I have a confession: I've always thought Mother's Day was a bit of a crock.
I should have had more appreciation for it (and my mother) when I was a child. After all, my mother cooked and cleaned and washed clothes and made our home a wonderful place to live. But did I appreciate it? Not much. So when Mother's Day came around I participated in the obligatory things, but mostly because my father (being a good husband) made sure we at least pretended to appreciate my mother. I never felt gratitude overwhelm me as I thought of my mother's sacrifices for her children, if I ever even took the time to think of them. Instead I just figured that she was the one who signed up for the job so she was stuck with it now. Yes, I know, the ingratitude.
When I because a mother, and Mother's Day meant that those flowers or candy they hand out in church was meant for me, I was pretty happy to get flowers and candy. But as any of you with small children know, Sunday isn't exactly the ideal day to celebrate mothers. Because Sunday is the day where everyone rushes through breakfast so that they can rush through putting their clothes on in order to sit through three hours of church and then come home and feed everyone, clean up the dishes, and then try to keep a lid on small wiggly bodies until we can put them to bed. Not really a day to abandon your spouse to the tender mercies of small children in order to feel pampered. Guilty maybe, but pampered, no. And since I love my husband (and want to keep him around) more than I want to feel special on Mother's Day, we've kept Mother's Day low key, especially in Egypt where Sunday is a workday and laundry day. Happy Mother's Day indeed.
But this year has seen a sweeping change in our family dynamics, and somehow life has calmed down a whole lot. When feeding, cleaning up, and shoving small bodies into church clothes doesn't require every spare moment between waking and church (now that two of them can dress themselves and even help dress the others), time become available for other things. Like breathing.
So this morning when the alarm went off, Brandon jumped out of bed instead of relaxing for a few thirty minutes like we usually attempt to do on Sunday mornings. I tried to follow him, but he told me to stay put. "What a wonderful beginning to Mother's Day," I smiled to myself, and then fell back asleep.
An hour later he woke me up with eggs, crepes, nutella, strawberries, and whipped cream. Then he went downstairs and fed the children. After a delicious breakfast I showered, went to church, and enjoyed all of the kisses my children gave me. They tumbled downstairs at the end of Primary and handed me four cards, including a scribble from Joseph, who is now officially nursery age (happy Mother's Day indeed!).
When we got home, Brandon got to work on dinner and I took a nap. When I woke up, the house smelled of delicious frying tamiyya, curried chickpeas, and something Indian made of eggplant. After a tasty dinner, I chatted and everyone else cleaned up the kitchen. Then we put together a puzzle and had dessert after Kathleen and Sophia delivered another card apiece before being ushered off to bed by their father while had some more alone time upstairs.
Obviously I didn't get into the kid business just to enjoy the adoration heaped on me for Mother's Day, but I won't lie. It's pretty great. The preceding six years of mothering are starting to pay off in all sorts of wonderful ways, including breakfast in bed. Not that breakfast in bed is necessary to make all of those sacrifices worth it. Having four wonderful, loving children are what make all of the other stuff worth it. I could only imagine what my life would be like if Brandon and I looked at each other and said 'yeah, kids, we'll pass. They're too much work, and we're perfectly happy right now anyway.' I might not have to deal with multiple breakdowns at the same time during dinner and instead have a conversation, but I also wouldn't have four children all try to crowd onto my lap at once because they can't stand being any further away from me than is physically possible. Children have opened my life up into so much more joy than I could have ever thought possible on my own. So the sacrifices, in the end, aren't much.
However, I'll take breakfast in bed once a year for thanks, too.