Monday, July 18, 2005

I'm the Mother of a Six-Year-Old

Last year on my daughter's birthday I wrote about the day she was born.

This year, I was so busy and stressed that I barely had the time to think about her birthday. Until it suddenly hit me today that I am the mother of a six-year-old.

How the hell did that happen?

We went to play mini golf tonight and we had to pay two more dollars for her than for my son. She'll be starting first grade in less than a month. She'll be holding hands with boys in only six or so more years. She'll be driving a car in just ten years. And she'll be going to college in twelve more years!

I'd be sad, but, well, right now that sounds really great!

That's not to say that she isn't a joy. My kids really are very well behaved and generally they are lovely to be around. I wouldn't give them up for the world.

But I'm getting spoiled this summer. My parents keep asking to take the kids on trips and I keep letting them. After months of being all alone with them on a daily basis, I'm still in a place where I am enjoying the freedom.

But this past Wednesday my mother brought my kids back to the Cape to celebrate my daughter's birthday. And one of my mothers-in-law and one of my fathers-in-law (yes I have two sets) came to visit for a few days.

We took my daughter to dinner for her birthday and she ate the largest brownie sundae I've ever seen in my life.

In an effort to let my husband have time with his mother, and because I feel like I make my mother-in-law very uncomfortable, I spent the next day in Provincetown with Patrick.

Speaking of Patrick, he was an awesome friend this week. He made nice with my family, spent quality birthday time with my daughter, and took care of me above and beyond the call of duty.

On Friday my parents returned with my twin nephews in tow. And on Saturday my other set of in-laws (the not-so-nice ones) and my husband's step-sister and her husband showed up for my daughter's birthday party.

My stress level was through the roof for those few days. And so was my husband's. All that family in one went fine. But it was tough.

When the last of them took off and it was just me, my man, and my offspring left the quiet was absolutely wonderful. My husband's mood went from horrid to happy. And I felt like I could breathe for the first time in days.

Now I need to pick up the pieces. I need to face the fact that my little girl is growing up faster than I realized. And the summer is swiftly wrapping up.

On Tuesday my kids are going back with my parents for a couple of weeks. On Thursday my husband heads back to work. And on about August 7, the kids and I will be heading home for the start of school.

So far this summer has been quite an experience. I've been up and down. I've been stressed and relaxed. I've been a good wife and a bad one. And I've been a good friend and a burden.

But right now I'm going to remember just this one moment. I was walking back to the house from our beach-front birthday party and I put my arm around my daughter and asked her, "Did you have a good birthday."

And she replied, "I had the best birthday! I love you, Mom."

That's what it is all about.

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