Saturday, March 04, 2006

It's Hard Being the Mom

Last week: “We’re having a Dr. Seuss Day at school.”
“That’s nice.”
“We’re going to have a dress down day.”
“Oh?”
“We get to wear pajamas and bring a pillow and wear slippers.”
“What are you going to wear?”
“I don’t know.”
I think about her various nightgown options and realize she is hinting at new pajamas.
“You want me to buy you a new outfit, don’t you?”
“Yes, please”
“Okay, we’ll go next week and pick something out.”
“I tried my slippers on and they’re too tight.”
“You want new slippers too?”
“Yes, please”
“OK”
This week: “Don’t forget we’re going to get me pajamas for school.”
“I remembered. We’re going on Tuesday.”
I pick them up from school on Tuesday and head toward Kohls.
“We have to get pajamas”
“I know, don’t you see where were going?”
In Kohls we look around for pajamas and we’re trying everything on and can’t find anything that isn’t sheer (and I’m talking girls department). I call my husband, Doug.
“Can you take the girls to Target tomorrow to help Samantha find pajamas for school?”
He agrees and we give up on Kohls and head home.
The next day going to school: “There might be snow tomorrow.”
“Oh no! I want to go to school.”
“Maybe if there’s a snow day they’ll move it to Friday. We’ll ask the teacher.”
At school I ask the teacher if there will be Dr. Seuss Day on Friday if there’s a snow day and she said yes. Samantha is relieved and all is right with the world.

That night when I come home from seminary, Samantha has a nice set of clothes to wear to school the next day. Her tee-shirt reads, “Blame My Sister.” And she is very excited.
The next morning she wakes up and says, “My throat hurts, can I have some juice?”
I look at her and think, “Oh, no!” Now, my next thought, thank the Lord, was not self-centered, it was not, “Oh, no! What am I going to do about classes tomorrow.” No, my next thought was, “What about Dr. Seuss Day at school?” I take her temperature and it's 101.9, I use a second thermometer and that’s 101.2. Samantha cries when I tell her she can’t go to school.

I hate this job! Why do I have to be the bad guy? I want to send her to school so she can have the day she was anticipating for two weeks, I want her to have all the joy of life and give her all the things I can give her so that she can look back at her childhood as a time of love, care and fun times. I want her to have fond memories. But then there’s the other side of motherhood, the responsible side. The side that says, they can’t always have the things they want. It's something that we all have to learn and I know it's something that we all struggle with. Better to learn it as a child and grow into it than to try to adjust to it as an adult. As Christians we know that sometimes God will give us what we need instead of what we want and we won’t always get to do the things we planned to do. Better to learn that lesson now.

But even when I'm being the practical mother the other mom takes over “How about if we buy some ice cream and rent a movie? Ok? After we go to the doctors.”
“I have to go to the doctors? Will I have to get the stick?”
“Maybe.”
She starts crying again.
“We’ll call the doctor's office when we get back from driving Sarah to school. Maybe you won't have to go.”
Driving to school and back she is a sad little girl and it breaks my heart. I attempt to weasel out of the decision making process by saying to the receptionist, “Should I bring her in?” She said a nurse would call me and of course the nurse hears sore throat and fever and switches me back to the receptionist to make the appointment.
Samantha takes the news like I knew she would (more tears) and then we are sitting in the waiting room for a half hour as mom after mom is told that their strep test was negative. I’m thinking this is going to be a waste of time. We get our test results and they are negative as well.
Later that night after a day of watching TV and movies, sleeping, ice pops and cream savers, she tells me “It almost made up for it.” Light dawns from the cloud of despair that we have been under all day. I hug her and tell her that I’m glad.

It’s really hard being the mom but it’s usually worth it.

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