Today is my son's 9th birthday.
I am not prepared for the party tonight.
Yesterday, we dismantled the crib and set up a big boy bed for my two-year-old.
I forgot to buy a mattress pad while I was at Target, and the sheets we thought we purchased were actually duvet covers.
My daughter wore her new shoes to church yesterday morning. I got them on clearance at the end of last winter.
They don't fit. She's grown three sizes in a year. I didn't see that coming.
Sometimes, parenting feels like an endless game of catch-up. I'm always trying to stay ahead of the curve. I pack lunches the night before, I sign school papers as soon as they come home. I try to notice when we're running low on diapers so I can get them during a regularly scheduled Target run, and not have to make a separate trip. I meal plan. I run a mean To Do List.
Which is to say: I try. I try hard. And sometimes, I succeed. But most of the time, I can't seem to gain traction. I make progress in this area, only to slide back in that one. I delight one child and disappoint another.
I buy shoes a season ahead. And then they don't fit.
It's tough on a mom's ego, especially when she's spun plates at warp speed for her career. Can managing the lives of four kids really be more harrowing than producing a newscast during sweeps month?
The answer, I'm sorry to say, is yes.
As a mom, I'm always on call. I'm always in charge. If something goes wrong, I'm the one who needs to fix it. I find the missing headband, register for skating lessons, buy the fleece gloves before the first snow falls.
The good news is, the smile on my children's face when they see that birthday cake, that new dresss, the Angry Birds bandages, well, that means more to me than any paycheck.
In the end, I won't remember the crazy day I have in front of me, getting ready for Connor's party, all the cleaning and baking, the present wrapping and detail snatching. I'll just remember the celebration itself, the laughter and the ice cream, the Wii games and the love.
And I did remember to throw a handful of confetti into his lunchbox last night.
I haven't lost the game entirely. Booyah.
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