Woman to Women
A Mother’s Day to Remember
Cherishing the meaning in both the calm and chaos
By: Stephanie Elliot (our very own Manic Mommy!)
On the morning of one of my best Mother’s Days, I was greeted by a glorious sound that was rare in a house with three kids. That sound – or lack thereof – was silence. I had slept in, undisturbed by footsteps padding across the floor, uninterrupted in a sleep much needed. I awoke refreshed and ready to greet my children, who had already been fed and clothed by their father.
That Mother’s Day, I did not lift a finger to assist my children unless I chose to do so. If someone asked for juice, Daddy stepped in and said, “I’ll get it.” I didn’t change a diaper; I didn’t make sandwiches and I didn’t wipe noses. I napped, read a whole chapter in a book, showered leisurely and gave myself a manicure.
Later, we all went to the park and the kids picked dandelions and presented them to me as if I were a queen and the flowers had been delicately dipped in gold. We ate double-scoop ice cream cones with (can you believe it?) no calories. My husband cooked dinner, did the dishes, bathed the kids, put them to bed and gave me a foot massage. The only thing I had to do that day was to love my kids. It was a beautiful, beautiful day, one I will remember as long as I live.
Fast-forward to the next Mother’s Day. At 5 a.m., I woke up to the sound of my daughter calling for me. She was crying, feverish and sweaty. I was exhausted from having been up most of the night with her baby brother, who had also spiked a fever, and I was not ready to start the day. My oldest son had been sick earlier that week, so I knew it was only a matter of time before the virus swept through all of the children, but did it have to strike that day, the most revered holiday for moms? Yep, it did.
By noon I was in a frenzy, checking temperatures, doling out Tylenol and dampening cloths to cool warm foreheads. I changed diapers, held and rocked children, offered juice to keep them from dehydrating, and tried to keep them as comfortable as possible. We watched Barney and Mary-Kate and Ashley videos until I almost felt sick. I didn’t shower or eat, and I don’t even think I stopped to brush my teeth. I didn’t take a moment for myself all day. It was Mother’s Day, after all, and I was working around the clock to be the best mother I could be. It was a miserable day and I fell into bed exhausted only to hear my daughter call for me minutes later.
“What?” I asked as kindly as I could when I entered her room.
“I feel lots better. Thanks for taking care of me.”
That short exchange of words turned out to be the absolute best Mother’s Day gift I could have ever hoped for – the acknowledgment that I was taking good care of my children and that I was appreciated.
I think back to those two Mother’s Days and realize what it’s all about, being a mommy. It’s having someone love you and depend on you so much that no one else will do. While the first Mother’s Day was a wonderful, diaper- and whine-free day, the next Mother’s Day put everything into perspective.
If it weren’t for my children, I would not have the privilege of celebrating Mother’s Day. So, when another Mom’s Day comes around and the children need me for whatever reason, I know this is why I am here, why I have been granted the gift of motherhood.
Because it is a gift, and I will cherish even the days when I feel exhausted, unappreciated and ready to throw in the towel. I will remember that my children need me and that what I am doing is the most respectable, amazing, and wonderful job anyone can have.
May your Mother’s Day bring you mountains of joy from your little ones, and may you cherish every moment that passes between you. Happy Mother’s Day.
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