On Saturday, Mike, Mazzy, Harlow and I went to the Bar Mitzvah of our 13-year-old cousin. You would think this would be the kind of event where nightmares are made (kind of like my experience taking a toddler to a wedding), but surprisingly, it was a pretty pleasant day.
Mazzy was a tad under the weather and not quite herself, which while a little sad, also meant she wasn't running around like a chicken on crack, eating bread rolls that fell on the floor, wiping pigs in the blanket grease on my dress and darting for the kitchen whenever she saw the swinging door open.
Instead, she chose to play by herself in the floor-to-ceiling curtains, dance to slow songs with Daddy and stay close to mom. I think she was somewhat intimidated by the mass of thirteen-year-olds on the dance floor and knew, just as the adults did, when the Harlem Shake is playing, it is our job to stand back and watch.
Put plainly, Mazzy getting over a head cold enabled me to pretend I was raising a well-behaved child.
Harlow, who is usually quite the Momma's Girl, seemed so entranced by the change of surroundings, the loud music and the colorful balloon centerpieces that she allowed herself to be passed around like a football the entire day with barely a peep.
My dress, incidentally, was chosen by Mazzy, so it was pink just like hers. This was the first time the two of us have ever coordinated and while I usually find people who do such things BEYOND LAME, I found myself reveling in the obvious bond between us and thought us to be rather adorable.
Things are always lame until you participate in them yourself, you know?
Actually, the real story here is the pride I felt for my little family of four on Saturday.
Lately, I have felt inundated with news stories about how moms can't have it all and how most parents aren't happy and how having children destroys your dreams. Getting adjusted to having two kids has not helped matters in that Mike and I have openly recognized that THIS SHIT AIN'T EASY. We've wondered if becoming parents is worth it, if we'll ever do the things we love again (like traveling or eating out in a leisurely fashion) or remember what it was exactly that brought us together before our kids bonded us for life. We've talked about the impact on our careers and the challenges we face with deciding where to live as it seems to rest solely on where we want to send our kids to school. We've lied awake at night thinking about the financial impact having two children has on our lifestyle. We've gone through days where we barely retain our sanity because Mazzy is sick and Harlow won't nap and all we want to do is ditch the two of them and see a movie by ourselves.
Don't get me wrong— we count our blessings too. We love our children fiercely and unconditionally. But parenting is no picnic. I understand the decision to not have kids way more now that I have kids.
This Saturday, I felt differently. I walked into the temple holding my adorable baby in my arms while Mike held hands with our stunningly beautiful daughter. Usually when I am going somewhere with the kids I am wearing something I don't mind getting ruined, but on Saturday, I was wearing a brand new dress that I felt great in.
The little thirteen-year-olds girls turned to look at us and made silent "awwww…" faces as they took us in. In that moment, we were not the parents who negotiated breakfast like a nuclear peace talk earlier that morning or wrestled our daughter to the floor to take medicine for her ear infection.
We were the perfect family.
Living in Manhattan, I often feel like the twenty-something NYU students that pass my stroller in the street and the girls in six inch heels sitting on stools at the bars of restaurants I can no longer eat it in, look down on the traditional path I have chosen for myself.
It was nice to remember that at thirteen, in addition to the high powered career and the Barbie Mansion with a pool and tennis court, having a husband and two daughters was exactly what I wanted.
Although the career thing is still a work a progress and the mansion will probably never happen, it feels great to remember that one of my dreams came true.
If I could turn back time and make my life decisions all over again, I wouldn't change a thing.