So much of motherhood is filled with multitasking. If you are going to accomplish anything, you are most likely going to do it with a kid on your hip, possibly another strapped on you via ergo and another at your ankles. Along with multitasking, rushing and doing things, there are also those feelings of NOT doing things. Life is wonderful and also just full. As a mother, I constantly feel torn, pulled in a million different directions, wanting so badly to be in one place while I am stuck in another.
Kids are needy. They are brought into this world with nothing except us. Babies need their mamas. Husbands, siblings, parents, everyone else needs our attention, too. Don’t forget about us Mamas, either! If we don’t take care of ourselves and maintain our own sense of self, then how can we except to give back to everyone else who is tugging at our hearts, and our pants?
Saturday at 2:00pm, wedding bells rang. My older sister by just 19 months got married. Family and friends from across the country flocked to Palm Springs to celebrate the most beautiful, perfect wedding of two of the most beautiful, perfect beings on this planet. And when I say perfect, I really mean it, because I don’t use that word often and I don’t pretend to be even near-perfect myself. Truly, my sister and her now husband are incredible people and we were so blessed and honored to be a part of the ceremony and their lives.
A few months ago, she asked my little sister and I to share the duties of “Maid/Matron of Honor.” We humbly accepted. Then life happened, things got busy, crazy, hectic and I had no part in helping her prepare for her big day. For the past few months I felt so torn, wanting to drive the 2 hours to Orange County to help her go dress shopping, pick up invitations, taste food, choose her favors, etc., etc. But alas, time passed by, kids needed their Mama, Daddy became busier and busier working and I never did find the time to carve out to help my sister.
I felt awful. I still feel awful. Others stepped up, she was supported and everything went smoothly despite my lack of help. Still, that lack, that absence hurts me. As I mentioned above, my sister is pretty darn close to perfect and I know that she will never hold it against me and probably never even noticed or thought about my lack of help. It doesn’t matter, though, because I felt it.
Then came her wedding weekend. Most guests arrived Friday. My siblings, parents, relatives from near and far all made the journey. I was stuck at home, waiting and again just feeling like I was not in the place I wanted to be. I wanted to be there. I wanted to be with them all, but Adara had school, Alan had work to finish and I was waiting. Finally, when I could wait no longer, we picked our oldest daughter up from school 1 hour before dismissal (which my husband is absolutely against!), hit the freeway and got.. stuck. More waiting, traffic jam after traffic jam and it wasn’t until minutes before the rehearsal that we finally arrived.
I ran — literally — to meet up with my brother and his wife and hopped right back into the car to head to the Church. Practice went well, then onto the fun. Our 6:30pm bedtime for the kids would be thrown out the window this weekend, my husband and I agreed. This was special, one of those few nights of the year where we would throw our cares aside, dance under the starlight and hobble back to our room with kids on each hip late in the night. I could not wait. I had dreams of dancing with my son, his heavy head falling asleep on my shoulder under a moonlit sky.
Then, Adara got sick. I finished rehearsal to find several voicemails and texts from my husband. “We are stuck in the room.” “Adara is sick on the couch, not moving, burning up, please get her some Tylenol.” “We need food, all starving and she’s asleep.”
My heart didn’t even have time to sink into my stomach as my head went into full-on Mama mode. I skipped out on my sister’s request that all the bridesmaids gather in her room for celebrations. I had a sick baby and I was her Mama. She needed me. My sister needed me, too. My entire family — many of whom I hadn’t seen in years and whom had never met my kids — were outside, gathered under the most perfectly clear desert sky, dancing, drinking and celebrating. I wanted to be there, but I was stuck. I was stuck in our room, the very last place I wanted to be during my sister’s pre-wedding night.
My legs wanted to get right up and run down the cactus-lined street, embrace her in a hug and stay up laughing about childhood memories, reminiscing until the sun came up. I couldn’t. I was in bed with my daughter, embracing her, calming her and singing soft lullabies until her fever finally broke and she was comfortable enough to sleep.
The next day and evening progressed in a similar manner. It was a long night, everyone in our little family came down with symptoms and the aches and runny noses spread. By morning time we were quite miserable, but still excited. Our endorphins got us through the day, we hunkered down, toughened up, danced, cheered, and raised our glasses until 9:30pm when all three kids were actually begging us to “Please go sleep.” With kids on hips, just as in my dream, we walked down that starry path towards our cabin. We were out before we could even kiss goodnight.
So it is, with motherhood and with life. You spend all this time fantasizing about a big night, special event and how everything will play out. Then life happens. Kids get sick, babies need you. You make the best of it all, try to be present with those around you. You try to stop the feelings of guilt, stop feeling torn and pulled, knowing there is no use in worrying. You wish and hope and pray that those around you will grant you grace, understand your struggle and be there when you return.
Some favorite photos from this weekend. While our time celebrating and partying was limited, we still have a few fun photos as evidence that we really were there… attempting to partake in the festivities. : )