Sometimes I come out of a weekend thinking, wow. Just wow. And I can scarcely begin to describe how I arrived at this point. But I will make an attempt anyhow, because, well, what else will I be doing here? Sing?
On Saturday, I left the house at 7:30 AM for a five-mile run (my first morning run in a long time, and since we’re doing a play-by-play here, I might as well admit that it felt pretty wonderful too), and came home for a quick swig of coffee while the girls got ready to leave for their soccer class. Then we left together so I could go to my yoga class for 90 minutes while their dad watched the girls during soccer.
The funny thing is, there is a wall of windows that overlooks the soccer field from my yoga class, and every now and then, I could see Little Miss with the ball and her sister trailing behind her. I know we’re expected to disconnect from the outside world during yoga, but I couldn’t help myself. It was highly entertaining, albeit a little distracting.
By the time I was done, we were all ready for a hearty brunch at a neighborhood restaurant, where Little Miss, who was usually full of interruptions, sat quietly as she drew me this lovely picture and wrote the words all by herself. (Had she not run out of space, it would have said "Mommy” since we’re not quite at the “Mom” stage yet. Thankfully.)
I have to say, having a full conversation with My Guy as we ate was as delicious as the plate of asparagus and brie omelet and crispy house potatoes I had in front of me.
After an active morning, the girls napped soundly while the grownups did some work on the computer. We rested just enough for our next round of adventure: Family Swim!
The girls, who haven’t been in the pool since our vacation in Puerto Rico, were absolutely delighted. That’s also when Thumper confirmed our suspicions: she was fearless in the water. Just put a foam noodle under her armpits, and she’s off! My Guy would stand Thumper up above the pool and ask her to jump at the count of three, except, that never really happened. Sometimes it’s onetwothreefourfiveSIX! before jumping, and sometimes, it would go up to 11. Very random. Very funny. But she never once hesitated to dive in.
Little Miss had her own moves in the water too. The foam noodle was also new to her, but it didn’t take her long to figure out how to float and glide across the water with relative ease, insisting that we only helped upon her request.
Being in the water is such a joy for me as some of my favorite childhood memories happened at the pool. The fact that my family was equally enchanted by the water was a colossal bonus. We decided to become members of the YMCA just so we could make the Family Swim time a regular thing. It’s our happy place, it would seem.
As with after every trip to the pool, we were all famished by the time we were done, and we picked a nearby restaurant, devoured some noodles, and because we decided to fudge the girls’ bedtime a little that evening, ventured into World Market, where I went crazy at the candy aisle. I’ve never been known to resist temptation, so why start now? On our way home, we each had a Happy Hippo from one of my favorite chocolate brands, Kinder, and called it a day.
And oh, what a day. Exhausting yet energizing. Busy but relaxing. Who knew all that physical activity would feel so satisfying?
In the car, on our way home, I said to My Guy, “You know, you could call this our Mother’s Day celebration, and I would be perfectly happy.”
Because it was true. I had an amazing day.
But he wouldn’t have it.
True to his nature, he already had the next day planned, from the time I woke to the time I went to bed.
Mother’s Day started with our first meal at my favorite breakfast restaurant, where I feasted on divine sour-cherry-chocolate French toast. Then we took a scenic drive to the Chicago Botanic Gardens and spent the morning ooh-ing and aah-ing over tulips, rhododendrons, and lilies. This was Thumper’s year at the Gardens it would seem because purple, her favorite, was everywhere. Luckily for Little Miss, they weren’t short on pink either.
Both pictures show the Japanese Garden, my favorite part.
Naturally, with two little ones, we had to break the day in two to squeeze in the all-important nap. On this day, I skipped my usual Sunday run and chose to nap instead. (Gasp!!!) But then again, Mother’s Day comes but once a year. I had to take advantage of the license to take advantage.
I also had to conserve my energy because after our rest came more celebrating! Our third stop of the day was for dinner at our favorite Ethiopian restaurant, where everyone in my family has a favorite dish and no one leaves hungry. Ever.
After copious amounts of “Meat!”, as my toddler would demand, I dropped Thumper and My Guy off at home and drove Little Miss and me to a little theater in the suburbs for a live performance of one of her favorite stories, Beauty & the Beast. It was a big-girl-and-mama date night, and the fact that it was special was not lost on her as I fielded her barrage of questions and comments about the show and our night at the theater.
When we arrived home after the show, My Guy excitedly announced to me that Thumper was asleep in Little Miss’ big-girl bed, instead of her own crib. It was completely unexpected as she hadn’t shown any real interest up to this point, and I made him give me the play-by-play of how it all went down.
It was a milestone after all! And I couldn’t believe I wasn’t there for it! My soon-to-be two-year-old (in exactly two weeks, but who’s counting) was finally in a big-girl bed! Little Miss went to sleep in our guest bed that night - a spot with which she’s now familiar since we separate them on nights we hear a party in their bedroom, instead of quietly going to bed - and we ended the night with a couple of episodes of “The Game of Thrones” and a bottle of sumptuous Tripel Karmeliet beer.
Before turning in ourselves, we looked in on Thumper, who woke from sleep, got on her feet on the bed with a stuffed animal in each hand and asked to be put back in her crib: “Seep in my kib daddy...seep in my kib...”
Ah. All’s well with the world again. I can continue to pretend she’s still my baby, and not the toddler that she really is.
For Mother’s Day, I only had two requests of My Guy. 1) That I was not asked to think about a single meal that day, so whether he decided to cook or take us out, I didn’t want to have to make a choice because I do that five times a day, every day; and 2) That he made the bed in the morning (something that I made a point to do myself every day because it made me feel good).
He did all of that, of course. And much, much more. Because he’s awesome like that.
The pampering was nice, but that’s not why I loved the weekend.
I loved it because on Saturday, we were just going about our business as usual and playing by ear with most of what we ended up doing that day, yet everything came together so perfectly that we couldn’t have planned it better.
I also loved it because on Sunday, despite several glitches, My Guy still managed to pull off an amazing Mother’s Day celebration for me. We almost had to wait 30 minutes for a table at breakfast, but we avoided the long wait because he offered to hold Thumper on his lap while we ate at the restaurant counter (no waiting!). It was Little Miss’ first time on a swiveling high stool, so it actually turned out to be a fun experience for her.
When Little Miss pitched a fit later that day because she couldn’t wear the dress of her choice for dinner (in our defense, it was a sleeveless number, and it was a rather chilly day), My Guy swooped in and averted the crisis just by talking her out of it. And as you know, trying to reason with an unreasonable preschooler can be a monumental task, so props to him, who usually has less patience for insolence than I do, for even trying.
And the best part? The house was as I would’ve kept it - the bed was made, the kitchen and dining room table were clean, and the toys were put away. It was a very good day, no, weekend, for me.
A heartfelt gratitude goes out to My Guy for making this Mother’s Day so very special, and to my family for making even the most ordinary day feel that way sometimes.