While watching TV the other night, my oldest child discovered a variety show where the current attraction was a man spinning plates on many sticks. Usually, the 9-year-old is a constant channel flipper, always skipping from program to program -- but he stopped on this channel, intently watching a tuxedo-clad man jump around the stage like a maniac, setting up plates on top of sticks and setting them into motion. "Mom, you see this?" he said... "That looks so hard!" I was finishing up the dinner dishes while the hubby had the younger boys in the bath. "That's what I do," I said while looking at the TV.
"Mom... You. Can't. Spin. Plates. You can't even juggle." And he's right, I cannot literally pass multiple balls through my hands in the air, or put plates on sticks and make them spin, but metaphorically? Metaphorically this whole world of motherhood is a gigantic plate spinning act... and my performance will not get me a spot on Ed Sullivan. "What? You don't think taking care of you guys is just as complicated as spinning plates?" He seemed to think about that while he was watching the show.
I'm actually kind of envious of the plate spinning guy. He's obviously had time to practice his craft, and is probably using plates from The Dollar Store that he can afford to break and try again. But with motherhood, my plates are the finest china, balancing the lives of little human beings, and it's always a side thought in my mind that when it comes to their safety, I won't get a second chance. Then there is the timing to it all, the balancing act where everything needs to happen at a certain time. I can lie to myself all I want about the fact that I don't care what other people think, but when it comes to my kids, I want them to have the best. Am I the best?
Putting the fear of accidents to the side, then there's all the extra stuff that comes with school-aged kids: the homework, the lunches, the doctor's appointments, the inoculation schedules, the sports practices, the religious school, the games... I haven't even broached birthday parties and holidays yet, and housework and meals... Plates are falling from the sky as I write this, I'm gonna need to buy more plates. Another thing to add to the shopping list.
The craziest part is that I really am doing the best I can, and I don't think they notice when I neglect one spinning plate and tend to the one that's about to drop with more intensity. Once that plate is okay I jump to the next one that's about to fall.
I'm now judging the balance with small victories. I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't remember if I'd packed the lunches the night before... I had. I remembered show-and-tell for the 3-year-old today that had to start with the letter B. The oldest's soccer uniform is washed and ready for the upcoming game. The baby's diaper is currently clean... Seems that my plates are spinning in unison -- along with my head, but at least it's still on top of my shoulders.
That is until I picked the preschooler up from school today... As we walked out the door his teacher reminded us, "Remember, wear the color of the day for every day next week. Monday is orange."
Color of the day?
I'm gonna need more plates.