Mother’s Day 2010 was quite memorable but not for the reason you think. Yes, R was in a car accident the month before and we were still living out of suitcases at the Navy Lodge next to National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda but it was also the day I took L to her first Nationals baseball game.
Mother’s Day 2010 was the day after the dinner at the Dutch Embassy.
My, that sounds so fancy schmancy, doesn’t it? “Yes, dahling, I’d love to go but I’ve got to get ready for dinner at the Dutch Embassy.”
It was pretty awesome.
It turns out that the wonderful people at the hospital frequently invite the family of Wounded Warriors to various events around the city. That night happened to be dinner at the embassy.
I wasn’t sure how I’d be able to manage it with three young kids. As a Navy wife, a tiny part of me has been embarassed to be such a stereotype as in look at that young Navy wife with all those kids. Silly, I know. It’s a tiny part.
Three young kids and only me at a semi-formal event with probably important people and expensive glasses and dishes. L was on the verge of being potty trained before the accident and you can bet your little patootie that she digressed when after the accident. How could I deal with a smelly diaper at a government building? Not only that, my in-laws and brother-in-law left a few days earlier and I was getting used to having all three kids with me all the time at the hospital every moment of the day. My weight dropped so low that there was a digit in the tens place I hadn’t seen since high school. I almost fainted a couple of times in the hospital. Because of all of these things, I almost declined.
I am so glad I didn’t.
Turned out that while we were the largest family there (yay, I won), they were not the only kids. There was a toddler safely harnessed in a kid backpack thing. There was another boy who was about a year older than M.
The kids and I greeted and thanked our hosts and other official officials then I did what any other parent would do.
I herded my lot to the patio and let them run around. They were soon joined by the other boy. His mom told me later that her son said, “I want to go outside and play with all the kids.”
Yep, I am a walking preschool.
It turns out that the boy’s father was also a Wounded Warrior. His father’s vehicle hit an IED and he lost both of his legs. Our kids talked about their dads.
Our kids talked about their dads who were injured in the war.
I had no idea how powerful that would be to M. There were other kids like him out here, forced to grow up before they had to, forced to accept the mortality of the most powerful man they know, watching their moms cry when they think no one is looking.
Mind you, I am a military spouse and I own it but it’s not my superpower. I don’t expect Oprah to lavish me with expensive gifts just because I’m a military spouse but it would very rude of me to refuse.
On the way back to base, the officer in charge had two extra tickets to the Nationals game the next day. Mother’s Day.
My hand shot up first.
In retrospect, I probably should not have left the older two with R in the hospital for two very important reasons: (1) He was under so much medication that he does not recall most of his time in Bethesda and (2) HE WAS IN THE HOSPITAL.
But I HAD to leave the older two with him. My son M did NOT want to leave R’s side. The older two were potty trained and really independent for their ages. Also, this is what they wanted to do with Daddy the entire time.
So L and I hopped on the Metro and headed to the game.
Only we didn’t have regular baseball tickets. We had tickets in the Presidential Lexus suite. I looked around nervously at all of the food and whispered to the waitress if I could at least put the tip and alcohol on my Visa debit card as I didn’t have any cash with me.
She smiled and said, “Oh, honey. Everything is taken care of in here.”
Yes, that’s prime rib. Yes, that’s a dessert bar behind L. Yes, we sat four rows behind home plate.
Home plate is a base, right?
Mother’s Days since then have been very low-key. The kids bring home art projects from school, homemade cards created the morning of in the next room. True, there is no prime rib, no presidential suite.
There’s always next year.