One morning last week, as I was rushing around the house trying to get out the door to work, Sam proudly announced that his class was having a Thanksgiving “feast” soon, and his teacher said “our mommies can bring in whatever we want.” Awesome.
Of course, because one of my strengths as a mom is reading newsletters and other papers that come home in Sam’s school bag ;), I already knew about this so-called feast and had long-ago signed up to bring… napkins. Listen, I was so ahead of the game that I had even picked out exactly which napkins I was going to buy at Target over the weekend. Frankly, I felt like I was really winning at this Thanksgiving Mom thing.
Now, I’m going to be real here… I never considered Sam’s suggestion that we take “chocolate bars” since it’s one thing to be the mom that sends napkins to the school party and an entirely other thing to be the mom that supplies chocolate bars for a class of four year olds; but, I did spend the next couple days in an internal dialogue with myself about whether or not I should try to make some kind of cute Thanksgiving snack or treat from an idea I found on Pinterest. Ultimately though, as of this morning, I’m committed to sticking with the napkins – out of principle if nothing else.
I signed up to bring napkins, so I’m bringing napkins. That’s just the kind of mom I am.
Yes, a tiny part of me worries that he will be embarrassed or disappointed by his contribution to the “feast”- but, really, he’s FOUR, and they are cute napkins. (Although, incidentally, they were sold out of the ones I had wanted to buy with a cute little cartoon turkey on them. #winning). Sorry bud, you got a Napkin Mom.
And, yes, there’s a little voice inside me that worries that his teacher will think I’m a slacker, but the world needs Napkin Moms too, you know? (Trust me, you don’t want to be around a four year old with snacks and no napkins.)
Here’s the thing: It’s taken me about four years to get here (and I’m still a work in progress), but I’m finally becoming comfortable with my strengths and weaknesses as a mom. Class parties aren’t my thing. Neither are crafts or cooking. I do not thrive in the four-year-old “Thanksgiving Feast” domain.
But I DO thrive in other domains… I pack a mean school lunch (at least by my standards), I’m darn good at reading aloud, I’m organized (mostly), I plan fun “dates” and activities for our family, I buy meaningful gifts, and I have a lot of empathy. Another thing I’m good at, as Jeff recently pointed out, is making conversation with Sam. When he first said that I thought it sounded ridiculous, but he’s right. Talking and connecting is a strength of mine. Most of the time that looks pretty unimpressive (certainly not as impressive as being good at doing elaborate crafts or baking turkey-shaped cookies). It looks like chatting from the driver’s seat while we drive to and from the grocery store, asking questions while I make dinner and he sits at the kitchen table, or cuddling before bed and recapping our days. But, every once in a while, I see glimpses of that strength being developed in Sam – like the other night when he asked me, out of the blue, what I taught my students that day. Sam may not be the kid in class bringing the best dish to the feast, but I like to think he will be really good at making conversation with his classmates while they eat (and wipe their mouths with lovely napkins I might add).
As we move into the holiday season, I hope you know that you are strong EXACTLY where you need to be. Whether you are a Napkin Mom or a Homemade Personal Pumpkin Pie Mom, you are doing a REALLY good job. We need BOTH of those kinds of mommas for a Thanksgiving feast to happen. Keep on keepin’ on Momma!