Sunday, May 09, 2010

A New Apprecation For Mother's Day

I'm only a few stories into How to Fit a Car Seat On a Camel: And Other Misadventures of Traveling with Kids (thanks to my mother-in-law for the book as a b-day gift!) but I'm already hooked. And I know the exact moment they got me.

The first story in the book was funny enough, and the second one, a story of a road trip with parents, baby and toddler started off cute too. It's all pretty cliche: everything starts off great, then baby cries, then toddler gets restless. Nothing too crazy there. The family does a quick McDonalds stop to recharge. 5 miles away from McDonalds the moment happens -- the toddler announces (and I'm paraphrasing here), Mommy, Daddy, you left Mozard back at McDonalds -- we need to go back!. Mind you, Mozard is the toddler's imaginary friend. The parents reason as best they can with the child, but he insists, Mozard was left behind.

And you guessed it, the family ends up turning around, going back to McDonalds and picking up Mozard. Who, I suppose, thankfully was still there - though according to the toddler, is quite peeved at being left behind.

I absolutely love this story. I love it, because it captures so well a truth I learn more and more as I have adventures in parenting: you can do everything right with a child - make sure they get their nap at the right time, fed just the right way, has just the right toys, and yet, things can still go terribly, horribly, wrong. You're just not in control.

I must relearn this lesson at least once a week. One day, I fully get it.

What does this have to do with mother's day? Only everything.

Consider my own Mom: she did things like take 3 boys on a flight to Israel to meet my Dad who was already there. I think about how tricky that would be with one child, and I cringe at what it must have been like with the three of us. The number of ways that could have been a disaster are too many to count. And yet she did it. And she did it well.

Moms need amazing fortitude, because, just being a great Mom isn't enough. They're parenting a moving target. One that can invent new challenges faster than the mile markers on a road trip can whiz by.

On this mother's day, I don't just want to say that thanks to my Mom. I also want to apologize for all the times I made her "go back for my imaginary friend." Trust me, it was nothing personal.

I love you Mom, thanks for doing such a great job with us!

And to all the other Mother's out there -- when I see you struggling with a screaming child at the mall, I get it. It's not you, it's them. Keep up the good fight, eventually they'll get around to writing a blog post like this for you.

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