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A Hard Story to Tell

May 9, 2010

I’ve done some serious debating about whether this was even a story I wanted to tell.  It’s certainly not one that I’m proud of. 

I am an unorganized, scatter brained, ADD, mess.  I spend half my life trying to make up for things I’ve forgotten to do or looking for things that I’ve lost.(Like Sam) 

But, for this one, I’m afraid there’s no making up. 

I wish I could just forget it.  But, more than that, I wish my Mack could just forget it. 

I hope you won’t think less of me after this sad tale.  I certainly think less of myself. 

Here goes….

All week, it’s been rather hectic.  I’ve spent several days riding around the state with my husband.  He had to do quite a bit of traveling this week and since I’m the family driver, I did the driving.  The kids spent one night with their grandmother.  They rarely do that on weekend, much less during the week, but this was an exception.  On top of all that, we’ve had baseball every night.  It’s been hectic to say the very least.

I joked with a friend and said that we were just finishing up the last couple of weeks of school by just having them there.  That I’d already dropped out!  We are going through the motions. 

My middle son didn’t even do his homework last night, he had to do it on his way to school this morning.  Now, this is just “drop out parenting,” I know, but it gets worse.  Ugh! I wish this was all!

My husband quickly signed his homework log this morning, barely glancing at it, not noticing any of the reminders that were written there.  He was just trying to get him in before the tardy bell.  And I hadn’t so much as glanced at it this week.

After I picked Sam up from preschool, my husband had a few more job sites to view, so off  we went.  My mother in law picked the kids up from school.  Again, a totally odd occurence.  We always pick them up! 

So, when I rolled in to get the kids from her.  Out they came.  Mack was especially weighted down with stuff.  Mother’s day stuff to be exact.  A little plant he’d planted me.  A card,  a drawing.  and he’d written an acrostic poem using the word “Mother”.  Very sweet, precious stuff. 

The bad part is coming.  If you’re getting a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, you know where this is going. 

He looks at me, with a sad, sad face and the first thing he says is, “Mama, the tea.” 

The first grade sponsored a Mother’s Day tea.  And I wasn’t there. 

He told me that they sang mother’s day songs.  In one of the songs, they had to blow a kiss to their mom.  He wasn’t sure who to blow one to since I wasn’t there, so he blew his to the wall. 

He didn’t know who to sit with for the tea.  He looked around for his friend’s mom since he knew her.  But, another mom let him sit with her.   

But, through the whole thing, he was still optimistic.  He thought I’d be in his classroom. 

I was not there. 

Is there anything sadder that not being there for your child?   I can’t think of much.

The image of him at a Mother’s Day tea, in a sea of kids and their proud mammas, all alone, makes me sick.  And it makes me feel like I’m failing miserably at this job that’s so important.

Then, to make an already bad situation worse, I cried.  And, how scary is that?  Seeing your mom cry must be awfully disturbing.   Parents are supposed to be stable and strong and dependable.  And on this day, I was none of those things.

He hugged me and apologized to me.  He said, “Mama, it’s my fault, I should have reminded you.  I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry” 

I cried  harder. 

How could my seven-year old even think that me, not being the kind of mom he deserved was his fault?   

Sam, in the mean time, said,  “It is too, her fault!”  Thank you Sam, for speaking the truth.

But, Mack is still defending me and says, “But, it’s not her fault, because she has a disease.” 

He’s referring to my ADD, which is stupid and no excuse.  My seven-year old is trying to find a way to excuse my failure.  God love him.  And that makes me sicker. 

He and I sat on the porch and talked.  I had a hard time pulling it together, and since I normally don’t cry, made a bad situation much worse.  Every detail made me sicker.  He didn’t cry as he told me about the event, but his chin and lip quivered when he told me about going to his classroom, knowing I’d be there.  And seeing that I was not. 

I am heartsick.

Monday, I’m making a few changes.  I have not stayed on top of my ADD, and I know that the family doesn’t thrive when I’m not medicated.  Sad, embarrassing, but honest.   So, I’m calling the doctor and going back on some medicine. 

I’m buying one of those ugly calendars and hanging it in my mud room so I’ll see it coming and going.  And I’m going to have someone check behind me that I’m actually writing on it and taking my medicine. 

But, as much as ADD plays a role in this forgetfulness.  And as much as I’d like to blame it on something other than myself, I can’t.

So, right now, as my family sleeps, on this Mother’s Day eve, I’m wishing it was any other day of the year.  I’m not looking forward to a day that celebrates me.  Because I’ve dropped the ball.  

My favorite quote is one by Jackie O, “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think anything else you do matters very much.”  Today, I feel like this quote applies to me. 

I’m not looking for sympathy.  Truly, I’m not.  I know kids who have much worse mothers than me.  I know there are kids who don’t know their moms, or are abused or neglected by their mothers.  And I’m not in that category at all.  But, this mother’s day, I blew it.  And I feel bad.  And I’m going to try to make it up to him.  And I’m going to try very hard, not to do any of that scary crying when they are particularly sweet today.   Even though, I wish it were Ground Hogs Day, or any other day than a day to celebrate me.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you who are getting it right.

