Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

I have only been celebrated as a mother on this special day for the last four years, or maybe five if you count that first one when I was nine months pregnant, just two weeks away from giving birth to my first son.  But this year was different.  This was the first year that I didn't run away from my children, craving respite from the duties of motherhood. This year my cup was filled not only by my husband, but actually by my children.  The last five years in the trenches have been productive and fruitful and gratifying, but oh so tiring.  Today I tasted the sweet fruit of my labors.

This was the first year that, this morning, before anyone prompted him, William said, "Happy Mother's Day, Mom.  You're a really great mom."  Sweet, freckled boy who made me a mother at twenty-two years young.  He taught me how to hold and rock and love a baby, and now he loves me back with the love of a young boy.

William, the morning he was born.

Thomas echos everything William says, and so for as many times as William wished me well today, I heard it doubly.  William loves me with words, but Thomas with hugs and gifts. With presents of pine cones and bits of leftover lunch and spontaneous hugs on my leg, Thomas loved me all day long.  This boy child, not a colicky baby anymore, is such an interesting person I could not make him up if I tried.  You know his intentions by the twinkle in his eye, and today it was to love and serve his momma. 

Thomas right after birth.

And my sweet baby Katherine.  You are the one who let this momma have her first daughter.  Last year I had my first Mother's Day with you, and I sat on the sofa and held you and loved you.  You have taught me how to be a mother of three.  Three kids, especially three littles, is not for wimps.  You taught me to be grateful.  Gratitude for the quiet moments, for the days when everyone is healthy and happy and mostly full of smiles.  For little babies and toddler and preschoolers all mixed together in a messy house with crumbs on the floor and smudges on the windows.  Gratitude even for the hard moments, because now you're not a baby anymore and I won't get even the hard days back. 

Now here's how I know that this year is different.  That this year these three children filled my cup instead of emptied it.  

Tonight at 5:30 when Michael told me to go relax in the bathtub and then enjoy a couple of hours alone before bed, I couldn't even stay away that long.  I craved the sweetness of my babies.

"I want a picture with my children.  I don't have very many."

I briefly reconsidered because I had just taken my bath and my makeup was washed away and my hair was a mess and the kids were only wearing underpants and dirty faces from a long day of celebration.  But I climbed into the striped chair in the family room, and let the kids climb up on top of me, because that's what we do, and that's where we do it.  I let them wear their dirty faces and their shirtless bellies, because that's how I mother.  I let the camera catch my naked face and messy hair, because that's what I look like. 

We sat there and Daddy made them laugh and smile or at least just look at the camera for a second or two, and now I have evidence of the best Mother's Day present of all - my three beautiful children and our wonderful life.  It's sticky and messy and raw and the absolute sweetest thing on Earth.