness) is fleeting. If I don't embrace it now, it will be gone before I know it.
I reflected on how to have more fun - in general, but specifically with my kids, for the next few days. It weighed heavy on my mind as I went to church on Sunday. At the end of service, I went up for prayer. Clearly I couldn't figure out this whole "letting go and having fun" thing on my own, so I'd take it up with The Boss. The wonderful woman who prayed for me was also a mother and nodded knowingly when I explained my problem. I told her that, since having kids, my life was an exercise in control. If I could control how much hydration Victor had each day and insured that he took his medications on time, I could make sure that he didn't end up in the hospital. If I could help Angel to redirect his insane levels of energy and focus, I could keep him from having problems in school.
Once the words came out of my mouth, I realized that it was impossible for me to truly control these things, but I couldn't shake the feeling that it was my responsibility - my duty as a mother to TRY to control as many variables as possible. To keep my children safe, to give them options, to make them healthy, happy and whole. As the woman prayed for me, she asked that God give me a series of winks over the course of the next few days to show me that he understood and would help me to take life less seriously. To let go of the semblance of control and surrender my control-freak tendencies to Him. I left the church feeling lighter, feeling understood, but still not quite knowing how the hell I was going to kick my control habit.
On Monday, I returned to work after the Christmas break. The work day moved along smoothly and I even made the train that would get me home in time to make dinner before the boys got back from karate. But, of course, there were delays (how I adore the Long Island Railroad...). Twenty minutes after my scheduled arrival time, we made it into the station. Since I'd be traveling for most of this week, I wanted to make it to a 7:30 karate class so time was tight. I could feel my shoulders tensing up and heard the ever-present voice in my head that I was failing my kids yet again:
- You can't even make it home on time to make them dinner!
- How selfish are you?
- How could you possibly go to karate when you're going to leave before they wake up tomorrow and be back after they go to bed?
- Sure, you'll be back for part of Victor's birthday on Wednesday, but you're right back on a plane Wednesday night.
- What kind of mother are you?
I finally made it home, kissed the boys and listened to the stories of their day as I prepared a quick dinner. My shoulders began to relax as they smiled and shared their adventures. I scarfed down some semblance of a meal for myself, then read Victor's library book to them as they ate their dinner. I sang our special good night song before I left for class (since I would miss bedtime...again) then raced off to the studio with seconds to spare before class began.
While the constant punches and kicks of the class usually help to release the demons of the day, they only seemed to build over the course of class. I couldn't stop thinking about all I had to do in the week and how much time I'd be spending away from the boys.
About half way into class, we were instructed to do a switch-and-kick with our left leg. Basically, we do a little shuffle to move our front leg to the back, then kick the bag. Well, The BadAssMama was so caught up in her own private pity party that I wound up to kick the bag with my left, but somehow failed to plant my right foot firmly on the ground. Before I knew it, I landed flat on my ass.
Rather than turning red or fleeing the room in embarrassment, I did the only thing that fit the situation. I laughed out loud. The woman sharing the bag with me gave me a fist bump and said she really needed a good laugh. When the 14 year old behind me asked, "Are you ok, m'am?" I looked him square in the eye and said, "Kid, you didn't see anything." I finished the class with more of a spring in my step (and pain in my ass) and limped home with a more healthy sense of humor about the day.
Can you say God wink?
This morning, the alarm went off just before 5am for my 7 o'clock flight. Despite being a bit sleep deprived (really the new normal since kids), I was in a relatively good mood. I pulled myself together, grabbed my bag and headed out the door right on time for my 5:30am pick up. I opened the car door, said hello to the driver and heard a distinct "RIIIIIIP" as I attempted to take my seat.
Not the best way to start the morning.
Thankfully, I was still in front of my house. I told the driver that I had forgotten something, scared the crap out of my husband as I ran back into our room to change then made it back to the car in time for my flight. The ticketing and security line went smoothly, then I commenced my standard early-morning-airport sequence. Around 6:45, I called the house to Face Time with the boys before my flight took off. My husband answered the phone and told me that the kids were still asleep. My boys - who wake between 5:45 and 6:15am seven days a week - decided to sleep in on the morning that I had a 7:05am flight. While I kept my phone on as long as possible, before I knew it was time for boarding and I had to leave without speaking to my boys.
As I sat moping on the plane, I realized that I was yet again choosing to focus on the not-so-bright-side of life. I chose to focus on the rip rather than the fact that I was able to change my pants easily, without embarrassment, from the comfort of my own home. Even though I wasn't able to speak to my boys, I did have the presence of mind to leave them a note in the kitchen before running out the door. And I failed to appreciate the fact that I had a husband who was more than an equal partner in caring for our kids.
Can you say God wink?
So, here I am at the end of the day. My business meetings could not have gone better. I'm sitting in the airport waiting for my flight to board. Thanks to mobile wifi, I was able to Face Time with the boys over dinner and I'll call them to sing our special good night song before take off. I'll rub their backs and take them to the potty around 10:30 when I come home. And while I am getting on another plane before he gets home from school, I am blessed to have the opportunity to spend part of Victor's birthday with him tomorrow (I'm bringing bagels and fruit to his class - it's a surprise!).
And to think, such an amazing day started with a pair of ripped pants...
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