Thursday, July 10, 2008

30 Days in Mom's Shoes

Our Fourth of July in Utah wasn't just a fun vaction for our little family, it was partly business. Most of that business involved Daniel seeing how many fireworks he could blow up in only seven legal days, but that was far from the most important part. My little sister had been living with us since the end of May and when we went to Utah, we were dropping her off back at my parents. So basically, Aunt Maddie has been around for half of Sam's young life. Those two girls got to be pretty close. I can't believe how much I miss her already--yesterday was my first visit to the grocery store without help and I have never been so scared in my life! Luckily, Sam stopped screaming when I had been in the store about 2 minutes. Apparently, my "Hey, Baby, we are totally out of food and have to be at the dentist in two hours, so screaming or not, you are going in that store" statement did not fall on totally deaf ears.
Anyway, during the past few weeks, I have learned so much. My little sister is half my age, and she is also the same age I was when she was born. I have a little brother in the mix too, but he is much closer to my age than hers, so Maddie is the family caboose by a long shot. She never really caught on to the fact that she wasn't a teen or adult like we were and has been able to keep up with us pretty much since birth. She is a total kick--smart, funny, and too pretty for her own good. My mom always wanted more kids, but it seemed instead to be her destiny to have a few of them spread over several years. I think it worked out for the best, since all three of us are totally awesome. That is certainly the case with Miss Maddie--she is good at all the things I never was, popular and comfortable in her own skin. I don't think the awkward years are going to beat her over the head like they did with me.
When Maddie was a baby, I remember thinking how old I would be when she was my age and wondering what I would be doing. Would I be married? Would I have kids? Would I be in medical school?
Hey, two out of three ain't bad.
Having Maddie stay with us full time for the past month gave me just an inkling of what it must have been like for my mom. On top of all the indispensible baby help, I got to see what it was like to have the parenting woes that come from an infant, as well as the drama of a tween. Trying to soothe the hurt feelings of a jilted friend alternated with diaper changes. Cries for attention not only came as wailing and tears, but as constant requests and lively stories. I bought baby onesies and size zero shorts (I know, she sucks) in the same trip to Old Navy. Projectile spit-up for one and second-degree sunburn for the other--"what part of 'Valley of the Sun' is confusing? REAPPLY!" Sometimes at the end of the day, I felt so very tired--diaper rash and PMS should never be combined. I also felt so very impressed with my mom. She did it all. She did it all plus my brother. She did it all plus she was older than I was. If my life is any indication, the older you get the more tired you are. But, she not only did it all, she did it all well. I don't ever remember feeling ignored, left out, or misunderstood. At least, no more misunderstood than every teenager seems to feel so beligerently at one time or another. I remember feeling like my mom was my best friend who I could talk to about anything, and if spending the past 30 days having heart-to-heart chats with Maddie is any indication, she feels that way about her too. Even today, I talk to my mom about everything. I don't think I'll ever stop.
So, while I hope desperately that I will not be dealing with butt paste and clearasil at the same time with my own children, I have an all new respect for my mom and what she went through for us. If I can do it half as well as her, I will be more than satisfied with myself.
Thanks, Mom for managing to raise two girls, more than a decade apart, who could not be more different, and being a best friend to both of us. Thanks, Maddie, for being my other best friend and helping me into this new mom thing. I think Samantha will be your friend for life, just like I am.
I love you both.


Lenore said...

Wow. It's a post like that that makes it all worth it. I'm worried that I never showed you how much I enjoyed it all. I didn't just endure it, it was the best part of my life. YOU are the best part of my life.


Sarah & Drew said...

I Love your blog, so honest and sincere. This is Drew's wife by the way! I hope we can keep in touch better this way! Hope all is going well!

Anonymous said...

This shouldn't surprise me, but you write so articulately. Good job.