April 3, 2010
We are sitting on the airplane flying home from Ft. Lauderdale. How did the week go by so quickly? It seems like hours ago that we were leaving St. Louis. This is our fourth Spring Break trip with the Wipfler family. Twice we visited Destin, once to Daytona and now to south Florida. The weather was outstanding and I don’t think I’ve been this tan for a few decades.
Prince Charming is beside me and My Sweetness is beside him. My Sweetness turned 12 this week, which means that someday soon he’ll no longer want me to kiss all over him. Someday soon he’ll no longer smile when I tell him I love being his Mommy. And one day he might even stop saying back, “and I love being your boy.”
I look across the row at him and think about the day he’ll go off to college, the woman he’ll marry, the career he’ll choose, the husband and father he’ll become. I pray for God’s direction on all of these things and remind myself that he is a gift from Heaven. I don’t let myself worry about how I’m not equipping him or the ways that I fall short as his mother. I try to be a good mom and I pray he knows that. I’m not perfect. That he knows for sure. When I lose my patience, I have to ask him for forgiveness and he receives it with a loving smile and that softness in his blue eyes.
Right now, he and his dad are glued to this tiny 7-inch DVD screen watching Blades of Glory for the 100th time. They are sharing the ear buds and laugh after laugh as if it’s the first time they’ve ever seen it.
My Gazelle is several rows back with her friend Madison Wipfler. It’s not that there weren’t available seats behind us. They just chose not to sit by us. It doesn’t bother me in the least though. Her independence makes me smile. She is growing into such a beautiful young woman, both on the inside and out. Now I know that I’m prejudice and some what obligated to say this, but it is true. I’m so proud of her and so very thankful for her.
I’m also shameful that I am not more patient with her. Sometimes I forget she is 13. I start expecting her to think like I do – at 38, but deep down it’s the last thing I really want for her. I want her to be young, confident and content that the world will come to her. Because it will.
I’m trying to chronicle in my head the great memories we made this week: our annual May versus Wipfler family tennis and basketball game, flat runs along the palm tree-lined streets, the airboat ride in the Everglades, the trip out into the ocean, Cardinals Spring Training game, dinner at South Beach, laying by the pool, tanning by the ocean, oatmeal from Jamba Juice, card games and movies. Then, there was my book. Nothing completes a good vacation like a great book. I just finished The Help and if you haven’t read it, you should. I hope I don’t forget the vacation or the book. They are both worth savoring.
The plane is a little bumpy but the sun is shining above the fluffy ceiling of clouds. Riding above the clouds will always be surreal to me. Two rows up there is a young mother struggling with a toddler who hasn’t been content for much of the flight. I remember what it’s like to worry that your baby is annoying the rest of the plane, the restaurant, the church – whatever. I wish I could ease her mind, but I think back to all the “old” moms that tried to tell me the same thing. I didn’t listen. Instead I spent far too many services and such wishing my kids would grow up too quickly.
My sweet mother pointed this sad truth to me one day when I was complaining to her on the phone. In retrospect, I think she’d heard enough of my whining about “doing it all” and such. Prince Charming was training for a new job in St. Louis during the week, which left me at home with a newborn and a not-quite 2-year-old. I think I was telling her how I was desperately ready for the weekend to come and offer some relief of the single-parent life, when she stopped me in my tracks.
She had been a real single-mother. She knew what it was really like and wasn’t going to listen to my pity party one more minute. She told me I was going to wish my babies lives away! And she was right, I was and I was ashamed.
I’m thankful for moments like this one, where my mom set me straight. I wonder if I appreciated it then, at the ripe old age of 26. I know I appreciate it now. But like so many things about Mom, I probably didn’t tell her how I appreciated her wisdom. Her words couldn’t be truer today, as I realize the days of these sweet family vacations are fleeting.
It’s so easy to be sad when I think about a great vacation coming to an end or the life of my mother ending too soon. As we begin our final decent into St. Louis, I hear the announcement to shut my computer off. The next time I open it, I’ll have to download 10 days of missed emails, digest my Outlook calendar for the week and open up the kids’ schedules. Life will ultimately return to the controlled chaos to which we’ve become so accustomed. But instead of being sad that “it” is over, I’m going to do what my mom would want me to do and just smile and be happy because we got to experience it at all.
The joy was in the journey.