I realized this weekend that there’s nothing like celebrating Mother’s Day when knee-deep in the real-life feelings of being a mama. I took the kids to La Crosse for a dear friend’s wedding. In mama-planning fashion, I packed our bags, downloaded a new movie and a few educational games on the iPad, carefully planned snacks, and put the kids in cozy clothes for the long drive. Google Maps told me it would be four hours. Google Maps doesn’t travel with kids, though, when four hours can easily turn into six. A quick potty stop can turn into a full-blown meltdown with a mess of cookies from head to toe, a potty accident, and an exploded diaper soaking through all layers of clothing and filling a car seat. Does it sound like I’ve been through it before? Heck yes, I have. More than once. So I’ve learned to tack on an extra hour or two to any Google Maps ETA.
We actually managed to avoid any major catastrophes on the trip down. We did not, however, avoid major road construction. One detour added a complete hour to our driving time. Score one for the mama who really did leave two hours early! By the time we got to La Crosse, we were able to stop at the hotel to change into wedding clothes and curl Ella’s hair. I made sure to allow more extra time between the hotel and wedding site, which was good since we hit another detour! We eventually made it to the wedding hotel, squeaked into the last available parking space, and ran inside as the clock struck 4:30. Hot dang, mama! We made it!
Despite the hour-plus of detours, I felt pretty on top of my game as we walked in for the ceremony. Before we entered the ceremony room, Ella spotted the bride, looking absolutely gorgeous in hear silk, beaded dress. After examining her for a moment, Ella turned to me with a deeply sad expression before saying, “You know why I’m crying, Mama? It’s because she’s so beautiful!” Oh, Ella. So sweet and so overly dramatic. Exactly how I love you.
We quietly took a few of the open seats near the back of the room where my parents, my brother, and his wife sat. A sense of accomplishment coursed through me as I sat, quite put-together, and pulled out crackers for Sam at the exact moment he began getting antsy. My hair was carefully curled and I was wearing a new dress that was perfect for the occasion.
And then it hit. First it was Ella desperately needing to go to the bathroom. Then, I realized I had an enormous hole and multiple runs down the front of my nylons. A moment later, Sam filled his diaper and stunk up the back few rows of seats. And then, as we were standing at the end of the ceremony, Sam caught his little hand in the front of my never-worn-before dress and ripped a big hole in the top layer right across my chest. I escaped quickly to the bathroom, but there wasn’t a lot I could do to fix it. I tried, but it ended up looking a bit like a superhero emblem. Appropriate, perhaps, for how I was feeling after getting my kids to the wedding on time, but not quite the look for a wedding. Before you say it doesn’t look that bad, I’ll tell you that it looks much better in the picture than it did in real life.
The cardigan wasn’t quite the right size to button up, but it had to pull through for the occasion. It did just fine, I thought, and I simply looked like I was wearing all black the rest of the night. Until Sammy’s little food-covered hands spread dinner down one shoulder, but I honestly didn’t care by that point. And you know what? We all had a great time! I got to sit with my family and laugh and dance and watch Ella run with the other kids and do the chicken dance with the bride and groom, and I completely enjoyed it.
When it started getting late, we all drove to our hotel in Winona for a big ol’ slumber party. Ella was thrilled. After she finally fell asleep, so was I. When I woke Sunday morning, I was sharing a bed with the girl who made me a mama nearly five years ago and my own mama was in the other bed. A perfect start to Mother’s Day. And then my mom handed me this, and I was practically in heaven.
Diet Mountain Dew. In a Super 8 paper cup. Cheap joy right there, baby. Diet Dew has always been the drink of my family. Not just my immediate family, I mean my entire extended family. We even had it specially served at our wedding. My mom poured me a cup first thing that morning, and we were really celebrating. Then we all went down for continental breakfast.
Ella loves hotel breakfasts!
She then presented her Mother’s Day present for Nana – a stepping stone she made all by herself. I might need to have her make one for me, too. I love it!
We packed up and parted ways shortly after breakfast. The weather was near 70, which we couldn’t get enough of, so we sat right down in the parking lot to enjoy it a bit longer.
As a little Mother’s Day treat to myself, I took the kids to Target so I could buy new earrings before meeting up with friends.
How handsome is this little guy in his bow tie?!
After Target, we headed back to the wedding hotel to meet up with my dear friends, the Larsons. They are the reason I was so excited for the weekend. Jen Larson and I were absolutely best friends all through high school. We hung out at each others houses like they were our own and often called the others mom Mom. Because we’ve both moved a lot since high school and having babies and changing jobs and what not, Jen and I had not seen each other in ten years! Two years ago she was even in Duluth but you know what I was doing? Having a baby! Yes, that very night, the only few hours she was able to spend in Duluth I just happened to be in labor with Sam, so I didn’t get to see her. As soon as I got the invitation to her younger sister’s wedding, I cleared my calendar and set up plans to make it happen, because I was definitely going to see her this time. And I did! Jen, her mom, and her little sister, Amy, and their middle sister (the bride) Kendra, oogled over Ella & Sam all Sunday afternoon.
Jen just sent me this photo, the one that will hang next to our high school picture that still has a spot in my parent’s camper. I put it up when I lived in their old camper for a summer during college. They even moved it to their new camper when they traded up a couple years ago. I will surely be planning a trip to northern California before our move to Kenya! And Jen, you can always visit us in the warmth of Africa.
Such a great weekend could not be ruined by a terribly long drive home. Sam was not happy in his car seat. He made it known every time I tried buckling him in. I was stuck between continuing to drive so we could get home sooner or stopping to give him a break every now and then. I kind of went half and half. Next week our little guy will be getting a forward-facing car seat! I think that will change long rides for him. I’m excited to see him in a big seat!
I hope you had a very good Mother’s Day, whether it was a day to celebrate you or to celebrate another mama in your life. I was so happy to hug my own mom on her special day!