"She looks so beautiful" I thought to myself. I could tell she was unsure. I could feel how uncomfortable she was. I tried to get there on time. I TRY to get everywhere on time. I even asked to leave work early after last weeks debacle.
A lot of people would say I brought this on myself. There are times where I tell myself that.
They are wrong.
So am I.
I didn't picture myself a single mom of four on my wedding day. I didn't imagine divorce was in the cards for me. I didn't envision being in some strange town, just me and my babies. No one asks for that. It's just where we ended up.
I'm not complaining. But I do sometimes feel like I'm failing.
I can't be everywhere at once. I try my hardest. I'm late everywhere I go. The doctor's office, work, the dentist, school, class parties, honors day, xfit, dinner... you name it.
I sat there, in that gym on Chloe's honors day, feeling terrible. Feeling like I had failed her. I rushed from work to change (I couldn't wear the clothes I'd spent the night transporting sick people in) and grab her a dress and heels for her awards day. I don't know why she didn't just wear a dress to school, but she didn't and I was so short on time to begin with.
I made it... 2 minutes late, but luckily, so were the awards. She grabbed the dresses and shoes out of my hand and rushed to change. When I saw her walk out of that bathroom in my derby dress and heels, she took my breath away. She's so tall. She's so beautiful. But she felt exposed, unsure, and insecure. I could tell and as I looked around I could see why. All her classmates were in pants or long dresses and skirts. She's so tall, her dress was mid thigh. People are so judgemental.
Here she was, once again, standing out among the crowd. I immediately texted her to let her know that she looked beautiful... and then I sat there, looking around, wondering what all these parents must think of me.
Here I was, late, in the front of the gym, in jeans and a baseball t, with a daughter whose dress was shorter than the rest.
Once it was over, I checked her out for the day and we rushed over to George's class awards. The school had honors day earlier in the week at the gym, but I was lucky enough today to get to attend George's class awards today.
We were late. They had just started as we interrupted the class, squeezing through the door so as not to create too much of a stir. No seat was available, so we stood.
George didn't care. His eyes lit up bigger than Christmas. He was so proud his mommy was there.
I watched the video his teacher put together and I listened to his dreams as he spoke them aloud. I smiled so big listening to his teacher call out all of his awards and I hugged him so tight when it was over.
The other night at dinner my kids opened up about how it felt to be them. How they were different and how they'd make friends, then lose them, because... well, we just aren't their people here and they aren't ours.
My only advice to them was: That's ok. You aren't here for them. You have a duty to serve them. To love them. To not harm them, but you, my beautiful beings, are not here for them. You are here for all this world has to offer you. You are here for the sea, for the forest, for Paris, for Rome. You are here for the rivers and the lakes, the mountains, and the deserts. You are here to experience all that God has put here on this incredible earth for you. You are here to love. You are here to live. You are not here to please them. You are here to do God's work by loving and caring for those around us to show gratitude for the opportunity to experience all He has placed here for us to enjoy,
but we are not here for them.
I was late today. I sat there... tired, drained, wearing jeans and a t-shirt, late to my daughter's Awards ceremony, feeling like a failure. It wasn't long until it dawned on me, that I was at my daughter's Awards Ceremony.
All four of my children have maintained Honor Roll. Mitch received the Healthy Award in his class for being the healthiest, his teacher was so proud of his healthy lunches. George and Chloe received awards in reading. Abby received and accepted an invitation to Rome to honor her hard work and excellence in academics.
Mitch said he wanted to grow up to be a race car driver. George said he wanted to be a Priest, so that he could tell people about God. Abby wants to be a philosopher and a musician... and she is trying to figure out how. Her instructor says constantly: "she's the real deal"... Chloe wants to go to Juilliard. She spent her first year in the band as first chair. She's joined the track team at school. Abby ran a 5k and received her invitation to study abroad next summer.
I am not failing.
I may not have the opportunity to be the mother I once was. I work now. My work is hard. It's trying work. It's sometimes dangerous work. It's often unrewarding work but it's God's work. Caring for His people. Sometimes being the last face they see, before they see His.
I am no longer able to kiss their foreheads before they step onto the bus, or bake them cookies when they get off of the bus, but it seems as though, just maybe, even with all the stones thrown... all the obstacles... all the heartache... just maybe... that's ok.
Because I may be late, and under-dressed, and tired... but I'm there.
Because as Joe Hill said:
"I mean, when the world comes for your children, with the knives out, it's your job to stand in the way."