For the Day After Mother’s Day

I slept in late Mother’s Day morning. Gift #1

I’m pretty sure my first grader watched me sleep the last 45 minutes, willing me awake. Ok, really it was because she tapped me every few minutes and whispered, “Are you awake?”

As soon as I opened my eyes, there she was, waiting to usher me to breakfast.

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She had climbed on the countertop to get our “You are special plate” and it was in the center of the table with a granola bar, two strawberries, one blackberry and a Spongebob gogurt.

It was delicious.

Then she presented me with a card that compared me to all her favorite animals…”Mom, you’re as kind as a bunny. You are as gentle as a chick. You are as smart as a dolphin.”

I cried.  Because WE ALL KNOW how smart dolphins are.

And don’t even get me started on the kindness of bunnies.

My older two smiled as they handed me a card that said, “Grasp the significance of today because tomorrow is back to normal.”

I loved yesterday…everyone trying to be on their best behavior, not asking too much of me. Working very hard not to argue or criticize the lame breakfast choices.

All day long, I could feel my kids trying to honor me. It wasn’t perfect, but the best gift wasn’t really what I unwrapped, it was that the people who lived with me tried. 

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And just like that: the day is over and today is back to normal. There is laundry I didn’t do yesterday because no one wanted me to work and now there is more. There are lunches to make and groceries to get. There is an argument to settle. Funny how that happens.

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So, on this day after Mother’s Day remember this:

  1. You are loved, even when they don’t say it.
  2. You are appreciated, even when they don’t show it.
  3. You are not forgotten, even when they seem to forget you the day after.
  4. You are important, even when you don’t feel it.
  5. You are shaping and molding and influencing your children for eternity, even when you mess up. Especially then, because they are watching the way you serve and love them anyway.
  6. You are what your kids want—more than anything you can give them, they just want you.

Friend: “Do you know what your kids want?

Me: “Besides cell phones?”

Friend: “Your kids want you.”

Boom.

“When they say ‘Mom, watch me,’ they just want you. When they pull you away from whatever you are doing, it’s because they want you.” 

I sat there, both convicted and freed by her words. They jolted my heart awake. My kids don’t need me to fix their problems, they don’t need me to provide more stuff or help them try and keep up with everyone else. I thought back to the times when I was asked to “Take a look at this,” and I was too busy to stop what I was doing. I vowed from that day forward to be present in the moment as much as I possibly could.

“God, I realize they need me, but even more, they need You. I need You because this mothering thing is awesome and hard. When I look back, I won’t remember the days. I will remember the moments. And I’m thankful for that because, believe me, there are days I don’t want to remember!”

I do want to remember the drive on the way to school this morning. The way my daughter laughed. The moment she opened up and shared her heart. The way our hearts connected. Those treasured moments make up for the rest of the day with the exaggerated eye rolls and exasperated sighs. It’s all part of this job.

Instead of asking myself “Is her room clean? Did he ace that test?” I’m asking “Did I connect with them in a way that I will remember twenty years from now? Did I listen when she called my name four times? Did our hearts meet for a brief moment? Did he know that even when I couldn’t fix the problem, I was there for him?”

At my house, rooms are still messy, floors are still sticky, and laundry still piles up. After all these years as a mother, I’ve accepted the fact that there will be good and bad days. I lose my cool, pick my battles, and say a lot of I’m sorrys. But in a few years, when my house is quiet and my children are gone, I will be able to recall the precious minutes when I stopped everything and just loved them because that’s what God wants me to do.                                                        

Excerpt from Chapter 2, Rhinestone Jesus

Moms–when the flowers wilt and the chocolate is gone, when the homemade cards are put away, don’t ever forget that your small, everyday faithfulness is changing your kids’ world.

Especially the day after Mother’s Day.

Comments

  1. 3

    Julie says

    My mothers day was a picnic with the family that was chaotic to get ready for, and two little boys didn’t get their naps. But when I was putting them down to bed I thanked them for making my first Mothers Day special. They probably didn’t understand but they gave me these looks like ‘no problem mommy’. And then they slept. And then Monday comes and dear sweet husband throws his back out, one kid crying, another has an epic poo. Yep. reality. LOL

  2. 4

    says

    Mother’s Day is complicated for me but only when I think of my mom (or rather, my FIVE mothers, just wrote about them).

    When I think of my children, it’s simple. It’s exactly what I didn’t have as a child and it’s what I want to give my children more than anything, unconditional love. I don’t need anything special from them, they already give it.

    You’ve stated perfectly here. Thank you.
    Have a terrific week!

  3. 8

    says

    My kids (2 and 5) actually say “I want you” when they want my undivided attention. It leaves me feeling pulled in many directions, but at least they’re making it crystal clear what they need!

  4. 10

    Judy says

    Kristen, this is truly beautiful. When my children were little I remember my Mother saying “Dishes and household chores will always be with you, but your children you only have for a season. So take time to be with them, play with them and enjoy them while you can.” I took this to heart. One of my favorite memories is the day I was washing a sink full of dishes, looking out the window to the back yard. My three children were trying to dig tunnels for their toy cars and just couldn’t get it to work. My Mother’s words came back to me and I dried my hands, grabbed a big spoon out of the drawer, went outside and said, “Hey, you guys look like you could use a little help.” They got all excited and tried to explain the problem. We all sat down in the dirt and “played”. Made some fantastic tunnels too! One of many of my favorite memories. I will be 75 years old this year and all my children are in their 50′s. When we get together, we still relive a lot of those memories and have a lot of laughs. My children and grandchildren are the greatest gifts God has given me. I’m thankful that I took time to enjoy them. Oh yes, and those dishes always seemed to get done anyway!

    • 10.1

      MarySue says

      Thank you for these thoughts that inspire, challenge, and exhort me!
      And thank you, Judy, for sharing your wisdom as well! As a mother of nine, ages 8 to 26, I am well into my parenting journey, but still have much of it ahead. I have always endeavored to put time with my kids above tasks, but in recent years, I think I’ve strayed from that principle a bit. Your words, offered from the perspective of years, have given me a needed reorientation. I am grateful for people like you who have gone before me to show the way!

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