Yesterday I returned from St. Louis where C & I were visiting a college friend of mine. We had planned this trip months ago—just after her third baby was born. Since I have my summer off, we decided a mid-week get-together would be perfect, and it was.
I was very….apprehensive about the 5 1/2 hour drive with a 17 month old, however, he was a perfect traveler and I couldn’t have been more impressed with him. We arrived at on Tuesday afternoon and met my friend’s adorable 6 month old baby, and her super sweet daughters (ages 3 and 5). We spent that day playing, snacking, coloring, and navigating the stairs (definitely one of C’s favorite things to do when he finds himself in two-story homes). We went for walks, played at a park, played outside, built sand castles, played hide and seek, read books, painted pictures, and ate numerous snacks. In the middle of this, my friend & I would try to have some conversations—undoubtedly always interrupted by her daughters or my C.
The interruptions came in the form of quiet requests (Mom, can you…..?), silent demands (C tugging on my leg and whining), howls (someone banged their head into the steps), yells (“She took my….!!”), protests (“I don’t want to…..”), and cries (a baby who had rolled into a “stuck” position). We would respond to the issue and then continue with our talk—simultaneously happening while creating some kind of art masterpiece or constructing some type of block structure.
It was really a fun time and all the kids loved playing with each other (for the most part). But what I was most impressed with was my friend’s ability to glide through the chaos and still remain calm and light hearted. She was amazing to watch—I’ve never really be in the life of a “stay at home mom of three” so it was incredible to be a part of. I couldn’t help but be amazed at her ability to balance her attention with each child, work through their squabbles, and sit down to play with them--all while providing snack & meals, keeping her kitchen and their faces clean, and setting up/ tearing down the giant blow-up water slide in the backyard. Not to mention she was nursing the little guy all the time too! She never came unglued when someone had a meltdown (whether it was her offspring or mine), or appeared the least bit frazzled. She would shrug and go about the next item of business.
Now, while I was overwhelmed by her “mom-ness”, her ability to do this certainly comes as no surprise to those who know her. Afterall, this is the same college girl who cooked real homemade meals, made birthday cakes, cleaned the bathroom, changed her bed sheets and the oil in her car regularly, drove the intoxicated roommates home, and created Halloween costumes. She’s always been one to take care of others—to help people out, and she is awesome at it. But the really cool thing about this person is that she thinks it’s no big deal. She doesn’t think she’s “Mom of the Year” and she confesses to having moments of desire to be alone in her house without her children. She admits fully to getting frustrated with the kids, and sometimes wishes that she could head off to work for a few hours each day. But, she knows this is where she is supposed to be at this moment in her life—and she embraces that. She keeps a level head and a sense of humor, especially when responding to shouts of “You’re a Mean Mommy!” with “Yes I am!” Her kids are certainly lucky to have her in their life, but so am I. I feel like I can take away a few gems from her home and implement them in ours.
And tonight, I'd like to propose a toast. To this WONDER-ful woman in my life. Whose house is never quiet, whose patience is always tested, whose work is never done, whose feet are always tired. But whose paycheck comes in the form of kisses, hugs, memories, and the knowledge that she has given her children the best gift they could ever have--her time.