Last night while watching the girls bounce from bars to balance beams at their gymnastics practice, I sat on a chair with Felicity crawling around my feet when a grandma pulled a chair close to mine. I had been giggling and joking with Felicity for the better part of the practice, and apparently she had been observing me. When Felicity took off after a green tractor toy, she leaned in near me, and in nothing more than a whisper, she said, "I didn't love it like I should've. I regret that 100% now. Motherhood passed me by, and I let it. I'm trying to make it up as a grandma, and I think I'm doing a good job. I really think I've found my calling. But I regret not loving my kids like I love my grandkids." There was a long pause. If we would've been in a different locations and if she hadn't been a stranger, I imagine she would've had a tear or two rolling down her cheeks. She then leaned in again and said, "Don't let it pass you by. Keep up what you are doing. Your girls obviously love you. I see it every week."
The moment was abruptly interrupted when her grandson clocked Felicity in the cheek with the green tractor toy she apparently "stole" from him, and off the grandma went to a different room to talk with the little boy. I lifted Birdie off the ground, kissed her cheek and gave the toy back. She grinned her big 5-tooth grin and fussed until I put her back on the floor to roam at her leisure. I briefly thought about the grandma's words but again my thoughts were stopped when the clock struck 5:15, and the girls came bolting at me to show me their "good job" stickers.
I didn't think about the grandma again until this morning when I found myself repeating, "Please come downstairs and get in the car. We're going to be late!" I probably said it 5 times before I heard little feet thump, thump, thumping down the stairs. "Hurry, hurry, hurry! Mya will get a tardy, and mom really doesn't want to talk to the vice principal again. She's the worst." Another set of feet came bump, bump, bumping down the stairs. I grumbled inside. I really didn't want to talk to the vice principal. And I really didn't want Mya to get detention for her sisters' tardiness. I mumbled a growl under my breath and followed the girls into the garage when I stopped and remembered the grandma. Water instantly filled my eyes. Crap. I was worried about something so unimportant (like a school tardy) that I failed to see why my girls were running behind. V had been dressing Elle and had gotten the shirt stuck on her head. I didn't even notice the shirt still stuck around her forehead when she came down the stairs. There she sat, waiting patiently in the car with a shirt covering her face because I was not paying attention. I laughed when I saw the shirt, I put the car back in park, and I walked around the van to fix her shirt. I thanked the girls for getting in the car quickly, and we sang Adele's "Hello" at the top of our lungs until we reached Mya's school. And guess what...Mya wasn't tardy.
I guess that's life. I guess that's motherhood too. We get so frustrated by the tardies, the chores, the whining, the kid catastrophes, the messes, the dishes, the laundry, the not listening, the stalled bedtimes, the pee-pee panties, the side jobs, etc....that we let life pass us by. I've written a lot lately about trying to be better about not letting these things bother me (even though I'd be lying if I said they didn't), and I really do feel closer to the girls. I'm happier as a woman, a wife, and especially as a mother as remain present with the girls.
And just to keep it real, here are some recent phone pictures of the girls. Please excuse the poor quality. I frankly refuse to make my children unhappy just so I can get a picture so it's rare when I get them standing still.