Happy “Terrible” Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day (or as my youngest has said via our lightboard, Terrible Mother’s Day… storm clouds and all!)

Let me tell you all, it started like every other morning, and there was a glimmer of hope for all the hearts and flowers. Then it peaked very quickly – soon after my husband gave me a hug, Justin brought me a homemade card, I “watched” church, and then we discussed breakfast. I didn’t want heavy bacon and eggs and he didn’t want to attempt crepes (my favorite!) He gave in and amidst much thunking and sighing in the kitchen, came up with a pretty decent crepe while I tidied, made the filling, made coffees, prepped dinner and threw it in the Crock-Pot so no one has to worry about it later. (Dinner was “meh” but the crusty bread I made was delicious.)

I had big dreams (and I think this is where it all fell apart – unreasonable expectations and all that) – big dreams that I would feel the love and appreciation just exuding in happiness with hearts and flowers from my guys.  (Note: were really not the warm and fuzzy type. Hearts and flowers just ain’t our thing...) I thought that maybe all the little things I do endlessly (and yes, sometimes with complaint) would be reciprocated back. I just wanted a hot breakfast, that we all ate together around the table, with stars in our eyes while sharing all the ooey-gooey gushy stuff they love about me.  (Ha!)

Instead, we staggered our plating, Kev ate standing up, Kaleb snapped at me more than once, and I lost my cool…  Then Justin got upset, everyone gave me a wide berth, Justin changed the light sign message (it started with a heart and a happy) and I said well if we can’t have a nice day we’ll just have a normal miserable day and you can all help me. I then dove into a sink full of dirty dishes and tidied the kitchen because I had bread to make to go with dinner.  And you know what? That’s where the “terrible” came in, and no, it wasn’t actually a terrible day.

I feel bad and yet, I think we forget that moms experience disappointment and frustration and want their special people to “see them”.  I also think that expectations get mixed up due to a lack of communication.  I mean isn’t that the reason usually?  Did I think it would be a perfect day?  No!  Did I think I’d be having a temper tantrum at the age of 38 at my breakfast table?  Uh, not in the least… but it happened… and that’s on me, not the ones who tried to show me love. (Sorry, dears!)

Motherhood is real life, y’all – it’s not all hearts and flowers and stars in the eyes.  It’s messy and imperfect and miscommunication and unrealised expectations and mixed personalities and all the real things.  It’s endless love and wanting to shake sense into your offspring.  It’s worry and wonder, tempers and teacups, sunny days, and stormy weather, laughter, longing, loneliness.  The most joyful of joys and lowest depths of disappointment.  So why would a day, merely marked on a calendar, to celebrate motherhood, actually be any different than the messy complicated relationships that define motherhood itself? 

So, yes, I’m grateful for the crepes, the homemade card, the hug… even though I complained… and I’m even more grateful for my children and husband themselves, even though they drive me crazy.  And I know I’m fortunate and blessed to be a mother with her children near, but I’m also human and I mess up ALL. THE. TIME – so kids, please remember, I love you even when I’m grumpy! Now, go fold some laundry and actually do the things without arguing, please? Also, stop shooting ping pong balls out of your balloon at me, mmmmkay?

The Dream of Silence

This morning as the alarm went off, I had visions of a leisurely day ahead. I pictured myself resting in some comfy clothes, book in hand, between loads of laundry, cups of tea, and dishes. The dog would snuggle up to me, I’d turn the ringer off on my phone, I’d bask in the silence.

Then real life set in and my dreams were but a puff of smoke. One child yelling about how much he dislikes school and telling me I’m not his mother (a familiar 7 a.m. refrain.) The other boy slept in a little and woke up grumpy. The buses were late because of the cold and my hard won silence was more of a mad, rapid descent into pandemonium.

J. made it onto the bus, albeit late, bundled up head to toe. Once he made it out the door, I though we were in the clear. Kaleb made it out as well, without any posted delays. I erroneously prepared to indulge in my comforter again a short time before meeting the day.

But the text messages started. “Mom, the bus isn’t here. It’s cold. Is there a delay?” This followed by him coming into the house asking the same questions. While I try to track the bus, I hear it from the recesses of my bedroom, driving past my driveway – child still in the house. No big deal. Just a little hiccup. I will drive him in. He’ll still be on time and no, child, you’re not missing school. It’s an organized study day before your exams.

Except, I forgot to plug in my car last night and it wouldn’t start. Now what? We plug it in for a short time and I get him to school just minutes after the bell rings. It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough. I’ve taken care of the immediate fires, but I’m frazzled and the bliss of silence needs to be fought for again. It’s fine – a great excuse for a chai latte and a muffin… and now that I’m out, I might as well do something with my day. Shopping, anyone?

