Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Forest

Colby and his buddy Brooklyn enjoy some downtime.

Earlier tonight I was feeling like the worst mother ever. I was home for less than an hour between working late and heading off to a league volleyball game. None of the kids were happy to see me go, especially Miss Lily, who was told weeks ago that she could come with me to watch me play a late game.

The time never seems right. This week she's recovering from pneumonia, and I knew I wouldn't be home until at least 9:30 p.m., a bit late when there are three days left in the school week.

It is hard to describe the guilt that comes with motherhood, especially motherhood times four. I decided to do this ten-week session of league volleyball for me. While I am enjoying it, I am learning that putting the oxygen mask on myself first, so to speak, also comes with pain.

I really do hate these times when I'm running like a crazy chicken with my head cut off. I know I am not alone in this, although sometimes it feels that way. There are millions of mothers out there trying to balance this crazy life and learning that, oh yes, it's true, that sometimes fatherhood really is motherhood without the guilt (and a million other things.)

As I drove alone to the game tonight, I found some solace on my iPod. I clicked on an oldie -- Bread's "Anthology" -- and it brought back memories of hours and hours spent "sitting on the wall" during my teenage years alone in my bedroom. I had the highest vertical jump in the history of my high school volleyball coach's tenure at the time. Every night I honed it by sitting on the wall and strengthening my quad muscles, sometimes for an hour at a time. Those days taught me tolerance and discipline. I learned a ton of albums, wrote in my journal, chatted on the phone.

Tonight, I got my $*^ kicked on the volleyball court. In spite of it, I left the gym feeling amazing. I had a great workout, an hour of physical play, good teammates.

And daddy handled bedtime, set the trash to the curb, and greeted me with a smile.

The worst mother in the world is feeling better, as one might suspect. Tomorrow is another day, another chance to get this right. If I can just keep giving my kids the right tools, they'll be stronger. There will be days when they have to go it alone, with mommy at work, on a trip, at a ballgame. But they'll be fine. And I'll give them kisses and cuddles every chance I get.

Balance is a beautiful thing. It's precious and it's rare. I just have to remind myself, often, to see the forest and not the trees.

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