For over a week now, I’ve had a stranger’s soccer ball rolling around the back floor of my car.
Every time I turn, it’s like hearing a bizarre game of pinball as it rolls across a plastic bag, crackles a water bottle, hits a discarded shoe and then rolls back. And, every time, I think, "$#*!, we need to return that to...Boys? Whose ball is that anyway?"
My oldest shrugs saying he borrowed it at practice. But now I’m driving and can’t reach the dang thing. And when I get out of the car, we have 400 other things to unload, so it gets forgotten again. Meanwhile, my younger tween is listening to Hamilton on his earpods and doing his Snapchat streaks and doesn’t notice.
Or, each of them are taking turns telling me whatever thought is in their head (sometimes one even raises his hand to talk next, like I have a classroom of children.)
So the rolling ball gets overshadowed by reports of latest school assignments, scandals, crushes, who’s vaping/kissing/dating/popular — and who’s not...or some odd trivia fact that one just learned in Science or on Instagram or from a friend...or a play-by-play of the new battle pack on PS4/Fortnite...or an argument over who gets to ride "shotgun: next...or "I’M STARVING!"...or (my for-reals favorite) the spontaneous performance of a choir/country/broadway song that I always wish I could grab my phone and record.
But I can’t because I’m driving. Always driving.
And then the boys get out of the car, to practice, or rehearsal, or school or wherever. And I’m left alone. With that darn rolling soccer ball again...thinking, ugh, I REALLY need to clean out my car. While at the same time knowing, that all too soon, I’ll have plenty of peace, cleanliness, and quiet. Not only in my car, but in life overall.
And I’ll oddly miss rolling soccer balls, and crunching water bottles, and "shotgun!" and loud teenagers...and all the other noisy, crazy, funny, frustrating, lively, musical, sporty, sweet, silly, wonderful sounds of motherhood — that I tried so hard to achieve, and that I’m not only celebrating today, but that fills my heart, my soul, my whole life, every day.
I may not be the mom with the clean car, the organized life, or the returner of soccer balls to their rightful owners. Nor is that the kind of mom I strive to be. But I am a mom who is fully fascinated by every short-lived age and stage and appreciates the one-of-a-kind moments of the here and now. Whether the "here" is in a messy car or our cozy house, or the "now" is snuggly toddlerhood or stinky tweendom...I am present and enjoying the ride.
So for all you moms out there who can relate, remember, or who are still hoping (and may be trying) to experience this journey someday, I wish you this:
May you get the peace and quiet you so deserve on Mother’s Day — but also relish the soundtrack of your life that’s playing right now. It’s yours and yours alone. And it rocks.
As long as you can roll with it...