Clone Wars (AKA Field Day)

8:50 AMHeather

There I was. The elementary Field Day that I'd been anticipating for five years. You see, on my first adventure in Field Day I realized the torture and triumph that is this annual tradition. The heat, the humidity, the competition, the play, the heat, the humidity--all with a baby on the hip, a bored toddler in tow, and an eager Kindergartner looking for my approval. As I walked back and forth, back and forth from one end of the school to the farthest other end, it dawned on me.

One day, I'd have THREE children in the same elementary school, and I'd somehow have to divide myself between all their activities. Mission impossible. At least I'd have a few years of dividing myself between two children to practice and perfect my technique. My ace in the hole during those years was a babysitter for the youngest. This allowed me to focus myself on the task of being two places at once. Another strategy was trying to have my beloved take the day off to help divide and conquer--but this was not always possible.

Including the much anticipated clone-myself-three-ways Field Day year. I couldn't believe it. My oldest's LAST Field Day, and my youngest's FIRST Field Day. Don't forget my middle child, who lives for an audience to cheer him on. My plan of action was simple--take the schedule and make each child circle the MOST important event that Mom attend (praying in the mean time that this priority did not conflict with a sibling's priority event).

It looked like it might make it manageable. Chris was able to take a long lunch to ease at least an hour of the day. Of course, it was the HOTTEST day of the year, with a humidity that matched the temperature. And I didn't account for the fact that I would feel so torn about supporting all of the oldest's events, seeing how it was his LAST. FIELD DAY. EVER. I honestly got choked up during the Star Spangled Banner, visions of that darling boy as a kindergartner starting all the Field Day madness. Or, how baby girl would feel so excited about every event because it was her FIRST. FIELD DAY. EVER. Then, there's the middle child with the strong attachment to mom, who soaks in every cheer and yell I can offer.

Never has cloning felt like such an important superpower. I spent my time at one event, feeling torn between the other two children, anticipating where I needed to go next. I'd cheer and hug and high five, all the while feeling as though I was letting the other children down. Not to mention the constant sweating. Have I mentioned the heat?

About 200 photos and 2 hours of video tape later, we crawled into our house, collapsing on the floor, soaking in the air conditioner. The only thing that prompted movement was a chance to shower or bath. I climbed into bed at 4:00 pm, clean and in jammies, with a child snuggled next to me. It was hard to feel as though the day was successful because I could not be all things to all little people. Just like every day of motherhood. To be fully engaged in one child's needs often means another must wait. My perfectionistic bent and great desire to be a great mom means I exist in a state of feeling conflicted.

It boils down to this. I must choose. I can beat myself up for what I cannot do and how I fall short. Or, I can focus on the smile on my child's face when they see me cheering them on. I can remember that I'm doing my best, giving it my all, and my children KNOW how much I adore them--even if I'm currently tending to another child. I can choose to remind myself that each child knows their turn is coming, and my love never takes turns. And, when it's all said and done, I'll tuck each child around me, snuggle up, and compare stories of their favorite memories from Field Day. I'll let them regale me with tales of the events I missed, thereby sharing those moments with them somehow.

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