Shelby sneezed her 94th sneeze of the morning, spraying a 5 foot radius of our floor with spit and snot.
"Shelby, PLEASE cover your mouth when you sneeze, honey!"
I watched Ana crawling toward the wet patch of infected germiness, her gaping mouth lolling dangerously near the floor. Perfect.
I suggested a nap to let Shelby's "Sick Body" rest and heal.
She defiantly shook her head and explained, in a voice projected through her nose, "WELL, I just smelled a flower and it made me sick!!!"
Stifling my giggles, I prodded for more (hilarious) explanation.
"Mmm-hhm, (her hand on hips, head nodding) that white flower right there on the fence, Mommy. Right there (tiny finger pointing accusingly), I just smelled it and then it made me sick!"
**************************Later That Same Day**********************************
Having awoken from her nap, Shelby emerged from the bedroom rubbing her eyes and looking almost as miserable as she did before the nap.
She draped one leg and half her body over the arm of our sofa as I dialed a friend on the phone, watching her groggily rub her eyes. All of a sudden, sneeze #95 came out of nowhere and the strength of it blew her clear off her perch. I caught a glimpse of her curly ponytail as it slipped out of sight. WHAM! She was flat on her back on the floor.
That was one powerful sneeze.
Today is my mother's XX birthday.
She is warm spaghetti, Beautiful, red roses and warm hugs. She is home. She is shopping and leather loafers, water and wine. She is Gigi, she is inspiration, she is my conscience. She is sandy somersaults, literature, wave jumpers and classical music. She is laughter, adventure and enchiladas. She is my compass rose.
She holds my heart and my hand (no matter how old I am).
Happy Birthday, Mom.
"F&%$! How can we be late AGAIN?"
For the past week, these words, in varying arrangements, are uttered under my breath, every day around noon on our way to swim lessons (which began at 11:45). This is followed by an immediate rise in blood pressure and finished with determined application of lead foot. Then I screech into the parking lot, speed drag the stroller and trailing toddler toward the pool and plunk the kids into the water for the last 10 minutes of lessons. All the while avoiding eye contact with instructors and parents alike. WHAT are they looking at?!?
There's a crowd of smug mothers seated poolside, magazines in their laps, hair perfectly coiffed, who have, no doubt, been here at least 10 minutes before class began, keeping an eye on my whirlwind of chaos to make sure I don't ruffle their skirts.
I met one of those mothers at the park the other day. She has two daughters who are never dirty, she wears her shiny, thick hair pulled neatly out of her face, she carries three healthy snacks in her designer purse at all times, she probably wears an apron while cooking, and she handed me her, as she called it, "Mommy Business Card" at the park yesterday. Yes, a business card with her daughter's black and white pictures (like something out of a magazine) on a glossy 2x3 card with her name and phone number. WOW, I am rendered speechless over this.
So, what's my excuse? My hair is always in my face, my children are never clean, and I am genetically predisposed to tardiness. I will be late to my own funeral.
Whatever my excuse may be, this morning I made my sole priority for the day: Arrive at Swim Lessons ON TIME. And I agreed with myself (yes, there are voices in my head) that if I failed to uphold this agenda I would need to seriously reevaluate my role as a mother and my approach to parenting my children.
I began gathering sunscreen and snacks at 9 am. I jockeyed chatty neighbors and multiple phone calls, a landscape appointment and a diaper change from 9:15 to 10:00. I hunted down a car seat for Ana (John took hers to work by accident) from a friend at 10:30 and had everyone dressed and moving toward the car by 11:00. By some miracle, we made it to swim lesson with 20 minutes to spare. I must have looked like some runway queen gliding down the ramp onto the pool deck before class began. Gleaming with mommy accomplishment, beaming with pride, managing my two girls with grace and patience. No one recognized me. One mother introduced herself at the beginning of class and asked, "Are you new this week? I don't remember seeing you the first week of class."
Yes, I'm a new woman. A new mommy. And I am on time.