Thursday, October 9, 2014

Counting princess hats and superhero masks -- not mismatched shoes!

I am in the midst of Counting what really counts as part of a 31 day writing challenge. My personal mission is to work my way through a stack of emails my dear dear friend sent me. The emails were written by a very young mama me and the fact that she knew I would need to read these words again make my heart warm and fuzzy! (You can click the link above -- or click the button on my sidebar to see a complete list of my What Really Counts posts!)

April 30, 1999 -- I am so sorry...I am having a mental breakdown....yesterday I thought I wrote you but now I realize I didn't....I also went to therapy with the birthday card for our therapist's son but not the gift; drove the six or so blocks from therapy with Benjamin sitting in  his car seat but not actually strapped in; and....tried to put Claire's very floral shoes on Benjamin!! I am seriously losing my mind.

Oh y'all. I can tell you that April 30, 1999 (my trio had just celebrated their 2nd birthdays!) was not the ONLY time I put the wrong shoes on the wrong child. And if I did manage to get the correct shoe on the correct child, I had a propensity to put the shoes on the wrong feet. Now, that might not be a big deal to you -- but please, I had to put little orthotics (braces) on the boys before I put their shoes on. Every single time I had to change their shoes after I dressed them because I had them on the wrong feet, oh sweet mercy, would you believe I had also put their orthotics on the wrong feet?

(And between you and me, I edited the final sentence of this email. I had to. I also forgot something mortally embarrassing that entire day -- something I desperately needed but my southern sensibilities just will not allow me to leave it here for mixed company to me on this one, you would be shaking your heads at my level of crazy.)

Young me got it wrong quite often. I forgot an extra diaper, or left the house with two, instead of three, sippy cups. I didn't always do the therapy exercises I was supposed to do with the boys every single day on every single day. My house was often -- and is often -- a disaster zone. My meals were rarely gourmet. Ok, never gourmet.

But hear me young mamas, these days are brief. You have probably heard it before -- I am certain I have said it often of late -- but please don't gloss over it: these days will fly right past you, right past!

My favorite "getting it right" memories are the days we sat in the floor and read every book they put in my lap; or the days they wanted me to dress up with them in full princess attire (sized for preschoolers no less); or the days I climbed into the ball pit their occupational therapist gave them when they turned two, and we all giggled and laughed and just acted silly.

Those wrong foot/wrong shoe moments -- those aren't the ones that count. The ones that count are the ones where we invest in the very character of the little people who call us Mom. The ones that count are the ones where we stop the running and jumping through hoops and just sit and do whatever makes the littles smile biggest -- even if that means wearing a floppy hat and a princess dress a dozen sizes too small.

I have a sudden urge to play dress up -- surely my 17-year-olds will oblige. It is what counts, right?

Carol - The Blessings Counter