I’m used to smelly things. (Happy Mother’s Day)
I wasn’t going to do a Mother’s Day post. It almost seemed redundant to do one. I made it until 4:57 PM on Mother’s Day before giving in. It’s not because I don’t think there is much to say about it, but rather because I’ve already read many great posts that celebrate mothers. I’ve read poignant posts about being mindful of those who don’t have the Hallmark mother situation. I’ve read posts about the fathers who fill both roles, and the mothers going it alone.
But here I am.
Church and Mother’s Day, sigh. We made it to church before the opening prayer. It was a minor miracle. The seemingly scheduled Sunday meltdowns had started early in the morning, but I navigated them the best I could and we were there. There were enough seats together for our family. This doesn’t always happen. There would be plenty of seats if we arrived on time, but that doesn’t often happen. I’m counting on an “A” for effort when it comes to going to church, because if I’m quizzed on content, I’m going to fail.
We made it through the first part without any huge meltdowns. Maddie kept noisily commenting on all the cute babies. She goes between proudly being a “big girl” and loudly lamenting that she isn’t a “tiny baby” anymore. Those who sit around us, know we’re doing our best to manage her and I feel loved in the congregation, rather than judged.
There were three speakers and then all the young primary children were invited up to sing to their mothers. I look over. Both of my boys are in tears. Catherine happily trotted up to the stand, and Maddie, after a period followed. Christian started to lose it. The girls were watching me. Kasper offered to take Christian out. I knew if he did, that Christian would lose it more. I hate that in those moments, I can’t multiply and be there for each of the kids, one on one. I took Christian back to the back of the hall and knelt down beside him. The girls could still see me, and proudly sang. If there was nose picking, or bottom scratching, or dress lifting I didn’t notice it. It wouldn’t be the first or last time that has happened.
Christian felt overwhelmed. I can’t fix it, but I can be there for him. I told him that I was happy just to be there with him. I knew that he loved me, and he didn’t have to sing to prove that. The songs ended and Catherine came running back. She told me that she was so worried that I was going to leave, and wouldn’t get to see her.
Motherhood is division, and division was always hard for me. I’d much rather be able to multiply. My time is finite. I can’t make more of it. I can choose how I use it though. That is powerful.
I was listening to an ad on the radio, and the DJ’s asked, “What would you want if you could have anything for Mother’s Day?” The suggested flowers, jewelry, spa days, a vacation… I thought, “Time.” I want time. I want time to be me. I want time to be mom. I want time to do, and explore, and make, and love. As those thoughts were mulling around in my head, it hit me, that no matter how powerful a person is, or the money they have at their disposal, we have the same number of hours in the day. Yes, the demands that people have on them vary, but I get to prioritize my hours.
Sometimes I prioritize my sanity. I’ll ask my kids if they want to play hide and seek. I count. They hide. Amazingly I can never find them…. I try to escape to my room, or my bathroom when I’m really desperate. (Admit it, you’ve done it too.) It doesn’t matter that the wifi is weak in there. I’m going in, and I’m taking some me time.
“Mom. Moooom? MOTHER!!!!” One child in particular always finds me. The other day the dialogue went like this.
Christian: Mother, I know you’re in there.
Me: Yes. Yes, I am.
Christian: How are you doing Mother?
Me: I’m on the toilet.
Christian: Yes, but how are you doing?
Me: I’m working things out. (My voice is getting more annoyed by this point.)
Christian: Oh, okay. Why?
Me: I’m going to the bathroom, can’t I just have some peace and quiet and be left alone for five minutes!!!!! (Not nice mom voice had taken over by now.)
Christian: You don’t need peace and quiet to go to the bathroom.
Me: (I was desperate at this point.) I’m going to go number 2. Will you PLEASE leave?
Christian: Mother, I love you no matter what, and besides I’m used to smelly things. I always want to be around you.
Mom guilt enters stage right, takes a bow, and receives a standing ovation.
I don’t know what I expected. This isn’t it. This is real. This is good. I haven’t had one yet without sad tears, and happy tears. There is longing for what is gone, for that which will never be. There is hope, there is joy. It is a day that forces reflection, but not a still serene reflection on a glass topped lake. Motherhood is a living, breathing, thing. It isn’t defined by one person. It is the people in the boat, and the waves rocking that boat. It is the wind creating the waves and sea from which they grow.
I hope that no matter what motherhood looks like to you, how you feel it or live it at the moment; that you are able to feel loved, appreciated, and a part of this Mother’s day. Motherhood is the sum of us, of our work, of our experiences, of our hopes and dreams; and of the smelly things too.