And a Happy Mother’s day to those of you who are suffering from acute Mommy guilt on this holiday as well!

Next year, maybe I’ll give them a reason to celebrate me!

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. May 9, 2010 12:24 pm

    Oh, my dear, sweet, Lula! I am going to have to come back later to read this. I got about 1/3 of the way through. I am in class, and I am starting to bawl like a baby. Not a good combination.

    I’ll be back.

  2. May 9, 2010 12:58 pm

    Oh, sweetie! I have so much to say on this.

    First of all, I could feel your pain coming through that laptop. I am so sorry. How heartbreaking that must have been. For your boy, yes. But, trust me, your heart was broken so much deeper than his.

    He was sad. But, I bet you today he’s fine. Isn’t he? Children are so resilient. And it’s not like this is you in the every day of things. Whenever I read your blog, I am struck by all the tender moments you spend with your boys. You are there for them, day in and day out. For all the big and little moments. And THAT is what he will remember.

    You made a mistake. It is the way of the world. Mothers aren’t perfect, but the good ones are extraordinary and I’m looking right at you when I’m saying that.

    Your boy watched you make a mistake. He saw your absolute grief over that mistake. He saw you apologize. He saw you make it right.

    What a beautiful lesson you gave him.

    And as for the tears? Woman, please! I think children should see their mothers cry. In this instance, with your tears he saw how much it meant to you. Tears show our children we are not infallible. Tears show our children that we , too, have days of sadness. And it’s okay to be sad. Tears show our children that we are human. Mother’s tears teach a child the very essence of compassion as they try to comfort.

    Jackie O was right, but what she forgot to add is that no one is perfect and it is in the mistakes sometimes that we find some of the truest moments of our life.

    You are a wonderful mother. Don’t spend your Mothers Day beating yourself up. Spend your Mothers Day being happy with your beautiful boys. Those sort of happy memories will live in their hearts forever.

  3. May 9, 2010 1:31 pm

    Dear LulaLola….you are not alone. I am the queen of forgetfulness. I missed one-almost two-of J-boys pre-school programs last year. The second one, my sister in law called and asked if I was going to be there literally minutes before it started! I am awful about reading “all the details” of the mounds of paperwork that my son brings home everyday. In fact, I got a phone call from his Kindergarten teacher reminding me that Friday was spirit day and the last spirit day J-boy had felt really bad that he hadn’t worn the right colors…so maybe I could make sure he wore the right colors this week! And…as we speak there are two sets of un-finished homework in J-boys backpack that I just noticed last night as we were driving home in the R.V.!!

    O.K…so I know that it was a Mother’s Day thingy…but I have a feeling that your boys KNOW how much you love them. You love adventure, look at all the fun things you do with your kids. These boys are blessed to have YOU as their mom! I mean what mom takes their kids dumpster diving!!?? In so many ways, your ADD is a blessing. 😉 You are the Mom that God chose for them…that makes you the PERFECT Mom for them!! This is just a blip on the radar. Kids aren’t nearly as hard on us as we are on ourselves. Also, they saw your regret and sorrow…you have raised your boys to be sensitive and loving and this is a perfect example. (oh, and truthful….thanks Sam!) Our kids need to know that we make mistakes too! It is how we go about dealing with these mistakes that is most important. It sounds to me like you are definitely “Dealing” with this mistake…and because of that your boys will learn a valuable lesson!! Also…don’t forget that we can’t shield our kids from all of the difficult things. Sometimes it is THOSE VERY THINGs, that God uses to build character in them! Even if it is our fault!

    I am sure that years down the road…this little event will be lost in a “sea” of wonderful memories that each one of your boys carry in their heart’s. Now…chin up lady…go wipe those tears…and have a wonderful day with your little family. You, my friend, are an amazing Mom!!

  4. May 9, 2010 2:09 pm

    Hi!

    Joann is my best blog friend and sent me over and I am glad she did.

    Please don’t beat yourself up too much – we all make mistakes. Plus you should be so super proud of your boy to be so considerate. AND it is important for kids to see that we parents mess up too because then we show them the right way to handle it and you did.

    I know you still feel bad, but please don’t.

    Happy Mother’s Day

  5. May 9, 2010 3:57 pm

    I really could feel your pain as I read this. I know you feel awful. I forget things all the time. Even important things! And I know you don’t want sympathy, but I truly do sympathize with you. I can tell you you’ll feel a lot worse about this longer than your little guy will! I have to take medication for anxiety, so I totally get you on the family not fuctioning if you don’t control your ADD. Just remember: We all make mistakes, and many of us are reading and remembering what it felt like the time we forgot to go to _________ for our kids. It injures us more than it does our kids, truly. Because we are trying so hard to be good moms, and, because we’re human, we just can’t be perfect. I hope you feel better…I’m thinking of you!

  6. May 9, 2010 5:26 pm

    Oh honey. No one, absolutely no one is perfect, and every single mother out there has dropped the ball before. It’s how you pick it up again that matters. It’s that you DO pick it up again that matters. *hugs*

  7. May 9, 2010 7:44 pm

    Oh, this truly breaks my heart. It hits so close to home! I, too, am one of those mothers that this easily could have happened to. There’s just so much going on around me every day that I can’t keep my head straight.

