I'm a mother. However, I’m quite convinced that Mother’s Day wasn’t created by a mom. I’m equally as sure that the day can only truly be appreciated by mothers.
As the mother of nine children, my Mother’s Day begins early. “Clink, clank, crash ...” I hear sounds from the kitchen. Pretending I’m asleep, I listen to my children (and husband) whispering and scurrying around making breakfast. The slight aroma of burned toast reaches my nose, and I hear the kitchen window opened quickly for some fresh air.
Soon, their voices “wake” me up. “Happy Mother’s Day,” they sing. I pretend to sit up groggily and act completely surprised by their efforts. “Breakfast in bed? How nice! Wow! All of my favorite foods!”
I do like lying in bed, and I do like eating breakfast, but combining the two can be a bit tricky, especially with nine little people sitting around me. They watch my every bite. “Is it good?” “Is this really your favorite breakfast?” And eventually, “Can I try some?” Soon, we’re sharing spoonfuls of the special meal all around, spilling a bit of juice, toast crumbs, and granola on the bedspread. Happy Mother’s Day.
“Guess what, Mama? Today you won’t need to do any work!” pipes my six-year-old. I smile as they clear the breakfast away. Yes, a lazy shower is enjoyable, but just as I get out I hear a wail from the baby room. No one can decide what the twins should wear, or quite how to tackle and dress them, and so I help. I go in to the kitchen and quietly wipe up counters and sweep the floor and then ... we’re late! (Only mothers ever look at the clock.) It’s into the car to leave for church.
On the way, everyone reassures me that the Mother’s Day program will be wonderful. “I can’t wait!” I smile. It’s nice to go to church on Mother’s Day, but somehow the program always turns out a bit differently than planned. My four-year-old refuses to sing, my eight-year-old is hidden on the stand behind a tall boy, and the twins are fussy during the music. Still, who can resist a group of children singing sweetly to their mothers? Happy Mother’s Day.
At home, everyone begs me to “put my feet up” in the living room while they make a special dinner. And so I lounge on the couch. As I turn the first page of my magazine, the fire alarm goes off. My husband, apron on, assures me that all is well and I hear more windows opened. Lots of discussion and busy noises come from the kitchen as the sound of shattering glass makes me jump. Never mind. I’m putting my feet up. But wait ... a diaper must be changed and everyone else is busy ... and so I fill in.
Soon I’m escorted into the dining room. Gourmet food? Well, in the minds of nine children and one devoted dad, yes. Perfectly gourmet, despite the idiosyncrasies. And besides, I didn’t have to cook it. Happy Mother’s Day.
After dinner, it’s back into the living room for a special party. Starting with the youngest, I’m presented with an assortment of gifts wrapped in a variety of paper. Construction paper cards, homemade necklaces, photos in hand-painted frames, and lots and lots of coupons. “I’ll sweep the floor every day for a month!” “This coupon is good for a week of breakfast in bed!” (Oh goody!) “This coupon may be exchanged for as many hugs as you’d like.” “I’ll do all of my jobs without being asked.” Piecrust promises? Perhaps. But solid gold in a mother’s scrapbook. Happy Mother’s Day.
Speaking of pie, we gather on the lawn for pie and ice cream. Yes, it’s my favorite. Yes, I’m going to eat two pieces. Yes, Sara Lee or Marie Callender (whoever she was) made it to perfection.
Who invented Mother’s Day? It wasn’t a mother. We’re too busy cooking food, herding children and changing diapers to stop and celebrate. And it’s hard to commemorate a role we all feel so imperfect in. However, despite our perceived motherhood weaknesses, it’s certainly nice to be celebrated. And, we don’t require much. Singing, pie, children ... a perfect Mother’s Day.