On Saturday Paul got up with two of the boys before six. He fed them, rescued the third from his crib, changed some objectionable diapers and made some coffee. Just like he does every morning. I came down later-- after lying there listening to screaming and willing the smell of the coffee to somehow fly me downstairs like magic dust. While I was trying to hide under our blankets, he had decided to clean out the return registers (big holes in the floor covered by grates, where the boys store all manner of food and toys), and then in a feat of heroic proportions he braved the underbelly of the couch cushions with the vacuum cleaner. He is often twice the mother I am.
I am largely ambivalent towards Mother's Day (big surprise), preferring to use it as an excuse to spend as much time by myself as possible. Even typing this makes me giggle because: 1. I realize how different I am from my own mother who desires exactly the opposite and I wonder if that will be me one day, and 2. of COURSE I do not get to spend the day by myself. Have you met these little people? They enjoy a lot of togetherness. It is their way.
But I am not going to look this gift horse in the mouth, especially after spending Saturday night in the company of some amazing people celebrating the complications of family and motherhood-- and we all know it's complicated. Like most days that merit their own Hallmark commercial, there is always a flip side. I know that his day heightens the grief of those who have lost their mothers or for those who's circumstances are preventing them from being the parent that they would like to be. It is heavy stuff, and looking at my own life in comparison, I know that I have been given the world.
I am grateful for my small people, for the woman my own mother is, and for the people that have come along side my family and myself and mothered us in their own way. I am grateful for the mother who gave life to my boys and who continues to love them in a way that I'll probably never understand.