How Real Love Stories Go

photo credit: Forty Two. via photopin cc

It’s four minutes to six. We’re sitting at a blinking yellow stoplight, waiting to make a left turn to get to baseball practice. I’m watching the steady stream of oncoming traffic, feeling new muscles tense at the thought of running behind, coming off the heels of piano. If I could just get them there, I can go home and enjoy some solitary moments while making dinner.

There is bickering coming from the backseat. By most respects, they’re still small people; their voices should be small. But they aren’t. They’re big, and relentless, and grating. Those voices fight for the attention I should be paying to the road. Why are they doing this? Why are they continuing to do this after I have repeatedly asked them to stop? They clearly have no idea.

They have no idea that while they’re bickering about Grace not sharing her lollipop with Michael, I’m fumbling in my purse for the pair of socks my son needs to wear with his cleats…socks he doesn’t even realize he needs. And cleats he needed to be reminded to bring.

They have no idea that while Grace was practicing piano, I was sitting in my car checking calendars and scheduling our lives.

They have no idea that while they were having an after-school snack and neglecting my “x amount of minutes until we leave” warnings, I was readying piano books and baseball gear. Like that pair of socks.

They have no idea that while shuttling them home from school and being blinded by the sun, I realized I left my sunglasses on the field as I tried to video-record Michael’s outdoor May ceremony earlier that day. And in my haste to get to the ceremony on time, I had neglected to put on sunscreen, resulting in a rosy pink sunburn on my shoulders.

They have no idea that the reason I was leaving at the last minute to get to the May ceremony was because I was trying to finish a freelance job I picked up for extra money. Extra money my husband and I hope to use to take the family to Disney World.

They have no idea that I lost precious working time this morning when I went up to school for an event Grace’s class was having, only to find out it had been rescheduled for two days later…and Grace had simply neglected to inform me of the change.

They have no idea that every morning when I check my schedule, most of it is directly related to them. And now I’m sitting here, trying to make a left turn in rush hour traffic, and I’m the only one concerned that we are going to be late for one of their activities. Right now, all they seem to care about is hating each other, ignoring my pleas for silence, and that damned lollipop. They have zero appreciation for anything I have done for them today.

Then I see it. A small opening in traffic. If I can squeeze through and make this turn, we might just get to practice on time. But can I make it? Those cars are coming awfully fast. But the sooner I get there, the sooner I can hand them over to someone else. And I can have time to myself. I think I can make it…

…But if I don’t make it, time to myself may be all I have left. And when I check my schedule every morning, I might only be able to wish all of it could be directly related to them.

In an instant, getting to practice on time doesn’t seem to matter. And neither does the fact that they’re still arguing over a lollipop instead of marveling at the sacrifices I make for them everyday. Because I still get to make sacrifices for them. There is no way in hell I am going to let the last thing I ever hear from them be a pointless fight or the last thing I feel for them be extreme annoyance.

So I let the light turn red. I let the clock tick past six. And they still have no idea.

But that’s how real love stories go.

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43 thoughts on “How Real Love Stories Go

  1. No, they have no idea. And they won’t until they have their own children and they are dealing with the same struggles you endure now. But you know, and that is enough.

    BTW, this is a beautiful post, Kelly.


    1. Thanks TD. You’re right. They will only ever know when they are in my shoes. And part of being a parent is realizing that, and being okay with it.

      But doesn’t it still suck sometimes? 🙂


  2. Shut UP. I love this. I wasn’t sure where you were going for awhile and I was getting more and more tense and agitated by your life and wondering how much longer you’d have to suffer through your kids not “getting it” … is it 12? 14? 25 years old? I wasn’t sure, but I was uniting in fury with you … and then … then.

    Awesome. I always love this line of thinking and feel thankful when I actually stop and absorb it in my own life. Are you surprised that I’ve started a post about it myself? Are you surprised it’s not finished? LOL. GOOD STUFF, Mama! 🙂


    1. Your comments are always a bright spot in my day. And I can always count on you to be like, “Aw hell no, kids. Why you doin’ your mom like that?” I think next time they are bugging me, I’m going to call you and have you give them a talkin’ to. 🙂

      I remember you wrote about something similar so eloquently awhile ago. This idea of just appreciating people while you have them. And I know you will find another way to make me laugh and smile and cry and think in that beautiful way you do! Looking forward to it!


