Yesterday was all about my 4-year-old daughter and her dance class. She knows the only time she gets to wear makeup is for the dance recital or dance pictures. She couldn’t wait to put on this year’s sparkly get-up. I hurried her through the pouring rain and growing crowd of moms and dancers. I got her ready. I forked over picture money. I shuffled her in line with the other little girls in purple tutus.
Then we waited.
I looked down at my squirming son in his stroller and attempted to pacify him with crackers, toy cars and board books. I chatted with an old friend from my dance years. Our girls now dance together. I joked about him being the “brother stuck at the dance studio.”
I looked at my baby and realized he too could be one of the countless brothers I saw at the dance studio over the years. Bored and sullen, they would wait on a bench or a wooden chair outside my classes. We would saunter by in sweaty leotards, barely glancing at them. They were often still in shin guards or karate uniforms from their extra curricular activity. Their moms made them do homework while they sat. The lucky ones had Game Boys. The luckier ones had a Game Boy, trading cards, or Pogs, anything that would briefly catch the attention of their sister’s friends. The boys would half beam with pride and half cower in fear in that brief moment that a gaggle of girls surrounded them. I saw the same look on my son’s face last week as he toddled among his sister’s classmates. They all giggled and screamed, “Look at the baby!”
We were still waiting yesterday when I needed to change my son’s diaper so I took him into the women’s dressing room where we got ready for the pictures. There were two sets of sisters with their mothers getting ready. I went to a corner to quickly take care of business. Two costumed little girls peered over my shoulder as I changed him as fast as my skilled mama hands could go. I purposely worked to cover my son. I have to imagine these young ladies do not have brothers since they were clearly fascinated by what they saw for a brief second. My unashamed one-year-old babbled and waved at the girls, not realizing the indignity of the situation. One mother said, “Girls. Let’s go. Give that baby some privacy!”
Poor “dance brother.”
We went back out to wait. Another bored dance brother in a football jersey came up to us to ask about a toy we had. I looked at him staring into our stroller and I vowed to either have my son be a cool dance brother in the popular boys’ hip hop program at our studio or at the least make his sister occasionally be a “baseball/football/hockey sister.” It’s only fair to my son and all the dance brothers.
This morning my husband lost his temper for a second and raised his voice, urging us out the door. He got our son strapped in his seat and made his way back towards me in the garage. As I walked out he stopped and said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t need to yell.” “It’s okay,” I said.
It WAS okay. I meant it. He WAS sorry. He meant it.
Then tonight he got on me for yukking it up with my sister on the phone and talking about adult topics within earshot of our daughter. I didn’t even think about it until he brought my inappropriate behavior to my attention. I sighed and said, “Sorry, I’ll watch what I’m saying around her.”
I WAS sorry. I meant it. He knew I did.
This week we celebrated ten years of marriage. Someone asked me what advice I had on having a good marriage. I laughed because I really don’t feel like an authority at all. We just happened to find each other when we did. But, if I had to give any advice, it’s this:
Say you’re sorry and mean it. Don’t say it to pacify the other. Mean it when you apologize. If you’re the spouse accepting the apology, truly accept it. Don’t hold a grudge about it.
That melodramatic movie from the ’70’s got it all wrong. Love means ALWAYS having to say you’re sorry. It means saying it over and over again and meaning it each time. I am a flawed human married to another flawed human. Then we went and created two little flawed humans. I can think of no better example for them than to admit when we’re wrong, apologize, and forgive.
If there is anything I’ve learned in the past ten years, it’s that. Happy Anniversary, Greyson! There’s is no one I’d rather be a flawed human with than you. Here’s to many more years of apologies.
For years my husband has marveled at my bedtime routine, wondering what on earth could take me so long to get ready for bed. Exasperated he says, “No one on earth takes so long to get ready to go to sleep! What are you doing?!”
It’s true. I would think most women take longer than their male significant others to go to bed. For mothers of little ones, it’s an unending string of tasks adding to another hour of sleep we won’t get.
This is exactly what I did the other night and not far from my nightly routine:
Announce to husband, “I’m going to bed.”
Check locks on back door, garage door and front door
Unlock one door to let the dog out
Put rogue sippy cup in the dishwasher
Add remaining dishes in the sink and start the dishwasher
Remember that laundry needs to go in the dryer, start dryer
Turn off lights, but leave a few on so we won’t get robbed and I won’t trip when I wake up with a crying baby
Head upstairs with an armful of shoes, a hairbrush, toys and bag of stuff I bought at Target that was all sitting on the stairs
Check to make sure each child is breathing and still sleeping
Notice one child has kicked off her covers
Tuck her in without waking her
Go into bathroom and turn on faucet to warm the water
Turn off now warmed water to go back downstairs to let the dog back in
Go back upstairs
Remove eye makeup with baby wipes because I no longer buy actual eye makeup remover
Toss the empty wipes package
Apply zit stuff
Apply moisturizer (Although, I have a new skin care routine coming soon! Stay tuned! I digress…)
Remember I need my Neti Pot because of spring seasonal allergies
Take Neti Pot downstairs to sanitize it in the microwave
While it’s in the microwave, notice I haven’t packed the preschool class snack in the “Snack Basket”
Load the basket
Find the weekly take-home preschool bag with the frog painted on it to put with the basket so we won’t forget it
Realize it’s in the car
Look for shoes
Don’t find shoes
Screw it and don’t get the bag with the frog painted on it
Get the Neti Pot out of the microwave and wipe up the water that spouted out of it during sanitation
Can’t find paper towels so I just leave the water in the microwave
Announce to husband that now “I’m really going to bed.”
