Hadley was born in 2006, a short 19 months after Tom. I call her my “bonus baby” given that I was from three and Gordie was from two. For a short time, he felt like we had everything we needed: one girl, one boy, both thankfully healthy. While I could see his point, I definitely wanted one more. When Hadley was born, and as she grew, we both realized we could fall in love over and over with each baby and that they all brought very different personalities with them into this world. Hadley has proven to be all that and more as she grows into a confident little girl.
Up until recently, admittedly, Hadley has taken a back seat when it comes to activities and getting together with friends. For the longest time, I’ve thought of her as my baby who willingly tags along to soccer, play practice, Lego club pick-up, and weeknight baseball in the Spring for her siblings. This year, that changed. Hadley started kindergarten, and discovered that a mom was forming a Daisy’s troop. She wanted more than anything to be a part of it. She then heard about gymnastics, and told me all of her friends were enrolling…and it was on Monday afternoons. I took the news hard. Mondays were already booked with Whitney and Tom’s activities, and I was already having trouble being in two places at once. I reluctantly agreed to sign her up and vowed to figure it out with rides and car pools. If you’re a full-time mom, you can relate to the stressful feeling of having no idea how you will get one or more children from point A to point B on a given day. Somehow, it always works out, but I’m a planner and it hasn’t been an easy routine to swallow.
Things got really bad a few weeks ago. I came into the school parking lot on two wheels, running late, lurching to a stop at the back of the pick-up line to pick up Hadley. Lost in my own mental sea of motherhood mayhem, I curtly told her we would do a “make-up” for gymnastics because I had car pool issues for the other two that day and I just could not get her to the class. She looked at me, and her face fell. She slowly climbed into her booster, looked totally defeated, put her little hands to her face, and began to cry.
A few moments passed, and she looked up. “Mommy, when will it be about me? When will everyone come and watch ME do my activities?” It’s amazing how our kids can touch us when they actually TALK to us like real people (instead of having a melt-down and screaming that they hate us, like she could have and my children sometimes do). I profusely apologized and vowed not to let it happen again. Cue the “Shitty Mom Of The Year” contest because right then and there I felt as low as I could go. In reality, I was disorganized, had dropped the ball on having the rides ironed out, and wrongly reasoned that Hadley wouldn’t know the difference.
My heart ached from that episode for days. In the course of thirty seconds, my daughter made me see that she is no longer that little girl who will tag along forever. She has hopes and dreams and goals of her own now. It’s finally her turn.