The Friday before spring break began, I rushed through the regular clean up of my room, frantically grabbed a pile of stuff to plan with and bolted out the door. Caroline's play was that night and I didn't want to be late. I was running later than I'd planned, so I'd decided to get flowers on the way to the play. As I pulled into the driveway with Lily, I saw Caroline slamming the basketball into the net. After a gentle and slightly excited hello, I was hit with "I'm not going to the stupid play!" Awesome, just what I need. I asked if something was bothering her and she snarled "Nothing, I'm fine!" I calmly reminded her that her grandparents were coming from 1 1/2 hours away. She agreed to do it for them and stomped into the house. By the way, I haven't written much about this side of Caroline, but trust me, rapid mood change is not unusual lately.
I rushed Lily inside and tried to put something together for dinner. As I was flying around the kitchen, Caroline came down to tell me she left her costume at school. At that moment, I was at a crossroads, I could scream every foul word going through my head or I could be the calm and rational adult. I chose adult (I later asked my step mother what she would have done and she agreed with me). I took a breathe and suggested she put something else together. Luckily the costumes were street clothes that match your character. I went upstairs and helped her find argyle socks, white walking shorts and a red tee shirt. Viola! Brainiac!
I went downstairs and gave Lily shrimp and rice (I'd worry about veggies later). As I was trying to find something for myself, Lily looks up from her plate and inquires "Does our family eat snake?" WTH? "No, Lily, we don't eat snake." "Well, why not?" "Oh good grief! I don't know. We just don't." "Hmm?"
Then the phone rings. My parents are almost at the school (an hour early) and need better directions. Boy, I would love to be early for just one thing. I explain where to go and look at the clock. Crap, no time for flowers now. Caroline runs down stairs and I suggest braiding her hair. You'd have thought I suggested using her hair as a noose. Next I suggest a perky ponytail. She begrudgingly agrees and I fix it. She looks in the mirror and declares "Thanks a lot Mom." (no sarcasm!)
We make it to the school with moments to spare. As we are waiting for the cast to get ready, I fill my mom in on the evening. She laughs and says that I was like that too. I vehemently disagree and explain that I was terrified of defying her (seriously, ask my high school friends). She says she can't think of a reason why I would have been.
My friend Stacey joins us and then I remember how I should be feeling about this evening. Every harried mother needs a twenty something idealist in her life. Stacey whispers that she is just so nervous for them. Her eyes tear up and I see everything through her eyes. The kids come out and give a good amature preteen performance (lots of preteen nerves and teen jackassery). After each song, Stacey smiled and cheered, my mom beamed and I felt immense pride. My baby was up there singing and dancing. I owe my mom thanks for reminding me that this stage is fleeting and Stacey for reminding me to relish it. Sometimes I need to look up from the trenches of motherhood and gain wisdom from experienced motherhood and motherhood yet to be.