|“One day” has arrived!
“Chicken and potatoes again?”
“You didn’t go to the store yet? We’re almost out of milk!”
“What are these stacks of clothes on my bed?”
I don’t know what my kids think I do all day. One recent morning at the bus stop, they announced that they “hadn’t had time” to brush. Astounded, I reflected on the morning’s hubbub: my middle son simultaneously eating breakfast, doing homework, and complaining; my oldest doing anything he could to distract him (which was something akin to yodeling after I insisted he keep his hands to himself); my youngest telling me he needed help putting on his shirt (what he needed was attention, because he has been dressing himself for years) – all against the backdrop of an early conference call. The dog and cat orbited me as I made lunches and scurried around collecting things that everyone would need that day – recorder, library books, extra shoes – while checking periodically to see if the washing machine was done, because if I forgot to move the clothes to the dryer, they might not be ready for folding during my afternoon conference call.
“No matter how busy I might be, I still make time to brush my teeth.”
“But you get to stay home all day, Mommy!” my older son reasoned.
Does he assume I am sitting around in my pajamas watching Nickelodeon and eating toaster pastries?
“Where’s my homework?”
“Is it still in your backpack?”
“I don’t know. Can you look?”
“Nope, I’m busy with the dishes.”
“I’m not doing it then!”
“Well, think again, ’cause I’m sure not gonna do it!”
“You never do anythingfor us!”
What is so absurd about that comment is that most everything I do is for them or because of them.
My children are my “why.” They are why I get up (earlier than I might like) in the morning, why I have the telecommuting job I do, why I “vacation” at a local beach rather than at a Caribbean resort, why I drive a Mommy-wagon, why I have toast crusts for breakfast and half-eaten chicken “noggins” for dinner, and why our house is decorated in the fingerprint-and-strewn-toy motif.
“We’re, like, the only kids that don’t have a Wii!”
“You have X-Box set up in your den in the basement!
I wondered if they would ever appreciate how good they have it.
But then I remembered the Mother’s Day card I had given to my mom the year I graduated from college. I found it amongst her keepsakes, shortly after she passed away. “Thank you for all your love and support, and sanctioning, advising, encouraging, cooking, and everything else… You have given up so much and made so many sacrifices for us. I guess I’ve just started realizing this and I’m very grateful.”
Apparently, gratitude increases as awareness grows. Maybe it will be that first time my sons do their own laundry, plan and execute a family meal, or insist that everyone stop shouting and kicking in the back of the car – it might take time, but I am sure that one day they’ll thank me. I am eternally grateful to my own late mother, as the magnitude of all she has done for me continues to unfold.