Doing Mother's Day in a Big Way

When we were little, my sister and I played "House" all the time. We'd have our dolls and put our imaginations to setting the scene. She'd page through the Ethan Allen catalog and always pick the best rooms for herself. She'd assign me the other rooms (and really, there were no bad rooms). Let's pause here: what does it mean that we couldn't play house without the imaginary interior design element? We'd pick our husbands. She always got Donny Osmond and I got Jay. And then we'd scoop up the dolls. I always got more. I was willing to give on the house and the husband but I didn't relent on getting the most babies.  

When my little girls play House, they don't call it "House;" they call it "Babies." I think I like that better. But whether you call it House or you call it Babies, I have noticed that rarely do little girls pretend to be the mother of teenagers. Nor do they pretend to be grandmothers. I don't think I spent much time imagining what this stage of life would look like. Never, in my wildest imagining could I imagine what the last week looked like.

On Wednesday, Nicholas played a State Cup game about an hour away. It was a big game against a big team. Patrick and some friends came up from Charlottesville to cheer him on. Because that's what we do in this family; we show up. So, Nick was no doubt the only U-13 player ever to be warmed up by two members of the U-17 National Team, a 2nd team college All American, and the High School Player of the Year. Best of all was a little huddle in the goal before the second half--Patrick and Stephen offering last minute advice. Nick was just coming back from being sick. He didn't play the first half and his team was down 3-1. They came back to win 4-3. Very big deal. 


On Thursday, we went back to the eye doctor. I'm grateful that our twice a week appointments at the opthamologist will be scaled back to once a week.


Back at the dance studio and home in my dining room, I sewed and sewed and sewed. Costumes that were too big. Costumes that were too small. I found my happy place in a dressing room at the studio, stitching a little love into a lot of lace and tulle.


And I stole some time to go over and just hold Lucy. She changes every day and it's hard to stay away. I'd really like the world to stop so I could just sit and inhale her. But I remind myself that she's got a mama for sitting and inhaling and I try to avoid being overbearing. I knew we'd be gone for the weekend, so I hopped over there with the little girls, brought dinner, tidied up, folded sweet tiny pink clothes and got to have a little snuggle.

On Friday, the plan was for Mike to take the boys to Delaware for soccer and me to take the girls to Baltimore for a weekend dance competition. Just as I crossed the threshold of the hotel, Bobby called. When Bobby was 16, he was drafted by Major League Soccer to play in DC. He was living far from home, pretty much on his own, and MLS had never drafted a kid in high school before. Everyone was sort of making it up as they went. Bobby came and schooled with us--actually, Bobby became one of us. So, now, 14 years later, when his wife was pregnant, he reminded me that I missed his wedding because I was on bedrest and he pretty much begged me to be there for the birth of his son. He didn't have to beg. I wanted to be there. But I was really worried about the details. Sloane was due smack between two out-of-town dance competitions and State Cup.

Where would I be when he called? How would I get there in time? Could I go to him and not let anyone down at home? 

So, I'm walking through the hotel lobby and my phone rings. I see it's Bobby and ever calm and gracious, the first thing I say upon answering is, "No way. Really? Now?" 

Really. Now. She's in active labor 4 hours north in New Jersey and it's just rush hour in Baltimore. 

I checked my girls into the hotel and I called 3 dance moms. 

You know all the things you think you know about dance moms? Let me share something different.

Dance moms are good friends who know the minute you send the text "Sloane is in labor" that you are leaving and you are entrusting your children to them for an undetermined amount of time. And they are fine with that. 

Dance moms will settle them into their room, buy them dinner, and go to the drug store to replace the eye medicine tucked safely in your purse on the way to New Jersey. 

Dance moms will call their parents (who happen to live in New Jersey) and get you up-to-date traffic and construction information. They will coach your drive, knowing full well that you hate to drive and New Jersey terrifies you.

Dance moms will make sure the girls get up and out on time, feed them breakfast, text you updates, and all around ensure that you know your girls are in good hands. 

Mary Beth is an honorary Dance Mom.

I arrived in New Jersey without getting lost even a little bit. I managed to talk my way into Sloane's room. And I knelt down in front of her and talked her through the last half hour. I was there to witness the most amazing thing on the earth.

Shower upon shower upon shower of pure grace.


I stayed with them and enjoyed the glow of those precious hours right after the hard work is done. 

Then, I drove back to competition. I got there in time to see Karoline dance all her group dances. 

I got there in time to catch Katie and pull her on to my lap and let her sob her heart out after she improvised her whole solo because she was so sick she couldn't remember her choreography.

I got there in time to sleep a little before Mother's Day.

And on Mother's Day morning, I walked with my friend Nicole to get a quick breakfast for the girls (no breakfast in bed;-), and then I settled in around 7:15 AM for this:

If only.

Please God, I want to be who she sees me to be. 

It's wilder than my wildest imagining.

 {Many thanks to Riley Stadick, dance brother and backstage videographer.}