This afternoon, I sat around a farmhouse table at the chic and trendy Kitchen at the Dunlavy with three of my good girlfriends whom I admire and adore. We devoured our avocado toast and prosciutto+fig jam sandwiches, sipping fresh grapefruit juice and chatting away about plans of moving, international travel, and baby names. A fly on the wall might think the four of us have it all together, and actually I'm fairly certain the other three ladies do. I, however, couldn't be further from having it "all together". Upon close inspection, you'd see that I spilled coffee all down my sweater on the drive downtown because A-forever making messes, and B-didn't wake up in time for breakfast. My kid was also late to school for the same reason (though I was the first parent in car line this afternoon to pick him up for the first time ever). At the end of our lunch, two of the girls sweetly said something to me like, "You have the perfect little family. The perfect life!". While that's a huge compliment and I love them both for wrongfully thinking I've got my sh*t together, their sentiment happens to be false. No-one's life is perfect and while I'm obsessed with my boys in the most biased of ways, I realize that everyone is flawed. Sometimes in the world of blogging and social media, it can be easily misconstrued that people have zero problems in their life- it's all clean white marble kitchens and yacht trips around the Mediterranean Coast. In a world of Instagram "highlight reels", I think behind the scenes we're all just struggling to make it through each day and be the best wives/girlfriends/moms/daughters/sisters/friends/co-workers we can possibly be. And while it might not be pretty or "perfect", that's what makes the ride so incredibly special.
Bear started pre-k in August as I've mentioned 87 times by now I'm sure (sorry- proud mama!) and y'all.....pre-k is the new senior year of high school. Why didn't anyone tell me? Homework every night, endless fundraisers, and a calendar that's chock-full of activities and dates to remember. I apparently failed in the parenting department a few weeks ago (thank goodness I'm not the homeroom mom- we'd all be in trouble) when I chose not to check the infamous calendar on a random Tuesday morning. We were running late for school that particular morning, per usual, and I left on my red flannel Christmas pajamas for car-line. That's the beauty of having a car-line- you just sit in your car and sip your coffee and pray that the one teacher who comes to get your kid out of your car doesn't judge you for driving without a bra. As we pulled up to the church that morning, I was surprised to see there wasn't a single other car in line. I knew we were late but I didn't realize we were that late- there's usually at least a few other stragglers that I wave hi to in a sort of high-five, late-moms-unite fashion. We get each other.
As I pulled to a stop, one of the usual teachers came to get Bear out of the car and I asked, "Are we super late or something?" to which she looked surprised and said, "Oh no, you're fine. But Muffins with Mom started about 30 minutes ago. That's why no-one's in car line- they're all inside the classrooms already". Well, sh*t. I looked down at my Christmas pajamas and fuzzy faux fur slippers (it was already 87 degrees outside at 8:30am) and flipped down the visor mirror to see how scary I actually looked in all my unbrushed hair, braless glory. It was rough. I knew humiliation awaited, but I wasn't about to let my little boy be the only one in his class without a parent for the occasion and we didn't have time to run back home. I thanked the teacher, hurried to park, and held Bear's hand as we rushed into the church. As soon as we walked in the classroom, some funny looks were exchanged and I tried to smooth my frizzy, rats-nest hair while saying hi to the other moms who all happened to look like they were going out to dinner at a 5 star restaurant. Bear and I took our seats and shoved muffins in our mouths since A-we slept through breakfast and B-I needed to avoid communication at all costs. The teacher must've thought we were starving to death or felt sorry for us one because she just kept bringing us muffins and we kept shamelessly eating them. Bear in all his chatty cuteness, me in my pitiful pajamas. I'm sure if she'd had a hair brush she would've offered that, as well.
That day, I learned a valuable lesson. Two, in fact. Of course that incident was the wake-up call I needed to check the calendar every Sunday and prepare for the school week but more importantly, I learned just how vital my role is as a parent. Bear didn't care that we were late for Muffins with Mom, or that I was dressed for bed when all the other moms were in dresses and high heels. He was somehow, shockingly, proud of me. He introduced me to his friends and his teacher and held my hand the entire time. He sweetly asked me to stay with him at school all day, not wanting me to leave when it was time for the moms to go. He was just so happy to have his Mommy by his side that he couldn't see any of the other trivial stuff I was so embarrassed about. I realized that morning that it's not what I wear or how I present myself that matters to my son- what matters most to him is that I'm there. That I show up. Giving my time is the greatest gift I can give my children and I hope they always know that Mommy will be there, no matter what. Maybe in ratty old flannel pajamas, but I'll be there. Loving them every step of the way.