I didn’t have a picture-perfect Mother’s Day. Instead, my day included a pounding headache, tears in my closet when nothing I wanted to wear would fit (Still working on losing all of the baby weight!), and too much picky eating and whining from my daughter. And, every time I heard whining, all I could think about was how many portfolios I need to grade for my graduate students in the next few days.
Even though I didn’t get the photos I wanted to get with my family on my first Mother’s Day as a mama of two, there is something that will be etched in my memory forever. Today I ate brunch with my parents, husband, children, and in-laws. As someone who lost one of her grandmothers as a baby, I do not take this for granted. My children are fortunate to be growing up with all four of their grandparents.
Ari may not be smiling or looking at the camera for most of the pictures that were snapped today. However, there are some photos my Dad and Marc captured of me with my mom, Isabelle, and Ari that make me smile.
When I look back on this day years from now, I probably won’t remember the headache, the clothes that didn’t fit, or the whining. Instead, I will remember my kids were surrounded by love. And I will also remember this was the first year my lap was full. And that is enough for me.
Today is Purim. It is a joyous holiday where Jews celebrate the defeat of Haman’s plot to annihalate the Jews of Persia. And while I was excited to attend our community’s Purim Carnival, I tossed and turned last night. What if a bomb threat was called into our JCC in the middle of the Carnival. What would be our plan to get out quickly and safely?
Luckily, our community’s Purim Carnival was joyous (& full of security). However, as I scrolled through Twitter this afternoon, I learned JCCs in Rochester, NY, Milwaukee, WI, Indianapolis, IN, & Vancouver, BC had a bomb threats on what should be a festive day.
I long for the days when my greatest concern was whether or not we’d be able to find a close parking spot. Walking through the cold seems trivial now since there are real concerns.
Nevertheless, people were not deterred. I saw more people I knew at our JCC for today’s Purim Carnival than I have in the past. That is a wonderful thing, right?
Isabelle was born with a natal tooth. By the time she was a month old, she had already visited the dentist twice to have it checked. It wasn’t wiggling so we decided not to have it pulled.
Have you ever seen a newborn baby with a tooth? It’s quite a site! Truthfully, It was the bane of my existence for quite awhile (i.e., nursing, teeth brushing). However, once her other teeth came in, I forgot about the natal tooth. Well, most of the time.
Five weeks ago, Isabelle discovered one of her teeth was wiggling. Guess which one it was? HER NATAL TOOTH! I was delighted and couldn’t wait for her to lose it.! All I could think was first-in, first-out!
But it wiggled and wobbled for weeks! By yesterday afternoon, it was hanging on by a thread. It looked gross. Isabelle claimed it hurt too. Therefore, I messaged my husband on the way home from the grocery store, requesting he find some gauze and assist Isabelle with extracting her tooth.
Once we got into the house, I collapsed from exhaustion (A heat wave + third trimester of pregnancy + grocery shopping are not a great combination!) on the couch. Isabelle proceeded to go upstairs to find my husband. There was some loud talking yelling. But after about five minutes, it got quiet. Next came the footsteps down the stairs. I opened my eyes and saw Isabelle holding a tiny white tooth in her hand. I was so elated it was FINALLY out — after over five and a half years — that I began clapping my hands and singing “Siman Tov u’Mazel Tov,” which is usually reserved for occasions like weddings and Bar Mitzvahs.
I asked my husband to bring a Ziploc bag over to the couch. Next, Isabelle placed her tooth inside and sealed the bag.
“Tape this to the outside of your door. The Tooth Fairy will come tonight and bring you some money while you sleep,” I said.
Isabelle ran to her craft table to find some tape.
“Don’t you have a pillow?” Marc asked.
“No,” I replied. “I don’t want to get caught going in there in the middle of the night to retrieve the tooth and put money under her pillow.”
“C’mon!” he said.
“I’m serious. I’m not getting caught. This Tooth Fairy,” I said pointing to myself, “doesn’t go past the bedroom door.”
Marc looked less than thrilled. However, I hadn’t bought a pillow for Isabelle’s teeth so he had no choice but to go along with my new (and I think improved!) way of doing the middle-of-the-night swap.
A few hours after Isabelle fell asleep, I crafted a note from the Tooth Fairy to her. Just before midnight, I slowly peeled the plastic bag off of her door and affixed the letter from the Tooth Fairy, with the money, to her door. I placed her tooth baggie in her baby book and went to bed.
In the morning, I heard “What’s that on my door?” from down the hall. Marc went to her room and read her the note. Then, they peeled it off the door and brought it in to me. I read the note to Isabelle again and asked, “Are you going to save the money or spend it?”
First she said “save,” but a minute later she declared I’m going to buy a big Hershey bar with it at Chocolate World.”
“Whatever you’d like to do. Just put the money in a safe place.”
