Ahhh... the joys of the infamous 'playdate'. Let's see... today it was 5 adults and 10 children, which doesn't sound altogether overwhelming... until you realize that the oldest child is 3 1/2. Yeah... 10 kids, 3 and under... it was crazy.
I'm still not even sure if I ever actually made eye contact with each of my friends. I seemed to walk around in a fog... sipping random cups of coffee because I couldn't remember which mug was mine. Each time a baby would cry, it would take me several minutes of intense concentration just to determine if the child was mine. I blame my current 'fog' mostly on my latest 'fashion accessorie'... my bangs. It's very disorienting to try to find ones way in life with a shaggy mop atop one's head. I almost feel like a child that thinks she's 'hiding' by simply putting a blanket over her face. I find myself eavesdropping on conversations or simply not responding to large groups of people. After all... if I can't see them, they can't see me.
Yes... the new bangs... which brings me to today's moment of irony. At one point, amiss the sea of sippy cups and rolled up diapers, me and my two 'much taller and gorgeous' friends, get on the topic of... our bangs.
Tall ballerina friend: "Yeah, I had bangs last year."
Tall blond friend: "Yeah, they were cute... what happened?"
Tall ballerina: "I know, they were just so much upkeep. Blow dry... flat iron... just too much trouble."
Tall blond: "Yeah, I know what you mean. I just end up pinning them back all the time..."
Me: "Oh... all I have to do is blow dry mine a little."
(Zoom into a close up of my frizzy, out of control bangs)... Pause to reflect.
If my life were a reality show... we would take a brief commercial break at this point.
The next segment of the show would begin with a wide angle view of the living room. Naturally, this would include 4 infant seats, 3 mugs of cold coffee, 2 tantrum throwing toddlers and 1 bare bottomed baby 'airing out' on the couch. We round the topics of childhood vaccines, online Bible study guides, Thanksgiving meal preparations and even quiet down a moment to shed a tear with our dear friend who just lost a little baby...
The conversation scatters again as we notice a few children who happen to be 'MIA'. We quickly wipe away any toddler tantrum tears... along with our own, after all, moms usually don't have time to cry... and off I go to find the 'missing links'... Doodle and her friend.
I walk down the hall and to her room to find her door locked and the radio blasting... neither of which she's allowed to do. For heaven's sake... I didn't expect to run into this problem until she was 15!
After I convince (threaten) Doodle to open her door, I am met with a sea of clothes, dress-ups and blankets thrown all over her room... to which Doodle assures me "It's NO big deal!"
"Look mommy! We're having a slumber party!" Doodle yells at me through the passy in her mouth.
Not only is Doodle 'not embarrassed' to be sporting the ole passy around her friend... but she has also convinced her dear friend (who has been fully potty trained for a year or more) that 'big girls' wear diapers to bed. So, of course, they are both sprawled out on the floor, putting diapers on themselves.
After taking some video and turning the radio down, I shut the door and go back to the living room. No use in disrupting them if no one's screaming or bleeding.
The next 2 hours passed in a blur of half finished conversations, snotty noses and epic battles over the coveted cozy coupe. Each mom frantically gathering their belongs (and children, of course)... and completing their morning marathon with a mad dash to the car with the promise of nap time so close you could smell it.
Sometimes play dates can seem so fruitless. They're just SO. MUCH. WORK. But if you look closely enough, you begin to see past all the work and exhaustion... and see the fruit... the realization that you have dear friends to share these exhausting moments with.
The beauty of other moms running the same race... friends that don't mind wiping your son's snotty nose or baking special 'dairy free' treats for those of us with colicky babies. Friends to laugh at frizzy bangs or cry with... or even chuckle at you when you come to the realization that, indeed you are an emotional eater (proven by the observation that every time the noise level increased, I would automatically grab another piece of bread).
Being a mom is hard work. REALLY HARD WORK. But I'm learning that the greatest things in life come through the hardest work and greatest sacrifice.
Today I'm thankful that I'm not alone in this race.