All my Pity Party was missing were balloons and streamers – and a great big attitude adjustment by yours truly. For a few weeks I’ve been looking to May 2nd with a knot in my mother-belly and a woe-is-me feeling of resentment. I’ve been resenting not being able to be everywhere at once, not being in charge of an Almighty Calendar, and not being able to do everything I want to do.
May 2nd will be an amazing day for my three boys – in completely different cities. And since I can only be in one place at one time, I will miss being by two of their sides, taking in the magic of their growing years, and sharing in the moments. So I’ve been perfecting the Pity Party and letting myself be swallowed by the idea that I can’t be everywhere for every child.
My Pity Party thankfully was busted. You see – what I didn’t bother to remind myself is just how lucky and blessed I am to have three sons who each have such wonderful opportunities and plans that I will miss something (and a beautiful daughter who is helping in the chaos). It is a gift that each one, in his or her own way, is leading a life filled with energy, passion, a bit of mischief, and a lot of determination. Even when that takes them in different directions from yours truly.
The true bust of my Pity Party came when I read the post of another mother. For her – May 2nd will have what she hopes to be wonderful moments – but will also likely experience what I imagine to be moments of true grief (not this Pity Party kind of sadness). May 2nd for this mom is her son’s 20th birthday. And she won’t be able to be with her son, either, to celebrate in his moment, for he now celebrates his birthdays in Heaven.
She could – without any argument – have the biggest Pity Party imaginable. Instead, she is planning the kind of celebration that comes from recognizing the blessings, remembering moments, and celebrating with faith the gift of life. In remembrance of Matt, a young man I remember as a younger boy with a gentle older-brother guiding hand, his family wants to mark May 2nd with Random Acts of Kindness. To further bust up my Pity Party I plan to participate in this celebration and use the list inspired by Matt’s personality and favorite things to share some wonderful moments with others.
There are moments when we realize that we got it all wrong. For me – my attitude about May 2nd is one of them. Sure, I wish I could be there with each son during his moments, but I hold in my heart that at the end of the weekend I’ll get to see pictures, hear stories, and relish in their tales of adventures and moments.
My oldest will morph from teenage boy to young man as he wears his first tuxedo and attends prom. I won’t be there to take the pictures, try to straighten his hair one last time before he leaves, or let a tear slip as he escorts his lovely date out the door. But I’ve asked his date to make sure he cooperates for lots of pictures and I’ll hear from my husband how our son looked in his penguin suit.
My youngest will have a day filled with hour after hour of rehearsal for the following day’s ballet performance. Yes – I’ll see the performance – but it is the rehearsal day when I feel like it is my Mom-Duty to calm his nerves, run like a chicken to find his lost ballet slipper, and help apply the stage make-up he detests (big sister to the rescue). So I’ll let that go and look forward to seeing his exhausted smile at the end of the day – the one that says he is enjoying life and giving it his all.
My middle son I’ll have the pleasure of accompanying to the State History Day competition. He and his project partner have worked extraordinarily hard to make it here and I am thrilled to see them perform their project.
These are the gifts my family is experiencing May 2nd. We will also share in the gifts of Matt’s birthday celebration. If you’re like me and are ready for a diversion from your own Pity Party, I encourage you to step outside yourself and celebrate with these Random Acts of Kindness. For it is in all these moments that we find the beauty and peace of lives well-lived.