Flower, poems and candy are all apart of Mother's Day. Perhaps too, it is a day off for a few mothers. There are those kids and dads who make mom breakfast in bed, while others are treated to a special dinner, maybe even at her favorite restaurant. That would be one without a playground attached. It is a day when mom is spoiled and made to feel extra special. Mother's Day in some ways is like going to confession, all of the mothers' wrongdoings of the past year are absolved - at least for that day.
As I've mulled this day over in my head I began to look at Mother's Day in another way. My thoughts focus on the trials, triumphs and guilt that have come with being a mother. If it were not for my children, I would not be celebrating this wonderful day. I felt left out before having kids and once I did, I felt like I was a part of some elite club. It was nice. I can still remember the moment, the wonderful moment I felt like a mom. I ran to the store after church with my 4 and 3-year-old daughters and 6-month-old son. We were in line and the baby started to cry, he truly never did. I was fumbling with the groceries and trying to quiet him down. Both girls' little hands were helping grab the bags as the cashier bagged the food. Nothing glorious or magical, but it was then I was so proud of my kids and to be a mom. I felt like I had arrived.
One definition of the word "arrive" means "to reach one's destination." Little did I know the journey was just beginning. I would have years of juggling 3 little ones. There was laughter and joy like I'd never known; like the first time I heard all 3 of the kids laugh at a movie. It was like hearing angels sing. I had heartache over little bumps and sleepless nights when a fever would not break. The worst emotion of them all has been that beloved noun - guilt, over just about everything.
There is the guilt over needing time for myself, because as a mom, I've spent the day caring for everyone else. The extra special guilt when a decision has been made and wondering if it was the right one; should she have been allowed to spend the night at a friend's? Food guilt, when I just don't want to share my dessert and the greedy feeling that washes over me. How about when you've lost your cool, okay, the times when I'VE lost my cool? Oh the guilt and regret!
There are those moments when I want to fight for my child, but know they need to do their own fighting. I have guilt in not helping them even though I know it is best for their growth to not intervene. There is the granddaddy of them all, letting your kids down, when I've promised something and have forgotten or been too tired. The kids are so forgiving, but the hurt or disappointment I've caused will eat me up inside.
So I want to turn the tables this year and tell my kids thank you and I'm sorry. Thank you for sticking with me and learning as we go through this parent/child thing together. There is no handbook and even if there were, the amount of varying scenarios would be mind boggling. As we've discovered no 2 people are alike. I'm sorry for screwing up. I'm not perfect. I make hasty decisions. I allow my emotions to cloud my thinking ... I'm sure you could fill the page with many other errors made by me. I just want you to know that I am doing the best I can with what I've got. I am so grateful that you love me in spite of my faults and can see the good. I pray that you are able to glean just one of my good traits and magnify it to become the best parent you can be one day. This day is dedicated to you, my sweet, forgiving, loving children who right now celebrate the person I am. You love me through the good days and bad ... me - the person you helped create - your Mama. Gee, it sounds like they are learning some good things from me after all. That sure helps to ease some of my guilt.