Sometimes I get a little grumpy on Mother's Day. This morning was one of those days. My parents are in town and we've been partying a lot, going hiking and swimming and out to dinner, and I knew that Brandon hadn't had time to go out and get me flowers. We were gone almost twelve hours yesterday and I knew the children hadn't had time to make me cards or plan a special breakfast. And I hadn't intercepted any packages with contents more exciting than twenty pounds of brown sugar. I knew that Mother's Day this year was going to be a bit of an on-the-fly affair.
Last year I was in London and didn't get a Mother's Day either. Sure, I didn't have to make dinner or anything, but I also didn't get the adulation that I had certainly earned by squeezing five children out and then keeping them alive for nine years. So I was a little grumpy this morning, irritated that - for the second year in a row - I wouldn't have the picture-perfect Mother's Day I deserved.
As I showered alone (brownie points to Brandon for taking care of breakfast this morning) I lectured myself. "Mother's Day is not about flowers or cards or presents or breakfast in bed or any of those things that you post about on Facebook to let everyone know how great your husband is. It's about letting your family be grateful for you. Not stuff. Gratitude."
By the time I came down for breakfast, I was almost entirely not grumpy. So when Sophia presented me with the creme brulee toast she made me and I saw the vase filled with flowers Brandon had picked and he apologized for not having a card, I was able to graciously thank Sophia for the toast and tell Brandon that it had been busy and not to worry about things too much.
We had church this morning and for our speaker, we watched an old conference talk by President Monson about mothers. The boys made cards in their class (well, Joseph did. Edwin told me that it was too much trouble to write). My Dad and Brandon made dinner and cleaned it up. Sophia made my mother and me several cards. Kathleen told me what a great mom I am.
And sometime during the day I stopped being resentful about what things hadn't been done for me and I started being grateful that I get to be a mother for Mother's Day.
I'm grateful for my children, the ones who make me a mother. Often they drive me crazy - like when someone forgets to put a top on the milk and half a jug is spilled on the floor. Sometimes they make me mad. Every now and then they make me sad. But I would never ever trade the crazy and mad and sad for the tranquility that comes from being childless.
When the house is loud, it is because it is filled with people. When it is dirty, the dirt comes from little feet and hands. When it is quiet and clean, it is a blissful break from loud and dirty.
I am grateful for my husband, because without him I wouldn't be a mother either. Sometimes he drives me crazy. Occasionally he makes me mad. And every now and then he makes me sad. But I would never trade those things for the autonomy and independence that comes from being single.
When my room has three suit jackets hanging over the chair, they are the suit jackets of the person who goes to work every day to keep me and my children fed. When I fold pair after pair of socks, they are the socks of someone who reads stories to my children every night before they go to bed. And when I make the bed every day, it is the bed where I sleep next to the man who still finds me beautiful after twelve years and six children.
And so, in the end, Mother's Day isn't really about spa days or jewelry or flowers or brunch (as nice as those things can be). It's about being a mother. This job has lots of crazy and sad and angry and messy and exhausted and frustrated days, but those are the price we pay for having a life that is, in the end, full of happiness and joy and love and beauty. And children. Lots and lots of children.