It all started with the hat.
My spunky 7- year- old Madi modeled her t-ball hat with pride. Just two days until team pictures.
The last ones.
The last season for her. The last child in t-ball for me.
I should have known it would be a disaster. Pictures were scheduled for a Monday. Nothing good happens on Monday. Dieting and workout programs have proven that for decades.
In the meantime, she wore her hat everywhere.
Walmart. Church. Playing with her friends. I knew it was a bad idea.
In a flash, the hat was gone. We asked her to pull her uniform together the evening before pictures. She couldn’t find her hat anywhere. We backtracked in our minds and came up blank.
An hour before picture time, my hunting hubby discovered the hat in the play kitchen I had asked her to clean the day before. Picture saved. Uniform complete.
I get home in time to change and instead find her covered in dirt. Her legs. Her shirt. Her hat. I cat bathe her quickly and we head to the field, arriving on time.
I precariously balance the picture form as I fill it out with my funky blue pen. Like my driver license, I lie about her weight and glimpse at the number on her shirt. Write the check. Seal the envelope. My daughter follows her team in line toward the kiosk.
I see coach dabbing Madi’s leg with the order blank I just filled out!
She’s picked a scab on her leg and has blood everywhere. Sigh.
The coach looks at me with a mix expectancy and judgement. I am, after all, letting down woman kind. Was I supposed to have a first aid kit tucked in my spanx?
A new momma with diaper wipes comes to my rescue. I apply pressure to the bleeding with one hand while cat bathing my kid with the other. Again. All was well in control until the coach handed me a new order blank with 20 seconds to picture time.
I guess the photo people weren’t excited about having my kid’s D.N.A on their form. Disappointment abounds.
What did I say her weight was? Why don’t I know this?
It’s in the tension of these moments when being mom proves toughest. The moment of unpreparedness. The stage in life when I am supposed to have it all together, but don’t. Not even close. Will I ever get it right?
She’s my youngest. I don’t have too many chances left.
This point in time seems so big in comparison to every other decision I have made correctly. It highlights every mistake I make and every way I fall short. I just want to go home and hide.
And speaking of hiding, does photo shop hide dirt and blood?
I need to remember to ask when I turn the form.
As she approaches the camera, I have to remind myself that mothering happens in moments. Embrace the moment- good or bad. It’s the little kisses. Inside jokes. Fishing trips. First time events. Missing hats. Bloody t-ball pics.
Every. little. thing.
Ironically, the most vivid memories avail when I feel like the biggest mom loser on the planet. The nuggets of time when I feel alone and judged for my inadequacy. The very memories I get to share and laugh about with other moms who have stories of their own.
Good or bad, I’m embracing the moments.
And, I’m inventing first aid kits to hide in spanx.