Friday, March 14, 2008

A Mother's Joy

Why can't a mother be proud? This was my day to shine too!
My daughter was so excited about this day. She talked about it for weeks and was sadly disappointed when the original day of the event was canceled because we had snow. But, today was the rescheduled day and she was full of excitement as she buzzed around getting ready for school this morning. She talked my ear off as I ironed her "white" top and jeans (mandatory event day apparel). "Would they call her name last?," she kept saying to me this morning as she did just about every day leading up to this day. She kept me on my toes by repeating this catch phrase so I'd know she was referring to this day.
Our morning was fairly regular. The 2 year old woke up talking to himself like usual repeating to me and his father that he wanted to get out of his crib. My husband and I usually let him go on until he gets besides himself and we have to tell him it's not time to "wakey upy yet." He usually doesn't like it when we tell him he has to wait a little while longer so he decided to tell me to "shut up." After perseverating on an on, he finally got his way he proceeded downstairs to greet the rest of the crowd.
My 4 year old is usually already downstairs bossing the older two around and seeing what touble he can muster up before me or his father come down. The older two are usually finishing breakfast and getting their lunches packed while they amuse the 4 year old with song or play fighting. He likes it. They usually know they can shut him by getting him something to eat - so they help him out a little with some Cap'n Crunch knowing that ought to keep him out of their hair for a while.
After I get a shower I hear a knock on my door. Not unusual for me as I hear, "Can I come in?" As "the mommy," I'm not entitled to much alone time here at the Amaya Prison Camp - not even after a shower. My children don't believe in waiting for me, especially the little ones who usually bust right in the door. I know they just want to see me, but they don't grasp the concept that I'd like to be alone to at least get my undergarments on in private to spare anyone the grotesque scene of me stuffing and jumping.
Well, anyway so much for privacy my daughter walks in and reminds me of our special day with the usual catch phrase, "I wonder if they'll call me last, I'm so nervous." I knew she was talking about our event today. As it's 8:20 - ten minutes before the bus - I look and see her clothes are are wrinkled, she'wearing brown tennis shoes, and her hair looks a frightful mess - OMG! I can't have my child possibly winning an award in front of 300+ people with wrinkled clothes, brown tennis shoes and messed up bed hair.
We're from the old school where you don't go to the doctors with dirty underwear - so you know I wasn't going to let my daughter's acceptance speech be overshadowed by whispering undertones about wrinkled clothes or tennis shoes that didn't match and messy hair! - my conscience wouldn't let me have a pass on this one. We rushed - I ironed everything, did the hair, changed the shoes to her black sparkly ballet flats - and she looked like a gem! I think we're ready for our close up now, Mr. DeMille!
The smell of coffee is wafting upstairs by now as it does every morning. That lets me know my husband is up and at least managing the 2 and 4 year olds downstairs. I rush my daughter downstairs to catch the bus and kiss everyone goodbye. Now I have to get the little ones ready.
9:15am rolls around - I scarf down a bowl of Cheerios and finally convince myself that the little ones will sit still and behave at the ceremony if I remember to take along enough jellybeans. We get our coats on and leave. My husband can't go b/c he's got some god forsakenly long project that just happens to be due today. Okay, that leaves me and the boys. God, please don't let this outing be an utter mistake. The 2 year old can be very unpredictable sometimes - even when we do remember the bribe.
We get there just in time and I feel like mother goose with her brood following behind as we all hold hands and I keep reminding the 4 & 2 year olds about being good and getting jellybeans. Oh whatever - you've done the same thing, you know what I'm talking about - by any means necessary.
We enter the "All Purpose Room" and take a seat. I wave to Kaylynn as I see her class enter. I see her big smile and I hear her catch phrase in my head, "Ma, I wonder if they'll call my name last." It doesn't register what that really means until the ceremony is about 2/3 over and I've heard 4 other children recite their S.T.A.R.T. essays b/c I'm too busy at my seat trying to keep WWIII from breaking out with my 2 year old as I slide him jellybeans and whisper in his ear to remind him of how good he's being.
I'm halfway trying to listen - thinking they're going in order of classes until I hear the MC call out the last poster winner and I wonder what just happened. He went out of order - they usually call the essay winner first and then the poster winner. And then it finally clicks in my head past the dense fog of empty space that half hears you children when they're really trying to tell you something important - when your mouth goes on automatic pilot and says someting like , "Uh-
Huh, oh yeah, that's great, wow! Now, I finally get it!
This is a REAL essay and poster contest and the winner of the whole entire fifth grade will be called last. So no one really knew who the winner was - she did tell me that (OMG, I can never admit that to her) But I get it now. I saw her name in the program, but I thought they just hadn't called her up yet to recite her essay about her grandmother.
Well, Well, Well, after they call the last poster winner I hear the S.T.A.R.T. teacher tell the audience that they went out of order for a reason. The last child to be called will be the chosen winner of the entire essay contest out of 300+ students. This child will win a $25 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble, etc, etc, etc...
Yes, she was called last! And, I finally got what it meant to her to be called last - my daughter won the essay contest out of all the 300+ children in her fifth grade class. I couldn't believe it. I was so proud of her. And, yes...I cried! I know it's not okay anymore for you to shout out and scream, "THAT'S MY BABY" at school functions, but I really wanted to. I was just that proud.
Why can't mother's be proud anymore and show their inner joy when their child is recognized above others for their excellence? I know all children are special - I have 4 of them and have to make them all feel special (especially 3 of them whose b-days all fall in January (go figure)). But, this was to become one of those "ugly cry" moments for me - a day to remember. A day to put in the scrapbook. One of my crowning moments as "Mom".
My joy of the day!
This is my oldest baby - a winner!

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