I think I have always known this, I just find it really ironic that I had it rubbed in my face on Mother’s Day, before 8am!! Not exactly how I had envisioned THE one day dedicated to celebrating mothers starting out for me…
I guess it shouldn’t surprise me though, it’s pretty much in line with how things go. I mean, don’t we all start out thinking that when we have kids it’s going to be one thing…and then we have them and we get waaay more than we signed up for? Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying being a Mother is all bad, what I am saying is that mothering in reality doesn’t quite match up to the idealistic GAP advertisement I apparently had going on in my head.
Allow me to share my Mother’s Day morning with you…I’ve only been awake for less than an hour mind you so it is a very quick take on the day, there are 23 more hours left so it might still take a turn for the better but for now, here’s how it has unfolded so far.
7:59am my bedroom door flies open, thumping feet make their way to my bedside. I hear the rustling of paper as it gets shoved under my nose. My eyes are closed and I hear a voice right next to my ear, “I know you did this, I can tell!” I try very hard to spring into a conscious state of awareness and hit the ground running with a coherent response, but I don’t even know what the voice is talking about.
A few seconds flash by and I managed to get my bearings. Oh my, yes, I realise what this is likely all about. Allow me to set the scene for you…
Yesterday my daughters now ages 9 and 11 years, found a fairy book on our bookshelf. It is one of those beautifully illustrated books that tell you everything you have ever wondered about fairies. How they get their names, what they wear, what they eat, where they live…I mean it covers everything! It reminded my Eldest that a few years back she used to write to the fairies…and they would write back. I know, I know, pretty wonderful right?
So, with those fond memories both daughters were inspired to create a fairy garden out in the backyard. They created an environment fit for fairies. Decorated it with flowers and little lady bug clips and daisy chains from the craft box. It was a lovely sight to see and then they went the extra step and wrote letters to the fairies. Oh my, this lovely addition was about to transform me from being the observer to being an active participant…even though they didn’t necessarily know it. Every 15 minutes or so, one of them would go and check if a reply had arrived. (FYI I was very busy yesterday and the fairies took their sweet time to reply). Eventually, some time after 10pm both girls gave up waiting and finally fell asleep. I sprung into action.
Now let me tell you, this took a whole lot of energy. I have a lot going on at the moment. We are two weeks into major house renovations, we don’t have a kitchen, we don’t have a room in the house that isn’t covered by plastic and a layer of dust. Add to this equation that I have a few jobs, we have the usual kids activities, and we have an elderly dog who requires a whole lot of supervision. I have a lot on my plate at the moment, I am not complaining, I’m just sayin’!!
So I rustle up my creativity and reply to the fairy letters. I admit, I got sloppy, I didn’t really think it through as carefully as I should have because I was tired and wanted to go to my bed. I decided to type them each a letter in a fancy cursive font as it wouldn’t require me to sit and handwrite the reply. Tsk, tsk.
I conjured up the replies (which I thought by the way,were outstanding, given that it was close to midnight) and I made my way (in the pouring rain and pitch dark) into our back yard which has been known to be frequented by hungry bears looking for midnight snacks. I placed the little fairy letters where they needed to go and I went to wake my husband (who was snoring his head off on the sofa, just sayin’) to tell him that it was it was mission accomplished. I was so proud that I had remembered to get the letters done this quickly as in the past the tooth fairy has taken as many as three nights to finally show up!
This morning, may I remind you that it is Mother’s Day, I get woken up and told off for my good fairy work! It’s true, my eldest daughter was just furious that I had (apparently) written the fairy letter. Through a haze I asked “What makes you think it was me?” and she replied, “Well, it’s sooooo obvious, fairies don’t have computers, they only have things they can make with nature!” Clearly I hadn’t read the Fairy encyclopaedia from cover to cover, clearly I had messed up. She stormed out of the room and I lay in my bed thinking…
“I can’t actually believe that no matter how hard I try, it is never good enough! What more do you children want from me? I gave you life, I continue to feed you, I changed your dirty diapers, I give you shelter, I clean up your mess, I drive you where you need to go, I host birthday parties in your honour, I care for you when you are sick, I hold you when you are crying, I help you through your frustration and best of all, I love you though it all. Isn’t that enough?
And then it hit me, I do all of these things for my children because I love them so, because I am their mother, because it feels right for me to do all of these things…and I choose to do it for them. I can’t get all bitter and twisted when they don’t notice or acknowledge it, this is their normal. They can’t begin to know how good they have it, because they have nothing else to compare to! But there is a humbling realisation in here for me too…
I used to be just like them! I have a Mom who does all that she can for me, for my brother and for my sister. She always does whatever she can to meet our needs (which is different from our demands), she is the one who is there for us and loves us no matter what. When we were younger, we didn’t get it, we didn’t appreciate it, we took it for granted because her generosity was our measure of normal. It didn’t occur to me until I was an adult that not everyone had it as good as we did, that not everyone had a mother like we did, who did it all, gave it her best and seldom got the thanks and appreciation that she deserved. I get it now though, now that I am am the one called Mom, doing so much of the giving, trying to do it all and seldom feeling like I get it right. Now I can say that I finally get it! (It took me a while!)
So if you’re a mother, just know that sometimes when you feel that enough is never good enough for your children, it actually is, they just don’t necessarily know it yet! Give them a few years, enough time for them to have their own children and then they’ll realise that what maybe didn’t feel like enough was actually more than enough, they just didn’t know it! Because of you, one day if they become parents, they’ll want to do the same for their children, not for the thanks or acknowledgement (which would be nice, but not likely), they’ll want to do it because it just feels right to do so. That’s how we will create a better world, starting with one under-appreciated Mother at a time!
To my Mom on this Mother’s day I say, Thank you for all you do for me, who you are to me and what you continue to do for me. Who you are will live on through me, through my girls and through theirs some day. Because of the Mother you have been, you will make this world a better a place even though you won’t be here to see it, or be thanked for it.You have made a difference so much bigger than you will ever know…
Thank you and I love you.
To all you of you other Mothers out there, I say Happy Mother’s Day to you! On behalf of your children I say, Thank You for all that you do and for who you are to your children.You are more than enough (even though you aren’t made to feel that way much of the time).
Have a wonderful Mother’s Day.