Friday, April 22, 2016

The Day I Missed My First's First

It has been a challenging week.  One of those weeks that make you ask yourself, “Is the world against me?”.  It began with a broken toilet, a leaky kitchen ceiling, a husband flying out for business, a teething baby, a needy toddler whose tummy ALWAYS hurts these days and a schedule jammed packed with t ball practice, and dance lessons and meetings and work.  The library books were due, the taxes were due, and lunch money was OVERdue. 

All in all we have been surviving.  Powering through sight words and homework, eating  home cooked meals for dinner (although mine was typically cold and I hovered over the kitchen island shoveling it in before the next “MOOOOMMYYYY!!!  I NEED….” most nights).  Everyone made it to school and work and t-ball on time. Tuesday night was long – the baby woke up at 1:30.  It wasn’t until around 5 that he finally found a comfortable spot on my chest and I was able to fall back to sleep just long enough to wake up with a crick in my neck.  But we got through it.  


 I remembered to pack snacks and lunch and even a hat for the field trip to the ball park Wednesday.  Midway through the week I get a call at work from daycare.  The baby has a fever.  With Eddie in Minnesota and my back-up (mother-in-law) on the field trip with James, I use my “phone-a-friend” life line to call a friend, who happened to have the day off to recover from minor surgery, to pick the baby up and watch him for an hour until I can reschedule patients and get home. 

 I score the last appointment of the day with our pediatrician at the expense of missing Wednesday night dinner at church – Earlier that morning, I promised the kids they could play on the church’s playground that night.

But with all the chaotic scrambling, leaky pipes, fussy sleepless nights, gas station frustrations, and other, now long forgotten, surprises, I was doing okay.  Exhausted, YES.  But I was still above water.  I continued to move from fire to fire, extinguishing some but leaving others to smolder until I could return later with back up. 

Until Yesterday.  It was a hurried morning, like always.  My mother-in-law came over to help get James to school and take the sick baby for the day.  I usually don’t remember much about mornings like this.  They are blurs of yogurt spills, major decisions regarding cereal, educational seminars of the importance of wearing pants in public, and sometimes negotiations about who will feed the dog in the morning and who will feed him tonight.  Somewhere along the way James updated us on his “loose” tooth.  “It’s getting ready to fall out!!”   He has said this before.  I checked a few days ago and it was nowhere near ready.  I look up and see him wiggle it.  I dismiss it and turn my attention back to getting the baby’s medicine ready and James’ snack packed for school.  I hurry through the rest of the morning and finally sit down at lunch for some mindless FaceBook time.  I have a message from one of James’ teachers.  It’s a picture of James holding his tooth and grinning ear to ear.  

I missed it.  I missed one of my First’s Firsts.  

It’s not the first one I’ve missed (I missed is first field trip yesterday in fact), I’m sure there are others and I’m sure there will be more. 

But this on stings.  This one HE'S been waiting since the first day of kindergarten when he saw his classmates, one by one, lose their first tooth...He's been so excitedly waiting for his turn.  It was important to him.
He updated me, asked me to look, to check and see and inform him of the “status of his tooth”.  I was in a hurry and preoccupied with finding Emory so that I could get her permission to throw her half-eaten cereal away instead of acknowledging James’ excitement.  Boy, has he been wishing for the day he would lose a tooth.  He’s one of the last of his friends to reach this milestone in a boy’s life.  And now it stings, that I didn't just miss this first...I brushed it off in order to complete other mundane tasks of our morning routine.  I wish I could give each of my children my undivided attention.  I wish that I wouldn’t hurry through the morning focused on completing a check list to ensure everyone and everything is prepared for the day.
It seems that from the moment we become mothers, we worry if we are giving enough.  We worry if we doing it right.  We all want our kids to be successful.  But the reality of it is, that they all aren’t going to be.  We all know good parents that have a child that may have succumbed to addiction or run away from home, or simply just wandered down the wrong path.  And THAT scares the crap out of me.  So I try…but mostly worry, ‘was I a good mom today?’  

Yesterday?  Yes.  I am devastated that I was too distracted to not give more attention to his tooth.  But when I left for work, I gave him a big hug and told him how much I loved him.  I left him in the safety of his MoMa who took him to a school full of teachers who love him as their own.  When James lost that first tooth today, he was surrounded by friends he could show it off to.  His teachers made a big deal over reaching this milestone and his class celebrated.  And one of those wonderful teachers took a picture so that I could experience the raw emotion, the excitement of the moment, even though I was working.  Was I there? No.  Will I be there next time? Maybe, maybe not.  But, I do know that my first born is constantly surrounded by people that love and care about him.  And to be honest, I believe that’s more than enough.