Here I am 36 weeks pregnant with our first born.
Since then we’ve documented all of her firsts.
First time in an official outfit:
First night in a big girl bed:
First official sleep-over:
And countless other firsts. Steps, running, first seasons, days of school, traditions and holidays. First time meeting out of town Grandparents, Mother’s Day programs and parades. Firsts!
It’s my job to be there for them. To be there for her.
Aaron works crazy long hours, he’s not available to eat hot lunch with her or help in her classroom. That’s my job, one I’m proud of. One I take very seriously. One of the things I absolutely love about being a mom. Her mom.
GAH!!!!! I’ve been meaning to put this certain date on the calendar. I’ve circled it three times on the take home newsletters and the mountain of paper that comes home with her from school. I’ve ear-tagged certain “reminders” so I won’t forget that coming at the end of this month? There’s a Pumpkin Carnival at her school where she’ll get to show us what she’s learning and we’ll carve pumpkins together.
Turns out? It’s the end of the month.
SHIT SHIT SHIT.
I forgot that today was the day of her Pumpkin Carnival and now so many things about her day make so much more sense:
Me: Did you learn a letter today?
Me: Did you do numbers instead?
Her: No, Mom.
Me: Music? Art? What did you do today? I want to hear all about it 🙂
Her: **Hemming, hawing.** Nothing, really. My day was good. I had a good day.
I don’t generally get farther than this unless there’s a snack involved and all the other fairies flying around in her head have been calmed so I dropped it and we went to see the waves at the beach.
Then she took out this special bag she had gotten that day – it was full of trinkets and candy, some popcorn. I deduced that it was her teachers Halloween Treat to the class. She didn’t correct me.
Then we sat down to eat dinner and she finally started telling me about her day … how there was this carnival and everyone’s mom was there and I missed it and she was sad because she was expecting me and I didn’t come.
Oh. My. Word. Today? Today was that day? I started crying and she immdiately took care of my emotional needs when I was trying to take care of her’s.
Her: Mom, it’s ok. I was disappointed but it’s ok. It didn’t really matter. I don’t really care.
Me: ::Crying:: I’m sorry, Jessica. I’m so sorry. I wanted to be there. I forgot. Was I the only mom who wasn’t there today?
Her: Yes. I was all alone.
Aaron came home about then and the first thing she did was retell the tale and the first thing I did was fall completely apart over Hamburger Helper and a glass of red wine.
Turns out I wasn’t the only Mom who wasn’t there today. There were other kids without a parent helping them carve their pumpkins. So she says.
Aaron was surprised by my reaction – that I would feel so terrible and cry so much about this. But he works all the time. He’s used to missing these things. He feels awful, yes, but it is his life. This is my job. Being there, is my job.
There were countless times as a child when one or both of my parents couldn’t be there, weren’t there, forgot or just didn’t show up. Didn’t stand up for me, didn’t defend me and I spent hours crying over this, journaling about it and trying to rebel against my insane need for them to pay attention to me. To see me. To stop with all their other things. The things that seemed so much more important to them, more important than me. Other siblings, work, cleaning, houses, jobs, spouses.
I had no idea it was so important for me to be there for my own kids until I wasn’t.
It was a Pumpkin Carnival. There will be more, it wasn’t her school play where she was the lead role. I didn’t miss her 13th birthday or forget to pick her up from school.
But she’s five and I had nothing going on today. I could have been there. I should have been there.
I bet this will be one of those stories we tell over and over again at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Hopefully not this year though, I’ll still cry. It’ll become part of the fabric of our family. Things we all remember a little bit differently.
Bla bla bla. It’s fine. It’ll be fine. I know it was an over reaction but it really wasn’t. A couple years ago … about the time I was seeing Jill Tanis I was digging through A LOT of junk. I remember one night I was just having a hard time shaking these feelings so I took a hot shower and it hit me:
I will stand up for my child. For my daughter … because no one stood up for me.
That Aha! moment was met with more crying and this feeling that I was finally allowing myself to change my family history. That I was finally letting go and deciding to be different in a better kind of way for my own kids.
So forgetting? Not being there?
Not an option. Not today.