We were pulling out of church, full of encouragement and thoughts on friendship. Our sleepy little boy in the backseat, already saying, "All done." Um. We have a 30-minute ride, son. You'll have to get comfy. Being the one named Mommy, I got to pick the lunch spot. I opted for the very close and recently discovered Mexican dive near church, Miguel's. If you saw this place, you'd probably keep driving. It looks like it's attached to a sketchy motel by interstate. But their fajitas are fantastic. And they have an "A" rating.
There we are, and within 30 seconds of entering, Shepard knocks over the basket of tortilla chips. But within moments, we have a Mother's Day miracle! I show him for the 100th time how to drink from a straw (even though he has his own sippy cup, he really loves to play with straws). He takes the drink from me and promptly drinks through the straw! This endeavor is a leap away from last week's Sunday lunch that ended up in a full clothes-change in the Showmars bathroom. (For him, not me) Last week's sippy cup got left behind at the church, so we were trying to help him drink milk from a styrofoam cup. Milk-bath.
Fast-forward to Miguel's. I was so excited. I had started to worry that Shepard would be in his first day of college telling his classmates that the one distinguishing thing about him is that he never learned to drink from a straw.
Our massive plates of fajitas came, as did Shepard's rice and grilled chicken. "RICE!" That kid loves some rice. As is usually the case, about half the rice makes it to his mouth, and the other half ends up in his lap and on the booster seat. We have at least graduated from the "everything on the floor" phase. As he started poaching the rice off my plate, and I had a teeny moment of "hold up! It's my Mother's Day lunch! Calm down little poacher!" Then I realized. I am his mommy. I am mothering him. I helped him eat and drink (!), and I'll scoop all my rice to his plate so he can drop half of it. I will cheer him on when he tries the beans, even if he makes yucky face. I will take him outside and shake off his lunch in the bushes by the restaurant. I will carry him, draped over my shoulder in sleep, into the house after church and lunch and kiss his forehead and cover him up and pray for a good nap. I will hold him in my lap in his Elmo pajamas when I should be fixing my hair or doing the dishes...because he climbed up there and that's where he wants to be. I will tell him 298 times to sit on his bum and put him in time out despite his protestations. I will do all these over and over because one Mother's Day in the not-too-distant future, he will sit and eat something he ordered for himself and he will eat it all and ask for seconds and grow taller than I am. His long, lean body will get too long to sit in my lap, and his cartoons will turn into car shows or time alone in his room. I will tell him to sit on his bum because one day he'll be at a friend's house, and he'll need to set the example. I will always mother him to varying degrees, of course, but now I get the privilege of being hands-on. He still takes my kisses and runs to me at the end of a school-day. He still mostly fits in my lap. It takes four times longer to get ready in the morning because he still needs me. One day he'll brush his teeth and put on his own clothes. I constantly tell myself this or that phase will be over soon enough, but in truth, I'm not sure I want it to be. I'm very busy celebrating my "moments made of now."