Isabelle ran back to her room to put her money away. That’s when Marc brought up the Tooth Fairy again.
“It needs to go under her pillow next time, not on her door,” he said.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because… what happens when she goes to school and the kids are talking about the Tooth Fairy? She’ll hear that their Tooth Fairies leave their money under their pillow. It’ll be weird if her Tooth Fairy leaves her money on her door.”
“I don’t care. But if you do, then you can be the Tooth Fairy. That means you’re going to have to accept responsibility for skulking in there at night, not waking her, and doing the exchange every single time. If you can commit to doing that for the next 20 teeth (or however many she has), then go for it. Otherwise, I’m doing the door.”
“I’ll do it,” he chuckled.
“What happens if she catches you?” I asked. “You don’t have wings. And you sure don’t look like the fairy on the letter.”
“I’ll just say ‘I was coming in to see if the Tooth Fairy visited you yet,'” he replied.
I shook my head. “If you want to do it that badly, then the job is all yours.”
My husband, the Tooth Fairy. Can’t wait to see how this turns out!
I didn’t leave the house all weekend. That wasn’t the plan. I was getting ready to go to synagogue for Shabbat morning services on Saturday when we received the call that Mini Congregation was canceled due to the wintry mix falling from the sky. Seeing as I had a sinus infection, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to stay in bed and rest. And rest I did.
And so did Isabelle. In fact, when Marc went out to pick up dinner and my prescription, she stayed in bed with me and I read Clever Jack Takes the Cake to her over and over again. But once we ate dinner downstairs, Isabelle wanted to party. Yes, party. Maybe it was because she had just had her birthday party earlier in the week or maybe it was because she was tired of being cooped-up inside, but she wanted to party. We offered her two options:
Turn on the TV to one of the cable TV music stations and have a dance party.
Watch our wedding video.
She choose the second option, which was my preferred option since I hadn’t watched my wedding DVD in almost two years. The three of us sat on the couch and watched together, but Isabelle quickly got weepy. “Where was I?” she inquired.
“You weren’t born yet,” I said.
“Was I in your belly?” she inquired.
“No, you weren’t in my belly,” I replied.
“But where was I before I was born?” she cried.
I gave her a variety of answers, none of which placated her. Finally, the Hora came on and the three of us danced around our great room for 20 minutes, which was long enough for her to forget about her question.
Yesterday evening, Isabelle wasn’t feeling 100%. After she ate her dinner, she requested to watch our wedding video again. Again? Really?!!? Was this going to become a nightly thing? I was making dinner, but promised her Marc would put it on as soon as he came downstairs. (TRUTH: I don’t know how to operate our DVD player! I’m sure I could learn, but I rarely use it so…)
Once he arrived downstairs, he put the DVD on for her. She sat on the couch, wrapped in two blankets, and said, “Why I was not there?”
“Where was I?” I corrected — as a way to delay the tears.
“Where was I?” Isabelle said, slowly.
“You weren’t born yet,” I replied.
“I was in your belly?” she asked.
“Nope, you weren’t in my belly,” I replied as “I could not ask for more” by Edwin McCain played in the background.
“Where was I before I was born?” she wondered.
“You were in my heart,” I blurted out.
“I was in your heart?” she asked, perplexed.
“Yes, you were in my heart. Right here.” I pointed towards my chest.
“Oh,” she paused. “I was in your heart.”
“Is that nice?” I asked.
“Yes. I was in mommy’s heart.”
Isabelle seemed pleased. And I was pleased that I didn’t tell a lie, nor did I upset her. She continued to watch the video (i.e., the Ketubah signing, B’deken, and entire ceremony, which was NOT short since we had two WONDERFUL rabbis officiating) with rapt attention. Every now and then I heard, “I was in mommy’s heart.”
My husband is cooking dinner tonight. It’s not that he doesn’t offer to help out with dinner on other nights — because he does. I do most of the cooking because I love to do it. But today is Mother’s Day and my husband truly believes I should have the day off. [He’s good about giving me “time off” at nights and on weekends, which I appreciate since my daughter (aka: my employer) has crummy vacation and sick leave policies.] And while my husband does wonderful things for me every day of the year and is a great father, it’s only once a year that I get things like this:
He worked with my daughter and some tubes of paint to get her to create a Mother’s Day card for me. It’s one of the most precious cards I’ve ever received since I know a lot of love and hard work went into it.
I spent my third Mother’s Day going to the same restaurant as I did for my first Mother’s Day. I went to the local botanical gardens, which I did on my first Mother’s Day too. I don’t need whistles and bells. Just time with the ones I love, which today was my husband, daughter, and parents.
When I lay down in bed at the end of each day, no matter how stressful it was, I am always grateful to be a mom. I wanted to be a mom for as long as I could remember. Having my daughter a little over two years ago was such a blessing. I never take her presence in my life for granted.