Friday, June 6, 2014

Me and Amy, we sound the same.

I would like to hereby proclaim my undying love for Amy Poehler.  Because I think we can all agree, she's completely hilarious.  So many amazing SNL moments.  The best Hillary Clinton impersonations (one of my all time favorite skits and the absolute only good thing to come out of election year dramas.  Two funny, funny ladies).

Here's the problem, though: it's day one (seriously?  It's only day one?!) of a two week single mom stint and already I sound waaaay too much like Amy.  

And not the nice, conversational, complementary side.  

I'm a little more intense.  A little more "HOW DO YOU MISS A PASS LIKE THAT?!"   

Because, I love my little stinkers.  More than life itself.  This Mom gig is my most important job, and all those sappy, inspirational quotes that have those with kids and without kids debating whether motherhood really is the hardest and most noble job in the universe... they totally get me.  Sentimental and sappy though they may be, there is no question which side of that debate I fall out on.

I also feel a very strong sense of obligation to teach them right from wrong, proper manners, good citizenship, character, patience, gratitude, humor, joy, about good books and belly laughs, empathy, the beauty inherent in hard work, kindness, self-reliance, humility, prayer, how to fall in love with themselves, appreciate what they bring to the table and all those other things that will be so necessary as the real world seeps in to beat them down.  And more often than not, I hope very dearly to confer these mighty life lessons, not with words or lectures but by living them out.  By being my very best me, flaws and mistakes and imperfections and stretch marks and all, and letting the wisdom and the lessons that are learned in those ordinary, everyday moments flow out of me and into them.  Not because I've taught them anything, but because they've come along with me and watched me learn.  Watched me grow.  Watched me fail.  Watched me try.

But I have a secret to tell you: there are days.  Like, well, today. 

Days that begin with milk and cereal spilled because, in some miraculous role reversal, the one year old has much more control of his body and choices at meal time than the four year old.  Days where it took us literally an hour to get our sad selves out of the house.  Days where, despite the conversations about how important it is to rest her body and staythefrickinbed, there are fairy wings and dress up clothes strewn about her room and her motto is nap?  We don't need no stinking nap! which would all be fine if only she could be a reasonable, rational, somewhat decent human being until 7:30 p.m. without a nap.  Days that end with me nixing a bath and giving the go-ahead for tiny humans to run around in public looking rather like that dirt-cloud kid from Charlie Brown because, as Twisted Sister once said: we're not gonna take it anymore!  And by we, I very fervently mean me.  

Hello, my name is Melissa.  And I can't take it anymore. 

Which is bad, mostly on account of the fact that there's no relief pitcher in my house for the next two weeks, it's just me.  And all those life lessons I'm working to pass on through my Super Mommy Behavior are cancelled out, and instead the message is I'm TIRED! and ANGRY! and FRUSTRATED! and sound all Amy Poehler-y.  WHY ARE YOU DISAPPOINTING ME?!

Yeah, well done on that.  

Which brings me to the last important lesson I hope I am conferring to my children: the lesson that involves just showing up.  

True, it is a far cry from those inspirational motivational posters and a little more like the "hang in there, kitty" posters that used to make me cringe in high school.  But the truth is, there are times in life where we won't be all that we can be, and to GNC's dismay, we won't beat average, we'll just be average.  Not because it's what we're striving to be, not because it's our ultimate goal or because we don't want to improve, but simply as a result of that little state of affairs called being human.  

If the goal is to only show up for the days on which we're sure we can be perfect and can fulfill all those other things on that list I made up there, we're... well... totally screwed.  We'll never, ever show up. 

Life doesn't give me the luxury of waiting until I can be Super Mommy who knows ALL THE ANSWERS to ALL THE THINGS and manages to handle every circumstance with grace, wisdom and style.  Life asks me to just show up, beautiful mess and imperfections and all, and keep trying.  To make sure that, above all else, my kids know that they are loved and cared for and that they have a mommy who will always, always show up for them, even when that's the very best she has to offer.  

Because I love them, perfection cannot be my goal.  If that's the legacy I'm determined to leave for my children, what a massive, unrealistic disservice I've done them in the long run.  I've set them up for failure if perfection is not only the goal but the expectation and they miss the huge, average-but-critical importance of just showing up, when it's hard and when it's easy.  When you want to and when you don't.

Which works out well for me, particularly after a day like today.

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