Today was the Primary Program. (The one Sacrament meeting each year that is put on by all the kids in the Ward. They each have parts and sing, etc.)
I sat for a lot of it feeling sad, awkward, frustrated, and throwing a hell of a pity par-tay! for myself. Sitting next to me was Peter, an old friend of the girls. Then ManCub. And then the kids' Mom. And next to her, her friend. Somewhere I got this hair-brained idea that maybe she would like to come and watch the girl's in their first Primary Program. John, Juju, and Porkchop were left at home fighting off colds. With Scrunch up on the stand as well, I felt all by myself and outnumbered by the crazies.
A friend posted this link on her FB about The Invisible Mother. It served as a great backdrop for my pity party. For if you think Mothering is the hardest job in the world, try doing it for another woman's children. Because no matter how many nights I stay up sewing new skirts, they will be most excited to show them her. And even if I was the one who taught them how to knit, their first project will be a gift for her. But I will need to make sure it gets wrapped. I will cook, sew, clean, keep track of homework, get cashback for the Toothfairy, make sure they ate breakfast, Google how to curl hair with socks, and that they brush their teeth, but she gets to be Mom. It is the hardest, most awkward place, I never thought I'd find myself in. This sucks. Welcome to my party.
As the first verses of my favorite hymn began, I started to soften and I cried through How Great Though Art. It was a much needed blessing that the kids were on the stand and the really wiggly ones were at home. I was able to focus and pay attention and really think and feel without the constant distraction of wiping someones nose. Somewhere during the middle of the Sacrament I happened to glance to my side and see C sitting in her black tube top and white capris. A few minutes earlier I had harshly thought, "At least she has long hair. It helps to cover what her clothes don't and at least a couple of the tattoos."
From somewhere the thought popped into my mind, "This isn't easy for her either."
Though most of the situation is due to consequences of her own choices, it doesn't mean it's easy. They call her Mom, but it's me they'll be going home with. They are my words that she will hear repeated when Beezus tells Miss8 that she "can do hard things". It can't be easy to know that although she is their mother she will never be able to give them the kind of life that we can give them, are giving them. It can't be easy to have her son not cry when she leaves and reach for me when I go to pick him up.
By the end of the Sacrament and just as the kids were about to begin, I made a little bit more peace with the whole situation and my party came to an end. She and I share much of the same pain. I can do hard things.
The girls rocked their parts. And I could hear them singing from where I sat. Their skirts looked cute, and the hair-curling with socks actually worked.
For the very last song we sang all my kids' favorite, I am a Child of God. And I cried again.
Lead me, guide me, walk beside me,
Help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do
To live with him someday.
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