Is Mother’s Day at your home the stuff Hallmark commercials are made of? Do your children spontaneously burst into song as they hand you gifts they have lovingly worked on for months? Mother’s Day at my home is more like a scene from Animal House or National Lampoon’s vacation.
My day started off with a bang as my two youngest came to crawl in my bed at 6 a.m. I was exhausted as Alyssa had been up until one a.m. tossing her cookies and I had been up with her, rubbing her back and making the clucking sounds that every good Mother Hen should make when you have a child who is sick. Jeff had already risen, so his entire side of our kingsized bed was vacant. Doesn’t matter. They both prefer to wedge themselves between me and my edge of the bed. I wasn’t buying it this morning. After all, this was MOTHER’S DAY! I cracked one eyelid open long enough to look at them and say, “Don’t even think about it!” They reluctantly moved over to Jeff’s side of the bed and fell back asleep.
During church, V. decided it would be far more fun to scream during the service than quietly draw or look at books. So, I spent most of the meeting out in the foyer holding a very unhappy child on my lap because I don’t reward screaming kids by allowing them to run in the halls. I went back in and sat down briefly in the back while the Primary children sang. I WILL give them credit that it was a great song about families rather than the gaggingly sweet “Mother dear I love you so, your happy smiling face,…” that they usually sing. However, Micheline, who is being tested this week for central auditory processing disorder didn’t know most of the words. She stood in the front row of kids who were singing, and periodically grinned my direction. Every once in awhile she would mouth a word or two, but then returned to her grins.
After church, my youngest 3 ran up to me each bearing a carnation and shouted “Happy Mother’s Day!” A little suspect, since the gift to the mothers for our congregation was an instrumental CD of American Hymns.
I immediately noticed women from the congregation after ours carrying long stemmed carnations and realized that my newest Mother’s Day offerings from my children were stolen goods. I told them to put them back. The kids disappeared, but when it was time to go, they had not returned. I found them instead in that congregation’s clerk’s office trying to pilfer a few more out of some five gallon buckets. Come to think of it, maybe a more accurate description of my family would be the pickpocket scenes from Oliver!
After shooing them out the door to their father, Caleb announced that he had lost his scriptures. Unfortunately, he had most likely left them in a room that was now holding a Sunday School class for adults. Jeff was already in the car with the other kids, and since we had two vehicles at church, I told him to go tell Dad not to wait for him, but to come back in and I would help him find them. Instead, he somehow misunderstood and took off with Dad, telling him that I said for them all to go home. After circling the building 3 times looking for him, I finally realized he was gone. I was unsuccessful in my search, but 10 minutes after arriving home, the missionaries called to tell me that they had found them under a chair in a room so I told Caleb he had to put his church clothes back on to go back to the building to get them. After all, I am a big believer in natural consequences. I didn’t lose the scriptures, he did, so what better natural consequence was there? Well, according to him and his mutterings, there were quite a few consequences he would have rather chosen. Off he went back to the church with Dad, but my chances for his vote for Mother of the Year were dwindling rapidly.
After a quick lunch I tried to nap, but V. decided that screaming in church was so much fun, that she might as well continue to do it at home any time anyone even looked at her. I was anxiously awaiting my call from our missionary son who is currently in Waco, Texas, so I couldn’t really rest anyway. They can only call home on Mother’s Day and Christmas, so I was looking forward to hearing his voice. He called close to 6 p.m. and it was one of the highlights of the day. He was sounding great and said he is being transferred next week to Arlington where he will continue to be a zone leader.
Caleb then decided that perhaps he should make a card. After all, Ben had made one and he had also made one from V. to me. Micheline had some gifts she had made at school that she was anxious to give me, so Caleb didn’t want to feel left out, but I don’t think his heart was in it. After all, he was still grousing about me sending him back to the church to retrieve his scriptures. He has asked me before why his birth mother in China didn’t want him, and he has been more than grumpy the past few years on Mother’s Day, so I think this day brings issues to the forefront that he would rather not deal with. After asking Jeff to sign it and wanting the rest of the family to sign it as well, Jeff told him no, and explained that it should probably just be from him since he had made it. Obviously Caleb didn’t think so and got mad and tore it up and threw it in the garbage.
Micheline gave me her gifts from school: a beautiful photo and a darling clay wallhanging of her self. She also handed me a not easily identifiable pile of a few chocolate covered pretzels. A few weeks ago, when she made the gift at her Achievement Day at church, she had quite a bag full of chocolate covered pretzels, but the temptation for her while hiding them in her room for two weeks waiting for Mother’s Day to arrive was too great and I humorously watched the pile dwindle in size each time I put clean clothes away in her top drawer.
After dinner in which V. spent the last 10 minutes under the table screaming, we started kids in the direction of bed. Problem was, Ben decided he needed to now make me a card on the computer in addition to the one he had already made, and was not going to be dissuaded. After Jeff read to Micheline, she headed for bed, only for us to hear V. –who we thought was asleep-screaming again. Upon questioning, Micheline innocently said, “I was climbing into the top bunk and just yanked her sheet off of her before I got into bed”, with a look that said, “What could I possibly have done wrong?”
Ben is always wide awake at night and his meds had not kicked in yet, so while I texted Nicole about my day, he decided to lie down next to me on the sofa and self stim by rubbing his cheeks on my legs. I hadn’t shaved them since Friday evening, and Mr. Sensory Seeker loved the feel of stubble from my shins on his face. I finally convinced him that going to bed would be in his best interest, and off he went.
It’s now 11:30 p.m. and another Mother’s Day has come and gone. Can’t say that I’m sad that it only comes around once a year, but each year I think I gain a bit more perspective. Yes, kids can be a pain. A royal pain. And yet, isn’t that what Mother’s day is about? Mothering? Today I rocked a screamer, held a child whose feelings were hurt, gave another backrubs, read to another, and yes, even got angry more than a time or two. There will be no Mother of the Year awards in this house, and I can promise you that none of my children will ever call me “My Angel Mother.”
But would I run into traffic to save one of my kids? Of course. Go back into a burning building to find one? Absolutely. They each have their quirks that can drive me crazy, but I’m glad that they are mine. Actually, they are His. They are only on loan from above, and I am thankful to a Heavenly Father who in spite of my glaring ineptness, trusts me enough to attempt to raise a few of His children. He knows them better than I do, and on days like today when I just can’t figure out why V. needs to scream so much, or why Micheline needs to torment her, or a million other why’s, I have to turn it over to Him. At a time when many of my friends are starting to have empty nests, I have a 3 year old who wrote on the walls today with crayon.
Lynn sent me a hilarious card with a sweet message, and Nicole came by with a sweet card she had made and a gift certificate for a massage. Believe me, after the day I had today, I will be scheduling it soon.