Monday, Fun-day!

If you live anywhere in the Great Lakes area, generally speaking, you’ve probably been hit with the cold snap of the year. (I’m not exactly sure how far this crazy cold extended through North America, but I know that the GTA is cold!) School buses were cancelled last night in anticipation of the extreme weather and beasties were running outside to do their business as fast as they can. I *thought* I had pre-heated my car this morning (hello, remote start!), but it turns out my battery was protesting as much as my kids. (Even if I had won the battle to drive them to school on my way to work, Mother Nature had other plans.)

Now… what’s one day off of school? Well, let me remind you that we’ve had sick days, PA days, and now an inclement weather day. I love the slight sleep-in, but oh my word, I need the routine of regular school days. I love my boys dearly, but they know how to push my buttons!

I worked from the comfort of my kitchen table and eventually my couch. I got things done! The kids agreed if they stayed home from school, they would pitch in around the house (before we knew that I had no way of getting them there.) They got things done. We got things done… then it was a battle to pry them away from screens for the rest of the day.

Our youngest, 11 years old, has been watching cooking shows – Top Chef, Chopped, Nailed It, and SugarRush. These binges always result in his wanting to explore his culinary talents, until he gets bored, at least. Today, he decided he wanted to bake a cake. Good in theory, but I said I wasn’t doing it for him – I would guide him through the recipe, but the work was up to him. Also, I was supposed to do groceries today, and the staples cupboard was pretty bare – we didn’t even have milk.

He pulled out my well-worn BHG cookbook – my go-to for some basic recipes. (It looks something like this… maybe not the same edition?!) He found a chocolate cake recipe and decided this would be his ambitious trial for the day. Man, that kid knocked my socks off. He read through the recipe, pulled out the ingredients, measured and mixed, and put them in the oven. I helped him identify when they were ready to pull out, but he did the bulk of the work with a few learn-by-example steps along the way.

He’s a very opinionated boy – especially when he’s being creative. He wanted a butterscotch filling. So I managed to make a butterscotch pudding to use between layers of the two rounds. First time for me! He also required chocolate icing and wanted to melt down a mix of chocolate & butterscotch chips left over from our Christmas baking to drizzle on top. When it was all put together, I was seriously impressed – for a first attempt at baking a cake – and a layer cake at that – he rocked it!

It was a little dry, but I still cannot believe how well he did. It’s not the prettiest cake in the world, but it’s edible and yummy! A little slice goes a long way. So amidst the chaos of a mad Monday, we made some more memories, practised some life skills, and managed not to freeze any body parts off! (Also, I never lost my cool…) All in all, I’d consider that success… and seeing his confidence sore? It might have had me beaming in pride!

Five On Friday: Book Baby

Who knew it would be so hard to decide on a quick topic, list-format, when the choices are endless?  Do I highight my favourite teas?  Animated movies I could watch over and over and over again? Favourite baby girl names? List my pet peeves?  Least favourite foods? It was a difficult decision but I narrowed it down and am happy to present  today’s Five On Friday:  Book Baby.

We love to give books as welcome-baby presents.  They say it’s never too early to foster a love of reading and on the off chance that the new parents aren’t big book people, well at least baby’s library has something in it! 

Baby Books We Love to Give:

1.  Love You Forever – Robert Munsch 
2.  Guess How Much I Love You  – Sam McBratney
3.  Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? – Dr. Seuss
4.  Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes – Mem Fox
5.  I Love You:  A Keepsake Storybook Collection by Scholastic

This is by no means a definitive list.  I actually had a hard time narrowing it down to just five titles – we’ve been known to give others (like Princess Grace & The Little Lost Kitten – purchased at Chapters for my imminently arriving niece.)  Of course, we have many more favourites that we could share but if you’re looking for a treasured gift that’s a little different than the typical rattles or clothes, these are a good place to start.   Most are available in variety of formats including board book, gift editions, hardcover and paperback.   Browse the children’s department at your local bookstore and you’ll be sure to find some others that are perfect for the family you have in mind.

Here’s a cute little side note on books.  I went to Chapters yesterday with Justin and spent quite a bit of time browsing the children’s section together.   We picked up Mortimer by Robert Munsch and I’ve had my eye on the Adventure Bible Storybook and decided I might as well get it.

Last night before bed, I tucked in between the boys and we read the story of Creation from our new acquisition.  At the end of each story is a related memory verse – for this story, it is Genesis 1:1 – a verse we’ve attempted to memorise before.   As I’m getting the boys to repeat it after me, “In the beginning…”, Kaleb jumps the gun and finishes with “God created the ‘Kevins’ and the earth.”  So cute!