Monday, October 26, 2009


It's after a day like today that I find myself saying, "It's 8pm. Don't come out of your room. I'm not taking care of you any more today." And I trudge down the hall and down the stairs and down in my energy levels as I face the dishes on the counter I do not load into the dishwasher until Gemma is in bed because, like a homing pigeon, she knows the precise SECOND that door opens and she crawls as if an invisible jet pack is strapped to her back. It's like she has 6 arms as she tries to pull out every utensil and dish available and since I only have 2 arms, I can hardly compete. I've found her actually IN the dishwasher at times. *sigh* And on top of that I have loads of laundry to fold and a family room to straighten and I pause for a moment and reflect on my own mother who must have repeated this same ritual thousands of times (though over the years we might not have climbed into the dishwasher, but found other ways to physically prevent her from doing an otherwise simple task). How I never really GOT just how tired she was. I mean, it wasn't like she did THAT MUCH during the day. THAT MUCH. Oh good heavens. What was I thinking? THAT MUCH. I didn't even have a tenth of an idea just HOW MUCH she did. I guess that's another reason why parenting is good. It's a major reality check - on what your parents did for you, and the true depth of love that motivated it.

These days my mom helps me in other ways. My need of her has shifted from the physical (the mundane tasks, the caring, the comforting, the providing) to the emotional, mostly manifest through the verbal. Nothing delights me more than to chat with my mom and tell her a story about the kids (or myself) and hear her light laughter, sometimes crossing over to that high-pitched near-silent convulsions. Nothing cheers me up more than to have my mom share my joy in an accomplishment. And nothing humbles me more than to have this woman who has done so much, that much, for me, quietly and seriously tell me that she thinks I'm a good mom. It's a simple statement, really. But coming from her, it carries the weight of understanding and empathy and respect that I hardly think I'm worthy, but given her example, try to deserve.

It's after a day like today that I know she has earned a lifetime of naps and toothpaste-less sinks and love and devotion from her children. I wish all of this and more for her today. Happy Birthday, Mom.


laura said...
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laura said...

It took me like 5 minutes before I could read your actual post, because I was giggling too hard at the title. Also, mom said she took a birthday nap today, so I think we're all squared up now.

Katie Ross said...

I totally know what you mean about *those* kinds of days. More than once I've caught both Aaron and Andrew sitting on my dishwasher door, halfway inside of it. Somehow they always manage to grab the knives. By the time bedtime comes at night EVERYday I am completely WIPED out.