So, in case you don't know yet, parenting can be hard. It can be wonderful, fulfilling, a joy, too. We see a lot of examples of that on Facebook.
You know what I mean. That picture of little Julie helping bake with mom? Carefully stirring the cookie mix, not having ANY of the flour come out of the bowl all over the counter. Not showing the 9 eggs she "axidentawlly" dropped on the ground. Just Julie, looking like an angel, sweetly obeying.
I am not hating on these sweet pictures depicting precious moments. Not at all. Usually the experience is still positive and the picture is a reminder of that. Sometimes, as moms, you desperately need to hold on to that reminder.
I had a situation last night when posting a picture to Instagram. It is a picture of my oldest son, playing the recorder at his recorder concert. My first thought at a caption was "Had fun at my oldest's concert". But, then I thought, why not be real? Why not be vulnerable and honest? Why not write a reminder to myself (via my time hop next year, right?) of what this picture had behind it and how it ended.
So, what really happened?
We almost didn't make it to the concert at all.
I was about 3 minutes away from calling my husband and in-laws to tell them to not come. Eric had class, so he was going to be late to the concert. Isaac, my 5 year old, was absolutely besides himself, throwing a minor tantrum (ok, not minor. There was stomping of feet, and banging of hands on the ground, a face down, some one, who was not me, screaming into the carpet.) Eliza, well, she is wild in general and was acting exceptionally wild. Running around the house in her Elsa dress, around in circles around our kitchen island. Olivia, my oldest, had ballet, and had to get ready to be picked up, which means I had to comb her hair and put it into a tight bun (which is not really my spiritual gift or love language) .
There's the scene. When it was finally time to get ready to go, Austin started crying and sobbing that he didn't want to go. He was upset that he didn't know the songs (nerves) and that his favorite shoes were on the roof, (which, oiy. The boys thought it would be a GREAT idea to throw his shoes at the football that got stuck on the roof. Both of them. But, that's a different tale to tell for a different day.)
I don't even remember how it all worked out, other than me saying a quick prayer asking for help. How it got from this point to the final point. But, it did. I got Olivia's hair in a great bun, my in-laws picked up the boys and took them to the concert early, Olivia was on her way to ballet, Eliza and I headed to the concert. Eric met us there.
And, then, there we were, watching Austin play his recorder. He looked proud and happy and joyful. I took a picture of him playing his recorder. It is a sweet snapshot in time, which may only communicate that to those who see it. But, for me, it is a reminder that even in our worst moments as parents, things are never to bad for us to ask for help to turn them around.
Austin said he had fun, and I really hope that is what he remembers from last night. If he doesn't, though, I hope he remembers that mommy not only tried her best, but asked for help.
I wish I could say that this scene was an anomaly. Unfortunately, it isn't. But, at the end of the day, I am ok with it. I am ok with real life. I am ok with getting to the end result with feeling like we did our best, and when it wasn't good enough, God met us there. That's what I want my kids to remember.
Tracy Abney is a certified birth and bereavement doula serving Huntsville, Madison and other parts of north Alabama.