      1. Did you write a blog post in your head as you were getting tortured?! Was there a lot of, “Oh sweet mother of Heaven, that’s so … oh, OUCH … OOOUUUCCCHHH!!?” And I’m so happy you enjoy my comments and know that I can always be counted on to unite in WHATEVER. I’m there—know it!


  3. Last week as I was driving out of Philly, I was detoured off Walnut Street, a small inconvenience. I wondered what happened and tragically a young guy died as a car ran a red light ( I’ve thought about this repeatedly since.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve come to a great conclusion about the craziness of our lives and for me with respect especially to work: I’m not going to get it all done and it’s just going to have to be ok.

    Love and hugs!!!!


    1. You are so right. What gets done just has to be okay. Witnessing tragedy always makes you realize those important things, and puts into perspective what a “inconvenience” really means.


    1. Do 18 year olds really get anything? Because I feel like NOT getting stuff is kind of their MO. 🙂 Thanks so much…and nice to have that unified feeling of what it is like to be this thing called a parent.


  4. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I’m on the other side of “taking” to practices, but I can well remember those days of having x minutes to get to this, and needing to have x ready to eat when they got home, and needing to wash that one more load bc tomorrow was P.E. day. Being a few minutes late won’t change anything for them but if it gives you a few minutes peace it will help you a great deal. They’ll have no idea what happened, but everyone will benefit!


    1. I love the way you put that. It won’t make a difference to them, but just a few minutes for me can mean something huge. I see this frustration on the face of every parent around me…it’s a feeling we all know so well.


    1. I love hearing that…it made MY day. Thank you! And yes, it was very theraputic. In fact, I actually had a whole other post ready to publish today. And then this little moment happened yesterday, and the spirit moved me. It was just one of those moments that hits you in the face, and you can’t ignore it. So I pounded it out last night, and went to bed feeling lucky to have my life instead of annoyed at everything that had inconvenienced me that day.


  5. Ain’t that the truth, mama.

    Louis C.K. has a joke about seeing a crying child and a flustered mom – where most people might look and judge the mom – he sees them and thinks, ‘what is that horrible child doing to that poor woman’. I never would have understood that joke before having children of my own.

    AND – I wouldn’t miss a moment of the journey for anything in the world!


  6. No one ever drives like a mother. Kids think the car drives itself until they have their own kids. I could feel every emotion you were having and am now thanking God that my memory is going and I don’t have to do that anymore unless I want to with the grandkids and they just make me laugh.


  7. Such a wonderful post! You completely described my life. I sometimes remind myself to be grateful by thinking about how empty my life would be without them but mostly I remember what it was like when I was a kid and was made to feel like I was in the way and a burden to my parents. They have no idea all that I do as their mother and that lets them just be kids, which is probably the biggest gift I can give them.


  8. I can so relate! I love this post. I am a mother of one and I pour my heart and soul into her world, just so that she can enjoy her youth. It’s a tough job we have and we strive to do it well. Thank you for the inspiration. I look forward to reading your future posts!


  9. Beautiful!! That is real love. I’ve been so caught up in house stress and other pointless things that no I just focus on my baby bump when i get too overwhelmed. He’s safe and healthy, and that’s a blessing. Nothing else matters as much as family! Hugs to you even though my comment is a few weeks late, eek! 🙂


  10. This is beautifully put! I knew how much my mom loved me. I let her know how much I appreciated her. I didn’t fully understand the depth and scope of her love and how she poured her heart and soul into us until I had my own children. I wish that she were still here so that I could tell her again, with truer perspective, but I am glad I let her know how much I loved her and appreciated what I did understand before it was too late…


  11. Lovely write up and its so so relatable to any and all mums. Ya..they won’t realise until they get into our shoes.. But did we until were got into our mom’s shoes:-) Thats what I always remember, my mum saying – I’ll ask you when you have a child of your own!! ANd now I realise When I HAVE A CHILD OF MY OWN!
    Amazing write up. Hugs!!


  12. I am sure we were the same as kids as well, not realising and appreciating all the worries and stresses that our parents go through for us. Like someone said above, until our kids become parents themselves and realise it, then won’t fully appreciate it. Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts with us 🙂 – Michelle M


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