I have a friend that got me hooked on a phrase, "Got my game on." She uses this as an all-encompassing phrase for any time she does great things - goes to the store and remembers the shopping list, goes to the store with her hair done, goes to the store with the kids behaving...you get the picture. The other day I was heading home from a brief meeting for my job, and said out loud, "Brooke - you've totally got your game on!" I had reported on the year as a Scholarship Advisor, and it was a great year for our seniors. Teachers clapped for me during a presentation. A parent told me "Thank You" for helping her son. The Principal joked that I could never move away. I definitely had my game on.
I then proceeded home. Within twenty minutes of being home, Noel kicked me in the face while I was changing her diaper, I burned the candied walnuts for dinner, and Juliet became hysterical when her sister buried her under a mountain of blankets. I definitely did not have my game on.
I don't work a lot - about 10 hours a week. But it's just enough to let me know what if feels like to have people appreciate your work. Noel appreciates my work as only a 2-year-old can. She says "no" to the dinner I cooked, runs away from the outfits I pick out, and screams at the top of her lungs at the store when I attempt to put her in the shopping cart. I don't feel a whole lot of appreciation, and I wonder if this one of the reasons why being a mom is difficult. (Just one reason, mind you).
This feeling continued on Sunday, which was Mother's Day. As hard as I tried, we arrived at Church at 9:11 a.m., exactly 20 seconds after the sacrament. Juliet had no interest in sitting still for any meeting, and Noel was only momentarily sedated by licking on a sucker. We played "Finding Nemo" on the DVD player the entire drive to Grandma Joy's house, because we just couldn't sing another round of "Itsy-Bitsy Spider".
Several hours later, I was changing Noel into her pajamas. While changing her diaper, she kicked me in the face; I responded by swatting her bum. I'm pretty sure everyone in the house heard me say, "Dang it, Noel - hold still!" Or maybe that was yell. Either way, I definitely did not have my game on. At that exact moment, my sister came in to say, "Happy Mother's Day, Brooke!"
It was a lovely moment, and I bemoaned that I had been sucked into my 2-year-old's emotions. How does this happen, I wondered? I wondered it during the hour-drive home, and each day since.
Being a mom means that I'm in the game all the time - sometimes my game is on, sometimes it's not. Sometimes we have a great morning of games and storytime, followed by a crummy afternoon where neither girl wants to eat yogurt, strawberries, or any of the other 20 items that I pull out of the fridge for snacktime. Sometimes they eat spaghetti, sometimes they throw it on the floor. Sometimes they sleep through the night, sometimes we are all awake at 3:00 a.m., and I just want to cry from sleep-deprivation. And sometimes the kids warm my heart so much I forget all the hard moments.
Until the next one happens.