I’m not just super, I’m super-duper. I’m raising both toddlers and teens … all at the same time! (Come to think of it, I have a few “tweens” too!) My days are spent toilet training toddlers, and my afternoons are spent taxiing teens between lessons and sports. In the evenings, I read ABC books to the younger generation, and then help the older generation with algebra. The first wave of children goes to bed at 7:30 p.m., the second wave at 8:30, and the third wave … well, sometimes we all stay up late with homework. I’m up at 5:30 a.m. to feed the baby and wake the first batch of students. As soon as they’re out the door, the second batch wakes up, and then the third batch. Mothers are the perfect definition of “exhaustion.” Thank goodness for national holidays like Mother’s Day to honor sleep-deprived wonders like myself.
I’ll never forget one evening when I was especially exhausted. The house was a mess, and too many children needed me all at the same time. Just at that moment, the phone rang. My Grandma Bisson, 85, was on the other end of the line. In dismay, I described to her the scene of confusion and disaster unfolding at my house. Without a moment’s hesitation, Grandma responded in her smiling, crackly voice, “Been there, done that.”
I immediately recalled what I knew about her life. Grandma raised her children in Benton City, Wash. Her humble home didn’t have a telephone, disposable diapers or Kraft Mac and Cheese. Miraculously, she survived! And not only did she survive, but she succeeded. “Been there, done that.” Her words echo in my mind now, whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed. Her success gives me the hope I need to succeed. Super Grandmas beget Super Moms, right?
“Mother” is synonymous with “hope.” Our natural ability to uplift and inspire is truly an art — the art of women. I firmly agree with Chaucer, “What is better than a good woman? Nothing.”
“What do you want for Mother’s Day?” asks my five-year-old.
“A big kiss and a hug,” I reply. And so he runs to his desk to color a scratch paper card for me. It’s enough.
“What do you want for Mother’s Day?” asks my 14-year-old.
“A happy teen,” I tell him. And so he gives me a hug and thanks me for dinner. It’s enough.
“What do you want for Mother’s Day?” asks my husband.
“A good night’s rest,” I reply. And so he holds the baby until bedtime (then gives her to me) and gets up during the night when the toddler has a bad dream. It’s enough.
“What do you want for Mother’s Day?” asks my 11-year-old.
“No cooking!” I say emphatically. And so she bakes a sheet of brownies while I nap.
“We’re out of powdered sugar!” she wakes me up. So we eat the brownies without the frosting. But it’s enough.
“What do you want for Mother’s Day?” asks my nine-year-old.
“Anything you make!” I respond. She paints a knickknack to put on the windowsill. Her artwork makes me smile whenever I see it, and it’s enough.
“I won’t tell you what I’m making,” says my seven-year-old with her signature secretive smile. Her flower arrangement with plastic petals now sits on the stove. It’s enough.
Someday the homemade cards, the ruined brownies, the awkward hugs and the sleepless nights will be gone. But I’ll still have the privilege of being a mother, and eventually, a grandma. And, although my busy hands will finally be empty, my heart will be full. I wrote the following verse and hung it on my wall to remind me of past mothers on my “less than super” days:
We invest in children, and though our days are filled,
The price we pay will seem quite small for the dividends we build.
Right now we have our hands full, but patience, soon you’ll see;
Our future holds a heart full, to span eternity.
Thank you, Grandma.