The Lovely Precie has challenged me to write a mothering story. Well she’s challenged everyone, actually, there’s a contest up on her blog – deadline is tomorrow, and there are beloved booksies as prizes... anyway, I’ve been putting it off because motherhood as a topic can go in so many different directions and I’ve drawn a blank... plus, I’ve been sick *cough, cough, whine, whine* so, you know, I plead pity to all of the bloggy stuff I’ve been putting off – such as the final revisions on the first page I posted last week.
Mother’s Day, for me, is anything but a day off. Both of my sons have May birthdays, five days (and two years) apart, and they always fall right around Mother’s Day – usually one on either side, but occasionally one of their birthday’s will actually fall on the date. The wind up is, Mother’s Day becomes a joint celebration for their birthdays and Mother’s day, which means I run around like a nut job, buying gifts, baking cakes, and cooking a ginormous dinner, on Mother’s day... The boys get to sing happy birthday and get their gifts from the relatives, the mom and mom in law get gifts from their kids and my kids, and I get three hand made creations, a card, and a big flippin mess to clean up – wait, sometimes I get flowers, too.
Told you I was sick and whiny.
Now, I could go into stories about the platitudes of motherhood. How great it is, how it’s the only job in the world that hugs you goodnight and tells you they love you. All of that’s true. Most days I can’t believe how lucky I am to get to blow bubbles in the backyard without anyone thinking I’ve lost my mind... I get to draw on the sidewalk in chalk again – and they have much prettier colors now, too. I get to play hopscotch and baseball and softball. I get to eat popsicles on the patio and have water gun fights... I’ve gone sledding every good snowfall, and had snowball fights, build forts and few decent snowmen... I’ve done all of the things that, before kids, I thought were gone forever... into the fuzzy oblivion of childhood where everything seemed safe and someone always had the answers.
Now I’m the one who’s supposed to have the answers, though... scary thought. I remember the first year I was in my house. I was twenty four, my daughter was only a few months old, and spring was just starting the bloom. I went into the laundry room to start a load and I moved the basket of dirty clothes to find – ants!! Tons of them! And I screamed... not, “Ahhhhh!”, or an appropriate swear word... I screamed, “Maaaaaaaa!!!” I did, I swear it. It took me a few minutes to realize that I couldn’t do that anymore... I couldn’t just pass every household problem on to my mother... now I was the mother...
I called a bug guy, a great one actually, he’s a friend of mine from forever who happens to be an exterminator, so he sprays my house for me twice a year now to keep away bees and bugs and I haven’t had ants since that first spring ten years ago. It wasn’t that difficult to take care of, most things aren’t, but you don’t know that until you have to be the one in charge.
The thing about mothers is, they’re silent. They don’t tell you all of the things they’re doing behind the scenes. They don’t list out all of the household things they’ve fixed so you wouldn’t be inconvenienced. They don’t mention the school paperwork they’ve gone through, meetings they’ve sat through, messes they’ve cleaned up... they don’t really think about it because if they didn’t do these things, well, they’d have to live with the chaos too... I didn’t think about it when my mom grumbled about the raising taxes... until I paid taxes and then I nodded my head in agreement. I didn’t think about the endless loads of laundry she must have done, until I had a laundry room full of clothes to be done that seemed to grow by five loads a day. I didn’t think about exterminators, until I needed one.
I think sometimes we mothers do ourselves a disservice by being so silent. Sure, if we listed all of these things, the cooking the cleaning the cajoling... if we listed the number of doctors visits with screaming toddlers, the soccer baseball and softball games, the number of rehearsals and lessons... if we listed all of the things we give our time for, well, we’d just be mercenary...
And that’s not what it’s about. I do these things to build a good life for my kids. I do these things because I want them to learn how to be good and happy people, and I want them to have all of the advantages I can give them... so no, I don’t list the things I do, because frankly, I don’t have the time to come up with a list but more than that, listing it would mean that they owed me something – and they don’t. It’s not conditional, this motherhood thing.
So I give up Mother’s Day, because I don’t need a day to honor my being a mother – I’d much rather celebrate my kids, anyway. Pity, though, my kids will likely never realize all of the little things I do, until they have to do them on their own... That day in the laundry room, after I called the bug guy, I called my mom... I don’t remember the conversation anymore, but I’m pretty sure she got the gist of it... I wonder if I’ll get one of those calls from my kids some day.....