I try to be a celebratory mom.
You know. Make a big deal of small moments, make a cake for the medium sized ones, and throw a parade for the big ones.
And I try. Honestly I do. But without fail, the celebratory moment efforts that I put into it all always seem to come back and bite me in the...well, you know where.
Case in point: Last Thursday was World Down syndrome awareness day. "Awesome!" I thought excitedly to myself. A day to celebrate!
Well the morning of, I awoke at 3am, completely unable to fall back asleep. "No problem" I told myself, getting up and putting in four hours of work. YAY more time to celebrate when the kids are awake plus I got so much work done! Win/win!
When Addison woke up at seven, I changed her, fed her breakfast, and then took the opportunity to snuggle with her on the couch watching Signing Time. What a great way to start a celebration!
The next thing I remember was Aaron shaking me awake, saying "Isn't today Thursday? Why isn't Addison at school?"
Current time: 8:32am
School starting time: 8:30am
Addison was still in her pjs, with crazy hair and a yogurt smudged face. I was still in my pjs, with a much less cute version of crazy hair (that was still wet from a quick shower I took before getting Addison up). In my sleepy haze, I saw a naked Carter Henry go running by the couch holding a handful of crackers that he was crumbling on the carpet as much as he was stuffing them in his obviously starving face.
It's for moments like these that God invented the mom pony tail. And sweatshirts. And...basically the whole "mom look."
I whipped my pony tail into place, threw on some jeans and a sweatshirt, and then focused on dressing Addison in preschool attire.
While packing her snack, I asked Aaron if he could please feed Carter breakfast while we were gone. It was then Aaron informed me that he had a meeting in ten minutes and could not help with baby boy sitting.
Current time: 8:45 am.
I considered calling in sick to preschool since Addison had felt rather lousy earlier in the week. But as I looked at her bright, smiling face- feeling completely 100%- I knew what I needed to do.
I dressed Carter-quickly. I laughed a bit that the only thing I could find for him was a super formal sweater/corduroy pant outfit.
We all finally loaded up in the car at 8:55am and arrived at preschool a few minutes after nine.
As the normal drop off line was absent and the secretary gave me the side eyes as we slunk in a good 35 minutes past our normal arrival point, I felt as though I was making a new sort of walk of shame. "The mother who takes her child late to school" walk of shame. I never realized it existed until that moment.
Celebratory morning? Fail. Addison was over a half hour late to her favorite thing in the world that only lasts two hours anyway.
I tried to make it up to her after nap time. McDonald's! Surely a lovely trip into her favorite restaurant with a few french fries will help celebrate this wonderful day!
At first it went really well. Both kids contentedly sat in the wagon as we rolled into a not crowded restaurant. Addison gave huge smiles to everyone else waiting in line. Their Happy Meal came with a cute little bracelet for Addison to wear. They got buckled up in their adjourning high chairs and eagerly started in on the McNuggets.
Addison was laughing. Carter was smiling. My heart was happy. We practiced dipping chicken into the sweet and sour sauce. So simple and yet so special for them at the same time. YAY! We were celebrating World Down syndrome day!
It was when I doled out a few fries to them that the problems started. Carter decided that he liked the fries SO MUCH that he was going to stuff ALL of them in his mouth at once! Of course he only had three had a time in front of him, but that was all it took.
Before I realized it he had initiated his horrible gag reflex and vomit was spewing all over the table, all over the rest of the Happy Meal, all over his corduroy pants, and all over the floor underneath the table.
I bent over to start wiping up with not-enough napkins, and the rank odor of soured milk filled my sense with enough kick to take my breath away. I glanced over to my left and saw a table of teenagers hanging out after school. The looks they shot our way guaranteed that I just gave them the best birth control lecture ever. You are welcome, parents of these high school students. (Strangely enough I got those exact same looks of disgust from a group of teenagers when I walked into a Guess outlet store to buy some discounted jeans a few days later... so maybe it's just me.)
Trying to be a thoughtful mother, I handed Carter the cup/straw full of water so that he could rinse out his mouth with a refreshing drink of water. He chose that moment to pretend like his wrist was too weak to hold a cup of water (FAKER).
I tried to catch the cup as it went crashing in slow motion down to the floor. But my best efforts were just a millisecond behind the evil cup. As our half of McDonald's flooded with ice water from a little boy's errant cup, I saw the teenagers beat it faster than the reflex from touching something super hot and being afraid of getting burnt.
Giving up at this point, I took the kids out of their high chairs to put them back in the red wagon to get them back out to the safety of our car. I let Addison stand alone for just a second and next thing I knew she was rolling around in the water. As I tried to pull her out of it, I noticed that she had dropped her bracelet into the deep end of Lake Carter and was trying to retrieve it.
I finally got both tiny, strangely-strong, writing bodies buckled back into the wagon. By this point they were both fighting, crying, shrieking, and whining- yes all at once. I stopped by the front counter to let them know that there was a small pond that needs to be cleaned up over yonder, received my second pair of side eyes of the day, and then safely got my charges back out to the car.
We had to stop by the grocery store quickly (Addison then lost the bracelet for good at the grocery store), and while we were there we picked up some ice cream to try to salvage the celebration after we got home. But the kids were fighting so aggressively that I didn't want to add to their sugar intake at all.
Celebratory afternoon? Fail. Both children reeked of vomit, their throats must have been sore from all of their whining, and my patience had been ground to bits.
A few hours later when they were finally fed, bathed, and in bed, I saw down on my couch with the ice cream and celebrated World Down syndrome day between me, my spoon, and those delightful chocolate chunks.
It's not how I pictured it would go when I thought about celebrating the day. It also doubled as a "yay we survived today" type of thing.
So yeah, I'm not a very celebratory mom when it comes to big events. Yes, I do try. Yes, it usually ends badly. But yes, I will keep trying.
Today we are celebrating the life of my nephew John William who was born 3/17/2012 and died 3/25/2012. He will always be loved dearly even though his presence here on earth was so short. His precious life made an impact on us all.