(As usual, I started writing this a few days ago and didn't finish until just now. So it is a litttle late.)
It's Mother's Day and I sit here in the silence with my cup of coffee and I remember not long ago how I thought I might never celebrate this day with children of my own. It is interesting how something that was so devastating at one point in our life can almost be forgotten as time goes on. I make a point to remind myself often of the journey we took to get our little boys and how lucky we truly are that we have them. They are, without a doubt, three little miracles. And I could talk about that for an entire post.
However, today I want to dedicate my post to my mom. I am going to step away from my "mom" role and play the "daughter" role today.
I had a great childhood! It was always filled with fun. My mom decorated our house for every holiday, which I am sure is why I currently have an entire garage of holiday decorations myself. (much to my husband's dismay) We always had a sit down family dinner at the kitchen table. On very "special" occasions, like when maybe dad was out of town, we could use the TV trays and eat in the living room. But there was always a home-cooked meal. There was nothing from a box, and nothing that came out of a can. And although I loved most of her meals, I did bring my little purse to the table one time and filled it with some veggies that I didn't want to eat. I am pretty sure she found me out though. We always said our prayers before eating, and we asked to be excused when we were done. If we watched TV at night, we did it as a family and I remember getting bowls of ice cream as a treat.
We went on vacations every summer, which were really just camping trips or to visit relatives, but we LOVED it. We always drove, and my mom would pack up the cooler with sandwiches and drinks for the road. We would stop at rest areas and picnic along the way.
We moved 4 times before I was a freshman in high school and my mom always handled it with grace and strength. She never had her family close by for help - she and my dad just did it all on their own...and they were young! I look back and think at my age now she would have already had my brother graduate from high school, my sister in high school and me in that lovely time called junior high. I am in awe at how she did it all so well completely on her own (with help from my dad of course).
I have looked back as an adult often and been so thankful for the mom that she was to me as a young girl. She was strict with rules (which I was not thrilled with at the time), she wanted to meet all of my friends and boyfriends, I had a very early curfew and was terrified to break it (as many of my friends will atest to), and she called whenever I said I was going to stay the night somewhere. She cared about my academics, my extra curricular activities, my social life, and my spiritual life. We went to church every Sunday and I was raised with a lot of faith, for which I will be eternally grateful. That is really what has gotten me through life.
You would think that the role she played in my young life would be the most important piece of her motherhood. And by no means will I ever down play that. However, the role that she plays in my life as an adult is even more important. She, not only is my mom, but she is Grandma to my 3 boys.
Now, being a grandma should be easy, right? You get to come enjoy the kids on your own time. You can spoil them with toys and good food. You can give them back when they start crying or when they need discipline. You should be able to get all the benefits of having children but not all the responsibilities, like paying bills, taking them to the doctor, dealing with their tantrums, buying groceries, making them meals, putting them in time-outs, cleaning up their throw-up, changing dirty diapers, or watching them late at night.
Well, that is not the kind of grandma my mom gets to be. She does not get to pick and choose the times she comes over to visit. She has to come over almost every day because she is the one who takes Parker to most of his appointments (anywhere from 3-7 per week). She also has to come over on Friday, because she watches the boys one day a week because we can't afford to pay a nanny 5 days a week. She is retired, and rather than coming to see the boys whenever she has time, she actually has to check our schedule before she makes fun plans with her friends. When making a doctor appointment for herself, she has to coordinate it around Parker's many doctor appointments. (which is not easy)
Rather than spending her retirement money on cruises to the Bahamas, she is spending her money on things for the boys like food, clothes, Thick-it (something we have to put in Parker's formula), and yes, toys! She has also given us money to pay for therapy for Parker when our insurance has refused.
My mom is what I like to call Parker's personal chef. She makes full, delicious meals (spaghetti, roasted chicken and mashed potatoes, curry chicken fettucini, and butternut squash pasta are just some examples) and then she blends them up and freezes them in cubes. She keeps our freezer stocked and he loves it! He eats her meals much better than regular baby food (well, who wouldn't?) and has gained weight. I always joke that he eats better than all of us. But she doesn't just cook for Parker. She always brings food for Brady and Ryder as well. And they LOVED it!
On the off chance that my mom is just coming over for enjoyment (which she will tell you is every time she is here), she still is working. She is contantly helping with all of the boys whether it is holding Ryder so he can get some attention, or helping Brady go potty, or working with Parker on the floor. She is constantly doing something. There is no rest for this woman. She has cleaned up vomit more times than I can count and changes poopy diapers in a blink of the eye. And to top it all off, she watches to boys for us at night if we go out. Now, granted, we don't go out very often at all. But when we do, it is so nice to have the peace of mind that my mom is with our kids. And I know it is not easy for her to stay up until 11:00 and then drive 20 minutes home. She also has watched them overnight when we take a respite night away.
As I mentioned before, she watches them on Fridays which helps our nanny expenses out tremendously. Well, when I come home on Friday, I always find the laundry done, the kitchen cleaned and the boys happy as ever, In fact, I will share with you that typically when I come home Parker actually starts to cry. Oh, you think he is crying tears of joy because he is so happy to see me??? Nope. He is crying because he knows when I come home, Grandma is leaving. He hates to see her go.
Which brings me to my final point. All of the boys truly love her and she works very hard to make sure they each get the right amount of attention. But, my mom's connection with Parker is something special. Why does he have this strong connection with her? It could be her unwavering faith in his abilities. It could be her eternally happy disposition. It could be her quiet strength. It could be that he knows a good cook when he sees one! Or, it could be that he knows that she is his Grandma and that is enough.
All 3 of my little miracles are so lucky to have a grandma like my mom. She is loving, patient, caring, the most giving person I know, and tireless. I hope that when I grow up I am just like her. I am blessed to have her.
Happy Mother's Day to my mom and all of the amazing moms and grandmas out there!