It’s morning, and the coffee maker gurgles it’s last drips of piping hot fresh coffee into the pot. My boys race to the kitchen to be the one who gets to prepare my first cup of the day. It’s delivered to my hands, wherever I am, followed up with the first smile, kiss and hug of the day. As my girls sleepily descend down the stairs, they are collided by one brother or other, greeted with a hug of their own, the moment their foot hits the bottom of the staircase. I watch, as I sip my coffee, still waking up, happy to see they are happy to see each other, every morning. They pour cereal and milk in the kitchen, and chat too much all through breakfast, reliving many amusements that still make them all laugh again, for the millionth time.
Everyone is washed and ready for the day. Our school day begins with prayer and Scripture discussion. In closing, the littles say the Lord’s Prayer, with hands held to form a circle of themselves, and following the great Amen, their 6 hands all collide in the middle and then reach up to the Heavens, in some triplet ritual of praise to God, that only they can fully understand.
We open our books and begin verbal reviews, and all of the lessons to be done. To teach them, fills my heart with such joy. Being able to watch them all understand and put their new knowledge to use, feels like a new gift to me, every day. They teach me so much in a day, too. Soon, the room is filled with nothing but the beautiful sound of many pencils at work, and thinking. My youngest daughter leans my direction repeatedly, peeking into my coffee cup, waiting to see the bottom, so she can get me a refill. The same sweet girl, who loves to help, and leaves me floral arrangements in shot glasses, all over the house. I smile inside, and remember I should probably eat breakfast, too.
Hours later, and it’s time for a late lunch. Another highlight of their day. Good gosh, do they love to eat. I overhear a discussion of their hopes and wonders, that there will still be food, and the need to eat, in Heaven. I giggle, and offer the notion that feasting is a form of great celebration, so I imagine there is much of that in Heaven. They all express various forms of great relief, and it amuses me again. I secretly hope there is wine at these feast celebrations, too.
Appointments, activities, workshops, practices or games… the day often holds something to get done or somewhere to be. If we separate, I’m always given proper good-byes; a kiss on the cheek with a beaming smile of excitement, an ‘I love you’ and a verbal promises to ‘see you later.’ Even my oldest never hesitates, despite all of the eyes and ears of her high school friends around. I am thankful that hasn’t changed, and I pray it never will.
The day wears on, and I get little done of my own, that I had intended. But the kids spend their energy well. Races are run, seeds are planted, and bugs are observed in containers, all too often forgotten, only to bake in the sun. Trees are climbed high enough to make my heart pound. I want to tell them to come down, before they fall and get injured. But I don’t. Instead, I say a silent prayer, and go take their photo, zooming in and shooting up from the ground.
Little arms with grubby hands, randomly find me, wrapping tightly around my middle, and gifting me with surprise hugs that remind me of how good love feels, and the recurring wish that they could stay little forever.
Artwork, crafts and love notes, written and created just for me, are everywhere; hanging by clothes pins, pinned to bulletin boards, overflowing out of folders and boxes. The artistic gene and love of art, from both sides, passed on from generations before, lives on in them.
I attempt to work on my laptop on the couch, throwing my feet up, while little fingers pound keys, and piano music fills the house, bouncing off the walls. It’s lovely, and distracting. It’s such a treat when any one of my kiddos prop my feet on their lap and read a book, while giving me a foot rub. They know how much I love those. Life is good.
Their bellies are filled once again, and the littles wash and change for bed. It’s quiet time before sleep, and they read more books, taking turns to suddenly interrupt the silence, to share bits of what they are so amused by, from the pages of their books. It’s time to climb into their beds. But not before another round of hugs, kisses, and I love you’s – for me, their Daddy, and for each other.
I indulge in my nightly routine. A hot shower, pajamas, and my own winding down before sleep. My big girl and I often find ourselves hanging out on my bed. She with her books and notebooks, and I with my laptop, but neither of us getting much done. We’re too busy, having the best kinds of talks a mother and her teenage girl can have, or laughing so hard that we can’t catch a breath, as tears stream down our cheeks. She has such a lively and beautiful laugh. Michael appears in the doorway, wanting to know what he is missing out on. I let her stay up too late, until her chin quivers; a tell-tale sign she is way over tired. I tell her it’s really time for bed, and I see her think about protesting, but decides she is too tired to. She kisses me, and recites her 3 lines she has said to both Michael and I every night for so many years, it has become single run-on sentence: “Love you goodnight see you in the morning. ” I repeat it back to her, as she lumbers off and up the stairs.
This is such a beautiful, typical day for me as a mother. My children’s behavior and choices, are not always wonderful. But then, neither are mine. In between all of the expressions of love, thoughtfulness, busy-ness, and fits of laughter that each day can hold, are also disagreements and disgruntled moments that forget respect, responsibility, or efforts to strive to be like Jesus. Just as there are moments in every day, that I fail to the very best mother I can be, for them. But it’s the love between a mother and her children, that outshines the rest. Taking a moment to count our blessings, and thanking the good Lord for every one, reminds us of what a great thing we’ve got going, and we forget the rest. We have love, and we have joy, and there are no greater gifts, than family.
At the end of each day, I am exhausted. But I know after a little sleep, I’ll be ready to do it all over again the next day. I ponder all that needs to be done, and all that we’ll repeat, when the sun rises at dawn the next morning, once again, and I feel the little leap of happiness in my heart. I look forward to it. But first, I must sleep. I do for hours, until I wake somewhere in the few hours past midnight, for no reason at all. It is never so quiet, as it is when I am the only one awake. I revel in the moments (sometimes hours) of sheer silence, while I can. I take the opportunity to brainstorm, to plan, to dream, to relive memories, to ponder all of my blessings, and to pray. Sometimes, I waste it worrying. I re-evaluate once again, if I am honoring this blessed role God gave me well enough, as the mother of these children; where and how I might do better. I always want to. They deserve the best I can give. And I promised God I would. Every day that I am given to try again, is a gift.
Mother’s Day is this weekend. It’s a wonderful and thoughtful day, honoring mothers of various means and generations, everywhere. My husband and kids always give me an extra special day, usually agreeing to antique shop hop with me, all day long. No matter what the day holds, it doesn’t really matter……
Because I know: Head to toe, and inside out, morning until night, 24/7 and 365 days a year, I AM BLESSED that these 4 beautiful children call me Mama. One day, one lifetime, will never be enough, to celebrate the immeasurable gratitude I feel, for that.