It’s 2:18 a.m. and I just made the cranberry sauce. Oh, and I threw in a load of wash. My wash, that is. I had no choice if I hope to have something fresh to wear in seven hours when it will be time to get dressed to drive to my sister-in-law’s house in Albany. Pumpkin’s dress has been ready on a hanger in her closet for weeks. Such is my life.
Some moms Ã¢â‚¬â€ and you know who you are Ã¢â‚¬â€ seem to effortlessly keep it all together. You look great. Your hair isn’t always in a ponytail. You’ve actually managed to dig out your winter clothes so you don’t have to wear a summer shirt in November. Best of all, you’re calm. You never say things like, “Sweetheart, if you go upstairs and read books quietly with Grandma while mommy tries to write a story, I’ll give you pudding later.” Then there are moms like me. Perennially running late. Trying to do too much and getting only five out of 10 things accomplished. So, tomorrow while Pumpkin will be wearing a cute blue velvet holiday dress, I’ll be schlepping in some jeans. Jeans that aren’t loose like I’d hoped because I haven’t strictly followed the South Beach Diet or gotten back on the treadmill. I won’t be wearing any makeup because in a cleaning fit I threw away all the old stuff I bought back in spring 2005 and I haven’t replaced it. (Or used the gift certificate for Sephora my mom gave me in April 2006.)
Running my house and my family is a full-time job. The only problem is I have another full time job: This one. And when something’s got to give, it’s usually taking care of me. But yet, but yet, even though it’s now 2:25 a.m. and I probably won’t sleep more than four hours. And even though I’ll be the sloppiest mom at my family’s Thanksgiving party. And even though I know I’m far from perfect, I can’t help but sit here and feel so grateful for this messed up, harried life. My child is sleeping in her crib snuggled up with her Elmo doll. My husband will be waking at 5:30 to clean the car and make a dent on the toy litter that’s stretching from my office through the living and dining rooms all the way to the kitchen. My mom will probably come a half hour early this morning and I can get her to file Pumpkin’s fingernails. Most of all, I’m simply thankful to be a mom to Pumpkin, who has been in this world for three years this month. Granted, she was smaller than a grain of rice three years ago, but still Ã¢â‚¬â€ she was alive and my world was changed forever, even if I didn’t know it yet.
So, on this Thanksgiving, I want to say thank you to whoever is reading this blog. Thank you for joining our little community of parents who just want to share the miracle that is our everyday lives. My theory is that parents like to complain about our long days (and occasional nights) and the hard parts because if we talked about what it’s really like, we’d sound like lunatics. “I am so happy to be changing this dirty diaper” don’t sound like the words of a normal person to somebody who hasn’t been a mom or dad. But I remember on the day we brought Pumpkin home from the hospital after she spent nine weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit when she was born three months early. I said into the camcorder: “You need a diaper change. I am so happy to be changing your diaper.” It was me and not a nurse who got to wipe that little bum. I was finally going to be Pumpkin’s full-time mom. And so when she comes to me and says, “Mama, poop,” I’m still that happy. I get to be a mom. If sometimes my other full-time job means that I have to make cranberry sauce at 2 in the morning, so be it.
So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’ll share my secret recipe for cranberry sauce. As for life, I can only say: Be grateful for the diapers because where there’s poop, there’s a child.
Julie’s Cranberry Sauce
1 12 ounce container frozen apple juice concentrate
1 package fresh cranberries
1/2 cup port wine
1/2 cup sugar (If you like it really sweet, make it 3/4 cup)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Mix apple juice, cranberries, wine and sugar in a stainless steel pot. Bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 10 to 13 minutes, until syrup starts to look gel-ish. Remove from heat. Add spices. Pour into a heat-safe dish. Cool. Refrigerate until ready to use. (I’ll also add, pour yourself a glass of port and eat a small dish of the runny sauce while it’s hot. Yum.)