Birthday season has ended at our house. As I sit at the computer on yet another cold winter night with glass of red wine in hand and think over this whole crazy month, I look back at February with a feeling of nostalgia. The highs and lows as well as the lessons learnt, memories cherished and let it all wash over one exhausted Mom of three or more.
This week’s theme is recuperation. My whole body feels as if it’s been on a permanent adrenaline rush and now that it is all over, I can finally feel tired. My brain is even so tired that this self-confessed television limiting mama relented today and let my exuberant and increasingly demanding toddler watch Sesame Street leaving the half-finished dishes in the sink. Cuddling with my little guy on the couch as he squirmed closer to me grasping me in a chokehold and grabbing my face to say, “Audrey crying again?” I knew there was no way I was going to our weekly tykes yoga class and permitted myself to doze in between squeezes from a pair of chubby little arms.
The weather seems to mirror my mood. Gray and wet with snow falling in between large raindrops, it is the worst part of the winter season. However, it has been one amazing month. Even through the huge to-do lists and stressing about loot bags, I tried not to lose focus on the important thing, ensuring each of my girls felt special and celebrated this month. Fortunately, I think we did that. Actually, with Valentine’s Day thrown into the mix and my decision to celebrate it this year with the family, I hope everyone in our family ends February feeling a little more special.
Having kids with birthdays so close together can mean many things. Fights between siblings about who received the better presents or had the bigger party. Having to slowly wean my children off the belief that cake, cupcakes, chocolate hearts and leftover Christmas candy is not a third food group can be daunting. My own stomach is starting to reject the sugary temptations that still litter my kitchen cupboards.
My body may complain of sore shoulders and arms from carrying bag upon bag of food for parties, juice boxes, and presents back home but all of these things are unimportant when I hear Audrey say to me, “This was the best birthday ever!” Or when I saw the look on Elizabeth’s face as she splattered paint all over herself and her friends. The look of awe and excitement in their eyes on Valentine’s Day morning when they discovered I had decorated the table and they could have chocolate with breakfast. These are the memories I hope they will cherish. Not the few times Mommy snarled at them to get ready faster as I tried to find my breath to calm down repeating the favorite phrase of Frank Costanza, “Serenity Now! Serenity Now!”
I hope they remember the carefully written cards I had placed with their now cherished (and put away for weekend use) new iPad Minis that Mr. L insisted on buying them. Cards with cursive writing where I told them how much they were loved and cherished by their parents and how proud we were of them both. It is hard to believe these two girls are now seven and five years old. Smarter than I will ever admit and more loving than I give them credit for, Mr. L and I have now entered the era of the girl. I only hope their little brother survives it without being paraded in the neighbourhood dressed as a girl in order to amuse his two older sisters. What girls would do that?
Have I mentioned I also come from a three-child family? Two girls and a boy. My father said it best tonight as I complained about having to pick-up and dry three pairs of soggy mittens, an age-old adage that is so true, “what goes around, comes around.”
But how will I remember this past February? Full of birthday parties, surprises and balloons that are still bouncing around our floors? Or a time when a whole group of people, family, friends, neighbours and schoolmates came together to celebrate birthday after birthday. Where at a birthday party full of thirty-one children I had hands to help without even asking. At a family get-to-gether post birthday madness as I zipped around my house pouring drinks for immediate family and ensuring all the food was ready I saw my brother and sister who have been at odds for the past year finally have a proper conversation. Where cousins snuck off together to plan the best way to get us to open all the presents at once. What I will take away from this busy, crazy and fun-filled month is a feeling of thankfulness. Thankful that my family is fortunate to have this many people who care about my girls being happy.
As we leave February behind (and hopefully winter as well) and enter into a new month it is with a resigned notion that although I got through one of our family’s busiest months intact, the hustle and bustle of holiday/birthday season will be missed.
What are your memories of February?