In between the homework, the laundry, the dishes, the packing of the lunches, the finding of the shoes and all of the other routines of daily mom life, there can come along moments so magical that as they are happening you know enough to be aware that it is a moment to simply watch and take in. The moments that are so special that you don’t need a camera, because your heart will remember them forever.
Some are tiny moments, such as when your child looks at you with pure love and utters words like, “You are a rock star, mom.” And every now and then are the big moments, and those are the moments you forget about the last time that those children drove you crazy, or the time they made you so angry that you practically felt yourself shaking inside with the disbelief that they could possibly be yours, or even the times that they have the ability to wound you to your core with hurtful words. Instead, you focus on the pureness of your love, all of the right things you are doing, and all the reasons why you know for sure that this little person, this one right here and no one else in the world, was meant to be your child. I had three of those moments with my girls this past year; and as 2011 drew to a close, it was nice to take some time and remember them all over again.
In the fall, Abby and I joined up with our friends from preschool to see the Disney Princesses on Ice. Abby lives for anything Disney Princess related. She honestly talks about them the way I talk about my friends. She got a new princess costume just for the occasion and when we walked into the Disney store and she realized that they had the “Rudon” (Mulan) costume, I thought she was going to turn inside out with excitement. Abby and her friend were adorable together dressed as Mulan and Rapunzel, riding the train to the show, holding hands walking into the arena.
They got lots of compliments and smiles on their princess finery! Our seats for the show were great, and the girls were awestruck throughout every moment of the stories of Tiana and Rapunzel. But then at the very end of the show, ALL of the Disney princesses appeared on the ice, including “Rudon” and Ariel (Abby’s very favorite princess). Abby turned to me with pure wonder in her eyes, her hand pressed to her heart, and said, “My dream has come true.” It is months later, but even writing it out makes me cry again. I will remember that moment forever.
In November, Emma and her BFF Lucy got to attend their very first real concert. Now, we all remember our first concert. No matter how old you get you can always recall who you saw on stage for the first time at a real concert (Note to Emma: The Wiggles do not count as a real first concert). Mine was Eddie Rabbitt at a really small arena in Houston where he sang in the round, and to this day I am sure he was singing “I Love a Rainy Night” straight to me! Emma’s first concert memory will be Taylor Swift. We had originally been scheduled to see this show in July, but Taylor Swift got sick and had to cancel.
So instead of a Friday night in the middle of summer, Lisa and I headed out on a school night in November with our girls, perhaps with a touch of bitterness and hostility, but only a touch, and just for a minute! We listened to our Taylor mix on the iPod the whole way to the show, so we were pumped up when we arrived. We bought the girls official concert T-shirts and found our seats, which happened to be the first row of the lower level, so we knew we would have a good view.
About midway through the show, I noticed a lot of security and hubbub around the floor seats right in front of us, and it doesn’t take a frequent viewer of Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never movie to know that something was about to happen. I quickly told the girls to get ready because something big was going down and it was going down RIGHT. BY. US. Shortly thereafter, Taylor Swift made her way through the audience and sang three songs about 20 feet in front of us. When she was finished, she came around right past us, stopped at Emma and Lucy, hugged both of them and said, “You are beautiful.”
My heart just exploded. Tears were streaming down my face, and I am pretty sure Emma still hasn’t recovered. My girl who is already struggling with fitting in and self-confidence had just been told by her singing idol that she was beautiful. It was like something straight out of a movie. Lisa and I both tried to explain to the girls on the way home that not all concerts are quite so amazing, but I am pretty sure the future concert bar has been set pretty high for our beautiful girls!
And finally, I come to the most magical moment of all – the one that I feel certain will carry me through until next Christmas. The weekend before Christmas, I read an article that had gone viral on Facebook about people paying off strangers’ layaway balances at Kmart, cried like a baby, and knew I must be a part of this. I told Emma about it, how I wanted us to go together to help a family who would not be able to otherwise afford to have Christmas; and with a look of such pure innocence she said, “But Santa still brings them toys, right?” Cue the soul-crushing, heart-stopping, gut-wrenching attempts to hold back the sobbing.
I tried my best to explain to her that, of course, Santa still comes, but the sleigh is really heavy so he can’t really bring a lot; and she said, “I understand, Mom, he can only bring a couple toys, so it would be nice for their mom and dad to be able to give them some more.”
Yes, my sweet girl, exactly that. So, off we went 6 days before Christmas to Kmart, armed with my wallet and a mission to help a family. The ladies at the layaway desk could not have been any kinder to Emma or more appreciative of her generous spirit if they tried. We looked at a few different orders until we found the perfect one, full of toys, obvious to me by the selections on the list that they had been picked for children old enough to know on December 25th whether or not Christmas had come to their house. Emma filled out a card in her sweet, 8-year-old handwriting that said: “From Your Secret Santa.”
The cashier began to cry and came out from behind the counter to hug her. Emma beamed with the pride of knowing that she had done something amazing and told me on the way home, ”Mom, this feels like what Christmas is really all about.”
And for me, these moments, mixed together with all of the other moments, feel like what motherhood is really all about.