The Bench

I’ve really been scrambling to figure out what I’m going to write for  Mother’s Day. I’ve been debating as to whether I should actually write about motherhood or just skip it altogether. I feel completely unqualified to write about momming when I’ve been so bad at it lately. My toddler has been feverish, feeling badly, and very vocal about it, and it has really taken a toll on me. I have struggled with how much he has needed me this week. I’m loathe to admit it because I worry it’s maybe not something a good mother feels. I know that all too soon these days will be a distant memory and I will miss them terribly and all that, but this morning as I stare bleary eyed at the computer screen trying to find some words, I am tired. I am completely used up and I could really use a break from the thirty pounds of hot toddler on my lap. So this week, I’m not going to write about all the usual things like “Moms, we’re raising the future of humanity!” and “Moms, you rock out in those yoga pants and don’t worry about those extra ten pounds!” All that stuff is self congratulatory, and I’m just not feeling it.  Instead I’m going to tell you about my bench.

I am not a big fan of sports, but my husband is. Over the past nine years I have watched more football, soccer, baseball, hockey, etc. than I ever dreamed I would in my entire life. I’ve learned the rules of each game, and have even been known to occasionally cheer for my husband’s alma mater (Go Pokes!) out of sheer boredom.  Out of all of the sports, college football is his favorite. Each year, he carefully reviews the stats of all the incoming freshman recruits for his beloved Oklahoma State Cowboys. One thing I have learned as I’ve watched him do this is that

Those who “sit the bench” are really the most important people on the team.

See, those players, besides often being the future of the team, are the ones that the starters practice with each week. The bench-ers help sharpen and hone the skills of those who perform in the actual game, which is critical to the team’s success. And then there are those weeks when one of the starters is hurt or sick, or even just mentally unready to perform. This is when those who sit the bench get the chance to shine. They take the starter’s place in the game, and while they may not always perform as well, they get the job done.

As a mom, I desperately need a bench.

Someone I can count on to take my place when I’m sick or hurt or just completely out of my mind with exhaustion. Most of the time, this person ends up being my husband. He amazes me sometimes. He regularly works thirteen and fourteen hour days at a physically grueling job. I know he’s tired when he gets home. I know his joints hurt from all the lifting he does. I know that all he probably wants to do is come home, eat, and fall asleep in the recliner to the basketball game.  He does this a lot and I don’t usually begrudge him for it or I try my best not to. But I have noticed that sometimes, especially when I am going through a season of struggle, he comes home, takes one look at me, and scoops that baby off my lap so I can have a hot shower. He comes home, takes one look at me, and starts dinner right away. He comes home, ignores my smartalecky comments about how I wish he wouldn’t rinse coffee grounds down the kitchen sink, and cracks a joke to make me laugh and lighten up. He changes the poopy diapers. He plays peek-a-boo a million times in a row. He answers the toy telephone. And he loves me at my worst.

So this year, on Mother’s Day, I’m going to make sure to thank the MVP of my team. I’m a better mom because he sits on my bench.