    The light at the end of the tunnel? Kids forgive so easily. And they tend to forget with time. I know you won’t, but he will remember those times you WERE there for him!

  8. May 9, 2010 7:58 pm

    LL, I’m so sorry! It broke my heart for both of you. And as much as he was sad, I know it cut you to the core. You will make it up to him, I’m sure. You love him and I know he knows that.

  9. May 9, 2010 8:58 pm

    You are so sweet. Last year my kids were in swimming lessons and we almost missed my sons entire Kindergarten program because i wanted them to be to all their swimming lessons. There do you feel better. We all make mistakes. Hang in there. I think you are a fantastic mom because you know what is most important! Good for you!

  10. Andrea permalink
    May 9, 2010 9:29 pm

    So sorry LL! That must have been so hard. I’m sure he will understand, you can only do so much! Don’t beat yourself up over it. Hugs. 🙂

  11. May 9, 2010 9:58 pm

    Oh! I feel for you…I do. I started to cry too! I can only imagine how bad you must’ve felt…but one day he’s going to read this and see how much you love him and how much it bothered you – and he might not even remember it!! Don’t beat yourself up too bad – we all do those things!!
    Big hugs to you!! Happy Mother’s Day!!

  12. May 10, 2010 2:08 am

    Lula! I just want to hug you! You are not Superwoman and you will make mistakes, but I do completely understand your upset over this one.

    On the bright side, it seems as though you must have the sweetest little boy ever. I can’t even believe how adorable he is for comforting you. I just love that!

  13. May 10, 2010 5:49 am

    Everyone has covered all the bases here. Just wanted to say we all make mistakes, we all fall down. Just make it up to him in a way he can remember. That way when he tells the story of how his mom forgot his Mother’s Day Tea at school the next sentence will be but…. we did “this” the next day (or whatever day)!

    I hope your Mother’s Day sweetness from your family helped to heal some of your sweet heart.

    I think you’re a great mom and your ideas to remedy this situation are wonderful. I love “big ugly calendars!”

  14. May 10, 2010 9:09 am

    I wanted to reach through the computer and hug you after I read this. Not much is worse than feeling like you let your kids down. I have felt that so many times in dealing with my ex. Too many times I have let things go (nothing dangerous) that affected my daughter because I was afraid of him. It makes me feel awful. I am finally getting to where I will stand up to him because it is for my daughter, no matter how it goes for me. So I can sympathize.
    I have to agree with what the other commenters said. I think letting him see you cry is ok. It is good to be strong for them, but he saw how much it hurt you and how much you cared and I KNOW that little boy knows how much you love him.
    We all struggle, we all fail, but you are doing a great job. Hang in there and please don’t be hard on yourself!

  15. May 10, 2010 9:58 am

    Hey Girlfriend, I don’t have many words that haven’t already been said. Wish I were there to give you a great big hug and tell you that you are not alone. You are not the first parent to miss their child’s activity and you won’t be the last, but this is so difficult because it has happened to you. How sweet your son is to say the things he said to you and how wonderful a mom are you to sit down and talk, something a lot of parents have a hard time doing. Hope you are able to move forward and enjoy the day.

    BTW, have you ever seen the Mom’s Family Calendar by Sandra Boynton? I bought one years ago and loved it so much that every December my children buy one for me for one of my Chanukah presents. We go to the Scholastic Book sale in December and everything is half price. Anyway, just a thought, it really helps to keep organized, everyone in the family, well a family of 5 or less, has their very own column with enough space to write several things. Check it out on google, you can see what I’ m talking about. Hope to catch you on BF today, I have several conference calls, an ortho appt for my son, and a homeroom access for my daughter, but I should be on later today.

  16. May 10, 2010 10:34 am

    Oh sweetie! Things like this are so hard! Not long ago, I had a very similar experience with my seven year old. (Maybe it’s the age.) I broke his heart too, but lucky for me, little hearts mend fast. All week long he was the spotlight in his class and on Thursday I was supposed to come and tell his class all about him. But I wasn’t there either. The worst was, I didn’t even know I forgot until I saw him as he walked off the bus. He was crushed. And I cried. And I don’t have ADD. I just plain forgot. So I know your pain. We mothers aren’t perfect and maybe it’s ok that our kids know we screw up sometimes too. I wish I could hug you!!

  17. May 10, 2010 11:01 am

    Oh you sweet girl! Mistakes happen and yes I know you feel that you can’t go back and change things, but you could still do something now. You can still go to school with your son for a day or part of a day, or you could have just a date for the two of you! I know that it will not replace the tea day at school, but that is the beautiful thing about kids. They love you no matter what and they are very forgiving. It is you that has to be forgiving of yourself. God never said that it would be easy, he just said it would be worth it! I am so thankful that you shared this story. No Mother is perfect and no matter what you dropped the ball on, your son will still love you and you will continue to love him. You deserve to recognized on Mother’s Day, don’t let one thing put you down, because I am sure that you have done a million right things as a Mother in the last year. Hold your head up high and don’t be so hard on yourself!

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