Mary Louise and David started going to a Montessori camp today. I called it school (because that's really what it is - but just 2 weeks worth of mornings) and prepared them just as I would for any other new activity or lesson. They were excited - a little nervous - but mostly really really excited.
I have talked to their teacher for months...and by "talk" I mean obsessively emailed, texted and called with obnoxious updates and suggestions regarding the ever changing and constantly developing personalities, dynamic and function of Mary Louise and David. She's a good sport about my helicopter parenting. She doesn't just listen, but actually follows up with exact examples and super descriptive instances where my force fed information might have (possibly) come in handy - then she does one better and tells me how my over zealous hovering is not just ok - but maybe even justified - ha.
I offered to be a "room mom". But, I couldn't shake the feeling that this was just one of those times I needed to step back and let our littles shine in their own lights. Admittedly, I also felt a hefty push from within to take advantage of those few precious hours with Everett and just enjoy a slightly slower pace for a little while.
I brought them over this morning with plans to run while they had school time. I was really excited about the chance to put in a few miles, sweat the good sweat and breathe in the warm sun while sorting through my crazy brain for a bit - clarity with exercise followed by that complete exhale- it is my one of most favorite feelings.
We were the first to arrive. Yeah. Don't think I was all organized and graceful either. I did set out clothes and things the night before - but we still ran late and ripped into the driveway 5 minutes after the hour. Ha - apparently, the other moms were just slightly more frantic than I was so we didn't miss anything!
Mary Louise and David didn't bat a eye and marched right up to their teacher and her daughter and said their good mornings. They immediately made themselves at home - exploring all of the new school props about (the teacher also led their music class and we've had play dates with her family so this was all familiar territory for Mary Louise and David - win!)
I was the one who sort of froze for a bit. Everett looked around and crawled under the carport. The other children and room moms arrived. Everyone did just fine. I stood watching for half and hour - realizing the whole time that our sweet kiddos adjusted so immediately and seamlessly that I had to mentally catch up to their level of comfort.
I told them I was going to go for a run. They stopped, looked, listened, nodded, said, "ok mom" and went right on about their day. It was one of the first times I felt as if I was just there because of me, rather than them. I hovered closer for a few minutes...breathing down their sweet little necks...forcing myself to meander on over to the car and get the stroller set up. I looked back at them. Still fine. Not even noticing. Big kids.
I started out on my run. It felt good to connect with the pavement again.
I remembered having a fuss with my mom after the kids were home (from the hospital). Mom looked at me, appearing bewildered at what I had asked (I don't even remember what it to be honest) - she said, "you just don't need me anymore. You're fine. You can do this. You don't need me. None of you do..."
I started to cramp and kept running - slowing just a tad and focusing on breathing. I found my sweet spot in form and kept going. My legs going a little numb- moving instinctively. Steady pace. I thought of my mom's eyes in that moment...
I was heart broken. I felt I needed more than she could give and didn't blame her at all for the remark. To me, it was just part of her grieving. I just felt sad. Didn't she know? There have been so many times that, as an adult, I felt I needed my mom more than I did as a child (and goodness knows more than I needed her as a teen -*grin*). There has not been one moment - not one instant - that I have not needed her. Ever. Not once. Not wanted her? sure. Not needed...never.
And there it was...clarity.
Everett started a fit and I ended up not only nursing openly on the side of a south Lake Charles road amid small farms and large pick up trucks, but also carrying that stinker under my arm - screaming - for over half a mile. A man working on a tractor offered me a ride - bless him - I'm sure it's not a regular thing to see a sweat drenched flustered mom pushing an empty double jogger while carrying a baby kicking and fussing down the side of a fast paced country road. The man was the teacher's father. It made complete sense that he'd offer a ride - and I knew he meant it. They are that family. Without a second thought before or after, giving of themselves is as natural as breathing.
I trudged down the drive and plopped into the front seat. I didn't want to interrupt the kids - and Everett needed a quiet moment anyhow. I nursed him again and we cooled off awhile. I thought about running a marathon...or a half...or a full...
We ran an errand and came back to see how Mary Louise and David were doing. They were playing with HUGE tired grins.
Loaded in the car, they told me basics about their day. Then David suddenly said, "Mom? Did you have a good run?"
"Yes," I replied.
"I missed you and Everett. But I had fun at my school Mom."
"Wonderful. Would you like to go back tomorrow?"
And that was that. I reminded myself that needs simply change and develop over time. Physical transforms into emotional, mental, collaborative. The need just shifts. Then I gave myself permission to linger a little longer and recognize that it was for me - that was my "me" moment WITH the kids. Recognize it. Embrace it. Let it go.
Family growing moments. I keep finding myself wondering who really is learning here...the answer, for me, is always the same: all of us.
P.S. Grump Grump Everett is teething again - explains his less than stellar road side show.