This afternoon my husband called to say Patrick and Julia were vying for Subway after soccer. I quickly said with an outward and inner smile, “Perfect and let them eat there as well.”
My husband laughed and said, “Ah, you get the house to yourself.”
Two hours of unanticipated time in my house . . . what a gift. So what else do moms do . . . clean. I picked up shoes, washed the floors, vacuumed, wiped down bathroom counters, etc.
As I cleaned I thought about what else; none other than Mother’s Day. Why I’m supposed to love it, but really don’t.
It puts everyone on heightened stress. My husband’s got to get the perfect gift to show me just how much he loves and appreciates me. Threaten the kids all week to be on their best behavior and come up with some scheme to make sure I know they appreciate me. Also, it’s stress for the kids to feel an extra dose of love and appreciation for me when chances are Mother’s Day is just another Sunday for them.
And then the stress that it puts on me, the mother. First, the guilt when really what I’d like on Sunday is a clean and quiet house so I can put my feet up without a to do list or the expectation to be anywhere else. Then I have to figure out what cute outfit I’ll wear to an overcrowded restaurant so that at least I look the part of a joyful and loving mom. However, who knows what the weather is going to be, at least in Chicago. And speaking of weather, I’ve also been charting the upcoming temperature and silently praying it will be nice enough for everyone to help me in the yard without eye rolls or complaints.
During the repetition of sweeping today, I realized that my children and husband show me time and time again how much they love and appreciate me. A random afternoon when Julia cuddles up next to me and says, “I want to be a mom just like you.” Or Patrick, who quietly agrees to go on a hike because he knows that it means something to me. Or my husband who buys me tulips and writes me a card that says, “bad days happen to good people.”
Mother’s Day happens all the time in those precious spontaneous moments that come out of nowhere like a shooting star. You can’t plan them or expect them on a special day. All you can do is let them in when they arise because they pass just as quickly.
If anything that a couple hours today of nobody home, listening to music, sweeping the floors and wiping down the bathrooms reminded me is just how much my heart aches in love for my children and husband.
And just maybe that’s why on Mother’s Day many of us wish for quiet by ourselves. In the momentum of being a mom we can miss the moments of that heartbreaking mother’s love that is always right beneath the surface.
And as a few tears stream down my cheeks, I wait for them to come home to mess up my clean house.