All the I Love Yous

Today I said I love you by letting you sleep in. We have things to do around the house, but I know you’ve been exhausted this week. It may be a slightly selfish I love you because this means I could sleep in as well.

Yesterday I said I love you by picking up your favourite fast food burger on my way home from work. You were home by yourself all day and I was sure you kept opening the fridge and the cupboards, but still managed to find nothing to eat. (There is fruit on the table… always!!!) When I show my love this way, I can only hope that you’ll still eat dinner (and you did.)

The other day I said I love you by sending a text reminding you how awesome you are before you headed into your first ever exam. I probably even used the words “I love you” in this one, but I never got a reply. I can only hope that you really, truly know your value and that beyond a shadow of doubt know you are loved, despite your grades (which I’m sure you rocked!)

Last week I said I love you when I folded your laundry. The three baskets of it that you let pile up just waiting for someone to fold. It’s one of those things you’re supposed to be responsible for now, but I didn’t mind taking the time to do this for you while you were at school.

Every day I say I love you. In the meals I cook – yes, even the ones you complain about. In the reminders to try your best. In the lectures about contributing to the society of our home. In the responsibilities given. In the trust exercised. In the chauffeuring. In the questions about your life that drive you crazy. In the call to wake you up each morning and the call again 10 minutes later because you haven’t made a sound yet. In the words “I Love You” when you’re frustrated with me or just passing you in the hall.

You don’t always hear “I love you”, but child, my I love yous are being shouted loud and clear or soft and quiet every single day and I’ll be sharing them until I’m no longer here to tell you. Never, ever doubt you are loved and know that I hear your I love yous too, even when they’re not spoken.

Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This…

I had some hours owing this week and decided it was time for an overdo salon visit followed by lunch with a friend. However, despite my best intentions and contingency plans and schedule adjustments, when my feet hit the floor I just knew that today wasn’t going to be “my day” – even though, for everyone else’s safety and my own sanity – I really need a day for me.

The oldest got ready with excitement and speed as it’s the first ski club session of the year. The youngest lagged and lagged and eventually moved from the bed to the couch, looking decidedly pale and green. He’s currently tucked up beside me in our bed because whether you’re 11 or 37 years of age, we all want our mamas close when we’re feeling crummy.

As parents and partners this is often what our days look like. We make our plans and our plans change because life throws some little hiccups and giant monkey wrenches our way. We’re up to our necks in chaos and tears and laughter and cookies and completely forget ourselves. (What’s my name again?!) We understand the importance of self-care and independence, but also know that sacrifice and caring for others are just as important in the balance of a healthy relationship.

So today is not my day, and if I wasn’t consumed with endless love for this child of mine, I’d be upset that he sabotaged my plans… and I’m human enough to admit I’m frustrated – with the curveball, not with him. I’m feeling a little helpless because my care doesn’t seem to be soothing and a little angry that we’ve been hit with something again. I’m definitely irritated that I can’t make things better and have been washing my hands like crazy.

There are days… days when it seems to a stressed out mama or other caregiver that they’re always the ones who have to bend. There are days when they’ll feel like they’re stuck in the trenches with no hope of ever climbing out. There are days when they’ll be holding puke buckets or little hands or bottomless laundry baskets…. and all they really want is a Frappucino and a spa day. These are the days that they need you.

Let your fellow mamas know that even though life can change at the drop of the hat or gust of the wind, they are never alone. Let them know they have a comrade in the nitty gritty ins and outs of this parenting gig. Check in on the strong and silent ones too – not everyone knows how to reach out when they’re drowning.

Be a comfort – send an encouraging text, commiserate over the phone, surprise them with some takeout and offer to fold a load of laundry (but don’t mention the dishes in the sink) and remind them that their day is coming.

And if it is your day? Think of all the strength you can lend! I’m a little jealous, to be honest. Maybe tomorrow will be my day…. in the meantime, those laundry baskets are mocking me and I have a great excuse to dive into a new book without feeling guilty!