Go back upstairs
Realize I still have black smudges of eye makeup on my face
Look for wipes that are gone
Lick my finger and wipe under my eye
Remember I have a date with my husband later this week and decide to try an old dress on
Try on shoes with it too
Try on a different dress
Put pajamas on
Use Neti Pot
Change pajamas after getting saline from the Neti Pot on them
Go downstairs and get water to take medicine
Listen to husband say, “I thought you were going to bed!”
Assure him that I am
Pee one more time
Look for charger
Plug in phone
Check on kids one more time
Lay in bed and look at Twitter until my husband comes in and asks me why I’m still not asleep
I am sharing with you now a great weakness and constant source of shame in my life. This is my car on a Thursday. Oh, full disclosure, this is the clean car my husband left on Monday. Never mind my actual SUV, the one I destroy drive most weeks when he’s not away on business.
My husband calls me a “car hoarder.” At the end of a week, my SUV feels like a vehicular landfill. It’s like a dirty old purse on wheels. Crumbs, crumpled receipts, granola bar wrappers, Hot Wheels, jackets, muddy socks, nearly dried lip gloss tubes and empty wipes packages litter this rolling shrine to my perpetual mediocrity.
I will say, it is SLIGHTLY better now that I don’t have a breast pump in there all the time. Occasionally it’s become a point of contention in our marriage. My mom has even said she doesn’t like to ride with me. I see the looks on the faces of the preschool teachers when we go through carpool. They help my child out of her Goldfish encrusted car seat and watch her stumble over toys that have become buried on the floor for at least two weeks. That’s next to the half-filled water bottle graveyard. Sometimes I squeak out a meek “Excuse our mess!” I cringe whenever someone helps me load something in my car.
That’s when they see my shame. They see my nastiest, sloppy habit. Our house is nice. It’s not pristine by any means. A 4-year-old and 1-year-old live here, but it’s not terrible. But my car…it has always been a problem. In college I drove an old 1992 Toyota Camry. My sister always said I “smelled like my car.”
I see moms with their immaculate minivans and sparkling SUV’s. How do they do it? I do clean it out, sometimes. At least every other week I have to overhaul and take everything out. I have reflected on this flaw and have figured out why my car becomes an auto wasteland every week.
We are always in the car- We are out the door every morning. I like to consider myself an “In The Car Mom” instead of a “Stay At Home Mom.” Oh! Look out Twitter! I’m gonna start #ITCM. Oh, that’s already been taken by a seemingly fine international educational institution. Never mind.
We eat in the car- I only let the 1-year-old eat the applesauce pouches in the car for fear of choking, but the 4-year-old can down an Egg McMuffin or some Chick-Fil-A Icedream in the good ol’ Peg Perego Convertible seat any time. I half-heartedly scold her for tossing the spoon on the floorboard when she’s done. What can I say to her? I know it lands on car mat where empty Starbucks cups go to die. She knows it too.
I let my kids take toys in the car- I try to hurry them out the door and I hear, “Wait! I gotta get my My Little Pony-Sofia The First-book-ball-figurines-or-whatever! Please! I just want to play with them in the car!”
I don’t take everything out everyday- When we pull in the garage in the afternoon after preschool, a workout, errands, lunch, pickup and a play date, my kids are wiped. I drag them in, often hungry and tired. I grab my keys, my phone, the baby and the kid. I leave the rest. We tumble into the house only to find a dog ready to be let out before they run to the pantry for a snack. Unless there are groceries in the car, I rarely go back out there.
I guess I’m writing this to hold myself accountable. This is my confession that will hopefully spur me to clean up my automobile act. I’m getting my stuff out of the car each night. Starting tomorrow.
This weekend my step-brother had the honor of being a “Bridesman” and standing alongside two of his best friends as they got married. This wedding had two beautiful brides.
I was going through the pictures posted on Facebook. My 4-year-old curled up next to me and asked what I was looking at. I replied, “Uncle Bryce was in a wedding this weekend. His friends got married.” I looked at her curious face as she giggled at a shot of her uncle on the dance floor with his shoes off, clearly at the end of the night.
I wasn’t sure she had ever seen a same-sex couple before. I clicked to the next picture of the wedding party. She looked for her uncle.
Would she ask me about it? Of course she would.
The next picture was a lovely shot of the happy couple. I said, “There they are. They look so happy!” She looked a little confused. She said, “They got married? Two girls can’t get married!” I said, “Yes they can! If they love each other they can. If two men love each other they can get married too.” She said, “But you’re a girl and daddy is a boy and you’re married, right?” “Right, I married Daddy because that’s who I love,” I replied. She looked at my wedding ring. “They have rings too?” I assured her they did.
She looked back at the screen and said, “Oh, okay. Mommy! I love the flowers in her hair! Can I have flowers like that?”
Boom. Same-sex marriage explained and accepted.
Congratulations Kimber and Kaylee. Blessings to your marriage.