Today I will be taken for granted.
Today my two year old daughter will want to nurse and ram her finger up my nose.
Today my three year old son will want to climb all over me, not minding where his elbows, head or knees go, to nestle vigorously into the comfort of being near.
Today my seven year old will try to give me some gift that is deeply meaningful to him, and will try to do nice things that will probably make messes that he’ll leave for me to clean. Then he will ask me for something that I need to do /right this minute/ and not a second later. Probably while my two year old is nursing with her finger up my nose and my three year old has has just given me a swift elbow to the side of my face in his efforts to snuggle.
Today I will laugh and smile. For laughter and smiling are my gifts to myself.
Some days I struggle with this feeling of being taken for granted. Of wanting to be appreciated. Of wanting everyone in my life to somehow recognize how much I do. Some days I want to have a team of helpers to help me wrangle the day to day of life, to sit with me while I sit with them through tantrums. I tend to spend at least part of every day wanting something… Anything… to be easier.
I have shortcomings. Every human does. Motherhood brings all those shortcomings to the forefront. The time management skills, the patience stuff, the cleaning skills, the ability to tolerate various bodily fluids, the ability to avoid negotiating pointlessly with a creature that believes you have the mystical power to cause a dump truck of a specific color to drive onto the street in front of your home on demand. And the ability to cope lovingly with the sads that result from your failure.
I remember when I had a hard enough time making time to put away the laundry that I did for myself. I remember having no children and still trying to figure out how to have energy for chores after a day full of optional things that I had chosen to do. If I had all of the skills that I had now, without the children.. OH how efficient I would be and how much stuff I would get done. (After I slept for a few weeks straight through.)
So. Mothers day. I will be taken for granted. Of course I will be. I took my mother for granted when I was small, as well. I still do. She’s my safe place in the world. The woman that I know without doubt that I can turn to. She loves me unconditionally and without reserve and will always welcome me into her arms no matter what else is happening in life, no matter how tired she is.
Is knowing that… Is feeling that.. Is that really “taking something for granted”?
She is strength, even though my body has grown stronger than hers as I have become an adult. She is comfort, even as I pour comfort into my own children.
Of course my children take me for granted. There is a quote that says it perfectly. “Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.” – William Makepeace Thackeray
Today I will be taken for granted. That’s my mother’s day gift from these children of mine. I couldn’t ask for a better one. And as for my gift to myself? I’ll give myself forgiveness and grace today.
For my own mother? For her, I have this:
I didn’t realize when I was small that you were just human. I’m only now realizing this. I see all of the stressful things that you survived, and all of the things that you managed to give us when we were small. I understand the tiredness that I used to cajole you about, and how much you did and how hard you tried. I didn’t take you for granted, I thought you were a god with the ability to just make everything happen. Not everyone gets to experience this when they are small. We did. It takes an amazing person to pull off that feat. To try as hard as you tried, to be as awesome as you are. To ride a bicycle with your teenage daughter for a million miles, and to pat a caterpillar that you’d love to throw while running away screaming. To encourage your son’s love of construction vehicles when you might have had a book that you really really wanted to read. You were a god, and we were small ungrateful savages that weren’t too good at keeping up with our thankfulness. We’re still terrible at it, because you give us the grace of knowing how busy our lives can be, and knowing that we fit all our gratitude in when we can, rather than in our specific allotted time.
We love you.
(*I still want an insta-sock-pairing-machine with a wireless other-sock-in-the-pair-locator. Oh how I loathe socks.)